Best special events in NYC

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘s Carson Kressley invites you to party for a good cause at Red Lion Tea, a benefit for the Ali Forney Center Aug 5 on Fire Island. The event features a Bloody Mary bar, cocktails and beats by DJ Lina, plus a hotly-anticipated surprise guest! The Ali Forney Center is a non-profit organization working hard to keep homeless LGBT youth off the streets. The center makes a difference by rescuing kids from the dangers of the streets and placing them into their safe, homelike environments, helping these youth become independent as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Join the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in the Media for their fabulous GLAAD Absolut Hamptons event, Aug 19 at the Easthampton home of Norman Spier. Hosts Norman Spier and Bernard Spier, M.D., GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano, Honorary Chair Darren Star and the GLAAD Board of Directors invite you to join them for a lovely afternoon with hosted Absolut cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment while celebrating GLAAD’s work and latest accomplishments.

Thinking of taking the plunge and going through with a commitment ceremony or (if you’re a New Jersey resident) Civil Union? Head to the Clinton Inn in Tenafly, NJ on Aug 12 for RainbowWeddingNetwork’s Same Love/Same Rights: GLBT Wedding Expo & Rally for Equality. RainbowWeddingNetwork would like to help take away some of the stress so you enjoy one of the greatest milestones in your life. This free event will feature over 50 LGBT-friendly wedding and home professionals offering direction for every aspect of your commitment, from engagement to your first home and adoption. Come join us for music, food, giveaways and fun in a safe and welcoming environment.

Set aside Aug 28 (and the fourth Tuesday of every month) for the Human Rights Campaign of Greater New York’s Women’s Monthly Connection social networking event at the Stonewall Inn. Come make new friends at this free event, held at the historic site where the Gay Liberation movement was started, and learn about ways to become more involved in the organization.

The Howl! Festival of East Village Arts is finally back, and better than ever! Named in honor of the groundbreaking poem by Allen Ginsberg and produced every summer, Howl! celebrates the East Village and Lower East Side’s role as a preeminent locus of culture. Centered in Tompkins Square Park, the festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors to clubs, galleries, parks, streets and theaters for an explosion of dance, film, food, music, performance, painting, poetry and sculpture. Luminaries like Boy George, Steve Buscemi, Jim Jarmusch, Moby, Lou Reed and Suzanne Vega draw the festival’s crowds, but its real stars are the hardworking independent artists and writers who continue to invigorate the neighborhood with their spirit.

And on Aug 19, don’t miss On the Bay: Lawn Party and Auction, a sure-to-be star-studded summer benefit party for the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY). This year, LIGALY will honor Queer Eye for the Straight Guy personality Carson Kressley for his visibility and his advocacy on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. The event will be held at the home of Carl Jacobs, overlooking the Great South Bay in Bellport. On The Bay features fantastic food and cocktails, great entertainment, a special VIP Gift Bag and auction.

Calling all sexpots, flappers and frisk-a-teers! Experience the wild “West” side of iconic actress Mae West on Aug 17 (her birthday) during the celebration of the Annual Mae West Gala. Secretive and image-conscious, the Brooklyn bombshell carefully covered up her private life, which included frequent partying at speakeasies, a secret marriage to an Italian accordionist, séances behind curtains and multi-racial love affairs. Tour Manhattan’s busy theatre district, where Mae’s West Side Story will unfold at over a dozen sites between West 50th Street and West 63rd Street.

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