The best of special events in NYC

On Sept 15, LGBT country-western dance group Big Apple Ranch kicks off its 11th season with its Back To School Dance, an annual favorite. Always a big party, all proceeds benefit the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band. And speaking of school, why not start the night off by learning how to two-step and line dance? Fabulous performances by the Manhattan Prairie Dogs and Big Apple Corps Marching Band will be featured later in the evening. People of all danceabilities are welcome!

Broadway cleans out its closets once again for the 21st Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction Sept 23 at Shubert Alley. This spectacular event draws out the biggest and brightest stars from Broadway, off-Broadway, dance and daytime television to greet fans and sell memorabilia including costume pieces, autographs, original scripts, rare photographs, and so much more. Also look for the Celebrity Table, where celebrities gather throughout the day to sign autographs and pose for photos in exchange for donations. The highlight of the Flea Market is the Grand Auction, in which singular items and opportunities such as walk-on roles in Broadway shows, television programs and films are available to the highest bidder.

Sept 28–30, bicyclists ring in the fall and fight against AIDS in the LGBT Center’s fifth annual Braking the Cycle fundraising event. Cyclists travel 275 miles in three days, riding from Gettysburg to Manhattan to benefit The Center’s AIDS/HIV services program. To participate, request a brochure, or receive more info, visit brakingthecycle.org .

Join the Hetrick Martin Institute for their Fall Fest 2007 cocktail party and benefit auction, Sept 15 at the home of Frank Dunn and Hans Lupold in Kerhonkson, NY. This year’s auction items range from an autographed photograph of Richard Gere to a wine tasting for six, and proceeds benefit HMI and LGBT youth. The Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), home of The Harvey Milk High School, works to ensure that all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, have a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.

We all know that NYC girls are hot, and some might argue that chicks from the dyke haven of Brooklyn are the hottest. Judge for yourself at the I Heart Brooklyn Girls 2008 Coney Island Swimsuit Calender Launch dance party at Southpaw Sept 22. Four artists in Brooklyn’s queer community have refocused the traditional calendar girl though an all-female lens. An all-new crop of 12 neighborhood queer femmes take on the Coney Island beach in the sizzling 2008 Swimsuit Edition. To show their local love, I Heart Brooklyn Girls asked 12 Brooklyn boutiques and designers to clothe—scantily, of course—the 12 girls. This year’s event features DJs Cherrybuster, Tikka Masala, Noa D and Designer Imposter, with special performances by Brown Girls Burlesque. Ten percent of the proceeds benefit Coney Island USA.

The L.A.V.A.A. (Lesbians Against Violence and Aggression) group invites you to come celebrate community at their first annual Domestic Violence Benefit Gala on Sept 26 at Cattyshack. This organization works to build a safe haven and provide resources and support groups for lesbians who have been victims of domestic violence. The night’s festivities include a chef-catered dinner, fierce fashion show, installation by a local artist, spoken word, music and dancing.

What Do You Think?