The Very Best of Special Events in NYC

Astraea at 30, AIDS Walk NY and more…

May 17 at Prince George Ballroom, celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice in Astraea at 30: Justice in the Making. Kate Clinton emcees and performs, and the evening features a special performance by Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely. Astraea honors FIERCE! of New York with the Lynn Campbell Award for Outstanding Leadership; Coalition of African Lesbians of Johannesburg, South Africa with the Human Rights and Feminism Award; and Marta Drury with the Philanthropic Activism Award.

If anything will get you out of bed early on a Saturday, let it be the AIDS Walk New York, scheduled to take over Central Park May 18. Since 1986, AIDS Walk New York has raised $97 million for HIV programs and services in the tri-state area, and has grown into the largest AIDS fundraising event in the world. In 2007 alone, 45,000 participants, many of whom were members of 2,400 corporate and community teams, raised a record sum of more than $6.8 million for Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and 60 other local AIDS service organizations. Get out there and do your part!

This year, the Annual Queer Media and Entertainment Conference (Q-Me Con), at Ripley Grier Studios May 9–11, focuses on women’s issues in a special Women’s Summit. The Q-Me Con (NYC) 2008 Women’s Summit is a weekend-long forum featuring seminars and networking events intended to empower queer women and educate them on how to get their authentic, diverse voices and images “out” into the massive media-sphere. The event features a wide array of informative seminars, forums and interactive workshops delving into the “ins and outs” of financing, pitching marketing and distributing female-centric content. Guests include Heather Matarazzo, Rose Troche, Angel Brown and GO Magazine’s publisher, Amy Lesser, among others.

Manhattanites celebrate Pride on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (the last Sunday in June), but the outer boroughs (and states) often like to get the party started earlier. On June 1, head out to Jackson Heights to celebrate Queens Pride with a big parade and festival. NYS Assembly Member Jose Peralta, NYC Council Member Rosie Mendez, and The Center’s Executive Director, Richard Burns, marshal this year’s parade. And June 14 at Prospect Park West and 15th St, Brooklyn Pride offers up its 12th Annual Pride Celebration with a multicultural festival, 10K run, Night Pride Parade and official after-party. Or why not kick off Pride season by the beach and in a state where outdoor beer tents are perfectly legal? June 1 in the gay beachfront mecca Asbury Park, party with the Jersey girls at the 17th Annual New Jersey GLBT Pride Celebration. This seaside event features a block party, festival and parade along with live music and comedy, food, arts and crafts, community information, exhibits, rides and more. Post-festival, be sure to sweat out all the fair food and cheap draft beer at one of the many nearby gay/lesbian bars and clubs.

May 11 at Cattyshack, OP/LYNX & NewFest will present the second in their Quarterly Filmmaker Brunch Series for 2008. This month, a very exciting collaborative team has come together—OP/LYNX, NewFest, Punkmouse, Queer Black Cinemas and—in presenting this event as an official program of Q-Me Con 2008 (Queer Media & Entertainment Conference). LESBIAN WEBISODES: New Wave Storytelling Meets Multi-Platform Marketing will focus on the uncharted territory of Webisodes. Filmmakers, Webisodes and more details to be announced.

GO Magazine and NYC’s very own WNBA team, the New York Liberty, have paired up to bring you action-packed New York Liberty Away Game Viewing Parties throughout the summer at some of your favorite lesbian bars around the city. When your favorite female hoop stars head out of town, gather with fellow Liberty fans at these eight exclusive events that feature raffles and giveaways, drink specials and more. Head to Cattyshack on May 25 and Cubbyhole on June 11 to kick off the series!

On June 7, the Hetrick Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, will hold its annual School’s Out fundraising event at the home of Peter Wilson and Scott Sanders in East Hampton. School’s Out celebrates the end of the school year and raises money for school programs for the over 1,000 LGBT youth the HMI serves annually.

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