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|Fall Preview: The hunt for queer October|
|Written by Matt Schafer|
|Friday, 03 September 2010 00:00|
After a sizzling hot summer, Atlanta’s LGBT scene slips into high gear with a massive number of new and established events swelling the calendar for fall.
Already a big month in 2009, this year every weekend in October hosts a major event. Out On Film kicks off the month, Atlanta Pride follows on the second weekend, and AIDS Walk Atlanta and the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival round out the month.
The bigger festivals share October with other traditional LGBT events like the MEGA Family Project Family Conference (Oct. 2), Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative’s Garden Party (Oct. 3) and gay humorist David Sedaris’ stop at Cobb Energy Center (Oct. 7).
Pride moved to Halloween weekend last year as part of a compromise with the city of Atlanta over drought concerns, and is set for Oct. 8-10 this year. Executive Director J.P. Sheffield says being near other gay events wasn’t a concern.
“With the historical nature of both June and October, we knew our event would be near other LGBT events regardless of timing,” he says. “We do think we’re currently in really good company and love being this close to AIDS Walk and the ALHI Garden Party.”
Now in its 20th year, the AIDS Walk (Oct. 17) finds itself the weekend after Pride and only two days after the Piedmont Park Conservatory’s “Green Concert” with light rock band The Eagles. AID Atlanta organizes the walk, and Executive Director Tracy Elliott says the events are working together to save costs.
“All three organizations have gotten together in terms of setting the park so we’re going to save some money on logistics,” Elliott says.
Sheffield adds the organizations are able to save money by using the same companies to save on load-in and load-out costs.
The AIDS Walk and 5k run raises funds for 10 AIDS organizations in metro Atlanta and in the third year of a soft economy, Elliott says they have tempered the goals for this year’s event, hoping to raise $900,000 after bringing in $875,000 in 2009.
“The walk has done both worse and better than in the past, so we’re aiming somewhere in the center,” Elliott says. “The AIDS Walk is a critical piece of most of the organizations, not all, but it certainly is for AID Atlanta… it’s a critical part of our fight against AIDS as a community.”
October is also home to two artistic events highlighting gay creative endeavors. Out on Film starts Oct. 1 and runs for seven days, showing a bevy of independent movies, while the Queer Literary Festival celebrates LGBT writers and poets the second week of the month.
Out on Film returns to the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema for seven days, but will expand to the Ansley Park Playhouse for several events, including the world premiere of “Quentin Crisp: Final Encore,” which was filmed in Atlanta.
“Landmark is a great venue,” Festival Director Jim Farmer says. “But Ansley Park Playhouse is just the perfect location for some of our films.”
The Queer Literary Festival was still working to finalize its guest lineup at press time, but co-organizer Collin Kelly says this year’s event will benefit from its Oct.13-17 dates.
“It’s a great thing; we’re kind of sandwiched between Pride and the AIDS Walk,” he said. “I know some people are talking about coming down early to take part in Pride and attend the literary lestival.”
The literary events will be split between several different venues, and while the guest lineup hasn’t been finalized, the keynote speaker will be transgender author Jennifer Finney Boylan, who documented her transition in her memoir “She’s Not There.”
More to celebrate
Boylan also comes to Atlanta in September for the Southern Comfort Conference, which brings transgender people from around the country Sept. 6-11 and features Chaz Bono, the transgender child of Sonny and Cher, as well.
In addition to Black Gay Pride over Labor Day Weekend (See stories, Page 17), Georgia is home to three other Prides in September: Savannah Pride (Sept. 11), South Georgia Pride in Valdosta (Sept. 18) and Chattahoochee Pride in Columbus (Sept. 19)
September also offers a mix of fun and fundraisers with two arts festivals, the annual Atlanta Cotillion and the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Community Expo.
“It’s a business and community expo where we have gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses who will have booths set up,” says Sheila Merritt, the Chamber’s immediate past president. “People always want to know what businesses are out there that they might need over the course of their life that are gay or gay friendly… so that’s the whole purpose of the expo, so we can communicate.”
Held at the Georgia International Conference Center near the airport, this year’s expo will also try to connect gay employees with gay-owned and friendly businesses.
“There will also be a jobs component where people can drop off resumes and in some circumstances some employers will be conducting onsite interviews,” Merritt says.
The schedule of LGBT special events for late fall is still shaping up, but look out for the Transgender Remembrance Day (Nov. 20), World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) and Toy Party (Dec. 5) as the season tapers to a close.
Black Gay Pride
Peach Tennis Tournament
Atlanta Field Day benefit for CHRIS Kids
Atlanta Pride Ride at Arabia Mountain Trail
HRC Atlanta Annual Golf Tournament
Atlanta Arts Festival in Piedmont Park
The Evolution Party celebrating 20th edition of Gay Yellow Pages
Midtown Festival of the Arts
AGLCC Community Expo
Out on Film
MEGA Family Project Family Conference
Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative Fall Garden Party
Get it OUT of the CLOSET clothing donation drive
David Sedaris at Cobb Energy Center
Atlanta Pride kick off at GA Aquarium
Atlanta Queer Literary Festival
AIDS Walk Atlanta
AEN hosts Mayor Kasim Reed
MEGA Family Project Halloween Party
Transgender Day of Remembrance
World AIDS Day
Top photo: Atlanta Pride anchors October, a month of big LGBT events in the city. (by docjohnboy via Atlanta Pride flickr)
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