Listen, queers, we know you've been thirsty for a Hot Gay Summer‚Ñ¢ since the one that didn't happen in 2020. While I can't promise you that you'll be able to safely flaunt those quarantine cakes — yes, I see you — everywhere you want, there are still safe entertainment options that exist during the hellscape that is this pandemic. From gay glamping to drag shows to a bit of Pride history, here are five queer things you can do right now.
1. Go Glamping With the Gays
As Michigan continues to thaw out, it's natural to want to go outside again — maybe even stay for a few days. You can do so safely at the CampIt Outdoor Resort in Fennville (which is inclusive, unlike other, more infamous, anti-trans Michigan campgrounds). CampIt has 33 acres of campground packed with amenities to accommodate any of your everyday needs outdoors. And since CampIt provides camping with a queer twist, there's no shortage of events like Prom Night "Into the Woods" Weekend (May 21 through 23), Leather Fetish Kink Weekend (June 4 through 6) and LGBT Music Festival Weekend (June 18 through 20). And if raw nature gets to be too much for you, the LGBTQ-affirming (and shopping-friendly) towns of Saugatuck and Douglas are only 10 minutes away.
Learn about pricing and make reservations throughout the rest of the year at campitresort.com.
2. Brush Up on Your Queer History with FX's 'PRIDE' Docuseries
In this original FX docuseries, six LGBTQ+ film directors explore the heroism and heartbreak that both defined the history of the gay rights movement and changed the face of the nation. Episodes of the series span the 1950s Lavender Scare, the 1990s "culture wars," the civil rights movement and the nationwide battle for marriage equality. See perspectives from well-known figures like Black lesbian womanist Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin, a Black gay rights and political activist. You'll also get to know lesser-known heroes of the movement, like lesbian march organizer and activist Madeleine Tress and gay videographer and early vlogger Nelson Sullivan — each of whom paved the way for modern-day LGBTQ+ rights.
Watch the premiere on Friday, May 14, 8 p.m., or stream it on Hulu the day after.
3. Get Your Instant Disco Fix
Disco is back, and it's Australian. "Disco Instamatic" is the work of queer singer, composer, artist and disco DJ Tanzer in collaboration with Australia's queer screen culture magazine Sissy Screens. Streamable now, this movin' and groovin' installation blends Tanzer's brand-new song "Deep Fried Disco" with drag, dance and visual art. And Tanzer isn't the only artist it showcases. Viewers will see the work of 20 fellow artists who will explore how their identities have informed their work.
"'Disco Instamatic' is a glamorous time capsule that captures, elevates and amplifies the icon within. In a breathless, glittering moment, the viewer can come face to face with a superstar, in a vignette as intimate as it is dazzling," Tanzer says.
Buy tickets online and learn more at tanzertanzertanzer.com.
4. Shantay, Stay Awhile for Digital Drag Fest 2021
Seeing a drag queen-studded lineup featuring icons Latrice Royale, Trixie Mattel, Jinkx Monsoon and Monet X Change back-to-back is possible in more than just a fever dream thanks to Digital Drag Fest 2021. Back again this year with all-new content, you can watch your favorite queens werq unique, 45- to 60-minute online shows over two weekends without leaving your house.
"I'm so excited to be bringing ‚ÄòYes We Jan' RIGHT to your home! We've been through a lot this last year, and right now, with normalcy in sight, we need one more final push to get us there! And I'm the hype-JAN to do it!," Jan Sport tells Between The Lines. "This show is all about self-love, acceptance and empowerment, so what are you waiting for!?"
The show plays May 21-23 and May 28-30. Purchase tickets and merch at sessionslive.com/DigitalDragFest.
5. Catch a (Virtual) Queer Movie
Originally founded in 1988, Newfest was a direct response to the AIDS epidemic plaguing New York at the time. Then, the festival highlighted subversive queer media; today, it has survived to create a global platform for LGBTQ+ creators to do so from around the world. For those looking to take in a monthly dose of topical queer culture, NewFest Presents might just be the thing.
According to event organizers, "Our curated monthly series features topical documentaries and narrative films that reflect the wide range of LGBTQ+ identities, giving audiences an opportunity to experience our stories and stay connected to the community through screenings and conversations with filmmakers and LGBTQ+ leaders."
This month's film is "A Night at Switch n' Play," a behind-the-scenes look at one of Brooklyn's most popular queer live shows with a Q&A moderated by drag legend Sasha Velour.
Each month's featured film is live on the first Thursday of the month and remains available to stream throughout the following weekend. Each screening includes a Q&A. Learn more about non-member pricing and joining benefits at newfest.org/join.