Summer might be (unofficially) over, but you know what that means: cardigans! Take a break from participating in the annual battle between Those Who Love Pumpkin Spice and Those Who Are Probably Secret Communist Spies and get to Detroit for a Black film fest or a visit to a unique creator space. It’s also a great time to take in some indoor shows, including relative newcomers Sweet Petunia, a queer duo who will visit Ann Arbor later this month.
1. Attend the Detroit Black Film Fest
Among the varied offerings at the third annual Detroit Black Film Fest is “The Woodstock of House,” a documentary that explores the development of house music, which, in the 70s, the film’s description reads, was “too Black, too Latin and too gay.” The film focuses on gay nightclub Chicago DJs, deemed the Chosen Few, who helped foster the genre into what it is today — a touchstone for queer communities around the globe.
The fest features 7-10 minute films put together by Black creators across wide-ranging genres: narrative, documentary, web series, animation, student films, poetry and photography.
Sept. 21-25 at the Charles H. Wright African American Museum, the Marlene Boll Theater and The Motown Museum, all in Detroit. Learn more at filmfreeway.com/DETROITBLACKFILMFESTIVAL.
2. Create Your Hearts Out, Ladies
The Room Project is where collaboration meets creativity. A space designated for women, non-binary and trans writers and artists, the Room Project is set up to support an intersectional approach to creation. Members are asked to engage with one another in a supportive community that invites seasoned creators as well as those “whose ambitions are still evolving,” according to the Room Project website.
Room Project is located at 6513 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. Learn more at roomproject.org.
3. Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Detroit’s First Pride
Last year, Michigan LGBTQ+ historian Tim Retzloff and Ypsilanti artist Isabel Clare Paul created the comic “Come Out! In Detroit,” which documents the first-ever Pride celebration (the Christopher Street March) in Detroit. July marked the event’s 50th anniversary. Now through Sept. 11, visit the Detroit Historical Museum for a special summer exhibition highlighting the layout, design and content of the comic. You can even pick up a free copy while you’re there.
Learn more about the comic at comeoutindetroit.com and visit detroithistorical.org for details about visiting the exhibit.
4. Buy Demi Lovato Tickets
If it seems like it’s challenging to keep up with Demi Lovato’s pronouns, it’s because the pop sensation has used a few over the past couple of years. It’s part of why Lovato is so relatable to her queer fans — she’s always been open about figuring it all out as she goes, publicly embracing her sexual and gender fluidity. As she told Pride Source in 2017, “I love who I love.”
These days, the artist prefers she/her pronouns, and we can’t wait to see her take the stage Oct. 7 at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit when she brings her “Holy Fvck Tour” to town.
Buy tickets now at ticketmaster.com.
5. Catch a Queer Folk Duo at the Blind Pig
What, exactly, is a “queer freak folk duo”? It turns out, it’s a spot-on self-description for the band Sweet Petunia, set to perform Sept. 20 at Ann Arbor’s fabled Blind Pig. Vocalist and guitarist Mairead Guy pairs up with vocalist and ukulele player Madison Simpson to produce tight, harmonic melodies that showcase two voices you won’t soon forget. Somehow, they manage to pull off both punk and folk without skipping a beat.
Check out Sweet Petunia on Bandcamp to get a taste — don’t miss “Tiny Boxes,” where the duo exoricates bigots while maintaining syrupy sweet vocals and asks “How was I supposed to care/When all the rules were so unfair? If a loud girl will be labeled a bitch/Then I’m a bitch and I’m proud of it!”
Listen to Sweet Petunia at sweetpetunia.bandcamp.com and buy tickets at blindpigmusic.com.