by Jessica Carreras
Though a Detroit city budget cut scare in mid June almost caused the cancelation of half of the events for 2010’s Hotter Than July, with the backing of City Council President Charles Pugh, the 15th anniversary of Detroit’s black gay Pride will be underway starting July 17 and running through July 24.
The week will include more events than ever, starting with the 11th annual Ruth Ellis Pride March to honor the late pioneer of Detroit’s black gay rights movement, and include an art exhibition, workshops, film festival, Detroit River cruise, vigil, town hall, jazz brunch and the ever-popular Palmer Park Festival.
The festival was in danger of having to be moved – and the march and vigil, canceled – after Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said that the $32 million in cuts ordered by the city council would mean the closing of 77 of the city’s 300 parks. One of those would have been Palmer Park, including its public pool.
But Pugh insisted that the threat was just a scare tactic, and that the parks were never in danger of closing. “We were never going to close those parks,” he insisted.
Indeed, on June 29 – just two days before the budget was set to go into effect – a $4.5 million deal was struck that kept all parks open. The decision was preceeded by a slew of citizens protesting the cuts on June 28 at Palmer Park, marching down Woodward Avenue with signs, calling on the city council to “save our parks.”
For the time being, it appears the parks have been saved, and that HTJ will go on as planned.
Saturday, July 17
Ruth Ellis Pride March, 5 p.m. The 11th annual march celebrating the birthday of Ruth Ellis, sponsored by Young Brothers United. Pride procession begins down Pontchartrain Boulevard at 6:15 p.m. Palmer Park, Detroit. www.blackpridesociety.org
Monday, July 19
Art Exhibition and Reception, 6 p.m. Featuring work by artists Stephanie Holloway and Joseph Welch. Hosted by the Black Pride Society as part of Hotter Than July. Hotel St. Regis, 3071 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit. 313-873-3000. http://www.blackpridesociety.org
Tuesday, July 20
HTJ Film Festival, 7 p.m. Featuring a diverse selection of films about the LGBT community, plus buffeet, afterglow and more. Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door. Hosted by S.P.I.C.E. Focus: Hope Film Lounge, 1355 Oakman Blvd., Detroit. http://www.spiceonline.org
Wednesday, July 21
Kickin’ It On The River, 6:20 p.m. A three-hour cruise with buffet, live DJ and cash bar in celebration of Hotter Than July. Hosted by Kick, the Agency for LGBT African-Americans in metro Detroit and beyond. Diamond Queen Riverboat, Rivard Plaza, Detroit. 313-285-9733. http://www.e-kick.org
Thursday, July 22
HTJ Candlelight Vigil, 6 p.m. Part of Hotter Than July, with presence from local churches. Hosted by the Black Pride Society. Merrill Plaissance Street, Palmer Park, Detroit. http://www.blackpridesociety.org
Town Hall, 7 p.m. Hosted by MPowerment Detroit and Young Brothers United as part of Hotter Than July. Hotel St. Regis, 3071 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit. 313-873-3000. http://www.blackpridesociety.org
Friday, July 23
Genesis Conference Workshops, 12 p.m. A series of workshops as part of Hotter Than July 2010. Hosted by Black Pride Society. Hotel St. Regis, 3071 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit. 313-873-3000. http://www.blackpridesociety.org
Saturday, July 24
Palmer Park Festival, 12 p.m. The annual festival, featuring live music, vendors and more. Hosted by the Black Pride Society as part of Hotter Than July. Palmer Park, Detroit. http://www.blackpridesociety.org
Sunday, July 25
HTJ Jazz Brunch, 12 p.m. With brunch, live musical performances and suprise invited guest appearances. Tickets: $35. Hosted by the Black Pride Society, They-Say, 267 Joseph Campau, Detroit. http://www.blackpridesociety.org