Now that we’ve officially crossed into the part of the winter season where the days are longer than the nights, it’s time to look ahead with renewed hope and curiosity. May your 2024 bring an abundance of light and laughter and plenty of opportunities to enjoy events like the upcoming Ann Arbor Folk Fest and ongoing social gatherings like an older adult’s LGBTQ+ monthly meetup, a queer book club or an old-school bowling league with a queer twist. You can even venture out for the unlikely pairing of a classic Michigan card tournament and an LGBTQ+ fundraiser.
1. Buy Tickets for Ann Arbor Folk Fest
Grab your tickets now for the 47th annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, sure to sell out ahead of the big weekend Jan. 26-27. This year’s lineup includes headliners Old Crow Medicine Show and Emmylou Harris as well as a roster of modern folk mainstays and up-and-coming acoustic acts that should be on your radar. Queer folk singer, songwriter and harpist Lizzie No appears on Saturday, and you won’t want to miss sibling indie-pop trio Bailen on Friday. Actor Jeff Daniels will emcee the event on both nights.
Jan. 26-27, Hill Auditorium (825 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor). Find tickets at theark.org/folk-festival.
2. Sign up for a Queer Bowling League
Roll it old school style this winter by joining the Stonewall Sports’ queer-inclusive bowling league. The mixed-ability group will play on Tuesdays at Renaissance Bowling Center in Detroit and is open to bowlers of all skill levels and genders. As Pride Source reported last year, Stonewall Sports offers a wide range of athletic activities for queer players. “Having a queer league,” bowler and kickball player Lindsey Mattson told Pride Source, “provides safety and camaraderie” and a chance to meet friends. Registration ends Jan. 12 and the season begins Jan. 16. If bowling isn’t your jam, Stonewall also offers billiards, pickleball, volleyball and kickball at different times of the year.
Jan. 16-March 5, Renaissance Bowling Center (19600 Woodward Ave., Detroit). Learn more at stonewalldetroit.org.
3. Socialize with Other LGBTQ+ Seniors
Joining up with like-minded queer community folks is important and enjoyable at every stage of life. The Detroit Elders Project provides an opportunity for older queer adults to gather together every third Thursday of the month at Detroit Hannon Center as part of a collaboration with MiGen, Michigan’s LGBTQ+ elders network. Each meeting includes a complimentary dinner and a chance to mingle and discuss important issues in a safe, supportive environment.
Third Thursday of each month, Hannan Center (4750 Woodward Ave., Detroit). Reach out to Cornelius Wilson to learn more ([email protected] or 313-942-2803).
4. Play Euchre with the Elks
Support Ferndale Pride while showing off your mad euchre skills at a classic Euchre tournament at the Ferndale Elks club Jan. 13. The event features cash prizes, a 50/50 raffle drawing, Jell-O shots and more. Could this event be the quintessential way to express your uniquely Michigan brand of queerness? Euchre is a true Michigan staple, and playing it in an Elks club is giving the kind of ironically cool queer vibe you’ll only find around these parts.
Jan. 13, Ferndale Elks #1588 (22856 Woodward Ave., Ferndale). Buy tickets at bit.ly/4aLfD6T.
5. Join a Queer Book Group
Set an intention to read more in 2024 — especially queer books. Ypsilanti District Library’s (YDL) monthly Adult Queer Book Group features works of fiction, poetry and graphic novels focused on queer identities and subject matter. Each meeting offers a chance to discuss the monthly pick, led by a YDL staffer who taught feminist and LGBTQ+ courses at Eastern Michigan University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department and the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. Upcoming selections include “Hijab Butch Blues” by Lamya H (Jan. 18), the “Monk and Robot” series by Becky Chambers (Feb. 15) and “Burn the Page” by Danica Roem (March 21). See the complete 2024 list at bit.ly/48FjQHy.
Monthly on varying dates including Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m. Ypsilanti District Library Whittaker Branch (5577 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti).