Photo courtesy of Lily Tomlin
Despite what you might have been led to believe, most queer people are up to many things other than discussing Bud Lights on TikTok. In fact, Michigan is alive with possibilities for all your queer pleasures in the real world, from lighthearted good times to engaging on issues impacting the community, like a local conference centered on LGBTQ+ suicide. You can also bask in the empowering queer glow of icon Billy Porter when he brings his tour to Detroit, help fund a grassroots Pride organization, learn about adulting with Stand with Trans, or head out for an evening focused on quirky, groundbreaking animation at the Detroit International Festival of Animation.
1. Grab Tickets to See Billy Porter in Detroit
Buy your tickets now and prepare to be dazzled when beloved queer multi-hyphenate Billy Porter brings his Black Mona Lisa Tour: Volume One to Detroit May 18. Broadway in Detroit describes the show as a 90-minute “powerhouse event” that will feature chart toppers like “Love Is on the Way” and “Love Yourself,” a mix of Broadway-influenced numbers, a nod to Porter’s role on “Pose” and new tracks off the singer’s new “Black Mona Lisa” album. Porter says in a news release, “It's really the first time that I've been able to fully express myself and who I am through my music. It's like my magnum opus. It's everything to me. You'll really get a glimpse into who I am even deeper with this music.” The show has sold out in other cities, so the longer you wait, the slimmer your chances of seeing Porter slip back into a little Pray Tell.
Thursday, May 18, 8 p.m., Fisher Theatre (3011 West Grand Blvd., Detroit). Ticket link at BroadwayinDetroit.com.
2. Fund a Good Queer Cause
Head over to the Lansing Pride Fundraiser April 28 for a sick night of drag performances hosted by Delicious and DJ Asio Aviance in support of the org’s upcoming Pride festival and other programming. The long list of performers includes Trifecta, Ann Amy Grant, Wyonona, Vanessa Voyant, Crystal D’Light and more.
Doors open at 7 p.m. at Sir Pizza Grand Cafe in Lansing’s Old Town district (201 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave., Lansing). $10 cover at the door.
In addition to supporting Lansing Pride, tune in to the Drag Isn’t Dangerous telethon May 7 and dial in your donation from home. The star-studded event, emceed by drag performer Peppermint, features celebrities like Ali Wong, Amy Schumer, Charlize Theron, Greyson Chance, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho and many more coming together to combat the nationwide wave of recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. There will be a mix of live and pre-taped performances and testimonials from drag performers, LGBTQ+ entertainers and celebrities, and a live celebrity phone bank ready to accept your donation.
Get tickets and log in at moment.co/dangerous.
3. Help Improve the Stats Related to LGBTQ+ Suicide
The stark realities around LGBTQ+ and mental health are concerning, especially the stubborn statistics related to suicide, which have not significantly decreased in years. LGBTQ+ youth, in particular, face a much higher risk of suicide than their cisgender, heterosexual peers. The Stronger Communities: LGBTQ Suicide Prevention conference, hosted by the Michigan chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, seeks to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ suicide risk and to consider how to improve the statistics locally. National and local experts will be on hand to lead discussions and breakout sessions at the all-day event, set for Saturday, April 29 at Groves High School in Beverly Hills.
Saturday, April 29, Groves High School (20500 W. 13 Mile Road, Beverly Hills). Register at bit.ly/3AjjYNR.
4. Learn How to Do Life with Stand with Trans
Not everyone gets a primer on adulting before they need it, but Stand with Trans and executive director and founder Roz Keith are working to fill that gap for local trans teens and young adults (ages 13-24) through the organization’s upcoming “How to Do Life” workshops. “Life skills are typically not taught in school and many youth do not have the family foundation that teaches these critical skills,” Keith said in a news release. “For trans youth, in particular, learning how to move forward in life and find success is often inaccessible or non-existent. This most marginalized community needs a leg up in all areas of life.” The free five-part series takes place April through December on varying dates.
April 29 through December at various Southeast Michigan locations. Sessions include a meal. Register at standwithtrans.org/how-to-do-life-series/.
5. Delight in the Art of Animation
Celebrate the art of animation at the Detroit International Festival of Animation on May 6, when the historic Senate Theater serves as host for a diverse array of short works from local and international creators. The 90-minute presentation includes animated shorts created by artists near and far, including several with queer themes like Swiss artist Julian Tapprich’s charming piece, “ The Gift,” described by Tapprich as “very short and queer.” The range of topics extends from everyday life to the existential. Arrive early for a Wurlitzer Pipe Organ pre-show presented by the Detroit Theater Organ Society — the Senate is home to the world’s 8th largest Wurlitzer pipe organ.
Saturday, May 6, Senate Theater (6424 Michigan Ave., Detroit). Doors open at 7 p.m. Pipe organ show at 7:30. Tickets at difestofanim.com.