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Go to a ‘Drag Race’ Party, See ‘Wicked,’ View a Gender-Focused Art Exhibit

Sarah Bricker Hunt

January and February can be a slog, but it’s not all bad when there are good reasons to brave the frigid Michigan winter. Go on, get out of the house just long enough to commute to another warm spot for a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party, see “Wicked” as it stops in Detroit on its North American tour, warm up at a lesbian-forward dance party or set your body and mind in motion at a meditation and vision board event. And don’t miss a new art exhibit focused on a deep exploration of the concept of gender, the work of a University of Michigan professor.

1. Attend a ‘Drag Race’ Viewing Party

Fifteen years after drag icon RuPaul first welcomed viewers to her showdown, eager contestants are still overflowing the Werk Room on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Now in its 16th season, see if Plane Jane’s rate-a-queen sabotage gets revealed and what other drama this new system stirs up. Who will she shade next? What’s going on with all these bananas and Taiwanese queen Nymphia Wind? Grab a seat and a drink and spill the tea every week.

Fridays, 7:30 p.m. (showtime at 8 p.m.), Five15 (600 Washington Ave., Royal Oak). Reserve tickets at bit.ly/3UczA0y).

2. Get Lit with the Litty Committee

Kick off the new year with the Litty Committee. Exodos Nightclub will play host to the latest event offered by the lesbian social club in the Exodos Rooftop Lounge on Jan. 28. Come for DJ Three Thirteen and a bevy of beautiful party hosts — stay for free shots (for the ladies), hookah, drink specials and the opportunity to dance the night away. “We have been known to bring the most beautiful lesbians in the city together in some of the most luxury nightclubs in Detroit for the last two years,” Litty Committee tells Pride Source. “We love bringing all different kinds of like-minded women together under one roof.”

Sunday, Jan. 28, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Exodos Rooftop Lounge (529 Monroe St., Detroit). Tickets at bit.ly/3Smtjyn.

3. See ‘Wicked’

Don’t miss the Broadway in Detroit touring production of “Wicked,” now playing at the Detroit Opera House. If you’ve yet to see this modern classic musical, you’ll find a nod to the queer-loved “Wizard of Oz,” but “Wicked,” now celebrating its 20th year on Broadway, is its own unique thing (though it enjoys similarly queer-prominent popularity). The story focuses on the good and bad witches of Oz and the complicated, sometimes fiery relationship between the two unlikely frenemies, set to a soundtrack for the ages. The touring cast includes out gay performer David Kaverman, a swing actor who also plays multiple characters in the musical, including The Wizard. 

Through Feb. 15, Detroit Opera House (1526 Broadway St., Detroit). Tickets at broadwayindetroit.com/events/wicked.

4. Create a Vision Board for the New Year

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Queer-owned Welcome Home Yoga & Wellness invites the community to set new intentions for the new year at a special 90-minute yoga and art therapy event, Ignite Your Vision: Artful Vision Board and Goals Setting Workshop for Creating a Purposeful 2024. Board-certified art therapist Shazia Siddiqi, owner of Let’s Art About It Art Studio, will lead participants through a vision board experience  and Welcome Home owner Robyn Childers will lead a guided meditation and a goals-setting discussion. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. 

Jan. 27, 1-2:30 p.m., Welcome Home Yoga & Wellness (6375 W. 7 Mile Road, Detroit). Reserve tickets at bit.ly/3HnGCby.

5. Contemplate Gender Through Art

From "My Gender States." Artwork provided by Rogério M. Pinto
From "My Gender States." Artwork provided by Rogério M. Pinto

After his 2022 exhibit, “The Realm of the Dead,”  artist and social work professor Rogério M. Pinto returned to the University of Michigan this month with a new art exhibit entitled “My Gender States.” The new work features prose written by Pinto, collaborative sculpture work with Sarah Tanner and photography by several artists. Pinto tells Pride Source, “'My Gender States' gave me a unique opportunity to study and convey artistically my myriad gender expressions that started developing from a very young age to this moment in my life as I still continue to question and to study and to marvel at how gender states — identities and expressions — are formed and change over time and how the events of our childhoods can shape our lives. I hope my exhibit will inspire others to look inward and find their own gender states."

Through Aug. 13, Lane Hall Exhibit Space (204 South State St.). More information at irwg.umich.edu/lanehall.

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