There are two types of summer babies: those who live to soak up the sun and those who do all they can to escape the heat. Whichever camp you’re in, you’ll find something here that’s queer to do right now-ish: set up camp at Fern Fest, break out your best black tie attire for a prom redo, catch a bonafide queer trailblazer in concert and more.
1. See Melissa Etheridge in Detroit
Somehow, it’s been 34 years since 15-time Grammy-nominated artist Melissa Etheridge released her self-titled debut, but we checked the math, and yep, it’s true! Soon after, just before her folk-rock breakthrough album “Yes I Am” hit the charts in 1993, the powerhouse truth-teller officially came out at the Triangle Ball, a queer event celebrating President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. Three decades later, the lesbian icon is still going strong, despite numerous personal setbacks along the way. Now in her 60s, Etheridge shows now signs of slowing down as she tours the world and releases new music. Her latest album, “One Way Out,” was released in late 2021.
Melissa Etheridge brings her “One Way Out Tour” to Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 6. Visit musichall.org for tickets.
2. Connect and Commune with Other Women in an Inclusive Space
Head into the woods for the inaugural year of Fern Fest August 9th-14th, a women’s music festival and inclusive space for all women (cis, trans, non-binary, BIPOC, Deaf/HOH, women with disabilities) to foster connection, community and belonging. This six day, five night event takes place on “The Land,” an expanse of pristine undeveloped woods, open meadows and fields of ferns near Hart, Michigan.
Festival goers can enjoy rustic camping, music, poetry, comedy, workshops, DJs, dances, drumming, crafts vendors, interpreters, visual artists, activities and more.
Abra Wise, Fern Fest Producer, said she’s “never felt more excited or passionate about anything in my life. With the help of so many, we can’t wait to gather and create this first year Fern Fest community together.”
Read more about The Land, a historic venue for lesbian and women’s culture that was the home of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for 40 years at wwtlc.org.
Tickets can be purchased until Monday 8/8 at michiganfernfest.com. Tickets cannot be purchased at the gate.
3. Attend Pride and a Picnic
Downtown Royal Oak will provide the backdrop to a Pride event organizers hope will draw more than 20,000 attendees on Aug. 12-13. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Nina West (Aug. 12) and R&B icon Deborah Cox (Aug. 13) are headlining the festival, which will feature a sound stage with local DJs, a drag show hosted by West and a live music stage with acts like Class of ‘98 and One Up Duo.
And while you’re in Pride mode, grab some food and lay out a blanket at one of two trans-centered picnics happening this weekend: Transgender Michigan’s Pride in the Park picnic starts at 12 p.m. on Aug. 13 at Martin Road Park in Ferndale, and The Stand with Trans Family Pride Picnic at Royal Oak’s Memorial Park takes place at noon on Aug. 14.
Visit royaloakpride.com, transgendermichigan.org and standwithtrans.org for more details.
4. Get Immersed in Van Gogh
You’ve seen the ads, and though this international phenomenon may seem gimmicky, it’s hard to ignore all the rave reviews. Detroit’s Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit fills Lighthouse ArtSpace downtown with a dazzling take on the infamous painter’s iconic works with over 500,000 cubic feet of projections, 60,600 frames of videos and 90 million pixels, according to organizers. Attendees literally walk inside the artwork.
The exhibit runs through October. Head to detroitvangogh.com for more information and to buy tickets.
5. Have a Prom Do-Over
Did you skip your prom? Attend, but hate it? Or maybe you’re part of the other camp — you loved prom and feel sad you only got to do it once. In any case, here’s your chance to “get dressed up, drink punch and sway back-and-forth to top 40 hits with your crush,” according to Cheers to Queers Prom Takeover organizers. This 21-plus event welcomes local prom goers to a queer-focused dance party where, this time, you can enjoy those prom beverages legally.
Learn more at annarbor.org/event/prom-takeover/10901. Tickets are $25 and include drinks.