Queer Things to Do: Support a Good Cause at a Burlesque Show, Get Tickets for Melanie Martinez and a Tina Turner Tribute

Sarah Bricker Hunt

Are you overdue for a break from a news cycle that has become hyperfixated on underwater exploration and global crises that require a degree in international relations to fully understand? Take a break from the relentless anxiety-inducing real world with a burlesque show, an award-winning play or reserve your tickets for a strange (but beautiful) stage performance by queer singer Melanie Martinez or the DSO’s tribute to Tina Turner. Need to fully break free from regular life? Head to a queer-friendly Michigan “gaycation” spot.

1. Celebrate the Life and Music of Tina Turner

Tickets are available now for a unique celebration of the life and music of beloved belter and unwavering LGBTQ+ ally Tina Turner, who died in May. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will present Simply the Best: The Music of Tina Turner on July 8, featuring vocalists Tamika Lawrence, Shaleah Adkisson, Scout Coulter and pianist John Boswell alongside the DSO. Highlights include several orchestrated renditions of Turner classics, including “Proud Mary,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “Private Dancer” and, “Schitt’s Creek” fans will be excited to note, “Simply the Best.” 

July 8, 8 p.m., Orchestra Hall (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit). Tickets at or by phone at 313- 576-5111.

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Tina Turner. Photo: Philip Spittle

2. Support Queer Visibility and Bawdy Burlesque

Whether you’re a burlesque aficionado or just someone in need of a fun night out, Lilith’s Big Ol’ Golden Show: Queer Coded — a Celebration of Queer Visibility is sure to fit the bill. Showcasing the talents of Detroit burlesque icon Lilith Von Tal, the performance will offer a smorgasbord of unique delights, from burlesque to drag to aerial acts to live music. The show, press materials read, “celebrates and illuminates many of the pop culture icons and characters in which the queer community has found visibility, claimed as their own or found an embrace.” Starring alongside Von Tal are burlesque performers Issa Vybe and Margot Lugosi and local legends Burnie Mac, Denna Iniquity, Eartha Kitten, Flan Dulcé, Johnnie Always, Rickie Sparkle, Star Baby and Vex Thorn.

June 30, 8 p.m., Planet Ant Theatre (2320 Caniff St., Hamtramck) Tickets at

3. Buy Tickets for Otherworldly Queer Artist Melanie Martinez

When queer artist Melanie Martinez takes the stage in Sterling Heights July 8, you can expect an otherworldly experience. In recent appearances, the singer has revealed a whole new persona, one she describes as a “new lifeform,” complete with pink-hued skin, a second pair of eyes set into her forehead and even a new, higher-pitched speaking voice. Martinez told KIIS FM the transformation is part of an eight-year, planned artistic journey. Martinez’s “Portals” tour will immerse audiences in this strange new world. Tickets available now.

July 8, 7 p.m., Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre (14900 Metro Parkway, Sterling Heights). Tickets at

4. Take a Michigan Gaycation

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The nice thing about a vacation in Michigan versus, say, DeSantis Land, is that the state has made it abundantly clear (and legally enforceable) that queer people are welcome here. Still, vacationing at a property that is explicitly welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community can offer peace of mind and more opportunities to connect with other queer fun and sun seekers. Lucky for you, Michigan offers several queer-friendly hotspots for a little R&R. Consider classics like The Dunes Resort in Douglas along Lake Michigan, the Campit Outdoor Resort in Saugatuck or stick closer to home at the Copper House “bud and breakfast” in Detroit. You can even explore the naturist community if you’ve ever dreamed of a pants-off/danceoff kind of vacation at LGBTQ-friendly Nuance Naturist Bed & Breakfast in Battle Creek.

5. See Queer, Black Play ‘The Magnolia Ballet’

Don’t miss “The Magnolia Ballet,” on stage now at Detroit’s Plowshares Theatre Company, Michigan’s only professional African American theater. The play, which features drama, dance and poetry, explores the relationships between a father and his queer son in rural Georgia. The production, written by Chicago-based playwright Terry Guest, has won several major theater awards, including two Joseph Jefferson Awards for Excellence.

Through July 2, The Carr Center at Park Sheldon (15 East Kirby St., Detroit). Buy tickets at


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