Sci-fi and authors and DJs oh my! Big events set to draw LGBT crowds over holiday weekend


Dragon Con
Aug. 30 – Sept. 2

AJC Decatur Book Festival
Aug. 30 – Sept. 1

Peach International Tennis Championships
Aug. 30 – Sept. 2

Takei has become an internet sensation, known for posting pithy, often pro-gay messages — including responding to a Tennessee bill that would prevent teachers from discussing “gay” issues in class by offering his name as a synonym (“It’s ok to be Takei.”) He currently has more than 4.4 million Facebook likes and more than 790,000 Twitter followers.

Hunky British actor John Barrowman also returns to Dragon Con this year. Barrowman rose to international fame playing the “omni-sexual” Captain Jack Harkness on the “Dr. Who” spin off “Torchwood.” Barrowman has an extensive stage resume and produced a documentary, “Making Me,” that attempted to examine what caused him to be gay.

Lesbian fans are sure to flock to see Lucy Lawless, who is perhaps best known for playing the titular character on “Xena: Warrior Princess.” The show achieved a cult following in the 1990s in part for its lesbian subtext.

Other guests of LGBT interest include Jane Espenson, who is privately producing the web series “Husbands,” which is a gay take on “Mad About You”; actress Kathy Najimy, an outspoken gay rights advocate; and actor CCH Pounder, who was an early activist in the fight against HIV.

Dragon Con sells memberships either for the day or for the full weekend, but the parade on Saturday morning is free to the public and always features over the top costumes.

Largest LGBT track ever
at Decatur Book Fest

As sci-fi fans gather downtown, readers and writers alike will fill Decatur for the annual AJC Decatur Book Festival. This year features the largest LGBT track in the festival’s history, led by gay poet Richard Blanco, who was chosen to read his original work at President Obama’s second inauguration.

“Of course we’re very excited to have Richard Blanco,” says DBF Programming Director Philip Rafshoon, who previously owned Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse. “He read at the inauguration in January, he put a face on poetry for so many people around the world, and being openly gay, I think, is very important to so many people out there.”

The LGBT line up  further includes Wayne Koestenbaum, a New York avant-garde poet-critic; Manil Suri, who will read from from his controversial novel, “The City of Devi,” that is set in the apocalyptic future and includes one of the first openly gay characters in Indian-American literature; Alysia Abbott, whose memoir “Fairyland” is about growing up with her gay father; and more.

Local LGBT authors are also well represented at the Decatur Book Festival, including Megan Volpert, Collin Kelley, Stacy Braukman, Tracee McDaniel and others.

Peach tennis tourney
draws LGBT athletes

Now in its 26th year, the Peach International Tennis Championships, a sanctioned stop on the Gay & Lesbian Tennis Alliance tour, draws players from around the county to Atlanta each Labor Day weekend.

In addition to competition for men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles, in four skill divisions, the Peach includes a draw party on Thursday, Aug. 29, at Einstein’s and the Peach Banquet at Hudson Grille on Sunday, Sept. 1. Most matches are played at the Dekalb Tennis Center.

Gay bars host popular DJs

Atlanta’s gay bars never miss a chance to party, and a three-day weekend always brings in popular DJs to keep the clubs hopping.

On Friday, Aug. 30, get the long weekend started with DJs Jonny Mack and Sean Mac at Bear Invasion at the Heretic, DJ Liz Owen spinning for the ladies at Blake’s, DJ Ron Pullman at the Atlanta Eagle, or DJ Missy at My Sister’s Room.

Saturday continues the dancing with “Deejay Woman” Ana Paula bringing her Brazilian beats to Jungle and DJ Mike Pope at the Heretic. Then head to private club Xion, where DJ Lydia Prim spins starting at 3 a.m. as Saturday night stretches into Sunday morning.

Sunday brings internationally known DJ/remixer Alex Acosta to the Heretic, leaving you with Monday — Labor Day — to catch up on your sleep before heading back to work on Tuesday.

Photo: George Takei, who came out years after portraying Hikaru Sulu on the original ‘Star Trek,’ is one of several gay and gay-friendly presenters at this year’s Dragon Con. (Publicity photo)