Atlanta Pride is a time to celebrate — during the day at the festival in Piedmont Park, and at night with special events in many of the city’s bars and nightclubs.
For shirtless guys dancing and celebrating their freedom, the Heretic, Jungle and after-hours Xion serve up a “100 percent genuine big slice of Atlanta Gay Pride” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-14.
On Friday, after partying with the fishes at the official Atlanta Pride kick off party at the Georgia Aquarium, Pride revelers can get into the groove at Jungle for the official Pride Aquarium After Party with DJ Ed Bailey, or go across Cheshire Bridge Road to the Heretic with DJ Joe Gauthreaux.
Gauthreaux, known for his hunky good looks and wicked beats, is traveling from his current home in Los Angeles. He makes a few appearances in Atlanta each year and is very much looking forward to this year’s festival.
“Atlanta always feels like coming home in a way,” Gauthreaux said. “I’m from New Orleans so we have the Southern mentality in common. The people really make Atlanta what it is.”
In keeping with the Pride theme, we asked Gauthreaux what he is proud of this year.
“I’m proud that the country seems to be getting more and more accepting of gay rights every day,” Gauthreaux said. “I watched an old episode of ‘Oprah’ on OWN the other night where Ellen Degeneres had just come out, and it reminded me of how close-minded and ignorant people used to be.
“So in that sense, I’m happy at how far we’ve come. Although there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Atlanta favorite DJ Martin Fry spins on Sunday night at Jungle as part of the closing event of “100 percent genuine slice of Atlanta Pride,” warming up the audience for Rosabel. Fry has been a DJ for 23 years and producing for 12 years, so he knows how to make a crowd move.
“The best thing about playing in front of my hometown for Pride weekend is I’ll be playing in front of my friends. The people I hang around, connect and dance with. Who better to play for?” Fry said.
Fry promises not to hold back for the hometown crowd, either, saying those celebrating their pride “can expect to hear house music with as much soul, substance and energy as I can muster up.
“Along with many of our new mixes that my production partner, Chizo, and I have been knocking out,” he said.
Others performing for the “100 percent genuine big slice of Atlanta Gay Pride” are famed adult movie producer, director and DJ Chi Chi Larue at the Heretic and DJ Tony Moran at Jungle on Saturday, with Paulo spinning at the after-hour party at Xion on Saturday night/early Sunday morning. The Heretic closes down Pride on Sunday with a special Bear Invasion with DJs James Torres and Sean Mac.
Plenty of other gay bars will celebrate in style, too. Mary’s in East Atlanta — the Best Gay Bar in America, according to Logo — parties with DJs Ree de la Vega and Fluff on Friday with a special “Divas Anthem” karaoke Pride edition on Saturday night.
Also look for events to get you in the Pride spirit at gay bars like Oscars, Felix’s, The Hideaway, Amsterdam, Bulldogs, Burkhart’s, the Atlanta Eagle, Woofs, BJ Roosters, Mixx, Model T, the Cockpit, Las Margaritas, XS Ultra Lounge, Blake’s on the Park, Friends on Ponce, LeBuzz in Marietta and Swinging Richards and Bliss male all-nude strip clubs.
Where the women are
Women will have plenty of party options, too. The official Atlanta Pride women’s event, dubbed the Peach Party, is presented by Curve Personals and Pandora Events at Center Stage/The Loft on Saturday night.
Curve Editor Frances Stevens expects approximately 2,000 women who love women to party with special guest Whitney Mixer fro “The Real L Word.”
“We will also be bringing in one of the hottest lesbian DJs in the country, DJ Pat Pat from Miami. There will be lots of surprises for our guests,” Stevens said. “This is our ninth year and Atlanta is a good place to hold such a party.”
My Sister’s Room will hold a Glow Party with DJ M and Twee on Friday and then turn it out on Saturday with a “Lick It” party with the hot music acts God-des and She and the Maria Gabriella Band, followed by a dance party with DJ Liz Owen and DJ Tina V. Then on Sunday, MSR holds a Boi Pride Party featuring “Between Women” cast members as well as members of the Sigma Omega Phi Fraternity Alpha Bois.
Anna Ragghianti, who was forced to close lesbian bar Bellissima last year, is organizing a new party, the L Lounge on Friday at the W Atlanta Midtown, and also holding her popular Heaven Part at Park Tavern on Saturday.
More than 1,000 people are expected to pack Park Tavern — many with angel wings — but Ragghianti says she is going for an intimate atmosphere for the new L Lounge.
“We added the L Lounge to offer women more options since Bellissima has closed. It will be a classier, upscale event for the 30+ crowd, although everyone’s welcome,” she said.
DJ Yvonne Monet will spin top 40 and older favorites — no hip hop but plenty of sexy, fun music, Ragghianti said.
At the Heaven Party, DJ Duck will serve up electro pop, house, hip hop and new music. Both events will have special, erotic performances as well.
“We like to keep that somewhat secret, but believe me, very sexy and unique!” Ragghianti promised.
Pride’s official closing party
Official Atlanta Pride parties organized by Chris Coleman Enterprises are set for Thursday and Sunday with a portion of ticket sales going to help fund Atlanta Pride, a non-profit organization.
On Thursday, Coleman held a casual night out at the gay-owned Fifth Ivory restaurant.
On Sunday for the official Atlanta Pride closing party at the gorgeous party space Opera, Coleman has former Atlantan Jay McCracken spinning, as well as producer and DJ Hector Fonseca and DJ Theresa on the tables together in Atlanta for the first time.
Fonseca said he hopes Atlanta is ready for what he has planned because he and Theresa know how to get a room jumping.
“I love Atlanta and am rarely there so it feels special when I go. … Pride is the icing on the cake as it’s a time to celebrate who you are and your community,” he said.
Fonseca says there will be new edits of classics including “Pride, Deeper Love” and Ultra Nate’s “Free.” Fonseca also pledges a lot of original music that he’s been working on with the likes of Natasha Beddingfield, Kerli, Jeanie Tracy and more.
“I have remixes I’m working on for Adam Lambert and a retake on my official remix of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way.’ It’s going to be a really unique set just for Atlanta at Opera,” Fonseca said.
Top photo (left to right): DJ Joe Gauthreaux, The Heaven Party, DJ Martin Fry and DJ DJ Hector Fonseca (DJ publicity photos, Heaven Party by Dyana Baby)