With the origins of Pride rooted in a fight for a right to party, there’s no more fitting way to pay homage to Stonewall than a weekend full of blockbuster dances and good times. Atlanta’s clubs and party promoters recognize Pride weekend as the most vibrant of the year, and they’ve gone all out in their attempts to create memorable experiences for revelers.
“It would be a catastrophe for Atlanta not to have huge DJs coming in for Pride,” said promoter Chris Coleman, who has a cadre of heavy-hitting international DJs slated for his parties. “I think Atlanta’s got a lot in store for Pride, and a lot of us are stepping up by bringing the big-name DJs.”
Coleman helps kick-off Atlanta Pride’s festive weekend with a cocktail set at Whiskey Park in the W Midtown on Oct. 6. The “Stride into Pride” party takes place following Atlanta Pride’s commitment ceremony, and features the sounds of DJ Scorpio and $5 drink specials all night.
“We also have a couple surprise guests coming through, so it should really be a good time,” Coleman said.
Also on Thursday night, country music fans have a chance to kick their heels up for Pride with 3-Legged Cowboy Night at the Heretic, while Bellissima caters to the ladies with its “Juice Box Jam” party.
The parties really begin to rev up on Friday, Oct. 7, with the official Pride kick-off party at the Georgia Aquarium, followed by the official after-party at Jungle. The “Dive into Pride” affair at Jungle features DC-based DJ Ed Bailey, who has cultivated a loyal Atlanta following with his Studio 54 and Madonna-rama parties at Jungle.
“That was a great event last year and I think it will be an even better event this year,” Atlanta Pride Executive Director James Sheffield said of the party at Jungle.
“There was a line around the block last year, so if folks are able to get their tickets in advance they should do that. We’re really happy to have the partnerships that we do, and for any of these parties that we have, you just cannot count on there being tickets at the door.”
Lesbians are in store for a full helping of satisfaction at My Sisters’ Room’s “Taste the Rainbow” party Oct. 7, which includes performances by drag bigwigs Nicole Paige Brooks, Owen McCord, Shaun Daniels and Blake Valentine, and MC Chase Daniels and DJ Annalyze taking turns on the turntables.
The ladies also have the opportunity to party in “Heaven” on Friday night, as one of the signature lesbian parties of Pride weekend takes over the Park Tavern at Piedmont Park. The Heaven party, produced by SWA-RE and Bellissima, strives to create a whimsical night for the more than 1,000 ladies that attend each year. This year features an all-star line-up of DJs including DJ Duck, DJ Vickie Powell and DJ Dimples.
In addition to a night of heart-thumbing beats, the Heaven party also showcases burlesque performances, go-go dancers, an art exhibit by Teressa Peruzzi and Victoria Moore, and a fashion show by 100% Cool Fashion.
Hot weekend parties
Another of the largest lesbian parties of the year takes place Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Peach Pride mega dance party hosted by Curve Magazine and Pandora Events. Held at the Loft at Centerstage in Midtown, the Peach Pride affair has attracted thousands of women each of the past few years.
“The women’s scene in Atlanta is a great scene that definitely comes out and parties,” said Yesi Olivera-Leon of Pandora Events.
“It’s grown over the years, it’s become more diverse and we get women from all different types of cultures so it’s a good mix,” said Olivera-Leon, who notes that a drag king contest will take place at The Loft prior to the actual party to give the event more Atlanta flavor.
“We just did a lot of research on drag kings, and we know that Atlanta is very, very popular when it comes to the drag king scene,” she said. “We’re trying to get as many local drag kings to sign-up, and we’re going to be giving away $1,000 in cash and prizes.”
Pandora Events, the group behind lesbian mega circuit parties such as Shedonism Vegas and the Aqua Girls and Women’s White Party in Miami, was drawn to Atlanta from local fans and vendors clamoring for more options for ladies during Pride, Olivera-Leon says.
“Pride does an amazing job of getting all of the women to come out during the day with their families, with their kids, with their brothers and sisters where they all hang out for the day and listen to concerts, but women didn’t really have big events to go to at night,” she says. “I think they were ready for something more, and now they have these big events like Heaven and our party.”
The boys have plenty of Saturday nightlife options as well, from an evening dance party hosted by Chris Coleman at the new Renaissance Hotel in Midtown, to DJ Pat Scott and the Southern Bears Club partying at the Eagle, to DJ Lydia Prim spinning at the Heretic.
The Marquee draw on Saturday night is expected to be at Jungle, where legendary DJ Tony Moran celebrates Pride. Moran’s appearance at Jungle ignites two nights of acclaimed spinners providing the soundtrack for Atlanta Pride.
On Sunday, DJ Twisted Dee works the crowd at the Heretic, while the official Pride closing party at Club Opera is graced by the presence of the superstar DJ duo Chus & Ceballos. The closing party is followed by an after-hours set at Opera, where DJ Hector Fonseca keeps the party going until 7 a.m.
“With these huge DJs coming in from three different continents, I think it just sets a higher bar for Atlanta,” says Coleman, who hosts the parties at Opera. “I’m getting people even from the straight scene wanting to come in and be apart of what is going to be one of the most amazing nights Atlanta has ever seen.”
Top photo: Chus & Ceballos (Publicity photo)