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Pride Arts Festival 

Next week is London’s Pride Week! Kylie’s going to be strutting around Hyde Park in hot pants (not just randomly, she is doing a gig there). And of course there’s the Pride Parade, and a host of performers on the Trafalgar Square stage, including Blue and Sandy & Sandra from Gogglebox (!).

As well as all that, the Pride Arts Festival will hit London in a sparkling glitter cannon explosion of arresting artistry. With more than 25 events over the course of the week, at a host of venues across the city, it’ll have more paint, sequins, impromptu performances and drama than a chillout at Ke$ha’s house.

There’s a fancy dress Sound of Music Sing-A-Long at L’Escargot (Camp with a capital “C”), a special screening of Pride (pictured) at Clapham Picturehouse, piano-crooning drag queen Vanity von Glow at the ambient Phoenix Artists Club, lesbian indie flick Magda’s Lesbian Lover at Raindance Film Centre, and Ten One Night Stands (we can relate to that) which is a collection of art works portraying various brief trysts and fanciful flings.

There’s more too; orchestral performances, introspective talks, family stuff with potato painting and things for kids, emotive plays, readings, debates and quizzes. Downing a Red Stripe and crunching through the rubble on Frith Street hand-in-hand with someone called Benji is all well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to get a bit of culture at Pride, innit?  Pride Arts Festival runs from 21st – 28th June at a selection of venues across London.

 

Parade

Of course the centrepiece of the Pride in London celebrations is the parade, which takes over the city in a defiant exhibition of equality. Very few things can succeed in making the busiest capital in Europe grind to a halt, but the parade achieves it, glow sticks, klaxons and all! The theme for this year is Pride Heroes, in homage to individuals who have gone above and beyond for the LGBT community in the last year. Think Ian McKellen riding in a chariot (that’s chariot, not Chariots). In fact he usually makes an appearance at the parade, so that may not be far from the truth. There’s even an award for the best pride hero costume, so dust off that Batman leotard. The parade leaves Baker Street at 1pm, finishing up at Whitehall at around 4:30pm.

 

Cabaret

The Pride Cabaret stage on Wardour Street will be playing host to all manner of dragtastic campery. Feather boas will be flung, songs will be sung, and sequins will be scattered as a salacious selection of entertainers exhibit their feminine (or in some cases masculine) wiles. Among the tantalising talent on offer will be celibate (pah!) sensation Virgin Extravaganzah, sparkling show pony Topsie Redfern (pictured) and the internationally ignored, unfashionably late, viciously vulgar Vanity von Glow. There will also be a selection of finalists from talent competition Pride’s Got Talent, the final of which was filmed for ITV and judged by none other than Sinitta! Can’t argue with that. Things kick off at 1pm and finish around 7pm.

 

Women’s Stage 

ULTIMATE Girl Power at the Women’s stage this Pride; whether you’re a lady-loving lady, a man-loving lady, a lady who used to be a man, or just a man who ended up there by accident, there’s plenty of fun to be had! Example number one; there’s a lesbian band The Dykeness! Their Facebook page describes their genre as “intergalactic feminist cock rock”. HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THAT?! As well as that, there’s dashing DJ Sandra Davenport (pictured), X Factor contestant Charley Monroe and a special speech by Pride in London director Alison Camps (insert “camp” jokes here). The women’s stage is located on Dean Street, with festivities starting at 1pm and wrapping up at 7:30pm.

 

Pride in the Park

Kick back after the weekend’s madness with the chilled and salubrious (well, salubrious might be a stretch) Pride in the Park! It’s a mini festival in its own right, with a kaleidoscopic rainbow of activities, performances, food and drink to enjoy throughout the day. A major part of the event will revolve around UK Black Pride, who are putting on a stellar line-up of stage acts and stalls. The celebration of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean LGBT people is always of a formidable standard, and everyone is welcome. As well as that there’s the presentation of the inaugural Pride in London Parade Awards. Pride in the Park will take place in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (not as sleazy as the name suggests) from 1pm.

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