This June is no ordinary Pride month, with June 28, 2019, marking the official 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots at a Manhattan gay bar in 1969 that helped dramatically shift the fight for LGBTQ rights.
All month, various organizations and the city have hosted activities and exhibitions in honor of Philadelphia’s role in modern LGBTQ history. And there are several events slated in the coming days, around the actual anniversary.
Here are five ways to close out this commemorative month learning more about how Stonewall changed history, including an art exhibit opening Friday, two exhibits that close this weekend, an outdoor film screening, and a BYOB trolley ride through the Gayborhood.
A multiroom exhibition opening Friday at Drexel’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery features more than 50 artists and 110 pieces — the largest single showing of art made by LGBTQ creators in the city’s history. Works reflect the political, cultural, and personal impact of Stonewall, and reveal how the queer aesthetic has evolved over decades — from the culture wars of the ’90s to the fight for marriage equality.
New works created for the show share the gallery space with borrowed Woodmere Art Museum pieces and decades-old works never before shown publicly. An opening-night reception at 5 p.m. Friday will include works by performance artists Wit López and Vitche-Boul Ra, and a tableaux vivant by Jonas Dos Santos. There’s also a poetry reading scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 10.
12 to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, June 28 to July 26, 3401 Filbert St., free, 215-895-2548, drexel.edu.
This large-scale art installation places local history into a national (and international) context, using images from the William Way LGBT Community Center’s John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives and others provided by people in Philadelphia — more than 5,000 total. It closes Friday, June 28, after a Pride Month run.
On Thursday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m., artist Gabriel Martinez discusses his site-specific work Tonight is Forever, a visual tribute — in wallpaper — to LGBTQ history. Post-talk, there’s a free 8 p.m. reception with drinks and appetizers at nearby Writer’s Block Rehab on Cypress St.
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily through June 28, 1315 Spruce St., free, 215-732-2220, waygay.org.
A Friday night trolley tour in honor of the Stonewall anniversary expands on a Philadelphia LGBTQ history walking tour offered regularly by Beyond the Bell Tours, a queer-owned and operated outfit specializing in inclusive history. The two-hour trolley tour leaves from the Betsy Ross House in Old City and ends at Tabu Lounge & Bar on 12th Street.
Attendees will hear about Queerstock ’95 and have an opportunity to snap photos of the mural honoring Philadelphia’s first director of LGBT affairs, Gloria Casarez. They’ll also visit Giovanni’s Room, the nation’s longest continuously operating LGBT bookstore.
7 p.m., Friday, June 28, 239 Arch St., $38, 484-416-0140, beyondthebelltours.com
Watch the digitally remastered rerelease of Jennie Livingston’s documentary — an intimate look at the poverty, racism, creativity, and community that surrounded New York’s drag-ballroom scene — at this CinéSPEAK screening at the West Philly pop-up beer garden Pentridge Station.
Before dark, DJ Aura spins, drag and burlesque performer Icon Ebony-Fierce gives a talk, and the Side of the Road Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken food truck sells pre-movie fare. The 16-minute short Happy Birthday, Marsha!, about transgender artist and activist Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, precedes the featured attraction.
7 p.m., Friday, June 28, 5116 Pentridge St., sliding scale donations of $5-$10, online tickets sold out but some will be available on site prior to the event.
The exhibition “Civil Disobedience: Celebrating Queer Narratives” at the Lightbox Film Center — closing Sunday — features tender and tenacious works from 16 different artists, focused on LGBTQ history and today’s queer resistance.
Curated by the Da Vinci Art Alliance and juried by Warren Muller following an open call for entries, this contemporary show encompasses everything from policy to Pride parades — through the eyes of LGBTQ Philadelphians as young as 22 years old. The works include photographs, videos, collages, paintings, a crochet structure, and more.