Free candy-flavored condoms, candy-colored hair, delectable drag queen Dieta, and sweet, sweet diversity -- it's all there at the 24th annual Pridefest in Tower Grove Park (Grand Boulevard at Arsenal Street, 314-772-8888, www.pridesaintlouis.com), 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 28 and 29.
Pridefest celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, but, as self-proclaimed "Web goddess" Ramona Boston says, "pride runs on diversity," and the party is open to the "out," the "in," the straight and those just wanting to catch some music and Frisbees in the park.
"It's a chance to build a bridge between the straight and gay community, and for people to see we're just like everybody else," explains Pride's board president, Jeannie Artemisi. "This year's theme is 'Just Be 2003,' which means just be a lesbian, gay, bi, transsexual or straight. This weekend, everybody can celebrate with their friends in an area that's safe and comfortable, and be themselves."
Cheap TRX kicks off Pridefest Friday with the Spectrum Ball at Kobalt (1221 Washington Avenue); Mayor Francis Slay leads Sunday's Pride Parade at 11 a.m., followed by Chrissy Gephardt (daughter of U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt) speaking at noon, all for free.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, the weekend offers Gong Show finalists, belly dancers and performances by comedienne Trish Busch, Melissa Etheridge sound-alike Ronnie Nyles and dance-music singer Inaya Day (pictured), as well as 150 food and merchandise vendors.
Pridefest actually celebrates the progress made since the 1969 New York Stonewall Riots. Before that, it had been routine for cops to raid gay and transsexual bars, until one June night, when plainclothes policemen were dispatched for yet another hit on the Stonewall Inn, a gay hangout in Greenwich Village. That night, patrons decided they weren't going to take it anymore, and fought back in a bloody confrontation. That's when organized GLBT groups were born. -- Cathy Cohn
Meet the New Neighbors
Check your ego at the door. Be polite. Listen when big people talk to you. Show respect. Stand up for your friends and be nice to your neighbors.
Now that the Angels have roosted in Belleville, Illinois, where they're building a clubhouse, they're trying to show their neighbors that they're not so bad. So the club hosts its second annual Hellbound Southern Bash at the Kountry Korners tavern (Route 163, Milstadt, 618-622-6115). Last year's inaugural shindig, before the club settled on a headquarters, drew a gaggle of reporters and cops who left after the kegs ran dry and long before the party ended.
For $10, which includes beer, food, a live band and the chance to ogle custom-built Harleys, it's a cheap walk on the wild side. Doors open at 4 p.m. -- Bruce Rushton
Leper's Changing Spots
Fans of the cult public-access cable show "Lepers TV" have long been aware of host Uni the Unicorn's fondness for exotic and eclectic music. Who else would use a Tomahawk song as background music? Clearly, to paraphrase the Melvins, Uni's over from underground. And just like the Melvins, Uni's making a run for the big time by taking his music-video show to UPN-46 sometime in the near future. To help raise money for the move, he's throwing a fundraising taping at the City Museum (715 North 15th Street, 314-231-CITY) with performances by Lofreq and the Conformists, as well as seven other bands, all starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7, and food and drinks will be available. -- Paul Friswold
Sturn Und Fassbinder
If it's true that German New Wave Cinema died in 1982 with Rainer Werner Fassbinder's overdose in his Munich apartment, then you can witness the resurrection of the stark style in all its emotionally scarred, internally framed, sexually tainted weirdness at Webster University's Fassbinder Film Festival. It's $6 a show ($5 for seniors and students) to see each of the seventeen films made by the prolific filmmaker in the leather jacket who kept casting his mother and the same group of obedient friends in an ever-more-depressing and wildly experimental gallery of films about manipulation, loneliness, infidelity and despair. The series begins June 27 at 8 p.m. with Love is Colder Than Death and runs through July 27. Call 314-968-7487 or visit www.webster.edu/filmseries.html for more info. -- Mark Dischinger