Absolutely Fabulous

Pride Week 2010 includes anniversaries, happy hours and a bunch of great music

Tucson may be enduring its infamous dry heat, but plan to get wet to start off Pride Week 2010.

A pool party/concert, dubbed H20, will officially kick off a week of celebrations by and for Tucson's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The concert will include Tucson's Namoli Brennet and Oklahoma-based singer-songwriter Eric Himan. Ms. Ajia Simone will act as mistress of ceremonies for the event, which will run from 3:30 to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 19, at the Radisson Suites Tucson (6555 E. Speedway Blvd).

Pride Week recognizes, among other landmarks, the 41st anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City.

The spontaneous demonstrations occurred as a response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. These riots have become recognized as the beginning of the LGBT rights movement in the United States and around the world.

This year, Pride Week also is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the formation of the City of Tucson Commission on GLBT Issues (www.tucsonglbtcommission.org), said Karon L. Bohlender, treasurer of Tucson Pride Inc.

According to its mission statement, Tucson Pride Inc. exists to produce and promote events throughout the year in Tucson, commemorating and celebrating the history, uniqueness and diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and that of the community at large.

"We try to the best of our ability to foster relations with every aspect of the LGBT community, and with our straight allies," Bohlender said. "It's sort of meant to be a place where the cultural, business and artistic influences in LGBT can come together."

Pride Week started in Tucson in June 1977, Bohlender said, and it has come a long way from its modest beginnings. "Then, it was just, 'Let's all show up at Himmel Park, and there'll be free beer.'"

Because June in Tucson can be brutal, the parade aspect of Pride Week was eventually moved to October, and became known as Pride in the Desert, Bohlender said.

Even during the heat of summer, Pride events in Tucson are not in short supply. Pride Week will include the following gatherings:

• G2H2 happy hour, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Friday, June 18, at the Sapphire Lounge, 61 E. Congress St. Admission is free; www.G2H2Tucson.com.

• H20 bash, 3:30 to 11 p.m., Saturday, June 19, at the Radisson Suites, 6555 E. Speedway Blvd. In addition to the abovementioned performers, the party will include swimming, food and nonalcoholic beverages, a no-host bar and screenings of Absolutely Fabulous on the big screen. Tickets cost $15 in advance, or $20 at the door; www.tucsonpride.org.

• A celebration of the 10th anniversary of the City of Tucson Commission on GLBT Issues, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 22, at Colors, 5305 E. Speedway Blvd.

• A free LGBT-themed movie and dinner night for LGBT and allied youth ages 13-23, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 25, at the Eon Youth Center, 430 E. Seventh St.; www.wingspan.org.

• Tucson Pride Happy Hour, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Friday, June 25, at Colors.

• Country Night at the Moon, 7:30 p.m. to closing, Friday, June 25, at Coyote Moon Pub, 915 W. Prince Road.

• A Toast to Bunny, 7 p.m. to closing, Saturday, June 26, at Woody's, 3710 N. Oracle Road. The party is a send-off for local performer Bunny Fu Fu, who is moving to Hawaii.

• Singer-songwriters Namoli Brennet, Amber Norgaard and Courtney Robbins in concert, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 26, at Bentley's House of Coffee and Tea, 1730 E. Speedway Blvd.

Also, a Pride Week raffle will offer the chance to win prizes, including a Palm Springs vacation for two; a three-night Rocky Point vacation for eight; ticket packages to the 2010-2011 season of Broadway in Tucson; and salon/spa packages to Gadabout. Tickets cost $10 and are available through June 26 at Woody's, Coyote Moon, Colors or tucsonpride.org.