Asheville broke the mold in 1992 when N.C. Pride came to town — the first time a Pride march had occurred outside the Raleigh-Durham area. Now, six years later, Asheville welcomes N.C. Pride ’98, running June 5-7, and the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender Pride event in the state (more than 6,000 people are expected to attend — more than three times the number who were on hand for Pride ’92).
The very first N.C. Pride march, held in Durham in 1986, was meant to officially call attention to the fight against homophobia and all the stereotypes that go along with it. North Carolina has come a long way in 12 years, and Asheville has been a solid contributor to the cause of erasing stereotypes and embracing differences. According to organizers, this year’s June 6 Pride March, starting at 3 p.m. at City-County Plaza, has the support of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, many downtown merchants and the Asheville Police Department — a much broader support base than the 1992 event.
A pre-march rally, starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday at City-County Plaza, will feature comedian (and author of Openly Bob) Bob Smith, speaker Elaine Penn, transgender activist Holly Boswell, and the music of Canteria and the Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus. A post-march rally gets under way at 4 p.m., again at City-County Plaza, and will feature emcee Bob Smith, speaker Perry Young, singer Ferron (who appears at Be Here Now for the early show at 8 p.m. that same evening), keynote speaker Candace Gingrich, Cantaria and the Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus.
Other Pride ’98 highlights are as follows:
• Torch Song Trilogy at Broadway Arts (49 Broadway). It’s about a drag queen, a Jewish mother and love, love, love. The play will be staged June 4, 5, 7, 11, 12 and 13 (with a special preview performance on June 3). GETTING TIMES — WILL FILL IN SUNDAY. Call 258-9206 for more info.
• The Derivative Duo with special guest Deian McBryde, at the Diana Wortham Theatre on June 5 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $14.
• Comedian Maggie Cassella, at the Radisson Hotel, with sign language interpretative dancer Shiner Antorio, on June 5 at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $10.
• Blanche McCrary Boyd, author of Terminal Velocity, at Malaprop’s (55 Haywood St.) at 7 p.m on June 5. This reading is free of charge.
• Comedian Bob Smith, author of Openly Bob, at Malaprop’s (55 Haywood St.) on June 6 at 7 p.m. The reading is free of charge.
A host of other activities and performers mark this three-day extravaganza, including a special $20 dance “passport” good for six Saturday-evening dance events at Scandal’s, The Metro, O’Henry’s, Broadway Arts, the Radisson and Tressa’s. All are welcome to participate in all Pride activities.
Call 251-1968, 236-0858 or 251-1968 for a complete list of all Pride ’98 activities.
compiled by Christine Shaver and Marsha Barber