The now-defunct J-Wag's once served as a laid-back drag and dive bar, but it was torn down a few years ago.
On Saturday, May 25th, some of the drag queens who used to perform at J-Wag's will take the stage upstairs at Jack Magoo's at their first J-Wag's Reunion Show.
The show begins at midnight. Cover charge is $5 before 11 p.m. and $10 after 11 p.m.
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
Mid-South Pride is hosting a Family Fun Day and picnic on Saturday, May 25th at 11 a.m. at Overton Park.
There will be a three-legged race, balloon toss, and other games. And Mid-South Pride will be selling shirts that say "We Are Family." Shirts are $12 for kids and $17 for adults. There will be an area to tie-dye your shirt if so desired.
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
Network with LGBT business pros and allies at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center's Business Professional Meet & Greet on Thursday, May 23rd from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hilton hotel.
The event is free and open to Memphis area employee resource groups, diversity and inclusion councils, business owners, entrepreneurs, LGBT & Ally professionals, family and friends.
Dress code is business casual. Attendees are encouraged to bring business cards. There will be a cash bar with light snacks.
Go here to RSVP.
Professionals from AutoZone, Baker Donelson, Delta Airlines, FedEx, First Tennessee Bank, Harrah's, Hilton Worldwide, International Paper, Medtronic, McDonald's, Merck, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, Nike, ServiceMaster, Smith & Nephew, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, city governments, local universities, non-profit organizations, and more are expected to attend.
The planned Westboro Baptist Church protest at Graceland started right on time but not in the location counter-protesters anticipated.
At 4:30 p.m., counter-protesters — decked out in rainbow attire and/or Elvis costumes and sideburns — were already huddled behind a police barricade outside Graceland's iconic signature wall. But Westboro's "God Hates Fags" signs were nowhere to be seen.
Rumors began swirling that Westboro had set up across the street and a block away from Graceland, and against police wishes, the counter-protesters began slowly making their way down the street, a few at a time.
Sure enough, 10 or so Westboro members, most of them small children and teens, were holding their signature anti-gay signs at the corner of Elvis Presley and Lonely Street. But they weren't lonely for long, as the LGBT-supportive crowd and a gaggle of curious tourists made their way to Westboro's corner.
Although the Westboro Baptist Church's website said they'd be protesting Elvis as a false idol and drug addict, they weren't bearing any Elvis-related signs. Instead, the signs focused on gays, gay marriage, Obama, and new enemy — the NBA. Signs reading "Fag NBA" with pictures of rainbow basketballs were likely due to NBA star Jason Collins recently coming out as the first openly gay player in the NBA.
The Westboro members brought a stereo along with them, and they were playing Maroon 5 and Garth Brooks songs but changing the words like this catchy chorus from Maroon 5's "This Love": "This lust has taken control of you. We said, okay, god has become your foe."
It wasn't long before counter-protesters began posing for silly pictures with the Westboro people, who continued their singing while the photos were being taken. At one point, a counter-protester dressed as Elvis began serenading the Westboro crowd.
Eventually, the police assigned to watch the counter-protesters realized the protesters had moved to the location where the Westboro people were, and police on horses showed up to block Westboro's members from further interaction with the counter-protesters.
Westboro packed up to leave at 5:40, a few minutes after the protest was supposed to have ended.
Months before the big Outflix Film Festival, which features newer, independent LGBT-themed films, the Outflix folks hold a Summer Film Series featuring cult classics.
The weekly Outflix Summer Film Series begins on Thursday, May 30th and runs every Thursday night through June 27th.
This year's lineup includes Paris Is Burning on May 30th, You Are Not Alone on June 6th, Madonna: Truth Or Dare on June 13th, Thelma & Louise on June 20th, and Milk on June 27th.
All films begin at 7 p.m. You Are Not Alone is part of The Red Door Foundation's "Saving Ourselves Symposium," and will be followed by a discussion of the film with producer Antoine B. Craigwell as well as other mental health professionals.
The monthly installment of Cherry, a party for lesbians and their friends, will feature a rock-themed burlesque and drag show.
On Saturday, May 11th at 10:30 p.m. at Cafe Society, Anne Tag-a-Knee, Foxy Fairmont, Lady Problems and FreakNasty will provide the entertainment. As always, the party is hosted by Julie Wheeler and features a special late-night menu by Chef Cullen Kent.
They'll also have the last monthly drawing for a $50 tattoo gift certificate from Underground Art.
The cover charge is $10.
With only a couple of gay bars left in the Bluff City, Dru's Place — once known as primarily a lesbian bar — has revamped its space to accommodate more patrons in its bar area.
Since Crossroads closed last November, Dru's has been hosting displaced drag queens, essentially turning the lesbian bar into an all-around gay bar. Of course, everyone was always welcome. But these days, Dru's has a more traditional "gay bar" ambiance.
Over the past month, Dru's staff have been posting photos of the remodeled bar on its Facebook page. Part of the wall has been removed between the bar and the pool table room, creating an extra space for bar seating. The old worn-down bar stools have been replaced. The bar and walls have a fresh coat of paint, and the pool table area boasts new lighting fixtures.
The renovation is nearly complete, and the bar is open for business. On Saturday, May 4th, Dru's Place is hosting a "Turnabout Night," at which patrons are invited to "watch our Queens become Kings and our Kings become Queens."
The NBA finally has an openly gay player, thanks to Washington Wizards center Jason Collins coming out story on Sports Illustrated's website this morning.
Collins jokes in his piece about a parlor game called "Three Degrees of Jason Collins" since he's played for so many teams that everybody knows somebody who has played with him at one point or another. Collins even played 31 games with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2007-2008 season. In his piece, Collins mentions that former Grizzlies player Mike Miller once sold him a dog.
Collins is the first person to come out in a major American team sport. Collins writes that he finally decided to come out after the Boston Marathon bombings made him realize that things can change in an instant and that he should live truthfully.
To read more about Collins' decision to come out, click here.
On Thursday, April 25th, select Memphis restaurants will be giving a portion of their proceeds to local HIV/AIDS organization Friends for Life as part of the national Dining Out for Life event.
Friends for Life is a nonprofit that provides housing, wellness education, support services, and more to Memphians living with HIV/AIDS. They also provide free HIV tests and prevention services to the region.
Some restaurants are giving a portion of all sales, while others are only giving a portion of sales from one meal. Some are including alcohol sales, and others are not. And the percentage that restaurants choose to give varies. Here's a breakdown of who is giving what:
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen — Dinner only
Imagine Vegan Cafe — Lunch and Dinner
Rizzos Diner — Dinner only
Stone Soup Cafe and Market — Breakfast only
Alcenia's — Lunch only
Alchemy — Dinner only
Bari Ristorante — Dinner only
Beauty Shop Restaurant — Dinner only
Blind Bear — Dinner only
Cafe Eclectic-Downtown — Lunch only
Cafe Eclectic-Midtown — Lunch only
Cafe' Society — Lunch and Dinner
Celtic Crossing — Lunch and Dinner
Cooper St. 20/20 — Dinner only
Cortona Contemporary Italian Restaurant — Dinner only
Cozy Corner BBQ — Dinner only
DeJavu — Lunch only
eighty3 food and drink — Lunch and Dinner
Erling Jensen — Dinner only
Evelyn & Olive Restaurant — Lunch only
Felicia Suzanne's — Dinner only
The Four Way Restaurant — Dinner only
Grawemeyer's — Dinner only
The Green Beetle — Lunch only
Hog and Hominy — Lunch and Dinner
The Mad Earl — Lunch and Dinner
McEwen's on Memphis — Dinner only
Memphis Pizza Cafe (Overton Square) — Dinner only
Mollie Fontaine Lounge — Dinner only
Mulan Asian Bistro — Lunch only
Napa Cafe — Lunch only
R.P. Tracks — Lunch and Dinner
Restaurant Iris — Dinner only
SkiMo's — Dinner only
Sweet Grass — Dinner only
Table 613 — Lunch only
Central BBQ (Central) — Dinner only
Central BBQ (Downtown) — Dinner only
Central BBQ (Summer) — Dinner only
Senator Stacey Campfield's infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill failed to pass in the Tennessee General Assembly before the legislative session ended on Friday. To celebrate, the Tennessee Equality Project is selling "We Say Gay" t-shirts.
For years, Campfield has been pushing "Don't Say Gay," which would prevent any discussion of homosexuality in kindergarten through the 8th grade in Tennessee's public schools. The bill has become the butt of jokes in the national media, including this funny dissection of the bill by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.
In Campfield's most recent version of the bill, teachers and counselors would be required to tell a student's parents if they suspected that student to be gay.
Overall, the Tennessee Equality Project is declaring a legislative victory at the close of this session. Not only did "Don't Say Gay" get defeated again, but a bill aimed at eliminating Vanderbilt University's non-discrimination policy also failed to pass. A bill that would have prevented public universities from hiring or designating a diversity officer failed to gain a House sponsor.
One pro-LGBT bill, the "Dignity for All Students" Act, a bill that would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the state's school bullying policy, was sent to summer study.
To order a "We Say Gay" t-shirt, click here.
Get your smart phone cameras ready. The first annual LGBT Scavenger Hunt and Family Day is set for Saturday, April 20th at Overton Park.
Anyone who wishes to participate should arrive at the park at 9 a.m. for muffins and juice and a briefing on the hunt rules. The scavenger hunt will begin at 10 a.m. All members of each team must fit into one vehicle, and each team must have one camera.
Participants will snap pictures of items they find throughout the hunt, and each photo is worth five points.
There are some opportunities for bonus points as well. The hunt is open to all ages. Winners will be chosen at the end of the event. Prizes include certificates, trophies, and a Makeda's Cookies.
For more information, check out the event's Facebook page.
Dan Savage, editor of Seattle's The Stranger alt-weekly newspaper and the co-founder of the "It Gets Better" campaign, will speak at the University of Memphis tonight as part of "Respect Me, Don't Reject Me" week.
In 2010, Savage and his husband Terry Miller launched the "It Gets Better" video campaign, which features celebrities in a series of viral videos encouraging LGBTQ youth to stick it out and not commit suicide because life gets better as a gay adult.
Savage will speak at 7 p.m. in the U of M's Rose Theatre tonight (April 9th).
The U of M Student Activities Council-sponsored "Respect Me, Don't Reject Me" week focuses on combating bullying.
The April installment of "Cherry" — a monthly party for lesbians and their friends — will feature live music by local singer/songwriters Kait Lawson and Melinda Milligan.
"This talented woman [Lawson] reached out to 'Cherry' to introduce herself to more LGBT folks, so let's show her that we really are the best fans to have," said Julie Wheeler, host of "Cherry."
As usual, the party will feature drink specials, food, and a $50 tattoo giveaway from Underground Art. It all goes down this Saturday, April 6th at Cafe Society (212 N. Evergreen) beginning at 10:30 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.). Cover is $10.
Christin, a Bartlett mom of two girls, wants to meet other LGBT parents for conversation. So she's launching a family group for LGBT parents with kids.
The group's first informational meeting will be held on Saturday, April 6th from 1 to 2:30 p.m., and they'll have another info meeting on Saturday, April 20th at the same time. Both meetings will be held at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) at 892 S. Cooper.
The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center is now offering free HIV testing two days per week, thanks to a grant from the Mid-South AIDS Fund.
Previously, testing was only available at the center on Wednesdays, but they began offering the tests on Mondays beginning this week. Testing is open from 6 to 9 p.m. on both days and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Results are available in 20 minutes.
According to Martavius Hampton, HIV Services Manager at MGLCC, “Since January, the official month that our very first HIV grant and testing program was put in effect, MGLCC has administered more than 80 HIV tests. We can see from the demographic results that we are successfully reaching those at risk populations most affected by HIV, which is one of the primary goals of our HIV testing program.”