San Diego offers a diversity of LGBT-oriented events throughout the year, and the city’s near-perfect climate means the weather will never be an impediment to attendance. From performances of Sondheim at the Old Globe theater to the ultimate geek experience at Comic-Con International, San Diego has something to satisfy all tastes in entertainment.
May 29–June 15: Re-Designing Women Playwright Jamie Morris’s sendup of the beloved ’80s sitcom finds the cash-strapped Sugarbaker Design Firm becoming the subject of a Bravo reality show. The show’s getting its West Coast premiere at the Diversionary Theatre. More info here.
May 30-June 1: FilmOut San Diego San Diego’s LGBT film festival this year has many flicks making their West Coast premieres, plus the world premiere of Girltrash: All Night Long, about an epic night in the life of five lesbians. West Coast premieres include opening night selection Boy Meets Girl, a coming-of-age tale involving two young women, one cisgender, one trans, and a young man confronting his true feelings about love; Lilting, a U.K. film starring Ben Whishaw as a man crossing language and cultural barriers to connect with the Chinese-Cambodian mother of his late lover; Waiting in the Wings: The Musical, a comedy of errors about actors involved in two very different productions, one a traditional musical theater offering, the other a strip show; Folsom Forever, a documentary about San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair; and Such Good People, a screwball comedy starring Michael Urie and Randy Harrison. Then there’s the U.S. premiere of Canada’s John Apple Jack, in which a man discovers his childhood crush is engaged to his sister, and the festival spotlight, Bruce LaBruce’s latest film, Gerontophilia, about a romantic relationship that crosses generations. All screenings are at the North Park Theatre. See the full schedule here.
June 9: A Distant County Called Youth Richard Thomas portrays Tennessee Williams in this one-man show, adapted by Steve Lawson from the great playwright’s early letters. One night only at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park; curtain at 7 p.m. Order tickets at TheOldGlobe.org.
June 12: She-Fest A festival that’s women-centric but welcomes everyone with an open heart and an open mind. Listen to music, attend workshops, shop at vendors’ booths, and make connections from noon to 6 p.m. at the North Park Community Park. Get all the info here.
June 14: Out at the Fair A special LGBT day at the Del Mar Fair of San Diego. Enjoy all the typical fair attractions — rides, junk food, etc. — plus performances by the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus and other music makers. Details here.
June 25: Seek In addition to its annual festival, FilmOut San Diego presents monthly screenings of LGBT-oriented films. In Seek, Eric Henry’s directorial debut, 20-somethings seek love and success in Toronto. 7 p.m., Hillcrest Cinemas; tickets here.
June 28: Happy Birthday Frida A celebration of the great bisexual Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, this event is an annual fundraiser for the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s services to the Latino/a population. It promises music, exhibits by local Latino/a artists and vendors, a Frida look-alike contest, great food, and tequila. What more could you need? Visit TheCenterSD.org for more info.
July 2-August 3: Bare: A Pop Opera Teens in a Catholic boarding school struggle with questions of identity, sexuality, and religion in this musical from composer Damon Intrabartolo and lyricist–book writer Jon Hartmere, making its San Diego premiere at the Diversionary Theatre. Check it out here.
July 12-13: Luv Madonna: The Music of the Material Girl The members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, in what’s billed as their biggest show ever, pay tribute to the one and only Madge, performing songs from throughout her career, including three new arrangements by David Maddux. At the historic Balboa Theatre; get info at tickets at SDGMC.com.
July 12-August 10: Into the Woods Stephen Sondheim’s classic take on fairy tales returns to the Old Globe, where it was born 30 years ago. This new production is from the Fiasco Theater, known for its reinventions of beloved shows. Find more info here.
July 16: Big Gay Love In another screening from FilmOut San Diego, Big Gay Love explores a relationship in which the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly but is fraught with misunderstandings and insecurities. Starring Jonathan Lisecki of Gayby and Nicholas Brendon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 7 p.m., Hillcrest Cinemas; tickets here.
July 18-19: The Music of ABBA The tribute band ABBA: The Concert performs the gay-beloved Swedish band’s catchy tunes as part of the San Diego Symphony’s Ashford University Summer Pops series. The Embarcadero Marina Park South will undoubtedly be full of dancing queens; make your plans to be one of them by clicking here.
July 18-20: San Diego Pride Rallies, music, a 5K face, the Spirit of Stonewall Awards, the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, and of course a parade are components of San Diego’s Pride festivities. The parade is set for July 19 in Hillcrest, San Diego’s primary gay hood; this year’s grand marshal is Toni Atkins, the first lesbian to be speaker of the California Assembly. Get all the details at SanDiegoPride.org.
July 24-27: Comic-Con International Geeks from throughout the world, including an ever-increasing LGBT contingent, flock to this iconic San Diego event every year to celebrate not only comics but all things pop-cultural. At the San Diego Convention Center; get your info here. P.S. This year, just in time for Comic-Con, the San Diego Symphony’s Video Games Live concert is back after a five-year absence, giving the orchestral treatment to video game themes, along with a light show and other multimedia experiences. It’s at Embarcadero Marina Park South; tickets here.
August 21-September 21: Tru Diversionary Theatre presents Jay Presson Allen’s Tony-winning play about Truman Capote in his twilight years, with the author reflecting on his life and work while medicating himself with drugs and drink. Get info and tickets here.
September 20: Encore: A Gay Cabaret Spontaneous musical performances, fabulous food and drink, and live and silent auctions will be the attractions at this fundraiser for the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. It’ll be held in one of the city’s most historic homes from 7 to 10 p.m. Find out more and reserve your tickets here.
September 27: AIDS Walk San Diego Walk (or run) to raise money for more than a dozen local organizations that serve men, women, and children with HIV or AIDS. Or sponsor a participant and go out to cheer them on. Get your info here.
October 5–November 2: The Royale A new play by Marco Ramirez, who’s written for such LGBT TV faves as Orange Is the New Black and Da Vinci’s Demons, comes to the Old Globe. Loosely based on real events, it chronicles a black boxer’s efforts to defeat both racism and a white opponent to become heavyweight champion of the world in the early 20th century. Order tickets at TheOldGlobe.org.
October 25: Nightmare on Normal Street The intersection of Normal and Harvey Milk streets hosts the biggest Halloween party in Hillcrest, offering music, dancing, cocktails, and a fabulous costume contest. It benefits the San Diego LGBT Community Center. Get all the ghoulish details here.
November 20 - December 21: Regrets Only Clashes over marriage equality become fodder for comedy in Paul Rudnick’s Broadway hit, being produced in San Diego by Diversionary Theatre. Find out more here.