Surprises from Dresden
Photos: Courtesy Dresden Tourism
Dresden isn't the first place we think of for charming, smaller Euro city escapes. It certainly doesn't spring immediately to mind as a gay destination either. But when the honeymoon is over with Paris, London and Berlin, keep an open mind.
The city may have been reduced to cinders in 1945, but it's quickly regaining the cultural glow of its pre-war years, this time with a stronger queer tint. On July 3rd, for example, Sir Elton John himself will perform in front of the Semperoper (pictured below). The opera house, one of the most beautiful in Germany, was entirely rebuilt following WWII.
Soon after, on July 35th, Dresden hosts the 25th Anniversary of its Carte Blanche Revue, which they claim is "the world's largest open-air travesty show." That's right, drag queens galore. The twist, apparently, is that the queens may not simply be boys all a-wigged, but girls being boys being girls. Or boys being girls, being boys...ow, my head. This coincides with Film Nights on the Bank of the Elbe River, if you need a break from the gender-bending.
Earlier in the year and less gay, but maybe no less campy, is Dresden's annual International Dixieland Festival (May 10th-17th, 2009). While we still don't quite understand this one, it does seem like a lot of fun. Live Dixieland tunes can be heard all week and everywhere (including the airport, and occasionally for free), with the big climax being the Riverboat Shuffle: 20 bands on 10 paddle-steams from the world's oldest fleet, fireworks, and 100,000 fans.