Arts & Entertainment

North Jersey Pride Week Is Back


MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Maplewood is once again hosting North Jersey Pride Week. It opened yesterday on the steps of Maplewood Town Hall with a flag-raising ceremony and rally led by Mayor Vic Deluca and clergy from a variety of houses of worship.

The week ahead will include a variety of events celebrating the essential attribute of "spirit" that makes us all unique, culminating with a blowout party, the Pride Festival, Sunday, June 8th. The week of family-oriented events aim to help support and raise awareness about the LGBT community.

"North Jersey Pride is 'pride with a purpose,'" Jan Kaminsky, North Jersey Pride Rainbow Kids Zone Chair, told me. "Our purpose is two-fold. First, to partner with local LGBTQ youth organizations and support their missions through our fundraising. And second, to throw a terrific week of events that include many family-friendly options."

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According to North Jersey Pride website attendance is expected to top more than 5,000.

“Attendance has grown tremendously since we started in 2011 and this year we anticipate thousands more LGBTQ and ally families to participate," C.J. Prince, Executive Director of North Jersey Pride, said in a release.

The festivities will include lots of live music, including the alt-country female band Antigone Rising. Maplewood's own  Bea Miller, a top-ten finalist on season two of the hit show The X-Factor will also perform.

For the kids, there will crafts, inflatable's, face-painting, tattoos, and an Interactive Kids Stage. Plus as always, lots of food, much of it provided locally, including the Cedar Ridge Cafe, Roman Gourmet, Falafel-ly Yours, Freeman’s Fish Market, Blue Plate Special, Lalibela Ethiopian, the Maplewood Deli, Nick’s Gourmet Hotdogs, Killer Vegan, Umberto’s and Hop Fries, plus ice cream and ices for the kids.

Full Listing of North Jersey Pride Week Events Below:

Tuesday, 6/3: Trans-Equality Talk: “5 Questions People Always Want to Ask the Transsexual (But Shouldn’t)(But I’ll Answer Some of Them Anyway)” with S. Bear Bergman

8 PM, Burgdorff Cultural Center Maplewood Area, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, New Jersey

Award-winning author, story teller, and educator, S. Bear Bergman (2014 Lambda Literary Award Nominee) asks the questions trans people are constantly asked—then turns them inside out and upside down. You’ll learn just what’s behind them (and how they perpetuate certain myths) as he helps you gain some real understanding of what trans lives and experiences are all about. Cosponsored by Maplewood Township’s Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs.


Wednesday, 6/4: How to Talk to the Creature in Your Car: A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers.

8 PM, St. George’s Maplewood, 550 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood, New Jersey

Cosponsored by the Tyler Clementi Foundation and North Jersey Pride, this moving presentation by adolescent motivational speaker and HIV/AIDS health educator, Scott Fried, reveals the secrets most teens keep from their parents, and shares specific strategies and techniques on parenting a teenager through this difficult time of adolescent angst. Introduction by Tyler Clementi Foundation co-founder, Jane Clementi.


Thursday, 6/5: Movie Night: Award-winning film “Concussion” and Q&A with Director Stacie Passon and Cast

8 PM, Bow-Tie Claridge Cinema, 486 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, New Jersey

North Jersey Pride is proud to present a special screening of “Concussion,” a Rose Troche (L-Word, Go Fish, Six Feet Under) film that premiered at Sundance and won a 2014 GLAAD Media Award and the 2013 Teddy Award at the International Film Festival in Berlin. Set in Montclair, "Concussion" explores the life of interior decorator-turned-soccer mom played by Robin Weigert (Deadwood, The Good German) who suffers a blow to the head and finds herself re-examining every corner of her suburban New Jersey life in an effort to confront a mounting desire for something more. A universal theme, skillfully and artfully handled. Discussion following the film with Director Stacie Passon and cast members Johnathan Tchaikovsky ("Wolf of Wall Street," "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs") and Julie Lawrence ("Electric City," "Six Degrees").


Friday, 6/6: SLAM-DANCE for Teens!

7- 10:30 PM, Burgdorff Cultural Center, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, New Jersey

Teens will bring their best personal stories, poetry, fiction, or manifestos, and put their names in a hat. If their names are called, they’ll take the mic for 5 minutes. Three real-live literary agents will listen . . . and at the end of the night, they’ll choose a SLAM WINNER! After that, teens can show off their moves at a dance with a DJ, and enjoy free pizza (courtesy of Community Sponsor Roman Gourmet). The Story Slam winner will receive a free iPad, donated by North Jersey Pride Leadership Sponsor, Verizon Wireless.


Saturday, 6/7: North Jersey Pride Equality 5K: Moving Forward Together

9 AM, Cameron Park, 5 Mead St., South Orange, New Jersey

It's North Jersey's first Pride Run! This chip-timed event, run by Compuscore, will bring runners (and aspiring runners) from all over the state to move forward for diversity, equality and community! Children and dogs welcome.

Also on Saturday, 6/7: 2014 Dance for Equality

9 PM to 1 AM, The Club at Orange Lawn, 305 North Ridgewood Rd., South Orange, New Jersey

The annual Dance for Equality is North Jersey Pride's premier fundraising event. Participants will dance all night long to the beat of award-winning DJ, Steve Sidewalk (of NYC's Ritz, XL Nightclub and BMP-New York fame), who will spin the proverbial platters until 1AM. Attendees can also bid on items at our silent auction, including Broadway show tickets, spa treatments vacations, jewelry, designer fashion, artwork, unique experiences—plus raffles, 50/50 and more.


Sunday, 6/8: North Jersey Pride Festival

12 PM, Memorial Park Amphitheater, 123 Dunnell Road  Maplewood, New Jersey

"Built for Grownups, Safe for Kids," the North Jersey Pride Festival is a family-friendly event that brings together LGBTQ and Straight Ally individuals, couples and families from all over the state to celebrate diversity, equality and love. The Festival features a live stage with superb national and local talent, including: the extremely popular X Factor top 10 finalist, Bea Miller, the raw vocals of De’Borah Garner from season 3 of NBC’s The Voice, the alt-country-all-female-boot-stompin’-rockers, Antigone Rising, and America’s favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, The Kinsey Sicks. The Main Stage entertainment will be emceed by award-winning host, TV-radio personality, celebrity interviewer, lifestyle expert and comedian, Scott Nevins, of Bravo’s new series,The Peoples Couch and formerly of the hit show, truTV Presents: Words DumbestOther performers include: The Lavender Light Gospel Choir, Paper Mill Show Choir, Front & Center Kids Ensemble, The Greys, and Mood Ring. The Pride Festival also includes a huge Rainbow Kids Zone with inflatables, face painting, and arts & crafts, along with a brand new Interactive Kids Stage with the Lizard Guys, story time, kids Zumba, relay races, danceathon, and more; 85+ exhibitors and merchant/artist vendors; and our famous Five-Star Food Court featuring the best of our local New Jersey eateries. Admission is free and all are welcome!  

Full details here:

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