The 2016 Boise Pridefest officially kicks off Friday, June 17 with a Kickoff Bar Crawl starting at 6 p.m. at the Balcony Club--$25 gets you a shot at three bars plus entry to the big Kickoff Party to follow at 9 p.m. at Lucky Dog's outdoor stage, featuring musical guests Thea Austin, who penned the iconic pop hit "Rhythm Is a Dancer," and Neon Hitch, the British-born singer songwriter who scored a Billboard No. 1 spot on the Dance/Club Play Chart in 2012 and wrote Ke$ha's No. 1 single "Blah Blah Blah."
But that's not even a fraction of this year's Pridefest and Pride related events and activities, which began on June 10 and will continue through Monday, June 20.
On Wednesday, June 15 the Boise Men's and Women's choruses, in collaboration with Boise Pride and Pride Foundation, present Pride!, starring Bill Nighy, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton.
The 2014 film explores the historic solidarity pact made between gay activists in London and mine workers in Wales as the miners embarked on a long strike in the summer of 1984.
The choruses will present a short performance before the screening at The Flicks on the theater's patio. Pride! rolls on the big screen at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10.
The place to be Thursday, June 16 will be Humpin' Hannah's for the Boise Voice Xtravaganza 2016. Presented by Common Ground Community Chorus, the Xtravaganza pits contestants in a fast-paced singing competition, with the strength of their pipes assessed by a panel of blindfolded judges based on a 60-second performance. Once the blindfolds are off, scores will be given.
Five finalists will be declared that night and will perform at the Boise Pridefest Main Stage on Saturday, June 18, with the winner chosen using a combination of 50 percent judges' scores and 50 percent audience reactions.
The victorious voice will go home with $500, second place gets $200 and the three runners-up each win $100. It costs $20 to compete (includes admission) and $5 to attend general admission. VIP tickets cost $25. All proceeds benefit the Common Ground Community Chorus.
Judges include Rayzor "Ray Ray" Benevidez, owner of Lucky Dog; Adam Wade Duncan, artistic director of the Boise Women's and Men's choruses and Opera Idaho Children's Choruses; and Minerva Jayne, Boise's Blonde Bombshell and Boise Weekly advice columnist (see "Minerva's Breakdown," Page 30).
Registration for the Xtravaganza is at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Gather at the Idaho Capitol steps on Saturday, June 18 for the annual Pride Rally at 11 a.m. followed by the Pride Parade at 11:30 a.m. After the parade, the Pride Festival moves to Capitol Park at noon for an afternoon of food, vendors and so much free entertainment, you'll want to camp out for a few hours.
Be sure to stay hydrated, though, because you're invited to the Adam and Eve Naughty and Nice Party at Lucky Dog that night. Starting at 9 p.m., catch Brooklyn-based queer rapper Big Dipper—who has been called "the most exciting independent rap act to watch this year"—and American Idol finalist David Hernandez. Tickets cost $10 general admission, $25 VIP.
Add a visit to Red Feather Lounge on your list of Sunday stops June 19 for the Big Gay Happy Hour, set to run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds from the happy hour(s) will benefit Boise Pridefest, so everybody wins.