Pride weekend and beyond: Concerts, Readings, and Alternative Proms

The 2022 Philadelphia Pride march. (Photo by Kelly Burkhardt)

In addition to the June 4 Pride march and festival, Philadelphia will host numerous other events throughout Pride month, including concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Philadelphia Freedom Band, an alternative prom at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and literary readings by LGBTQ writers.

Philadelphia Orchestra set for free Pride Concert

Those who prefer to celebrate Pride through music can enjoy the Philadelphia Orchestra’s second free Pride Concert at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on June 3 at 7:00 p.m. Conductor Marin Alsop will lead the orchestra through performances by LGBTQ+ composers and allies, including the world premiere of Laura Karpman’s “The Marvels Suite,” Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” Joan Tower’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” and the fourth movement of Jennifer Higdon’s “Concerto for Orchestra.” 

Joining the orchestra will be the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, the ANNA Crusis Feminist Choir and Philadelphia Voices of Pride, who will perform a variety of choral pieces including “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga and Jeppe Laursen, “Phoenix Song” by David L. Brunner and “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon.

The orchestra will also accompany actor/singer Paolo Szot as he performs songs from “Carmen,” “South Pacific” and “Les Miserables.”

Before the concert begins, guests can enjoy a show at 5:30 p.m. by the Philly PRIDE All-Star Cabaret, composed of members of Martha Graham Cracker’s band, as well as other performances, in the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza.

Guests can reserve tickets for this free concert at

The dogs of Spike and Gary silent auction 

To honor the legacy of a gay couple who were fervent HIV/AIDS advocates, William Way LGBT Community Center will host a dog-themed fundraiser to benefit AIDS Law Project on June 2. The event will feature a silent auction of the couple’s collection of over 50 dogs in mixed media, including collectibles and drawings. The two men, David “Spike” Bertugli and Gary Bailey, were passionate about HIV/AIDS education, and volunteered for the AIDS Law Project in the early 1990s. Bertugli died of AIDS in 1997, and Bailey in 2000, both at the age of 48.   

“They were instrumental in supporting the AIDS Law Project in its early days,” said Ronda Goldfein, executive director of AIDS Law Project. “Their influence is still felt. We still use the language Spike wrote to explain our mission to potential funders. A plaque recognizing Gary’s contributions to the AIDS Law Project is seen by everyone in our waiting room.”

Bertugli worked as a magazine editor in New York, and served as editor-in-chief of an Italian American newspaper in Rome. He moved to Philadelphia in 1984, when he took a job as staff writer for the Jewish Exponent and Inside Magazine. Bailey was an artist and designer who also worked as an AIDS educator for Action Wellness, then ActionAIDS. He educated young people about his own experiences with the disease and used humor and honesty to promote safe sex. 

After their HIV diagnosis, Bertugli and Bailey were cast as extras in the movie “Philadelphia,” which follows Tom Hanks as a local lawyer who is fired because of his AIDS status. Bertugli wrote about his experiences on the film set in Philadelphia Magazine, his final story. They were both recognized by former President George H.W. Bush as “points of light,” or people who showed “how a neighbor can help a neighbor.” 

The fundraiser runs from 5-7:30 p.m., and $35 admission includes refreshments. For tickets, click here.

Women and trans writers anthology and reading 

To ring in Pride month, the anthology “S/He Speaks: Voices of Women and Trans Folx” will be released along with a free live reading on June 3 at 1:00 p.m. at The Rotunda on Penn’s campus (4014 Walnut Street). Contributors Samantha “Ghettosongbird” Hollins, Jess Kratzer, Zoe Shelley, Ellie Smillie, Brian “Brie” Sheridan and Alexis Young will read excerpts of their pieces and take audience questions. An open reading will follow, where community writers are welcome to share their own work.  

“We live in an era of increasing turmoil over the rights of women and transgender people,” Cassendra Xavier, co-editor of the anthology, said in a press release. “It’s more important than ever for women and trans writers to be visible and heard. We can all learn from reading about their unique experiences and perspectives.” 

Based in Philadelphia, Xavier is a Leeway Transformation Award-winning musician, writer and fine artist. She founded and directs Philly’s Black Women’s Artis Festival, as well as the Women’s Writing and Spoken Word Series. 

“S/He Speaks” is published by Philly’s Moonstone Press and features poetry and essays from writers from across the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Galaei hosting Alternative Prom at Museum of Art

Galaei will host a queer prom on Saturday, June 10 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. the event will be for youth aged 16 to 20, and then from 9:00 p.m. to midnight for those 21 and over.

An ongoing tradition for over 25 years, the theme of this year’s prom is “Queer Fashion Through History.” Music will be provided by DJ Delish, and Icon Ebony Fierce and Luna The Jawnette will give performances.

Registration is free for youth 16 to 20. For ticket information for those 21+ can be found at

Philadelphia Freedom Band to host Pride Solstice concert

On Wednesday, June 21 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Philadephia Freedom Band will perform a selection of music including songs by Elton John, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Blink 182, Dua Lipa, and more. The program is an all ages event and is free and open to the public at Shakespeare Park across Vine Street from the Parkway Central Library. Bench seating is limited, so people are encouraged to bring their own chairs.

The Philadelphia Freedom Band (PFB) is a non-profit organization comprised of a wide variety of talented musicians, ranging from amateur to professional. They come together to perform throughout the greater Philadelphia area and provide visible, active support to the LGBTQ+ community, and they welcome anyone who is committed to our shared goal of musical excellence and our commitment to social justice.

In the event of rain, the concert will take place at noon on June 24 inside the Parkway Central Library’s Literature Department. For more information, click here.

Newsletter Sign-up