Studio 13 to hold seven-day gay pride celebration


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There’s only one place in Iowa City to find go-go dancers, drag queens, and disc jockeys spinning for dance parties any day of the week — Studio 13.

The vibrant downtown establishment, the city’s only gay bar and club, is holding an ongoing seven-day extravaganza ending June 19 as the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community celebrates Iowa City Pride Week 2011.

This week’s Pride activities at Studio 13 and elsewhere emphasize and celebrate the community’s efforts to galvanize equality efforts throughout the city.

“We’re trying to make Pride bigger and bigger each year,” said Crystal Belle, a Studio 13 entertainer and bartender. “This week is so important to get the word out. It’s not only for the bar anymore, but it’s about equality and activism for the whole community.”

Matt Strabala, the club’s general manager, said the week’s activities are similar to an average night but on a much bigger scale.

“The whole week is a blast,” he said. “Every single day is set up for Pride.”

The club’s activities kicked off Monday with its Big Gay Bar Crawl, themed “Rock Out with Your PEACOCK Out” — Participants, in matching white shirts with glittering, purple peacock lettering, began the night at Studio 13 before moving on to other downtown establishments.

“This town loves Pride; it’s amazing to see,” Strabala said. “This community is so great, it’s a family.”

The club’s weekend lineup includes the “Monster Ball” drag show on Friday, a free bar grill-out on Saturday, and the Miss Pride of Iowa pageant on June 19.

Belle, Miss Pride of Iowa 2010, is taking part in the Lady Gaga-inspired Monster Ball show Friday evening.

And the show, Belle said, is all about having fun.

“Entertaining is a huge part of this week,” Belle said. “Besides constant playing of GaGa, we have a lot of bands and DJs around the Iowa City area who play all kinds of music to come out and celebrate.”

Outside Studio 13, other Iowa City organizations have geared up for the week. Connections, a local GLBT group with a political bent, is sponsoring a 10-member Pride Committee.

The committee will host the Iowa City Pride Parade, Rally, and Festival on Saturday.

Committee head Kirsten Plowman said she’s hoping this year’s events will not only lift the GLBT community but also allow for a greater visibility in the Iowa City area.

“We as a committee always keep in mind the diversity of the GLBT community, young and old, singles and families, men, women and all gender indentifications,” Plowman said. “And [we] try to provide a place where all of them feel comfortable gathering.

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