How Much Does It Cost To Be Proud?

Pride is coming and the parades are always free, but if you want to party, it’s going to cost you. posted on

New York Times

On June 29, 1970, when The New York Times covered the city’s first Pride celebration, then officially known as “Christopher Street Liberation Day,” the headline was “Thousands of Homosexuals Hold a Protest Rally in Central Park.” The event, which drew thousands of men and women from across the country, was described by organizers as a “gay-in.” Harvey Milk was still alive, the now ubiquitous rainbow flag had yet to be designed, and AIDS didn’t exist, nor did marriage equality as we now know it.

Four decades later, Pride celebrations across the country have evolved almost as much as the country itself. Pride has always straddled the lines between community meet-and-greet, activist rally, and out-and-proud celebration. Even the most jaded (or intoxicated) Pride attendee recognizes the power of seeing parents from PFLAG march side by side with their children or gay Marines marching in uniform with spouses cheering them on. The activist spirit, an integral part of Pride since the Stonewall Riots that sparked the celebrations in the first place, is still there but perhaps a little easier to miss among all the extravaganza. And, apparently, all that glitter doesn’t come cheap.

NYC Pride’s website cheerfully reminds visitors that “the preferred credit card of NYC Pride is MasterCard. Show your PRIDE and use your MasterCard at checkout!” With ticket prices for official Pride events and parties in the city ranging from $25 (Advanced Ticket Price for Rapture on the River) to $3,500 (Ultra-Premium Bottle Service Package for Dance on the Pier), one can only hope Visa and American Express holders will be allowed to show their pride too.

Keith Bedford / Reuters

Though New York hosts some of the country’s most expensive celebrations, the trend is reflected nationwide. The theme in Chicago, one of the more cost-effective celebrations this year, is “Because Bigger Is Always Better.” If “Better” and “VIP” are synonymous, you can get a VIP Weekend Pass to Chi-town’s Back Lot Bash for $60.

In San Francisco, which is selling $40 and $124 tickets to a three-hour-long VIP Party, more than a few people have accused SF Pride of selling out altogether after the city’s Pride committee selected Bradley Manning, currently on trial for involvement in WikiLeaks, as a grand marshal for this year’s ceremony and then, hours later, backed down on the decision. The initial announcement angered LGBT military activists who consider Manning a traitor; the reversal has outraged people like Ben Goldstein, who recently commented on SF Pride’s Facebook Page, “SF Pride lost the vision and meaning of Stonewall decades ago; today’s Pride is beholden to special moneyed interests and will not rock the boat, in order to continue to exist.”

One could argue that an expensive Pride Party ticket isn’t all that different than paying $16.50 to see a 3-D movie, but movies have never been exclusively linked to activism; Pride — at least in name — still is.

And anyway, if the most basic function of Pride is to bring an increasingly fractured community together, VIP lounges probably aren’t the best way to go. Until New York figures out what to do about the 1,800 LGBT homeless teens in New York looking for space in the only 80 beds available, it’s hard not to be embarrassed by ticket packages offering “two bottles of SKYY vodka, mixers, a tented seating area, fresh fruit, gift bags and access to the VIP bathrooms.” That’s not pride, that’s hubris.

5. San Francisco Pride, June 29-30

Shutterstock

Official SF Pride VIP Party, June 30

VIP Party General Admission — $40/$50 at the door
VIP Upper Level Admission — $125

A ticket to this party includes access to free food and an open bar and entrance to the “Exclusive “Private Mayor’s Balcony Reception.” According to the SF Pride website, “Rub elbows with SF Pride main stage talent, our celebrity Grand Marshals, our local elected officials and community leaders while noshing on complimentary eats. Escape from the crowds and recline around our hosted bar!”

6. Chicago Pride, June 22-30

Shutterstock

Pridefest, June 22-23

FREE!

Back Lot Bash, June 27-30

Weekend Pass — $30
VIP Weekend Pass — $60

A VIP pass gets you private seating and a meet and greet with this year’s performers.

7. New York City Pride, June 28-30

Shutterstock

VIP Rooftop Party, June 29

Advanced General Admission — $49
Early Bird VIP Admission — $85

“Includes priority entry, access to VIP roofdeck area, access to VIP terrace deck and gift bag.”

SKYY Vodka Bottle Package — $375

“Includes Skyy Bottle Service, 2 VIP Tickets, priority entry, access to VIP roofdeck area, access to VIP terrace deck and gift bag.”

Premium Bottle Package — $500

“Includes Premium (Kettle, Belvedere, Gray Goose) Bottle Service, 2 VIP Tickets, priority entry, access to VIP roofdeck area, access to VIP terrace deck and gift bag.”

Rapture on the River, June 29

Advanced Tickets — $25
VIP Admission — $75

“Take advantage of the VIP ticket which allows for complementary [sic] access to the annual Pier Pressure party immediately following Rapture. Also, VIP provides expedited entry as well as SKYY, Bud Light, and Barefoot Wine open bar for the entire event.”

Ultra-Premium VIP SKYY Bottle Package — $1,500

“Take advantage of this premium experience that provides you and your friends with 10 VIP tickets, two bottles of SKYY, mixers, a tented seating area, fresh fruit, gift bag, and access to the VIP bathrooms.”

Dance on the Pier, June 30

Early Bird Admission — $60

VIP Admission — $125

“This ticket provides the PREMIUM experience with FULL SKYY Vodka open bar, Barefoot Wine, and Bud Light for the entirety of the event. Also, VIP bathrooms for all VIP ticket holders and raised platforms for better stage / fireworks viewing. Passed hors d’ouvres [sic] along with fresh fruit will be also served.”

Ultra-Premium VIP Bottle Service Package — $3,500

“Take advantage of this premium experience that provides you and your friends with 10 VIP tickets, two bottles of SKYY, mixers, a tented seating area, fresh fruit, gift bag, and access to the VIP bathrooms.”

8. Los Angeles Pride, June 7-9

Shutterstock

One Day Admission — $20

Like Chicago Pride, Los Angeles continues to offer a fairly affordable celebration. According to Christopher Street West’s FAQ page, which organizes the city’s Pride events, “Despite rising costs in a very challenging economic environment, admission fees to LA PRIDE have not increased since 2006. CSW also offers discounted tickets online closer to the festival.”

9. Update: New York City Pride offered these responses on Twitter.

@shani_o" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/shani_o">@shani_o Unfortunately because of rising costs. We've also given over 1 million to LGBT non-profits in the last 25+ yrs.

@theferocity" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/theferocity">@theferocity @jbarro" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/jbarro">@jbarro We think $60 is completely reasonable given that the #Pierdance" target="_blank">http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Pierdance">#Pierdance is our largest fundraiser.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Facebook Conversations
          
    Now Buzzing