6th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride: Profiles of Sunday’s Entertainers
Miami Gay Pride is nothing if not color filled, and adding to the vibrancy of this year's Pride will be a cavalcade of colorful performers and entertainers who will sing, spin, lip sync and titillate. The Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and Festival will take place Sunday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. along Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th Streets.
Before we get to the entertainment showcased across three different stages, let's start with the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade Grand Marshals. This year the Grand Marshals are singer Gloria Estefan and choreographer and director Kenny Ortega.
Gloria Estefan is a Miami icon, and is well-known for singing lead vocals in the group Miami Sound Machine. While still associated with the Miami Sound Machine, she has performed on her own in a parallel solo career since 1989. She boasts two #1 pop hits, "Don't Wanna Lose You" and "Coming Out of the Dark"; the former song became one of the top hits for the year 1989. Twenty-five years after her solo turn, she is still active in recording both English and Spanish-language music. Her two most recent dance offerings, "Wepa" and "Hotel Nacional," rose to the top of the dance charts. Estefan has earned three Grammy Awards.
Kenny Ortega is a well-regarded choreographer and director. His choreography credits include "Xanadu," "Dirty Dancing," "Newsies," "To Wong Foo (Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar)," and the three "High School Musical" films (he also directed "Newsies" and the "High School Musical" films). Ortega has also directed Cher's Heart of Stone Tour, Gloria Estefan's Live & Unwrapped concert, and Michael Jackson's Dangerous and HIStory World Tours. He was to direct Michael Jackson's This Is It concerts in 2009, but sadly Jackson died a month before the performances were to start.
Immediately after the Parade, the Festival will get started with Miami's own DJ Alex Infiniti spinning on the Festival Stage in Lummus Park. For more than 15 years, Miami nightlife has been danced and designed by Infiniti. Inspired by his love of music and propelled by his interest in nightlife, Infiniti's career began with a small collection of vinyl dance records. His relentless creativity soon led him to start toying around with CD mixers and eventually, producing parties and spinning in the DJ booth.
Direct from the current season of "RuPaul's Drag Race," Australian contestant Courtney Act will perform live - yes, live - from the Festival Stage at 7 p.m. A contestant on "Australian Idol," Act made it to the finals after having been rejected by judges when he performed out of drag under his real name, Shane Jenek. Performing as Act, however, led to the finals, a national tour and a record deal with Sony/BMG Records.
In 2011, she moved to the U.S. on a visa titled "Alien Of Extraordinary Ability". After completing a national club tour of 20 dates around North America, she set up her new life in West Hollywood. She is currently a contestant on the sixth season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" on Viacom's Logo Network.
With her glittery outfits and oversized bouffant hairdos, Lady Bunny is hard to miss. Just don't miss her performance as celebrity DJ, spinning Sunday at 4 p.m. on the Festival Stage. Multi-talented drag artiste, Lady Bunny would turn heads even if looking glamorous were her only talent. Lady Bunny is a successful comedienne, emcee, singer, songwriter, actress, and spin-tacular DJ. Best known for founding the outdoor New York City drag festival "Wigstock," Lady Bunny has moved on to film, "To Wong Foo (Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar)," "Another Gay Sequel," as well as TV, in "Sex and The City" and "RuPaul's Drag U."
Riding shotgun over the madness will be Miami icon, drag diva and Real Housewife BFF Elaine Lancaster, the emcee for the Festival Stage. The statuesque Lancaster, aka James Davis, is in demand throughout the world as a hostess in clubs, for charities, for special events and as a DJ and emcee. She's lent her star power for such high-profile brands and events as Louis Vuitton Global, Polo Ralph Lauren stores, Bulgari, the Collection luxury car dealership, as well as for Saks Fifth Avenue's annual breast cancer fundraiser, The Blacks Annual Gala, Aspen's Gay Ski, and White Party Week. She's also appeared in television - most recently on the first two seasons of "Real Housewives of Miami" - and has penned guest columns for many noteworthy publications. Most recently, Lancaster launched www.ElaineLancasterCosmetics.com, a collection of lip lacquers and she will soon release her first single, "I Am A Queen" on iTunes and Amazon.
Since its inception six years ago, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown from a neighborhood event to an event on the global stage with A-list performers. Attendance has grown as well. An estimated 15,000 spectators turned out for the first Pride parade in 2009 and an estimated 80,000 attended the 2013 event which attracted not only South Floridians, but also visitors from throughout the world. For 2014, 66 parade entries and 1,200 participants are expected. The Pride Festival will feature 125 LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, plus refreshments, two stages of entertainment, a family-friendly play area and fireworks.
The mission of Miami Beach Gay Pride is to bring together members and allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBT community. The all-volunteer Pride board produces safe, quality, mass-appeal events that are open to the entire community, including the Parade, Festival and allied Miami Beach Gay Pride sanctioned events. Miami Beach Gay Pride is produced with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors and Convention Authority. For more information, visit www.miamibeachgaypride.com.