Long Beach Pride, taking place this weekend, has grown into a massive event, as gays and their straight friends come out of the woodwork to turn the Belmont Heights area of Long Beach into a giant party numbering in the 80,000 range. Along with requisite parade, the festival has its share of musical highlights as well.
Reflective of Long Beach being one of the most diverse cities in the United States, this year's fest includes a wildly varied musical lineup including a troupe of country cloggers, rock en español, a transgender rapper and, yes, divas for days. Check out the highlights after the jump.
As if the Puerto Rican merengue singer's music wasn't awesome enough already (anyone who has ever salsa danced has probably at least heard and loved “Suavemente”), Crespo's latest tour, Indestructible, is dedicated to the LGBT community. It's just one more reason to shake yer bon bon.
The main-stage headliner is a teen songstress turned diva who has made a major comeback with 2010's Still Standing–although many of us will be waiting for her to bust out her half of “The Boy Is Mine,” her excellent, prudishly catty duet with Brandy.
OK, there are disco anthems, and then there is Thelma Houston's “Don't Leave Me This Way,” which is, like, life-changingly good. That part where the verse changes to the chorus and goes from minor key lament to proud-ass major key declaration? Too good!
The aforementioned trans rapper is notable for more than her gender identity or sexual orientation. Her fun and sexually charged lyrics belie an underlying political bent seeking respect (check out her Chingy-bashing “Bottom Baby”) for trans people.
DJ Ryan Jones
Ah, I remember the days of my friends and I drooling over DJ Ryan Jones as he bartended various Long Beach watering holes. Now he's spinning records all over the place, playing house and nu-disco while throwing in some LCD Soundsystem here and there to keep the indie kids happy. He'll also be spinning at Broadway Cocktail Lounge starting at 9 p.m. May 21.