Alternative Pride Guide: Dallas, Atlanta and Palm Springs

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Aug 14, 2013

Didn't get enough Pride this June? Pack your bags and head to Dallas, Atlanta or Palm Springs for festivities that will have you seeing rainbows. EDGE has uncovered must-see experiences to add to your Pride 2.0 celebrations.

Texans always do it bigger. On Sept. 15, Dallas celebrates Pride with a long march down Cedar Springs Road.

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If you're a fan of nighttime TV soaps, pay a visit to the Southfork Ranch. The latest iteration of "Dallas" has only increased interest in this iconic estate. The 340-acre ranch is 25 miles northeast of Downtown Dallas. Once there, you can revel in the gun that shot J.R. in what was the most-watched soap opera episode in history; Charlene Tilton's wedding dress; and the site of the funeral for Bobby, who - spoiler alert! - didn't die after all.

The Hotel Zaza combines a Mediterranean ambience with modern conveniences. If you want to rock the Casbah, check into the Rock Star suite; or how about an Asian exotic fantasy in the Crouching Tiger suite? The ultimate fantasy, however, may be the Moulin Rouge, a recreation of fin-de-siecle Paris, with leopard-print carpets, velvet upholstery and gilded mirrors.

When you're in Dallas, there's only one type of meal that will define your visit, and that's steak. Pappa Bros. Steakhouse looks plain on the outside, but inside you'll find a clean, industrial look. Start off with the charcuterie plate, move on to the seasoned steak, or pork or lamb loin, and finish it off with a suitably decadent dessert like a peanut butter cup and chocolate ganache.


In 1971, only two years after Stonewall, a small group in Atlanta marched from Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park. From acorns come mighty trees. On Oct. 12 and 13, the booming unofficial capital of the New South will host thousands of revelers for Gay Pride. The city that Martin Luther King Jr. called home has long been a beacon in the struggle for civil rights.

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You can relive that history with a walk through Sweet Auburn, the neighborhood that was the city’s first African American business district. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site includes the King family home, Ebenezer Baptist Church where King honed the rhetoric that helped bring down Jim Crow laws, and the graves of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Walk down the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and stand in the shoe prints of Rosa Parks, whose refusal to go to the back of the bus began the modern Civil Rights movement; ex-president and Atlanta resident Jimmy Carter; and Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Hotel Indigo, close to the action of Atlanta’s Midtown central gaybhorhood, offers moderately priced rooms with a hip edge. The café provides light snacking. Best of all, it’s ultra dog-friendly, including a canine cocktail hour on the patio.

Located in a renovated warehouse, ONE midtown kitchen (their usage) uses seasonal ingredients for American cuisine with an edgy flare. How edgy? How many times have you been offered a wild boar stew or wood-grilled quail? Crispy pig’s foot is an upscale take on soul food, with a sauce gribiche, asparagus-mint puree, and quail egg.


Palm Springs sensibly holds its Pride in late fall, when the desert sun shines but not so brutally. This year held on Nov. 3, the parade, led by the city’s gay mayor, caps a week of events that includes a block party Downtown and several fund-raisers. But if you want to really take in Palm Springs, plan on a weeklong vacation so that you can take in Desert Leather Pride the next weekend. Because this is one town where leather is taken very, very seriously.

When in Palm Springs, the only place to stay is one of the world-famous (or just notorious) guesthouses. The Vista Grande Resort attracts a hot-frisky crowd to its steam room, sauna, oversized hot tub and a grotto with enough paths and waterfalls to spend some "quality time" with -- well, with whoever. All clothing optional, of course. As for the rooms, they are modern, spacious, and the beds are plenty big. You know what to do with that.

Palm Springs has its own celebrity chef at Tinto. Jose Garces, of "Iron Chef" TV fame, opened this Spanish-French hybrid next door to El Jefe, Garces’ unique take on tapas. Not surprisingly, the emphasis here is on cured meats, such as chorizo, jamon (ham), duck and pork belly; as well as seafood and lamb. The best way to experience Tinto is the Chef’s Tasting Menu, paired with wines.

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It never ceases to amaze me how many queens come to Palm Springs and never ride the Palms Springs Aerial Tramway - otherwise known as a funicular. This nearly vertical railway goes two and a half miles from hot, arid desert to a snowy mountain peak. The temperature difference between the valley and the top of the tram is about 30 degrees, so bring a sweater. Once you’re up there, hike some of the trails in San Jacinto Park and Wilderness.

Nothing will give you a more realistic taste of Palm Springs than the periodic parties hosted by some of the biggest porn stars at Helios, a guesthouse. It’s very sexy but don’t be shy - no one else is.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


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