N.Y. Scene Year in Review: Highlights from 2011


N.Y. Scene is a monthly column that chronicles lesbian nightlife, and venues and events of interest in New York. Grace Chu has come out of lesbian scene retirement to navigate the vast and ever-evolving New York City scene, so you don’t have to.

A new year is upon us. I hope all of you have kept your resolutions so far, but if you didn’t, the Lunar New Year was January 23, so you can use this opportunity to make the same promises you won’t keep. But even if you’ve already fallen off the wagon or the treadmill, it’s the Year of the Dragon. The Dragon is like the Chinese Honey Badger, which means this year you’re going to be fierce and nasty ass no matter what. 

But before we launch ourselves into 2012, let’s take a moment to reminisce about 2011. 2011 was a great year to be a New Yorker. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, and same sex marriage was legalized in the Empire State. New York native Lady Gaga released “Born This Way,” which became 2011’s gay anthem. Indie films featuring lesbian characters wowed audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival and Newfest, and the critically acclaimed Pariah, set in Brooklyn, was picked up by Focus Features and is currently playing in theaters. Hole reunited at the MoMa, CMJ rolled through town, and lesbian promoters outdid themselves at Pride.

While the city is absurdly big, I am absurdly small, and recapping every event of interest to lesbian and bi women would be impossible, but here are a few highlights.


In December 2010, the House and Senate voted to repeal the military policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, because Congress finally clued in on what we knew already. To quote Margaret Cho, “As if you can win a war without lesbians.” To celebrate the occasion, downtown staple Choice C*nts encouraged everyone to arrive in military themed apparel for its January fete.   

Yes, ma’am!

In theater, after seeking financing for the better part of 2010, Bridget Regan and Natalie Weiss‘ play about two teenagers falling in love at Christian youth camp, Camp Wanatachi, landed a two week Off-Off Broadway run. 


February saw the launch of Wonder Women, a non-profit organization founded by entrepreneur Aliya Hallim-Byne and restauranteur Yoanne Magris. The frigid weather and downright dangerous walk to the venue, Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, did not deter the 100 or so VIPs who were invited to attend. 

Club promoters kicked it up a notch in February, throwing one offs at some of Manhattan most well known clubs. These weren’t your ambiguously androgynous aunt’s lesbian parties. Maggie C Events threw a Valentine’s Day blowout at Crimson Club, and a group of promoters collaborated on a Presidents’ Day event at megaclub Pacha. 

New York native and gay ally Lady Gaga released her single “Born This Way,” which became 2011’s gay anthem and the fastest selling single in iTunes history. 


LGBT professional networking organization Dot429 held its inaugural women’s event, featuring Heather Matarazzo as its keynote speaker and Gloria Bigelow and Setup Squad‘s Meredith Schlosser as hosts. The 18th annual GLBT Expo was held at the Javits Center, featuring gay friendly businesses looking to target the LGBT market. 

Businesses included everything from mom and pop shops to giants such as Anheuser Busch, and if 
Anheuser Busch is around, you know who else is around? The Bud Light Girls, which is always a plus.

The New York segment of the GLAAD Media Awards was held at the Marriott Marquis, and while there wasn’t very much lesbian representation, at least True Blood won for Outstanding Drama Series.

Hole reunited at the Museum of Modern Art for the New York premiere of Hit So Hard, a documentary about Patty Schemel‘s career as a drummer and her descent into (and recovery from) drug addiction.

The Rainbow Book Fair was held at the LGBT community center, featuring several gay friendly publishers and readings from gay and lesbian writers and poets.

Finally, one of the longest running NYC women’s parties, Snapshot, held its final bash at Bar 13. Snapshot’s run lasted seven years, which is equivalent to a century in lesbian time.

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