Our 2019 Summer Pride Guide, in collaboration with VA Pride, is out now! Here’s the first of our articles from that magazine, celebrating the many LGBTQ things to see and do in Richmond in the summer.
With Pride month comes rainbows, smiles, confidence, and the best part of all — summertime. For us Richmonders, we get the best luck of all with RVA Pride in September. Not only do we get to celebrate Pride twice, but we pretty much just block out the entire season — and we are so happy to do it.
As I’m running around enjoying the sunshine and gorgeous weather in the River City we call home, I do have to ask myself: What do I do when I’ve exhausted my time at the river with a big box of Ukrop’s rainbow cookies? Here are four good options to keep us busy from sunrise to sunset in Richmond.
You Can’t Be Serious Open Mic — Hosted by Carsen Young
Sunday night is here, you’ve spent your day getting your chores done, prepping for the week, brunching it up, and now you need to unwind. Local Comedian Carsen Young is happy to have you covered (at least once a month). Down in Forest Hill at Thirsty’s Bar and Grill, Young has been hosting the open mic since January, even though he’s only been doing stand-up for around a year. Originally, he got his start doing improv at ComedySportz Richmond, where he still performs as well.
The show came about when Thirsty’s owner saw Young do stand-up next door at Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream, and told Young that he had been trying to host an open mic, only to have it fail. Naturally, Young’s “why not?” attitude made him say yes when Thirsty’s owner asked him to become the open mic’s new host.
As a host, Young’s favorite part so far has been giving comics a chance to test out material and polish jokes they’ve been working on.
“I like giving the other comics in the community a place to try out their material,” said Young. “The toughest thing about doing stand-up comedy is finding a place to do it. Open mics are pretty much your only place to do it unless you’re booked. And you’re not going to get booked somewhere unless someone has seen you at an open mic.”
Even though the open mic itself isn’t LGBTQ-exclusive, having an LGBTQ host in a restaurant that is LGBTQ-run certainly helps add a sense of comfort for other comics in the community — folks who may want to give comedy a shot, but want to feel safe when they start out.
“In Richmond, overall I will say that comedy is safe for LGBTQ people,” said Young. “I try to make sure that it is a safe, inclusive space for anybody. Thirsty’s is such an inclusive place that you know you’re in a safe spot.”
With open mics prevalent all over the city of Richmond, you can throw a rock almost any night of the week and hit at least three or four. But to find one in such an inclusive spot — in a place that, sure, has drinks, but isn’t just another bar, is such an important thing. You Can’t Be Serious just might be the hidden gem in the Richmond comedy scene that we didn’t know we needed.
You Can’t Be Serious starts at 8pm on the last Sunday of every month, with open mic sign-ups starting at 7:30pm and limited to five spots. Thirsty’s Bar and Grill is located in Forest Hill at 3516 Forest Hill Ave.
Rocky Horror Picture Show with Orgasmic Rush of Lust at Bowtie Cinemas
What kind of a Pride Guide would this really be in a city with access to regular showings of the beloved Tim Curry classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, without even one mention of it? Obviously a bad one.
Lucky for you, we here at GayRVA are all about that Rocky Horror life. Have you ever wanted to do the time warp (again) in public, surrounded by Magenta, Janet, Brad, and even Eddie himself, while Dr Frank N. Furter leads you on? Fabulous — same here! Lucky for us, we can have that very thing happen, right down the street.
Orgasmic Rush of Lust is the only Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow cast for Richmond. A shadow cast is what it sounds like — while the film plays on the big screen, the cast acts out the film on the stage in front of the screen. If you were expecting a quiet, relaxing viewing of a cult favorite film, then this is not the show — or the movie — for you.
Orgasmic Rush of Lust can be seen on the first Friday and first Saturday of every month performing at the Bowtie Cinemas Theater in Scott’s Addition, just off the newly-named Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Some members of the cast perform multiple roles at a time, but always give it their all and encourage fan participation… something audiences are more than willing to provide.
Richmonder Alan Vann was already a big fan of the live shows when he still lived down in the Hampton Roads area. When he heard that there was a Richmond-based show, he knew that he had to go — especially when he found out two of his friends had never been.
“They are a great team,” said Vann. “Very enthusiastic, work amazingly well with the stage they are given. It’s smaller than the Naro’s [in Hampton Roads], but they make it feel like any big movie palace-type theater production.”
Orgasmic Rush of Lust heavily encourages audience participation (as any good Rocky Horror show should), but asks that audiences abide by a few ground rules per their website.
- Don’t throw anything at the screen, or cast.
- Don’t throw anything that will leave a sticky mess (Rice, Confetti, toothpaste. Cards, toilet paper, and toast are ok.)
- Stay out of the aisles during the show.
- Don’t bring alcohol into the theater. You can get a drink in the lobby before the show, though.
- Do the Time Warp.
Orgasmic Rush of Lust can be seen performing at the Bow Tie Cinemas Theater on the first Friday and Saturday of each month. They occasionally take the stage at other venues around town as well. More info is on their Facebook page, at RockyHorrorRVA.
The Tottering Teacup
After a long day of cruising your super sweet bicycle through Carytown, doing some heavy thrifting at Diversity Thrift, and catching a movie at The Byrd Theatre, you need a break. Why not take a page from our British friends and kick back with some hot, comforting rooibos tea and a seasonally-flavored macaron? If only there was somewhere that you could do just that…
The Tottering Teacup is a tea and sandwich cafe, which is a breath of the strongest chamomile in Richmond, where coffee isn’t just king — it’s Midas incarnate. Tottering Teacup offers over forty different varieties of tea to choose from, along with seasonal selections, baked goods, and even a delicious seasonal lemonade (which is an absolute must, even for this writer, who is adamantly against sugary drinks).
With very, very inexpensive pricing, you can genuinely go through and try every flavor of tea if you ever wanted to. With free wifi and the option to have a large endless teapot (for $14, which is still very inexpensive), you can also stay from open to close and knock out most of your summer reading list.
Something you’ll immediately notice upon entry is that the staff consists of the friendliest, kindest people in the entire city. Another thing that is hard to miss when you walk in is that the Tottering Teacup is filled wall to wall with Pride. Literally.
Most of the decor in the shop represents Pride in some facet; whether it’s the traditional LGBTQ rainbow, the transgender flag, or even the bisexual flag, almost every section of the community is represented. The Tottering Teacup isn’t just a wholesome place to relax when it hits upwards of ninety-odd degrees in the middle of July. It’s also somewhere for members of the LGBTQ community to feel safe and protected — even if they’re not out to friends or family yet. The Tottering Teacup wants you to remember there is always a cup of tea brewing for you here.
Another great thing that makes this little-tea-shop-that-could so important to our city is that they bake Pride-themed macarons every year, with proceeds going to Richmond LGBTQ youth advocacy organization, Side By Side.
It may look like a small gesture, but it’s yet another important reason why the Tottering Teacup is valuable to our community. The Tottering Teacup is that friend in the city, taking a moment to remind you that you are safe, you are valued, and you are important. And also serving you a hot cup of your favorite tea and a macaron. What a perfect combination.
The Tottering Teacup is in Carytown at 3222 W Cary St, and is open Tuesday through Sunday. For hours and further information, you can check their website at thetotteringteacup.com.
Stonewall Sports League
After a beautiful week of walking around Byrd Park, catching a game at The Diamond, and discovering a new favorite tea at The Tottering Teacup, maybe you want to have fun in a different way… a more active way. Why not try getting involved with a sport or activity through the Stonewall Sports league?
Stonewall Sports was originally founded in 2010; its Richmond chapter formed in the Fall of 2017. Stonewall Sports Richmond is still very new, but is already making strides in the community. As a nonprofit sports league for Richmond’s LGBTQ community, Stonewall raises funds for other nonprofit organizations in the area, while also providing a safe and inclusive place for members of the community to be active and have fun outside.
Stonewall wants you to join in, regardless of your level of expertise. Whether you’re a career athlete or have the kicking skills of Charlie Brown, they just want you to come and have fun with your friends. A variety of sports are offered, including dodgeball, kickball,volleyball and more, and there is something for everyone’s interest and skill set.
Leagues are broken up into six-to-eight-week seasons, including playoffs, which allow for plenty of opportunities to compete with different folks, and occasionally switch it up. Maybe you’re getting burnt out on volleyball? After the current season is over, you can learn if dodgeball is, in fact, your true calling.
For more information on Stonewall Sports Richmond, and how to sign up or when to see a game, visit their website.
This summer, get out there and be entertained. Enjoy a macaron and a spot of tea, and get in a good round of kickball if you can. There is so much to do in this beautiful summer of Pride that you won’t even remember to binge-watch The Office for the twelth time on Netflix. That can wait until October. Pinky swear.