Stand Up, Stand Proud

A good day to be gay

SAT 3/13

No question about it, Americans are getting more polarized about gay marriage by the day. The Bush administration, with a lot of support from the religious right, has abandoned its party's traditional support for states' rights to try to quash gay rights, and gays and lesbians are taking a stand -- at marriage chapels throughout the nation. Straights and gays alike can stick up a big middle finger, metaphorically speaking, at the anti-gay-marriage crusaders by taking part in the "blessings of committed relationships" during "Pridefest 2004" at Holiday Park (Federal Highway and NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale). The blessings, performed by ministers from the Sunshine Cathedral, are just part of the grand event. Pridefest organizers (right) have also arranged for an antique-car show, an AIDS quilt display, country-and-western dancing, free raffles, and plenty of merchandise for sale. Singers Thea Austin and Pepper MaShay take front and center at War Memorial Auditorium. Even Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch makes an appearance. How can you say no to Carol Brady? Pridefest 2004 takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 13, and Sunday, March 14. Call 954-478-4587. -- Jason Budjinski

Straight Talk

Making sense of a mad world

TUE 3/16

With U.S. involvement in the Middle East not about to end any time soon, it's good to hear the opinions of someone with a firsthand understanding of the region. Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, columnist, and author of several books, is one of the world's foremost commentators on America's role in global affairs. Whereas most pundits continue to wax redundant about whether Hussein had weapons of mass destruction without adding anything new to the conversation, Zakaria gets to the heart of the Arab mindset, offering solutions as well as criticism. Zakaria lectures at the Society of the Four Arts (2 Four Arts Plz., Palm Beach) at 3 p.m. Call 561-655-7226. -- Jason Budjinski

Irish Lit

THU 3/11

If you've tried slogging through James Joyce's Ulysses and never got past page 15, help is on the way. Joyce set his epic tale entirely on one day in Dublin because, he said, "I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city suddenly disappeared from the Earth, it could be reconstructed out of my book." Maybe this is why it's so difficult for the Gaelically challenged to figure it out. Never fear; from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, Nova Southeastern Professor Kathleen Dixon Donnelly explains it all in a lecture titled "100 Years Since James Joyce's 'Bloomsday,'" part of a series celebrating the friendship of Joyce and William Butler Yeats. But first, on Thursday, Donnelly kicks off the series with a discussion of Yeats' poetry. The final meeting, on Wednesday, March 17, features some of Joyce's more writing: a discussion of the short story The Dead. Programs take place at the Tamarac Branch Library, (8701 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac). Call 954-357-7401. -- Tomi Curtis

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