December 16, 2020
Our Favorite LGBTQ Virtual Experiences to Gift This Holiday Season
Kelsy Chauvin READ TIME: 4 MIN.
Being "home for the holidays" has a new meaning this year, now that the pandemic has us hunkering down instead of gearing up for travel. Most of us will spend the season in our own homes, missing IRL quality time with our families and friends.
But with this new reality comes a fun take on gift-giving: the gift of virtually gathering. Digital experiences are turning our computer screens into portals for all sorts of holiday reunions, group workshops, live entertainment and delightful tours. Here's a rundown of a few faves tilted toward LGBTQ interests.
Broadway Plus VIP Experiences
Giving a potentially life-altering present to your favorite person might be the best thing you can do in 2020. You can even gift a fantastic experience and support a Broadway-caliber artist. Broadway Plus offers meet-and-greets, vocal and acting coaching, concerts, and other VIP virtual events with high-octane theater stars from Tony-winning shows, including "Moulin Rouge!," "Mean Girls," "The Book of Mormon," "Kinky Boots" and more.
LGBTQ community members will love getting a dance lesson from Michael James Scott, learning audition tips from Stephen Christopher Anthony, or digitally meeting stars like Jenn Colella, Telly Leung, or Julius Thomas III. Prices start at $55 for a video shoutout or snag a PlusPass subscription of special weekly events, such as a "Hamilton" dance class and Q&A, or the Rockettes holiday workshop. Gifting is easy upon checkout, with the option to add another guest (like you?) for $30 for most sessions.
Oscar Wilde Tours: Zooming through Queer Culture
Maybe we can't hit New York City's West Village for drinking and dancing right now, but we can keep learning about queer history, art, and life.
Oscar Wilde Tours is hosting the colorful Zooming Through Queer Culture series of live, online tours and lectures by top guides and experts in New York, London, Paris, Berlin and beyond. (You can also purchase recorded past events.) Tickets are $10 per person, and you can reserve spots for other guests by simply entering their names and emails upon checkout.
For a company built on in-person travel, Airbnb is rocking the virtual world these days with Airbnb Experiences. It even launched an LGBTQ series of them last Pride season in partnership with IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association.
The program has continued through the year, with international hosts leading fun group experiences perfect for gift giving. Don't miss the chance to learn sangria making from Portuguese drag queens, dive into gin drinks with a splash of gender theory, discover what gay life in Russia is like, or explore the Stonewall Museum's dazzling archives. Prices start at $10 per person, and when purchasing, just click "gift this experience" to share with another person – or gather your gang to plan a private group date.
Nightclub New York
You don't have to be a New Yorker to love live music and comedy performances, and now you can share them with loved ones anywhere in the world. With the newly launched Nightclub New York, Manhattan-style cabaret experiences are available virtually to support immensely talented (but currently underemployed) nightclub stars.
Producer and host Scott Siegel opened this "nightclub" in November as a monthly subscription service, inviting exclusive access to live shows by award-winning vocalists (and LGBTQ community familiars) including Brad Oscar, Walter Willison, Bob Stillman, Bill Daugherty and dozens more. Expect to find never-before-published footage of beloved performers belting musical-theater standards, sampling musical genres, and showcasing Broadway's best showtunes. Founding members can sign up now for $50 per month, which makes for a holiday gift worth a standing ovation.
LGBTQ Community Events on Eventbrite
Most of us know Eventbrite as a utility service for buying tickets and reserving seats. But browsing through the platform, you'll find an impressive array of LGBTQ-oriented virtual gatherings, many of them inexpensive, free or open with a suggested donation. The weeks ahead will bring an LGBTQ filmmaking workshop, LGBTQ women and femme happy hour, Queer as Kin poetry workshop and much more.
It's easy to gift events by clicking through the registration steps by inserting a guest's name and email. Some are for private sessions, but many are made for virtual groups – an excellent way to share the gift of gathering with your favorite people.
Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.