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7 Ways To Show Gay Pride

(before and after the parade)

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1 Although the concept of drinking isn't exactly new, two gay bars, XL and Heaven, are. We're not sure if the name of the first stands for Extra Large -- and we hope against hope it doesn't -- but we're reasonably certain John Blair, the bar's owner, hasn't caught wind of this whole "recession" thing just yet: The minimalist, South Beach-flavored décor blows "g" out of the water in the Upscale Pretensions department. As for Heaven, it's in the old storefront of the preposterously scuzzy King, but now it's yet another minimalist cocktail lounge crammed to the rafters with Aveda-slathered retail queens prancing about in drawstring clamdiggers. We salute them. (XL, 357 West 16th Street; 212-995-1400. Heaven, 579 Sixth Avenue, near 16th Street; 212-243-6100.)

2 On June 18, the New York City Gay Men's Chorus closes out its 2000-2001 season with "Diversity: A Pride Concert" at Carnegie Hall, and will be presenting dozens of songs, many with telling titles such as "Glitter and Be Gay," "Sing Out!" and, of course, "Wunderbar," which we're hoping is a gutsy, heartfelt homage to everyone's favorite East Village watering hole. For tickets, call 212-398-5888.

3 Masochism isn't as easy as it looks, and effective sadism is at least twice as difficult as learning to in-line skate. For those who want to bone up on their groveling and cudgeling, we suggest the Masters & Slaves Organization, a group that meets every fourth Sunday in the meat-packing district to discuss the complex ins and outs of all things S&M. However, this group isn't for fair-weather pain merchants; it is looking for people who want to live the lifestyle. For information, call 732-897-1835.

4 If you're too squeamish for an S&M workshop, the New York City Gay Hockey Association presents the next best thing: a ten-game ice-hockey tournament, from June 22 to 24, that promises a hodgepodge of much more socially acceptable methods of torture -- kamikaze pucks, flying hockey sticks, faces hitting ice, etc. For schedule information, call 212-252-4351.

5 As of now, we're sad to report that there are absolutely no openings available in the Big Apple Softball League -- but that could change later this summer, so keep stockpiling that chewing tobacco. And if you're at all like us, your idea of sport is heckling softball games, so call 212-726-1518 to keep ahead of upcoming events. Just try to avoid comments like "C'mon, you hit like a heterosexual!" because, well, they're just not that funny.

6 We're sure that everyone who attends the Gay and Lesbian Community Center's life-drawing class comes to hone his or her craft, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the opportunity to ogle a nude model for a few hours. For information, call 201-945-5134.

7 When it came to naming his summer music festival, Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant made a cryptic choice with Wotapalava (apparently that's fussy English slang for "What a fuss about nothing") -- but excited ticket-holders have already taken to calling the event "Sodopalooza," which does have a nice ring to it. The first "openly gay pop festival" breezes through Long Island (at Jones Beach) on July 18 for one day only, and performers range from gloom merchants like the Magnetic Fields and Sinéad O'Connor to floppy, bratty acts like Rufus Wainwright and Soft Cell -- who want it known they're not supporting Pet Shop Boys; they're headlining with them, okay? For tickets, call 631-888-9000 or visit wotapalava.com.

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