Mona Lott plays Strip-Joker With Comics for Stripped Down Standup

Mona Lott at Stripped Down Standup.
Strippers and standup comedians have more in common than it would seem at first blush. Both performers take to the stage -- usually alone -- trying to evoke a reaction from an audience full of creeps they'd avoid in other circumstances. Bridging the gap between these two disparate art forms -- in much the same way that cocaine did in the '80s -- is a comedian and host of "Ball Bustin' Bingo."

Less of a Drag Queen than a Drag Empress, Mona Lott seized upon the idea of having comedians and strippers share the stage in "a game of strip poker that uses jokes instead of cards." The show, called "Stripped Down Standup" has been packing the house with crowds of over 200. The next one takes place Wednesday, December 3 at the Denver Improv. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 on the Denver Improv website.

Turn the page to hear more from Mona.

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Photos: Drag queens and fashionistas at the Apocalyptic Ball

Crowds turned out at Tracks this weekend for the fifth annual Apocalyptic Ball, a fundraiser for the Colorado AIDS Project that combines drag queens -- including RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Delta Work -- and mini-fashion shows for a good cause. Photographer Eric Gruneisen brought back these images and more of all the fun and games.

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Jordan Wieleba on stealing a copy of War of the Worlds and coming out transgender

Crystal Allen Photography
Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a bi-weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Jordan Wieleba is a comedian, musician, illustrator, GLBTQ advocate, cornerstone of Denver's comedy community and Best of Denver winner. Recently seen gracing the cover of Out Front Colorado, she also provided the illustrations for the book Sharing the Good News: A Positive Model for Coming Out as Transgender. Westword recently caught up with Wieleba to discuss helpful books for people struggling with gender identity, prescient sci-fi authors and her beloved stolen copy of War of the Worlds.

See also: Andy Thomas on Hell is in New Jersey, Etgar Keret and Shel Silverstein

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NYC designer Geoffrey Mac talks fashion, dressing Debbie Harry and his Colorado roots

Internationally renowned designer Geoffrey Mac began his career in fine art, working as a painter and photographer. Eventually shifting his discipline to fashion, he's now a couturier for famous clients like Lady Gaga, Debbie Harry and Britney Spears. The New York City-based designer will be in Denver tonight showing his brand-new Spring 2014 GMAC collection at EXDO Events Center as part of Fashion Feast 2013, a locally produced fashion show and fundraiser featuring RuPaul's Drag Race winner Sharon Needles.

In advance of the Denver debut of his accessible streetwear collection, Mac spoke with Westword about how he started, his friend and muse Needles, and his own personal connection to Colorado.

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Five things Colorado should contribute to the National LGBT Museum

Jim Wills
Hey, Nina! Can we loan your amazing headpiece to the LGBT Museum, please?
In the fall of 1998, I took my then four-year old sister to the steps of the State Capitol for a memorial gathering for Matthew Shepard, not long after his death in Wyoming. Nothing makes a vicious hate crime seem more horrific and pointless than trying to explain to a child why someone would want to brutally murder someone else simply because of sexual orientation.

Sometimes, 1998 feels like it was yesterday -- and sometimes it seems like it was forever ago. (Though the '90s pop-culture revival of the last few years is trying hard, it still looks nothing like it actually did in the '90s.) And it seems even longer ago when I look at how far we've come as a state (and a country) in terms of the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ community. There's even a move under way to create a National LGBT Museum in Washington, D.C. The organizers recently put out a call asking states to contribute artifacts to their growing collection, as they look for a permanent home for the more than 5,000 items already gathered. From my own limited scope and experience as a Colorado ally, I've compiled a short list of things I think would be good additions to this museum.

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Boulder County AIDS Project's Absolute! Fabulous! Gorgeous! benefit is a fantastic drag

From 2011's Absolute! Fabulous! Gorgeous! show.
Eight years in, the 2013 edition of Absolute! Fabulous! Gorgeous! is set to be bigger and more marvelous than ever. An annual fundraiser put on by Atlas, the service-learning arm of the Boulder County AIDS Project, Absolute! Fabulous! Gorgeous! utilizes the skills of its talented volunteer base to put on a drag show like no other.

This Saturday, August 24, at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, a dozen performers will donate their time and talents for a one-of-a-kind drag revue, with all proceeds going back to BCAP's outreach programs and case-management services.

See also:
- Briceson Ducharme on The Apocalyptic Ball and living with HIV
- How To Survive A Plague: An AIDS and GLBTQ activism film primer
- Photos: Fourth annual Apocalyptic Ball raises money for AIDS support

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Demented Divas brings its Totally Plowed drag show to the Denver County Fair

Though drag has been a part of the Denver County Fair's programming since it started in 2011, the county fair-style beauty pageant has now become a full-on production. Crowned Miss Queen of the Denver County Fair 2011 and host of last year's drag contest, Nuclia Waste will head up the Totally Plowed show at the 2013 edition. Waste will bring her glitter-bearded troupe, the Demented Divas, to the Fashion Stage this Saturday for Plowed, the fair's first full-on drag show.

See also:
- Was the Denver County Fair a success? Dana Cain weighs in
- Video: Denver Cycle Sluts drag-queen holiday show
- Best of Denver 2004: Best Radioactive Philanthropist - Nuclia Waste

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Photos: Fourth annual Apocalyptic Ball raises money for AIDS support

Dozens of drag stars, burlesque dancers, comedians and musicians from all over Denver and the nation came out for a good cause on Friday: The fourth annual Apocalyptic Ball, themed "The Awakening" this year, raised funds for local AIDS organizations. For more photos from the evening, check out our full Apocalyptic Ball: The Awakening slide show.

See also:
- Celebrate the fourth annual Apocalyptic Ball and help raise money for AIDS Walk
- Briceson Ducharme on The Apocalyptic Ball and living with HIV
- Apocalyptic Ball 3 at Exdo Event Center

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Celebrate the fourth annual Apocalyptic Ball and help raise money for AIDS Walk Colorado

Norman Dillon
Apocalyptic Ball organizer Briceson Ducharme A.K.A. Ginger Douglas

This Friday, July 12, the 2013 edition of the Apocalyptic Ball -- dubbed The Awakening -- will take over the Denver Mart. A blowout fundraiser featuring dozens of diverse performances from local and national drag stars, burlesque dancers, comedians, musicians and more, the night aims to entertain and engage a wide audience for a good cause.

Denver make-up artist and performer Briceson Ducharme -- known also by his drag moniker Ginger Douglas -- is behind the event, which donates proceeds to both the Colorado AIDS Project and AIDS Walk Colorado.

See also:
- Briceson Ducharme on The Apocalyptic Ball and living with HIV
- Photos: Scenes from Cora Vette's Technicolor Tease at Bar Standard
- How To Survive A Plague: An AIDS and GLBTQ activism film primer

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The thirteen best PrideFest 2013 events (both family-friendly and adults-only)

Emily Driskill
For more photos, visit our PrideFest 2013 slide show.
With the "Focus on the Families" theme setting the tone for this year's PrideFest, there will be celebrations all over the city this weekend. While the official focus of the all-inclusive family fun is The Center's Denver PrideFest 2013, which will be at Civic Center Park this Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16, there are many more events around town. Here are some of the best, from fantastic family-oriented gatherings to adults-only throwdowns that will last all night long.

See also:
- Five things NOT to do at Denver PrideFest
- Denver PrideFest 2013 announces headliners Taylor Dayne and Martha Wash
- Taking pride in Pride: Here's what it means to be an ally

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