Photos: Drag queens and fashionistas at the Apocalyptic Ball

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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.

See also: Photos: Hotrods and horsepower at the Denver Automotive and Diesel Center

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Photos: The rainbow colors of Denver PrideFest

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In 2014, the members of Denver's LGBTQ community have a lot to celebrate. But their political struggles aren't over, either. And that's what Denver PrideFest was all about this past weekend: a blend of celebrating and raising voices toward an improved future. Thousands gathered in Civic Center Park and marched up Colfax Avenue, letting it all hang out as their rainbow flags flew; photographer Ken Hamblin brought back these shots from the festivities.

See also: The people of Westword Music Showcase 2014


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Ten must-attend 2014 PrideFest events in Denver

Categories: GLBTQ

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Courtesy of The Center
Denver's PrideFest is the third largest LGBTQ pride celebration in the United States.
PrideFest is back, and the LGBTQ community is prepping to hit the streets where booze flows, bodies grind, rainbow flags wave and skin burns under the sun. While there are the usual liquor drenched festivities, thumping dance parties and ample opportunities to cruise, there are less debaucherous options as well, including kickball tournaments, races and kids' parades. Whatever your tastes, below are ten of the best offerings from this year's Pride.

See also: Queer undocumented artist Julio Salgado speaks out

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Broadway composer Andrew Lippa on I am Harvey Milk

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Courtesy of Denver Gay Men's Chorus
Denver Gay Men's Chorus rehearses for Andrew Lippa's I Am Harvey Milk.
California's first openly gay elected politician, Harvey Milk, was a feisty camera-shop owner turned political activist. He fought homophobia, commanded LGBTQ people to "come out," and struggled to build coalitions between oppressed communities. When fellow San Francisco city supervisor Dan White gunned him down in 1978, Milk became a martyr for the gay-rights movement. In advance of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus' performance of I Am Harvey Milk on June 8 in Fort Collins and June 12 in Denver, Westword spoke with critically acclaimed composer Andrew Lippa about the piece.

See also: Mike McNamara on quilting, AIDS and imperfection

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Yoruba Richen talks about the black church, civil rights and gay marriage

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The New Black
Yoruba Richen's The New Black chronicles conversations about gay marriage equality in the African American community.
In 2008, The Advocate published "Is Gay the New Black?," an article comparing the gay rights struggle to the civil rights movement. The story unleashed a fury of critique: How could people compare the fight for gay marriage to the abolition of Jim Crow and segregation? But as a string of marriage-equality initiatives failed, many white, mainstream LGBT activists blamed the black community, erasing the experiences of LGBT African-American activists. Yoruba Richen experienced these conflicts on the front lines of the marriage-equality debate, which led her to direct the documentary The New Black, which will be screening Tuesday night at the SIE FilmCenter. In advance of that showing, Westword spoke with Richen about her film.

See also: The New Black and other docs ask, "Why has black been made the face of homophobia?"


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Cheesman Park: Haunted by fun (and angry ghosts, probably)

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Our cover story this week, Alan Prendergast's "Party in the Park," looks at how Denver's park rangers are gearing up for a busy summer season. In response, Westword writers are weighing in with appraisals of their own favorite Denver parks, continuing with Byron Graham's tribute to Cheesman Park.

Denver's park-going residents have long enjoyed wiling away temperate afternoons sunning themselves on the gently sloping hills of Cheesman Park. Whether you're strolling through the park's neoclassical pavilion, enjoying the view of the distant cityscape over the treetops, or happening upon an especially festive Quinceañera, you'll always find good times in Cheesman Park -- along with the occasional human skull.

See also: City Park: A stroll in the heart of Denver

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

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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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Mike McNamara on quilting, AIDS and imperfection

Categories: Crafts, GLBTQ

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Mike McNamara
Quilter Mike "Mac" McNamara prides himself on his emotionally evocative and often asymmetrical quilts.
The modern quilt world's obsession with straight lines and symmetry rubs quilter Mike "Mac" McNamara the wrong way; he never cared for prescribed patterns. His emotionally evocative quilts reflect on life's biggest issues: desire, grief, politics and childlike wonder. Often as humorous as they are critical, his quilts are gifts of love for another person. McNamara's cartoonish, homoerotic quilt "Stand Back--He's Mine!" is currently on display at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum; Westword recently spoke with McNamara about his life as a quilter.

See also: David Charity addresses hunger, human trafficking and other social issues through quilts

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Photos: The Gayest Oscar Party Ever

Categories: GLBTQ, Photos

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All photos by Brandon Marshall
Hollywood's elite weren't the only ones all dolled up last night. Guests got plenty gussied up for the "Gayest Oscar Party Ever," held at Hamburger Mary's during the Academy Awards ceremony. The event benefited Off-Center, and featured a rainbow carpet, a gown contest and more. And photographer Brandon Marshall was there to capture all the action.

See also: Photos: People of Animeland Wasabi 2014

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Johnny Minotaur restored: Queer cinema, censorship and Denver Film Society's bravery

Categories: Film and TV, GLBTQ

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Filmmaker MM Serra is executive director of the New American Cinema Group.
Johnny Minotaur, surrealist poet and artist Charles Henri Ford's 1971 film, is a lyrical explosion of taboos: Incest, man-boy love and power dynamics, pansexuality and autoeroticism are just a few of the issues he grapples with. After the film was lost for two decades, the New American Cinema Group worked to restore Johnny Minotaur and resuscitated this classic piece of forgotten, queer cinema that belongs next to the films of Kenneth Anger, Derek Jarman and Jean Genet. When the Denver Film Society boldly opted to premiere the restored print this month at the Sie FilmCenter, the organization took a curatorial risk that New York's art world had shied away from, says MM Serra, executive director of the New American Cinema Group. And in the process, DFS's programming team set an important precedent that helped encourage Anthology Film Archives to host the New York City premiere of the restored version of this historically significant, yet forgotten film. Westword recently spoke with Serra about the screening at the SIE FilmCenter, censorship and the future of Johnny Minotaur.

See also: MM Serra on whether Johnny Minotaur is art or obscene teen-exploitation


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