The Laramie Project
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m., no show on July 14, Springs Ensemble Theatre, 1903 Cache La Poudre St., $15, springsensembletheatre.org
‘Look, I do think that, um, the media actually made people accountable. Because they made people think. Because people were sitting in their homes, like watching TV and listening to CNN and watching Dan Rather and going, ‘Jesus Christ, well, that’s not how it is here.’ Well, how is it here?”
In 1998, a young man named Matthew Shepard was beaten and left for dead, tied to a fencepost in rural Laramie, Wyoming. It was one of the first homophobic hate crimes to really make waves in the U.S., to wake people up to the kinds of attacks that were happening to LGBTQ people in their own backyards.
Maybe so much attention focused on this crime because Matthew was only 21, a handsome kid with his whole life ahead of him. Maybe it was because his parents became activists and refused to let the story die. Whatever the reasons, Matthew’s murder started a national conversation, and much of it focused on Laramie and communities like it.
The above quote comes from a character named Tiffany Edwards in The Laramie Project, a docudrama created by Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project out of New York City. Her voice as a local reporter, and the voices of more than 50 other Laramie residents, come together in a powerful piece of theater that seeks to paint a portrait of a town.
It’s a town where something terrible happened, but does that make its residents terrible? Do these people feel responsibility for Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, the two of their own who committed the crime? After conducting hundreds of interviews, the Tectonic Theater Project answers these questions, and attempts to answer the question posed by Tiffany Edwards: “Well, how is it here?”
Since its premiere in 2000, The Laramie Project has been produced in hundreds of communities of all sizes and political and religious sensibilities, both in the U.S. and internationally. It has drawn protests and controversy, but mostly it has helped share the story not only of Matthew Shepard himself, but of the place where he died.
Produced locally by the ever-thoughtful Springs Ensemble Theatre, The Laramie Project features eight powerhouse actors playing more than 50 roles. Join them for opening night, an official part of Colorado Springs PrideFest, or stick around for talkbacks on July 13 and 21.
If you’d rather reflect on Shepard’s death on your own, it may be worth asking yourself and your community that poignant question: How is it here, really?
7th Annual Tour de SRAM
July 11, 5-8 p.m., SRAM, 980 Elkton Drive, $10-$200, worldbicyclerelief.org/tourdesram
Last year, SRAM Colorado Springs, a bicycle component manufacturer, raised more than $11,000 for World Bicycle Relief through a fundraiser that has become a favorite community event. The annual Tour de SRAM is part street festival (with food trucks, local beer, live music and more) and part exclusive tour of the SRAM facility — a must-see for bike nerds. Donations go toward providing bikes to folks in rural Africa, where easier transportation can make a world of difference.
Rich Wojdula Exhibit
Opening July 12, 5-8 p.m., on display through Aug. 17, G44 Gallery, 1785 S. Eighth Street, Suite A, g44gallery.com
Colorado-based artist Rich Wojdula is a true renaissance man. For nearly 50 years, he has dabbled in and excelled at all manner of mediums, from drawing and painting to ceramics. He’s focused on his paintings to great success, channeling Abstract Expressionists to create works improvisational in execution and emotional in impact and expression. Catch a showcase of his recent neo-expressionist works at G44, and shake his hand at tonight’s opening reception.
Opening July 13, 5-9 p.m., on display through Aug. 9, GOCA 121, 121 S. Tejon St., #100, galleryuccs.org
Some of our favorite local artists come together in this tour de force exhibition: Jasmine Dillavou, JD Sell and Su Kaiden Cho. Combining their unique styles to create a thoughtful installation, the artists have worked with the Galleries of Contemporary Art and Ephemera Dinners in what Dillavou calls “the mashup of the summer.” At tonight’s opening, enjoy a performance at 7 p.m. to activate the exhibit, but be sure to come back for some of the exhibit’s other special events. Ephemera will host a dinner with food pairings inspired by the artwork on July 22, and there will be artist talks and live music at August’s First Friday and the closing party on Aug. 9.
Colorado Springs PrideFest
July 13-14, parade on July 14 at 11 a.m., America the Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive, $5, cospridefest.com
We’ve been working up to it throughout Pride Month in June, and finally the time has arrived! Our local PrideFest brings the LGBTQ and allied community together for part party, part protest and part parade, with a whole festival full of folks who love and support you — exactly as you are. Check out drag performances by national stars like Jade Jolie and Pork Chop, plus live music, drag story time, vendors and more. Consult the website for other connected events and a full schedule of exciting entertainment. This year’s theme: Rise Up! Remembering 50 years of Stonewall.