The first Pride was a riot. And there’s a reason gay pride parades all over the country are held at this time in the summer; it’s to commemorate the breaking point in this movement that was the Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969 (although these days that legacy is hard to discern in the crush of corporate appropriation and political piggybacking.)
This Saturday, honor the real roots of pride by leaving Colorado Springs PrideFest at America the Beautiful Park at 4 p.m. to join the 2nd Annual People's March — a noisy public demonstration culminating at the Pioneers Museum downtown. From there, head over to Cottonwood Arts Center — or, more precisely, the alleyway on the south side of the Cottonwood building — to find a pop-up party in the subversive spirit that always has, and will, animate the liberatory vanguard of the LGBTQ community.
“I don’t only want queer spaces that are either like clinical case management or endless happy hours,” says organizer Adison Petti with the Colorado Springs Queer Collective. “Queer politics has always been about questioning capitalism and challenging our engagement with the police. So we’re trying to take the lead on place-making. It’s an opportunity for everyone to come imagine — in a really big, radical way — how we can transform our community to elevate queer voices in their natural environment.”
Entertainment for the evening includes alleyway decorating, food truck grazing and pretty much any activity attendees feel inclined to take up. Festivities will migrate to Studio A64 during the later hours for a knockout lineup of musical and spoken word performances.
And though “The Rainbow Show” is just one night on the calendar, Petti makes clear his intention to hold the space as a permanent fixture.
“Somehow asking Jon [Khoury of Cottonwood Arts Center] if I could have a little dance party after pride turned into me sending him a proposal for an urban intervention project that I didn’t know had already been in the works,” he says.