There are plenty of reasons to feel pride in Phoenix — and Phoenix Pride Month (a.k.a. April) is just the tip of the iceberg.
With dozens of events celebrating the Valley's LGBTQ community, it's tough to choose between the many options. But Come As You Are is a can't-miss cultural event, running from Thursday, April 27, through Saturday, April 29.
Come As You Are originated in 2014 as a safe space established by the Urban Arts Club of Arizona State University. To host this annual event, the club has partnered with area dance organizations, arts groups like Performance in the Borderlands, social justice advocacy groups like the School of Social Transformation, and community organizations like Trans Queer Pueblo – a group advocating for the rights of undocumented LGBTQ immigrants who brought their message to the Phoenix Pride Parade on April 2.
Presented by Urban Arts Club, CAYA is a dance and theater event designed to tell the stories of transgender and other LGBTQ artists. It touches on topics including immigration, race, and gender, with events like poetry readings, live performances, workshops, dance battles, and The Lavender Ball.
"Bodies on the Line: Power and Performance" comes to Karamba Nightclub on April 27 and features a conversation and performance from activist and poet Linda LaBeija of the House of LaBeija. There will also be panels with Dr. Marlon Bailey (author of Butch Queens Up in Pumps), and the aforementioned Trans Queer Pueblo. Multidisciplinary artist Nia Witherspoon will moderate. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the 21-and-over event starts at 6:30. Register for free on the Eventbrite page.
"The purpose of the community dialogue is to be a space to share performances and exchange ideas through dialogue to one, educate audiences about the cultural and social formations of movement styles such as waacking, vogue, and drag and two, deepen our understanding of intersectionality and how performance can be used to engage social impact," event organizer Marcus White says in an e-mail. He's also a faculty member at ASU's School of Film, Dance and Theatre at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
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Friday night brings a Vogue Workshop with X-Centric at The Jukebox in Mesa. It runs from 5 to 6 p.m. and costs $5.
The Lavender Ball is CAYA's final night, taking place from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at Fair Trade Café at Civic Space Park. The Come As You Are: The Lavender Ball will have guests ready to dance. Expect waacking and the fashion-pose-inspired vogueing. (Watch 1990’s Paris Is Burning to brush up on your skills.) The event also will feature vogue dance battles where you can show off your workshopped skills from the night before, dance crew performances, and fashion shows. Tickets are $8 in advance on Eventbrite, $10 at the door, and $5 for students when purchased from an Urban Arts Club member.
For more information, visit the ASU Urban Arts Club Facebook page.