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Queer Circus Reflections

We held our first Queer Circus event as part of this Pride Month and it was a total hit. Here we share some reflections from the co-organizers, Ren Q. Dawe and Aimee Herman.

Organizers Aimee Herman (they) and Ren Q. Dawe (he)

From Ren Q. Dawe"Originally, when Aimee and I sat down for a coffee in late February, we were mainly there catch up and bemoan the lack of opportunity for LGBTQIA+ performers in the county and in general. Somewhere along the way, we figured, why don’t we make the space ourselves? “Build it and they will come,” Aimee told me. With a few performer’s numbers, a general run-of-show draft for a “queer circus”, and a hip new venue in town, we thought we could pull it off. Little did we expect a sold out show, nearly 200 attendees, and such an uproarious night of entertainment showcasing queer voices, queer bodies, and queer stories.

What started out as a small showcase of performers turned into the hottest LGBTQ+ variety show in the area, thanks to sponsorship from Out Boulder County and Junkyard Social Club. The night consisted of comedy, burlesque, performance art, poetry, live painting, and a rock band—all for a $15 ticket.

Though we originally set out to create a safe and fun space for queer performers, Aimee and I soon realized the event had become an artistic beacon for creatives all over the Front Range. Performers and attendees alike commented on the feelings of safety, community, joy and inclusion throughout the evening. The response was overwhelming, and I think Aimee and I were both deeply grateful to have been able to bring this kind of event to fruition.

In reflecting on the QUEER CIRCUS experience, I am so grateful to have gotten to collaborate with such wonderful, creative people and to have gotten to entertain our community in such an amazing venue. Getting to perform as myself, outside, in an adult play park, to a sold-out house was absolutely a dream come true. We hope to grow this event and continue to celebrate queer performers, local talent, and each other.”

From Aimee Herman

Lately, I practice my mathematics by counting rainbow flags. It used to only be the month of June, but now, in some places, the rainbows remain throughout the year. June is special, though, as we know. It is a compilation of weeks reveling in who we are, remembering why we are here, growing louder, climbing out of our clothes and getting a bit wilder.

I felt this wildness at Queer Circus at Junkyard Social Club this past Friday. I saw folks in colorful capes, hair the color of every crayon, costumes and smiles and a word I rarely use: joy. We can spend every day recounting the injustices—and we must not forget—but we also need to remember the beauty of being gay, the music of it, the illuminating circus we are all a part of. Co-creating this event with Ren felt empowering. Their energy and curiosity inspired me throughout this process as we got closer and closer to the event.

Our community is full of poets, comedians, performance artists, dancers. Queer Circus embodied this. We are filling up libraries with our stories; we are reminding everyone around us the importance of our existence.

The evening ended with the music of TransRomantics. I watched as bodies grew electrified by their sound and by the joy in Carlisle (the lead singer’s ) voice.Queer Circus was pure joy. The soundtrack included laughter, awe, inspiration and seduction. We celebrated folks of different identities, bringing to life the magnificence of our community. I left that night wanting to write poems, wanting to learn how to do a handstand push-up, wanting to dance until the moon went to sleep.


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