Queertopia celebrates pride through performance

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June 21, 2010 // UPDATED 3:17 pm - June 25, 2010
By: Brent Renneke
Brent Renneke

While thousands of people attend the Twin Cities Pride festival this weekend, the Bedlam Theater will also host an event that celebrates gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) culture.

Queertopia: A Cabaret Celebration of Queer Love commemorates and celebrates GLBT culture through artistic expression. In its fifth year, Queertopia features 15 performances all truly diverse in a number of ways, said Queertopia curator Jeffry Lusiak, who will also be performing.

“It was a goal of mine to try to cover as many bases as possible, not only artistically, but in expression, gender and even background,” Lusiak said.

Lusiak said the artists performing at Queertopia are people that would normally not be featured at the more mainstream events during Pride Week. “We have artists from the Twin Cities that may not be what people think of,” Lusiak said. “We are not going to be the village people.”

Performances range from one artist reflecting on her “coming out” experience to a seven-minute exploration and celebration of the word "queer." Lusiak said the performances as a whole encompass all areas of gay culture.

The theme for Queertopia this year is “celebration,” according to Lusiak, who said the performances dive deep into the word and what it means for the artists and the gay community. “I wanted everybody to think about how do we internalize the word and how do we celebrate our lives and the people around us,” Lusiak said.

Lusiak said Queertopia offers an alternative for people wanting to celebrate GLBT culture, but at the same time, do not enjoy the crowds and events at the Pride festival. “It is for people who may not want to try to fit into what Pride feels it is to be queer,” Lusiak said.

Queertopia began Thursday and will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Bedlam Theater, which Lusiak said is ideal for the kind of event Queertopia is. “It lets you have more of a party atmosphere with being able to roam in and out. It is not like a traditional performance venue,” he said.

Tickets to the performances will cost $10-$15.

For more information on Queertopia go to bedlamtheatre.org.

STREETS CLOSING SUNDAY

Many Downtown streets will be closed due to the 2010 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade, which begins at 11 a.m. along Hennepin Avenue. The following streets will be closed:

Beginning at 8 a.m.:
3rd Street South will close from Hennepin Avenue to Portland Avenue.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m.:
Hennepin Avenue will close from 3rd Street South to Spruce Place.
Traffic will be allowed to cross Hennepin Avenue at 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th and 12th streets.
Spruce Place will close from Hennepin Avenue to Yale Place.
Yale Place will close from Spruce Place to Loring Park.

These streets will reopen following the parade at about 3 p.m.