After the organizers of the Denver Dark Arts Festival decided to close up shop a few years ago, Brent Heinze saw an opportunity.
"The team that did it before haven't put the Denver Dark Arts Festival on in seven years; it got to be just a pain in their ass," says Heinze. "They kind of got over it, and no one had picked it up.... I organized last year's Exile Fetish Ball, and I thought, okay, I can obviously pull people together, so let's do it and see what the interest is like."
Turns out the community interested in a gothic gathering of this kind was more vibrant and involved than ever, and so this Sunday, April 28, Tracks, Colorado Dark Expo: CoDE-13 will rise from the ashes as a singular, twelve-hour benefit and fest of art, music, performance and more.
"It really started out as a way to get all of these people who did artistic things that were more on the darker side together -- kind of spooky, gothic, industrial, really flamboyant" types, says Heinze of both the expo's performers and its audience. Past events have been about music and DJs and vendors selling corsets and jewelry, he explains, and while those will be a big part of CoDE-13, Heinze hopes to bring more attention to the visual arts and the fundraising aspect. Live art and body painting will take place throughout the day-to-evening gathering, he notes, and there will be art for purchase and wearable items.
Another difference between CoDE-13 and Dark Arts events of the past is the time frame: Rather than resurrect the three-night format, Heinze decided to cut his event down to a single day, from noon to midnight on Sunday. Throughout that period, CoDE-13 will be raising funds for four nonprofits that help gay and homeless youth: Urban Peak, Rainbow Alley, Inside Out Youth Services and Denver PIQUE.
Heinze is a longtime organizer of similar GLBTQ-focused benefits, and this event will officially launch his Lokusdor Productions, which will work to provide support and advocacy for communities in need. "It's a way to do activism and fundraising without having to go and beg people for money," Heinze explains. "They are attending a show and having a good time, but the money is going to a good cause." Heinze's 2012 Exile Fetish Ball raised close to $8,000, and he hopes CoDE-13 will see the same success.
CoDE-13 will be split into two portions: the first, from noon to 9 p.m., will focus on bands, vendors and live, art-driven performances. From 9 p.m. on, the fest will become a massive dance party with DJs Gustavo, Ritual, Starr and more. Local singer Runae Moon will give a first-ever live performance; there will also be sets from such seasoned acts as Fiction 8 and the Siren Project. Other performers set for the event include Savage Faction, Faded Freakshow and Dangerous Theater; Slave 1 Designs, La Muerte Apparel, Cerrious Design and many other local retailers will have apparel and accessories for sale.
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The Colorado Dark Expo: CoDE-13 opens at noon this Sunday, April 28, at Tracks. The event is 18 and up; tickets are $10 to $20. For tickets and mre information, including a complete list of participants and vendors, visit the CoDE-13 website.