Angie Zapata would have turned 21 yesterday. She died in July 2008, a little more than two years shy of that milestone, at the hands of a man who claimed he "snapped" when he realized that Zapata, a striking Latina beauty, was biologically male.
Angie's friends and family didn't want her 21st birthday to go uncelebrated. So tomorrow, they're throwing her a birthday party at Chique nightclub, 940 Lincoln Street, that doubles as a fundraiser for the fledgling Angie Zapata Scholarship Fund.
"It's a big deal when you turn 21," says Leo "Sable" Corona, a close friend of Angie's older brother Gonzalo. "Angie was looking forward to having her first drink. To be legal and go into a bar and say, 'I've turned 21 and now I can do this.' It was a big deal to her."
Sable only met Angie once, but after hearing Angie's family talk about how excited Angie was for her 21st birthday, Sable decided to take the ball and run with it. "I was like, why don't we remember her in a big way?" Sable says.
Sable is the reigning Miss Rocky Mountain Shining Star, which is an annual drag pageant. For Saturday's party, Sable has rounded up other pageant titleholders, including Miss Gay Latin Colorado and Mr. Majestic Hearts, to participate in a drag show at Chique. Friends say Angie dreamed of competing in drag pageants herself.
The party will also feature a screening of a rough cut of Photos of Angie, a documentary by local filmmaker Alan Dominguez. Dominguez has been hard at work on the documentary for almost two years now and is close to being finished. But he's still missing one critical piece: footage from the trial of Angie's killer, Allen Andrade, which was covered by several major media outlets. He's currently raising money to buy two minutes of that footage from CNN -- at the low, low price of $1,200 a minute.
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"Whatever you can give us would help tremendously (five or ten bucks is closer than where we started -- I really mean that)," Dominguez wrote in an e-mail to supporters last week. Donations can be made via the Photos of Angie Facebook page or through Just Media, a local nonprofit that backs social justice media projects.
See a rough cut of the film below. Saturday's party starts at 6 p.m. and is free. Anyone older than 18 is welcome, although you must be 21 to drink. If you do, toast to Angie.