Slutwalk Denver, the annual rally, march and speak-out against rape culture, returns for an eighth year on Saturday, September 14, and organizers are kicking things off with a fundraiser Sunday, September 8: Revolution Slut-Style Now. The all-ages, Riot Grrrl-style show at the hi-dive invites the community into a safe space, where they'll learn about Slutwalk Denver and also changes in this year's event.
“In past years, we’ve been more ‘in your face’ with Slutwalk, going where the fight needs to go,” explains Becky Taha’blu, Slutwalk Denver organizer. “This year is different, and we’re taking up space and being out there, celebrating the odds even though we’re being told we shouldn’t."
One in four women in Colorado will experience an attempted or actual sexual assault, according to Slutwalk Denver, which is part of an international movement that began in 2011. “How this phenomenon started was women in Toronto asked police officers what they could do to combat rape culture and sex crimes, and they were told ‘Don’t dress like a slut’ by the police officers,” says Taha’blu.
Organizers expect this year's Slutwalk Denver to be the biggest yet, given recent media attention in the wake of the #MeToo movement as well as some changes to the setup, What began as a march and rally has been transformed into a “Slutathon,” a five-mile loop throughout Denver neighborhoods, with allied spaces offering resources to participants.
“We’re not insisting or encouraging people to do the entire walk, nor are we expecting anyone to do that,” says Naomi Sixxkiller Parnes, Slutwalk Denver organizer and co-producer of Revolution Slut-Style Now. “The whole point is to gain more ground and more visibility across more spaces in Denver.”
The route will begin at Awakening Boutique and finish at Blush & Blu for an after-party featuring Colorado Springs band Cheap Perfume, and every stop will include resources that relate back to body autonomy.
Both Slutwalk Denver and this Sunday’s event will be more intersectional, too.
“A critique of Slutwalk and of feminism in general is the lack of intersectionality,” explains Sixxkiller Parnes. “We want to be reaching more people and doing our due diligence to make sure Slutwalk Denver and this weekend’s fundraiser are more intersectional and part of an autonomous movement.”
The Riot Grrrl theme of Revolution Slut-Style Now reflects some of the directional changes. “This event is meant to bring in a new-age Riot Grrrl,” says Sixxkiller Parnes. “Hopefully people find it more intersectional for most people, but still with that, we want it to be more awesome femmes to the front and a sort of power ballad for Slut Walk.”
Sixxkiller Parnes and Kalasz worked to wrangle performers ranging from burlesque dancers to comedians for the fundraiser, and booked female pop-punk act Potty Mouth, as well. “I wanted to cast a bunch of burlesquers who don’t get cast as much for these types of acts,” Sixxkiller Parnes says. “These are super-edgy, super punk-rock performers, individuals who stand up against rape culture. The ‘not your average show is going to book you with that act’ people.”
The roster includes burlesque performers Lomi Feroz, Beatrixxx Bossypants, Grimm DeLugosi, Betsy Bootknocker, Kougar DeVille, Miss Theresa, Bailee Bandersnatch, Siouxsie Cupcakes, Rose West and the organizer herself, Siren Sixxkiller; Burlesque Kitten Salty Ce will assist all performances. Local comedians Emily Zeek, Clitter Belle, Laura Thompson and Taha’blu are also on the lineup.
“I asked a lot of my friends and performers I knew from the burlesque community who had acts that would work for the Riot Grrrl theme,” Sixxkiller Parnes says. “Everyone who said yes feels passionate about the cause, and I had a lot of performers approach me asking if they could participate as well, because they felt this was important to take a stand against rape culture.”
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Taha’blu says she hopes Revolution Slut-Style Now will be seen as approachable and accessible, referring to the fundraiser as a “collective of like minds coming together and supporting each other as a community.”
“What we’re trying to invoke is an invitation to survivors to undermine the tyranny,” she adds. “We want to reach out to anyone who identifies as a survivor or might not identify as a survivor yet, and just hold space for them. We want to allow them to be engulfed in the community and stand by them.”
Revolution Slut-Style Now starts at 7 p.m. Sunday, September 8, at the hi-dive; doors open at 6 p.m., and Potty Mouth follows the burlesque performances. Tickets to the 18 and up show are $12 and available at the fundraiser's Facebook page or the door. For more information about Slutwalk Denver on September 14, visit the Slutwalk Denver Facebook page.