The Shoe Must Go On

Catherine O’Neill Thorn, the Westword Mastermind behind Art From Ashes, a local poetry program for at-risk youth, couldn’t believe that Denver wasn’t the first city to host a Running of the Gays. Turns out there have been similar events in settings as far away as Australia and as close (and unlikely) as Salt Lake City. But Denver’s first-ever Running of the Gays — a three-block “marathon” along 17th Avenue for men in heels — should still be on point.

The idea for the run got its start when Thorn was talking with her friend Noelle Benjamin, of Salon Noelle, about what they could do to raise money for the Rainbow Alley kids at Denver’s new LGBTQ Center. “They want our program, but they don’t have any money,” Thorn says, “so Noelle’s friend Ed said, ‘Let’s get the gays to do something.’” Then somehow they started thinking about Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, which led to sending gay guys running down the street in heels.

But getting the street closed off was too expensive, so participants will actually gather on the sidewalk in front of Steuben’s, 523 East 17th Avenue, where the run will start at 11 a.m. today. They’ll head east — running past Hamburger Mary’s, where a gaggle of gals will offer runners relief via water pistols and Red Bull — and minutes later wind up at JR’s, 777 East 17th, for a party.

Ready to teeter? The three participating venues will be offering menu and drink specials all day; get the details at www.artfromashes.org/events.html.
Sun., Sept. 26, 11 a.m., 2010

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd