The “Drag Hike” to Arches National Park's Windows section is one of the highlights of Moab Gay Adventure Week. [Courtesy photo]

“Spit Love,” a queer poetry slam performance, will officially kick off this year’s Moab Pride Festival, which runs from Thursday, Sept. 29, through Saturday, Oct.1.

Award-winning Filipino queer slam poetry artist Regie Cabico will co-host the poetry performance on Sept. 29, along with Moab resident Cali Bulmash. The event will be held at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North, at 7 p.m.

Earlier that afternoon, at 3 p.m., Cabico will teach a workshop on the theatrical, performance-style poetry.

A former Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam Champion, Cabico has won top prizes in several poetry slam competitions, published work in more than 30 anthologies and co-edited “Flicker & Spark: A Contemporary Anthology of Queer Poetry and Spoken Word.”

Unlike typical poetry readings, poetry slams are timed competitions in which judges are chosen randomly from the audience, Bulmash said. Poetry slams have helped create audiences for poets because spectators love the tension and excitement associated with competitions, she said.

Poets from Moab and around the Four Corners region are invited to come recite their poems for the chance to win $600 in prize money. A $5 to $10 donation is requested at the door.

Cellist Katherine Haig will perform during intermission.

“She’s amazing,” Bulmash said. “Poetry slams can be heavy – people are opening up their heart; telling their stories. The cello flosses your emotions.”

The sixth annual Moab Pride Festival coincides with Moab Gay Adventure Week, a week of LGBT-friendly adventures and outdoor activities that runs from Sunday, Sept. 25, through Friday, Sept. 30.

This year, there’s a masquerade meet-and-greet at the Atomic Lounge, 1393 N. U.S. Highway 191, on Monday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m., followed by several days of music, parties, a movie and bowling tournament at The Alley, Gravel Pit Lanes, 1078 Mill Creek Drive, and a visibility march on Saturday, Oct. 1.

On “Fat Tuesday,” Sept. 27 – think Mardi Gras – bring your beads and come listen to live music at The Blu Pig, 811 S. Main St., starting at 6 p.m.

The bowling tournament and movie night featuring “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. at Gravel Pit Lanes. The cost is $5 at the door.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Disco Fever will follow the Queer Poetry Slam. It’s an evening of dancing and bowling at Gravel Pit Lanes. DJ Marty Funkhauser will provide music for the event, which starts at 9:30 p.m. The cost is $5 at the door.

Dress up in your orange-colored clothing for the Orange Party on Friday, Sept. 30, at 9 p.m. at Club Rio, 2 S. 100 West. Diva Danielle and DJ Dan will spin tunes for this occasion. The cost is $15 at the door.

In a show of solidarity and acceptance, the community is invited to join in the Visibility March and Pride Ride on Saturday, Oct. 1, at noon. Participants will meet at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center, 156 N. 100 West.

Following the march, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. the festival continues outside the multicultural center, with vendors, food trucks, a beer garden and music by Slim Pickins, the Fiery Furnace Marching Band, Elytra, Seha Freedom, Cali Bee and others.

Later, at 9 p.m. at Club Rio, there will be music by DWBFunk, Mike Balance and a drag performance by GRRL 2 Men and Company. Cost is $15 at the door.

The Moab Pride Festival’s mission is to raise money for subsequent pride festivals, as well as someday develop a resource center that would provide information for Moab residents, and people from surrounding communities.

Sometimes when a person comes out as being gay or lesbian, or identifies as a different gender, their families experience shock, despair or frustration, Moab Pride Festival organizer Zac Alexander said.

“It takes some people years to come out to their families,” he said. “If there are no resources, they just stay ‘in’ and suffer in silence. We want a safe place for people to get help or information … While Moab is probably the most diverse and accepting community in southern Utah, there is still a long way to go for the LGBTQ community to become truly equal. Educating our communities on a daily basis by having a physical space and presence will help us achieve equality, acceptance and understanding. We must accept others and love them even if we do not understand them.”

The Moab Pride Festival “is one weekend that we elevate and uplift and put a spotlight on queer voices,” Bulmash said.

What: Moab Pride Festival

When: Thursday, Sept. 29, through Saturday, Oct. 1

Where: Various locations

Cost: Varies


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Gay pride events include poetry slam, LGBT-friendly adventures and Oct. 1 parade