Shine up your spurs, dust off your chaps and pick out your best pair of tight Wranglers because Gay West is this weekend.
Festivities for Saturday’s gay pride event at Old Tucson include a drag show by Lipstick and Lashes, live music, dancing, food, stunt shows and Grammy winner Thelma Houston performing “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” Houston is also being awarded the Gay West Humanitarian Award for her involvement with AIDS organizations throughout the nation.
“This is the ninth year we’ve hosted the event, but we didn’t have it for a few years because of negotiations with the county. It was last year when we decided to bring it back,” says Gilbert Laroque, director of sales for Old Tucson.
Despite the potential backlash, Old Tucson continues to support the event.
“It’s not part of our daily park. During the day we are family oriented and friendly,” Laroque says. “And at Gay West, we do support the family no matter who the family is. At night we do get a little more adult- oriented.”
Wingspan, Southern Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center, is also co-hosting the event. Programs offered by that nonprofit organization include support services to victims of domestic violence, health information and senior programs. The group also works to erase homophobia and other forms of prejudice and discrimination.
“They offer great programs. We like to support nonprofit organizations,” Laroque says. “It’s also held during national (gay) pride week, so there’s a lot of great stuff at the Loft. There are cool things going on all over the place during the week and we are proud to be part of it.”
IF YOU GO
What: Gay West
When: 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday
Where: Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Road
Price: $16 advance; $19 day of show
Info: 883-0100, www.oldtucson.com, 624-1779, www.wingspan.org