Islanders can show their pride and solidarity at “True Colors: A Showcase of Songs Celebrating Diversity,” at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Open Space for Arts & Community.
The event will feature 30 LGBTQ artists and allies in bands, ensembles and solo acts, performing iconic anthems by the likes of Lady Gaga, Melissa Ethridge, Cole Porter, k.d. lang, Queen, The Smiths, Little Richard, Billy Strayhorn, Elton John, Hozier, Cyndi Lauper and more.
In addition to the music, “True Colors” will also include readings, poetry and theatrical performances.
The showcase is being presented by Vashon Events in conjunction with “In and Out: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island,” an exhibit that drew approximately 600 people to its June opening at the Vashon Heritage Museum. Another prideful event — a concert by lesbian music icons Jami Sieber, Ferron and Cris Williamson — also sold out at Open Space in August.
But according to Allison Shirk, co-founder of Vashon Events, Friday’s showcase will offer something new and needed on Vashon.
“Vashon has a vibrant LGBTQ community, but those members are disproportionately represented in the number of performing musicians,” Shirk said. “Music is such an important form of expression both on the individual level and as a voice for community — we need more diversity among our performing musicians, and we need to hear their voices, too.”
Shirk said that she was delighted that “True Colors” will include bows by a handful of LGBTQ performers who have never before performed in public.
One of these, she said, is Leila Khatapoush, who recently posted on Facebook that she was “coming out … as a performer.”
Khatapoush will perform an original rap song, which she rehearsed on instruments and gear borrowed from Vashon Events’ music instrument library.
Shirk said she was also excited to see performances by Angela Loudon and Chris Peloquin, who are known for their star turns on island karaoke stages, as they perform their first songs with a full live band, Shirk said.
The roster of performers for “True Colors” also includes such names as Jacob Bain, Stephen Silha, Chris Boscia, Peter Serko, Andy James, Rebecca Kuzma, Randy Marinez, Martin Feveyear, Michael Whitmore, Jennifer Still and Tony Mann, among others. Shirk will take on her familiar role as emcee of the showcase and also perform music.
Pete Welch, who co-founded Vashon Events with Shirk, said that the nonprofit’s frequent music showcases are always special occasions.
“Musicians join up into new ensembles and perform with friends they have never shared the stage with,” Welch said. “They stretch themselves to either learn the songs exactly as recorded or present the song in a completely new way.”
The event is billed as family-friendly, with a bar stocked with nonalcoholic beverages as well as beer and wine. Aeggie’s food truck will be there to provide food for those coming to the show straight from work. A silent auction will take place at the top of the evening.
Proceeds from “True Colors” will go to support Vashon Events and its work in promoting and producing music events on the island, as well as supporting musicians through access to instruments, education, resources and opportunities for paid performance. Vashon Events curates major music stages including Strawberry Festival and Summer Concerts in the Park, and also maintains registries of music teachers and musicians on the island.
Tickets, $10 in advance or $15 at the door, can be purchased vashonevents.org.