Trashion Show unites queer culture and sustainability in costumed dance party
by Jacque Garcia
The Times-Independent
Feb 22, 2018 | 827 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Meli Penfold of the Forbidden Fruits collective performs her drag routine at the Feb. 16 Trashion Show at Woody’s Tavern.   Photo by Jacque Garcia
Meli Penfold of the Forbidden Fruits collective performs her drag routine at the Feb. 16 Trashion Show at Woody’s Tavern. Photo by Jacque Garcia

​ On Friday, Feb. 16 the Resiliency Hub partnered with Moab’s LGBTQIA community to bring the Trashion Show to life — a show where attendees wore self-created and upcycled outfits for dancing, a drag show and a costume contest at Woody’s Tavern.

​ “Uniting form, function and flair, the Trashion Show invites us to reflect on the impacts of our role as consumers ... not to feel shame at what we have used, tossed aside or ‘wasted’ over the previous year, but to own our impact and explore where we can make a difference in the coming year,” said Jeremy Lynch of the Resiliency Hub. ​

Performers and attendees alike went all out in the making of their trashy costumes. Even the Forbidden Fruits, a Salt Lake City-based queer and trans performance art collective, participated in the fun.

​ “I loved the looks and I got to meet some really cool people,” said Meli Penfold, a member of Forbidden Fruits, who put on a performance during which she danced, ate a cucumber through a pair of pantyhose stretched over her head, and more. The group has performed previously in Moab at the Pride Festival in October 2017.

​ “Forbidden Fruits consists of space clowns, poets, dancers, strippers, musicians, filmmakers and all sorts of other performance artists using their art to help build up the queer and trans community here in Utah,” explained Penfold. “Every show for the Forbidden Fruits is a gay cosmic playground where anything is possible ... from the sublime to the sexy, from the whimsical to the horrifying, from the absurd to the mystical, from the otherworldly to the human.”

​ Local artist Cali Bulmash has worked in the past with Forbidden Fruits, encouraging collaboration for the growth of Moab’s queer art scene. Penfold was optimistic about the continuing relationship, saying, “We have a goal of continuing our relationship with the Moab LGBTQIA community with the intention of helping to form a local, weird and artsy drag troupe down there.” Penfold noted the inclusiveness of Moab’s small community. “The queer and trans community I’m seeing down there seems to really look out for each other. It was really interesting how it was a mixed crowd. I think there’s a place for that kind of thing.”

​ The dual nature of Trashion Show was not lost on resident Stephanie Hamborsky, who attended the event.

​ “I’m glad the Trashion Show incorporated several drag performances into the line-up,” Hamborsky said. “The entire event challenged not only patterns of consumerism and endless waste but also our conceptions of gender. It felt like a night that challenged a lot of norms and assumptions.”

​ Attendees made costumes out of beer cans, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and more. Penfold emceed and performed in a burlap sack. Hamborsky also helped out with a “Trashion Fashion” workshop at Grand County Middle School in collaboration for the event.

​ “The Trashion Fashion workshop at the middle school demonstrated how easy it is to reuse items deemed as trash and make fierce, fun and unique costumes,” Hamborsky added. “Using ‘trash’ to create things reminds us that the things we throw away have value. Many of us don’t think twice about the things we toss in the garbage can, but the Trashion Show has inspired us to save these items and use them to inspire our creative energies.”

​ The event also featured musical sets by DJ Cozy Soul, DJ Chad of Ill Beats Radio and DJ Sidney Frost, in addition to a performance by the Fiery Furnace Marching Band.

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