“Viva La Diva”, Alive & Well at 17

Like a curious teenager wondering about her sexuality as well as her place and rights in society the “Viva la Diva” event turned 17 this year with an incredible party that brought out nearly two hundred women and men to the beautifully refurbished Holiday Theater at 32nd & Clay St. in North Denver. They were there to to help celebrate the annual event that has become the party for those wanting to support women’s rights and the organization that represents many of them.

COLOR (Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights ) produced the 70’s themed event celebrating 17 years of Empowering and Embracing Sex, Sexuality, & a Sisterhood of Latinas. COLOR seeks to raise awareness for reproductive health, rights and justice.

Viva la Diva 2015 Joe_Contreras_Photographer (182)

Guests showed up in their best 70’s attire with flower power dresses and some pimped out dudes. Disco balls, psychedelic screens, black lights along album covers of Tom Jones, Trini Lopez, Niel Diamond and other 70’s icons provided the ambiance. The beat was definitely retro and the venue was definitely spirited with lots of personality, entertainment, dozens of silent auction items, live art, impersonators, great food and drink along with a 70’s costume contest all made for great fun.

Viva la Diva 2015 Joe_Contreras_Photographer (133)

There was even a Frieda Caldo look-alike posing in a dress made out of condoms.
The program began with the ABBA theme “Dancing Queen” followed by a tribute to sponsors for the Celia Cruz impersonator, Felicia Gallegos Pettis. The 70’s costume contest got the crown going followed by a live raffle that had most everyone pulling out their wallets to help support the extensive work done by COLOR.

Victoria Gomez Betancourt, COLOR Communications and Development Director, told Latin Life Denver she was pleased with the turnout and the event. “I am just so happy to see so many people who support what we do”. She said it is because of that support the COLOR is able to mean so much to so many women. “This event is unique in that we have fabulous entertainment, and you’ll see things like sex toys in our silent auction and our condom dress being created,” Gómez Betancourt says. “We’re featuring anything that celebrates sexuality and breaks down taboos around sexuality
The “Viva la Diva” event has been bringing community together since 1998 to celebrate, empower and promote embracing one’s inner Diva.

Funds from this year’s Viva la Diva will go toward programming at COLOR, including year-round comprehensive sexual education in middle and high schools, and youth leadership programming and advocacy. The group’s programs include Latinas Increasing Political Strength (LIPS) and the COLORado #1in3 Youth Council, which encourages student activists on college campuses to collect stories about abortion that move from stigma to healing and empowerment. “We have independent workshops that are training an adult audience on how to deal with these issues and be better prepared to navigate health care, talking with youth about sexual education and ending sexual taboos,” Gómez Betancourt says.
Viva la Diva is COLOR’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and Gómez Betancourt says the organization hopes to raise at least $15,000, surpassing last year’s total of $10,000.

Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

Photos by Teddy Gomez_Xposer Photography for Latin Life Denver Media