Pink Flamingo Pinball Parties at Pin-Bar all about inclusivity and celebrating Calgary’s queer community

“We do not tolerate, homophobia, sexism, racism, transphobia, harassment, ableism, general hatefulness.”

It should be the unspoken philosophy of any organization, any company, any group, any team, any establishment — any person.

But if you need it spelled out for you, that’s the sign that will greet you inside the door of newly opened 17th Ave. restaurant, bar and pinball emporium Pin-Bar.

And beginning Wednesday, May 16 — and every second Wednesday after that — you’ll see it put fully into practise as the venue will be adorned with giant Pride flags to mark the biweekly Pink Flamingo Pinball Parties.

One of the organizers, Allison Dunne, was approached by owner Arlen Smith and Colin Gallant, who works at the venue, about getting an LGBTQ pinball league started up and wanted some of her insight.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, for sure. How about (we) throw a party?’ ” Dunne says with a laugh.

“The biggest thing about Pink Flamingo (Parties) as a concept, when I’ve done them (under different names) in other bars, is just every queer night has to be this big, dance, techno thing — and I just want to be able to have a beer and chill with a bunch of gay people. I don’t really want to go to the club. So that’s a big part of the concept as well.”

It should still be a pretty great party, though.

The event, which will run 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., is a welcoming night for LGBTQQIP2SAA+ persons.

For $10, you get entry into the room with unlimited play on all of the awesome machines, with food and drink specials all night.

“That’s part of the inclusivity as well, we can discount things to make sure everybody can have a good time,” she says

There will be a signup for that proposed league at every Pink Flamingo, with the $5 fee that would normally be charged included in the admission price into the party.

“The pinball league will have its night and tournaments and things like that, but you can play tournament mode on these nights as well,” Dunne says.

“So it’s pretty much starting out biweekly and building it up and seeing how it goes.”

Right now, she says that people in the community that she’s spoken with are enthusiastic, but admits that she’s “kind of in an echo chamber,” hoping that word spreads wider so that it grows, succeeds and thrives as a long-term event.

“I thing it’s going to be great, but I want the first party, obviously, to be as big as possible so we can show people, ‘This works, we can do this,’ ” she says. “Because sometimes when people have queer nights and it’s not populated enough, people want to shut it down right away.

“People have no patience for queer nights.”

That said, while it is an event predominantly for the queer community, it should also again be noted that inclusivity is the key and all are welcome, as the second “A” in this case is for “allies,” those “willing to fight the fight,” says Dunne.

And that’s why Pin-Bar is the perfect place for the event, as the sign at the front door and owner Smith’s managerial work at band, beer and BBQ hotbed The Palomino have shown that he’s more than willing to step up and stand for what’s right, everyone’s rights.

“He’s been an amazing ally,” Dunne says.

Hopefully the first night will be supplemented with or supported by those who feel the same way, who want to show that inclusivity is now an inalienable part of the fabric of this city, and that celebrating that fact — even just every second Wednesday — is something worth doing.

So, that said, only one important question really remains for anyone contemplating attending a Pink Flamingo Pinball Party: Will there be any techno?

Dunne laughs. “I don’t want any, but that’s because I’m a snob. But we’re all getting together and making the playlist so I’m open to suggestions.”

The first Pink Flamingo Pinball Party takes place Wednesday, May 16. For more information please click here.