2 weeks until opening night! Yamantaka//Sonic Titan is coming…

Holy guacamole, TransgressionNow opens in two weeks!! Tickets are already selling fast, so don’t wait or it might be too late.
We have something for everyone: quirky contemporary dance, comic theatre, indie rock, gay sing-alongs, dramatic opera, and cutting-edge visual and new media art the likes of which even NYC hasn’t seen! (well maybe, but not exactly. Y’know what I’m sayin’?)
So mark your calendars and buy your tickets — you won’t want to miss anything!

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan

Presented in partnership with the Powell Street Festival

“One of the most exciting bands on the planet.” – NOW Magazine (Toronto)

Founded in late 2007 by performance artists Alaska B and Ruby Kato Attwood, YT//ST is an Asian, Indigenous and Diasporic experimental Art and Music Collective. Aesthetically, they blend the diverse styles of Noh, Chinese Opera, Chinese, Japanese and First Nations Mythology, Black & White Television, Psychedelia and Rock Operatics into a sensory feast. One thing’s for sure — this performance will be out of this world!

About their 2011 album, YT//ST:
“This is the kind of record that happens when city dwellers in two of the most multicultural urban areas of the world mix up gender, culture and genre with a sense of urgency. This sounds like the birth of a new culture.” – David Dacks, Exclaim!

Roundhouse Performance Centre, Sat. August 3
Tickets: $5 youth, $20 advance, $25 at door.
Youth tickets made available through the TD ‘Come Out For Art’ Youth Ticket Program.

Buy your tickets now:
Get your dance on with George Stamos

This workshop environment will be a safe, mature, and queer place to learn skills and strengthen abilities. The way Stamos teaches is designed to develop the critical eye and awareness of methods for creating spontaneous, mindful movement in performance.

The class includes contemporary interpretations of African dance principles and somatic principles Stamos uses to choreograph/dance. Participants should be able to walk vigorously, be adults, open to improvising, and be in relatively good shape. Dancers and non-dancers equally welcome. Cost: $10.

Stamos is performing his critically acclaimed duo Liklik Pik at QAF on July 26; this workshop gives audience members inspired by the show the opportunity to dance with him the following day.


East Side Re-Rides
We wanna heap some love sauce on another one of our fantabulous sponsors, East Side Re-Rides!

East Side Re-Rides is the only dedicated second-hand leather store in Metro Vancouver. Re-Rides sells and consigns new and used leather clothing and motorcycle gear.


Oh ya, and the owner is HAWT. 


Volunteer Orientations
Come on down to the Roundhouse Community Centre for the first orientation tonight, Wed Jul 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Second orientation meeting is Sat Jul 13 from 2:30 – 4:40 pm.

It’s a great way to help make the festival magic happen, meet some new peeps, and enjoy a few other perks.

Visit: queerartsfestival.com/volunteer for more info


We are also thrilled to give a shout out to the Westender, who has come on as a Media sponsor this year.

Happy to be working with you! www.wevancouver.com


Become a Pride in Art Patron

Imagine a world without homophobia — then help make that world a reality.

Whether you make a one-time gift, or commit to sustain the festival with a monthly contribution, your tax-deductible donation helps QAF commission and incubate cutting-edge new queer work, nurture the next generation of queer talent, and to celebrate with the wider world the best our communities have to offer.


One month ’til we unleash our queer art on Vancouver!

Check out the complete QAF line-up online
at queerartsfestival.com

Cutting-edge new media art, a gay pig-boy dance duet, gender bending performance art and the world premiere of a lesbian opera… where else can you find this spectrum of culture and entertainment but at the 6th annual Queer Arts Festival in Vancouver, BC!

Don’t miss our Art Party! Opening night gala, Wednesday July 24 from 7 – 11pm in the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall. This is your chance to view TransgressionNow, the curated visual art exhibit, the Pride in Art Community Art Show, and mingle with the Vancouver queer arts community. With live performances, life drawing, decadent delectables and effervescent bevvies, let’s see how gay it gets…!
Proudly sponsored by Health Initiative for Men.Online ticket sales begin atmidnight tonight (June 21) at brownpapertickets. Just go to queerartsfestival.com and click on your favourite events to buy tickets.

Kinnie Starr’s official album launch concert!

Kinnie Starr is one of Canada’s most adored and critically acclaimed underground musicians, heralded for her authentic voice. Starr relies on “raw feral talent” (Globe and Mail), solid groove, and a love for wordplay whether performing sensual and literate hip-hop, heartfelt guitar songs or spoken word. She has been blazing trails since 1996 with her beat slamming recordings, outspoken race and gender politics, intelligent and edgy visual art and striking looks.

Starr is now releasing her 6th album ‘Kiss It‘. Entirely self-produced, the record is based on sparse, fresh, new wave electro hip hop beats created by Kinnie herself. Since hip hop tends to cater exclusively to homogenized male sexuality, Starr has chosen to base her new album on positive female sexuality. A sense of inquiry about what ‘home’ is dominates the album content as a reflection of our globally minded thinking. And of course, Starr’s signature, sensual, singspeak rap style is the backbone of everything. Concert ticket price includes CD!

A rising star on the Canadian world / classical / folk / electronica scenes, award-winning cellist Cris Derksen is known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. Her music braids the traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions, weaving her traditional classical training and her aboriginal ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre defying music. Derksen recently released a new album, ‘The Collapse‘ – “an evocative and highly atmospheric album that taps into everything from classical music history to environmental issues.” (CBC Music)

Sharing a strong interest in landscape and heritage both physically and sonically, they are a perfect match for exploration and creative discovery. This performance will also include their new collaborative project, BEAMS.

At the Roundhouse Performance Centre, Friday August 2.
Tickets: $5 youth, $20 advance, $25 at door.
Ticket price includes CD!
Youth tickets made available through the TD ‘Come Out For Art’ Youth Ticket Program.Tickets go on sale tonight at midnight! (June 21):

As our Community Partner, together with the Vancouver Pride Society we are also offering a combination ticket for $30 that gets you into the Davie Street Party after the concert!For complete event listings on all our performances and workshops, visitqueerartsfestival.com

Let’s be Social


We know you already love us. So Like and Follow us too!—————————–

‘Come Out for Art’
TD Bank Group has come on board to generously sponsor our youth tickets.

This inaugural youth ticket program, ‘Come Out for Art’, will provide affordable $5 tickets to select QAF shows for youth under age 24.—————————–

We want to thank everyone SO MUCH who voted for belle ancell’s photo submission in the TELUS Give Where We Live contest.

Her photo, taken at last year’s Art Party, made it into the Top 5 of the popular vote. We are still waiting to hear the results, but if belle wins, she will donate the $10,000 prize to the Pride in Art Society!!

belle has been a volunteer photographer for QAF since 2011, and a featured artist in the PiA Community Art Show as well.

This year, her evocative photographs are a part of TransgressionNow, our visual art exhibition curated by Paul Wong and Glenn Alteen.

We love you belle!

Our esteemed Artistic Director, Shaira Holman, has been nominated for a Pride Legacy Award, for her contribution to Art in Vancouver.

These awards are meant to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag, with each colour representing a different meaning.

Presented by TELUS, the awards ceremony will take place July 20 at the Imperial, and will be hosted by Fred Lee.

Congrats and good luck, SD!————————–

QAF would like to spread some love to our homo-tastic media sponsor, Xtra!

Now in its 20th year of publishing, Xtra is Vancouver’s premier gay and lesbian newspaper.

Every year they provide excellent coverage of the festival, and have supported our efforts from the beginning. Thank you!!

Artful indeterminacy

Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival is anything but random

The Queer Arts Festival (QAF) may be only five years old in its current incarnation, but it’s throwing a centenary birthday bash.

The birthday boy, free-form experimental artist John Cage, will make a posthumous appearance along with his more structured contemporary Pierre Boulez in QAF’s Boulez Contra Cage, adapted from correspondence between the two queer composers.

A fusion of theatre and musical performance, the piece, subtitledInterdisciplinary Argument for Two Musicians and Two Actors, mines the friendship and artistic debate Cage and Boulez engaged in between 1949 and 1954. Those unfamiliar with the composers’ music can expect to be pushed in new directions.

In further tribute to Cage’s penchant for what he called indeterminacy in art, QAF entitled this year’s artistic showcase Random Acts of Queerness.

“We often do a play on words,” artistic director SD Holman points out. “People can go with it in the literal sense, whether it’s the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence skating down Davie St . . . or Kelowna, to interpreting it in a formal sense and using it as a way of breaking free of habit and risking the effects of something random.”

It’s a challenge to artists to look at their work through a different lens, whether their work is on canvas, on stage, in music or any other media. “The artists are really excited by it. All of the artists are taking very different tacks on the theme,” Holman says.

Vancouver’s three-week celebration of queer art, which was recently granted charitable status, showcases 150 artists, featured in visual art shows, workshops and performances.

Unless otherwise noted, all performances take place at the Roundhouse Performance Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews. For more information, go to queerartsfestival.com.


Thanks, but no thanks

Thank You, You’re Not Welcome is a simpler, edgier, more personal reconfiguration of Noam Gagnon’s 2010 dance piece 10 Things You’ll Hate About Me.

“It’s more like a Brothers Grimm fairytale now,” says the dancer and choreographer.

Distilled from the thick, seam-broken journals filled with Gagnon’s musings and artwork, Thank You is part autobiography, part fantasy-merging-with-life story about a Quebec youth struggling with poverty, incest, alcoholism and his coming of age.

“There’s the moment of awareness, the moment of facing the demons, facing the reality of what you’re made of, and also where you came from,” Gagnon says.

“The thing I find fascinating about this is that it doesn’t matter if it happened 30 years ago. It happened 100 years ago, and it still happens today. Some stories just keep repeating themselves,” he says. “It’s about saying, ‘I’m grateful for what happened, but this needs to stop. It’s almost like saying, ‘Fuck you.’”

It’s a cycle Gagnon manages to arrest through dance. “There’s a moment of transcending. His desire to dream really leads him to believe that there’s something more, and the possibility of survival is great.

“I’m playing a character that is beyond me, that hopefully has an element that is about everyone else,” he adds.

“It’s the kind of work that brings you right into your guts and right into your imagination. It’s not an intellectual story.”

Thank You, You’re Not Welcome will be performed Fri, Aug 3 at 7:30pm.


Law of Proximity is an attempt to explore, through contact dance, issues of intimacy, touch, safety, communication and identity, say MACHiNENOiSY’s co-artistic directors, Delia Brett and Daelik.

For Daelik, contact dance, with its emphasis on shared physicality and improvised movement, opens avenues for sensual, intimate communication, without being sexual.

“When I got involved in theatre and dance, touching took on a whole new meaning for me,” Daelik explains. “As a teen, touching can be a volatile subject. For kids who are not straight, it’s doubly difficult because there is taboo sexuality associated with it.”

Conceived three years ago, Law of Proximity is a collaboration between queer youth and professional artists within a workshop setting to create a performance that is youth-driven.

Mostly in their 20s, participants have been pulled from Qmunity’s GAB Youth, Capilano University, Purple Thistle and previous workshops.

“We want it to come from the youth. Whatever we do, whatever we create, that queerness is going to come from them,” Brett says.

“The themes that have been coming up are identifiers, the names we call ourselves and the names that people call us,” Brett says.

“We asked about positive, negative or neutral labels that we associate with either being gay, being queer or being an outsider,” Daelik adds.

“Another issue has been homophobia, what that looks like nowadays — this subtle non-violent communication that communicates homophobia,” Brett says.

“They’re going to use the skills of contact to embody whatever it is that we end up creating and maybe improvise some of the moments within that.”

Law of Proximity runs Wed, Aug 15 to Sat, Aug 18 at 7:30pm, at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St.


Lesbian drama humour

Lesbian relationships “are great fodder for humour,” says Jan Derbyshire. “I think we have our own way of doing things.”

Derbyshire’s new play, workshopped at the Queer Arts Festival two years ago, premieres on Aug 9 and stars local comedian Morgan Brayton.

“I wanted to look at a couple who had been together for a long time but still had to deal with the question of marriage, now that we’re allowed to follow a more linear progression in our relationships,” Derbyshire explains.

What about those people who don’t want to get hitched, she wondered. Is that a commitment issue or just how some queers roll?

Out came Turkey in the Woods, in which one half of a long-term lesbian couple is always threatening to leave, while the other half has a driving need to tie the knot traditionally.

The comedy lies in the conflict, Derbyshire says, “and how long we stay in therapy, how long we stay connected to our past, how we’re allowed to repeat the same pattern over and over again,” she adds.

“I wanted to look at all the myths but also the jokes around the myths,” she says, such as serial monogamy, relationships with roughly three-year life spans, the we-all-know-each-other and we’ve-all-slept-together scenarios. Oh . . . and don’t forget the less-than-reputable therapists who hang on to their patients, co-dependent-style.

There’s some truth in all of that, Derbyshire says, but the missing pieces are the relationships that do work.

Turkey in the Woods runs Thurs, Aug 9–Wed, Aug 15, various showtimes.


Fundamentalia’s limited freedom

Billed as Canada’s first lesbian opera, Rachel Rose’s When the Sun Comes Out follows three people trying to fully be themselves in Fundamentalia, a constrictive cultural landscape that doesn’t allow them that freedom.

As they search for limited opportunities to express themselves, two of the characters — the married couple, Lilah and Javan — are immersed in the lies they believe they have to tell to survive. The surprise is they’re hiding behind the same lie, director Robert McQueen says.

“They have betrayed the oath that they have taken with each other in their marriage, and by force, they have lived in fear of what they feel and what they have experienced.”

In part, disruption enters in the form of the tomboyish Solana, a young woman implicitly from “the West” whose teacher-student relationship with Lilah evolves into an intimate one. Having tasted the forbidden, Lilah and her marriage are left in a state of chaos. “The obvious choice would be for the women to leave,” McQueen points out.

With her ingrained sense of personal and sexual freedom, Solana is accustomed to packing up and leaving when things get tough in her world. Except she has bonded with Lilah.

“By the end, the three realize their strength is in forming a community and living within that,” McQueen says.

Still, there are no guarantees.

A workshop performance of When the Sun Comes Out will take place on Thurs, Aug 2 at 7:30pm.

Victory for queer artists and lesbian opera world premiere!

Canadian Heritage funding victory!
Most of you will be aware that the last month has been a roller coaster ride for us at QAF. In April, we received word from Canadian Heritage that they were withdrawing their funding of the 2013 festival. This came as a shock, without warning or explanation, after a very successful three-year partnership with them. So we turned to you for help.

We launched our publicity campaign via social media, online petition, and mail on May 1st. The public outcry was incredible! Two days later, on May 3rd, the Ministry contacted Artistic Director Shaira Holman and informed her that 75% of our funding would be restored. This quick turnaround is very rare; of the dozens of arts organizations that have lost their federal funding, we know of only ONE other festival that has had their funding cut and reinstated in the same year.

So basically, this is a huge victory for QAF and all queer artists, and we have YOU to thank for this positive outcome!

Thank you for all the Tweets, Posts, Shares, Likes, and signatures on the online petition. This groundswell of support proves the importance of QAF’s programming and artistic vision, and the social impact of our outreach activities.

This turn of events however, still leaves us with a $10,000 shortfall. We need your support now more than ever.  Please become a monthly donor to the Pride in Art Society, or make a one-time donation to our Legacy Fund.

Donations of ALL sizes are gratefully accepted and deeply appreciated.

Pride in Art is a registered charity, and issues tax deductible receipts for all donation $20 or more. Haven’t claimed a charitable donation since 2007, or never? Then you may be eligible for the First Time Donor’s Super Credit!  See more info on our Donate webpage. https://queerartsfestival.com/donate
Lesbian opera marks world premiere

Our flagship show this year is the staged premiere of composer Leslie Uyeda and poet Rachel Rose’s opera When the Sun Comes Out. Commissioned by QAF, this ground-breaking new work makes history as Canada’s first lesbian opera, that is, by lesbians writing about love between women. This piece was met with great enthusiasm at last year’s sold-out workshop performance.

A story of forbidden love, divided loyalties and culture clash, the opera sensitively explores the oppression that queers face, and the risks they take, in nations where homosexuality is illegal.  When the Sun Comes Out is being brought to life by director James Fagan Tait, rising star soprano Teiya Kasahara, mezzo-soprano Julia Morgan, and baritone Aaron Durand.

We are partnering with Rainbow Refugee in outreach programs that will engage diverse communities by sharing real-life stories that echo the opera’s themes. We would also like to thank our other community partners: Vancouver Opera, Powell Street Festival, Vancouver Foundation, Hamber Foundation, and the Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation.
Festival Lineup June 1st
OMG, we are only two weeks away from announcing the full festival line up on our website!

So watch out for the launch notice on our social media portals, and then check out queerartsfestival.com
HiM sponsors Art Party!

We are tickled pink to partner with HiM as the official sponsor of our opening night Art Party! July 24, 2013.

HiM is a community- based organization dedicated to strengthening the health and well-being of gay men.  Their approach includes physical, sexual, social and mental health.


As one of the best-attended visual arts events in Vancouver, Art Party! celebrates the premiere evening of the Visual Arts Exhibit and the PiA Community Art Show, and the opening of the Queer Arts Festival.

Featuring live performances, life drawing, decadent delectables and effervescent bevies… let’s see how gay it gets!

Deadline for PiA Community Art Show extended!
Due to all the distractions in the past few weeks, we have decided to extend the deadline to submit to the Community Art Show to June 15.

This show will exhibit visual art works by queer artists in any medium for the duration of the festival, July 24 – August 9, in the main hall at the Roundhouse Community Centre.

QAFs East Van
East Van Graphics, that is! Once again we are partnering with EVG for all our festival print material.

Soon our sexy posters and programs will be unleashed upon the city for your public and private enjoyment.

Keeping it queer and local, yo. eastvangraphics.ca

QAF’s federal funding cut by $44,000: How you can help

QAF’s federal funding was cut by $44,000, without warning or explanation, just 3 months before the festival is due to start. We have asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage through a twitter campaign to restore our funding  – and it seems to be working! He’s promised to take a second look at our file. We urgently need support on twitter, showing the minister that there is public support for queer arts.


1. URGENT: Help our Twitter campaign reach far and wide.
Our tweets have already started to have an effect. The Minister has responded with a tweet: “to get my staff to take a second look at the file and see why it was not approved”

So, we now have a less then 24-hr window to get out as much twitter support as possible. If you’re on twitter, please tweet something like:

@JamesMoore_org- please restore @CdnHeritage funding to @QAFVancouver! #artsfunding


@JamesMoore_org- rétablir s.v.p. le financement @Patrimoinecdn de @QAFVancouver! #artsfunding

Follow us @ twitter.com/qafvancouver

2. Mail a letter.
Yes, snail mail. Actual hand-written letters from concerned constituents get more traction than online “armchair advocacy”- and you don’t have to pay for a stamp if you’re in Canada! Address:

Hon. James Moore
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

3. Like and share our posts on Facebook.
Connect with us @ facebook.com/qafvancouver

4. Donate.
We need your support now more than ever. Please become a monthly donor to the Pride in Art Society. 333 new monthly $10 donors could completely replace the funds lost in Heritage’s decision, and lay a strong, sustainable foundation for QAF’s future.

Pride in Art is a registered charity, and issues tax deductible receipts for all donations $20 or more. Haven’t claimed a charitable donation since 2007, or never? Then you may be eligible for the First Time Donor’s Super Credit! See more info on our Donate webpage. https://queerartsfestival.com/donate

5. Sign our online petition.

This is also posted all over our social media. Please share widely.

Thank you for your help in rallying against this funding cut. We are determined to go ahead with our 2013 festival, TransgressionNow. With the support of our audiences and artists, the queer communities and the public at large in the Vancouver and beyond, we will rise to this challenge!

Federal funding partially restored- but we still need your help

This year QAF lost $45,000 of federal funding, and regained $35,000 due to a groundswell of support. For the backstory, see our previous post.

Huge thank-yous to everyone who advocated on the festival’s behalf. This is YOUR victory!

QAF Programming and Legacy Fund

Help us fill QAF’s $10,000 funding gap, and build a Legacy Fund to weather any future storms.$25 pays for an accessibility pass to a show$250 lets a youth participate in one of our workshop programs$5000 lets us put on a show and helps us plan for the future

Donations of ALL sizes are gratefully accepted and deeply appreciated.

Click here to donate now.

Open letter to Minister James Moore: Please restore Canadian Heritage funding to PiA

Dear Minister Moore ;

The Pride in Art Society has just received word that Canadian Heritage is withdrawing funding for the 2013 Queer Arts Festival (QAF), 3 months before QAF is scheduled to open. This is a devastating and startling blow to the festival, as Canadian Heritage has funded QAF through the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program every year since 2010.

Canadian Heritage grants to QAF have grown steadily by about 10% annually; by 2012 the nearly $44,000 grant constituted almost half of our government funding, and 17% of our total budget. When asked the reasons for the cut, Canadian Heritage representatives declined to give any details. When further pressed to explain how we could improve for next year, representatives insisted there were no specific areas of concern. We find ourselves baffled, because by every other indication, QAF is stronger than ever.

Since incorporating as a not-for-profit in 2006, the QAF has grown 20-fold in size, and in that time has presented over 600 artists, produced more than 100 events, and incited the creation of dozens of new works in every artistic genre and attracted broad audiences including families of all kinds. QAF is BC’s only multi-disciplinary arts festival dedicated to celebrating queer art and artists, showcasing the unique creative expressions of the queer communities — people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirited and intersex.

We are the only festival of our kind in Canada to feature curated visual arts alongside the performing arts and workshops for youth and adults. Pride in Art’s report to Heritage for the 2012 festival showed significant increases in attendance, number of artists presented, government grants and support from the community. These increases are striking given the difficult economic climate, in which many respected arts organizations are showing declining numbers. Our 2013 Heritage application included testimonials from youth explaining that their participation in QAF workshops had given them the confidence to stand up to bullies, and from straight audience members saying QAF’s programming had given them “a stunningly powerful opportunity to connect with the anguish faced by the LGBT community in our own society and in those with much more restrictive laws and norms.”

The Vancouver Province praised QAF’s 2012 programming as “some of the most adventurous of any local festival.” QAF’s 2013 programming has generated unprecedented excitement, garnering grants from the Vancouver Foundation, the Hamber Foundation, the Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation, the Telus Community Board, and the Business for the Arts ArtsVest program. These are all highly competitive programs, all enthusiastically supporting QAF’s mandate and programming.

During a period when BC arts organizations have been struggling with declining grant revenue, Pride in Art’s government funding has been doubling annually, showing strong support for our mandate by the Canada Council, the BC Arts Council, BC Gaming and the City of Vancouver. Our 2013 grant assessment from the City read:

“The Assessment Committee considered the programming to be of high artistic merit, demonstrated by a strong curatorial vision in its presentation and through its recent efforts in commissioning new work. They noted a capable and committed staff and board team that was well-organized with good planning practices in place. The committee also recognized strong community support through its numerous volunteers and partnerships, as well as having strong community impact through its accessibility and outreach to queer youth.”

QAF has received similarly admiring support letters from many organizations and individuals which we would be happy to share with you, including Vancouver Opera, the Powell Street Festival, Roundhouse Community Centre, Rodney Sharman, Vancouver Symphony composer emeritus, UBC Professors David Metzer and Rena Sharon, and Leslie Dala, Vancouver Bach Choir Music Director, Associate Conductor of Vancouver Opera.

Our growth and development would not have been possible without the funding support of government organizations like Canadian Heritage. Thus, it was with shock and disappointment that Pride in Art received the news that Canadian Heritage was completely withdrawing its support for this year’s festival, with no clear rationale offered. The decision was made without warning, without any direct consultation at all between Canadian Heritage and Pride in Art staff. It comes at a time when the organization is well advanced in the planning process for this Summer’s festival, and ill-positioned to replace on short notice the funding that Canadian Heritage has traditionally provided. At a time when festival staff need to be focusing on production and publicity, primary efforts will have to be diverted to emergency fundraising, crippling the successful delivery of the festival. A 17% budget cut cannot be absorbed without making drastic choices, and will mean harsh cuts to staff and programming resulting in a corresponding loss of jobs to Canadian workers.

The Queer Arts Festival has a measurable and significant impact on the well-being of the LGBTI communities. By celebrating and showcasing the achievements of historic and contemporary LGBTI artists, we increase pride and self-esteem within the community, respect and understanding in the broader society. By providing a professional venue where LGBTI artists need not self-censor, we foster artistic excellence, because artists create their best work when they can express their whole selves freely — as one of our artists said, “QAF is the only place where I can be completely myself as an artist.” By providing arts training through workshops and arts admin opportunities through volunteer positions, we enhance job skills and self-empowerment for participants. The visibility and recognition created by QAF’s programming can literally save lives: it gives LGBTI youth positive role models, concrete evidence that they are not alone, and a much needed avenue for self-expression. As one of the pieces created in the youth visual arts workshop proclaims in red block letters: “ART SAVED ME.”

QAF also serves a crucial educational role for Canadian society in general, as we saw when a group of teenage boys wandered into the visual arts exhibition after their basketball game. They stood laughing and joking in front of Mary Taylor’s installation piece, “Homophobia Kills,” a hard-hitting work documenting dozens of homophobic murders. When PiA past-president (and high-school teacher) Jeffery Gibson engaged them in discussion about the piece, they grew thoughtful and quiet. A half hour later, they returned bringing several other friends, with whom they shared Gibson’s description of the work and its importance. Before our eyes, these youth had transformed from bullies to advocates: concrete evidence that Pride in Art’s work builds empathy.

PIA staff has sought, but to date has failed to obtain, a meeting with your office to seek a clear explanation of the rationale for this decision. After much thought and careful consideration, we are writing this open letter to you, Minister Moore, in order to ask, on behalf of the audiences and artists that we serve, why Canadian Heritage’s support of PIA has been withdrawn? What Canadian Heritage funding criteria has PiA been meeting for the past 3 years that it no longer meets?

We ask that you meet with us at your earliest possible convenience to discuss the Ministry’s rationale for withdrawing the funding that Canadian Heritage has provided, and that Pride in Art has relied upon for years, as well as the potential damage that this withdrawn funding threatens to inflict upon an organization that the Canadian public demonstrably supports. We also respectfully ask that you reconsider the decision and reinstate Heritage’s financial support for the Queer Arts Festival, so that we can continue to present relevant, transformative and groundbreaking art to Canadian audiences.


SD Holman
Artistic Director, Pride in Art Society

A Hustler’s Memoir and romance at the AGM!

AGM announcement

This will serve as official notification to Pride in Art Society members of the forthcoming Annual General Meeting to be held on TUESDAY APRIL 30, 2013 at the Roundhouse Community Centre, Room B, 181 Roundhouse Mews (Pacific and Davie). 7pm.
Exciting festival updates, sizzling financial reports, and getting down to official business! (last year there was candles, wine, chocolate and cheese… which is why some people said it was the most romantic AGM ever!)

Attendance at the AGM is a key factor to some of our funders, so you can help support queer art in Vancouver just by coming to a party (with a little bit of meeting thrown in). Come hear about the new developments at Pride in Art, including what’s around the corner for our 2013 Queer Arts Festival, TransgressionNow.

Membership renewal and sign-up 7:00-7:15
Reports and election of the board 7:15-8:00
Party 8:00-9:00

Hope to see you there!
 Writing Workshop with Amber Dawn
TONIGHT, Friday April 12th, is the launch party of Amber Dawn’s latest book, “How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir.” If you can go, you should! Check it out. If you can’t make it, after feeling sorry for yourself you can purchase the book online… and you can also look forward to her writing workshop and literary event at this year’s QAF!

“Tough Language & Tender Wisdoms: A Memoir Writing Workshop for Trangressive Voices”
This workshop invites participants to write under-told and boundary-pushing stories from their personal experience, and to develop strategies to creating safe and celebratory spaces for these stories to be heard.

Whether participants are interested in formally writing their memoirs or writing is a part of self-discovery, this workshop will offer foundational memoir writing exercises. Participants should come prepared to share, listen and take risks.

Amber will also be hosting an literary evening of reading from her new book, along with one or two other exceptional authors, with a discussion on telling “uncommon truths” and existing in unconventional queer communities. More details on this event to come.

Deadline to submit to PiA Community Art Show is May 1st!
The Queer Arts Festival is happy to again present the Pride in Art Community Show. In the Great Hall of the Roundhouse, outside the main Exhibition Hall, the PiA Community Show will exhibit visual art works by queer artists in any medium for the duration of the festival, July 24 – August 9.Queer Fruit

Thanks to our partnership with The Cultch and IGNITE!, we get to pluck the hottest young artists from the FRUIT BASKET to participate in a six-week project, developing a show for the Queer Arts Festival, where the youth will explore themes of sex and gender.Think performance art meets indie rock spiced with Burlesque dancers interjected with slam poetry. FRUIT FLAMBÉ will run July 29 & 30, 2013.

To get a sneak peek of this emerging talent, FRUIT BASKET happens Friday May 10, part of the IGNITE! – Vancouver’s largest youth arts festival!

IGNITE! features shows in music, dance, visual arts and much more- all created by local artists between the ages of 13-24. Presented by The Cultch, May 6-11, 2013.



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Like you, we believe passionately in the transformative power of the arts. We ask you to consider making a monthly donation of $10 — for less than the price of a weekly latte, you can make the magic happen.

Every donation of $20 or more annually will receive a charitable donation tax receipt.

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New faces and gay pig-boys at Queer Arts Fest!

QAF welcomes new staff
The festival staff is growing! We have recently welcomed Meagan Thomas into the role of Administrative Assistant, and Kathy Atkins as our Volunteer Coordinator. Meagan is the Arts Director of CiTR radio, and a long time supporter of the arts. We are happy to have her on board!

Kathy is a former PiA Board Member and has been a featured visual artist at the festival as well. Her dedication to the festival now gets to shine as she corrals all of our enthusiastic volunteers. That’syou, right? Come on, you know you wanna! Email Kathy at volunteer@queerartsfestival.com
 George Stamos and Liklik Pik
For this month’s featured festival performer, we would like to introduce you to contemporary dancer and choreographer George Stamos. Coming from Montreal, George will be bringing his provocative duo piece, Liklik Pik, to QAF 2013.

Liklik Pik - photo by Johnny Ranger

Photo by Johnny Ranger
Liklik Pik is an intimate male dance duet emphasizing empowerment of the human body while following imaginative impulses and queer tangents along the way. George Stamos and his dance partner Dany Desjardins explore the animal urges in men, combining references to children’s stories, pets, lounge lizards, and gay “pig-boy” culture while toying with male sensuality in a body-based somatic score. July 267:30pm, in the Roundhouse Performance Centre.

The following day he is offering a Contemporary Dance Improvisation and Technique workshop. Says George, “The way I teach is designed to develop the critical eye and awareness of methods for creating spontaneous, mindful movement in performance. This includes teaching the student how to auto tune their senses and engage their intellect and body systems. I am committed to providing a workshop environment that is a safe, mature, and queer place to learn skills and strengthen abilities.”July 27, 2-5pm.
Queer Public Art
QAF Artistic Director SD Holman’s newest work, BUTCH: Not like the other girls, will have 20 select portraits displayed as public art in transit shelters throughout Vancouver. So be on the lookout for some sexy Butches at a bus shelter near you. If you see one, snap a photo and share with us on Facebook!

A gallery exhibition of BUTCH: Not like the other girls will be shown with different pieces at The Cultch April 9 – 25, 2013, with an Art Party! on April 10, 6 – 8pm. Consider yourself invited!

 Poet Recognized
Canadian poet Rachel Rose‘s latest book, Song and Spectacle, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, presented by the Publishing Triangle.

Song and Spectacle is the third collection by Rose, whose craft as a lyricist intersects with a deep notion of the world around her. Her words provoke an awareness of one’s self and, at the same time, create a sense of intimacy with the greater world.
Rose is the librettist for Canada’s first lesbian opera, When the Sun Comes Out, premiering at this year’s festival, August 5, 7, and 9.

January 12 Newsletter

Baby It’s Cold Outside…
… but things are warming up here at QAF.

Festival dates announced:
July 31 – August 18, 2012

28 weeks to go!
That might feel like a long way off, but soon enough the Queer Arts Festival will be upon us, presenting three incredible weeks of visual art exhibits, theatre, music, dance, and workshops. This year’s theme is ‘Random Acts of Queerness’- commemorating the centenary of experimental queer artist John Cage (1912-1992).

RaNDoM acTS oF QueeRNeSS

“Chance comes in here to give us the unknown.”
– John Cage

What’s in a theme? And who was this John Cage guy? An experimental, multidisciplinary artist, Cage is best known for championing Indeterminacy; a philosophy that opens up artistic practice to include the random as a way of radically breaking with tradition, convention and habit. Cage said,“Indeterminacy in art is made not as an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living.”

Cage’s multidisciplinary artistic practice, pioneering approach, and openly queer life elegantly exemplify QAF’s mandate and values. For this year’s theme QAF curators encourage artists to explore indeterminate elements in their work, whether it be Indeterminacy of Process, Indeterminacy of form or Indeterminacy of identity; perhaps risking the effects of random juxtaposition. What kinds of systems, symbols or strategies will you harness?

Visual Art Submission Deadlines

Wanna be a featured QAF artist?
Then you need to submit your work! The deadline for the curated art show, working with the theme of ‘Random Acts of Queerness’, is March 1. The deadline for the community art show, in which pieces do not need to be themed, is May 1. (please note the earlier date)
To learn more, and to apply, click HERE.

What is QAF?
Featuring a curated visual art exhibit, community art show, and three exciting weeks of workshops and live performances, the Queer Arts Festival is Vancouver’s multidisciplinary arts festival celebrating queer art and artists.

A taste of what’s to come
Boulez contra Cage dramatizes the friendship and conflict between composers John Cage and Pierre Boulez and Screaming Weenie brings us Turkey in the Woods.
Don’t miss the workshop performance of Canada’s first lesbian opera, When the Sun Comes Out; transgender pioneer Kate Bornstein performing her landmark solo show, On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us; and dancer/ choreographer Noam Gagnon’s astonishing piece, Thank You, You’re Not Welcome.

Save the Date:
The Opening Night Art Party is Tuesday July 31, 2012 at the Roundhouse Community Center.

New girl in the house
QAF welcomes Flora Ware, a Capilano Arts & Entertainment Management Student and currently the society’s Communications Intern for the spring term. A queer artist in her own right, Flora is a Soul/Pop/Jazz singer and Burlesque performer. Check out her website HERE

February 2012 Newsletter

Queer Arts Festival
celebrating queer art & artists
July 31 – August 18, 2012

Birds do it, bees do it…
February love-letter

Spreadin’ the L.O.V.E.

You know you love us. We know you love us. Make it ‘official’ by attending our AGM in April.
So mark Tuesday April 10 down, because you have a hot date with us.

Exciting festival updates, sizzling financial reports, and getting down to official business! Afterwards there will be eating, drinking, and discussion with your fave queer artists and board members. You know you wanna!

QAF receives commissioning grants for ground-breaking lesbian opera

We are pleased to announce that QAF is the recipient of two commissioning grants from the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council, to create Canada’s first lesbian opera.

When the Sun Comes Out, written by composer Leslie Uyeda and librettist Rachel Rose, is being presented in a workshop performance on Thursday August 2, 2012 at QAF. Starring soprano Teiya Kasahara and baritone Joel Klein, this compelling new chamber opera is being directed by Robert McQueen. The fully-staged performance will premier at QAF 2013.
Deadline reminder:

Artists who wish to submit a proposal to be considered for the Curated Art Exhibit, working with the theme Random Acts of Queerness, must apply before March 1, 2012.

Community Art show deadline is May 1, and works do not need to be theme-related.

Please click HERE for instructions and more information.

Friends with benefits:

Do you want to help the Queer Arts Festival operate like a well-oiled machine? Like getting to see shows for free?

We need volunteers to help before, during and after the festival in varied capacities such as: publicity team, gallery greeters, ushers, delivery drivers, and tear down.

Get more info HERE.

Introducing QAF 2013: TransgressionNow. Meet the Curators and more…

Queer Arts Festival 2013: TransgressionNow
July 24 – August 9

Welcome back! Summer may seem a long ways off, but the Festival team is already in full swing. So mark your calendars, because from July 24 – August 9, another incredibly diverse, cutting-edge, and exciting Queer Arts Festival is coming to Vancouver!

About this year’s theme:
Queer art and politics have always included notions of transgression but in the media age ideas of transgression have changed radically. What we once saw as transgressive is now commonplace when the internet can put any manner of visual and digital material on everyone’s screen in seconds. But the digital age is also embedded in one of the most conservative social environments in many decades creating many dichotomies and contradictions. TransgressionNow looks at where Queer artists still transgress social, gender, and political boundaries and what that looks like now.

QAF is thrilled to announce the curators of this year’s Visual Art Exhibit are Paul Wong and Glenn Alteen.

Paul Wong is a Canadian multimedia artist. An award-winning artist, curator, and organizer of public interventions since the mid-1970s, Wong is known for his engagement with issues of race, sex, and death.

Glenn Alteen is a Vancouver-based curator, writer, and director of the grunt gallery, established in East Vancouver in 1984. We can hardly wait to see the artists and work they bring to the festival.
 Community Partnership profile
We are excited to be partnering with The Cultch and the IGNITE! Youth festival this year in a unique outreach activity involving some of the talented youth. After IGNITE!, select performers will be chosen for a theatre project to develop and stage a show, Fruit Flambé, as part of the Queer Arts Festival.

Auditions for IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival 
Do you know some teens who love to perform? Or maybe it’s you! Auditions are open for the 2013 IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival.

With themed shows including a night for music, word, dance, collaborations and Fruit Basket- a variety show about gender, sex and sexuality – the festival is looking for a wide range of artists. Please come by and audition – you name it, we want to see it!The IGNITE! Arts festival takes place from May 6-11 at The Cultch.The deadline to apply is March 1st.
To audition send an email to
auditions@igniteyouthfest.caOpera Magic

Many of you will remember Teiya Kasahara, the beguiling soprano who played the role of Solana in When the Sun Comes Out, the QAF-commissioned lesbian opera written by Leslie Uyeda and Rachel Rose at last year’s festival.She will be returning to play that role in the fully-staged performance of the opera this year, with three performances August 5, 7 and 9!Next month she will be performing the iconic role of Queen of the Night in Vancouver Opera’s upcoming production of The Magic Flute. We are pleased to announce our community partnership with Vancouver Opera this year, and their support of our production of When the Sun Comes Out.

This original production was conceived in 2007 with the guidance of First Peoples’ Cultural Council and an advisory group of First Nations artists. This re-imagining of Mozart’s classic is set in the timeless Coast Salish realm.

Six performances-
March 9 -17.
Buy Us a Coffee?
Like you, we believe passionately in the transformative power of the arts. We ask you to consider making a monthly donation of $10 — for less than the price of a weekly latte, you can make the magic happen.

Every donation of $20 or more annually will receive a charitable donation tax receipt.

PiA Annual General Meeting

The Pride in Art Society’s 2011 Annual General Meeting on April 19 was well-attended by board members, staff, artists and volunteers.

Pride in Art is pleased to welcome Arli Nikkel as our newest board member! Returning board members have stepped up to new roles in the Executive: Joel Klein as president, and Sherri Charters as Vice-President. Andrea Hector is staying on as Secretary/Treasurer.

PiA would like to express special thanks to Jeff Gibson, who stepped down from the board this AGM, after many years of devoted service. Jeff has taken part in Pride in Art since 1998, and been our president since 2006. He will be sorely missed on the board, but we are very happy that he will continue his work with QAF as a curator for the Visual Arts Exhibition.

PiA Annual General Meeting

The Pride in Art Society’s 2011 Annual General Meeting on April 19 was well-attended by board members, staff, artists and volunteers.

Pride in Art is pleased to welcome Arli Nikkel as our newest board member! Returning board members have stepped up to new roles in the Executive: Joel Klein as president, and Sherri Charters as Vice-President. Andrea Hector is staying on as Secretary/Treasurer.

PiA would like to express special thanks to Jeff Gibson, who stepped down from the board this AGM, after many years of devoted service. Jeff has taken part in Pride in Art since 1998, and been our president since 2006. He will be sorely missed on the board, but we are very happy that he will continue his work with QAF as a curator for the Visual Arts Exhibition.