BC Gay and Lesbian Archives photo identification project

The BC Gay and Lesbian Archives (BCGLA) is a diverse collection of LGBTQ2+ history, started by Ron Dutton in 1970s and recently donated to the City of Vancouver Archives. Of the over 5,400 images that have been digitized, about 1,000 photographs depict people and events that are currently unidentified.

In partnership with the SUM Gallery, the City of Vancouver Archives is asking for help to identify these people and events in the BCGLA photo collection. Spanning from the 1940s to the 2000s, capturing moments from drag performances to City Hall protests, these photos tell the story of a long and powerful history of LGBTQ2+ resistance, solidarity, and strength.

Join us to look through these photos and by sharing your stories, enhance access to this collection. This photo identification event is free and open to the public.

running running trees go by…

Curated by Justin Ducharme in collaboration with the artist, this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival offers a pop-up exhibit featuring new and retrospective works from artist Zachery Longboy.

Longboy is from Churchill, Manitoba and is of Sayisi Dene lineage. This new and retrospective collection continues the artists’ exploration within a fractured cultural experience through deeply felt layered videos, paintings and archival film.

The exhibit has been held over until September 14.

Glitter Technics

Glitter Technics is a 13 week workshop held every Wednesday from September 11th to December 4th, from 4pm to 8pm, with the exception of a special 5-hour workshop with Reel Youth on October 30th from 4pm to 9pm. All classes take place at The SUM Gallery in Chinatown, located at #425 268 Keefer Street. The workshop is free, with snacks and transit passes provided.

Produced in partnership with Pride in Art Society, Community Arts Council of Vancouver, and TELUS.

Glitter Technics is an experiential creative empowerment workshop series designed to shine the light on you and a story you want to develop and share. Participants will have the opportunity to discover and enhance new and existing artistic practices, tools and techniques as well as choose the creative medium(s) that will help them share their story with the greater public. Come join in the glitter of some of the cities most inspiring performing artists and facilitators who will guide and mentor participants to explore their artistic curiosity and self-expression, take creative risks and increase their self-esteem, confidence and leadership.

Led by Mutya Macatumpag (moo-cha) (maca-toom-pag), participants will work as a collective, creating community, culture, a healthy environment to gain new skills, encourage existing ones to a new level and produce meaningful work. Our aim is to foster solo and group collaboration and production, through exploration, support, fun and mentorship. We will be building up our technical skills in digital story telling, music, movement, theatre, writing, visual and performance art.



RuPaul’s Drag Race star Thorgy Thor to perform in Vancouver

Thorgy Thor teamed up with conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser for a show that starts at 8 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre. (Photo from VSO)

Originally published by CTV News Vancouver June 25, 2019

A fan favourite on RuPaul’s Drag Race will take to a Vancouver stage Tuesday night.

Thorgy Thor is teamed up with conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser for a show that starts at 8 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre.

Tickets for “Thorgy Thor and the Thorchestra” were still for sale in all sections as of noon Tuesday for prices ranging from $49 to $89.

In its description of the show, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra says Thorgy “wields her outrageous fashion sense, razor-sharp wit, and virtuoso classical chops to create a thrilling, theatrical, all-new show.”

Thorgy, a drag queen from Brooklyn, N.Y., finished season eight in sixth place. She then placed 10th in the show’s third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” – a series featuring queens who competed in previous seasons.

She’s a trained violin and viola player, and also knows how to play the cello.

After Vancouver, she’s scheduled to make stops in five other Canadian cities: Kingston, Ont., Hamilton, Ont., St. John’s, Halifax and Calgary.

“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and your heart will throb as Thorgy slays with song, dance, and hilarious shenanigans in this can’t-miss symphonic spectacular,” the VSO says in its concert listing.

Adult supervision and audience discretion are advised as the performance includes mature themes.

The show is being put on during of Vancouver’s 10th annual Queer Arts Festival, which runs from June 17 to 28.

It’s an artist-run multidisciplinary arts festival held at the Roundhouse, featuring events including art exhibitions, readings and musical performances.

Stonewall Was A Riot – Vancouver’s LGBTTQ2+ community bands together to Remember Stonewall

Originally published June 25, 2019 by MyVanCity

Stonewall Was A Riot… Now We Dance.

With the current tone set recently in Metro Vancouver over the removal of a Pride flag, defacement of Pride flags and the heated anti-transgender protest at the Art Gallery on June 15th, there is a renewed need locally to celebrate our LGBTTQ2+ pride on the eve of the 50th anniversary of The Stonewall Riots that launched modern day “Pride”.

The Queer Arts Festival (QAF) in partnership with many of Vancouver’s LGBTTQ2+ organizations (Vancouver Pride Society, Zee Zee Theatre, The Frank Theatre Company, Qmunity, LOUD Business, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver Dyke March, Sher Vancouver, Rainbow Refugee and more) will come together on June 28th to celebrate our diversity and pride with an evening of song and celebration; to revel in a half century of queerevolution. This event is the only major celebration of the Stonewall anniversary currently scheduled to take place in the City of Vancouver.

We welcome Vancouver’s LGBTTQ2+ community and allies to Stonewall 50 – Glitter is Forever taking place at the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews) in Vancouver. This event kicks off with the Queer Songbook Orchestra (7-9pm) and is immediately followed by the Stonewall 50 Glitter is Forever event at the same venue.

The Queer Arts Festival (QAF), Vancouver’s artist-run, professional, multi-disciplinary roister of queer arts, culture and history, presents their 2019 festival rEvolution, well underway with a stellar line up of parties showcasing queer arts, culture and celebrations running June 17th – 28th 2019.  QAF has assembled nearly 100 artists and more than 20 events and programming showcasing a variety of differing media on exhibit at the Roundhouse Arts Centre.

QAF 2019: JESSE

Original article from Sad Mag June 17. Written by Rebecca Peng.

The Queer Arts Festival (QAF) is Vancouver’s artist-run festival of queer arts and culture, held every summer at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. Now in its 11th year, the QAF is a multidisciplinary affair, presenting an art exhibition and performance series, as well as workshops, artist talks, panels, and screenings. This year’s festival, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, is organized around the theme of rEvolution, and focuses on the transgressive and transformative potential of queer art.

SAD Mag spoke to Landon Krentz, one of the performers and creators behind Jesse: An ASL Opera, a bi-cultural and bilingual production developed by Krentz, Debi Wong, and re:Naissance Opera. On June 24th, audiences are invited to attend a workshop reading of the first excerpts of this exciting collaboration.

JESSE. Photo via QAF.

JESSE. PHOTO VIA QAF.

SAD: Let’s start at the beginning. What inspired JESSE – and what, in particular, drew you to the medium of opera?

LANDON KRENTZ: The operatic world has traditionally excluded the Deaf community from the experience, and I wanted to address this gap by ensuring that Deaf theatre has a domain in the arts in all artistic forms. What drew me to opera was the opportunity to challenge the social norms in artistic spaces by integrating my beautiful language into the practice. Opera is rich in culture and history that I believe is parallel with Deaf culture and history. Our language, ASL, is very much like music. It has a series of movements and rhythm that has a wide musical range. ASL has the ability to express music; I will be singing in signs by using movements and math. It’s the perfect language to portray different emotional messages that are heard with the eyes. 

SAD: What considerations did you make when creating this signed opera? How were you guided by the form and its conventions – and how did you seek to subvert or change it?

LK: We are in the beginning stages of creating this opera and we have encountered many challenges. One of them is that Deaf theatre in Canada has been in a precarious state for a long time so there is a lack of formal artistic training that manifests as a lack of confidence with regards to Deaf artists and their guiding the artistic process. After many trials, errors, and conversations, I realized that in this theatrical and operatic context, the American Sign Language libretto must be created before the music is composed in order for the practice be utilized in ways that maintain the high quality and integrity of the language. This is opposed to adapting the ASL to the music and thus diminishing Deaf culture as a whole. 

The composer will compose in real time with me during the workshop while I sign the libretto. I will be embodying the role of a singer and challenging the convention of the “voice.” In my recent interview with Ai Media, I’ve received a comment on Facebook that I have tender hands and an expressive voice. We really love this comment because it shows how we are already affecting the Deaf community by allowing new art forms. 

SAD: You’re an individual who wears many hats, and one of them includes providing interpreters and ASL consultations to theatres. How has translating the works of others influenced your own practice?

LK: ASL Interpretation bookings is a service I took on to create a source of revenue for Deaf theatre, and in particular, the ASL Opera. I believe in providing services that are equitable, and that Deaf artists have the right to select interpreters. Hearing people do not understand the barriers that are mounted when interpreters are chosen without the participation of the Deaf community. It’s important to me that we recognize that hearing-run interpreting agencies have designed a system that allows them to profit from ASL interpreters, our Deaf culture and ASL. As the only Deaf-run interpreting agency in West Canada, I rely on hearing and interpreter allies to support my artistic practice, because it is my only means for artistic survival. 

I have a confession to make. For a number of years, I thought that having a Deaf consultant on creative teams was crucial. While it is important, I realize that the role of ‘consultant’ has very limited impact. I take full responsibility for my mistake and I have learned now that what is needed is Deaf-leadership. Hearing people cannot understand the demands of Deaf theatre, and that we need skilled Deaf professional artists to guide the artistic process in order to create intersectional practices that allow both Deaf and hearing artists to be seen and recognized for who they are. I am incredibly grateful for re:Naissance Opera and the team who allowed me to lead the project in order to serve marginalized, Deaf people who do not have the privilege of experiencing theatre. I ask theatre organizations to trust us, and let us Deaf artists lead the process for the best possible impact. This is the kind of work where we ask people to give up their position of power and allow space. It is not easy to do. However, the results for production are much more ideal. 

SAD: The theme of this year’s QAF is “rEvolution” – how do you see JESSE fitting into this theme?

LK: The current Canadian theatrical landscape is slowly changing, but Deaf artists are fighting for artistic spaces to create new works. JESSE is about the decolonization of hearing culture in the Deaf experience and finding liberation. The piece is helping the theatre community to understand and change in favour of better practices. 

SAD: What do you hope audiences will take away from JESSE?

LK: Deaf theatre is the best way to educate hearing people about Deaf culture. We hope that the audience will walk away with a new understanding of what is possible in theatre and to inspire them to consider hiring Deaf talents for their work. Deaf theatre for the Deaf is vital and necessary to improve the lives and safety of the Deaf community, as is the willingness and commitment from hearing artists to learn to adapt to their practice and become allies. 


QAF 2019 runs from June 17 to 28.

QAF 2019: QUEER SONGBOOK ORCHESTRA

Original article from Sad Mag June 13, written by Rebecca Peng.

The Queer Arts Festival (QAF) is Vancouver’s artist-run festival of queer arts and culture, held every summer at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. Now in its 11th year, the QAF is a multidisciplinary affair, presenting an art exhibition and performance series, as well as workshops, artist talks, panels, and screenings. This year’s festival, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, is organized around the theme of rEvolution, and focuses on the transgressive and transformative potential of queer art.

In advance of the festival, SAD Mag spoke with Shaun Brodie, artistic director of the Queer Songbook Orchestra, a renowned national chamber ensemble that unearths the queer backstories and narratives in contemporary music.

Queer Songbook Orchestra, photo by Tanja Tiziana

QUEER SONGBOOK ORCHESTRA, PHOTO BY TANJA TIZIANA

SAD: Can you tell about the origins of Queer Songbook Orchestra? What was the inspiration? How did the ensemble come together?

SHAUN BRODIE: The QSO formed in 2014. It came about after about a decade of working as a freelance musician with many indie-pop bands throughout Canada, and finding myself post-30 and kind of at loose ends. I didn’t feel as though the work I was doing was necessarily sustainable for a lifetime and, beyond that, I wanted to find work that I could be more invested in. I’ve long had an interest in storytelling and little-known histories, and combined with my queer identity and background in music, the idea slowly formed to create something that would allow these elements to intersect and, hopefully, be of service to the community. I started calling up friends – I was fortunate to already know many fantastic musicians, queer and allied – to see if they would be interested, and they all very enthusiastically agreed. We did our first show at the legendary – and now defunct – space ‘Videofag’ here in Toronto, a small storefront-style space for queer art and performance run by William Ellis and Jordan Tannahill. That was March of 2014, and in the five years since we’ve toured all over Canada, worked with over 150 collaborators, and shared endless stories of queer experience from the stage.

SAD: From a performer’s perspective, what makes playing with the Queer Songbook Orchestra different from other ensembles or projects?

SB:I had never played shows prior to the QSO that were so centred around narrative. There’s always stage banter from the singer/bandleader and that type of thing, but with the QSO the audience finds themselves on a journey of queer lives and experiences. Some which may reflect their own, and some which might be quite different. There is a vulnerability to hearing these deeply personal stories shared, and it ends up feeling like all of us – performers and audience – are in a safe space where we are caring for each other. That’s a unique sensation.

SAD: How do you decide what songs to play? What’s the process of creating a show?

SB: Our repertoire is largely decided by the community. Since forming we’ve had a sort of general call out for folks within the 2SLGBTQ community to send us their stories of queer experience and the songs that are most deeply connected to them. So we will receive these pairings of story and song, and will go about building our shows from them. We also include historical narratives, usually of popular songs that have a little-known queer backstory. So there is often a balance of these approaches in a show.

Queer Songbook Orchestra, photo by Tanja Tiziana.

QUEER SONGBOOK ORCHESTRA, PHOTO BY TANJA TIZIANA.

SAD: Speaking to this year’s QAF theme, “rEvolution”: How has turning to the past in this way, unearthing or rereading queer narratives in music, changed your perspective on those eras – and shaped your visions or aspirations for queer futures?

SB:Digging into these histories and being trusted with the personal stories of our peers in the community, it’s a great privilege to carry these narratives with us and deliver them to audiences across the country. It also gives us an insight into the integrity and character of the community through the generations, and the beauty and brilliance of queer individuals even in times of great hardship and isolation. Of course we are not out of the woods in terms of hardship and isolation, and having this perspective on the past and an insight into younger generations, one can’t help but have a sense that whatever the BS of the current times and political landscape, there is within the community the strength to resist and persist towards a better and more inclusive, compassionate future.

SAD: What’s the motivation behind putting these stories, told through the music of these past several generations, with modern, local narratives? How do you feel they enrich each other?

SB:I think it’s important to emphasize lineage. There tends to be a disconnect between generations in the queer community, and so to present an evening which places stories from the past alongside more contemporary narratives it can I think help to give people a sense of this lineage: who has come before us, and where we might see ourselves within it. The hope is that this can lead to more connections forming and people feeling they are part of a broader community.

SAD: What can audiences look forward to in this year’s Queer Arts Festival Performance?

SB: We haven’t played in Vancouver since January 2016. In the past three and a half years the QSO has grown immensely and really developed our material. So, for anyone who saw us back then they can expect a very different show, but one that still delves deep into many facets of queer experience. For anyone new to our shows, they can expect an intimate, tender and joyous evening which explores and elevates queer lives and aims to unite the audience around these experiences. Additionally, we always look to the local community to find collaborators for our shows, guests to be our narrators and deliver the stories we are telling alongside the songs. So the audience can look forward to seeing their own local community and friends reflected from the stage.

Queer Songbook Orchestra, photo by Tanja Tiziana.

QUEER SONGBOOK ORCHESTRA, PHOTO BY TANJA TIZIANA.

SAD: What are you most excited about for this year’s Queer Arts Festival?

SB:Sadly we are only able to be in Vancouver for the tail end of the festival, so what I am mostly looking forward to are the bits that we are actually able to attend. Those being our show on June 28 and the party following it. It’s really exciting to be able to present a show that is aligned with the Stonewall anniversary, and while I always look forward to QSO shows, this one just feels extra special. And, as always, I am excited to meet and work with our local collaborators!

QAF 2019 runs from June 17 to 28. For more information and the purchase tickets, visit the Queer Arts Festival website.

Original article from Sad Mag June 13, written by Rebecca Peng.

Stonewall 50: Glitter is Forever

Fri Jun 28 | 9pm | Free with QSO ticket | Party only $20 – $15

You can’t get that shit out!

On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the closing of QAF 2019 we’re throwing the party of the half-century! Get ready for a culmination of the creative outpouring of this festival season and the past fifty years of queer art and culture.

Join us at The Roundhouse in collaboration with Vancouver Pride Society, The Frank Theatre Company, and Zee Zee Theatre to revel in the queerevolution with live performances, DJ’s spinning us through the decades, and more!

It’s not your story. It’s your LEGEND.

QAF 2019 rEvolution gathers together artists who disassemble, push, and transgress: art as the evolution of the revolution.

“Art does not imitate life. Art anticipates life.” — Jeanette Winterson

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