Join us as QAF 2023: Queers in Space officially launches into orbit! This year, ArtParty! returns to the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre’s Exhibition Hall for the first time since 2019. Party amidst our signature Visual Art Exhibition, bumfuzzled monachopsis: innerspace out, curated by Zandi Dandizette, while enjoying delicious food and drink, gyrating to the spins of the incredible DJ Nea Stone Fox, and celebrating with the Queerdos of our community!
It’s Art. It’s a Party. It’s the best combination of both.
bumfuzzled monachopsis: innerspace out reflects the uncertain times in which our collective world does not ascertain belonging to those occupying it. Our parallel universes of experience, never quite overlapping, seeking out an idealized community, that “me-shaped” hole in which inclusion is touted. A confused subtle space of emotion as the external world points at what we are and who we are, yet never quite where we are welcome to be.
The present state in which queer artists take up space, share space, and embody the ownership of it. Sharing our inner worlds out visually via developed characters, worlds, or visual language that provides safety in exploring identity or the relation to the spaces around them.
Zandi Dandizette’s curation asks viewers to “wander the maze of our hearts and open them to the multiplicity of being.” We are not a homogenized whole, but many individuals all seeking that future space in which belonging can be achieved.
Zandi Dandizette, QAF 2023 Visual Art Exhibition guest curator
Zandi Dandizette is a nonbinary settler-immigrant interdisciplinary artist and cultural worker that likens their medium as space whether 2D, 3D, or 4D. Their work vacillates between focus shifts on identity, dis/connection, and collective problem solving. Zandi utilizes repeating color and shape motifs to discuss binary and hierarchical aspects in these themes. Zandi’s practice attempts to investigate and share the lessons they’ve absorbed in navigating the complexity of existence. Over the past ten years, Zandi’s varied collection of works — animation, interactive installations, digital and visual artworks — have been shown across Canada, the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom (2017), Tehran, Iran (2018) and Sydney, Australia (2018). They graduated with a BMA in Animation 2014 from Emily Carr University before moving into the collective space that became The James Black Gallery which is currently located on the stolen unceded ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Zandi seeks to decenter colonial legacy, and empower voices affected by systems of oppression in their cultural work. This intention has had them explore the possible structures in which artists come together as a founding member of VALUCOOP (2020), in the development of Pressure Point (2022), on the board of VIVO Media Arts Centre (2018-2020), serving as the President of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (2020-2022), and in representing British Columbia at ARCA (2019). Zandi co-founded The James Black Gallery (2014), current board member of CARFAC National, and charter member of the Arts and Cultural Workers Union (778-B). Their curatorial projects have ranged from showcasing emerging, local to international stature, while mostly being centered at The James Black Gallery.
Augmented Reality artist Preston Buffalo secretly brings the Roundhouse to life with Indigiqueer pasts and futures – including a creation story of how the Cree People originated from the Pleiades star cluster. Buffalo’s AR images are invisible and inaudible to the naked eye and ear – but revealed when your phone scans a QR code! Presented in partnership with Little Chamber Music.
Preston Buffalo (he/him) is a Two-Spirited Cree man residing in the unceded Coast Salish Territories in British Columbia. His interdisciplinary practice is centred around exploring personal Indigenous iconography and symbolism through the use of photography, alternative photo processes, digital illustration and AR. Preston’s work is informed by pressing issues faced by Indigenous communities, including mental health, harm reduction, loss of culture and language resulting from displacement and the residential school system. By intersecting traditional material practice with contemporary techniques, his work seeks to challenge viewers’ perceptions of contemporary Indigenous Identity.
Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction is an exciting and ground-breaking fiction collection showcasing a number of new and emerging Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer writers from across Turtle Island, edited and compiled by renowned author Joshua Whitehead. Whitehead joins us along with fellow visionary Indigenous authors and anthology contributors for a literary event demonstrating how queer Indigenous communities can bloom and thrive through utopian narratives.
While this event is ticketed, the cinq-à-sept reception that follows at 5pm is free and open to all. This reception takes place in the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall and features a book signing with the participating authors, presented in partnership withMassy Books, and DJ set by DJ Kota, courtesy of Full Circle: First Nations Performance.
These two events are part of a day-long trilogy of events celebrating Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer artists. Please see Virago Nation Burlesquefor our 7pm event.
Joshua Whitehead (he/him) is a Two-Spirit, Oji-nêhiyaw member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary where he is housed in the departments of English and International Indigenous Studies (Treaty 7).
He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks 2017) which was shortlisted for the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press 2018) which was long listed for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction, the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and Canada Reads 2021.
Whitehead is the editor of Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, which won the Lambda Award in 2021.
Whitehead’s latest book Making Love with the Land was published in 2022 with Knopf Canada, exploring the intersections of Indigeneity, queerness, and, most prominently, mental health through a nêhiyaw lens. The book was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award for Nonfiction.
Nazbah Tom (Diné), somatic practitioner/poet. They are published in Lambda Literary Award winner Love After The End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction. As a somatic practitioner they use conversation, breath work, gestural work, bodywork, and somatic skills to guide groups through a process of embodied transformation.
Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler (he/they) is the author of Wrist, a windigo story written from the monster’s perspective, and Ghost Lake, an inter-connected collection of short stories (both published by Kegedonce Press), and co-editor of a dream-themed anthology of Indigenous writers called Bawaajigan ~ Stories of Power (Exile Editions). Nathan has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, a BFA in Integrated Media from OCAD, and a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Native Studies from Trent University. He is recipient of an Indigenous Voices Award for prose, a Hnatyshyn Reveal award for literature, and first-place winner of an Aboriginal Writing Challenge for poetry. His writing has also appeared in various magazines, websites, and anthologies (Exile, Bedside Press, Arsenal Pulp Press). He is Jewish and Anishinaabe, Two Spirit, and a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation.
jaye simpson (she/they) is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux Indigiqueer from the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation and the author of the poetry collection it was never going to be okay. Their work has been performed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word has been featured in Poetry Is Dead, This Magazine,PRISM international, SAD Mag,GUTS Magazine, and Room. simpson resides on the unceded and ancestral territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam people (Vancouver).
Our day-long slate of events centred on Two-Spirit & Indigiqueer art concludes with breathtaking burlesque brought to you by the badass babes of Virago Nation, Turtle Island’s first all-indigenous burlesque collective!A festival favourite of the virtual QAF 2020: Wicked, Virago Nation returns with a brand new, in-the-flesh performance exploring the many facets of indigenous sexual rematriation.
Virago Nation reminds viewers to embrace their EXTRA and that heteronormativity is inherently colonial and that queerness is a gift to be celebrated! Their message is consistent, loud & clear—colonial and patriarchal ideologies have no place here. Using storytelling, comedy, pop culture, and striptease, Virago Nation continues to show that Indigenous sexuality is multi-faceted, dynamic, powerful and an experience that is deeply personal.
Shane Sable “Mover, Shaker, Mischief Maker; the Furiously Flirtatious Force of Nature”
2Spirit Gitxsan artist and activist Shane Sable has slayed stages all over Vancouver in front of and behind the scenes since 2011. Shane has an abiding hunger for audience engagement and delights in the tension created by breaking the 4th wall of burlesque. Shane is the convening member of Virago Nation – Turtle Island’s first all-indigenous burlesque collective.
RainbowGlitz is one of Virago’s Nations founding members and Vancouvers Rainbow Slut spreading her love medicine in a mix of classic, nerdlesque, exotic dance and pussy cat doll hip hop movements. This Haida, Squamish, Musqueam and black artist will leave you wanting to throw your gold at the end of her rainbow.
Scarlet Delirium: Vancouver BC’s Raven Goddess! The Kwakiutl Indigi-Babe! Scarlet Delirium has been enjoying the slow burn of Burlesque and Cabaret since 2010 and is a founding member of Virago Nation. During the daylight hours doubles as Costume Designer for herself and her Burlesque family.
Manda Stroyer: Indigibabe Manda Stroyer is a Dakota artist who’s been performing burlesque since 2011. She performed with and co-produced the whimsical troupe “Boutique Cabaret” and has found her home with Turtle Island’s first all indigenous troupe “Virago Nation”. She’s also a momma of 2 and believes fiercely in breaking the stereotype that motherhood means giving up sexual expression. When she’s not raising the future generation off stage she will be raising your temperature on stage.
Sparkle Plenty is Vancouver’s glamedian, weirdlesquer, and word-maker-upper who has been delivering beautifully bizarre burlesque acts for over 10 years! This fiery goddess is Cree and Metis with mixed heritage and is a proud sister of the first ever all Indigenous burlesque group, Virago Nation. You can find her teasing and emceeing with the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society as well as on stages all over Vancouver, Toronto, Las Vegas and more.
Monday Blues is an Afro-Indigenous burlesque artist, and has been performing burlesque professionally since 2011. Monday has traveled the globe as a solo female adventurer and loves to live outside her comfort zone. Her most recent endeavours include being an avid entrepreneur, both in Sex Work and coaching capacities, as well as pursuing her passion on the burlesque stages all over Canada and the US. Monday strives to exist without limits and wants to help others feel just as empowered.
Lynx Chase: A true showpony at heart, Lynx Chase has always been passionate about movement and performance arts. Over the years she has trained in a variety of disciplines ranging from Aerial Hoop, Silks, Contortion, Partner Acrobatics, Bellydance & Capoeira; however it wasn’t until she discovered Pole Dancing in 2012 that she found her true vocation. Lynx has been professionally teaching in Vancouver since 2015 and has also showcased her gravity defying acts at various events and festivals across the province such as Retro Strip Show, Bass Coast and Shambhala Music Festival. It is her hope to continue to share her craft with the world by demonstrating the strength, sensuality, artistry and grace that goes hand in hand with the art of pole and exotic dance.
Ruth Odare: Ruthe Ordare is the Indigifemme Amuse Bouche serving up hips, thighs and bedroom eyes since 2011. She is a performer from the Mohawk Nation and a founding member of the all-Aboriginal troupe Virago Nation. Dubbed the Canadian Meringue for being light on her feet and twice as sweet, Ruthe serves up classic glamour with a contemporary pulse! In her international travels, Ruthe has been awarded “Best Solo” at the Texas Burlesque Festival and “Best Duo” at the Oregon Burlesque Festival. She has performed at the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Movers, Shakers & Innovators Showcase in 2015 & 2017 and the Tournament of Tease in 2013.
Long regarded as the bedrock of the Queer Arts Festival, the Pride in Art Community Show honours the legacy of founder, activist, and Two-Spirit artist, Robbie Hong. Each year, QAF opens submissions to artists of all skills levels to submit their work, preferably centred around the festival theme. For the second year running, QAF has teamed up with queer partner-in-crime, The James Black Gallery, to showcase the otherwordly artwork of our local 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.
SUM gallery presents a solo exhibition by Odera Igbokwe, an illustrator and painter who celebrates the magic of the African Diaspora and QTBIPOC. New Yams Festival is a direct reflection, response, and Queer reclamation of The New Yam Festival of the Igbo people. Traditionally, it is a celebration of abundance, ancestral veneration, and protection. In referencing The New Yam Festival, Odera seeks to create a visual lineage between Queer Afrofuturism and ancestral rituals.
Igbokwe’s colourful, sensuous visions of Queer Black Futurisms opens with a reception on June 22 and will remain on display at SUM gallery until July 28.
Odera Igbokwe (they/them & he/him) is an illustrator and painter located on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Odera loves to explore storytelling through Afro-diasporic mythologies, Black resilience and magical girl transformation sequences. Their work explores the magic of the Black imagination, and responds to the fractures that occur via diaspora and displacement. Ultimately their paintings celebrate joy, mundanity, and fantasy coexisting alongside pain and healing. As a freelance illustrator, Odera works with clients and galleries to create work that is deeply personal, soulful and intersectional.
Breathe In The Fragrance is Sujit Vaidya‘s celebration of erotic ritual — of taste, of smell, of song, of dance, of sensations awakened by Jasmine — to make space for the in-betweenness of things to exist. Combining traditional Indian dance elements with modern choreography and queer eroticism, Breathe In The Fragrance features Vaidya and fellow dancers Kiruthika Rathanaswami and Malavika Santhosh, with live music by Curtis Andrews, Arno Kamolika and Ramya Kapadia.
Sujit Vaidya (Choreographer/Dancer) is an independent dance artist based in Vancouver BC. Trained in Bharatanatyam, he predominantly works as soloist and continues his training in Bharatanatyam with Guru A.Lakshman.
His artistic choices reflect the curiosities and experiences he holds as a queer artist of colour, while deeply engaging with an art form rooted in tradition. His choreographies question the narrative and relevance of non inclusive traditional texts. He aims to create space for queer expression within the context of Bharatanatyam and seeks collaborations with other queer artists of colour.
šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square – Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza – 750 Hornby St.
Queer Arts Festival partners with Vancouver International Jazz Festival for the second year in a row to present Witch Prophet: the evolution of Toronto based singer-songwriter Ayo Leilani. Think Erykah Badu meets Lauryn Hill meets Portishead. Leilani finds depth and connection in creating music as a portal for self-growth and discovery, as she navigates and better understands her Ethiopian/Eritrean roots and queer identity.
The free Downtown Jazz concert series takes place outside the Vancouver Art Gallery and šxwƛ̓ ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25. The Georgia Street Stage sits near the corner of Hornby and West Georgia Streets. Tickets or advance registration are not required.
Etmet Musa, also known by her alias Ayo Leilani and her stage name Witch Prophet, is an Ethiopian/Eritrean musician based in Toronto, Ontario. As Witch Prophet, she has released two albums: The Golden Octave and DNA Activation.
Presented in association with Coastal Jazz and Blues Society
In 1983, Canada’s queerest and most cosmic composer, Claude Vivier, shockingly left this world at the age of 34, murdered by a rent boy in Paris. In this retrospective, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death with performances by the Standing Wave Ensemble, soprano Sarah Jo Kirsch, and pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, along with musical tributes by composers Rodney Sharman, Matthew John Knights and Gabriella Yorke. Presented in partnership with Little Chamber Music.
Many consider Claude Vivier the greatest composer Canada has yet produced. At the age of 34, he was the victim of a shocking murder by a prospective lover, leaving behind some 49 compositions in a wide range of genres, including opera, orchestral works, and chamber pieces. György Ligeti once called Vivier “the finest French composer of his generation.”
Western Canada’s foremost contemporary chamber ensemble, Standing Wave is a sextet of intrepid new music interpreters dedicated to commissioning and performing cutting-edge music from today’s most forward-thinking composers. Acclaimed internationally for their virtuosity, vision, and artistry, Standing Wave has cultivated a reputation for electrifying live performance that pushes the boundaries of what chamber music is and can be.
Sarah Jo Kirsch, soprano
An accomplished interpreter of western art music, Sarah Jo Kirsch (they/she) has performed across Canada, in Europe and West Asia as a soloist and collaborator. They have been hailed as “…one of the finest contemporary dramatic vocalists in Canada today,” (Calgary Herald) “…with the ability to get under the skin of everything she sings,” (Winnipeg Free Press). Beyond opera and oratorio, Sarah curates and produces sociopolitically relevant art song experiences of works from the last three centuries. An avid and capable interpreter of new music, they have premiered more than 30 new works for voice by Canadian composers.
Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, piano
Hailed in the press as a “keyboard virtuoso and avant-garde muse” (Georgia Straight) with the “emotional intensity” to take a piece “from notes on a page to a stunning work of art” (Victoria Times Colonist), Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa is recognized among Canada’s foremost contemporary music pianists. Selected to close the ISCM World New Music Days 2017 in Vancouver, Rachel has performed in the Netherlands, Germany, US and across Canada, with engagements including Muziekweek Gaudeamus, Music TORONTO, Music on Main, Vancouver New Music, Redshift, Western Front, Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony, the Aventa Ensemble (Victoria), CONTACT contemporary music (Toronto), New Works Calgary, Groundswell New Music (Winnipeg), and Vancouver Pro Musica.
Our 16th Queer Arts Festival comes home to dock in spectacular fashion, featuring drag performances by the “only nationally acclaimed All-Asian drag family,” House of Rice and music by DJ Bella Sie! Take in our curated visual art show one final time and come together in the spirit of cosmic camp — all of that and it’s free, too.
This event is ASL interpreted.
House of Rice is Canada’s only all Asian drag family. Chock-full of artistry and talent, the members of this house have collectively and individually become inspiring leaders for the queer and Asian communities. Since its inception, the House of Rice has been featured in 3 documentaries, 2 theatre festivals, and many artist collaborations, which leaves no question as to how important their work is.
House of Rice matriarch Shay Dior is an androgynous drag performer who strongly advocates for queer Asian visibility in the community. Shay also founded Ricecake: Vancouver’s Queer + Asian Dance party, a bi-monthly club night that is open to everyone, but celebrates queer Asian talent by showcasing an all Asian lineup of DJs, performers, and gogo dancers.
Bella Sie (they/them/their) is an established DJ and Event Producer from Vancouver, BC. Powered by love for the LGBTQ2+ community that they represent, Bella brings life to every party whether they are DJing a set or producing the event. You might recognize Bella as the resident DJ and co-producer of Ricecake (Vancouver’s premiere queer & Asian dance party), and you’ll soon never forget them once you’ve experienced their brilliant energy on stage and behind the scenes.