Explosion of Talent at the Queer Arts Festival

Dare being challenged. Risk being changed at this year’s Queer Arts Festival at the Roundhouse. From July 23 to August 9, the festival will highlight cutting-edge performance art, music, visual arts, literature and more by artists of all ages at this year’s festival under the theme “ReGenerations.”

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The organizers call this year’s festival “a defiant reframing of the Nazi term “Degenerate Art,” where artists including such notable painters as Pablo Picasso, were claimed as a dangerous threat to the Nazi society. This summer festival will instead celebrate the contributions to society by queer artists and from queer art.

The Pride in Art Society has been doing just that for the visual arts since they began operation in the 1990s. By making queer artists and art visible, recognized and celebrated, the festival aims to “build a better world.” In 2006, the festival expanded to include more genres. Today, the festival is a multi-disciplinary celebration of music, literature, performance and the visual arts by artists around the world.

While this year’s festival is jam-packed with talent, here are some highlights in all genres of arts to pique your interest:

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If you are a lover of literature (and have always wanted to write), sign up for Amber Dawn’s pay-what-you-can Tough Language and Tender Wisdom memoir writing workshop for transgressive voices. Amber Dawn is the author of two books, How Poetry Saved My Life (the 2013 City of Vancouver book award winner) and SubRosa (a Lambda award winner). With a variety of powerful exercises spread over two days, this workshop is designed to encourage participants to take risks in writing their personal stories.

For visual arts enthusiasts, “Queering the International” will set-up in the exhibition hall and features artists from around the globe. Curated by Zimbabwe-born curator/artist Laiwan, the exhibit explores queer identity on an international scope and from a variety of viewpoints including from Mexico, Iran, Russia, Brazil, India and here in Canada. Admission is by donation.

For performing arts buffs, the award winning X by Sunny Drake explores the topic of addiction and recovery with a visionary show of stop motion animation, puppetry and live performance. Over forty interviews with community members put real-life addiction issues in the spotlight of the performance. An unforgettable show for a $15/$30 ticket.

For music connoisseurs, Colin Tilney will give a solo harpsichord recital to celebrate his legacy in his 80th year. In collaboration with Vancouver’s Early Music Festival, Colin Tilney had a historically informed performance technique, which means he only uses original music sources and plays on either antique instruments or those that are based on the antique design. Tickets for the Colin Tilney Celebrates LXXX event are $15/$30.

The Queer Arts Festival runs from July 23 to August 9 and all events take place at the Roundhouse. For more information about the events, please check out queerartsfestival.com.

What events are you hoping to attend?


By Lindsay Glauser Kwan, Roundhouse Blog Team. Lindsay is a creative writer and blogger specializing in arts, culture, fashion and lifestyle. She has written for Vancouver Is Awesome, emerge, The Liar, The Blind Hem and various blogs. A graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU and active in Pandora’s Collective, she features regularly at local literary events.

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