2016 Queer Arts Fest explores emotion in activism


The Acacia Quartet will perform Lyle Chan’s String Quartet: An AIDS Activist’s Memoir as part of this year's Vancouver Queer Arts Festival.

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The Vancouver Queer Arts Festival have not only chosen its theme for its 2016 edition, it is also moving the festival dates to pay tribute to Stonewall.

The Queer Arts Festival 2016 (QAF), Vancouver’s annual artist-run, professional, multi-disciplinary showcase of queer arts, culture and history, will take place this year from June 21-30 at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown.

The festival’s new dates for 2016 are designed to closer align with the June 28 Stonewall riots anniversary, renewing the connection between contemporary Pride celebrations and the artist’s role at the vanguard of queer civil rights struggle.

“This year’s curated visual art exhibition Drama Queer: Seducing Social Change interrogates the role of emotion in contemporary queer art as a form of political practice,” says SD Holman, the festival’s artistic director. “Curated by pioneering New York-based queer studies scholar and activist Jonathan D. Katz, Drama Queer explores the revolutionary power of contemporary art as a mechanism to coalesce feelings and direct them with activist intent.”

Centred around monumental paintings by Attila Richard Lukacs, Drama Queer features visual artists hailing from Europe, the US and Canada, including Angela Grossman, Bill Jacobson, Vika Kirchenbauer, Rudy Lemcke, Kent Monkman, Alice O’Malley, Jesse Finley Reed, J Res, Eric Rhein, Joey Terrill and Del LaGrace Volcano.

In addition to the curated visual arts exhibition, the 2016 QAF will also feature a series of performing arts events, and workshops for adults and youth. Highlights of the festival include:

Lyle Chan’s String Quartet: An AIDS Activist’s Memoir

This new work by acclaimed Australian composer Lyle Chan was initially devised during the peak of the epidemic. Performed by the Acacia Quartet and narrated by Chan himself, the work is a tour-de-force of emotionally powerful music, sometimes agitated, sometimes tender, but always beautiful.

Queer Noise

A program of media art that combines presentation and dialogue in the exploration of political intention in contemporary queer work. The evening includes short film, video and media art performances curated by media artist E. Hearte and featuring the work of kimura byol-nathalie lemoine, Kami Chisholm, T.L. Cowan, Martin Edralin, Blair Fukumura, Rémy Huberdeau, Lamathilde, Larose S. Larose, Elisha Lim, Joseph Medaglia, Iris Moore, Scott Fitzpatrick and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, among others.

A Gossamer Bit

Toronto-based ensemble Contact and composer Allison Cameron create a kaleidoscopic fusion of elements as disparate as minimalism, avant-garde jazz and Charles Ives, with spacious, introspective and hypnotic music. Released on CD on the Vancouver label Redshift Records, A Gossamer Bit is an immersive exploration.

The Pink Line

A new play about the intertwined histories of art and activism and racism, produced by Buddies in Bad Times and frank theatre in partnership.

Since 2008, the Queer Arts Festival has been a showcase of challenging, thought-provoking work that has pushed boundaries and stimulated dialogue. The Pride in Art Society produces QAF with a stated goal of “harnessing the visceral power of the arts to inspire recognition, respect and visibility of people who transgress gender and sexual norms.”

The 2016 Vancouver Queer Arts Festival runs June 21-30 at the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver). Visit http://queerartsfestaival.com for more information.

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