Fall arts preview: queer shows to catch on stage & screen

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We might be only 10 percent of the population, but you’d never guess it by the local arts scene. With a variety of theatre productions and other shows slated for the next months, our stories will be well represented on stages around town this fall.

Ballet BC & Alberta Ballet present Love Lies BleedingStarting off the season is that bastion of the weird, wonderful and queer, the Vancouver International Fringe Festival, currently playing Granville Island until Sunday.

Mid-September will bring fresh meat for The Bobbers, Canada’s only queer improv comedy troupe, as they open their newest season of Tops & Bottoms with a show every Monday night at the J Lounge.

The end of September welcomes the return of one of the bad boys of Canadian theatre, a history of Vancouver drag plus a new musical that can only be described as Glee for the morbid.

Brad Fraser’s True Love Lives, on stage at The Cultch, reunites two of the characters from his 1989 hit Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love and Tucked and Plucked invites audiences to take a peek behind the glitz and glamour and into the history of Drag performance in Vancouver. While Victoria’s Atomic Vaudeville kicks off its national Ride The Cyclone tour with a stop at Granville Island’s Revue Stage. In this made-in-Canada musical, a choir from small-town Saskatchewan dies in a roller coaster accident only to be allowed back for one final recital. Feeling as if he didn’t suffer enough as the school’s only gay kid, Noel lets loose with a torch song about his character’s dream of being a French prostitute in post-war France.

For those who can’t get enough of queer cinema, the Vancouver International Film Festival is certainly not as comprehensive in its queer offerings as the Queer Film Fest, but local screens will remain a muted shade of pink from Sept 29-Oct 14.

Mid-October, Alberta Ballet and Ballet BC team up for Love Lies Bleeding, a new contemporary ballet about an obsessed Elton John fan, featuring 14 classics from the Elton/Taupin discography (photo right by Charles Hope).

November will see some collaboration between mainstream and independent queer theatre companies as the Vancouver Playhouse teams up with Screaming Weenie Productions to stage playwright CE Gatchalian’s Falling in Time at Performance Works. Featuring four characters, including a conflicted, closeted and alcoholic Korean War vet, the play is billed as an epic exploration of war, sexuality, forgiveness and love.

Over at the PAL Theatre, Fighting Chance Productions presents The Temperamentals. Code for homosexual in the 1950s, the word temperamental was part of a secret language created by gay men during that era. The show tells the story of gay pioneers Harry Hay and Rudi Gernreich as they fall in love and create one of the first gay organizations in the United States.

At the Jericho Arts Centre, 30-something Daniel will realize that meeting the man of his dreams over the internet isn’t always what it is cracked up to be in United Players’ The Priory.

Preferring the offbeat and funny to more traditional Christmas offerings, the Playhouse brings La Cage Aux Folles to its own stage in late November. Les Cagelles, the show’s chorus, features a bevy of local drag stars including Peach Cobblah, Kiki Lawhore, Celestial Seasons, Jaylene Tyme and Iona Whipp.

This fall, experience a live performance or go see our stories represented on the silver screen. I don’t doubt you will be tickled, tantalized and transfixed.

(A version of this fall arts preview first appeared in the September 8, 2011 edition of XTRA! Vancouver’s Gay & Lesbian News)

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