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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

NEWS: Bending The Rules, Out on Screen, Salt Spring Island’s Pride, Fringe Festival

THE QUEER HISTORY OF THE VANCOUVER FRINGE FESTIVAL 
[Vancouver, B.C.] The queer history of the Vancouver Fringe Festival’s three decades may have generated some controversy along the way, but it has been groundbreaking for both audiences and queer artists alike. Despite concerns over censorship and even the possibility of arrests at other cities’s festivals, in its infancy the Vancouver Fringe never felt those same pressures. “We always felt Vancouver was much freer and had fewer constraints from the morality police, and the Fringe always felt like an opportunity to flaunt it,” says Joanna Maratta, the festival’s founder and first executive director. “Even when some of the more controversial shows, like Fuck Machine and The Happy Cunt, started heading west, we engaged with the City of Vancouver and asked them what they were going to do, and they totally backed away,” she says. READ MORE


BENDING THE RULES IN PURSUIT OF GOOD TIMES 
[Vancouver, B.C.] How did we ever do it? It must be difficult for a club-going emo boy in 2014 to imagine the semi-secret world my generation inhabited when we wanted to be among our own. We had more clubs, tubs and pubs available to us — about twice as many by my calculation — but they were also harder to find and more protective of our privacy. Unmarked storefront entrances led to tiny lobbies where you’d wait for Dennis or Doug or Big Bird to buzz you through to the next level of heaven or hell. You brought your own booze and paid dearly for your mixer. It was an underworld where we groped about in search of friends and lovers, barely believing that what we were doing was now legal. We bent and snapped many other rules in our pursuit of good times. READ MORE


OUT ON SCREEN RESPONDS TO CONTROVERSIAL DECISION TO ACCEPT AN ADVERT THAT DEPICTED ISRAEL'S FLAG ALONG SIDE THE RAINBOW FLAG 
[Vancouver, B.C.] The Vancouver Queer Film Festival turned 26 this year. The festival featured 86 films from around the world, a special focus on women-directed cinema and a spotlight on LGBT rights in Russia. The festival provides an opportunity for Vancouver’s queer communities to come together for discussion, reflection, celebration and yes — disagreement. In this year’s program guide, we accepted and ran an ad from a local volunteer-run group. The advertisement depicted an Israeli flag flying alongside a rainbow flag and sent congratulations on our 26th year. I have heard from some that the ad is celebratory and represents bridge-building between Jewish and LGBT communities. I have heard from some that this ad has felt hurtful in light of the tragedy occurring in Gaza. We’ve heard loud and clear from folks who feel that, by accepting this ad, we’ve strayed from our values as an organization. And we’ve heard loud and clear from those who can’t imagine why a local film festival would take a position on this issue. Within our own organization, there exists a diversity of viewpoints; our own internal conversations have been robust. READ MORE

BC’s THIRD LARGEST PRIDE PARADE IS PROUDLY PEOPLE-ORIENTED SAYS GLOSSI PRESIDENT 
[Salt Spring Island, B.C.] Organizers of Salt Spring Island’s Pride festival hope that community and not vandalism is the focus of this year’s event, which runs Sept 5 to 7. Last year’s festival was targeted by vandals who torched one of the community’s Pride flags and wrote “this is ugly stuff” on two of their posters. Local LGBT allies, however, used the remains of the burned flag to create a new banner that depicted a rainbow-clad phoenix rising from the ashes. Deirdre Rowland, a board member of Gays and Lesbians of Salt Spring Island (GLOSSI), tells Xtra that police investigated the incident but no arrests were made and no new information is available. “This year what we’ve done to try and mitigate something of that nature is create a poster that reflects the community back to itself,” says Rowland, who has been named a parade grand marshal. “The poster contains images of LGBTQ people in our community to show that we are real people and here are our faces. We are celebrating Pride not only in our own queer community, but with the broader community as well. We want to reflect our community back to itself on our 10th anniversary. I think that will give people a sense of who we are as a group.” READ MORE

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