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6 min

Cocktail hour with LGBTQ2 artists

The world’s largest queer theatre launches digital performance series

Heath V Salazar, Dainty Smith and Yolanda Bonnell join Buddies' 'Queer, Far, Wherever You Are' performance series providing succor in these times of coronavirus
Heath V Salazar, Dainty Smith and Yolanda Bonnell join Buddies' 'Queer, Far, Wherever You Are' performance series. Credit: Tanja Tiziana, Christie Vuoung; Francesca Roh/Xtra

From burlesque and readings to DJ sets and makeup tutorials, Queer, Far, Wherever You Are is a digital performance series presented by Buddies In Bad Times Theatre to provide a little queer succor and connection during the COVID-19 crisis. Buddies, the largest and longest-operating LGBTQ2 theatre in the world, launches the series today, Mar. 27; it continues on its Instagram page weekdays at 5 p.m. EST until Apr. 8.

Kicking off the series is opera singer and multi-disciplinary artist Teiya Kasahara, co-founder of Amplified Opera. The series continues Mar. 30 with performer and playwright Dainty Smith, founder of Les Femmes Fatales, a burlesque troupe for Black women and women of colour.

Next up, on Mar. 31, is Latinx drag king Gay Jesus, aka Heath V. Salazar. On Apr. 1, it’s playwright and poet Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, followed on Apr 2 by writer, puppeteer, composer and photographer Ali Eisner. The week closes Apr. 3 with a dance party and DJ Sofia Fly, a regular spinner at Tallulah’s Cabaret. The last week sees Deaf femme queer nonbinary artist Sage Lovell, founder of Deaf Spectrum on Apr. 6, followed by novelist and theatre artist Catherine Hernandez, artistic director b current performing arts, (whose online children’s readings we profiled earlier in this series) on Apr. 7. The series finishes up Apr. 8 with queer Two-Spirit Ojibwe/South Asian performer, playwright and poet Yolanda Bonnell.

So raise a queer cocktail during your end-of-the-day commute to the kitchen and cheer on a terrific sampling of Toronto talent. Digital dynamism at its best.

In the time of coronavirus, LGBTQ2 artists need more than applause

On a related front: The Toronto Arts Foundation (TAF) estimates that up to 10,000 local artists have lost their source of income because of social isolation practices resulting from COVID-19.  And a huge number of these artists do not qualify for Employment Insurance as they are self-employed and make less than $30,000 per year. That’s why TAF has teamed up with Toronto Arts Council to set up the TOArtist COVID Response Fund. The fund will allocate up to $1,000 to individual artists who have lost income due to cancellation of events, programs, readings, speaking engagements and workshops, as well as lost income for teaching artists due to school closures and cancelled private lessons. The first intake of this fund will accept applications to replace lost revenues from Mar. 12 to Apr. 30.

To donate, click here.