Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Cozying up to commitment

An evening of steamy performance art

Heather Cassils will perform at Commitment Issues. Credit: Heather Cassils and Robin Black

Toronto the Good has often had commitment issues when it comes to accepting the use of erotic spaces to explore erogenous zones.

 
From Operation Soap, the 1981 bathhouse raids, to the 2000 Pussy Palace raid, sexual freedoms have frequently been targeted and trampled even as citizens boast of Toronto’s progressive side.
 
Performance artist Jess Dobkin wants to highlight this contradiction and other issues linked to the word “commitment” during a FADO performance art centre event at one of Toronto’s newest erotic playgrounds.
 
On Nov 16, swingers club Oasis Aqualounge will host Commitment Issues, an evening of performance art, that Dobkin hopes will help interrogate the word commitment.
 
“An exceptional word,” says Dobkin in her curatorial statement. “Often used in varying and oppositional contexts . . . we might commit to a relationship or to winning the big game, but we can also be committed to prison or a mental institution.”
 
Performers will occupy various areas on three floors of Oasis Aqualounge’s 19th-century mansion, including its steam rooms, locker areas, pools and hot tubs.
 
Toronto artist Kitty Neptune will host a pole-dancing rehearsal, and trans artist Heather Cassils will perform Tiresias, a piece about the mythological character of the same name that explores issues of social power and control.
 
Dobkin describes the event as a way to examine how the queer community, despite interventions from homophobic outsiders, has taken part in very committed social, cultural and political activism over the years.
 
She says the artists will provide a timely commentary about the ways we relate to one another as continually evolving queer bodies.
 
The event can be viewed as a spectator sport, says Dobkin, with the option and possibility of interaction.
 
Dobkin’s curatorial statement urges, “Locker and towel service provided. Bring your bathing suit and birthday suit. For real.”

The Deets:

Commitment Issues: An Evening of Performance Art
Wed, Nov 16, 7-10pm (featuring six performances over three hours)
Oasis Aqualounge
231 Mutual St
$15, $12 students/seniors/underemployed
Restricted to patrons 19+
 
Processing: Artists’ Panel and Reception
Thurs, Nov 17, 7-9:30pm
Studio Theatre
University of Toronto
4 Glen Morris St
Free, everyone welcome