Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Decadent party promises February fun

Ottawa artists host anti-circuit party

Jizz is not your high school MuchMusic video dance. But the queer and raunchy video dance celebration, born out of the counter-cultural tradition of the legendary Vazaleen parties, could have no more fitting name.

And it’s just what we need in the dark winter days of February.

In September of 2004, SAW Gallery, along with Will Munro, staged an Ottawa edition of Munro’s monster Toronto dance party Vazaleen.

“It was so successful and there was an obvious need for something other than what was available out there,” says Jason St-Laurent of the SAW Gallery. “We could have easily decided to say, ‘Let’s just do another Vazaleen Ottawa,’ but said, ‘You know what — we’ve got the resources to have our own thing, that will have its own identity and really push the international element of the event.'”

Enter Agitate! Queer Women of Colour, which speaks more to an international queer experience.

“They’re supplying a lot of programming ideas for the event,” St-Laurent says. “We know how to reach the gay male scene, but we’re not so hot on the dyke side of things, so this is a sort of happy medium, this collaboration with SAW and Agitate.”

This collaboration helps to give Jizz a flavour of its own, different from the Vazaleen that came before it.

“We’re pulling in elements of international queer culture to the event, trying to introduce people to new music, new video, new whatever that isn’t normally found on the circuit,” says St-Laurent. “This is sort of like an anti-circuit party. The aim is to really bring people that don’t fit into the queer scene generally, who don’t appreciate the same remix of a song 10 times — that sort of scene.”

Video performances of famous Spanish drag queen La Prohibida are just the beginning. (La Prohibida is also the face of the first edition of Jizz, her image on the flyers and posters for the event.) St Laurent also promises radical performances, pornography, performance and visual art, and live performances from the likes of Montreal’s sexually diverse pop band Les Abdigradationnistes and controversial Quebec City performance collective Les Fermières Obsédées.

Mikiki, alter-ego of local gay men’s outreach worker Mike Hickey, is also one of the slated performers. “I’ve been interested in queer aesthetics for a while and I think this is an awesome opportunity to be able to participate,” Hickey says. “The way that the Gallery operates in terms of what they show and who they are fits into the way that I see my identity in some ways, so when I heard that this party was going to be organised I decided to work with it.”

The feel of Jizz promises to be hot, and maybe just a little bit sticky.

“The gallery space will be transformed more into a club atmosphere and the SAW club itself will become the dance floor, so it’ll look different than Vazaleen,” St-Laurent says. “We had the courtyard then which extended our play room quite a bit, so this one will be more hot and packed inside.”

And then there is the sound of Jizz. Of the two main spinners, Ottawa DJ CPI’s eclectic style opens the night. CPI is a veteran of Ottawa’s queer and underground parties including Divergence. She’ll be followed by Toronto’s DJ Carma, whose set fits in with the international theme of the event. Carma is known for finding new music that’s really outside the North American scene, and she uses it to lift the dance floor.

With a hint of queer culture clash, and with a few more boundaries pushed, Jizz promises to be a night that Ottawa won’t soon forget.