It’s all about queer bodies this year at the third annual Exposure: Edmonton’s Queer Arts and Cultural Festival. This year the festival has chosen Queer Bodies as its theme and is looking in particular at sexing and sizing queer bodies.
Jennifer Alabiso, chair of Exposure’s board of directors, views the theme as “exactly right for us at this time — growing into our own and testing our boundaries.” Playing on this theme, the festival is sporting hankies and welcomes new interpretations and uses for the hankies beyond the hanky code.
The Exposure Festival aims to uncover, highlight and celebrate queer arts and culture through a range of different mediums. It is the second largest queer event in Edmonton, second only to Pride. Over 3,000 people attended the festival’s various events last year.
The board has purposefully planned bold events. Alabiso says the festival “affords a unique opportunity for Edmonton’s diverse queer communities to see themselves exposed in a variety of events that are seldom depicted or even discussed in mainstream culture.”
Highlights of this year’s festival so far include Buck Angel, the first female-to-male transsexual pornstar. Angel was in town for the Best of Buck film screening, a flick created exclusively for Exposure. He was also one of the performers at the Really Big Show at Steamworks bathhouse. Another festival highlight: the world premiere of And the Rest is Drag, a locally made documentary featuring the Alberta Beef Drag King Troupe that is described as “contemplating gender from the perspective of folks who consciously and politically queer their gender.”
Exposure began Nov 13 and runs until Sat, Nov 21. Upcoming events include an all-day workshop on Fri, Nov 30 featuring artist and facilitator Valerie Mason-John (aka Queenie). Queenie’s event, titled Inside Out: Celebrating Who We Are, is described as “a unique opportunity for visible minority queers to explore their identities in a creative and dynamic way.” The art workshop aims to allow people to express themselves and their stories in whatever ways they so desire. The workshop culminates in the Queerly I am Nothing New Salon, which will feature the participants and their creations, as well as performances by Althea Cunningham, Hiromi Goto, Vivek Shraya and Derek Warwick. These artists’ performances are exploring the idea that queerness has always been around.
The festival finishes with a closing night party, Queers in the Hood on Sat, Nov 21, 9pm at Freemasons Hall. The dance party promises “late ’80s fabulousness,” so make sure to break out your neon and best moves for this event.
For more information and a full program schedule check Exposurefestival.ca.