Arts & Entertainment
2 min

PRIDE WEEK PREVIEW: Reading is so gay

Pride Week sees rise in author appearances

Audiences are invited to lubricate their literary minds with readings focussing on queer and erotic themes at this year’s Pride Week. A glut of queer writers are set to give readings this year: six are planned, compared to last year’s two.

The marquee name this year is Sky Gilbert, who will be in town for the opening of his play Theatrelife. Noted author, playwright, filmmaker and drag queen extraordinaire, Gilbert is set to see opening night of his play Aug 15, and will be reading at Collected Works Bookstore the following day. See below for a full listing of the week’s queer readings.

Coordinator of the Dusty Owl Reading Series, Steven Zytveld says that having literary events during Pride week “means a great deal to the Ottawa community in general…giving queer writers a chance to find and cultivate a readership and audience.”

Zytveld believes that hosting queer talent enables them to present their works to a community they are inspired by, therefore, putting things in a proper balance.

“Without these events during Pride, we wouldn’t be doing the community justice,” he says.

Hosted by Dusty Owl, young local poet Sean Zio returns to this years Pride week, exposing his emotional side through spoken word poetry. Join Zio on his spiritual and philosophical journey at Mother Tongue Sat, Aug 18.

The next day, Dusty Owl is hosting DeAnne Smith at their regular digs at Swizzles. Primarily known for smart, sardonic and humerous poetry, Smith’s thought provoking writing is said to transcend boundaries to provide audiences with a charismatic, funny and engaging performance.

Shelley Taylor organizes queer readers at Venus Envy throughout the year.

Now in her second year organizing Reading Out Loud, Taylor believes that it shows an “excellent example of what people want to do and see during Pride week…” offering Pride goers a more quiet and reflective way to celebrate. Informally set, audiences are offered opportunities to experience not only written word, but an intimate connection with the authors.

Taylor is also hosting writer, spoken word artist and transgender activist Julia Serano who will read from her new book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity. Pick up the next issue of Capital Xtra (on stands Aug 16) to read our Julia Serano interview.

Finally, Capital Xtra’s Marcus McCann and erotica writer Amanda Earl are holding down the small-press fort during Pride week. Kathryn Hunt, editor of the Dusty Owl Quarterly, says micropresses like hers and above/ground have a focus that’s naturally off the beaten path.

“The small press world lives off poetry since it does not get much play at major publishing houses,” she adds.

These readings will surely make you ready and randy for the upcoming annual literary festivals in the fall — Transgress and Wilde About Sappho. Keep reading Capital Xtra for more details!