3 min

Wigs Wigs Wigs

Don your groovy lid and head to Wiggle 10

PERFORMANCE ART: Fashion, music, drag and plain craziness reign at the yearly Wiggle. Check out the 10th annual party May 17. Credit: Jacques Gaudet

It’s avant-garde. It’s performance art. It’s fashion and music and drag
and just plain craziness. Add to that some innovative souls who create
the most amazing wigs this town has ever seen, a ton of skin, deejays,
performers and even a burlesque number and you’ve got Wiggle, one of
gay Vancouver’s premier events of the year.

Reaching it’s 10 year mark, the Wigstock-inspired event has featured
some of the best talent both locally and from across the border every
year since its inception.

Michael Venus, Wiggles ringleader, says drag is an important element of
the show.

“In the gay scene, they’re the ambassadors of good will. This is the
biggest and best drag show but it’s more of an event. It’s a dying
breed because there are not a lot of events like this. We’re want to
keep the flame alive.”

But Wiggle isn’t all about drag.

“A cornucopia of Vancouver’s finest” is how Venus describes what Wiggle
is all about. Featuring young and up and coming superstars in music,
fashion and art, that converge into a fantasy extravaganza.

“With all the crap in this world right now,” says Venus. “Wiggle
provides a bit of escape.”

Performer Mikela J Mikael couldn’t agree more. She says that Wiggle is
important to both the queer and art communities because there are few
venues that allow the “underground sector to converge.”

“We need a catharsis other than hockey,” she says. “There is nothing
better than art, fashion, music and play to inspire people and give
them and outlet and engage each other in a healthy way.”

Mikael has been involved in Wiggle a half a dozen times as both a model
and performer. This year she’ll be performing a number of her own
titled “Unspoken,” a collaboration project with writing partner Len
Paul. She calls it Intellipop, a fusion of performance art and music
that she says is similar to old Eurythmics, an inspiration to her
growing up.

A blending of Grace Jones, Depeche Mode and Eurythmics “for the new
millennium” that grew organically from its spoken word beginnings.

Mikael says that Wiggle has the unique ability to gather a variety of
art forms and put them together into one event. Huge crowds are
expected every year and the organizers are never disappointed. Audience
members are often as dramatic, flamboyant and artistic as the

“It’s one of the best events of the year,” touts Joan-E, who will be
hosting Wiggle for the first time. “A lot of parties are one type, one
sex or age group. Often parties are segregated. At Wiggle it’s gay and
straight and all ages. From an entertainers standpoint it’s a win-win

Joan-E has performed at all but one Wiggle over the decade. She says
the venue provides a performer with an avenue to try something new or
out there-something that wouldn’t necessarily work with her Dufferin

Playing Nina Hagen-the German punk queen-one year wasn’t a stretch for
the audience to reach.

One of Wiggle’s charms, says Joan-E, is the ability of the artists to
turn total crap into utter beauty. With very few resources, performers
create amazing works and flaunt them to huge cheers.

“It’s what art should be.”

Rumour has it though, that this year’s Wiggle event may be bittersweet.
Expected to be one of the very best of the decade, it may also be its
last. Venus says there is some truth to the rumours.

“I wanted to make it to 10,” he says. “I can’t say it’s the last one
but there is a possibility that it might be. There’s also a possibility
that we might take the show on the road. We’ll see what the future

Taking risks and transcending the traditional drag performance is what
has made Wiggle so successful, says Mikael. Each year, she says,
attracts a new crowd that sparks satellites of ideas and creativity.
Though she says it’s an amazing form of art to be connected to,
Mikael’s interested in what will happen next year if there is no Wiggle
to spark.

Venus credits Wiggles’ staying power to the collaboration of artists,

stylists and models that work for free each year, often returning the
year after, and the year after that, to lend their skills for the sake
of art.

“This puts Vancouver on the map,” says Venus. “We want the world to see
what we’ve got here and no one is going to stop us!”

It’s a visual feast. An incubator of ideas. It’s exotic, glamorous,
outrageous and wild. Be sure to pay homage to this menagerie of talent.
And don’t forget: wear a wig.

May 17.
750 Pacific Blvd.
Tix $20 at Little Sister’s, Red Room.