Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Women kicking butt

Mexican wrestling and more at Montreal's Edgy Women Festival

Marijs Boulogne is organizing a lucha libre wrestling match to close the festival.
The Edgy Women’s Festival wants you to rethink concepts of gender, sexuality and feminism – as two women pummel each other in the ring next to you.
 
Edgy Women, the feminist Montreal arts festival with some serious guts, is feting its 20th birthday in style, by hosting two women, clad in masks, as they go through their “improvised game.”
 
Marijs Boulogne is organizing a lucha libre wrestling match to close the festival, which is sporting an athletic theme this year. Standing in a hallway outside downtown’s Studio 303, she’s audibly excited about the fantastically weird performance she’s cooking up for March 10, the last day of the festival.
 
“They don’t think like actors, so it’s different for them,” she says.
 
Boulogne brings her experience with lucha libre to Montreal after being involved with a bourgeoning Mexican wrestling scene in Brussels, of all places.
 
And on March 10 she’s looking to showcase the all-female wrestlers – whose personas might not be women, or even human. It’s all about “women expressing themselves with their bodies,” she says.
 
“This is a festival like no other. The work presented and the very structure of the events is political and playful,” says Miriam Ginestier, Edgy Women’s director. “Where and when else can you participate in a feminist hockey match with creative rules or use an exercise bike while you listen to a performative lecture or have a pony ride on a bodybuilder?”
 
The festival kicked off during Montreal’s Nuit Blanche, with short films and an interactive photobooth, but really gets started on March 7, with a series of events situated around the Blue Cat Boxing Club and a hockey match.
 
If festival-goers make it to Maria Kefirova’s performance-lecture Goldmeat, they can expect to see her “physically incorporate her three idols — Mike Tyson, Grace Jones and Mickey Rourke — into her body.”
 
Ginestier is about as curious as anyone to see what that will look like.
 
“Each event is a massive experiment, and I’m extremely curious about how they will all turn out,” she says.
 
While the festival challenges traditional gendered notions of sports and athletics — “the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s annual budget is equivalent to the annual salary of one (average) male professional player,” the website notes – the end goal is to “create stronger bonds between the artistic, activist and academic milieu, while cool-ifying and popularizing feminism,” says Ginestier.

For a full list of all events, visit edgywomen.ca.