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Monday, December 19, 2011

Persona: the Face/Mask and the Nude Male Ass (Week 2 of the Facebook Fagcott)

It's already Day 8 of my planned 40-day hiatus from Facebook, dubbed my "Face-Lent" by my darling friend and food justice/art-maker Jessie Barr. In the last week, another exquisite nude male ass crossed my path, which I am all too happy to show you here.

For Valerie Simmons' elegant and textured upcoming show at Galerie Dentaire, one of my personal heroes of Montréal's contemporary dance élite gets frozen in time, over and over again. Known for his show-stopping performances at the Agora de la danse and Flexx, José Navas is an innate mover, strong, anti-balletic, and ageless. Simmons says her Personae ("masks" in Greek) and Trois Battements ("three beats") series are meant to show how
human behaviour “is impacted by its surroundings; when speaking of the surroundings, I am referring to human environment as well as human attire. That which encompasses us has agency over the roles we play,” 
she writes eloquently in her artist's statement. In an age where our surroundings and our relationship to them are reduced to “Liking” and posting on peoples' “Walls”, it is a relief to see a photographer taking a path that diverges from the rule of immediate comprehensibility, and strives to express something more poetic.

Works like Simmons' have weight and silent power, but also an erotic frisson from the presence of Navas in various nude or semi-nude poses. Images like “Ave Maria” (above) of the nude male buttocks can get you “reported” on Facebook, as happened to yours truly on December 10th after I giddily posted an image by French neo-mannerist photographer Vincent Malléa (Pain Capital, see previous post).

It led me to wonder how we have come to so police and diminish our visual and social worlds that one or more of my own contacts chose to report me to the site's censors rather than discuss the merits or challenges of nude male butts in artwork with me directly. 

It was a maddening experience to then be temporarily banned from the Book of the Face (for over a day), which led me to the decision of taking a 40-day hiatus which I now call my Face Lent.
As I write this I am on day 8, and already, I find I have more original ideas, an expanded vocabulary, and I had a three-hour long hang-out with a close friend I hadn't spent sustained time with in over four months. I also find myself less concerned with where I am supposed to be, and more concerned with where I am.
With the Harper Government pushing through Parliament its notorious Omnibus Crime Bill C-10, which will impose mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug and non-violent crimes, and broadly expand the prison sentences for any sexual behaviour at or around minors, the issue of nudity in visual culture is poised to become hyper-relevant once again. If Bill C-10 is passed by the Senate unamended, many readers of LGBT and art publications could be charged with exposing sexually explicit material to minors, for merely displaying (or holding a copy of) some of the artistic images in galleries or publications that happen to contain nudity when people under 16 are present. The devious and Puritanical nature of Bill C-10's sweeping new sentencing guidelines are none other than a reflection of who supports the current Government and why: social control in a punishment-based society functions on suspicion, judgement, and an irrational equation of nudity with porn, drugs with violence, and criminality with mere irresponsibility.
It is well known that poverty and discrimination are the real reasons that crime exists. Who's reporting on that?- Jordan Arseneault
Image: “Ave Maria” by Valerie Simmons with José Navas Exhibit: Jan 6-25th, 2012. Vernissage January 7th, 2012. Galerie Dentaire 1239 rue Amherst, Montreal
Photos by Valerie Simmons, Danser and model: José Navas - (Compagnie Flak)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jordan Arseneault's Facebook boycott: day 1

Hi and thanks for taking the time to read something other than your friends' status updates. I know Facebook (or the Book of the Face as I was once fond of calling it) is an effective, yet addictive medium that many have bemoaned in recent years. Against our better judgement, most of us born after 1970 in the high-speed internet zones of the industrialized world have become entranced by its efficacy for transmitting undeveloped thoughts, emotional blurbs, and, most effectively of all, digital photographs and event promotion details. Notwithstanding my utter enthralment with this "social" network website, a recent incident of reporting/censorship has alerted me to the need to step back from it, and remember that, like ALL successful profit-based tools, its primary function/purpose is threefold:
1) To make its users/buyers feel is it is a necessity__________; 2) To promote related or unrelated products and services we do not need ______________________________________________; 3) To perpetuate ITSELF.
As a profit-based tool, the Facebook is also, always, at all times a reflection of the socio-political mores of its makers, and of their historical context. It is entirely a tool of its time in that it may be used to transmit valid or valuable ideas or information - but that is not and will never be its main purpose. Try as we might to use FB to, for instance, raise political awareness about issues, promote benefit parties, or share news stories about natural disasters, wars, and bad/good/OMG things happening to our fellow human beings, the content of Facebook will always be muted by its function: and its function is to give us the illusion of connection, and to ensure constant, ever-increasing profit for its makers/owners. Much has been said (by Wipeout Homopbobia on Facebook, for example) and many status updates made on the issue of Facebook's user-based "reporting", which is but one example of Facebook's amoral, entirely contemporary nature. Facebook's abject refusal to allow for nudity or the depiction of illicit drug use, or other "offensive" material (which, to its credit, supposedly includes racist saying/images) says more about what my generation's superego wants to show about itself than about who we are and what we think about the people and world around us. When one of my one thousand, three hundred and ninety-eight "friends" reported (in a two-step mouse-click process) Vincent Malléa's Pain Capital late Friday night, (early Dec 10th, 2011, mere minutes after I posted to my "wall") it was the second time such a "report" had been made on my profile, and the second time that it involved that oh-so-unequivocally sexualizable photographic representation of a nude male buttocks. I will refrain, for the time being, from discussing why I think one of my Facebook contacts might have chosen to report this particular image, and concentrate instead on the all-too-obvious notions that underlie it:
1) Porn is everywhere, and available everywhere online, but a significant consumer population disapproves of nudity and equates it with porn_____; 2) Facebook must at all costs maintain its "all ages", "child-friendly" PG13 status in order to ensure constant and immediate access to teenage and child users who will become as addicted to it as I was ___________________________________________; 3) One of my own contacts believes that it is within his or her right (or obligation!) to control what I show to my other 1397 contacts, when and how.
All of which leads me to one conclusion: I have to get off the Book of the Face before I lose touch with reality and with the inherently profit-based and malignant nature of such a website's underlying structures. There was a time before the Facebook, before Myspace, and before Friendster, and there will be a time when even Facebook will become obsolete. This is why I am NOT boycotting Facebook by deleting my profile. Sadly, many, many of my contacts have been made solely through its interface, and it remains one of the three main ways groups of people to which I belong communicate valid, usable information. I am not "going off-Book" because I am scared of its impact on my "privacy", whatever that is. Nor do I decry its flattening of social interaction: frankly, there are a lot of people whom I was all too glad to have only limited, superficial contact with, such as the people obsessed with cat videos and "I/ my-boyfriend" statements, whose stories I have been "hiding" since that blessed function was introduced. I am boycotting Facebook for two succinct reasons:
1) One of my contacts believes in censorship and in profit-based control of society. I decry their motives and challenge them to criticize my posting of partial non-frontal male nudity to my FACE, to my actual fucking FACE, you bastard! THEN we'll having a meaningful conversation, you coward (whoever you are)!
2) I need to prove to myself that I can function effectively off its all-engrossing, White Eurocentric capitalist American-made system of manipulation. If the medium is the message, Facebook's message is "profit is more important than nude male ass," and my message is: "blog and write and share images using less intrusive web interfaces now, while the Internet is still affordable - at least in most parts of Canada and the industrialized West."
And fuck you forever you homophobic art-hating censorship-loving piece of shit who reported Vincent Malléa's Pain Capital image post. I will be making weekly updates on the progress of my albeit half-assed boycott via this blogspot, which, thank you very much, you can fucking report if you fucking want to: I know Wordpress now!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It Could Get Worse - Don't Let it! Stop Harper's Bill C10

It Could Get Worse is an awareness and action project that seeks to call attention, using video and online means, to the dangerous, wasteful, and unnecessary Omnibus Crime Bill C10 being proposed this session by the Conservative Party under the delusion that it will make this country "safer". In fact, the bill's proposals involve creating a massively funded prison-building splurge, hiring excessive numbers of guards, and increasing sentences and prison times when ALL respected research has proven that these measures make for sicker, weaker, poorer and more miserable societies. On Nov. 1st, Québec's Justice Minister stated that the Québec Government would not pay into the fiscally irresponsible projects that would ensue from this draconian bill should it become law. Shortly after, Newfoundland and Ontario joined the countrywide chorus of voices that strongly oppose this brutal Bill. We are urging Canadians, especially those who reside in Conservative-led ridings, to call or e-mail their Member of Parliament and tell them that this bill is unCanadian, outdated, and that its fiscal and social costs are too high; that it is based on bogus knee-jerk unresearched ideas, and that, more profoundly, Bill C10 is completely out of touch with criminological research and anti-oppressive learnings. Longer sentences, bigger prisons, and more punishable offenses is NOT the way to build a safer, stronger, more economically viable country! Join us in supporting massive petition efforts by and AVAAZ to prevent this cruel bill from becoming a legislative reality. For the Toronto Star's excellent summary of why we must oppose this delusional and punishment-obsessed bill, check out this article: To find out who your MP is, and get their Ottawa phone number and official e-mail address, click here:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homelessness and police intervention hot topics in the village

Supposedly representing a group of some 2,000 residents (or is it passersby? it’s hard to say), the petition from two village merchants was geared at increasing police presence in the Village, a stunning about-face from a community that for so long was itself the subject of police oppression. "The Village has become an open air needle site,” one of the petitioners told Mayor Tremblay before going on to ask “What are you going to do to ensure shop owners and their customers aren't confronted by a person lying in the street with a needle in their arm every morning?" The merchants were compelled to start the petition after one of them was attacked and beaten in front of his bar this past summer. In a press release from media campaigner William Raillant-Clark, the campaigners stated that “the heightened problems this year proved to be the proverbial straw on the camel's back,” even though there was at least an attempt made at acknowledging that the real source of the homelessness problem is the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill and lack of resources for their care.
“The first line of defence for a merchant is police presence. But fundamentally what matters is the collective will of everyone in the area to find ways to help people who really need it,” said La Piazzetta’s Mathieu Riendeau. Fresh from their Pink Balls street closure success, Société de développement communautaire (SDC) du Village director Bernard Plante also weighed in, telling Être’s Thibaut Temmerman that “the gay community is tolerant, but they’ve reached their limit.” “We really want to have sympathy for these people who have serious problems, but the neighbourhood and the people working and living in it can’t put up with everything,” echoed the manager of the Java U beside Beaudry Métro. All of the merchants Temmerman interviewed also addressed a growing concern over the presence of “street gangs,” by which we presume they mean drug dealers and their ilk, who, everyone knows, have long flocked to the east end of downtown due to customer demand and lighter police presence.

So, when you cut through the various statements and counter-statements, the petitioners’ argument looks a little like this: since the police crack-down on gay bars and homeless people leading up to the 1976 Olympics, the Village has benefited from less police surveillance, allowing us to go on doing the gay things we do. Since then— Sex Garage and other police raids, constant police harassment of homeless people during the 2006 OutGames aside—the business owners of the Village corridor suddenly felt stirred to ask for greater police presence because now the tide has turned: the homeless and injection users and dealers have gotten scary and are impacting their business. Everyone seems well aware that it would be politically incorrect, given LGBT history, to simply ask the Police to boot out the homeless people and drug users so our neighbourhood can continue on its path to gentrification. Clearly, anyone who has been attacked on the street where they live or do business will certainly feel vulnerable and want to ask for greater support. But the underlying question remains: to whom this area known as the Village belong and why?
Looking at the many fascinating articles that fill this image-packed Fall issue, from recruitment entrepreneur Eric Sicotte to the AIDS-fundraiser-cum-Circuit-party Black & Blue, the dichotomy of what it is to be in the business of gay (or to be a gay in business) becomes clear: we are part of a community with our own history of oppression, who have come to the point where we now have the money and influence to start defending our livelihoods like any other citizen in the demographic mosaic. But how to do this without alienating other marginalized groups, or groups who are far more marginalized now than our own?

The answer can only come from the discussions and community initiatives we will definitely be covering in forthcoming issues. But for now, we might ask, what if the strategies for LGBT civil rights were applied to the homeless and injection drug-user population, rather than simply resorting to a punitive herding of these people using the SPVM, who are known to kill homeless people and minorities without cause, and without consequence for members of their “brotherhood”?

More info soon on the demo planned for Oct 7th to bring more attention to this issue.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meow Mix pour Projet 10 le 7 août, August 7 Meow Mix for Project 10

The Meow Mix for Project 10 will be a lady-queer-cabaret event to remember! Hosted by Boston’s Heywood Wakefield, and featuring Brooklyn queer performance artist Damien Luxe, the night is gonna shake up the Mix and leave you wanting to break out your inner queer performer. Musical innovators Edges Blast and No Homo round out the programme of diva-led shenanigans by internationally renowned performer 2Fik,and local alt-dragster Peaches Lepage.
HEADLINER: RAE SPOON, followed by DJ Like the Wolf
Sala Rosa, 4848 St-Laurent Sunday, August 7, doors 9pm, show at 9:30pm. $10 PWYC
To celebrate Montréal’s favorite alt-pride event Pervers/cité, the Meow Mix for Project 10 brings together an awesome line-up of lady-loved artists including headliner Rae Spooon and Boston’s drag king extraordinaire Heywood Wakefield. This unmissable event is brought to you by MIM Productions and thedutymyth, with most proceeds going to Project 10, a Montréal org that works to promote the personal, social, sexual and mental well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, intersexed and questioning youth and adults 14-25. / / / /

Le Meow Mix pour Projet 10 met à l'affiche Heywood Wakefield, drag king extraordinaire de Boston, en compagnie de Damien Luxe, superbe artiste queer de Brooklyn, en compagnie des bands Edges Blast et No Homo, avec prestations drag de la star internationale 2Fik et la diva de l’underground Peaches Lepage! Programme fantastiquement alterno avec dance-party lesbienne et queer à partir de 23h30 avec DJ Like The Wolf!
Sala Rosa, 4848 St-Laurent
Dimanche, le 7 août, portes 21h, show à 21h30. $10 contribution volontaire
Pour l’occasion de Pervers/cité, festival LGBT des marges de la fierté, thedutymyth et Meow Mix présentent la soirée Meow Mix pour Projet 10! Mettant à l’affiche l’incontournable interprète et musicien queer de renom Rae Spoon, animé par le rigolo Heywood Wakefield de Boston, ce cabaret hors-bornes est un événement à ne pas manquer pour les membres de la communauté lesbienne et queer qui souhaitent fêter la fierté autrement, avec tous les éléments du célèbre Meow Mix de MIM Productions.
La grande portion des recettes ira à Projet 10, organisme montréalais qui travaille à promouvoir le bien-être personnel, social, sexuel et mental des jeunes et adultes lesbiennes, gais, bisexuel(le)s, transgenres, transsexuel(le)s, bispirituel(le)s, intersexués et en questionnement âgé(e)s entre 14 et 25 ans.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Success for Let Alvaro Stay! Campaign

As of 7pm today, Alvaro's Humanitarian and Compassionate appeal has been accepted and he will no longer be deported.

The LGBT community and refugee solidarity groups are rallying in person and online this week to prevent the deportation of Toronto-based queer artist Alvaro Orozco. Orozco was arrested May 13 and is threatened with immediate deportation, even though his application for refugee status on humanitarian grounds is still in process.

“An accomplished artist and dedicated advocate for queer and newcomer youth, Alvaro’s love for art and commitment to community has captured the appreciation and respect of thousands of people in Toronto,” said campaign organizers Edward Lee and Suhail Abualsameed in a press release. Orozco’s photo work was recently featured in the exhibit Migration Expressions Montréal’s Ste-Émilie Skillshare.

In 2010, Orozco received a Toronto Youth Cabinet Impact Award for his community involvement, and the immanent deportation scare has resulted In a wave of support from across the country. “Alvaro has been in Canada since 2004, and is an integral member of Toronto’s queer community,” says Suhail Abualsameed, Coordinator, Newcomer/Immigrant Youth Program at Sherbourne Health Centre, where Alvaro works with queer newcomer youth.

Alvaro first rose to national prominence in 2007 when his refugee claim was denied on the basis that he did not look “gay enough” for the adjudicator hearing his case via video -conferencing in Calgary. This story was picked up by the largest newspapers in Nicaragua, effectively “outing” him to the entire country he left at age 12 due to severe physical abuse by a father who threatened to “kill any child of his that was homosexual”. “I’m an artist, a youth worker, and a volunteer in Toronto,” Alvaro Orozco said from the detention centre yesterday. “I’ve got a strong Humanitarian and Compassionate Application case and am hoping that I can get back to the life I’ve built in the city for the past 7 years.”

The Let Alvaro Stay campaign urgently requests his release from detention and a stay on his deportation proceedings until his Humanitarian and Compassionate application has been heard. Amongst the many supporters of the campaign, MP Olivia Chow, EGALE Canada’s Helen Kennedy, and renowned AIDS activist Tim McCaskell have voiced their support.

You can view one of dozens of supportive youtube videos here:

And sign the petition:

The Let Alvaro Stay Campaign is a highly organized group, with reps in Montréal and Toronto, and they handily provide the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the new Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, urging supporters to call, text, or Twitter-blitz him.

Jason Kenney at 403-225-3480 or e-mail at or Twitter: @kenneyjason

Call or text Vic Toews at 204-326-9889 or e-mail at

The campaigners also urge petitioners to cc their local MP:

And to mention the following points to the Minister and your MP:

* Alvaro has established ties in Canada and specifically in Toronto and this has been his home all of his adult life

* That Alvaro has a pending Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Permit (H&C) application that shows his commitment to the queer community, the arts community and Toronto in general and that he had close personal ties here in Toronto

* Alvaro’s deportation date of June 2nd should be deferred until his H & C application is decided

* We want Alvaro’s H&C application to be looked at as soon as possible or for the Minister himself to intervene in this case.

Join the many activists, journalists, and community members in signing the petition to Let Alvaro Stay:

For Mile Enders, cc Thomas Mulclair and for Plateau people, cc -- Here's a sample text of what you can write to Jason Kenney:

Dear Minister Kenney,

I am writing to you as a resident of the Outremont riding in Montreal, to ask you please intervene to stay the deportation of artist and community member Alvaro Orozco, who has resided in Toronto for many years.

Alvaro's deportation to Nicaragua would put him in danger of physical violence or death, as he was outed there in 2007 as a person belonging to the LGBT community, a particularly vulnerable group in that country.

Mr. Orozco has established ties in Canada and specifically in Toronto and this has been his home all of his adult life

Mr. Orozco has a pending Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Permit (H&C) application that shows his commitment to the queer community, the arts community and Toronto in general and that he had close personal ties here in Toronto

Therefore, I believe strongly that Alvaro Orozco’s deportation date of June 2nd should be deferred until his H & C application is decided.

I join over 9,000 other Canadians in urging you as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to halt this deportation until a decision is made on Alvaro Orozco's application for residency permit on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

With sincere thanks for considering this request,

Your name, address, riding.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How to Build a Fire Queer Sans Fin Convergence Performance schedule

Dear friends and participants,

This is a reminder that tomorrow night's Convergence culminates in a performance evening with engaging work by Heather Ács, Silas Howard, Laura Boo MacDonald and Damien Luxe. Entrance is $10, but we have 10 half price spots available for those who contact us in advance!

There will be a Q&A after the performances (around 10:30pm) hosted by Jordan Arseneault.

Heather Ács’ piece “what the brain forgets and the heart denies, the body remembers…” explores illness, death, grieving and loss refracted through working class Appalachian and Mexican cultural imagery, creating a nonlinear world layered with movement, gesture, storytelling, soundscape, video, and installation. In this multi-media solo performance piece, time and testimonies loop, break apart, burrow, reemerge, and cross over. Breath taking, glass breaking, gifts are bestowed. Sparrows descend, tortillas and tears sizzle on the comal, a river flows with dirt and glitter. Lesley Gore croons cotton candy lyrics laced with razor blades while dust gathers in an empty house. Stitch it all together with string theory and skeleton keys, stuff into a mason jar, shake until your heart might break, check your pulse, make a wish, and see what rises to the surface.

Silas Howard's “Thank you for Being Urgent” is a textured tale of a transman coming up in the queer punk world of San Francisco and spilling into the crappy and exalted glitter of Hollywood. Silas Howard searches for true tales of fierce outsiders and re-imagines the mainstream, never loosening his grip on the underground. Our hero begs sanity from mystery man Mr. Hollywood through playful and plaintive letters, ruminating on desire, shame, and the infinite loopholes in the American Dream. Traversing serendipitous heights and punishing ironies, Thank you for Being Urgent chronicles burlesque dancers with dementia, tranny jazzmen and film executives, using archival photos, monologues and charm.

Intermission (9:45-10)

Laura Boo MacDonald (aka Douche La Douche)'s "Throw Myself" is a full body memory of a childhood spent taking vicious tantrums. Tantrums (and the children who take them) are seen as shaming themselves and their parents with their ill behaviour that does not conform to socially accepted norms for emotional expression. As an adult who has learned that one is expected to deal with stress, trauma, loss, anger, sadness, panic and grief while remaining outwardly composed and unaffected, memories of childhood tantrums become a dream of release and relief. This performance raises questions about self-care practices, mental health and the tragedy of adulthood while simultaneously testing the boundaries between public and private.

Damien Luxe is presenting the Hot Pink Mass, a performative church service for freaks, perverts, weirdos and magical creatures. Drawing from five different religious traditions, the piece combines humor, acknowledgement of desire and a vision of social justice to inspire. Honoring feminine hero/ines and instigating our individual and collective power to manifest change, the Mass asks participants: what do you deserve, and how can you make it happen?

10:30pm: Q&A
Stick around for a round table Q&A with all four artists. Hosted by Jordan Arseneault (aka Peaches Lepage, Tooloose Letrick, Aïda Cökenbalz)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How to Build a Fire Queer Sans Fin Convergence

How to Build a Fire Queer Sans Fin Convergence

When: Saturday Jan 8, 2011 -- Workshops [Free] 12noon-6pm, Performance [$10] 9-11p

Where: Mise au Jeu, 90 de la Gauchetière Est. Montrèal

Who: Damien Luxe and Heather Ács [New York], Silas Howard [Los Angeles], Jordan Arseneault and Laura Boo [Montréal]

12noon: Heather Ács: Creative Strategies for Resistance:
Exploring Educational Theatre Techniques
Educational Theatre practitioners use theatre as a tool to explore issues, incite dialogue, and practice strategies in classrooms and communities of all kinds. In this workshop, participants will get on their feet as the facilitator guides them through a series of exercises that include movement, improvisation, writing, image theatre, and performance composition. Educators, community organizers, artists, and students interested in leadership will all find relevant material in this workshop and walk away with a practical set of tools and techniques they can use in a variety of educational and creative settings.

2-4pm: Silas Howard: Reality in Flight: A DIY story workshop focusing on using personal stories and metaphor to tell stories.
This workshop/practicum examines the relationships between voice, style and language along with issues of memory and identity. Through hands-on scene study, writing activities, and examining model films, participants will come away with story telling strategies for approaching the different phases of film and other narrative forms. In particular, the workshop will explore the representation of outsider stories, new voices, and transgressive narratives in stories and film. Participants of all levels are encouraged to attend, but no previous experience is necessary.

2-4pm: Laura Boo: DIY event technical skillshare:
When tiny budgets and unconventional performance spaces combine with a great desire to get on stage and do something amazing, something has got to give. Often, it is personal ingenuity and craftiness that can make the difference between a show that takes place without sound and in the dark and a great event where the tech is smooth enough to be invisible. This workshop / skillshare will be an opportunity for those involved in performance and various types of event production to learn some of the basic skills required tech your own shows. From the basics of understanding what each piece of equipment does and how it interacts with other equipment to troubleshooting tech nightmares, this session will de-mystify the technical side of event production. We'll be talking about amps, mixers, mics, speakers, subs, lights, cables, computers, video projectors and all the ways to get them to work together.

4-6pm: Damien Luxe: Building the Gay Bomb: Open Source media skillshare for performance.
The goal of this presentation is to up the multimedia skills of live performers; we'll do this by providing performers with an overview some of the open-source software currently available for audio and web production, and to relay vital, “how-to” media and tech strategies for people with medium/moderate computer and internet experience and zero to moderate capital. We will focus on utilizing shareware and freeware to ensure that access to programs is as economically obstacle-free as possible. All participants will leave the presentation with a knowledge bank and insight of how to utilize free software to add to the multimedia of their performances

4-6pm: Jordan Arseneault: Fear Drag: Wear other participants' fears in a role-play workshop to discover what yours are, and open your performance heart. Workshop participants will write down the obstacles, ideas, and worries that make them afraid in real life. We switch and act them out. In the second part, we write down our performance-related fears, switch, and act them out as well. See your peers enact your fears, help ourselves move beyond them. Beginners very welcome.

The How to Build a Fire Queer Sans Fin Convergence is a full-day Performance Art extravaganza in which 5 artists from activist, literary, video, theatre and multimedia backgrounds will present free, empowering, knowledge-sharing workshops on their practices with the Montreal community, followed by an evening of queer performance-based art work.

How To Build A Fire is a performance and teaching artist group from the US who travel queer landscapes to create legacies while telling tales of desire and survival. Through freak church services for magical creatures, fragmented memory, movement and costuming, and unraveling narratives, these escape artists trespass loopholes in the American dream. Queer Sans Fin is the moniker for Laura Boo MacDonald's Cabaret Faux Pas, who along with Jordan Arseneault will represent Montreal's queer underbelly spectacular in free workshops. Silas Howard, Heather Àcs, and Damien Luxe are the visiting artists presenting workshops and performances.

The Convergence brings together queer artists from across Canada and the US; from across gender lines and languages; from across performance disciplines and backgrounds, responding to the growing need for community building approaches to the performance art medium so often relegated to brief exposures in bars, cabarets, and professionalized art spaces.

We invite you to join the convergence, the conversation, and the events with us on January 8, 2011.

Co-Sponsors: Concordia's Fine Art Student Association, The Chair in Human Sexuality at Concordia, The Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University, Queer Concordia, The Boxcutter Collective, The Teaching Artist Tour, The Duty Myth and Le Coeur est une Pompe.


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