Feast puts gender in the blender
Adelaide’s queer cultural festival Feast has announced its theme for this year: 'Gender - Mix It Up'.
Launching the theme and poster on Tuesday, artistic director Catherine Fitzgerald said it gave artists and participants scope to explore the boundaries of gender and sexualities.
“Gender – Mix It Up will explore gender, sexualities, power, patriarchy, government, feminism, and culture through the festival’s electric mix of festivities; examining what role and influence gender has on our lives,” Fitzgerald said.
“I have mixed up discussion, forums and critical thinking with content and form throughout the program. It will challenge and confront, but also sustain the playfulness and celebratory fun that is Feast. I hope the program entices a whole new audience to come and mix in and mix it up.”
“This year I curated a lot of the events and films, hence the theme and trying to match up content, including the public forums,” Fitzgerald told blaze.
“We want to look at gender as a construct and how notions of masculinity and femininity affect our lives.
“Also gender as a legal construct. For example when it comes to things like marriage - and same-sex marriage - trans and intersex people can be left out in the cold.”
Mixing up notions of gender can have very positive outcomes, Fitzgerald says.
“Once you mix everything up, throw everything into the air, that can start to break down prejudice and fear – the fear that causes prejudice in the first place.”
At the launch, three headlining acts were also announced: country super-gal Beccy Cole, all male cabaret revue Le Male (featuring ex-Adelaide boy Rhys Bobridge) and Melbourne Midsumma Festival hit Monologue of a Deaf Woman.
A new DJ party for the middle weekend has also been announced: Bedlam featuring First Lady of House, DJ Kate Monroe, gender-bender DJ Kittly Glitter and Sydney’s Alex Taylor.
The trio will be joined by local and interstate acts including DJ Josh, Little Miss K and DJ Stephen Craddock and Nelson De Sousa.
A change of location from the previous Feast Hub at Light Square will see the centre of activities taking place in and around Feast’s home at the Lion Arts Centre [see below].
Changes to the route for this year’s Pride March and a change of location for Picnic in the Park have also been foreshadowed. Keep checking blaze for details.
FEAST HUB ON THE MOVE
This year the Feast Hub is moving from its recent home in Light Square and returning to the environs of the Lion Arts Centre as the newly-created ANZ Cluster.
The Cluster will feature several venues: the Lion Arts Centre Courtyard (‘Courtyard Cluster’), Fowlers Live (‘The Blender’), Nexus Cabaret (‘Queer Nexus’), The Mercury Cinema and a lecture theatre of The University of South Australia (‘The Tank’).
“We’re coming home, in a sense,” artistic director Catherine Fitzgerald [pictured] tells blaze.
“It makes sense to use purpose built venues, they’re climate controlled, there’s excellent sound and lighting and technical facilities; it’s so much easier for the tech crews to function,” she says.
“Plus there’s the advantage that each facility has its own toilets so we won’t have the huge cost of bringing in all those portaloos!”
A large stage will be built in the courtyard for show and concerts as well as what Fitzgerald hints at as “sunset soirees” and late night Club Feast events – but more details of those will be revealed in the fullness of time.
“I have to admit I loved having the Hub in Light Square, but building the Hub every year cost a lot of money,” Fitzgerald says.
“So moving to the Lion Arts Complex frees up a lot of funds that could be used to curate the festival and spend on artists and so forth.”
It also allows the Cluster to be kept open the whole 16 days of the festival with bars and food stalls and the fun community and carnival atmosphere we’ve come to expect from Feast.
The exact layout of the Cluster Courtyard is yet to be revealed.
“We’re bringing in a young designer who will design that whole courtyard space for the various activities that will go on there,” Fitzgerald reveals.
“As for the details of how it will look and work, well you’ll just have to wait and see!”
Fitzgerald is also keen to point out that while the ANZ Cluster might be the epicentre of the Feast Festival, events and activities are also spreading out through the metropolitan area and the regions, with some of the council areas involved including Port Adelaide, Semaphore, Salisbury, Mount Barker, Onkaparinga and more.
“I think it’s great we have a versatile and dynamic centre but we’re also reaching out to other areas as well, that’s a great thing,” Fitzgerald says.
The keynotes behind the move, then, are utility and lower costs.
“I think it’s imperative that Feast thrives, for the sake of our community,” Fitzgerald says, “Especially in light of the closure of the AIDS Council. We need a centre for our community, somewhere we can all come together and celebrate our diversity.”
For a long time the AIDS Council acted to some degree as a permanent community hub, and with that no longer there, Fitzgerald sees the role of Feast as more vital than ever, not just for the arts but for the whole LGBTI community.
“We need to make sure that Feast continues in the years to come, for the whole community’s sake.”
The full Feast Festival program will be launched on Tuesday October 01.
The Feast Festival runs November 9-24, 2013. Go to feast.org.au