Weekend News Roundup

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#VanCupidHere are our top gay news picks for this week - February 8th to 15th!

West End News

Gay Vancouver News

Gay World News

QSONG is about creating a new generation of queer songwriters

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QSONG VancouverThe Vancouver Queer Arts Festival (QAF) and QMUNITY Gab Youth are teaming up to present a songwriting workshop for queer youth and their allies.

Funded in part by the Access to Music Foundation, the 16-week songwriting workshop gives queer youth and allies of all levels of song writing experience and opportunity to develop their song writing skills.  QSONG (Queer Songwriters of a New Generation) will be led by queer singers and song writers Sarah Wheeler and Melissa Endean.

With two out of three queer students saying they feel unsafe at school and suicides seven times the national average for their age group, the statistics are overwhelming.  And it is these alarming numbers that has QAF Acting Artistic Director Rachel Iwaasa singing the praises of this workshop.

“The Arts Health Network cites research showing that participation in the arts are highly effective in reducing tension and protecting against depression,” says Iwassa. “Overall, participation in arts-based activities and in creative expression has been shown to have stronger positive benefits for health than participation in many other types of activities, including sports.”

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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Mr. Gay Canada 2014These are our top gay news picks from February 1st to 8th:

Gay Vancouver News

Gay Canada News

LGBT and Gay World News

Peter Chu is happy to be an honorary Canuck

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Peter ChuFor the amount of time dancer and choreographer Peter Chu has spent north of the 49th you would think he would just automatically get Canadian citizenship.  But while he isn’t about to give up his American passport anytime soon, he is happy to be referred to as an honorary Canuck.

“I definitely have a special affinity for Canada,” says Chu, who lists Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Vancouver-based Kidd Pivot and an upcoming third appearance at Dances for a Small Stage as highlights of his Canadian work.

But it is perhaps dancing as part of Celine Dion’s Vegas show from 2005 to 2007 that is his biggest Canadian connection, an experience he says will not soon forget.

“It was an experience of a lifetime that will stay with me forever,” says Chu from his home in Las Vegas, which perhaps ironically is now his basis of operations after having been on the move for the last five years.  “The one thing that I will always remember is how much Celine stressed the idea of family and community.  To be able to work with Celine was a great thrill; she is such a genuine person.”

Shortly after the Dion’s first Vegas showed closed, Chu found himself in Los Angeles and as a guest choreographer gigs on the last two seasons of the television reality competition, So You Think You Can Dance.  And while he isn’t sure if he will be asked back for the show’s next season, he remains excited by what a show like SYTYCD has done for dance.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

A West Side Story for a new generation

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West Side Story VancouverThe current touring production of West Side Story is going for a more realistic and grittier feel.

“These days where movies are incredibly graphic and when you turn on the news and everything is so graphic and intense, it is all about being real,” explains 22 year-old Georgia native Benjiman Dallas Redding who plays Riff, the leader of the Jets gang in the national touring company production of West Side Story. “If you watch the movie, all of the Jets have nicely coiffed blonde hair and are handsome.  We literally rub dirt all over our faces”.

Helping to keep it real is choreographer Joey McKneely who called the current touring version of the 1957 musical “a West Side Story for a new generation” in a recent interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“We always have Joey there to bring us back to reality,” laughs Redding, calling it a “more grungy” approach to the characters that is reflected in the gang fights and the emotional struggles they endure in trying to find their place in the world.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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Ron DuttonHere are our gay / Vancouver news picks for this week - January 18th to 25th.

Gay Vancouver News

West End / Davie Village News

Theatre review: Measure for Measure is inventive

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Measure for Measure VancouverIt may not always be illuminating, but there is such talent and clarity of story in the Honest Fishmongers production of Measure for Measure it is never a ‘problem’.

The morality in 17th century Vienna has gotten a little lax, but rather than try to rein it in himself, the Duke decides to delegate that task to his underlings Angelo and Escalus.  With a puritanical hand, Angelo resurrects a previously unused law that condemns Claudio to death for getting his girlfriend pregnant.  Despite taking a moral high-ground, Angelo lusts after Claudio’s sister Isabella, trying to convince her that the only way to save her brother is to have sex with him.  But even with her brother’s life in the balance, Isabella just can’t do it.  Of course, the big ruse here is that the Duke has not actually left Vienna, and with a huge case of his own questionable morals secretly manipulates the action disguised as a Friar.

Measure for Measure is so rife with moral ambiguity that if we had not been told it takes place in 17th century Vienna, one might be forgiven in thinking that it was set in a pre-Berlusconi Italy where a little “bunga bunga” is both reviled and celebrated.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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West End Vigil for LGBT RightsHere are our top gay and Vancouver news picks from January 11th to 18th. A short one this week, but sometimes that's not a bad thing.

Vancouver Gay News

Gay World News

Re-discovering Judy Garland

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judy-garlandVancouver drag performer Delica C. helps re-discover Judy Garland for a new generation.

A relative newcomer to Vancouver’s drag scene, 27 year-old Delica C. (aka Tristan Pearson) is about to give the performance of his career as he takes on the larger-than-life Judy Garland in a fundraiser for the frank theatre company.

“I knew her from The Wizard of Oz and from seeing her sing the duet with Barbra Streisand online, but other than that I knew very little about her,” admits Pearson who will headline the Judy & Company fundraiser on January 25.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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Gay Men ProjectHere are our top gay and Vancouver news picks from December 4th to 11th.

West End News

Gay Vancouver News

  • Vancouver men featured in Kevin Truong's Gay Men Project: "As a kid, I remember being excited any time I saw an Asian person on TV, in a movie, or in a music video," he said. "I also remember what it was like to not see it. A part of that has always stuck with me, and as an adult, as I look around at representations of gay men and women in media, I don't see a lot of reflections of myself. I know the Gay Men Project is only a blog, but I do hope by showing men over the age of 50, men of varying body shapes, men of color—I hope it's providing something for someone..."
  • Our (gay) guide to Club PuSh 2014: Gender identity and drag queens are centre stage for Club PuSh, part of the tenth anniversary of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

Gay World News

  • The Rev. Robert Nugent, priest who ministered to gay Catholics, dies at 76: Robert Nugent, a Catholic priest who became nationally known for his pastoral work with gay men and lesbians, a ministry that was officially ended in 1999 when the Vatican declared it “erroneous and dangerous,” died Jan. 1 at a religious retirement community in Milwaukee. Rest in peace.
  • Gay-Marriage Fight Takes a Toll on Utahns: The recent flurry of court rulings legalizing and then halting gay marriage in Utah has whipsawed residents of this predominantly Mormon city, a conservative enclave that saw its first-ever gay pride celebration only last summer.
  • Russian Orthodox Church Pushes For Gay Ban Referendum: Russia's powerful Orthodox Church proposed Friday a referendum on banning gay relations in the face of Western pressure over human rights ahead of next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi.