Out and Proud Project showcases diversity of queer South Asians

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Out and Proud VancouverA response to the recent reinstatement of colonial-era anti-homosexuality laws in India, Sher Vancouver, a social and support group for queer South Asians, has launched The Out and Proud Project.

“The members of Sher Vancouver came together to decide how to respond and how to support our brothers and sisters in India and in other parts of the world where gays and lesbians are oppressed and discriminated against,” explains Sher Vancouver founder Alex Sangha.

Designed to showcase the diversity of queer South Asians, the interviews consist of five questions that highlight the subject’s background, their coming out story, inspirations, achievements and an opportunity for the interview subjects to tell readers how they “feel the world can change for the better”.

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Our (gay) guide to Vancouver’s arts scene in January

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Tucked & Plucked Vancouver DragThere is no better time than now to make your New Year’s resolution to take in some live performing arts in 2014 as we present our January guide to what’s happening on Vancouver stages.

  • Part of the 2014 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, this year’s Club PuSh includes Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon exploring their failed attempts to fit into gender binary in Gender Failure (16 & 17 Jan) and Isolde N. Barron and Peach Cobblah unearth the history of the drag movement in Vancouver with Tucked & Plucked: Vancouver’s Drag Herstory on Stage (24 Jan).
  • Metro Theatre presents its annual family-friendly holiday pantomime, Jack and the Beanstock (closes 4 Jan).
  • It’s a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious holiday season as Mary Poppins flies in for a visit with the Banks’ family in this jolly holiday treat (closes 5 Jan).
  • James Bond has provided not only some of film’s most thrilling moments in his fifty year screen history, but some of the most thrilling music, too.  The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presents Fifty Years of James Bond featuring the most memorable songs and music from past and more current James Bond films. (10 & 11 Jan).
  • The inaugural Italian Film Festival will showcase five new films from Italy and five films from Italy’s historical repertoire of cinema (10 – 16 Jan).

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Polar Bear Swim in 2014

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Polar Bear Swim Vancouver 2014Get ready to plunge in to the cold waters at the English Bay (or just watch on the sidelines if you're too scared to, like me) for the Polar Bear Swim. The local tradition returns for another year, on January 1st, to help kick off the new year. The plunge is scheduled for 2:30pm, and participants and spectators are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food or cash donation for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

If you wish to participate in the polar bear swim, you'll be required to sign up prior to the event. Registration takes place at the English Bay Bathhouse between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m on January 1st - and good news - it's free!

Here are some swim tips from the City of Vancouver to help keep you safe (and warm!):

  • If you have a heart problem - just watch!
  • Children must swim and stay with an adult
  • Please leave your dog at home
  • Do not drink - alcohol does not warm you up - it accelerates hypothermia.
  • Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
  • Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
  • Entrants in the 100 yard race - meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
  • First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat - give your names to the lifeguard.
  • After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
  • Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.

Weekend News Roundup

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Boy Scouts Accept Gay YouthHere are our top gay news picks from Vancouver and around the world for December 21st to December 28th!

Vancouver News

Gay World News

The best of Vancouver theatre in 2013

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Best Theatre Vancouver 2013Just shy of last year’s record-breaking number of shows seen and reviewed, my list of the best shows of 2013 is another eclectic mix.

As always I remain grateful to the theatre companies who invite me to see their shows and I once again encourage everyone to make a new year’s resolution to experience some live theatre in 2014.

#10- “Glee-fully” blurring the lines – Speech & Debate (Twenty Something Theatre)

While at times laugh-out-loud funny, it was Claire Hesselgrave’s performance as the quirky Diwata that made this show so memorable.

#9 – All hail the Fringe ensemble – 5 Lesbians Eating Quiche (Black Rook Theatre)

Not the first time a Vancouver Fringe production has made my list over the years, but it is the first time it hasn’t been a one-person show.  It totally got overlooked as one of the best of the Fringe.

#8 – Buckle up for this hilarious ride – Boeing-Boeing (Arts Club Theatre Company)

Never mind the new Dreamliner, the trio of McNee, Wheeler and Lipman were the new Dreamteam in an absolutely hilarious production that rarely flew below 30,000 feet.

#7 – Just what the doctor ordered - Hotel Bethlehem (Ruby Slipper Theatre) 

It’s no wonder this one is now into its third year.  Irreverent, funny and not a trace of sugary sweetness found in the shows normally found during the Christmas season.

6 – A cacophony worth experiencing – Balm in Gilead (Studio 58)

What makes Langara’s Studio 58 standout as one of the best theatre training grounds in the country is its willingness to take risks.  Gritty, provocative and real, this one pushed both actor and audience.

#5 – The summer of women – Elizabeth Rex (Bard on the Beach)

Ironically this was not one of the Bard’s plays, but Colleen Wheeler’s gripping performance as the Queen made it impossible to ignore.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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Vancouver Liquor LawsHere are our top gay news picks from December 14th to December 21st.

Gay Vancouver News

Gay World News

  • Ugandan parliament passes antigay law: While homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, the maximum penalty for the new offence of "aggravated homosexuality" is life imprisonment. The death penalty clause, originally included when the bill was introduced in 2010, was removed from the final version adopted by Uganda's parliament.
  • ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Suspended Over Remarks About Gay People: “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson has been suspended from filming the A&E reality series following his remarks about gay people where he called homosexuality illogical in a recent interview with GQ magazine.
  • Gay couples rejoice with weddings in Utah after federal court ruling: It was an unlikely scene that unfolded in one of the most conservative states in the U.S. as same-sex couples rushed to get married at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office immediately after learning that a federal judge had overturned Utah’s ban on gay marriage.

Our (gay) guide to this year's New Years Eve parties

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New Years Eve Party VancouverAre you looking for something to do this New Year’s Eve?  Here are the LGBTQ parties in Vancouver to help you welcome in 2014.

  • RuffNYE –the 2nd annual RUFFnye features DJ Shane Stiel (San Diego) and DJ Nick Bertossi (Vancouver) and the crowning of Mr Ruff 2014.
  • New Year’s Eve with Queer As Funk – ring in the new year with Vancouver’s only queer Motown/soul/funk band.
  • Cream New Years Eve – a New Year’s Eve party for girls who like girls who like with DJ’s Tracey D and Kasha Kennedy.
  • Magic NYE – Big Roger Events presents DJs Dreaddy, Del Stamp and Nick Bertossi.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »

Weekend News Roundup

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Tim Stevenson Sochi OlympicsHere are our top news picks from December 8th to December 14th:

Davie Village News

  • The Daily Catch is opening a new store in the Village: I think it's a great fit for our community. More information coming soon?

Gay Vancouver News

Gay World News

Exploring the Village: India Bistro

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India Bistro is one of Vancouver's finest dining locations for a taste of authentic Indian cuisine. Located in the heart of the Davie Village and serving the community for over 22 years, this is a place you have to eat if you're living in or visiting our neighborhood - it's that good.

Optik Local (Telus) recently had the chance to interview the owner, Kamal Mroke, and learn more about this popular West End eatery, as well as a quick tutorial on how to make a classic Indian yogurt dish, Raita.

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Queer As Funk wants you to dance your ass off

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Queer as Funk VancouverWith its New Year’s Eve show nearly sold out and the buzz it has received since forming just eight months ago, Queer As Funk is quickly developing a reputation for its relatable and danceable music.

But that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since Motown is Queer As Funk’s de facto band leader and trumpet player Alison Gorman’s go-to music.  “I love Motown,” she says.  “It is what I love to listen to and what I find myself listening to at home.”

Keeping their audience in mind, Gorman says that the reason the band chose Motown (with a little soul and funk for good measure) was its desire to get people dancing and an eye to the potentially lucrative wedding business.

“People like to dance to Stevie Wonder and Amy Winehouse.  It is very danceable music.  Besides, in the back of my mind I wanted to corner the gay wedding market,” laughs Gorman.

“It’s also very accessible music that most people are most familiar with and can sing along to,” adds lead singer Connie Buna.

Read More at GayVancouver.net »