Buoyed by passion and support, the Kingston LGBTTIQQ2SA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirit, Allies) community celebrated Kingston Pride’s 25th anniversary.
Beginning May 31 and ending June 15, Pride events consisted of dances, free music, food and theatre for the whole community.
City Park served as the gathering place for the Kingston Pride’s 25th Anniversary Parade.
During Pride, Chipped Off, a queer theatre collective, debuted the multi-disciplinary show Hair Lines, their second original production.
Dan Vena, a cultural studies PhD candidate at Queen’s and one of three “core members” of Chipped Off, said the goal for Hair Lines was to create a non-traditional piece that was centered around a motif instead of a script.
“We decided to do it about hair, because hair is such a political thing that we could all relate to as it is always at stake,” Vena said.
Using hair as a starting point, Vena and colleagues Robin McDonald and Kim Renders put out a call to the community to see if hair could provide people with an artistic outlet.
“Not all are based off of the hair on the top of your head,” Vena said.
“There are pieces that are inspired by the texture of hair or the image of hair, and there are lots of different pieces that aren’t necessarily literally about hair.”
Students, both undergrad and graduate, as well as community members, senior citizens and youth groups, were involved in the creation and production of Hair Lines.
“Collaboration is integral to making any theatre, art, or performance into a reality. We meet as a collective, make decisions as a collective, and put plans into motion as a collective,” said McDonald, a Queen’s cultural studies PhD candidate and Chipped Off’s cultural producer.
“The Chipped Off performance this year tries to extend the value of collaboration and the belief in its synergistic potential to a wider Kingston community, inviting performers, artists, actors, poets, singers, musicians and more to share their voices and perspectives,” McDonald added.
“Chipped Off serves as an important platform for getting these voices out there as much as possible, and for putting them into conversation in engaging and interesting ways.”
Beginning with looking at hair through a queer lens, Vena, McDonald and Renders spoke of hair’s significance to drag culture and gender performance, its role in bear cultures — men in the gay community who have hairy bodies and facial hair — and its place in kink and fetish cultures.
“But the racialization of hair, its cultural and social significances, and its linkages to a number of other conversations that we wanted to have politically and artistically as a collective soon came to light,” McDonald said.
Erica McLachlan, ArtSci ’14, has been involved with Chipped Off for around a year and said that, as a queer theatre collective, it provides a unique approach to theatre.
“Chipped Off is a safe space and that has a lot to do with the people who are involved with the collective. It is just a really great group of people,” McLachlan said.
With an almost even student-to-local involvement ratio, Chipped Off creates a kind of exposure that might not be experienced by the community otherwise, she said.
“I think that what is so great about Chipped Off Theatre collective is that the performances we have draw in members of the community.”
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