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Nuit Rose: a festival of queer art and performance explodes in the Church St and the Queer West Villages

By Drew Rowsome

Artist Bruno Billio plans to drape the Gladstone Hotel in a glittering cascade of rainbow/Pride-coloured tinsel "dedicated to the people of Orlando's Pulse. The effect will create a stunning dance of shimmering tinsel that plays with the wind, shimmers in daylight and twinkles in the evening street lights."

Inside the Gladstone is The 10 x 10 Photography Project where queer photographers and artists interpret their peers and community stalwarts in dramatic and fabulous ways. John Webster's "Valentine Candy Box" contributions are as flaming and florid as they are erotic. Just down the street, Paul Petro Contemporary Art blooms with the greener but just as fabulous works of Zachari Logan. In the Village John Simone's photographs documenting the drama and style of Fashion Cares share wall space with Gun Roze's portraits of the many characters of Randy the Stripper, at Akasha Art Projects.

Next door Michael Dumont's light sculptures They Only Come Out At Night, remembering 1986's Komrads, Chaps "and the people who loved there," cast their eerie erotic glow throughout Barbara Hall Park. They will be joined by the hordes of revellers, participation is encouraged, marching and dancing in The Light Parade as it wends its way from Norman Jewison Park down Church St.

Glad Day Bookshop has The Colour by Icons project where 25 Toronto artists conjure pages from Never Apart LGBT Historic Colouring Book into Technicolor. Contemporary larger than life Canadian queer icon Keith Cole presents a version of  Raymond Helkio and David Bateman's Operation Soap in the Alexander St Parkette dramatizing the horror and righteous-inducing anger that were, are, the bathhouse raids, while Bruce LaBruce launches a DJ set complete with projections on the Church-Wellesley BIA “Circus So Gay” Stage.

These are only a sampling of the multitude of queer art events, exhibits and parties that compose Nuit Rose, "a festival of queer art and performance," to kick off the beginning of Pride Week in the middle of Pride Month. This year's theme is "Night Shift" and the organizers promise that participants will experience "transformational encounters with art on one unforgettable night." Or at the very least, one art-filled stimulating queer party.

Nuit Rose is on Sat, June 25 at a multitude of venues. nuitrose.ca


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