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Welcome to Performatorium

Festival of Queer Performance

January in Saskatchewan is a time of opposition - warm/cool/hot/cold, covered and bare, darkness and brightness; exposed and protected, wet and dry, freeze and thaw, accumulation and removal; inside and outside, safety and risk. It is after all winter, an oft dreaded season on the Canadian Prairies, when natural and unnatural elements converge to create dramatic scenarios and relationships - extreme, spectacular, sensational, sensual, beautiful and dangerous. What better time to present a festival of performance that draws its inspiration from a season of transformation in which all living things must adapt to survive? Performatorium - Queer City Cinema's 3rd edition of queer performance, not unlike Winter / (S)Hiver, presents works that address physical and mental challenges : struggle, peril, tribulation, vulnerability and ultimately the reclamation of human physicality - the body.

A near naked silent body is surrounded by strangers and plucked; bare flesh is pressed against ice for hours and at risk of becoming frost bitten; safe modes of transit are required and thus fashioned; body-phobia, mobility and immobility are brought into focus and then obscured; discomforts and challenges are introduced, imposed and forced for consideration.

As is the case with the dual nature of old man winter, Performatorium also presents an opposing side or mirror image to the ravages of winter - awe, joy, peace, silence, intimacy, pleasure, and regeneration. The power of the human spirit, placed alongside, under, against, or in opposition to the forces of nature/human nature, is equally evident, present and palpable in Performatorium.

In the context of 'queer', metaphors abound in Peformatorium: fluidity of identity with the use of various fluids- melting ice, water, blood and spit; bareness and nakedness in relation to out-ness, disclosure and proclamation of sexuality and gender; safety, community (a sense of belonging), and pleasure through a queer taxi service; homo-eroticism, opposition and conflict through a wrestling workshop; and eroticism, sensuality and playfulness with one-on-one open orifice action.

So, perhaps not so frosty anymore...

With Performances, Artist Talks, Performatorium Labounge, and a Wrestling Workshop, - the festival offers a place and space that welcomes audiences to see, hear, and feel their way through the varied ways in which queer performance can and does provide for a curious, imaginative and engaging experience - just like January in Saskatchewan.

Performatorium - it's time to come in from - and out to - the cold.

Gary Varro
Artistic Director
Queer City Cinema
January 2012