Breathe On It

Play this song while you read this – it’s what I was listening to this morning while thinking about this post.

One of my favourite things about being part of a queer community is participating in the way we perform for each other as both performer and audience. Camp, drag, drama, dance, and even the occasional spoken word piece move me and make me so proud of our colourful, creative, and freaky selves. Often our main stage celebrities are shameless and will do anything for attention but there is also room for the shy wallflowers to take the stage every so often and get in the spotlight where they will do something completely hilarious and beautiful, imprinting a lasting image of their courage on our minds.

Yesterday I posted the following as a Facebook status update:

It’s NOT a coincidence so many cities are making alternatives to the OFFICIAL “family” Pride parties which rely on corporate sponsorship. Pride went from a march to show we existed to a bloated tourist attraction that requires millions of dollars to survive. Let’s stop doing the SAME thing EVERY year, it’s lazy. Get freaky on your block, love each other up in the streets, throw parties any day you want. Fuck Pride.

This morning I showed someone clips from some performances at GayBiGayGay back in March.  Yesterday I saw this clip from QueerBomb.  This weekend I was at NoLose watching a variety of performances by very talented queers.  My community in Toronto (and a bunch of us who don’t live there anymore) just recently lost the amazing community organizer Will Munro who used to bring us a monthly night of queer expression called Vaseline/Vazaleen.  That’s where I first saw The Hidden Cameras back in 2001.  That where I saw homos go-go dancing in briefs with sock masks on their faces, drag queens boxing, Kembra Pfahler in blue body paint walking with bowling balls strapped to her feet with electrical tape and so. much. more.  Even I got to be on that stage a few times participating in contests like bob-for-dildos on Halloween (Vasoween) night.

At the music festival I worked at for many years we wove performance into our daily tasks. Dressing up and impromptu dancing were staples but every once in a while we would get to do full-on theatrics for each other and for the larger community.  Whether it was a parody of a revival tent, a perpetual new year’s eve party where the clock struck midnight every 5 minutes, or a silent film being acted out by monochromatic-outfitted villains and heroines, we acted out for each other intensely and with so much appreciation from the audience.

I love us.

We say that often. Right after someone dazzles us with an unexpected serenade or a spontaneous choreographed dance. We say that when as a large group we raise the energy level in the room above that of the day-to-day getting by. Queers do this a lot. Throw parties, freak out, rally, shout, dress up, go out and play.  We don’t need Pride™and their big budget, booked entertainers, corporate floats, designated parade routes, or “no you can’t bring your own water in here” beer gardens.

Just perform for me and I’ll do the same for you and we can do that whenever we want.

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