Homotopia 2009. 4 – 29 November

'Extraordinary Drawings' Laurie Lipton

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Yes, another festival coming up, includes lovely exhibitions at CUC and lots more. Check out the website at www.homotopia.net

Homotopia – Here Come The Girls!
Wednesday 4 – Sun 29th November 2009

This year the Homotopia festival offers you 3 jam packed weeks of the very highest quality LGBT culture including; an international art opening, a theatrical premiere, a  Booker short-listed author, some very funny women and exclusive screenings.

Festival Director, Gary Everett describing this year’s festival said: “Homotopia has developed a strong social justice strand this year and we have taken the fight against homophobia abroad with our youth exchange to Poland. But November is a celebration of our community’s talents that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.”

Starting as it means to go on the festival opens with an international art launch of American artist Laurie Lipton’s latest work ‘Extraordinary Drawings’. (Contemporary Urban Centre until 29th Nov). Lipton, originally from New York, has been based in London since 1986. Her provocative, topical images are intensely detailed and rendered in layers of charcoal and graphite echoing the work of Bosch, Memling and Goya. This year Lipton has exhibited at the Basel and Pulse (New York) contemporary art fairs as well as the Saatchi Gallery London and galleries in California, Ohio and Dusseldorf.

Also creating festival headlines is the appearance of Booker shortlisted and possible winner (announcement 6th October) Sarah Waters in conversation (FACT Fri 6th Nov 7.30pm). With television adaptations of her novels Tipping The Velvet, Fingersmith and Affinity, Waters work has introduced lesbian characters to a huge audience. For Homotopia she will discuss her work with publisher and author Helen Sandler against a backdrop of clips from the adaptations.

Homotopia celebrates another festival first in its co-commission and world premiere of Jiggery Pokery a funny and moving new play about the life and lonely death of Charles Hawtrey (Unity Theatre Weds 11th – Sat 14th Nov 8pm). Known to millions through his Carry On appearances Hawtrey was a popular female impersonator in variety and music halls before his film career. But his overt sexuality proved controversial in a conservative age and in this innovative production actress Mandy Lawrence will portray Hawtrey in all his dark and drunken glory.

Social justice has become a theme of Homotopia’s work and there will be a screening of a documentary showing this year’s ground-breaking work through Project Triangle (Unity Theatre Weds 4th Nov 6.45pm). This Homotopia project brought partners together across the city to empower young LGBT people and challenge homophobia. This film shows some of those young people visiting Aushwitz, learning about the holocaust and meeting gay youths in Warsaw all with representatives of Merseyside Police.

Caretakers a gripping and powerful new play  by Billy Cowan also tackles prejudice as it looks at the sensitive issues around anti gay bullying in schools (Unity Theatre Thurs 5th & Fri 6th Nov 8pm).

Alongside Laurie Lipton’s work at CUC  Homotopia will also be showcasing the work of digital French artist Chris Von Steiner (4th – 29th November). His work combines the pop icons of his youth with bold colours,elements from movies, music, books and television. He draws on dreams and desires to create digital nightmares. He has participated in group shows alongside artists such as Banksy, Tracey Emin, Blek le Rat and Sam Taylor Wood.

To complement Sarah Waters the festival is working with Liverpool Libraries to bring popular award winning authors Charlotte Mendelson and Joanna Briscoe to meet their readers. Following appearances at reading groups at community libraries the authors of ‘When We Were Bad’ and ‘Sleep With Me’ will be at FACT on Saturday 7th November 4.30pm.

No Homotopia would be complete without lesbians proving they can laugh at themselves so Clare Summerskill returns to Liverpool in her new show ‘In No Particular Order!’ (Unity Theatre Sat 7th Nov 8pm). Clare always sells out and this year will be no exception.

So for anyone missing the first funny woman Lavender Girls will more than make up for it. (Unity Theatre Weds 11th Nov 9.45pm) Rosie Wilby, once described as “an amiable, Kylie-sized, pocket venus who packs a punch” brings her hilarious brand of weirdness back, alongside locals Jane Townend (Nivea Funny Women finalist) and Emma Bowley who delighted audiences last year.

The late Yankel Feather
The late Yankel Feather

Further exclusive screenings all shot by Re:Dock will include; Memories of Yankel (Unity Theatre Weds 4th Nov 6pm) – a short film made in 2007 when Liverpool artist Yankel Feather was interviewed for the Our Story history project. Sadly Yankel died in April this year but this extraordinary artist and brave, outspoken man is not forgotten. The Invisible Death of Michael (Unity Theatre Thurs 12th 6.30pm) – a short film looking at the under reporting of the death of Michael Causer and what this says about societal attitudes to homophobic hate crimes. Includes interviews with Peter Tatchell and Paul Burston. Vogue Ball 2008 (Unity Theatre Fri 13th Nov 9.45pm) – a film of the night everyone still talks about. An opportunity to relive the costumes, the make-up, the glamour and spot yourself amongst the 500!

And then there’s the Striptease! Spanish dancer and performance artist Pere Faura performs a video/lecture for the audience gaze and the sexual gaze exploring striptease as performance (Bluecoat Chambers Sat 14th Nov 8pm).

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