Not into Pride? Alternative queer festival to launch in July

Bricks and Glitter will showcase young queer, trans and two-spirit artists, musicians and performers in venues across the city's west end

A new grassroots arts festival is creating space for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities marginalized by Pride’s mainstream celebration.

Launching next month, Bricks and Glitter will bring young queer, trans and two-spirit artists, musicians and performers to venues in the Junction Triangle and Parkdale from July 18 to 29.

Organized by Unit 2, a queer-positive and QTBIPOC radical arts and events space, in consultation with community members across the spectrum, the festival aims to move “beyond empty promises of inclusivity” while looking to provide sustainable avenues for queer art and creativity.

Co-founder Daniel Mack says the city currently has “no organized celebration for queer, trans and two-spirit lives and legacies,” an observation that decidedly discounts Pride, which, in recent years, has had to acknowledge and apologize for its history of anti-Blackness and repeated marginalization of already marginalized peoples.

“Many major cities have festivals that are organized in parallel with and in opposition to mainstream Pride celebrations,” he continues. “Where Pride values rainbow flags, consumer culture, masc4masc and middle-class, cis, white gay concerns, alternatives allow for counter and non-hegemonic voices to break through the noise.”

The festival features a robust lineup, including a 10th anniversary performance by ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company at the Gladstone Hotel on July 27 as well as performances by R&B singer Shi Wisdom, samba, bossa nova and tropicalia-influenced musician Bruno Capinan, hip-hop and R&B crew Maxhole and Eyeda Sophia, folk and soul singer Lacey Hill, singer/songwriter Carolina Brown, burlesque dancer Coco La Creme and others.

The slate of events also includes the Sick and Disabled Queer Youth Zine Fair, queer slam poetry and a variety of art and social events with a safe space mandate.

The festival emphasizes support, empowerment and connections within the community. Its mission statement reads in part: “We want to learn from each other and hold each other up, allowing our unique voices to populate a sphere of discourse, play, exploration and possibility.”

Mack says that while Bricks and Glitter is “for us, for our friends [and] for dreamers and fighters,” he also notes that “everyone is welcome as long as they are respectful of the spaces involved and the people who attend.”

The festival is free or pay-what-you-can, and ASL interpreters will be on site at most of the major events. | @missrattan

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