Shots from Video Art, clockwise from top left: Nina Levitt's "Headlines, Robert Lee's "All filler, no killer, Tori Foster & Alexis Mitchell's "Queerpolis," and Oliver Husain's "Stimulation."
Anyone who doubted that art and Pride could mix was set straight, so to speak, at last night's Video Art Is Queer program. The Gladstone was rammed with art lovers and the nine artist's work – all centred around Pride's Theme, Unified – was terrific.
Especially beautiful was Aleesa Cohen and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay's The Same Problem, a kind of call and response exercise, featuring Ramsay's vocals and the roar of the sea and Jean-Paul Kelly's gorgeous Self-unfruitful, which uses animation and the allegory of pear trees to make a powerful statement about diversity.
Pointedly political and totally effective was Queeropolis, made by NOW cover girl Tori Foster with Alexis Mitchell, where a map of Toronto fills up with dots representing the hundreds of queer organizations that have existed through the city's history while various queer veterans talk about their past experiences.
Nina Levitt's spotlight on queer-related headlines in the tabs got big laughs as did Steven Reinke's savvy Jesus Sneaker Freak.
And in the eros department Alysson Mitchell's sexy quickie Dyke Pussy was a hoot and Oliver Husain, in Stimulation, gives a peacock's show of feathers a sexual charge like you wouldn't believe.
Kudos to curator Sharon Switzer who pulled the diverse artists together and who brought in a who's who of the art crowd to the Gladstone, including video artist and performer Andy Patterson, filmmaker and Hot Docs programmer Lynne Fernie, broadcaster and Jane's Walk promoter Jane Farrow, whose voice is heard in Queeropolis.
Just one complaint. The work deserved better projection equipment. Good thing the TV monitor was there or we wouldn't have seen a thing – the throw onto the screen totally sucked and at times the image looked completely black.
For those at the Gladstone who didn't have a good view of the monitor, or for that matter, those of you missed the whole thing, you're in luck. The works are screening at Pride's festival site (at Church and Hayden, Church and Carlton and east of Yonge on Wellesley) and in the lobby of the Drake Hotel through August and via web streaming.
Don't miss this stuff – it rocks