Photo of Julie Doiron courtesy of Jagjaguwar.
Feminism means different things to different people—and for many people it means something negative. From the angry feminist stereotypes to news outlets simply ignoring it, feminism is an important movement that’s gotten a bad rap. Ladyfest Toronto is aiming to change that by throwing a festival that proves feminism can be both fun and political.
The festival kicks off next Thursday (the 27th) with a party at the Tranzac, featuring Polaris Prize nominee Julie Doiron, Laura Barrett, LGBT Dance from U of T, Shameless Dames burlesque, and a whole bunch more. The subsequent three days feature a cavalcade of talented women in areas like music, film, spoken word, performance art, visual art, and workshops. Weekend passes are available for $35 ($10 for youth) at Rotate This, Soundscapes and Good For Her, and individual event admission is on a sliding scale basis from $5 to $15—or you can read to the end of this post for the chance to win a pair of passes. Check the highlights below and then see the full schedule on the website.
Music: There’s hip hop (local up-and-comer Masia One and Brooklyn’s Climbing PoeTree), rock (Partyline, featuring Allison Wolfe of legendary riot grrls Bratmobile; Shitt Hottt; Wendy Atkinson), folk (The Tennessee Twin, The Weather Station), R&B (Alanna Stuart of Bonjay), and the unclassifiable 123TEN!!!, who once smashed a giant cardboard wrench at the end of a song about tools, revealing a treasure trove of candy. Evening shows are taking place at The Boat and Sneaky Dee’s, with an all-ages Saturday afternoon show at the Kapisanan Philippine Centre.
Film: Friday night at the Brunswick Theatre features a collection of short films, including a retrospective of works by Freeshow Seymour, a project of Allyson Mitchell, and Christina Zeidler. The next night gets down and dirty with feminist smut and a live burlesque performance.
Workshops: Taking place at St. Stephen’s (103 Bellevue Avenue) on Saturday and Sunday, workshops include Shameless Magazine‘s Media Literacy Boot Camp, Good For Her‘s Young Woman’s Crash Course In Getting It On, Daily Detox and more.
Art: Local visual artists exploring themes like femininity, desire and identity will be showcasing their work at the Kapisanan Philippine Centre (167 Augusta Ave). Spoken word artists, including Tara-Michelle Ziniuk and d-lishus, will be taking the stage throughout the weekend. As well, guerilla-style performance artists will be wandering the streets of as part Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market.
Want to get in for free? Leave us a comment and tell us who your favourite feminist is and why. It doesn’t have to be anyone famous—it could be your mom or next door neighbour. The winner will get two weekend passes to the festival. (If you’re not a registered commenter, make sure you leave an email address.) The contest is now closed.
Carly Beath is a member of the Ladyfest Toronto organizing collective. Photo of Shitt Hottt from their MySpace.