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Monday 23 August 2010

Queeruption — opening party and base camp

Yesterday late afternoon we left the Peace Garden in St. Peter’s Square and walked along to Rusholme for the Queeruption Opening Party.

Apparently the original plan was to host it in an old building, but that fell through and the replacement was Saki Bar which is on the corner of Wilmslow Road and Moss Lane East. It’s a grubby and run-down venue in a building that, not many years ago, was a branch of Barclays Bank. Back in February it was reported that it had lost its licence because it showed a ‘blatant lack of concern for its neighbours’.

I would like to write something positive about the Opening Party but it’s going to be difficult.

One person who had travelled from elsewhere in Europe for Queeruption was livid to discover the event was in a commercial venue: ‘this is not what I came here for,’ she told me and other people expressed similar concerns.

When so much of the gay scene centres around alcohol, can any night in a club buying expensive drinks ever really be considered ‘alternative’ or inclusive, whatever entertainment is put on? When asked, on the Queeruption Facebook page, about people who might have little or no disposable income, the response from one of the organisers was: ‘who goes for a night out without any money?’. So some might say a former bank was an appropriate venue.

At Get Bent! in 2007 one or two events were held in a bar and club but most were in alcohol-free spaces — a good balance.

The bar is located at the beginning of the ‘curry mile’ and the entrance is shared and overlooked by a cafe where Asian men hang out. If you happen to be gay and Asian this may not be somewhere you feel comfortable.

Going in you were hassled for a donation and had your hand stamped as if you were cattle. Entertainment was up two flights of stairs, so tough luck if you couldn’t manage to climb those. The sound system (provided by Queeruption) was poor. I could hardly make out what was said much of the time I was up there. But I didn’t hang around for long as there were only a couple of chairs, so nowhere to sit as you watched.

Performer at Queeruption 2010

One performer made me laugh when he claimed a well-known but not exactly well-loved local politician had given him a sexually transmitted disease. He certainly had his act off pat. However all deserved a much better location.

Many of the usual-suspect hipsters who to tend hang around at Contact Theatre and similar venues were there getting sozzled on booze. When does ‘alternative’ just become a marketing strategy to attract people to another night in a ‘vertical drinking‘ establishment?

Two of us went over to Tesco, bought some food and water, and sat at a picnic table at the rear of the building chatting.

Then at about nine o’clock about ten people who were planning to camp, left the bar and we headed off towards the chosen site. About seven tents were put up — which is easier said than done in the dark — and food was cooked and shared. The pole of a freedom flag was used to stir a pan because cooking utensils had been forgotten!

Stirring the food with a freedom flag at Queeruption 2010 base camp. Someone forgot the cooking utensils!

Again it began to feel more like an alternative to the mainstream. It would have been great if some of the performers had been there instead of in the bar. But I suspect one of the reasons why that doesn’t happen is because drinking alcohol in public places is banned in Manchester and many of the hipsters just can’t enjoy themselves without it.

So there you have the elephant in the room in all this: the British obsession with drinking these days and the dominant force in so many things now.


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 3:07 pm

Queeruption 2010 — launch

It would be quite wrong of me to slate Manchester Pride for all kinds of things but then give ‘alternative’ events some kind of immunity from any honest criticism. I’ll write more about this issue in the future, but for the moment I’ll give you my ‘brickbats and bouquets’ account of the first day of Queeruption.

(more…)


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 12:27 pm
Wednesday 18 August 2010

Alternatives to Manchester Pride happening this month

Reclaim the Scene aims to build on last year, which was its first event, with another post-Pride-parade picnic and (Out of the) Village Fete. This year we’re promised it will be ‘bigger and better than ever, with free food, performers, live art, stalls, music, and kids’ entertainment!’

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Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 5:24 am
Thursday 14 February 2008

LGBT History Month

I’m a bit late posting about this. February is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender History Month. Details of events in Manchester can be found here and see the leaflet below.

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Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 5:27 am
Tuesday 18 December 2007

Queer Up North festival faces the axe after Arts Council cuts

Queer Up North, Manchester’s gay and lesbian festival, may be forced to close after the Arts Council told organisers that its £98,000 grant is to be scrapped. The festival is one of 194 arts bodies that have been hit with severe or total funding cuts at short notice.

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Filed under: LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 3:17 am
Friday 10 August 2007

Get Bent — Manchester’s Alternative Community Pride Summer Festival 2007

Get Bent - Manchester's Alternative Community Pride border=

Preparations are well underway for Get Bent. An answer to the commercialism of Manchester’s mainstream pride event.

A weekend of free events, food, music, film, art, discussion and fun! Standby for the full programme of events, coming in the next few days. Everyone is welcome (see below).

During and after Get Bent there will be video coverage here on g7uk and on the Get Bent YouTube channel.

Website | MySpace | YouTube | Facebook

Happening: Friday 24 August – Sunday 2 September 2007

Grab a flyer or graphic for your website here.

What’s the thinking behind Get Bent?

    * Get Bent is a safe space for all genders and sexualities and seeks to engage with and foster the possibility of creating queer-positive spaces.

    * Get Bent challenges the notion that you have to act or dress a certain way to be accepted.

    * Get Bent follows a DiY ethic, creating wide variety of programming by supporting diverse people to create diverse events.

    * Get Bent provides an alternative to commercial gay spaces by creating a queer autonomous space that is sex-positive without being sex-centered, doesn’t depend on alcohol to have a good time, and is unafraid to put the politics back into pride.

    * Get Bent fosters a sense of community by being inclusive: all ages, all incomes, all abilities, all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, regardless of HIV status, those who are comfortable in commercial gay spaces and those who aren’t.

    * Everyone is welcome to participate in this celebration of queerness!


Filed under: Fun,LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 12:33 pm
Wednesday 30 May 2007

Sackville Park village fete (video)

Sunday afternoon was the final day of the Queer Up North arts festival and a village fete was held in Sackville Park. There was a cake judging competition, stalls and a great punch and judy show.

(more…)


Filed under: Fun,LGBT,Manchester,With video — GS @ 1:03 am
 
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