Glasgay! 2006 Preview

The annual festival of queer culture promises a diverse range of exciting events.

Feature by Gareth K Vile | 13 Oct 2006

Now in its thirteenth year, Glasgay! celebrates queer culture with a programme of remarkable quality and diversity. From established playwrights and dancers to lesser-known local visual artists, via films, club nights and comedy, Glasgay! brings the best LGBT arts to venues across the city.

Running between October 14 and November 12, the programme encompasses live performance, visual arts and film. Highlights include the first Scottish performance of Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads' monologues and New York dance phenomenon Richard Move's 'Martha @ Tramway', although the full programme has something for everyone. Hedonists will love the themed club nights from Utter Gutter, Burly and Death Disco, while queer politics are not ignored, with the TRAN?GEND3RD film season at the CCA exploring everything from India's hijras to 1960s San Francisco.

'Martha @ Tramway' explores the life of modern dance pioneer Martha Graham. Combining recreations of her ballets and witty monologues, Richard Move has been developing this work since 1996, winning awards and attracting famous names both in the audience and as performers. Over at the Arches, Louise Welsh's 'The Importance of Being Alfred' examines the later life of Oscar Wilde's lover, as he is caught up in a post-war British libel trial. The CCA presents the American company Split Britches, whose 'What Tammy Needs to Know' is a burlesque meditation on the thin line between country music and performance art.

The visual art season is concentrated on the Q! Gallery in the Saltmarket and the Brunswick Hotel. A mixture of international and local artists, including Glasgow-based Greek photographer Menelas, Brazilian graffiti painters, and Skinny contributor Gregor Laird, comment on different experiences of LGBT lifestyle.

The films, which are spread across the CCA and GFT, epitomise the festival's wide reach and diversity. 'Bam Bam and Celeste' is a road movie, charting the course of two friends travelling to New York, across a Mid-West littered with eccentrics. Allan Brocka's 'Boy Culture' is a playful gay comedy of manners. More seriously, the CCA presents a series of documentaries on LGBT cultures around the world. 'Enough Man' and '100% Human' look at transgendered body image and the issues surrounding surgical alterations. 'Keep Not Silent' enters the world of Orthodox Jewish lesbians: the entire season acts as a reminder of the global, political and personal challenges facing the queer communities.

In a more light-hearted vein, BBC1's Jason Wood transfers his Edinburgh Fringe hit show 'My Anus Horribilis' to the Stand, and the gay-friendly comedy night 'Bent Double' arrives from Brighton. Rising star Mrs Barbara Nice abandons domestic bliss to apply her child-rearing skills to the audience.

Festivals are no fun without a party, and Glasgay! has enough for everyone. Kicking off with Death Disco and their seedy electronica at the Arches on October 14, the weekends during the festival offer wild nights out. Burly presents its 'House of Horrors' on the 4th to celebrate Halloween, inviting ghouls and werewolves to shake out their cobwebs, and the Carnival Arts Centre opens up for Tran?fusion Underground, where you can dip into their costume closet to create the perfect look. OurStory Scotland has a more traditional ceilidh at the Trades Hall and the festival ends with RIPT at Carnival Arts.

Glasgay! is a unique series of events, indulging every taste and whim and including work and play from many facets of the LGBT scene. It avoids exclusivity, setting important national shows next to small-scale local artists: there isn't enough space to mention half of what is happening. For further details, check their website and find your own way through this incredible happening.