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Queer Up North

Wayne Clewes believes the show must go on

Published on May 2nd 2008.

Queer Up North

After almost disappearing in the funding crisis that gripped the art world earlier this year, many thought that was the last we would see of Queer Up North. However, the gay arts festival pulled off a reprieve meaning that the show will go on – for this year at least.

This year’s programme is certainly one of the most ambitious in the festival’s sixteen year history and encompasses everything from music, film, art, clubbing, theatre, comedy, dance and cabaret along with a few productions that will probably defy categorisation altogether. Kicking off the festival in truly flamboyant style is motor-mouth performer Sandra Bernhard. She will be appearing for one night only at the Opera House on 9 May in an up-dated version of her groundbreaking show, Without You I’m Nothing, which made Bernhard a star twenty years ago. Her only UK appearance will be ably supported by comedy Country and Western star Tina C. But if that’s not enough for die-hard Bernhard fans, the star will be in conversation after a screening of the film version of the show at the Cornerhouse the following evening. The Cornerhouse will also be hosting a programme of queer cinema including a discussion between B Ruby Rich and Richard Dyer on 12 May.

A welcome addition to Queer Up North this year, is Queering The Pitch. Hosted by Anthony Crank, this promises to be the biggest day of queer indie music ever seen in the UK. Confirmed acts so far include Cherry Ghost, Bishi, Anat Ben David and Owen Duff. The gig takes place at Manchester Academy on 10 May and proves that gay people’s taste in music stretches beyond Madge and Kylie.

This year’s festival has a particularly strong literary bent. Diana Souhami will be hosting a breakfast session at Abode Hotel on 11 May to discuss eighty years of the lesbian classic novel, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall. Meanwhile, Patricia Duncker and Kaye Mitchell will be discussing lesbian pulp fiction from the 1950s on 15 May and there are also appearances from poet and novelist Jackie Kay and twice Booker shortlisted author Paul Bailey will be giving a sneak preview of his forthcoming novel, The Ship-Boy’s Eyes.

Perhaps the theatrical highlight of the festival is Bette Bourne’s acclaimed turn in Rock, a play detailing the hidden life of one of Hollywood’s ultimate screen idols. Rock runs from 20 -24 May at the Library Theatre. For full details of the festival line-up, visit www.queerupnorth.com


Thriller Killer
Charlie’s, Harter Street, 9 May, 10pm-4am
The latest addition to Manchester’s gay scene is promising to be a truly alternative night out. Indie, new wave, electro and Britpop rule the roost here and tonight sees a live performance from Air Cav. Get down early.

Queer Question Time
Urbis, 10 May 4.30pm
Mark Simpson, Jane Czyzselska, Tim Teeman and Mojisola Adebayo discuss homophobia, gay identity and whether the gay scene should exist at all. And the audience get their say as well.

Great British Bear Bash
Gay Village, 2-5 May
Canal Street takes on a distinctly fuzzy air this bank holiday weekend as burly bears descend upon the Village for three days of drinking, dancing and general debauchery. Visit www.manbears.co.uk for full details.

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