Homotopia

Did you know that over two thirds of Commonwealth member states regard homosexuality as illegal? Causing tragic obstacles for those who need to access AIDS treatment and support, contraction is on the rise whilst transphobia is ever-present.

Homotopia is an international LGBT festival held annually in Liverpool and across various other European cities. The festival takes place every November and features a mixture of theatre, dance, film, photography, art, cabaret and debate across the city. Unfortunately I didn’t really know about it until now, but I’m not a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.

As the festival finale drives us straight into World Aids Day on December 1st, this year’s theme, ART = LIFE – reminiscent of the AIDS activism slogan ‘SILENCE = DEATH’. The festival is curated around the theme of AIDS awareness; as fun as gay bars are with their drag queens who let you squeeze their boobs and men who don’t want to sleep with you (sob), it’s true that gay culture has been somewhat commodified. Rainbows and glitter are great, obv, but we’re still not actually talking about health and responsibility, and AIDS is still heavily stigmatized. There is plenty of culture representing the LGBT community – exhibits, a piece of theatre – that don’t revolve around the hedonistic nightlife we usually associate with the community.

We’ve already bought tickets to some film screenings [below], but what else is going on over the next couple of weeks?

Homotopia_Film Programme Flyer (1)

You’ll find the Alien Sex Club every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the month at the Camp + Furnace (yes, we clicked on it because of the name – marketer’s dream). The exhibition aims to provide audiences with a new vocabulary for understanding and talking about HIV and factors contributing to its transmission. The large-scale installation is based on the shapes of cruise mazes, found in sex clubs and gay saunas, and comprises sculpture, painting, video, performance and installation.

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Alien Sex Club uses popular forms including hospitality, fortune-telling, comedy and the aesthetic of carnivals and festivals to introduce issues to a wide audience and make the subject palatable, interesting and fun, while grounding it in cross-disciplinary research.

Meet Panti Bliss, Ireland’s high queen, national treasure, performance giant and accidental activist in her smash hit comedy show, High Heels in Low Places.

panti

Panti landed herself in the middle of a media sh*tstorm christened ‘Pantigate’ that rocked Ireland in 2014. Soon after, she became a Youtube sensation when a speech she made about homophobia, described as “the most eloquent Irish speech” in 200 years by Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole, went viral, was broadcast around the world, debated in parliament and even remixed by the Pet Shop Boys – sparking a powerful conversation about equality and feeding into Ireland’s recent Marriage Equality referendum success.

Her riotous stand-up show comes to the Epstein Theatre on November 21, exploring life after ‘Pantigate’, which played to rave reviews and chock-a-block houses across Ireland and UK, as well as Paris, New York and Sydney.

Charting brushes with infamy, near misses with fame, and adventures in the seedy underbelly, Panti invites you in to her hyper-real, stiletto-shaped world, in a storytelling tour de force where she promises to “say the un-sayable”.

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Dry Your Eyes Princess is an exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool by Stephen King (no, not that one) and Dr Emma Vickers, senior lecturer in History at LJMU. Vickers’ research of trans* veterans who served in the British Armed Forces, using oral testimony by interviewees to explore the intersection between gender identity and military service, enabled King to construct portraits based upon their pinnacle moments and their experiences before, during and after service.

Vickers’ research has revealed that trans* personnel in the UK were dismissed in significant numbers before 1999 and, because of limited understandings of trans* identities, officials tended to conflate gender identity and sexual identity. Moreover, many of Vickers’ interviewees say they joined the services as a form of therapy in the hope that the hyper-masculinity of the forces would rid them of the discomfort they felt with their gender identity.

“Dry Your Eyes Princess” is a derogatory term used unofficially within the British Armed Forces encouraging personnel to ‘toughen up’. While the ban on trans* personnel in the British Armed forces was lifted in 1999, in the US military the ban remains in place until May 2016.

For the full festival lineup, visit http://www.homotopia.net.
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Roja Pinchos has apparently been on Berry St, a few steps from the Bombed Out Church, for over a year. It doesn’t scream for attention, but as a consequence nobody seems to notice it’s there.

(I Googled all this) Pinchos are traditionally from northern Spain and hugely popular in the Catalan city of Barcelona, the pincho referring to the spike which keeps the bite sized portion together. I liked the idea of grabbing a snack that didn’t involve Greggs, but also I’m quite skint and pinchos are typically cheap.

Ordering was confusing as there was no fixed menu, and the waiter didn’t offer up this info for quite a while, pointing above the door to a chalk board which apparently varies on a daily basis. Which is fine, just, I’m short-sighted and felt like a bit of a lemon. In the name of reviewing, I went for three options:

  • Grilled mackerel
  • Goat’s cheese & pear
  • Marinated chicken

Zara went for the king prawn and chorizo, and we were given a bowl of olives to nibble. The space is small and intimate, so you better want to sit in your neighbour’s lap.

I’m very much on the anti-breadboard, anti-bucket, anti-bin lid and anti anything other than a plate wagon, but to be fair the food was nicely presented on some slate. It also came with delicious freshly baked sea salted crisps.

pincho

The service throughout the meal was slow considering there was only one other customer. Every other review I’ve read has praised the service even more than the pinchos, though, so I can only assume our waiter was having a late afternoon siesta and who am I to argue with culture?

In honesty I don’t remember the grub that well, because I’d never reviewed food before so was busy making insightful notes like: ‘Chicken + choritzo, green stuff + lurid yellow sauce?’

As a rule I hate seafood, but I’d seen a photo of the mackerel option online, and it turned out to be the tastiest of the three. Oh, and it was placed on some mashed beetroot.

The baby caramelised pear & goat’s cheese was placed on a bed of fried rocket/cabbage/something from the ground, and caramelised onion. Onion, especially the caremalised kind, is basically my least favorite thing in the world so I was trying quite hard to pretend it wasn’t there because this was the option I’d looked forward to the most. Although it looked lovely and was tasty, it lacked the exciting flavours of the others and I was a little disappointed.

According to Zara, ‘the toilet smelled really nice’, but ‘the restaurant needs better lighting’, standing by her advice even when tea lights were ignited. You’ve been told.

For the four pinchos I paid £12, which I thought was a little hefty. Some smaller options are apparently £1.50 each, though it wasn’t clear which. If you go earlier in the day a range of cold pinchos are also available.

We both agreed we’d go again, but maybe add a glass of wine, as pinchos are perfect for bridging the gap between winding down after a hard afternoon’s shopping (that’s why I’m skint) and getting too sozzled ahead of the evening’s festivities.

Because the menu rotates, it’s worth giving another go because you never know what surprise you’ll find. I’ve spotted a photo of what looks like fig and parma ham, which is one of my favorite concoctions ever, so I’m on the lookout for that even if I have to eat alone like a billy.

Emilio Pinchi EP launch at the Lantern Theater

You might have noticed I’ve been AWOL and you’ve not been bombarded by posts on social media the past week. That was due to a slight Halloween meltdown and also my mum is in hospital with a blood clot and may need her finger amputated (the one that’s best for picking your beak, noooooo).

I’m trying to throw posts together, and they’re coming in drips and drabs so please bear (/bare? can never decide) with me. Anyway. I was indulging in Made In Chelsea to cheer myself up and realized I totally forgot an EP launch at the Lantern Theater I was well excited for so now I’m bummed about that on top of thinking JP is a twat.

ep

Anyway. Some people are totally on it when others suggest new music to them but I am not one of these people because I generally have to choose something for it to be a good idea. I’m also crap at describing music other than it being good/shite/the lead singer has really cool hair. But I am wise nonetheless, so check out Emilio Pinchi! He does a really good cover of Pumped Up Kicks if that helps! Everybody likes that song! And a good Italian. He does that funny thing with his hand to express anything remotely Italian including his surname ‘BEEENKY’ x

From Glastonbury to Liverpool

When: Friday Nov 6th – Sat 7th, 9pm- 2am

Where: Camp + Furnace

shan

Anyone who wasn’t busy ommming in a Glastonbury teepee will be familiar with legendary late-night destination of Shangri La:

‘Its vast interactive installations are brought to life by a creative team of over 1,500 crew, performers and artists. Renowned for its influence, originality, artistic quality and attention to detail, this is a fantasy world to fall into, with layers upon layers to explore.’

I’ve tried explaining Shangri La to friends, and the best I’ve managed is being somewhere between a city within city which also looks like a cross between a theme park and an insane club. Whatever it is, it’s the epicenter of all things crazy, and place where a host dressed as the devil discusses how great ketamine is (didn’t air that, did ya BBC?) I suppose this was Shangri Hell but we’re still obliged here at Boss Liverpool to say we don’t condone drugs, especially the kind made for horses.

SHANGRILATI promises Liverpool, ‘A premium festival experience, of performing arts, fire, lasers and music.’  We’re keep to get our hands on tickets because let’s face it, late-night club toilets are grim but not Glasto grim.

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