by Stephen Krock
The world of art and music offers much to fluidity. It is a shame, then, that a fluidity of sexual identity or expression is still not celebrated as openly in the pop-culture world. In an effort to widen some eyes and expand some horizons, Ladyfest returns to Philly after ten years this weekend, June 7-9.
This artistic festival has been held in many forms across the globe for more than a decade and serves to encourage a safe space for and educate people to the inequalities facing trans, genderqueer, intersex, and queer people, gender normative women, and all their allies. According to the fest’s official website, “Ladyfest is not a solution to a problem, but rather just one way of highlighting [these inequalities], while still celebrating their work.” And with three days replete in rockin’ bands, several appearances by pop-punk art goddesses and a wealth of some damn cool workshops. It will be a celebration indeed.
As a gay man, and member of the queer community, I take solace in the existence of such a strongly affirmed safe space festival. A little more than a year ago, I attended a con with my boyfriend, where he was called that famous F word by one of the vendors. One of the VENDORS! Needless to say, the day was tarnished and we both felt it futile to escalate the situation further. It is invigorating to see Ladyfest demanding its attendees to leave the festival knowing “that they can demand better from the events they attend, organize and participate in — whether this means including more women, more people of color and more trans people, asking more difficult questions, or taking more risks.” Amen… A-women? Regardless, it sure to be a lasting experience.
To take part in Ladyfest, you can help kick it off this Friday at the Rotunda, starting at 7:30pm, featuring a killer line up: Amanda X, 3Jane, Blizzard Babies, Void Vision, Black Wine and Potty Mouth.
Saturday, June 8th, you can swing by Locust Moon Comics & Movies for a workshop on creating an autobiographical comic or some stop motion animation. Back at the Rotunda, you can practice beating on either a drum at the Girls Rock Philly workshop or on a mugger’s face at the self defense class. Stick around to hear from a handful of internet zine writers and artists, such as Kerri Radley of Deafula and Liz Prince. Playing that night at the Rotunda, starting at 5pm, are Batty, Peeple Watchin’, Shady Hawkins, Big Mouth, In School, +HIRS+, Parasol and US GIRLS.
The fest wraps up Sunday, June 9th. You can start the day with a calm soothing breath at Queer and Trans Yoga or with your heart thumpa-thumpin’ at the Amps, Pedals, and PAs workshop. Then, starting at 3pm, the final wave of bands and artists: Katie Ferencz, Ghost Ship (feat. Rosali Middleman and Mary Lattimore), Girls Rock Philly! bands, Attia Taylor, Mindtroll, Trophy Wife, Priests, Screaming Females, and the awesome Aye Nako.
This is a mere sampling of the myriad of workshops offered at Ladyfest. For a more complete schedule, please visit the official website.