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Xtra West Covers (Queer) Intersections from ATA

Hybrid identities in archived art

ART / (queer) intersections remembers pivotal 1990s performances

Monday, December 10, 2012
Written by Erin Flegg

Vancouver has a reputation (at least among those of us not born here) for playing hard to get. A diverse range of political and artistic communities has long thrived here, but they aren’t always easy to find.

A new series of online exhibits called Activating the Archive, from the grunt gallery, aims to draw out the vibrant histories of often marginalized groups and reacquaint Vancouver with its often radical past.

Interdisciplinary artist and scholar Christine Stoddard curated one of the exhibits, titled (queer)intersections.

The exhibit, made up of essays, video and photos, focuses on queer identity politics expressed through performance art in the 1990s.

“The ’90s for me was really when that notion of queer started to emerge as a political and identity category,” she says. “It’s taking the lesbian/gay movement and way of thinking about your sexuality and identity, and kind of opening it up to a less rigid category.”

Stoddard came to Vancouver toward the end of the 1990s, moving here with her first girlfriend to do a master’s of fine arts at Simon Fraser University. She got a job at the lesbian bar Charlie’s (“Oh god, I was a terrible server!”) and started to meet women who were also interested in exploring queer feminisms and with whom she would perform.

“That was the first time I really felt like I belonged here. It sounds sort of cheesy, but it’s true, I did.”

The grunt’s Halfbred cabaret series, featuring Oliv (above), marked an important moment in Vancouver’s queer art history, says Christine Stoddard.(grunt archives)At the time, she says, she didn’t consider herself a very radical queer. She grew up in the relatively small city of Halifax and says she was just looking for some kind of reflection of herself.

When she came out to her parents as bisexual, they had a hard time understanding, she says. They probably would have had an easier time had she used the word gay or lesbian, she reflects.

“It does confuse people when you don’t fit into a nice delineated box.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire article at Xtra West…

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December 2012: Fundraising and Programming Update

November and December have been a whirlwind of events and fundraising initiatives!

grunt gallery is happy to announce that $4,920 was raised for the grunt gallery Endowment Legacy Fund. This amount has been submitted to the Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Investment Fund – Endowment Incentives Component program. This is a matching-funds program that works to encourage private donors to contribute to not-for-profit professional arts organizations to help support long-term stability. Read more about this program here. This fundraising initiative is an important one for grunt. We are incredibly thankful to everyone that was able to donate to our Legacy Fund and look forward to continually growing this endowment.

The Eclectic Cabaret: grunt gallery fundraiser kicked off on December 1st at the Russian Hall in Vancouver. This event featured a number of different performers and brought grunt’s community together to celebrate and raise funds for future programming at grunt gallery. New and veteran volunteers, and grunt’s board of directors were a driving force in ensuring the cabaret was a success. The staff at grunt are thankful for all of the help and support we received and look forward to cultivating a strong group of volunteers for 2013.

December programming at grunt includes an exhibition entitled Remains by artist, Mark Mizgala. Working with the City of Vancouver’s Transit Shelter Advertising Program, grunt gallery has facilitated the production and distribution of the posters across the city as an off-site exhibition. The opening reception will take place at grunt gallery on December 12, 2012 (7–10pm).

Programming Director, Glenn Alteen, and Communications Director, Karlene Harvey, are excited to attend the opening reception of Beat Nation at The Power Plant in Toronto on December 14th, 2012. Keep an eye on grunt gallery’s Facebook and Twitter for photos!

Before grunt closes for the holidays, we will be hosting our annual Winter Solstice Party on Friday, December 21st (7pm-11pm). This is a special event for grunt’s supporters, artists, community members, and friends. We invite you to drop by grunt for a drink, enjoy some appetizers, and perhaps even bid on a silent auction gift basket. grunt gallery will be closed from December 22nd, 2012 – January 1st, 2013.

Our first exhibition of 2013 is an installation by Adrian Stimson entitled, “Holding Our Breath”. The opening reception will take place at grunt on Friday January 4th, 2013 (7-10pm), this exhibition will run until February 9th, 2013. Sign up for our newsletter to receive press releases and updates.


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Beat Nation Prepares to Head East

grunt gallery Legacy Fund:
Beat Nation Prepares to Head East: Tania Willard, Co-Curator, Recalls Where It All Started

Grunt gallery is committed to working with emerging artists, curators and innovative ideas to create high impact exhibitions and projects. An example of this is Beat Nation, which originally took form at grunt gallery in 2008 as a website project curated by Tania Willard and Skeena Reece.

“I have worked with grunt over the years as a curator-in-residence, publications designer, editor, and conference organizer, and I think all of this has really helped me in being able to continue to work in the arts and have a unique perspective,” said Tania Willard, co-curator for Beat Nation. “I owe grunt my art life. There are not that many places or spaces that nurture emerging artists and curators, while at the same time being a place for established and senior artists.”

The “Beat Nation – Hip Hop as Indigenous Culture” website evolved into an exhibition that was presented at SAW gallery and later at grunt gallery on June 26, 2009. Over the years, Beat Nation has seen various incarnations and been presented in an array of venues including PuSh Festival, New Forms Festival and many more. This December, Beat Nation is leaving Vancouver and heading eastward.

“The never-ending project [and] idea that was Beat Nation started with grunt’s online projects, which I helped curate. This project is now touring as a large scale exhibition co-curated with Kathleen Ritter of Vancouver Art Gallery,” said Willard. “It all starts at grunt, where seeds that are always being planted sometimes grow into these beautiful creatures. Kusktemc (thank you).”

Beat Nation will be exhibited from December 14, 2012 to May 5, 2013 at the Power Plant in Toronto, Ontario, one of Canada’s leading galleries for contemporary arts. Plans are currently in the works to take this tour to even more galleries in North America, details to be determined in the near future.

If you are a supporter of grunt and have appreciated the work we do to continue our innovative programming, then please consider giving to our Legacy Fund. The grunt gallery Legacy Fund is a permanent endowment, managed by the Vancouver Foundation, with the purpose of providing a strong and stable base of funds that financially supports grunt and the artists we serve. Your contribution to the Legacy Fund helps provide us with the means to assure our long-term viability.

A chance to double your support:

Grunt gallery is eligible for support from the Canadian Heritage Endowment Incentives Program through which we will receive a match on your donation to the endowment. All funds received before November 21, 2012 are eligible for this matching program. Last year, our campaign raised $3,500, which was matched by over $2,800 from the Heritage program for a total of $6,300. This year we are hoping for an even stronger response.

For more information you can contact Operations Director Meagan Kus at 604.875.9516

Or click here to donate!

Please note: The Vancouver Foundation will issue you a tax receipt for your donation.

We have currently raised over $3,000, please help us reach our goal of $5,000!

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ECLECTIC CABARET: grunt gallery fundraiser

Please join us for a fabulous event to celebrate the festive season, before winter really sets in, with an early offering of glamour, spectacle and party! grunt gallery is pleased to be bringing from New York City, the infamous burlesque performance artist, Chicava Honeychild, renown for her seductive work with Brown Girls Burlesque, and, from Los Angeles Stacy Dawson Stearns aimed to rouse our somatic senses and intrigue new experience of dance, movement and theatrics. There will also be a rare appearance by Vancouver’s own Brown Brother Posse as well as Vancouver’s virile rock band AB/CD.

A special fundraiser not to be missed!! Cocktails, prizes, swag, and much fun will be had!

Saturday, December 1, 2012
Doors: 7pm | Show: 8pm
Location: RUSSIAN HALL, 600 Campbell Street, Strathcona, Vancouver

Add the Facebook Event

Tickets sliding scale: $10 – $100
Click here to purchase tickets online! Or you can buy them at the door of the event:
*Tax receipts will be issued for paid tickets $20 and up.




Chicava HoneyChild is a burlesque dancer, actor and producer. She is the Creative Producer of New York City’s Brown Girls Burlesque and teacher at BGB’s Broad Squad. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College where her research focused on performance art, women of color in burlesque heritage, and sacred sexuality and spirituality. She is currently working on a documentary on the legacy of Women of Color in burlesque.

Photo credit: Yule A Go-Go:


Stacy is a performing artist, trainer, and educator. Her professional performance career began in NYC in 1991 with the internationally renowned company, Big Dance Theater. Based in New York for 15 years and Los Angeles for the past decade, she has shared her choreographic, directorial, and solo performance with regional and national audiences. Stacy has been a part of art collectives Blacklips Performance Cult, Advanced Beginner Group, Big Dance Theater, and Show Box LA. Stacy’s bodywork and performance training embodies the concepts that shaped her as a performer: discipline, generosity, and respect for the path of the individual. In addition to her private teaching practice, she has taught in higher education performing arts programs since 1996: at Marymount Manhattan College, New York University, and currently as adjunct faculty at California Institute of the Arts. Awards include a Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) in 2000, and a 2012 CHIME grant. She holds an MFA from Goddard College (Interdisciplinary Art) and a BFA from NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing.

Chicava (left) Photo Credit: Yule A Go-Go:; Stacy Dawson Stearns (right) Photo Credit: Deirdre McGaw


Brown Brother Posse (a.k.a. BBP) are a boy band from Vancouver, Canada. BBP took the world by storm in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and to-date have sold 80 million records worldwide. Celebrated for their musical genius, they also gained worldwide notoriety for their scandalous dalliances with numerous celebrities as well as their provocative antics on stage. The group disbanded in 2002 under mysterious circumstances. There was much speculation by media pundits about the reasons for their break-up, but no one knows for sure what happened. Several attempts were made to get BBP back together in ensuing years, all of them unsuccessful. After secretly reuniting in 2012 and recording a new album together, the group have recently returned to Vancouver from their first global concert tour in almost a decade. This is their first performance on Coast Salish Territories since their return and they will be performing their latest number one hit from their new album BBP – Back on the Block.


With Eileen Kage on drums, Laiwan on guitar and Donna Lee on bass. A rock band performing flagrant mash-ups!


Eileen Kage has been involved with Vancouver’s Taiko community since the early 1980’s, co-founding several groups including LOUD (1996), Uzume Taiko (1988) and Sawagi Taiko (1990). She continues to push the boundaries of taiko through various collaborations with other artists, and continues to study its roots and essence through her work with JODAIKO.  She strives to challenge gender role stereotypes through the taiko and other projects including explorations into femme drag. At Spatial Poetics 2011, Eileen rocked-out on the drum kit with wank band collaborators Vanessa Kwan and Laiwan in laiwankwankage.


Laiwan is an artist with a wide-ranging practice that follows her interest in cross-disciplinary projects. She is also a writer, educator, curator and activist. Born in Zimbabwe of Chinese parents, she founded the Or Gallery in Vancouver in 1983 and initiated the First Vancouver Lesbian Film Festival in 1988. Recipient of the 2008 Vancouver Queer Media Artist Award, she teaches at Goddard College in the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Program. Her premiere performance of laiwankwankage for Spatial Poetics 2011 initiated her into the performative realm exploring somatic intelligence and absurd spectacle.


Donna Lee has played in various bands and enjoys working with youth, playing soccer and watching her niece grow up.

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Donate to the grunt gallery Legacy Fund!

Dear grunt supporters,

grunt gallery is eligible for support from the Canadian Heritage Endowment Incentives Program where we will receive a match on your donation to the endowment. All funds received before November 21, 2012 are eligible for this matching program. Last year, our campaign raised $3,500 that was matched by over $2,800 from the Heritage program for a total of $6,300. This year we are hoping for a strong response. As a donor to grunt gallery, you are not just investing in an exhibition program; you are investing in an artist-run centre that cultivates curators with raw talent, emerging artists, and innovative ideas that drive Vancouver’s artistic community forward.

Donating is easy:
Go to the

Your support truly makes a difference – thank you for donating to the long-term financial health of grunt!

For more information you can contact Operations Director Meagan Kus at 604.875.9516 or

Learn more about the grunt gallery Legacy Fund here.
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Mounira Al Solh and Institutions By Artists

 grunt gallery is preparing for the opening reception of Mounira Al Solh’s exhibition, “The Sea Is A Stereo” on Thursday October 11th, 2012. Due to travel complications, the artist will not be in attendance for the opening. Her work will be shown in the front main space of the gallery and in the gruntKitchen Media Lab. To read more about her exhibition, please check out our post under “Programming”. A number of our new and existing board members will be in attendance,  we look forward to seeing you there!

This weekend, grunt will be at the Institutions By Artists (IBA) conference happening from Oct 12-14th at Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus. The conference is entirely sold out; however, if you were unable to obtain tickets there is another viable option for your participation… The ARC website will be live-streaming the event, you can view it here: The live-stream service is free and provides an option for those watching remotely to communicate via a live-chat option. Or, get yourself on twitter and utilize the hash-tag #IBA2012 so you can share your carefully constructed, 140-character length ideas with other locally and interntionally-based artist-run centres, organization and artists.

On Friday October 12th at 2:00-4:30 pm, IBA has an afternoon session titled, “Intimate Institutions”. grunt gallery’s Program Director, Glenn Alteen, and the chair of grunt’s Board of Directors, Laiwan, will be involved in this session as moderator and panel participant. Whether you’re at the conference or watching the live-stream we hope you have a chance to check it out.

Learn more about this session by downloading the IBA program HERE.

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Share your story in the Human Library!

(cross-posted from the PuSh Festival blog)

How do you identify? What makes you passionate about who you are?
How do express your identity? Asexual, Anarchist, Atheist?
Do you want to talk about it?
Put your book in our library and share your story! 

As part of the 2013 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in partnership withgrunt galleryVancouver will be hosting a Human Library. We are currently looking for people who self-identify as being parts of communities that are often met with prejudice, misunderstanding, stereotype or hatred.

The Human Library is an international phenomenon, having appeared in sixty-five countries over the past twelve years. Originating in Denmark, the project was introduced to fight hate in communities through an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding. The Library enables groups to break stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive/humorous manner.

Our Human Library project allows audience members to “check out” a human book for 20 minutes for an informal one-on-one conversation. This gives the human books a platform to tell their story and converse with a single audience member at a time.

Where: Vancouver Public Library Central Branch
When: 12 pm-4 pm, January 18-20, January 25-27, February 1-3 
Minimum requirement: one day/weekend

Additionally, the Human Library Curator will be hosting 2 workshops leading up to the festival to help prepare the books for the experience and help them all shape their stories.

In total, being a Human Book represents a 20-hour time commitment. It is important to note that as part of the stipulations of the Human Library Organization this is avolunteer opportunity.

– Send us your Human Library title(s).
– Share with us what kinds of stories, challenges, anecdotes and/or stereotypes you might interface with as your Human Library title.
– Can you engage an audience member in a 20-minute conversation?
– What makes you passionate about this project and about who you are and what title you may represent?

Applicants must be available for the 20-hour time commitment including workshops. Please send your materials to Human Library Curator Dave
Deadline for applications is October 27, 2012 

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AGM Notice – Sunday, September 30, 2012

Please be advised that the Annual General Meeting of the Visible Art Society (dba grunt gallery) will be held on Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm at grunt gallery.

Members will be meeting for the following purposes:

1. To receive the 2012 Audited Financial Statements
2. To review the Annual Report
3. Existing Members may pay their membership dues at the AGM.

All members of the Visible Art Society are invited to attend. Only those members with paid membership dues will be eligible to vote. Thinking of becoming a member prior to the AGM? To vote at the AGM you must become a member by Friday, September 21st.

Not a member but interested in attending?

Non-members are welcome to attend the AGM to gain a better understanding of the society, although they may not participate in the business of the meeting (such as, voting). We are always looking to increase our membership and involvement of interested community members who wish to become a part of the Visible Art Society (dba grunt gallery). If you are interested in signing up to become a member at the AGM please note that your membership will be processed so that you will receive voting privileges for the 2013 AGM.

Food and drinks will be provided. We look forward to you joining us!

Sunday, September 30, 2012 @ 5:00pm.
#116 – 350 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5T 4R8

Read the Annual Report here:

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