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A doubling in funding means three new productions and wide appeal. But how does Glasgay! in the mainstream support outsider voices? Robin Lee finds out.

here's one event in the (ilasgay! 2006

programme that doesn‘t quite fit. (frat/iii

lfi'usil. a series of photographs of spray painting from the South American country. showing ‘fanatical vandalism‘ and ‘jaw-droppingly elaborate murals‘. doesn‘t seem to have anything. erm. queer about it. No hint of an l.. (i. B or a T. So I have to ask the festival‘s producer Steven Thomson: what exactly is gay about the cxhihition'.’

‘lla ha. I thought you might ask.‘ he says. ‘lt‘s not. It‘s about lost art and queer culture in a broader sense. Part of my research is into lost cultural practice that is now evolving beyond its original form. and taking on new. queercr edges. Work that stems from social and cultural isolation. from street culture to high art.‘

Okay. but isn't (ilasgayl supposed to be a festival for LUBT people'.’ ‘By inserting less gay-themed work that is both edgy and quirky and otherworldly. I intend to look at queer cultures in historical times and draw comparisons with contemporary practices.‘

Part of the dilemma nowadays of putting on a festival aimed at and featuring minority sexualities is that there's so much tolerance. (ilasgayl started out in l993. when there were no civil partnerships. no gay Cabinet ministers. Section 28 was still in force. and acceptance was still an ideal. However. the ironic codicil to acceptance is indifference. If nobody cares that you're a poof or a dyke. why put on a festival and shout about being one‘.’

The point is that there are themes that cross over from the queer experience. Take Talking Heads. for example. the festival‘s headline theatre piece. When

Alan Bennett published this collection of monologues in l988. he was a closeted homosexual. and it manifests itself in the writing. His characters are isolated. lonely. and without the polished handle on life that comes from feeling connected to the wider world. They are old. deluded. mentally unstable. or in the case of the one male monologue. a closeted homosexual still tied to mothch apron strings. Louise Welsh’s drama The [HI/)(H‘Itlllt't' of Being

Alfred returns. too. Lord Alfred Douglas was Oscar

Wilde‘s lover. who in his 40s became a virulent homophobe and a proto-fascist. In WIS he was caught up in a libel trial involving his friend. llugh Pemberton Billing MP. who accused the dancer Maud Allan of being a lesbian (ierman spy. bent on corrupting the war effort. The play imagines him meeting his younger self in the run-up to the trial.

The are Douglas‘s life follows appears to be that of

the perpetual outsider. swinging from one extreme to the other. but Louise Welsh is not so sure. ‘()utsider status I don‘t know. I think if you talked to anyone in the street and said. “Do you feel that you‘re an outsider?" they‘d all go. "Yeah. I do actually."' And maybe there‘s a simpler explanation for Douglas‘ behaviour. ‘(The play is) about his inability at that point to be comfortable with his sexuality. It's about not acknowledging yourself. and how difficult that can be. He‘s just a member of the awkward squad.‘

Glasgay! 2006 runs until Sun 12 Nov at various venues in Glasgow. See listings and www.9lasgay.com for details.




Alan Cumming Not content with producing a cologne and having the brass neck to call it Cumming the Fragrance. the actor and X- Men star returns to Glasgow to talk about his career as part of the Tron Theatre's 25th birthday celebrations. Tron Theatre. Glasgow, Sun 15 Oct.

>k Echo Park, LA Gay Latino kitchen sink drama, inspired by the 1961 film A Taste of Honey. A teenager falls pregnant in the run-up to her 15th birthday and is forced to live with her sexually confused street kid cousin, her great-great uncle and his partner. Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh, Thu 5—Thu 12 Oct. >l< Lost In the Forest Gregor Laird mixes music, fashion and design to produce provocative. playful canvases. It’s his first professional exhibition. and promises plenty of surface and scant regard for subtlety in his stylised fairytales. See preview, page 56. Brunswick Hotel, Glasgow, until Sun 29 Oct.

=i< Queens (Belnas) A mass gay wedding is the setting for this bittersweet Spanish comedy, where mothers. husbands and lovers vie for attention with the betrothed gentlemen. Featuring a selection of Pedro AImOdovar's favourite actresses, it's glossy and feel-good. See preview, page 57. GFT, Glasgow, Sun 15 8. Tue 17 Oct.

=l= Taste Back to its roots is Taste, returning to Cabaret Voltaire after a stint at the Liquid Room. Sunday is a day of rest, but Fisher, Price and backroom boy Martin Valentine cook a snook at this notion every week. See Clubs preview, page 29. Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sun 8 8 Sun 15 Oct.

5—19 Oct 2006 THE LIST 55