Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Queer Dramaturgy: Dean Cargill @ Nice'n'Sleazy

“Now we're coming out, out of our closets. Out on the streets.”
Make Up by Lou Reed, 1971

Soft Riot
Black Doves

HP Loveshaft
CarrieAnn Crow

Gayboys // Craig Manson & Conner Milliken

Ross Wylie

Gray Crosbie

Hosted by Tom Harlow

£5 otd

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I launched Queer Theory over 2 years ago for a number of reasons. Firstly, I felt that there was demand for it. There aren't very many queer events (especially in Glasgow) where the focus isn't just on dancing. I was inspired by Edinburgh queer cabarets like Dive and Pollyanna. For me, these shows were an almost spiritual experience and I wanted to recreate that. Secondly, I have lots of very talented queer friends and I wanted to give a stage to them to perform regularly. I also wanted a space for my band Black Doves to perform every month. As an act we feel more at home next to performance art, drag and variety rather than just other bands. The name for the show was taken from our debut album 'An Introduction to Queer Theory' which was in turn taken from a book Jamie (Black Doves' lead singer) and I found in the library as teenagers still coming to terms with our sexuality.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Yes but it depends what you mean by discussion. I am interested in programming shows which make a definite statement and take a stand politically. I wouldn't give a stage to a right wing viewpoint for the aim of 'balance.' There are basic tenets of the show which aren't up for discussion, most importantly respect for all people across the LGBT+ spectrum. I'm also only interested in booking acts which are against the Tories, against the monarchy, against imperialism: in short, I'm interested in booking acts which are fighting oppression, entrenched power and the mainstream. That's what the show is all about. It is important to me that the acts that I book, even if not directly political, are experimental, subversive and challenging in some way.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I come from a music background. I have been recording and performing as part of Black Doves since I was a young teenager in Arbroath (a small town near Dundee). Music and performance was an outlet for Jamie and I from our boring and at times oppressive environment. After school, I moved to Ayr to study Commercial Music at UWS. Since then I have performed in numerous bands and I also became interested in promoting events. I co-organised nights such as Double Dunt (EDM club night) in Ayr, Night Owl (Northern Soul night) in Glasgow, An Evening with Frank (Rocky Horror inspired cabaret show) which had a night in both Ayr and Glasgow and was a bit of a precursor to Queer Theory.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Each month we usually theme the show around a certain element or inspirational figure
from queer culture. For instance, our show in May is dedicated to Lou Reed and the Warhol Superstars which inspired him. Our following show in June will be themed around the 'Pansy Craze' ie the male and female impersonators of the 30s. In the past we've used John Waters, Marc Almond, Leigh Bowery, Judith Butler, The L Word and countless others. Sometimes I mash different ideas into one. For instance we named one show 'The Queen is Dead' which was intended as an anti-monarchist statement while simultaneously being a reference to both Last Exit to Brooklyn and The Smiths. The poster for that one put The Queen's head onto the body of Edith Massey as Aunt Ida in Female Trouble.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Queer Theory is the only show that I produce. Otherwise, I work as a musician. Producing shows isn't really something that I'm interested in itself but Queer Theory is definitely a labour of love. It gives a stage and supports countless upcoming queer performers and it brings many beautiful people together every month.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I want the audience to have a great time and feel safe at the same time as feeling challenged. I want Queer Theory to be a community of like minded queer people who support each other. But at the same time, I want the acts to feel like they can do and say dangerous things. I want the audience to never be sure what to expect next and for the mood of the show to dramatically change from act to act.

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