Liverpool’s Homotopia Festival has opened and Collette Walsh was there for the fabulous, fairy-dusted, magical-themed launch.

Homotopia 2013 opens…

The fabulous Anna Phylactic and Cheddar Gawjus - photo by Steven A Connolly
The fabulous Anna Phylactic and Cheddar Gawjus
Liverpool’s internationally acclaimed Homotopia Festival is a month-long event that celebrates diversity, creativity and the arts. It’s in its 10th year and anyone visiting the array of art shows, debates, theatre productions and comedy nights is in for something extra-special: There’s a one-man show from top US actor John Waters, stand-up from Sandi Toksvig, a David Hockney exhibition and comedy from Caz n Britney … the list goes on.

The quality of performers and contributors for Homotopia 2013 is world-class and a great tribute to this LGBT-focused event that has put Liverpool firmly on the map internationally not only for its exceptional arts scene but as a city that prides itself on its inclusiveness and tolerance.

I’m a Mancunian (up the road from Liverpool and also with a thriving gay community and art scene) and I have to hand it to Liverpool when it comes to the energy and enthusiasm it has for this festival, the arts and equality.

At Thursday’s launch party at Camp and Furnace there was a wonderful atmosphere of fun and friendliness and a great mix of attendees – police officers from Merseyside Police Force mingled with the likes of Boy George and Anna Phylactic.
Liverpool’s Lord Mayor – Gary Millar, a Scot – spoke with infectious enthusiasm about his passion for his adopted city… can we more Mayors like Gary please?

This Way Out – Boy George and TradeMark

this way out large

The highlight of the evening was the world premiere of This Way Out – an art and photography collaboration by Boy George and pop painter TradeMark.

this way outIt is a superb show – totally original, acerbic and clever. Cultural and musical icons such as David Bowie (a huge influence on Boy George) are depicted with a twist on how their identity has impacted society, fame and followers. Boy George and Wirral-born TradeMark have also included quotes and text around the show, which adds to the whole ‘making a statement’ element.

Portraits in the show include subcultural gay icons like Divine, Jackie Curtis, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Leigh Bowery as well as contemporary photographs of some of the original gay punks and Philip Sallon, the first person to wear a bin liner and Steve Strange the seminal New Romantic.

There are also some rather wonderful and cheeky homo-erotic photographs by Boy George including some semi-nudes (you may want to steer your granny away from these!). Boy George’s humour and the affection he holds for his ‘subjects’ is clear, particularly the photo portrait of his friend Frey Bitton who is depicted as a smiling geisha… wearing dental braces. See a slide show gallery – click here.

The show runs until 25 November – admission is free. Also check out Boy George and TradeMark in Conversation with Janice Long at St George’s Hall 14 November.

Check out the full Homotopia programme – so much to see and enjoy…
All ticket and info details here – http://www.homotopia.net/2013-festival

John Waters ‘This Filthy World’ – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (8 November)

Caz n Britney Present ‘Mis Les’ – Unity Theatre (13 – 16 November)

Sandi Toksvig: My Valentine – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (Tue 5 Nov)

David Hockney – Early Reflections – Walker Gallery (Oct ’13 – Mar ’14)

April Ashley: Portrait of a lady – Museum of Liverpool (27 Sept ’13 – 21 Sept ’14)

Triple Dance Bill – Unity Theatre – (9 November)

Young Man! by the DeNada Dance Theatre is a brilliantly choreographied performance by the hugely talented Carlos Pons Guerra – a “kitschy duel of seduction” that promises to subvert perceptions.
It is part of a Dance Triple Bill and well worth the ticket price. 9 November.

Credit and thanks to the team at Homotopia – especially PR/Media dynamo Lou Muddle

Picture credits: Steven A Connolly
Homotopia, Boy George and TradeMark and video from DeNada Dance Theatre

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