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The 20th Annual Edgy Women Festival

Posted by Christine / March 2, 2013

20130302-Edgy.jpg Running March 2nd to March 10th, the Edgy Women Festival is an important feminist effort produced by Studio 303 that aims to challenge and dismantle gender stereotypes. With fun, experimental, and community-building artistic and athletic events, the festival succeeds in addressing the socially-engrained, rhetorical opposition between art and sports -the former being associated to femininity and the latter to masculinity.

This year's festival will host several exciting events, such as: a lucha libre wrestling match scripted by artist/wrestling club co-director Marijs Boulogne, a participatory hockey game with creative rules orchestrated by Meg Hewings, General Manager of the Montreal Stars, writer, video artist and self-proclaimed 'art-jock', and a collaborative performance event taking place at the Blue Cat Boxing Club.

"This festival relishes experimentation and takes really big risks," said Artistic Director Miriam Ginestier. "We really have no idea what the outcomes of all our wacky experiments will be. The process is really important."

Always hoping to attract interested newcomers as well as loyal attendees, the festival encourages an exchange between artists, academics, activists, and the general public in a stimulating and engaging environment. The result is a trove of enriching dialogues occurring within the context of feminism.

According to the official Edgy Women Fest website, one such dialogue-opening event occurred during the 2011 edition of Edgy Women:

"Karen Sherman created a performance intervention on a public ice rink, in response to the extremely gendered representation of female bodies in women's hockey and roller derby. The process spawned a great deal of conversation about sports, gender, community and art. There was a clear desire to further the investigation."

"An Edgy Woman challenges the status quo, big time," said Miriam.

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the idea for the Edgy Women Festival emerged gradually, around a few key incidences, as articulated on the festival's official website:

"Years ago, a women's boxing tournament was held at the Sala Rossa, a popular cabaret venue. It was fascinating to see a sporting event lit by chandeliers, and this powerful experience triggered reflections about the nature of spectacle and the role of context. A seed was planted when Phil Dickinson, the organiser, later opened the Blue Cat Boxing Club and expressed an interest in hosting art events."

How might one become involved in the Edgy Women Festival?

"We generally have an annual call for submissions, and lots of internship as well as volunteer opportunities," said Miriam. "People should join Studio 303's mailing list, befriend the Edgy-Women Fest on facebook, dialogue with all our awesome bloggers on edgy women blog and contribute to our first ever indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the Edgy Lucha."

The following is a list of events hosted by the Edgy Women Festival:

Ticketed events:

Game on au Chat bleu:

March 8th and 9th at 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Cat Boxing Club (435 Beaubien W, 4th floor, corner Durocher)

"A happening featuring short works, durational performances and installations throughout a magical venue. Heather Cassils (Saturday) and Coral Short (Friday) occupy the massage and weight rooms while other artists perform in and around the boxing ring. Check out the feminist foosball table and bodybuilder poney rides! Sporty snacks available on site."

Edgy Lucha:

March 10th at 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Cat Boxing Club

"Belgian experimental theatre artist (and Edgy alumni) Marijs Boulogne will be directing a one-night-only wrestling match of local wresting stars including Super Hardcore Anime LuFisto and Kalamity. Half-time show: Hard Candy by Mia Van Leeuwen."

Free events:

All Nuit Long:

March 2nd at 9:00 p.m. at Studio 303 (372 Ste-Catherine W)

"Interactive photo-booth and screening of short films in the Studio. With the photographer Nikol Mikus."

Off side: Edgy Colloque:

March 7th as of 10:00 a.m. at the Blue Cat Boxing Club

"Academics, artists and other free-thinkers participate in an afternoon of performative lectures, personal reflections and research presentations from the Boxing Club ring!"

Unruly Hockey Déréglé(e):

March 7th at 11:00 p.m. at Arena Mont-Royal (4365 Cartier Rue)

"Created by Meg Hewings, writer, multi-disciplinary artist and the general director of The Montreal Stars, this match is an open invitation to buck the norms of our national sport. The match will turn into a Hockey Disco Party!"

Image from the Edgy-Women Fest's official facebook page.

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