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Celebrate Your Awesome virtual event scheduled for Aug. 7

July 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Celebrate Your Awesome’s annual in-person pride and diversity celebrations have again had to be put on hold, due to the pandemic, but that didn’t stop the organization from creating something special for the community to enjoy.

In partnership with Theatre Orangeville, Celebrate Your Awesome (CYA) recently filmed a one-of-a-kind video for its virtual event, featuring all of the drag queens and musical acts that attendees of the group’s in-person celebrations had come to enjoy in 2018 and 2019.

The film is set for release on August 7 at 7 p.m. and the link will be posted to the groups Facebook Page: facebook.com/celebrateyourawesome on the day it airs.

“We had so much fun recording it… there was a number of live musical events, everything from a full six-piece blues band to a single performer with a guitar, so a huge variety of things,” said Becky Morris, production manager for Theatre Orangeville. “We did drag queens too and a performer that’s called Boylesque, which is a single male performer, was a riot – there is glitter in places you will never get it out.”

There’s a total of six musical acts and six drag queen performances within the virtual event, as well as community partners and supporters of CYA sharing positive messages in between.

Morris said the strict COVID-19 restrictions that were followed for the filming of CYA’s virtual event made the process quite intimate, as there was only a handful of people in the room for the recording.

“For me personally, as somebody that works in live entertainment, it was really quite something to get what feels like a private performance,” she noted. “All of these performers going at 100 per cent, giving their best performances, and there’s only six of us in the room.

“They were all fabulous and everyone was really excited. For most it was their first performance back in months, or for some of them, since this whole COVID pandemic began, 18 months ago.”

When speaking about the partnership between Theatre Orangeville and CYA, Morris said it was a perfect match.

“A big part of our mandate here is to express diversity and inclusion throughout the community and within our works, to create safe spaces for people to go through self-expression and self-discovery, and be themselves in a judgement free place,” she explained.

“With that being such a big part of who we are, as well as the local group that had expertise in sound and lighting and now video capture, it was a natural fit when Celebrate Your Awesome wanted to pivot how they were able to disseminate their content.”

Shannon Leighton, who’s a CYA committee member, said she’s really happy with how things turned out.

“We got sent the unedited version right now of it and it absolutely blows my mind, I’m so very excited about it…., I had goosebumps, they did such an amazing job,” she enthused. “I’m amazed at how they captured our committee’s vision. Of course, you have all these people who are coming with some brilliant ideas and they captured it 110 per cent.”

She said she’s excited for the launch and is grateful for the community’s continued support of CYA.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community that has embraced CYA and our committee strives to give everyone a place where they feel welcomed, included and celebrated. We are all unique and awesome in our own way and that should be celebrated – everyday,” she lauded.

Leighton said the video gives off a fun, vibrant, energetic vibe and she’d encourage people to invite their friends and family over to watch it.

“I encourage people to make it an event in your home… the music is good; the vibe is good. There’s lots of energy, you could do a dance party in your home or in your backyard,” she told the Citizen. “It definitely opens the door for discussion within families and an opportunity to educate and teach acceptance and teach inclusivity to your family.”

However, Leighton did note that the CYA virtual event has a content advisory disclaimer for mild language and suggestive themes during the drag queen performances.

“It’s mostly family friendly but there’s some content that some parents may want to censor a little bit,” she explained. “But I know with our in-person events, people were completely open to everything that our queens had to offer.”

The drag queens who performed for the CYA video include Sapphire Poison, Troy Boy, Victoria Parks, Rachael Temptation, Ultra Violet, and Tucker – Boylesque.

In terms of musical acts, those include Joe Mancuza and the Mill St. Band, Tone Fusion, Grzesiek [Greg] Kowalczyk and Edie Elizabeth, Terrible and the Horribles, Stan Chang & Charlie Cooley, and Arlo Sun.

Stay tuned to CYA’s Facebook Page in the days leading up to August 7 for official event details.

“I look forward to being able to share this virtual event with the community. I think it is above the expectations that we had for it. And we’re very, very excited to share it with everybody.”

Looking ahead, CYA is holding a short series of “Awesome Virtual Human Library” events on August 3, 4, and 5, in partnership with the Orangeville Public Library. The human library is an opportunity for people to listen in on the stories of people from the 2SLGBTQ+ community and ask questions.

Registration is available at https://forms.orangevillelibrary.ca/Awesome-Human-Library

“We encourage everybody to sign up,” said Leighton. “The people that they have lined up are amazing, and have good stories to tell,”



         

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