A detail from a photo published to Queerlesque's Facebook page.
Yellowknife’s pop-up park opens on Thursday this week. Not far behind it is a pop-up club.
Queerlesque organizers say they have completed their quest to find a venue for this year’s show by creating a pop-up club, to be called The Extra.
The club’s location, 6008 Franklin Avenue, appears on the event’s tickets – which go on sale at Birchwood Coffee Kǫ̀ from Wednesday, priced at $25 – and corresponds with Yellowknife’s curling club.
“It’s supposed to be a secret. We want to build a little bit of hype around it,” Queerlesque’s Iman Kassam told Cabin Radio when pressed on the venue’s location before tickets went on sale.
“The name of the club, The Extra, is a hint as to where this pop-up club is,” she added, referring to the sport of curling’s extra end.
“We are working with the NWT Creative Collective, they are a production company in town, and they kind-of specialize in taking over spaces and making them look completely different.”
Queerlesque had initially struggled to find a venue for 2018 after an inadvertent double-booking. This marks the second successive year in which the event’s organizers will turn a space into some form of pop-up venue.
The queer cabaret show usually acts as an opener for Pride weekend in Yellowknife, but this year takes place on entirely separate dates – August 10 and 11, a week earlier than Pride’s scheduled date of August 18.
Operating independently poses financial challenges for Queerlesque, which it hopes to meet by selling out the roughly 160-person pop-up venue.
“A lot of this is coming out of pocket right now, but we are going to make it back through ticket sales and bar sales, I’m pretty confident in that,” said Kassam.
“Tickets get you access to definitely one of the coolest shows in town. The show year is bigger, it’s longer, and the setup of the venue is different – for example, we are going to have a red-carpet photo opportunity for everyone. I don’t want to give away too many of the surprises.”
Also new this year are consent bracelets to let performers know which audience members can be “interacted with” during the show, staged partly on a 25-foot catwalk dubbed the “Glitter Zone” by organizers.
“The Glitter Zone is this area where you obviously get super glittered, you get glitter all over you, but we have dancers that like to get up and dirty with you. It’s really hot,” explained Kassam.
“You know those glow bracelets that you sometimes see at festivals? We are going to give those away at the door for anyone who not only wants to be in the Glitter Zone, but doesn’t mind being interactive with the performers.
“Then the performers know who they can call upon, or dance on, or anything like that. So you can still sit in the Glitter Zone, you’ll get glittered – that’s for sure – but you don’t have to participate.”
Money raised by this year’s Queerlesque will support Yellowknife’s Rainbow Coalition, which aims to make the city a safer, more equitable place to live for its queer and trans youth.