Words by Ed King
Running from 10th to 20th November, SHOUT Festival returns to Birmingham – presenting a 10 day celebration of ‘Queer Arts & Culture’ in venues across the city.
Expect film, theatre, seminars, stand up, club nights, and a bevy of both performing and visual arts on the 2016 programme. Held as a series of satellite events, entry to each can range from free to £13.50 – but for a breakdown of the full SHOUT programme, including individual show times, locations, prices & online tickets sales, click here.
Now in its 8th year, SHOUT is a locally programmed festival that ‘brings the best in queer and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) artists, work, and culture from across the UK and beyond to Birmingham.’
Headed by the great, good and garrulous of Birmingham’s LGBT community, SHOUT holds a firm focus on both expression and education – aiming to establish an annual ‘place to celebrate diversity, push boundaries, challenge views, explore meaning and provides a platform for the voices and experiences of queer people.’ So… probably not so many 80’s throwbacks on stage.
But pride is rife across the SHOUT mandate, with an arguably more intelligent approach to the sexual politics that – as the festival organisers say themselves – have ‘become more prominent in the public eye than ever before.’ No longer are we being asked to get used to anything, but instead celebrate all the colours of the rainbow through an innovative and inspirational programme. That and the darker side of cabaret. And establishment support: we’re here, we’re queer, now where’s our arts funding..?
But whatever your predilection, sexual or artistic, SHOUT Festival has a solid array of events to incite and attract – all of which have been seemingly priced with consideration. Not one will cost you over £15 with a packet of crisps in the interval. Loads to check out; here’s a couple of event that grabbed us by the short and curlies:
Miss Behave’s Game Show @ Chic Nightclub / 10.11.16
Kicking off the SHOUT programme, Miss Behave presents her ‘renegade Gameshow for the austerity generation’ as part of the festival’s official launch shenanigans. Watch with wonder as the audience battle through pint drinking, head banging, number dialing, in an evening of ‘brand new idiocy, fun and chaos’.
The latest incarnation from Amy Saunders, one of ‘the world’s last surviving’ and self taught female sword swallowers, Miss Behave’s Gameshow looks as riotous, without being an actual riot (although…), as ou’re going to get. Bonkers fun; at the time of writing only a handful of tickets are available on the door at Chic Night Club, with an after party… well, afterwards.
For more on Miss Behave’s Gameshow, visit www.missbehavegameshow.com
Joe Black: Meet Me at the Eldorado @ The Old Joint Stock / 11.11.16
I’m going to try and write this without getting sued by either Richard O’Brien or Bob Fosse… Meet Me at the Eldorado is the new show from ‘notorious cabaret reprobate Joe Black’ – giving two performances at the Old Joint Stock, as part of SHOUT Festival ’16 and her/his wider UK tour. ‘A villainous maestro of the cabaret genre, Joe Black blurs the line between utterly sinister and completely delightful’, in a one woman/man show that teaches you everything from where not to put clothes pegs to which existentialist to keep away from your dinner table (and not, as my addled brain first heard it, a ‘lioness’…).
Taking its name from the Eldorado establishments of Weimar Berlin, a city with a prominent LGBT community until some hateful little Austrian sat there and ruined the world, Joe Black’s new cabaret has been sweeping up accolades. At the time of writing an extra 10pm show had been added to the SHOUT programme, with the early 8pm performance already sold out; moving quickly wouldn’t be a bad idea if you want to see this in Birmingham.
For more on Joe Black, visit www.misterjoeblack.com
Douze: XNTHONY & The Penny Slots @ The Old Joint Stock / 12.11.16
DISCLAIMER: I don’t watch a huge amount of telly (I don’t have a telly) so I’m still not 100% sure if this is a spoof. So if it’s not… dear god almighty, and good luck/God bless. Make sure a grown up goes with them.
XNTHONY is a self made pop star. XNTHONY has ‘a collective’ behind him. XNTHONY believes he should, nay must, represent Ireland in that most hallowed of artistic endeavours, the Eurovision Song Contest. He’s got the glitz, he’s got the spandex, he’s got a song about numbers (it’s just numbers) and he’s got both a blonde and brunette backing singer (both the backing singers have scrunchies). He’s even already performed in front royalty, Prince Edward no less, so all that’s left is the nationwide support. That’s where you come in, as XNTHONY & the Penny Slots tour the UK on self driven their campaign to make it into the 2016 Eurovision Pop Contest. Or the 2017 contest, that would be ok too.
‘An x-posé into the edible world of pop spectacle, fame and fandom,’ Douze looks like a real treat. For anyone who has sat staring at a screen, jaw dropped in both abject horror and gallows humour, this is a kind of must see. Or if you were ever a member of Bucks Fizz.
For more on XNTHONY, visit www.xnthony.com
Polari Literary Salon @ mac / 19.11.16
Described by writer Ali Smith (Like, The Accidental, How to be Both) as ‘a blend of audience sweetness, panache, cleverness and really good fun’, Polari is a monthly meeting London based literary salon. Award winning, publically revered, generally given an enthusiastic thumbs up, Polari was set up by writer/journalist Paul Burson to focus on the literary endeavours from, of and about LGBT culture.
Coming to back to SHOUT as part of a UK wide tour, supported by the Arts Council England, Polari enjoyed ‘a big hit’ at last year’s festival – with Paul Burson hosting the 2016 event. Also in discussion will be writers Kiki Archer (Too Late… I Love You), Scott Campbell (The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street), VG Lee (Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire) and Karen Mcleod (In Search of the Missing Eyelash).
For more on Polari Literary Salon, visit www.polariliterarysalon.co.uk
Also work checking out at this year’s SHOUT Festival are Deep in the Heart of Me at The Wellington Hotel (Sat 12th Nov), My Comedy at The Loft Lounge (Sun 13th Nov), A Boy Named Sue at the REP (Fri 18th & Sat 19th Nov), Slope-tend-big at Grand Union (Fri 11th to Fri 18th Nov), Big Girl’s Blouse at mac (Sun 20th Nov). Click on the highlighted links for more info & online ticket sales.
SHOUT Festival runs from 10th to 20th November, with satellite events held in venues across Birmingham. For more on SHOUT Festival, visit www.shoutfestival.co.uk