Femme Festival returns to East Van venues for its sixth year

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      It’s pretty fucked up that women are half the world’s population and yet continue to deal with wild, pervasive sexism. (If your immediate response to reading that sentence is “sexism isn’t real,” please… I beg of you… return to the 1950s from whence you came!) 

      But oppression doesn’t stop anyone from making art—and The Cultch’s Femme Festival is back for its sixth year of showing off some of the cool and funny, weird and wonderful art that women are making. Femme, here, has a wide definition, and includes all self-identifying female, trans and non-binary people who feel represented by it.

      “We are so excited to bring you this year’s Femme Festival,” Cultch executive director Heather Redfern said in a release. “It’s going to be a huge celebration of female-identifying voices. The biggest in the city.”

      On April 15, Juno-nominated Jill Barber plays the York Theatre in support of  her new album, Homemaker. The music marks a return to her stripped-back folk roots and touches on marriage, motherhood and identity as core themes. 

      That’s followed by Bird by Kylie Vincent at the Vancity Culture Lab between April 18 to 22. Vincent’s solo comedy show is part stand-up, part memoir and part fever dream, as the Gen Z punk rock kid unpacks childhood trauma and the realities of life as a woman who’s also a touring stand-up comic. 

      In Response to Alabama sees three performers share honest stories of their abortions to cut through the stigma and centre their lived experiences. Originally shown at Vancity Culture Lab in 2022, this film’s reshowing is available from April 21 online and on-demand.

      From April 26 to 30, catch Raven by Berlin-based circus collective still hungry flying through the York Theatre. Exploring the German concept of Rabenmutter (“Raven mother”) as selfish and neglectful, the performers use avian influences to challenge preconceived notions of mothers, women and circus performers.

      For dance lovers, veteran local choreographer Tara Cheyenne performs Body Parts at the Historic Theatre. Mixing comedy, dance and kinetic gesture, Cheyenne unravels body dysmorphia with humour, absurdism, social commentary and intimate honesty.

      Between May 4 and 13, you can catch ūtszan (to make better), a one-woman show by Lil’wat playwright and performer Yvonne Wallace at the Vancity Culture Lab. It’s about language reclamation and reconnection, as Auntie Celia decides to stop speaking English and force her niece Margaret to learn her ancestral first language, Ucwalmícwts. 

      Finally, between May 11 and 14, pop-up book and performance New Age Attitudes: Live in Concert by Amanda Sum comes to Theatre Replacement. The lo-fi performance promises to celebrate awkwardness, as the Juno-nominated theatre-maker and musician remixes her debut album into a concert that’s accompanied by handmade pop-up reading guides.

      The Cultch’s Femme Festival runs from April 15 to May14. Tickets cost $25 and up. More information is available here.