Tickets to Solange Knowles's Vancouver shows sell out within minutes amid backlash from local activists

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      If you were hoping to nab a seat at Solange Knowles’s recently announced performance in Vancouver but were offline this morning (April 25), tough luck: tickets to the “Cranes in the Sky” singer’s three (!) shows are officially sold out.

      After Knowles revealed on Instagram that she would be appearing at Vancouver’s Rennie Musuem (51 East Pender Street), the contemporary art gallery—owned by local real-estate magnate Bob Rennie and situated in Chinatown’s Wing Sang building—shared in an e-newsletter and on its social-media channels earlier today that tickets were available through Knowles’s website.

      The e-blast also stated that Knowles will be presenting three performances of “Scales”, a project “examining protest as meditation through movement and experimentation of unique compositions and arrangements from A Seat at the Table” on April 27 (5:30 p.m.) and April 28 (12 p.m.; 2 p.m.)

      Tickets to every show sold out within 12 minutes.

      According to Wendy Chang, director at the Rennie Museum, 105 seats were available for each performance.  “The number of tickets was determined by the experience that she [Knowles] wanted to have,” Chang, who previously described the show as “very small, very intimate”, told the Straight by phone.

      In March, Knowles debuted “Scales” at Houston’s Menil Collection. The Rennie Museum is one of only a handful of art and gallery spaces that the Grammy Award-winning singer will be presenting in over the next few months. The use of phones and cameras is not permitted at the performances.

      All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Atira Women’s Resource Society,  a DTES–based nonprofit that provides safe housing and support for women and children affected by violence. 

      Meanwhile, the Anti-Oppression Network, a local activist group that aims to forward decolonization and anti-oppression policies while advocating for marginalized and underprivileged people, launched an online petition on April 20 urging Knowles to cancel or relocate her shows from the Rennie Museum due to the venue’s ties to Bob Rennie.

      “We recognize Solange as a feminist, wholeheartedly support Solange's artistic endeavours, and appreciate her work challenging racism and white supremacy and uplifting blackness and black identity through her most recent album, A Seat at the Table,” the collective writes.

      “At the same time, as residents, neighbours, and advocates of the Downtown Eastside, we object to Solange's presence at Rennie Collections because of its associations with well-known real estate marketer 'condo king', Bob Rennie. We believe the angle of donating all proceeds to Atira Women's Resource Society is a Band-Aid at best, and a massive distraction and an act of flatulence at worst.

      “Rennie has been criticized for trying to gentrify Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, one of the poorest communities in Canada, with the Woodward's Building project, which includes 536 condominiums and 200 non-market homes,” they continue. “Critics said that the project pushed residents out and increased rent for the neediest members of the city.”

      At the time of writing, the petition had been signed by 195 supporters. The appeal will be delivered to Knowles and her team ahead of her performances this week.