Queertopia shoots roots with Rhizome Rising


In advance of the 10th anniversary of Queertopia, an annual cabaret celebrating LGBTQ artists at Intermedia Arts, Bedlam Lowertown presents an additional alternative festival, Rumpus, Roots, Routes: Rhizome Rising! The all-day event includes a broader swath of artists, and invites anyone that wants to participate to be a part of the show.


Anna S. Kunin, Nico Swenson, and Harry Waters Jr. will be "queerating"/curating the event, which will occur over the course of 10 hours and feature over 20 different artists. In addition to the people who are already part of the lineup, “artists are still welcome to bring things they want to read, sing, dance, or perform," says Waters Jr. "We will make space for them.”

In fact, you don’t even need to be an artist.

“I’ve been pushing the boundaries, because I know there are people that may have an idea Friday night. I want them to have an opportunity to come and work on something,” he says. 

The title’s “Rhyzome” refers to a “a network of roots that connect everything,” Waters Jr. says. “There’s something underneath that all of us have to acknowledge. We are connected through these different ways of working and who we are.” The idea is that all the participating artists and people there to watch will be “collectively responding to each other’s work,” Waters Jr. says. 

Gender Tender

Gender Tender

The performances during the day include several dances and freestyle pieces, as well as singing and vocal work. In addition, there will be opportunities to participate in a Boal theater workshop, as well as an experience Waters Jr. is creating with artist Katie Burgess.

Waters Jr. has been a past participant of Queertopia, which takes place at Intermedia Arts June 24-27, and is curated by Jeffry Lusiak and Nastalie Bogira. The event this weekend at Bedlam Lowertown is really aimed at expanding and rethinking the the Cabaret model.

“It’s an opportunity for artists to think about their own work: How they present it and how they make it,” he says. “We know how to do what we have always done. This is a new opportunity for me to work with younger artists and for younger artists to talk to me about their work.”


Rumpus, Roots Routes: Rhizome Rising

Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 20

Event is followed by a "queerave" hosted by Homo Hotdish until 2 a.m.

Admission is pay-what-you-can, with suggested donation of $10