Whether you’re eco-sexual or extraterrestrial, Studio 303’s 18th annual Edgy Women Festival has got you covered. As promised by the festival’s name, Edgy Women features both local and international female performers presenting experimental, eclectic and sometimes downright bizarre shows. Last Saturday, Annie Sprinkle, the first porn star to get a PhD in sexology, presented Adventures of the Love Art Lab ahead of the completion of her project next weekend in Ottawa.
The project started when Sprinkle and her partner Elizabeth Stephens held their domestic partnership ceremony in 1993. “We realized that the ceremony, this ritual — it sort of mimicked marriage,” explained Stephens. The couple then developed an interest in eco-sexuality, which Stephens said is “another sexuality where human beings are erotically attracted to nature.” Sprinkle elaborated further by explaining that eco-sexuality has many parts. “There’s a spiritual component, there’s a material component like what sex toys you buy, there’s an environmental activist component, so there’s different aspects to it,” she said. “We’re actually in the process of writing an eco-sex manifesto.”
Sprinkle and Stephens are now in the final year of their seven-year Love Art Lab project, which involved going around the world to perform marriage ceremonies to different natural landmarks. Last year, they married the mountains. The year before that, they married the sea. This year, Sprinkle and Stephens head to Ottawa to marry the snow, and everyone is invited. “And come dressed as snowflakes in case it doesn’t snow. You could be our snow!” Stephens said jokingly.
Also at the Edgy Women festival is Nathalie Claude’s “folkloric genre tale slash non-human people slash psychedelic trance” performance Extra Terrestrial Folkloric Tale, which she is currently working on with fellow performer Danielle Lecourtois. “It’s really a mix of many genres and it is extremely weird,” explained Claude. “I think it is really bouffon-like and funny, because that’s something we do and we like to explore.”
Claude’s performance is hard to explain, and involved elements such as “folkloric dance, experimentation, smoking a little hookah shaped like a pink flamingo, looking like old ladies from another time on rocking chairs but that look like two aliens from another time and another planet.”
Claude stated that the Edgy Women Festival was a good opportunity to create something new and different. “In the end it’s about freedom,” she said. “And also it’s not just about performing there, it’s about meeting other women artists that are doing the same thing performance-wise and pushing the boundaries and exploring new images of representation of women.”
Of course, the show is still a work in progress; with over a week to go until the first show, Claude and Lecourtois are still playing around with their characters. “I would say that in the past month and a half, two months, we’ve been throwing ideas, throwing stuff,” said Claude. “Now it’s time to clean and throw in the garbage and keep only the things that seems appropriate and that we like the most.”
Mainline X2, featuring Nathalie Claude and Danielle Lecourtois’s Extra Terrestrial Folkloric Tale and Mia van Leeuwen’s Le Petit Mort, will take place from March 30 to April 2 at the MainLine Theatre. For more information, check out mainlinetheatre.ca.
Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephens’ wedding to the snow will take place March 26 in Ottawa. For more information, check out loveartlab.org.