Celebrate 20 years of Wiggle


Pride week isn’t until the end of the month, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait more than two weeks to get a hefty dose of fabulous, over-the-top, draggarific, extraordinary party times. This Friday at Fuse and Saturday at the Fox, the iconic performance event Wiggle will be gracing the stage.

The annual wearable performance art and wig design festival is celebrating its 20th year. It involves a plethora of artists, designers and stylists who create wearable art that’s meant to be displayed on participant’s heads. That includes wigs, headpieces and head dresses.

“There’s the wearable art element where people go crazy making weird things out of everything from hair to recycled plastic shampoo bottles, “ says Michael Venus, the founder of the event. “There’s no real limit so people just go nuts.”

Venus knows a thing or two about performance art. He’s been producing shows with flair for two decades – his stage at this year’s World Pride festival in Toronto was one of the busiest. It brought in the likes of musical project Hercules & Love Affair as well as (art) world-renown electronic musician and performance artist Peaches.

Along with the runway segment, which will showcase the eye-popping headpieces, there are also performances from some of Vancouver’s most innovative drag, burlesque and avant garde entertainers.

Wiggle started in the 90s, when Venus was living in Windsor, attending hair school. After frequent trips to New York, he became inspired by the city’s club kids and drag scene, and wanted to bring back the risqué, anything-goes artistic energy to Canada. The first party was thrown in Windsor, then in bordering city Detroit, before finally setting in Vancouver in 1995.

“It’s a real fun show that takes you away from the mundane, every day life that brings you to a fantasy world,” he says.

Past Wiggle hosts include drag queen Miss Bunny and transgender pioneer Candis Cayne, while Debbie Harry of Blondie, Alanis Morisette and Vancouver’s own Douglas Coupland are some of the show’s past high profile attendees.

“It’s basically a really glamorous freak show,” says Venus. “It’s cabaret, mixed with a fashion show, mixed with performance art. It’s very much out of this world.”

Wiggle Preview is at The Vancouver Art Gallery as a part of FUSE Friday July 11 and Saturday July 12th at The Fox Theatre
Tickets are available at Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium and online


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