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2SLGBTQ+ Art Installation by Queer Artist Margot Durling Revealed

Halifax, N.S. – Halifax Common reveals new 2SLGBTQ+ art installation titled “Chosen Family”.

Titled “Chosen Family,” the art piece was created by non-binary, transgender and queer artist Margot Durling. It stands at the edge of the Halifax Common at the North Park Street and Cogswell Road intersection.

“Seeing yourself reflected in the built environment is a very powerful form of validation and belonging,” Durling, who’s also a designer and musician, said at the unveiling. “Especially when you’ve lived most of your life not seeing yourself reflected in the world. There is a significant difference between ‘all are welcome’ and ‘this space was created with you in mind.’”

Chris StoodleyHalifax Today

To read more of this story, follow the link to Halifax Today


(Image Credit: Chris Stoodley/HalifaxToday.ca)

Confessions of an Enthusiastic Yet Reluctant TV Host

The host of Unicorns.LIVE’s QUSIC reflects on the journey thus far, and where he hopes the show will go…

Here we are — the middle of October 2020 already, and just about at the end of the first season of QUSIC. It’s safe to say that none of us expected this year to turn out the way it has; life in 2020 has really become synonymous with that old gem “rolling with the punches”. When I look back on what has been an extremely challenging year, I have to say that hosting QUSIC has certainly been one of the highlights. 

When QUSIC was first proposed, I was ecstatic. The opportunity to work with and promote the talents of LGBT2Q+ musicians was incredibly appealing, and hot off the heels of several very successful Peak Pride events I was basking in the after-glow of being surrounded by other queer folx as well as incredibly supportive allies. The overall concept of QUSIC is absolute genius: if you’re as yet unfamiliar with what the show is about, here are the historical details…  


QUSIC is a new LGBT2Q+ Artist Music Series, in which all presenting artists identify under the LGBT2Q+ spectrum. QUSIC celebrates the LGBT2Q+ community, which includes individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit as well as a range of other gender and sexual identities. The show features solo performers, duos or group acts, provided that the majority of the band and the headlining artist identifies as LGBTQ2+. QUSIC has been streaming live on Unicorns.LIVE (watch.unicorns.live) every second Wednesday at 7:00 pm (PST) since May 27, 2020 with episodes available to subscribers to the streaming platform after they air. 

This, however, was not always the plan: enter COVID-19, stage right…

As is the case for all of us on Planet Earth 2020, the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt. For us at Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc.  (aka, RUPC, the company behind QUSIC and Unicorns.LIVE) every project we were working on was disrupted, put on hold, or had to be reimagined. Luckily, we were able to make some tasty lemonade out of the rotten, shitty batch of lemons the Universe had just handed us.

“What now? What do we do? How do we make sure these artists are getting paid? How do we get their music out to the intended audience? What does the show even look like?” These were among myriad questions that dominated our conversations. QUSIC, which was meant to be a multi-city performance opportunity for LGBT2Q+ musicians, suddenly became something very different than how it was originally conceived. And yet, it was somehow perfect for the strange world we suddenly found ourselves in. 


To be honest, it took a bit of courage for me to outright ask for the hosting job. Despite how I may sometimes come across to people who watch the show, I don’t enjoy the spotlight. I’d rather be a facilitator in helping others tell their stories, putting the details together, or assisting others along the way during their journey to wherever they’re headed. Given the situation, I knew I had the chops for the gig — I started a career in broadcasting when I was just 19 years old. While I haven’t worked exclusively in this field, I’m blessed with the ability to connect and converse with others quite easily and enjoyably. 

One of my greatest joys as host of QUSIC has been connecting with the artists, getting to know them and their music, and becoming a fan of their work.

It has been an absolute privilege to interview every single one of our guests, and then sit back and listen/watch them express exactly what they need to in that moment. I’ve sometimes been brought to tears (happy or sad); listened to the stories of how they express themselves through song; learned about other sexual and gender identities; and I’ve been forced to examine the relationship with my own queerness. I’ve been given this incredible opportunity to become a part of these people’s stories, and their music has completely enriched my life. This I know unequivocally. 

And yet, a degree of frustration exists. I find myself becoming so angry with current musical content because everything sounds irritatingly familiar, like it’s all been done before. So much of what I hear or see in pop media has just become regurgitated and rebooted bullshit. I love a good remix or a solid cover, but for the love of all that is holy: where is the originality?Where are the new voices? Where are the stories that we can connect with and move us to think and feel and evolve? QUSIC — that’s where. It might not be the entire answer, but it’s certainly a major part of it. When I’ve had the privilege of watching those who have performed on QUSIC, I’ve quite often asked myself, “Why does the world not know more of you?”. 

Let me be clear: this is not a broad criticism of everything that becomes widely popular, and I’ve not calling for an all-out queer takeover of the music industry. But the time is nigh for queer artists producing original, musical content to have their moment. Not all stories that need to be told are straight, white, male, and cis-gender. I’m so incredibly passionate about what I do with QUSIC because, from what I’ve been exposed to thus far in my journey with QUSIC, there are many tales (IMHO) that more people in general should be listening to and learning from. Music is music is music. As humans, we have been gifted the ability to create this wondrous artform that allows us to express so many thoughts and feelings, at times even empowering disenfranchised groups in society to bring about change. And, sometimes, maybe that wondrous artform just allows us to enjoy love for the sake of love, or experience anguish because it hurts…because we are all human. 

We’ve come a long way since debuting this show in May 2020 during a pandemic. I’m so grateful to the team I work with to create this project, and I can’t wait to discover what we have in store for the next series. QUSIC, like life, is a work in progress. Moving forward, I’d really like to see this show become a true vehicle for emerging artists’ careers, a place where past guests feel they want to return to, and a platform that attracts established artists to share their stories and songs. I’ve already been so impressed with the calibre of talent we’ve hosted during Season One; I’d really like to see QUSIC become an entity that enters the conversation in the music world and in the larger community. Season One is winding down, but I hope the audiences, viewers, and the artists (the reason we do this in the first place) are ready to strap in alongside me for the musical rollercoaster ride that is yet to begin. 

QUSIC will air three more regular season episodes through mid-November on select Wednesdays at 7:00 pm (PST); on October 14, October 28, and November 18, 2020. A special Season Finale is in the works for December; stay tuned for details.

Recruiting GBT2Q Artists and Content Creators

Health Initiative for Men is looking for GBT2Q Artists.

Calling for submissions from BC artists, especially in rural and small urban areas! A paid opportunity for GBT2Q artists to attend the online health Summit in November 2020.

There, you will explore the latest in GBT2Q health matters and create a product or work inspired by what spoke to you, which will be shared and showcased online and across BC. https://checkhimout.ca/bc-comma/

QUSIC: Leila Neverland

Raised by a Persian Zoroastrian villager, a family of Jewish immigrants, and a drag queen uncle, artist and mother Leila Neverland (she/her/hers) knows a few things about diversity, inclusivity, and unconditional love. She weaves an ambiance of true togetherness at every live performance and offers timely reflections of all that is life, death, and the decolonization of our collective consciousnesses. Neverland’s emotive energetic authenticity inspires pure joy, empowered rage, and healthful tears as she leaves audiences breathless and full. Her exquisite voice joins the ranks of those who inspire her like Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Bjork, Lady Gaga, and Amy Winehouse. She is currently working on a few singles, a couple music videos, and an album in beautiful BC, where she resides with her two children and her cat, Georgie.

Leila Neverland links:

About QUSIC

QUSIC is a new LGBT2Q+ Artist Music Series, produced by Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc. with the generous support of Creative BC, in which all presenting artists must identify under the LGBT2Q+ spectrum. This innovative series celebrates the LGBTQ2+ community, which includes individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit as well as a range of other gender and sexual identities. QUSIC features solo performers, duos or group acts, provided that the headlining artist identifies as LGBT2Q+.

QUSIC supports the growth and development of the Canadian music industry, highlighting artists who identify as LGBT2Q+. The music series invests in Canadian talent and will help to grow awareness of LGBT2Q+ musical artists, and helping to put money in their pockets so that they may continue to create this essential art form.

QUSIC broadcasts live from Friends of Dorothy Lounge in Downtown Kelowna, BC and is financially supported by Creative BC and sponsored by Friends of Dorothy Lounge.

QUSIC: Damase Elis

Musician Name: Damase Elis
Genre: Indie Folk
Content Rating: PG – Parental guidance is suggested for designated age range (7-13 yrs); some material may not be suitable for all children due to possible coarse language
Hosted at & Sponsored by: Friends of Dorothy Lounge in Downtown Kelowna
Financially Supported by: Creative BC
Damase Elis (she/her) is a Calgary born singer-songwriter with roots in Batoche, Saskatchewan; roots that make her proudly Métis. Damase formerly performed under the alias ‘Riel’ but has since returned to performing by her given name. Her music is a culmination of both ancestral and contemporary sounds, inspired by literature, folk tunes, and a unique lineage. Damase most recently performed in the Central Okanagan during the Kelowna Pride Festival on September 26, 2020.
About QUSIC
QUSIC is a new LGBT2Q+ Artist Music Series, produced by Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc. with the generous support of Creative BC, in which all presenting artists must identify under the LGBT2Q+ spectrum. This innovative series celebrates the LGBTQ2+ community, which includes individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit as well as a range of other gender and sexual identities. QUSIC features solo performers, duos or group acts, provided that the headlining artist identifies as LGBT2Q+.
QUSIC supports the growth and development of the Canadian music industry, highlighting artists who identify as LGBT2Q+. The music series invests in Canadian talent and will help to grow awareness of LGBT2Q+ musical artists, and helping to put money in their pockets so that they may continue to create this essential art form.
QUSIC broadcasts live from Friends of Dorothy Lounge in Downtown Kelowna, BC and is financially supported by Creative BC and sponsored by Friends of Dorothy Lounge.
Unicorns.LIVE programming is produced on the traditional, unceded territory of the syilx (Okanagan) people.
TICKETS
Anyone wishing to attend this show in person at Friends of Dorothy Lounge may do so at no charge, on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in attending should contact Friends of Dorothy Lounge to reserve their table by calling 236.420.4565 or by email at info@fodlounge.com.