Waawaate Fobister’s Agokwe

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A celebration of “queerness and two-spirited” culture takes place on two separate stages in January as Vancouver welcomes Waawaate Fobister to The Cobalt and The Cultch.


First up is Queer Bash’s “Two Spirit, Let’s Hear It” on Saturday, 14 January at The Cobalt. With Queer Bash resident DJ Jef Leppard & DJ Tracey Draper and performances by Jaylene Tyme, the party is the official launch of Fobister’s one-person show Agokwe, set to play The Cultch January 17 – 22.

Agokwe (pronounced “agoo-kway; meaning “wise woman” or “Two-Spirited”) explores unrequited love between teenage boys from neighbouring reserves.

According to performer and playwright Fobister, while the story is based on events from his own life, he does admit that much if it is also fictional.

“As Yvette Nolan (Outgoing Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts) would say ‘write it better than what actually happened’. So hopefully I did.”

Playing multiple roles within the piece, including a number of females, Fobister says that playing the female characters are actually the easier parts.

“They are more clear to me,” said Fobister. “I found Mike the hockey player the most difficult, because he goes to ugly places and it is difficult to try to find him. He’s work.”

Originally created as a short monologue, Fobister partnered with director Ed Roy through Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Young Creators Unit to turn the piece into a one man play. From there the success of Agokwe included six Dora Awards (Toronto’s equivalent to Vancouver’s Jessie Awards) in 2009 and while Fobister says that he was surprised by the win, the recognition has definitely opened doors for the show.

“It was quite exciting and totally unexpected. I went there thinking I was not going to win. The recognition is nice, because it gave the play exposure.”

Fobister, an Anishinaabe from the Grassy Narrows First Nation of northwestern Ontario, has not only received peer recognition, he also says the reaction from the aboriginal community has been just as rewarding.

“The response from the aboriginal community was overwhelming positive. I love my community very much. They inspire me.”

Two Spirit, Let’s Hear It
The Cobalt, 917 Main Street
Friday, 14 January 2011 @ 9pm

The evening will include raffles, special prizes, the best queer dancing in town, discount ticket offers, all for only $5 at the door.

The Cultch, 1895 Venables
17 – 22 January 2011

Tickets start at $15 and are available online or by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.  Visit http://www.thecultch.com for more information.

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