London LGBTQI cross-arts festival GFEST announces 2015 dates

GFEST2015coverweb4GFEST – Gaywise FESTival, recognised as London LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgeder, Queer and Intersex) cross-arts annual event in November has announced 2015 dates: Monday the 9th to Friday the 20 November.

GFEST 2015 programme advisors names are also announced on the festival’s website:

GFEST 2015 programme advisors include Anna McNay, Gulliver Ralston, Michael Petry, Simon Tarrant, Subodh Rathod and Lois Keidan and the artistic director is Niranjan Kamatkar.

GFEST 2015 theme is ‘(Complacent Present) …Fragile Future?’ GFEST 2015 visual arts exhibition will explore Asian identities under the theme: Asian Future. The films are planned under the theme ‘Cinema Futura’, while the performance events will be falling under ‘Tonal Future’.

The festival event in London’s LGBT calendar consists of visual arts exhibition, film screenings, performances and talks and debate focusing on the works of young and established artists and practitioners. The festival is organised by arts charity WiseThoughts and is now in its 8th year.

Catherine West, the MP for Hornsey & Wood Green where Wise Thoughts is based, said in her message of support, “I am delighted to offer my support to this year’s GFEST, celebrating some of the brightest and best talent in the LGBTQI community here and abroad.  I am looking forward to coming along to one of the events in my constituency and send my best wishes to everyone taking part this year and to Wise Thoughts for organising such a fantastic diverse programme”

GFEST artistic director Niranjan Kamatkar said, “we are very pleased to receive the support of our local MP and we continue to profile LGBT art works due to the support of eminent people, artists and audiences. Irrespective of significant funding challenges, we are confident that we can deliver the full festival programme this year.”

Online news, media coverage of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 events

Following are the links to online news, listing and media coverage of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 events: Pinknews , ArtLyst , So So Gay , So So Gay Films , The Gay UK , West End Extra , Culture 24 , Stonewall , Twisted Male Mag , Bent Mag, GScene , DIVA , Gaydar Blog , Planet London , Ilga Europe , MailOut mag , Arts Thread , Tower Hamlets arts , Festival Insight and London Live amongst many others.

The sensuality of the Indian Mythical dance at GFEST 2014

Helton Vilar

Dancer Justin McCarthy was born in Michigan, USA, but it is in India where he found a home when it comes to his art. He masters the Bharatanatyam, an ancient Indian style that basically mixes myth and spirituality, but also explores notions of sensuality, adorned by the legendary Carnatic music. According to McCarthy, it provides a “glimpse into cultural and sexual mores prevalent in South India for many centuries”. Below the artist explains us a bit more about this beautiful choreography, describing the special piece that will be a world premeire during the GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 on 20 November.

Mohini by Justin McCarthy, image by Briana Blasko
Mohini by Justin McCarthy, image by Briana Blasko

“Mohini, the Enchantress is a solo piece in Bharatanatyam. It illustrates three mythological incidents in which the god Vishnu transforms himself into an enchanting woman, Mohini. In the first instance, he does so to trick and kill a demon, in the second to trick a host of demons and thereby aid a host of gods, and in the third to please the god Shiva. Apart from the usual Bharatanatyam music, i.e., Carnatic voice, flute and mridangam (drum), another duo of musicians is used, a nadasvaram (a reed instrument) player and a thavil (a drum) player. Visually, the piece is enhanced with images and masks created by a Kalamkari (a painting-on-cloth style of southern Andhra Pradesh) artist.

The choreography deals with the male gaze in various forms and the return gaze of the male-now-become-female Vishnu/Mohini. The ambiguities of the rapports thus created are explored by means of a series of racy erotic songs called javalis written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for ‘dancing girls’ in South India. The myths connected with Vishnu/Mohini have always fascinated me because of their sexual ambiguity. The protagonists, both Mohini and the hosts of divine and demonic males, all hover somewhere between archetypes and stereotypes. The tensions and unabashed commerce set up between them also offer intriguing entry points into the stories”.

The spectacle will count with the following cast:

Dancer and choreographer- Justin McCarthy
Vocalist- Sudha Raghuraman
Flutist- G. Raghuraman
Mridangist- MV Chandrasekhar
Nadaswaram- Raja
Thavil- Viramani

Kalamkari images- P. Ramachandraiah
Lighting- Deepa Dharmadhikari
The Mythical Dance is part of the GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 . It happens on Thursday the 20 November at RADA Studio, 6 Chenies Street, London, WC1E 7EX:  box office: +44 (0)20 7307 5060 Booking email:

London Gay Art Festival GFEST 2014 Programme LIVE Now

All Arts, All Welcome:

An eclectic line up featuring new commissioned works presented along with curated LGBTQI art and films.

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 full programme details are now announced on GFEST 2014 website:

London’s LGBT cross-art annual event GFEST 2014 will showcase new visual and performance art works and films from Monday the 10th to Saturday the 22nd November.
Breathtaking works that explore this year’s festival theme ‘Myths & Mythology’ include thought provoking feature and short films, paintings, video installation and photographic works along with cabaret acts as well as South Asian dance works.

Headliners include: the critically acclaimed ‘STAND’ – a Russian feature film directed by Jonathan Taieb, while British filmmakers Jake Graf and Richard Mansfield to present ‘Brace’ a queer short film, and the feature ‘The Secret Path’ respectively.  Daniel Ribeiro’s gay teen drama ‘The Way He Looks’ along with Erin Davies’ ‘Fagbug Nation’ a popular follow up to the original ‘Fagbug’ are to be screened. Filmmakers Casper Andreas and David Färdmar whose films have been a part of previous GFESTs screenings, will premier a short film ‘A Last Farewell’.

GFEST 2014 filmmakers and the stars are expected to participate in the Q&A sessions, after each film screening, at Rich Mix in East London from 15 to 18 November.
Quoted as being ‘Queer Pearly Queen’ and ‘Haute Couture Fishwife’ Bird la Bird will present a cabaret evening line up that includes 2011 BOYZ award winner for best cabaret act Mzz Kimberley and multi-award winning sensational act Sh!t Theatre at Rich Mix on the 15 November night.

New Commissions, New Direction:

Sh!t Theatre CDD Edit-0223 The Outer pt. II RADAPerformance The Secret Path 78
British Asian dancer Kali Chandrasegaram will present a new performance work ‘S(He)-dom’ while Justin McCarthy, an established ‘Indian’ Bharatanatyam dance guru from the prestigious Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra will complete the double bill with his new work on myths, ‘Mohini: God Becomes Enchantress’.  The dance event will take place on the evening of Thursday the 20 November at RADA studio. A debate on gay identity and practice within the conventional South Asian dance sphere is planned at Roehampton University with both the dancers and other panel members.
New works are also the key feature at GFEST 2014 visual art exhibition that will run from 10 to 22 November at Menier Gallery near Tower Bridge. Challenging art works from established artists like Sadie Lee and Matthew Stradling will lead the showcase. Enzo Marra will show his Francis Bacon series along with art works of Berlin and London based artist Mathias Vef and Joao Trindade’s promising new digital images. The exhibition will also include ‘mythical’ interpretations from younger artists like Gökhan Tanriöver and Jenny Welton.

Unique and Free entry debates and panel discussions will take place as a part of GFEST 2014 programme.


GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 Show Reel Video Released on You Tube

London LGBTQI cross art festival GFEST – Gaywise FESTival video showreel is released on its YouTube Channel.

The annual November eclectic event in London’s cultural calendar, GFEST will take place this year from 10 to 22 November 2014.

More info:

GFEST 2013 Performer : Naechané Valentino Interview

Sensational Musician Naechané Valentino will perform at GFEST – Gaywise FESTival at Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham on 9 November 2013.

For information on GFEST 2013 performances and booking please visit :

A Quick Q & A with Naechané :

NaechaneValentinoWhat’s happening right now?

I am currently on a journey to self and have really focused on reaching my goal to building Naechane, there has been a lot of changes in my life over the past few years and I had to take some time to realign myself.

How would you describe your own work and practice?

I believe my work is universal and truth well its my truth that I feel can be easily related to or learnt from.

Your reasons for agreeing to present your work as part of GFEST?

I felt it was time I’ve been holding myself back for the past few years and I feel its time to stand tall again and would like to platform myself to empower others.

Do you think events like GFEST are still necessary?

The youth today needs to have an outlet they need to have mentors role models and I believe events such and GFEST gives this diverse community to be united.

How would you like yourself or your work to be known as? 

WOW,  I would say as a representative of the community.

Any single wish?

Wish is to work on building a charity and working with the community more. I would like to thank GFEST for continuing to believe in me and I’m looking forward to the event.

Thank you Naechané and best wishes from GFEST 2013 team.

GFEST 2013 Poet Dean Atta: Why It’s Important To Share Work Without Fear Of Prejudice Or Rejection

SONY DSCLeading performance poet Dean Atta will present his new work at GFEST – Gaywise FESTival at Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham on 9 November 2013.

For information on GFEST 2013 performances and booking please visit :

A quick Q & A with Dean Atta:

What are working on right now?

In recently I started working 4 days a week in a school as a Spoken Word Educator teaching poetry and performance. I am also studying at Goldsmiths College, University of London, for a Masters degree. Outside of that I run a monthly poetry event in London and Brighton called ‘Come Rhyme With Me’, which provides a platform for writers, poets, rappers and musicians.

How would you describe your own practice?

I would describe myself as a writer and performer. My work in schools as a Spoken Word Educator is also an important part of my practice. I find work with children and young people helps to keep my work fresh and relevant. I write from my own experience and as well as from observation and in reaction to current affairs, especially on issues of equality/injustice.

Your reasons for agreeing to present your work as part of GFEST?

I have previously performed at GFEST and it was a really important performance for me as it was the first and only time my father came to see me perform my poetry. Since then GFEST has had an important place in my heart. I am happy to return with brand new writing to share.

Why do you think events like GFEST are still necessary?

I think events like GFEST are important because they provide a safe and celebratory space for likeminded artists and audiences to share work without any fear of prejudice or rejection.

How would you like yourself or your work to be known? 

I would like to be known as someone who spoke out when it mattered and spoke from the heart. I would like my work to be known for many years to come and be studied in schools and university and shared and loved by people long after I am gone.

A last word?

I wish GFEST another successful year and that everyone who comes to experience it this year comes away changed for the better in some way.

Dean Atta’s debut poetry collection ‘I Am Nobody’s Nigger’ is out now in all good book stores.

Many Thanks Dean, and best wishes from GFEST 2013 team.