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Courtesy Alyssa Foaro

Femme Wave makes waves in Calgary culture scene

By Hayden McBennett, November 15 2016 —

Femme Wave is back for its second five-day run of feminist-fueled performances, workshops, art installations, comedy acts and films. This year, the festival will feature artists and performers from across Canada and the United States. The festivities begin Wednesday, Nov. 16 and continue through Sunday, Nov. 20.

Since its conception, Femme Wave has worked to create safe spaces, giving women, transgender and non-binary artists a space to share their experiences in Calgary while allowing allies to support that expression.

“If you compare [Calgary] to Toronto or Vancouver, we’re a little bit behind — we’ve got a lot of work to do. But with that being said, we’ve had wonderful acceptance of Femme Wave. We’re kind of influencing some newer stuff here,” Femme Wave co-founder and artistic director Kaely Cormack says.

Femme Wave has pioneered expanding the voice of feminism in Calgary. To add to the efforts of 2015’s Femme Wave festival, this year will include gender-neutral washrooms and various workshops centred around creating dialogue about safe spaces, trans, non-binary, two-spirit and femme voices, cultural appropriation and taking up space effectively. The workshops include sewing circles, holistic healing and finger weaving, choreography and swordplay, astrology and tarot card reading.

“If people just take away one piece of information from it, then that is better than where we started. A big part of [feminism] is listening to other peoples’ stories and understanding and respecting other people,” Cormack says. “I’m just hoping that people can learn to be more respectful of people around them, whether that’s partying safe or being aware of different cultures. It’s going to be pretty heady conversations and there’s going to be some stuff that goes over everyone’s head but even if you take away just one thing I think that’s awesome.”

Femme Wave includes a variety of free and all-ages events and offers childcare by donation at the Royal Canadian Legion #1 on Sunday. Some of the highlights of the festival include Toronto rock-country duo Catl, Los Angeles-based pop-punk quartet Peach Kelli Pop and comedian Adora Nwofor, Femme Wave 2015’s emcee.

Tickets for the whole festival are available online or for pickup at Gravity Pope. Tickets to individual events can be purchased online or at the door.

For more information, visit femmewave.com 

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