The Girls! Girls! Girls! 12th annual fundraiser gala in support of the Gas Station Arts Centre will, as always, showcase female-identifying artists from many disciplines in varying stages of their creative development.
This year’s theme, Encore!, gives returning favourites featured in the show a chance to reflect on past performances and also brings in a few new acts.
Ruth Baines, who co-produces Girls! and has performed in it for years, is presenting a character piece that started at the gala and became a full-length Fringe show about a woman who is in love with Stephen Harper.
“Most recently, I trained as a clown in the spring,” she says. “I’m revisiting that character as her clown twin sister, and I’m basically going to mock that character and do some aerial as well.”
For Michelle Boulet, founder of the Fu Fu Chi Chi Choir, an encore involved adding new sounds to the mix. Sarah Constible and Boulet started writing songs when they put together a piece for the gala 10 years ago as a duet.
Since then, the group has grown in size. They now have 10 vocalists, some of whom also play instruments.
Boulet and Constible went through their archives and pieced an old song back together for the 2016 gala.
“The name of the song is called ‘Overheard in the Bathroom after the 7th grade Talent Show,’” she says. “It’s an encore in the fact that Sarah and I did it the first time around, and here we are 10 years later, and the choir is going to sing the same song. So we’re going to run that up the flagpole and see how it sounds.”
Though the theme is about reflecting on the past, Girls! has introduced something new this year. The annual visual art sale that takes place in the lobby will feature exclusively smaller pieces, each of which will be more affordable than art in past sales, retailing at $100 or less.
Karen Robb, artist co-curator with Cindy Garrioch, says this was an important move for her personally.
“I’m not made of money, and if I wanted to buy any of my art back, I couldn’t do it,” she says. “I’m actually bringing money to the show myself so I can purchase some art. For once, it’s an affordable way to pick up an original piece by some really fantastic Winnipeg artists.”
The atmosphere of accessibility runs through the entire program.
Baines says because Girls! has been around for a while, they make sure to include emerging artists and keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the local scene, and there should be something to entertain each audience member.
“If you don’t actually like what’s going on on the stage at that given moment, each piece is maximum about five minutes long,” Baines says.
It won’t be long until someone else is on stage to cleanse your palette, she says.
Published in Volume 71, Number 9 of The Uniter (November 3, 2016)