Music, comedy, movies and — hopefully — a more than a few partiers will be in Whistler as the 23rd annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival brings 3,000 guests to the resort.
The festival takes place throughout the resort from Jan. 24 to 31.
Out there in the Twitterverse, Whistler Pride CEO Dean Nelson describes this time of year as a time when "snowmosexuals hit the slopes."
In an interview, he says: "We have rebranded this year and we are really excited about that. We've also added some new cultural components."
For the first time, Whistler Pride starts in Vancouver with the all-male drag company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.
"It's nice to have an anchor cultural piece in Vancouver that kicks of pride week," Nelson says.
For the first time, Whistler Pride is launching the Queer Film Festival.
"We have some really exciting cultural components to it, the film, live performance and music. So it's exciting just having those queer cultural components. Then we throw sports in there as well, with the ski guide program, which we continue to improve on," Nelson says.
Three films will be shown. Bollywood Beats will be screened at The Rainbow Theatre on Monday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. The following night, the short film Boy Meets Boy is premiered at 7:45 p.m. at the Rainbow Theatre, followed by Tennessee Queer at 8 p.m.
The director and star of Boy Meets Boy, Michael Azevedo, said it took four years to get the film completed.
"I wanted to challenge myself and bring it to life and I did. I'm extremely happy and proud of it, of course, and of everyone else involved," Azevedo says.
Screening Boy Meets Boy in Whistler means it will have an international audience.
"The story should appeal to everybody, so I hope that whoever comes to see it will relate to it," he adds.
Other events include:
Margaret Cho and special guest Kate Willett at the Whistler Conference Centre on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $60.
Glitter — Vancouver Opening Party with DJ Abel (Miami) at Club 560 on 560 Seymour Street, Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 10 p.m.
Cowboy Party, the 23rd annual event, at Buffalo Bill's on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 9 p.m.
Splash Pool Party — a Whistler Pride Classic — at the Meadow Park Sports Centre on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 10 p.m.
WhiteOUT with award-winning DJ Seth Cooper (Chicago) at Garfinkel's on Friday, Jan. 30 at 10 p.m.
Snowball Closing Party with Grammy nominated Freemasons (U.K.), DJ Landon James (Vancouver), and DJ Del Stamp (Vancouver) at the Whistler Conference Centre on Saturday, Jan. 31.
And comedian Darcy Michael is performing alongside drag diva Joan-E and the Whistler Pride Ski Guides at the Better Together Banquet at the Whistler Conference Centre on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
The night is in support to of the Rainbow Refugees, a society that assists LGBT and HIV-positive people escape places of conflict to start a new life.
"I think it should be a really fun night. I've known Joan-E for years. She gave me one of my first weekly shows when I started out as a stand-up about eight years ago. It will be a lot of fun to catch up with her," Michael says.
"Anytime there is food and comedy, I'm in."
Michael describes himself as a two-time Canadian Comedy Award loser.
But the Ladner standup says he last performed at Whistler Pride about seven years ago.
"I definitely remember it being a riot. They put on a good show. I'm excited to be back, it's been a long time. It will be nice to catch some of the shows this time as well."
He can currently be seen on the CTV show Spun Out.
"We've just finished filming the second season before Christmas in Toronto. It premieres on March 5 on CTV," Michael says.
"It's fun and it allows me the chance to not have to tour as much and to pick and choose what I want to do. I've always been on the road so it's a nice couple of years of not needing to go to Moose Jaw in January."
Michael is arriving a day early to check out Margaret Cho's show, calling her "a huge score for the festival."
Tickets for the Better Together Banquet start at $75.
Nelson says there is still ticket availability for most shows, both online at the festival website and at the door, depending on availability.
Unfortunately, Mr. Gay Canada is not returning to Whistler Pride. Nelson says the event wasn't the right fit as the audience was too international.
For more information and tickets visit www.gaywhistler.com.
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