COLLAGE Festival Queer School Now in Session

Some of your COLLAGE Festival faculty, including George Alley (second from left) and Toby Celery (far right).

YOU CAN SIT WITH US: Some of your COLLAGE Festival faculty: Joy Mariama Smith, George Alley, Justin Dula and Toby Celery. | Photo by Dustin Christofes

The fifth annual COLLAGE Festival kicks off tonight at the Headlong Dance Institute in South Philly. The three-day arts festival is the lovechild of performance artists Joy Mariama Smith and Philip Moore (aka Toby Celery), who explain the concept as, as the name suggests, one of those collages you put together in high school: a bunch of clips (in this case artists and their works) pasted together to create an overall theme. This year, that theme is “Queer School,” and you’re about to get a gay master’s.

“Queer School celebrates the outcast, the freaks, the weirdos, and the ones who aren’t so easily defined,” explains the COLLAGE Festival site. “An opening ceremony, faux academic lectures, spirit assembly and graduation all help to flavor the experience. Audience attendees will very much be part of the school. In fact, we look for graduates who define themselves and, in the process, help to resist the ideas of assimilation.”

The schedule is rather exhaustive, but what would you expect from a three-day semester? There will be lectures (fun ones!), games, performance art pieces and installations. Some highlights include a She-Ra/He-Man Panel Discussion, a zine-making workshop and a Family Feud-style game that pits four gay media hounds (including yours truly) against the catty, sassy queens at Chatterblast Media. Class goes from about 7 pm to midnight starting tonight, May 7th and going through May 9th, when things end with a graduation ceremony to beat the band. See the full itinerary here.

Check out a trailer for the festival, starring Philly glam-rock artist George Alley: