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Just plain Weird: New Prince George festival to explore alternative art worlds

Theatre NorthWest hosting first-of-its-kind showcase of non-mainstream genres

Almost every form of art, at some point in time, was considered outrageous, non-traditional, or out of the ordinary.

That’s the message of a new festival taking place in Prince George this month, steering away from the mainstream cultural landscape and exploring the strange, the wacky, and the downright confusing.

Weird: An Exhibition of Alternative Art wants to show the city pieces that push the current boundaries of art and inspire its evolution through young artists.

“We’ve got a significant amount of visual art that will be displayed,” said Weird Organizer Isaak Andal to PrinceGeorgeMatters. “It’ll be very strange things like tracings over time creating one work of art, which sounds simple, but you end up with some pretty cool results. We also have music of the many natures like playing on somebody’s arms like a piano or soundscape, and then we have performance art, which admittedly can be hard to describe, but that's the whole point; it’ll be weird!”

Considering himself to be artistically weird as well, Andal came to a realization that there may be more people like him out there with a similar niche, which inspired him to kickstart this new event.

“It’s sort of highlighted [to me] how important these things are that you don’t get caught up in just the atomized world of art,” he explained. “You still grow and evolve and when you really think about, things like rock-and-roll music, at one point, was considered very alternative; it was weird. So I think it's very important to have this venue and these opportunities to try new stranger ways to make art.”

Andal encourages anyone planning to attend Weird to keep an open mind in order to gain a broader perspective on why some Prince George artists express themselves through this medium.

“I think they’ll definitely leave with a certain amount of confusion,” he said with a chuckle. “But, I hope they leave with a certain amount of thought, as in, ‘I didn’t know that could be art.’ Something that they thought wasn’t art to begin with, but it actually is to someone else entirely. We just want everybody to have a good time so that we can grow and build on this foundation.”

Theatre NorthWest will play host to the festival in providing a space for the non-traditional artists to work their talents.

General Manager Marnie Hamagami understands while there may not be any worldly value to this genre, it’s important to showcase everyone’s creative mind.

“It helps our local artists to grow, stretch, and try things that might otherwise not be an option for them because, of course, there’s none or little commercial value in doing that. It's part of our artistic ecology and Prince George does have a history of experimental art, particularly music, but we felt like the next step of that was to include more diverse art forms.”

She added the showcase was made possible by a grant the theatre received in May from the Prince George Community Foundation (PGCF).

Weird is scheduled for next Saturday, June 15 and tickets are up for purchase on the Theatre Northwest website.

There will also be live music at the festival from local musicians Jose Delgado-Guevara, Oro Barton, and Raghu Lokanathan.


Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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