By Meghan O’Neil
CALGARY — The fittingly named wrap-up party for Pride Calgary, FUSED, brings the city’s LGBTQ communities together under one roof.
“[We] incorporate as many groups as we can,” says FUSED artistic director Julie Mercier. “People want to work together and people don’t want to compete against each other.”
Mercier and Amanda Priolo founded Les Girls in 2010 to promote the talent and creativity of the lesbian community. Two years later, they teamed up with YYC Bad Boys, founded by Jon Koznuik (DJ Goldstar), to host the first instalment of FUSED. The two groups are supportive of each other’s events and decided to come together to cater to the whole LGBTQ community.
“We decided to get together and do more of a community event instead of the male and female separation,” says Mercier. “The entertainment alternates between male and female as well.”
This integration has given FUSED a reputation that helps lead to a sell-out event each year. This year, the event will be moved from Commonwealth Bar & Stage to the Roadhouse to allow for a higher volume of attendees. Les Girls and YYC Bad Boys are building on the success of previous years and presenting top tier entertainment in many different mediums.
Alongside DJs, burlesque, drag queens, Calgary Men’s Chorus, go-go dancers and Calgary’s Pole Junkies, FUSED 3 will feature the Night Spell Fashion Show under the direction of Calgary fashionista and creative maven Marie Ferraro.
The fashion show consists of three themes: woodland fairies, a darker movement with black witch, and the final section will be a warrior style with bones, feathers and more. This will be a main attraction of the evening with entertainment between each theme.
“The fashion show is more an event within the event,” says Mercier.
This year, YYC Fashion Week has come on board as a partner for the show, but Mercier says not to expect the traditional uniform catwalk. A collaboration of styles is created from several designers adding their touches on more than one theme.
“We want them to be as creative as they want,” says Mercier.
Designers include many local names such as Nan’Darach Designs, DICIB, Shannon Chappell, Sheepish Couture, Erin Winters Makeup and more.
Last year, FUSED 2 raised money for two not-for-profits. This year, they’ve put their focus on Camp fYrefly, Canada’s only national leadership retreat for sexual and gender minority youth.
Both Koznuik and Mercier emphasize how important it is for them to give back to a community that has continuously supported them.
“They take the kids out of the nightclub lifestyle and put them into different mediums to help find their identities,” says Koznuik.
FUSED 3 takes place August 31 at the Roadhouse. Tickets are available online. More details are available at www.lesgirlscalgary.com.AB, Alberta, Calgary Pride Parade and Festival, FUSED 3, LGBT, Pride, Pride Calgary, Roadhouse