By David Cutting
VANCOUVER — The Odyssey is coming back to life and we got a chance to speak with Brandon Patrick Folkes, one of the men who is taking on the role of animating the club space in its new era. In his role as General Manager, Folkes is putting to use his passion for queer spaces to better create an atmosphere where community can flourish.
BeateRoute: What is the importance of queer spaces?
Brandon Patrick Folkes: Plainly they are where our culture – in our community – nurtures and grows. They have existed (and continue to exist) as homes and safe havens for the many who need physical and emotional refuge. They are places for us to share, socialize, create, and meet – stages to produce on, rooms to help give back, and where love can be shared without shame. Without them, we as a community wouldn’t have a proper forum for us to allow our purest form of personal and collective expression. This, to me, is of the utmost importance.
BR: What is your mission as the newest GM of the Odyssey?
BPF: I want to develop and maintain a safe, fun, and creative space for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community to utilize and exist as a prominent platform outside of the Davie Village. I want to continue to bend the norm of where these places should exist and to contribute to our community and people in our community, whether it is fundraising for a cause, a stage for LGBTQ+ artists, or a crazy fun spot to come party in.
BR: What do people need to know about the Odyssey that they don’t know, or that they get wrong?
BPF: I think a lot of people have “made up their mind” about the new Odyssey based on events of the past year and that isn’t my place to argue as new management. But it has been the toughest thing for us to deal with in trying to retain a piece of our local culture. I really want people to understand that all the staff and management care about this place. None of us would be here if we didn’t see the importance of its existence and didn’t want it to grow. Sebastian (the other manager) and I without question love this space and have made it our personal mission to succeed. We have been fortunate to have many of the old staff and artists from the old Odyssey come and work with us now, and to me it means we are doing something right and to have that support is incredible. The Odyssey is a space for you all, one of the few that are here as we don’t have many of them in this city. It’s extremely important to collectively support and not to lose these LGBTQ+ spaces as in the end it does one thing and one thing only: it hurts us.
BR: Tell us about your dream for the Odyssey.
BPF: My dream for The Odyssey is to have it live up to its legacy and move it forward into a new exciting era in our community. We may not be the exact clone of our original selves; but let’s be real – nothing really ever is. As with the times we must evolve and be just as bold. Social progress is consistently evolving forward, and these places outside of the Davie Village are an echo of that change. The village has always been a hub for us, but we are now stretching our legs elsewhere. As the old Odyssey on Davie once stood as a platform of LGBTQ+ progress and creativity, the new one antes that jump even further by being there outside of the bubble and being a solidified LGBTQ+ space to exist for all. To further this ideal – this is my dream.BC, Brandon Patrick Folkes, British Columbia, LGBT, queer spaces, the Odyssey, Vancouver queer spaces