Jordan Arseneault

b.1980

Jordan Arseneault is active in Montréal’s independent queer performance scene and has performed in cabarets and events in Toronto and Boston. As a drag performer, writer, meeting facilitator and translator, his staged work and participative workshops address issues queerness, gender, and social injustice. Often performing under drag pseudonyms Peaches Lepage (or Tooloose LeTrick) Jordan has collaborated with 2boys.tv and performed voice, cello and/or lip-synch pieces at countless benefit cabarets for Project 10, Stella, No More Potlucks, ACCM and other non-profit groups. He is a founding member of Radical Queer Semaine and of the SéroSyndicat, a Montreal collective opposing the criminalization of people based on their HIV and HCV status. Since 2010, he has developed a performative workshop entitled “Fear Drag” which challenges participants to examine their own anxieties (about society, art, institutions) by exploring the fears of others. In 2012, Jordan participated in the AIDS ACTION NOW poster/virus series with the poster and accompanying poem “Silence = Sex” which was exhibited as part of “Strange Bedfellows” at San Francisco’s Roots Division Gallery in June 2013.

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As an HIV positive performer, journalist, critic and translator based in Montréal, much of my work, when not staged in cabaret venues, involves writing about visual and performance art. In my character of Peaches Lepage, I perform short improvised pieces or lip synchs or prepared spoken word and music interventions on themes as diverse as bourgeois privilege (“First World Problems” see video link below), grief and mourning (“You Know I’m No Good”), gender and sexual identity, and the nature of drag as performance art (“I Really Don’t Know Drag At All” 2013). I have been privileged to be a part of collective creative process with performance art duo 2Boys.tv, whose maximalist piece Tightrope was created with Alexis O’Hara in 2011.  The other side of my art practice is rooted in socially engaged art and conversation, and has taken the form of a “workshop” style piece I have developed since 2010 entitled “Fear Drag.” In this piece, participants are asked to write down fears or anxieties they have about health, institutions, art practice, or any topic chosen in consultation with the host of the workshop; the “fears” are then passed around so as to be read anonymously by different people in the group, as if they were his or her own; this leads to a discussion on the fears themselves, followed by participants forming groups in which to perform a pop song or dance piece inspired by the discussion and the fears raised. Rendering the fear itself depersonalized, and then re-personalized by participants is part of an exercise in empathy towards the other, and for the self, which I have found people involved or uninvolved in art practice respond very well to.   Key words: cabaret, drag, HIV, social justice, performance, applause, grotesque, bad drag

Art and Performance Participation Host and MC of various cabaret and mostly queer performance events in Montréal, including Meow Mix, Glam Gam, Pervers/cité, Radical Queer Semaine, Cabaret Faux Pas, VIHsion, and benefits for AIDS Community Care Montréal, Project 10, and STELLA. “Fear Drag” for Intermedia Studio Arts class, Concordia University “Fear Drag” with AIDS ACTION NOW at Radical Queer Semaine http://postervirus.tumblr.com/post/46108095081/transmettre-le-poster- virus-spreading-the “I Looked at Drag from Both Sides Now” for Cabaret Cochonne “Fear Drag” with the SéroSyndicat and the Queer Partnerships Collective, VAV Gallery (Concordia University, Montréal) “Battle Hymn” by 2Boys.tv at the PHENOMENA FESTIVAL “GENERATION” cabaret (Montréal) “Same Script Different Cast” duet with 2fikornot2fik for 2Boys.tv Reader, Drop-Dead AIDS Literary Salon, sponsored by Universities without Walls Auctioneer and host(ess) of Les Faussaires, charity art auction at Articule (Montréal). http://www.articule.org/web/expositions/11- 12/faussaires_en.html Assistant to multidisciplinary artist Alexia O’Hara for Sorrow Sponge (Fribourg, Switzerland)     Education May 2010 – present: Certificate programme, Translation Faculty of Continuing Education June 2005 B.A. with distinction, Philosophy and Hispanic Studies Community Experience VideoQueer, Project co-founded: a web-based video and knowledge- sharing initiative with LGBT youth organization Project 10 in conjunction with Radical Queer Semaine. Videos about queer community-building made to empower youth in community organizing and anti-oppression. Board Member, Forget The Box, media collective. Forgetthebox.net Moderator, Concordia HIV/AIDS Lecture with Barry Adam Organizing member, SéroSyndicat/Blood Union http://contrecriminalisationvih.blogspot.ca/ Founding member, It Could Get Worse, Board member Forget the Box Journalism (writing and video), anti-criminalization activist group Collective member, Radical Queer Semaine (organizer) CKUT 90.3fm (volunteer, co-host of QueerCorps)

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