The second Soirée Expérimentale comes to the Penticton Art Gallery Friday April 21. Submitted photo/Chelsea Terry

Soirée brings the weird back to Penticton Art Gallery

Soirée Expérimentale is back to bring strange, boundary pushing performances to the gallery

Weird things are soon to be afoot once again at the Penticton Art Gallery.

The return of the Soirée Expérimental is set to bring strange things, and a literal Strange Thing, to the gallery.

Petra Höller, the event’s organizer, hopes the curated cabaret series will be an ongoing way for artists to explore new horizons.

Read more: Soirée blurring artistic boundaries at gallery

During her time in university in Montreal, Höller would host and attend many similar Soirée-style events and she wanted to bring something similar to Penticton.

“There are a lot of people here who are very motivated, but most of what we see is music. There is a lot of opportunity for musicians in town, open mics and shows,” Höller said. “What I really enjoyed about Montreal outside of school were these incredible pop-up cabarets and DIY performance events.”

Showcasing a wide variety of unclassifiable performances, Höller is looking to continue the exploration of less traditional ways of engaging an audience after the sell-out first event.

“I’m definitely an advocate for weirdness,” Höller laughed. “The first one was an incredible success. It surpassed my expectations. I had modest expectations for it. Something that feels really good about doing it here is that there is nothing like it here. So it’s fresh, it’s exciting and it catches people off-guard, which I think is really healthy for people.”

After the first event more artists came forward looking to get involved. She is hoping to keep the cast fresh each time, and those looking to get involved can put forward their idea to oddokanagan@gmail.com.

The upcoming Soirée is bringing a diverse set of performances including performance art, the traditional Okanagan dancing of father and son duo Levi and Leroi Bent, the music of Mathieu Drolet and Stephanie Lines, the poetry and music of Liana the Ghost, the storytelling stylings of Tavis Weir and more with a special return appearance of guest emcee Strange Thing.

Coming all the way from Salmo is Tom Reimer, or Murphy Luzod, the name he will be performing under. Reimer just finished playing some shows and recording with his band Rainboard and the Soirée is an opportunity for him to stretch his mind in a different direction.

“It looked like something really up my alley. Being at the art gallery and getting to be a bit more artistic is something I’m interested in,” Reimer said.

He is set to explore video art along with live music, something Reimer said he doesn’t get to bust out too often.

“I’m playing all the time and we have been recording Rainboard for the last couple of weeks. It’s kind of nice to be able to do some mellower, kind of improv-ey guitar stuff that’s not attached to anything in particular,” Reimer said.

Freedom for improvisation and an opportunity to cut loose artistically is a fun excersice for him.

“It’s nice to play solo. I can improvise a bit more and not have everything structured out like it is in Rainboard,” Reimer said.

The video aspect is found footage Reimer enjoys seeking out and putting together.

“Most of the time it’s more of a video study. I get into a certain aspect of video manipulation and just kind of get into that thing that I’m doing and it’s just a progression on that,” Reimer said.

Soirée Expérimentale comes to the Penticton Art Gallery on April 21. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show takes place at 7:30 p.m. Entry is $15 and goes towards the performers and the Penticton Art Gallery.

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