Who knew that homophones could cause such flap? When Kym Dominique-Ferguson initially started advertising “The Art of Performing Aural Sex,” people asked him why he was spelling “aural” wrong. He wasn’t. The Art of Performing Aural Sex is a show featuring poetry and performances with an emphasis on the erotic. Now in its eighth year, the show promises to be a fun, safe space that will get the juices flowing. Dominique-Ferguson says, “Our aim is to stimulate the mind with the spoken word, music, and dance.”
When Dominique-Ferguson started, he auditioned artists to participate. Now, though, he curates the show. “There have been people who approached me and said they were interested in being part of it,” he explains. “We don’t audition them. We want to screen them. We want the content to fit with the vibe of the show. The show is open. We want it to be a safe space, with nothing misogynistic that will make our audience or the other performers feel degraded in any way.”
This year, Dominique-Ferguson has put together a diverse group of performers including spoken-word artists, poets, singers, multi-instrumentalists, and dancers.
“We have Cameryn Moore, a spoken word artist, but more in the storytelling genre,” Dominique-Ferguson says. “This will be her first time performing a poetry piece out loud [as part of a show].” Moore is celebrated for her sex-positive solo shows as well as her literary/poetry in Sidewalk Smut. Dominique-Ferguson adds, “She did some compilations, and they’re always hilarious. She has many stories.”
Dominique-Ferguson is also excited to bring Chanda T. Holmes, a dancer and a singer to the show for the first time. Holmes’ single, Catch my Groove is currently playing on Virgin Radio. He also mentions Leah McFly Waackeisha, a dancer who specializes in whacking. “She does hip hop, pop lock and other styles of dance,” says Dominique-Ferguson. “At the show, she’ll be doing a burlesque-style dance to early 2000 R&B.” He finally mentions a performer who uses a loop-pedal to create a track on stage.
“It’s very well-balanced in the types of performances,” he says. “I didn’t want to show one style of performance. Performance is not just someone getting up in front of a mic and using his voice. I studied in a theatre school in Jamaica and that included music, visual arts, dance and drama. I wanted an arena in which I could syncretize all these styles together.”
Of course, finding good performers is just one part of the equation. Dominique-Ferguson also has to create energy in the line-up sequence. “As a spectator, we want to keep you guessing. You’ll never know what’s coming next,” he says. “We do a build up, rather than keeping it flat. In the beginning, it starts lovely and romantic, and then people will turn to their partner, ‘We should get going at intermission.’ We have to warn people not to leave at intermission, that they should stay for whole show, because we’re turning it up.”
The show aims to be as open and welcoming as possible. The line-up is bilingual, but one thing Dominique-Ferguson finds is that people are shy when it comes to sex. “We want to make people comfortable even though we’re talking about sex. Most of us are here because of it. Even with in-vitro, somebody stroked something to get the sperm out. There was some sexual energy when we came into this world.” He sees the show as a place to talk about sex in a way that is comfortable, fun, and not at all taboo.
“Essentially the show is a sexy show, a beautiful show,” Dominique-Ferguson explains. “Our goal is to ensure that our audience has a good time. We’re not trying to convince people to do this or that. We want people to have a good time and support local talent. I find that there’s always core set of people that know about different shows, but Montreal has between 6 -10 million people, not including off-island places like the south shore. Shows can be poorly attended. Montreal artists need support of citizens of Montreal to thrive and continue. So, come, you’ll have a good time and see some great, great Montreal artists.”
The Art of Performing Aural Sex happens February 15 at Le Belmont (4483 St Laurent). doors 6 p.m., show 7 p.m. $20/25. For info, email Kym HERE.