Science Friction: A “High Art Exploration” Ahead of Time

Science Friction might be an art show, or a “high art exploration,” as the creators call it, but don’t expect some quiet, thoughtful circle through an art gallery. A quick look at the event’s lineup sounds more like a wild party, exuberantly celebrating art, nerd culture and LGBTQ culture all at once. “Every element of the party is a form of art,” explained Heather Yenawine with Fair Event Vendors Alliance (FEVA), one of the collaborators behind this project —and a DJ of her own company, HAY DJ. Projection artists, laser shows, body painting is joined by performance art, dance, fashion and drag at Science Friction. Even beatboxing by Raul Lopez, stage name Rayul, will be part of the event.

LEO: What was the inspiration for Science Friction, and how did you go about developing that idea into what it’s now become?
Heather Yenawine: A friend and fellow LGBTQ nonprofit producer from Memphis, John Michael Alderson, suggested the name of the event and theme. He’s throwing a sister party called Science Friction later this year focused more on ‘50s-’70s sci-fi. For our version of the party, we wanted to focus more on the ‘70s through contemporary sci-fi, as we thought it would resonate with our aesthetic and Filthy Gorgeous’ innovative, futuristic drag. One thing that really struck me was how sci-fi has been used historically as a catalyst for social change. At best, the progressive seeds that sci-fi writers and filmmakers plant in our collective consciousness can have a larger societal impact. Take for example the first interracial kiss between Uhura and Kirk on Star Trek, which aired during one of the most divisive periods in U.S. history — Vietnam and the civil rights movement. In a more recent context, think of the empowering cultural impact of the Afro-futuristic masterpiece ‘Black Panther,’ or the progressive LGBTQ themes of ‘San Junipero’ (‘Black Mirror’ series). 

Science fiction as a social catalyst for progressive change is ever important. So, as we pay homage to the genre of science fiction, Filthy Gorgeous and FEVA will assert their own vision of the future: a diverse, communal, gender-queer utopia where life is art and art is life.

Let’s talk about who both collaborators are and how you came to work together for this project?
[As a nonprofit], Fair Event Vendors Alliance aims to connect the LGBTQ community with local wedding and event professionals, who welcome them as clients and believe in their equality and fair treatment. We provide an online directory of vendors and affordable seminars in LGBTQ competency and inclusive business practices… and promote the growth of a more inclusive Louisville and Southern Indiana. We’re known for playful themed fundraisers, including the Wes Fest series, Winona Ryd or Die and Moulin Rouge: A Baz Lurhmann Cabaret Extravaganza. We often co-produce events with other LGBTQ non-profits like the LGBTQ+ Coalition with Rainbows and Roses and KPF with the Kentuckiana Pride VIP tent production. 

Nate Carden and Drew Gillum are the creators and producers of the FilthyGorgeous art drag party series that has been taking place at Mag Bar, Galaxie and Big Bar for the past two years. Their brand is characterized by avant-garde fashion and drag, house and EDM music, outrageous performances and a devoted cult following. They are creating the edgiest LGBTQ art happening right now in Louisville and Southern Indiana. They also happen to be a newly-married couple. I’ve always admired FilthyGorgeous’ aesthetic and innovative approach to drag. This theme really suited their style and I wanted to see what we could create together. We wanted to celebrate films, but also make sure the event had edge and was celebrating queer culture. This collaboration offered that perfect combo of fandom and homage, and innovation and creation of our own concept of the future.  

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What makes Art Sanctuary the right venue for Science Friction?
Art Sanctuary was founded on the premise that art is an integral part of life. Science Friction is celebrating eight different forms of art, deriving from diverse scenes in Louisville, and bringing everyone together under one roof to create a truly unique arts experience for our guests. It’s totally in line with the venues’ goals. 

What has been your favorite part of this process. What’s something you’re really excited for guests to experience when Science Friction opens?
My favorite part of the experience has been collaborating with Nate and Drew of FilthyGorgeous. They have such an innovative style and point of view, which I really admire. The curation of the party has been heavily influenced by them and is so much better for it. I’m excited about every element of the party, but I’m especially looking forward to Zsa Zsa Gabortion’s costume and performance of the Diva from The 5th Element and Muvtek’s projection installations.

Would you ever be interested in doing an event like this again or has this sparked any other ideas that people might want to keep an eye out for in the future?
I’m always interested in creating dynamic events and I’m sure there will be more in the future!  FilthyGorgeous is going to continue to grow their amazing brand and parties throughout the city. Another collaboration between FEVA and FilthyGorgeous remains to be determined, but my fingers are crossed!

Science Friction opens at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, at Art Sanctuary. For more info, go here. 

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