Bedside Manner raises money for sexual assault victims by bringing artists together
This past Sunday, The Buckingham was packed in support of sexual assault victims, standing against an issue that has been plaguing our community.
Edmontonians paid a $10 entry fee, with all proceeds going to the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE), and watched performances of diverse talents in burlesque, music, and comedy.
The event was “Bedside Manner,” presented by the Vagabond Variety Show. While many media outlets previewed the event as a direct response to the sexual assault allegations that led to The Needle Vinyl Tavern’s closure, Bedside Manner was conceived months before.
“I planned this in September for my own personal reasons,” says organizer and host Layla Le Lay. “I had a lot going on around sexual assault in my own life. My perpetrator actually pled guilty and went to jail, and then within that same week my best friend got raped. I felt claustrophobic and it led to me planning this show.”
Layla Le Lay performed her own burlesque routine, and featured other members of her burlesque troupe Black Label Burlesque—Lilly White, Betsy Ryder, Kittening, and Bryce Charlie.
The performers blended perfectly, with a highlight of the night coming from the sketch comedy troupe, Don’t Not Talk to Strangers. The troupe’s performances were located in and around the bar’s patron traffic, making for a new, innovative and hilarious comedic layout. Sketch bits included “good cop, bad cop,” “chewing gum,” and “non-essential oils.”
“These are venues not made for comedy, but it’s been wonderful to adapt and make these locations our own,” says comedian and actor Eric Smith.
“It’s really important to have events like this that aren’t super sombre and dark,” adds comedian and actor Lauren Boyd. “We can address this issue through comedy, burlesque, and music. It doesn’t have to be a closed-off, intimidating conversation.”
Being a fairly new comedy act, Don’t Not Talk To Strangers jumped at the opportunity to perform at Bedside Manner and support sexual assault victims.
“It’s important because we are supporting an amazing cause,” says comedian Jesse Harlton. “It’s incredible how much support is in the community. Look at tonight. It’s packed in here.”
The night was capped-off with a performance from feminist punk band, Feminal Fluids. The band shook the walls of The Buckingham, screaming harshly about “shit that pisses us off.”
The night can easily be called a success, with a good amount of money being raised for SACE.
“This stuff is rising to a level of common conversation,” says performer and musician Dustin J Allen. “Lots of people were dropping in 20s instead of 10s, so presumably we made a lot of money for SACE.”
Layla Le Lay hopes an event similar to Bedside will happen again in the near future.
“We (Vagabond Variety Show) do a show every other month, so I think twice-a-year my goal is a semi-annual fundraiser for the SACE,” she says. “I hope people don’t stop coming forward about this issue. This is the beginning of everyone standing up and saying a big ‘fuck you’ to sexual assault.”