Happy Pride Day, Bristol!

9 Jul 2022

To celebrate Bristol Pride 2022, we sat down with writer, comedian, and performance artist Alok ahead of their one-night-only performance at BOV at the end of this month. 

In 2017, Alok released their inaugural book of poetry, “Femme in Public,” a meditation on harassment against transfeminine people. 

The connection between art, storytelling and mental health has always been a big part of their creative process. 

We chatted about writing from the heart and working with their bezzy mate Travis Alabanza...

You began writing poetry at 12 years old while about your own issues struggling with mental health. How did you go from this 12-year-old kid writing poetry in Texas to headlining New York Comedy Festival? 

I'm still doing what I've always done: writing and performance are my creative outlets. They're where I go to be honest about what I feel and what I see about the world. I've always been less motivated by genre, and more by heart – like, 'what is the heart behind what I'm trying to say? What is the feeling?'. 

I'm a big believer in tuning into what we feel and sitting with what it teaches us. I know that I feel most happy and most free when I'm performing – and so I kept at it.

And here I am now. It's pretty remarkable, but I do believe miracles exist every day. A million things had to go right and a million things had to go wrong in order for us to be here now.

What can audiences expect from your Bristol performance this month?  

I weave poems about love, loss, heartbreak, pain alongside comedy about gender, race, and so much more. It's a reflection of how I live my life, really. Humor helps me get through hardship. So I stage that -  show both the grief and the gratitude, the pain and the panache.

What do you hope audiences will take away from the show?

I hope to provide a space for my audiences to feel the full spectrum of their emotion: from sorrow to delight and back again. 

I want to create a space for people who are so used to being the butt of the joke – especially trans and gender non-conforming people – to be able to actually laugh and relax. 

My hope is that people leave realising that what's funny isn't the fact that LGBTQ people exist, but all of the outlandish pomp and circumstance that has been normalised to deny and disparage our existence.

Can you tell us about and what brought you and Travis Alabanza together for this Bristol performance? 

Travis is such a creative inspiration of mine. We've been doing shows together for over six years! They recently opened for me when I headlined the New York Comedy Festival last year, and we had so much fun sharing our comedy on stage together in my home town. So we figured it was only fair to bring the fun to Travis's home town too!

See Alok, with support by Travis Alabanza, on 31 July 2022

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