Chosen Family Day: Celebrating New Recovery Pathways

Each year, the third Monday of February is Family Day in what is colonially known as British Columbia— a day where folks have the day off from work and school to spend time with their loved ones. This year, Vancouver Pride Society, Last Door Recovery Society, and VMF are teaming up to put on a free event that celebrates our Chosen Families. 

Bring your loved ones to the VMF Winter Arts Hub for an afternoon of Drag Storytime, drag performances including a kids activity space with free face painting and balloon art. Witness the Chosen Family lived experience panel, where they will share their stories of recovery from mental health issues, addiction and gender-based violence, and sexual orientation discrimination. View interactive art exhibits, and the Recovery Day Overdose Memorial Tree and make your Family Day worthwhile.

This event is co-presented by Last Door Recovery Society and VMF Winter Arts.

On the Stage

A bearded, non-binary goddex for the people. Alma has hosted just about everything you can in Vancouver. In March 2019 Alma became the 48th elected Emprex of Vancouver’s Dogwood Monarchist Society; dedicating a year of their life to local fundraising efforts! During this time Alma and her team raised a record amount of money for the DMS. Alma has been active in the drag scene since 2010 when they began their journey as Sister Alma Bitches of the Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Continental Breakfast is an indigenous non-binary Drag performance artist and cultural event producer. They are Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree and are a settler on the stolen lands of the Txʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. They work as a host, dancer, and performer in the alternative art scene. They aim to help empower strong existence of the non-binary community, and the importance of diversity in art. They are Emprex 47 of the Dogwood Monarchist Society, having worked to raised $32,000 in their year as the charity’s representative. They have produced shows such as Late Night Snack, Blackout: A Britney Spears Drag Musical, and The Darlings. They also co-founded the Vancouver production company, Queer Based Media.

Jaylene is a proud Indigenous Two Spirit Trans human in her 23rd year of continuous sobriety from Alcohol and Drugs. As a celebrated makeup artist, performer and LGBTQ2S+ ambassador, she believes that it is important to celebrate the power of community by contributing to the energy of our world with passion and positivity. Together for each other, we have the opportunity to inspire and educate. Our identities, beautifully diverse and wonderfully unique. One Day at a time!

[Image Description: Karmella leaning on a concrete divider. They have their hand on the concrete while their other hand is up, palm facing the sky. Karmella is wearing an orange dress and is looking up with a smile on their face.]

Karmella Barr Is Vancouver’s very own sweet chocolate treat.

Karmella has had an interest in theatre and entertainment starting at a very young age. This love for entertainment and theatre has lead Karmella to the wonderful world of drag! Karmella has been doing drag in Vancouver for 7 years and counting. In their shows, they are seen as an incredibly personable queen known for the amazing balance of emotion and glamour that they brings to their performances. This amazing balance earned them the title of “Miss Congeniality” in 2016 and then eventually Miss Cobalt 6 in 2017.

Gary Savard was born and raised in the Metro Vancouver area, his love of magic didn’t come until the ripe old age of nineteen. In 1988 Gary Savard joined The Vancouver Magic Circle to learn his craft, and to compete in magic competitions. With all his hard work and dedication he won club awards, international awards, and in which time Gary became Club President for the Vancouver Magic Circle. After moving to the Fraser Valley, he joined the Fraser Valley Magic Circle and also became Club President in year 2011. In 2001 Gary married Jeannie, and that’s when The Jingles and Jangles Christmas Magic Show was created. For over 35 years Gary has been performing for kids and families throughout the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver area under the name, Now That’s Magic BUT … When Gary excitingly knocks on the door, ready to entertain the children he hears the birthday child say … “MOM THE MAGIC GUY IS HERE!” … and that’s how www.themagicguy.ca was born.

Lizzie Allan is a Comedian and a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, and the creator of Hilarapy (comedy therapy) formally known as Addictive Comedy. Her accomplished background in community building, support, and youth empowerment brings a formidable blend of skills to her role as facilitator, leader, and performer. As a member of the LGBTQ Community she is honoured to be the EMCEE for the Chosen Family Event. “Everyone struggles with the human condition,” observes Lizzie. “’Being alive is traumatic.’ You are not alone. We are all the same inside.” Lizzie is twelve years clean and a big supporter of the recovery movement and community building. “When we do anything together, it’s always so much better in a group,” reminds Lizzie In uses her own brand of comedy therapy, Hilarapy to inspire connections with the sparks of shared laughter. “What I’ve learned over the years is our stories have power and we all have a story to tell.”