The first play by multi-media artist Vivek Shraya, about fame and personal transformation.
Described as "cultural rocket fuel" by Vanity Fair, Vivek Shraya is a multi-media artist whose art, music, novels, and poetry and children's books explore the beauty and the power of personal and cultural transformation. How to Fail as a Popstar is Vivek's debut theatrical work, a one-person show that chronicles her journey from singing in shopping malls to "not quite" pop music superstardom with beguiling humor and insight. A reflection on the power of pop culture, dreams, disappointments, and self-determination, this astonishing work is a raw, honest, and hopeful depiction of the search to find one's authentic voice.
The book includes colour photographs from the showâ??s 2020 production in Toronto, and a foreword by its director Brendan Healy.
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her books include I'm Afraid of Men, The Subtweet, even this page is white, She of the Mountains, Death Threat, and The Boy & the Bindi, and her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part-Time Woman, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the Arsenal Pulp Press imprint VS. Books. A six-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, was featured on The Globe and Mail's Best Dressed list, and has received honours from the Writers' Trust of Canada and the Publishing Triangle. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.
Brendan Healy is a theater director whose credits include the premiere production of Vivek Shraya's How to Fail as a Popstar at Canadian Stage in Toronto in 2020. He is a regular instructor at the National Theatre School of Canada.
The work of radical self-acceptance is so challenging I never want to do it. In this piece of art, Vivek's fearless vulnerability, steady gaze and sure hand creates another way in, an opening, and all I have to do is show up. Now itâ??s your turn. Lucky you. -Elvira Kurt, teacup butch, comedy legend and writer for Canada's Drag Race
It's a moving tale that any person who's struggled to achieve their dreams can easily relate to, and Shraya has a certain magnetism to her performance that keeps the one-woman show moving fluidly. -Broadway World
Vivek Shrayaâ??s How to Fail as a Popstar is a maguffin - a demonstration of Shraya's virtuosity as a performer, a songwriter, and writer, and is anything but a failure. It is a cutting and hilarious look at the spark and afterglow of any musician entering the industry - the adolescence, adulthood, and moribundity of this creative life-within-a-life. She claims to not "have the range," but Popstar demonstrates the opposite - a multi-disciplinary artist at the height of her powers. -Owen Pallett, violinist and composer
Shraya may not have reached the top echelon of pop stardom, but sharing her persistence and self-discovery just might be a bigger gift. After all, these are the stories we rarely hear told. -NOW Magazine
A funny, warm and honest show by a rare, 360-degree talent. -Denise Balkissoon, executive editor of Chatelaine Magazine
An important show from such an important artist. Everyone should see How to Fail as a Popstar! -Bif Naked, recording artist
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