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The Birdhouse by Eastside Studios is home to parties with a purpose.
Vancouver is well-known for its vibrant queer community. But while most people will immediately think of the city’s West End scene and our long-established Pride Parade (which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year), there’s a pair of local event promoters who want to make sure that everyone in our diverse 2SLGBTQIA+ community has a place to go.
Meet Ryn Broz and Paige Frewer, the owner/operators of The Birdhouse by Eastside Studios. The two connected through Frewer’s drag show, Man Up, when they performed together starting back in 2013. They later partnered to create the Eastside Studios Warehouse space in Strathcona (a move that had them recognized on our 2023 Power 50 list), where they expanded to host a variety of other queer-centred events. In April of this year, the duo moved their operation away from Strathcona: the Warehouse lease was up, the building was in disrepair and, with the new St. Paul’s Hospital development set to change the area, it was time to migrate.
They had their sights set on a building in Mount Pleasant (44 West 4th Avenue, to be exact)—a place Broz calls “damn near perfect, in terms of the layout, location, (non)proximity to residential neighbours and various other factors.” But there was one problem—one that ended up playing a significant role in naming the new venue.
“When we first got keys, the main warehouse was completely overrun by pigeons and the floor was covered in their poop,” explains Broz. “So it’s part of our origin story that, after it was a dry cleaners, the building was home to many pigeon families. We are proud to say we removed every pigeon here without harm. We’re animal lovers and decided to lean into the menagerie vibe for our name and branding.”
So what kind of fun will you find at The Birdhouse? It’s more a question of what you won’t find. From draglesque and drag brunches to karaoke and dance parties, most events focus on drag and gender performance; deejays and live music round out the lineup. “Queers have all kinds of fun, silly and creative ideas for events,” says Broz. “We try to offer a variety of programming, so as to not pigeonhole ourselves into one genre.”
At its core, though, The Birdhouse offers up more than just good times—it’s fulfilling a need in the city by providing support and a sense of belonging to those who can often feel left in the margins. “Queer folks who also identify as women and femmes, BIPOC, trans and disabled unfortunately experience oppression not just in the world at large, but from within the queer community as well,” says Frewer. “We take an intersectional approach to our creation of safer spaces, because being ‘queer friendly’ often simply isn’t enough. We are so thrilled to be able to give people a place to feel seen, valued and loved as their authentic selves. For queer folks, party spaces aren’t just party spaces—their function and meaning goes much deeper.”
The Birdhouse hosts events all week long; find the latest schedule on Instagram @eastsideartsspace
Describe your community in three words.
Kind, enthusiastic, creative.
What’s your favourite conversation-starter in your event space?
The lighting and murals.
Your social superpower?
New friend turn-offs?
Not willing to tease me.
Your favourite drag movie?
Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Best part of your job?
Seeing folks having so much fun.
Fave event at The Birdhouse right now?
Hot New Lesbian Party. It reminds me of the very fun past events.
Best memory at The Birdhouse?
Relocating a giant mural from our past space through the parking lot.