Arts·Artspots

From the archives: The Lesbian National Parks and Services welcomes you!

The NFB wouldn't make a doc, so Winnipeg's Dempsey & Millan did it themselves. Watch their episode of Artspots.

'The NFB never made a doc about the Lesbian Rangers, so we made one ourselves'

The NFB wouldn't make a doc, so Winnipeg's Dempsey & Millan did it themselves. Watch their episode of Artspots. 0:35

Names: Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

Hometown: Winnipeg

Artspots appearance: 2006

The story: Heritage Minutes, Hinterland Who's Who — hell, even Artspots: most of those Canadian TV interstitials from back in the day were all about educational content. And "Lesbian National Parks and Services: A Force of Nature," a 2002 film from performance art duo Dempsey & Millan, was a playful send-up of the kind of good-for-you docs that used to air between programs.

This Artspots clip is essentially an excerpt from the film, which follows the rangers everywhere from Australia to the Arctic to Banff. (The duo launched the project there in 1997 while they were doing a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts.)

Writes Dempsey by email: "The NFB never made a doc about the Lesbian Rangers, so we made one ourselves."

The last time they saw their Artspots episode:

"We've never had a TV!" writes Dempsey. "Some video artists, eh?"

Still, she says they both managed to re-watch the episode two years ago. "It still holds up!"

We ranged for many years, so there are so many memories in this Artspot.- Shawna Dempsey

Memories from the shoot:

Says Dempsey: "We ranged for many years, so there are so many memories in this Artspot. And it is a different world now than when we made it. We now have full homo rights. We now are natural!"

What they're working on now:

"We just finished creating a new performance in which I am decapitated, Marie Antoinette style, but standing there holding my head and talking," she writes. "It is called Big Wig. Now thinking about video ideas. Time for science fiction! (Because reality is too damn weird these days.)"

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