Perpetual Change — Music & Entertainment News

| Mar 9, 2015

Film Review: Woman In A Man’s Suit

Georgie Jessup’s autobiographical film, Woman In A Man’s Suit — What Would You Risk To Be Yourself? is going to be a project that will propel her to a new audiences and long overdue acclaim.

The title, Woman In a Man’s Suit, is taken from the title song of her 2004 album by the same name. If you’re not familiar with Georgie Jessup, you’d rightly suspect that the title would refer  to her. Actually, it’s a reference to her grandmother, Anna Josephine Roesch Blum, who is pictured on the aforementioned 2004 album wearing her husband’s 3 piece suit, in 1912.

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Okay, so why is this significant? Aside from the fact that this particular song has a lot of meaning for Georgie, it also sets the stage for what she does with the rest of the film, which is to provide a very intimate look into her life with nothing held back. That’s why I call the film an autobiography rather than a documentary. It’s that personal.

Jessup and the Philosopher Dogs

Jessup and the Philosopher Dogs

Unlike a lot of transsexuals who choose to go stealth after transition, Georgie has found a place where she is content to be public about everything. Nor does she have the attitude of “…the transsexual is here and you’re damn sure gonna like it!”

On the contrary, Georgie acknowledges the confusion that often accompanies gender issues. “It’s probably just as difficult for me sometimes to understand who I am as a transgender person as it is for people who don’t understand transgender,” she says in the film. “I guess I’m a mixture of my surroundings.”

Those “surroundings” are revealed in depth throughout the film. There’s a wealth of great childhood and family photos of young Wayne George Mauler. Since music is central to who Georgie is, there are also priceless band photos from the start of her career.

One true gem from those years is a 1986 video of one of Georgie’s early bands called Wavelength. Quite good, actually.

There are also extensive interviews with old and new friends. Keith McNamee, an old band mate, talks about being the first person Georgie told about her true self. Paul Steinmetz, a producer who worked with Georgie’s manager on promoting the album American Holocaust in 1994, and Michael Schreibman, a well known concert promoter on the east coast, also talk about their involvement with Georgie and her music over the years.

Others interviewed include Dr. Kate Thomas, Jacaueline Rosenborough, Bonnie Schupp, David Ettlin, and long-time musical collaborator and songwriter Dirk Hamilton.

Two of the very special people featured are Georgie’s mother Mary J. Mauler, and Georgie’s wife Angie Martin, who discusses in detail a lot of the discrimination Georgie has gone through as a musician who is out about being transgender.

However, don’t get the misconception that Woman In A Man’s Suit is only about being transsexual. It’s underlying focus, in fact the entire theme of the film is about a singer/songwriter/musician who just happens to be transsexual.

Musically, there’s a wide swath of material throughout. From the aforementioned Wavelength video to material from American Holocaust, Woman In A Man’s Suit (the album), and Winkte and Crazy Sacred Dogs, the themes run from gender related material to Georgie’s well known role as a Native American activist.

The overall sound quality is excellent. Everything form the full band material to solo spots with Georgie playing either guitar or piano is crystal clear. Produced by Anthony Greene and Paul Steinmentz for Silent Code Features and Project S. Sound mixing by Ramy David (who also worked on video editing), with color and sound editing by Becky Varni.

Woman In A Man’s Suit was the winner of the Festival Favorite Award 2010, Roanoke International Film Festival.

Woman In A Man’s Suit can be ordered through the video distribution company, Chip Taylor Communications. For further information, please check out Georgie’s website, or silentcodefeatures.com.

ALSO THIS MONTH

Florez

Florez

Storm Miguel Florez

Storm has been diligently working on the film Major, which is a documentary on the life of transgender activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Storm, and his wife (director/producer) Annalise Ophelian are now in post production, and hope to have the project released later this year. Storm would like to assure fans of his music that he will be working on his next album then. For more information visit Florez’s website or the film’s website.

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda’s Be The Love show will be at The Duplex (61 Christopher St., New York, N.Y. on March 12.) The show is already nominated for a 2015 Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) Award. For more information on this, plus a new video of Yolanda doing a duet with Shawn Thomas, please check out Yolanda online.

Virago

Virago

Shawna Virago

San Francisco singer/songwriter/musician Shawna Virago is launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her next recording project. She sent me this brief message about the fund raising campaign and the new album:

“I’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign by March 13th, to fund my new Album, Heaven Sent Delinquent. The Kickstarter campaign will last for a month and I hope to raise $5,100, that will fund 10 days of studio time, mixing, mastering and printing to vinyl, which I’m happy about.

“Over the past 2 years, I’ve written a collection of 11 new songs that champion brawling women, dandy provocateurs, queer rebel misfits and creates a unified sound picture that I strongly believe in.

It’s a solo record, and pushes the frontiers of trans-americana, folk and punk with a queer and gender-variant edge.

People can learn more about my campaign when it goes public by March 13th.”

NEW MUSIC

Into Colour by Rumer

rumerRumer’s third offering, Into Colour, is a highly orchestrated surprise mix of genres that manages blend it all nicely into one package that swirls around Rumer’s lush voice, which is often reminiscent of the late Karen Carpenter.

I use the word “surprise” because of the inclusion of everything from old school disco (Dangerous, one of the outstanding tracks), Play Your Guitar (light jazz, with excellent playing), Pizza And Pinball (light rock/jazz, very feel good song), and the very orchestrated, mid tempo Reach Out.

Two other outstanding tracks are I Am Blessed (laid back, with one of the better vocal efforts from Rumer), and Fredrick Douglas, another laid back tune, but with a choir. Perhaps the best production mix on the project.

Into Colour was produced by Bob Shirakbar. There’s a lot of song writing and musician collaboration, so check out the insert for proper credit.

Uncover (EP) by Zara Larsson

zara-larsson-uncover-epSwedish singer Zara Larsson has released a six song EP that is mostly laid back, with two exceptions. Opening track Wanna Be Your Baby is a slow groove dance tune, with the projects closer, Rooftop, being a mid-tempo dance track that has the best vocal cut and best production values on the project. Overall, a very interesting singer with an interesting vocal sound and range. (On Facebook, Twitter, Twitter, instagram. Music available through iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Google Play.)

 

Never Been Better by Olly Murs

Olly_Murs_-_Never_Been_BetterThe new project by Olly Murs is due for release on March 10th. Once again, I was rather surprised by the overall content of this project. The opening song, Did You Miss Me, a dance track, has Murs sounding like a wannabe Michael Jackson vocally. However, that’s where that analogy ends. The rest of the project weaves in and out of genres ranging from light rock (Up, with Demi Lovato) and Let Me In; techno (Why Do I Love You and Seasons), and the seemingly obligatory let’s-stick-rap-where-it-doesn’t-need-to-be tune, Wrapped Up (with Travie McCoy).

The really stand out tracks are title cut Never Been Better (an excellent rock tune with great production, one of the better vocal moments and very radio friendly); Can’t Say No (another very radio friendly rock tune); and Tomorrow (very sparse sounding compared to the rest of the project, with just voice, piano and strings, but it does allow Murs to show what he can really do a vocalist. It’s also one of the better production moments.)

 

There’s a lot of collaboration throughout in the writing, production and with musicians, so please check out the insert for proper credit. Check out Murs’ website,  also Facebook and Twitter.

Homage by Jimmy Somerville

Jimmy-Somerville-HomageJimmy Somerville’s Homage was just released last week. This album is proof positive that disco, or at least the disco influence, is coming back. With only one exception, everything on this project is disco oriented, and therefore danceable. That exception is the album’s closer, the very laid back Learned To Talk.

With everything being so similar in feel, it’s hard to find one totally outstanding track. However, there is one very cool song that will probably end up being a favorite of drag queens and gay bar DJs everywhere … Freak. This song is pure old school disco, with the line “I need a freak of a man to be mine” repeated throughout.

 

Produced by John Winfield and Jimmy Somerville, they managed to get the old school disco feel down pat. The use of horns, strings, and the proper kind of disco bass lines add up to excellent production values that sound right out of the authentic Disco Era.

Winfield and Somerville did most of the writing, but once again, there’s a lot of collaboration going on with this project, so you’ll have to check out the insert for proper credit.

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Category: Fun & Entertainment, Music

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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