Trans Media Arts

| Nov 9, 2015

Hi friends! It’s time for another rousing edition of Trans Media Arts featuring your favorite TGF Arts & Media reporter, me, Amanda. Ooooo, that reminds me. I am going to plug my blog here. justbeingmeamanda.blogspot.com just in case you want to know more about me. I am also a musician and artist/graphic designer. Well, enough about me, on with the show!

amnda03-11-8-15This month we get back to the meat and potatoes of the column, the nuts and bolts, if you will . . . or is it nuts and dolts? Sometimes I wonder, hmm. Someone who is neither a nut, or a dolt, Caitlyn Jenner, is always in the news, and this intrepid reporter vows to follow her every move. Actually I am nowhere near LA here in the Bay Area, but no matter!! Cait has been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year. After receiving an award at the ESPYs, Cait is racking up the hardware for trans women.

Cait continues to try to do the right thing with outreach to trans youth and is also planning a speaking tour. Starting in February 2016 in Toronto, a spokesperson for Unique Lives & Experiences, which bills itself as “North America’s foremost women’s lecture series,” says Jenner’s lectures will focus on “Caitlyn’s personal journey with an inspiration-message of acceptance towards the transgender community and what it takes to lead an authentic life, followed by a short, moderated, question-and-answer period.” The tour does swing through San Francisco, but with tickets ranging from $50 to $500, I may have to wait until the event is closer to see if I can attend.

As mentioned before, Cait’s reality show was renewed by the E! Network for a second season. Looks like it’s going to be another great year for Caitlyn Jenner. I feel she is starting to get her footing as a relative newbie in the community. She has a lot of pressure to learn and be a good spokesperson relatively quickly, but, as a former Olympian, I have no doubt she will triumph once again.

The world still awaits the first episode of Gen Zed. As you read in my interview with Julie Rei Goldstein last month, Gen Zed, an animated show about online gamers featuring as its central character, Shona, a trans girl voiced by Julie Rei. Nothing official out of the Gen Zed camp quite yet on when the episode will air. They were talking about a possible television deal so, that may be delaying things in a good way. We will continue to wait with bated breath for the unveiling of this new show.

amnda01-11-8-15Great things are happening for the punk band Against Me! Our favorite trans rocker, lead singer Laura Jane Grace, not only belts out a super-killer version of True Trans Soul Rebel on The Late Show with Seth Meyers, but also dishes on the new album. While the song the band performed is a song is from the Transgender Dysphoria Blues album from early 2014, it continues to resonate in this high-profile time for transgender people. Against Me! has released a live album from the last tour called 23 Live Sex Acts. While this is exciting news in itself, not resting on its black-petaled laurels, it is furiously at work recording a brand new album. After their last dates of the old tour, they took a couple of weeks off and went right into the studio to keep the band energy flowing.

Laura Jane recently talked to Rolling Stone about how the new album will sound much different and be a more cohesive band effort coming off the very understandably personal Transgender Dysphoria Blues album.

“The last record was an isolating experience and a solo endeavor in a lot of ways – not to diminish anyone else’s roles, but it was a really personal record,” she told the magazine. “I want this one to feel like we’re all in it equally. We’ve been having a really good time playing with each other. We’ll see what that means sonically, but that’s the vibe.”

As I saw when I attended a show on the last tour, and as is evident in the clip, the band really enjoys playing together. They seem almost like a family onstage. I feel like I can see and hear their bond. It’s pretty cool. More excitement from them on the way in 2016!

macy_rodmanIn other transgender music news, millennial music artist Macy Rodman has released a new song called Lazy Girl. According to the website Broadly, “Macy Rodman is a young transgender woman and a recording artist whose music speaks to queer coming of age experiences. Her work playfully confronts heavy issues around identity, mental health, and American culture. Rodman’s own self-realization occurred in a career in New York nightlife, finding community within the city’s music, drag, and trans subcultures. Her latest single, Lazy Girl, is a trans anthem to millennial lethargy amidst the comforts and confines of capitalism.” Rodman goes on to describe what motivated her to write this quirky, strange, pop-synth-laiden [sic: laden] song, “Lazy Girl‘s core message is about not wanting to face the outside world, which is something a lot of people can relate to. When I wrote it, I was trying to describe this very specific kind of depression that sets in when you’re a trans woman starting hormones, but the song really battles the bleak theme with humor and danceable beats.” Rodman has a very unique delivery for her vocals and definitely takes chances in her music. I can’t for the life of me say that I ever heard anything like it. A Rodman EP called HELP, is scheduled to be released this winter featuring more music from this young, unique artist.

 

Speaking of artists, according to the Midland Daily News, a new gender art show is happening in Michigan. The show opened Oct. 16 and features ten artists from the United States, Canada and South Korea who explore gender identity, masculinity, femininity and transgenderism in a new Central Michigan University Art Gallery exhibition. Anne Gochenour, gallery director and curator at the Art Gallery says, “I see a real brave examination of gender issues in this generation, that is what motivated me to do this show. I wanted to see what artists were saying about gender.” The exhibition features paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, performance and videos by Jack Balas, Cassils, John Clarke, Jess Dugan, Catherine Forster, Brenda Oelbaum, Jono Vaughan and JeongMee Yoon. The exhibit runs through Saturday, Nov. 14.

“It’s a cultural phenomenon that people are questioning the idea of being identified as their gender,” Gochenour said. “It’s the next step of feminism and identity politics.” As part of the exhibition, DarkMatter, an art performance group from New York City, will perform Friday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Bovee UC Auditorium.“DarkMatter is a trans south Asian performance art duo,” Gochenour said. “They do something similar to a poetry slam. Some of their stuff is kind of angry. It’s about racism and gender issues. They’re critical of the gay movement being so white male.” Perhaps if any of our loyal readers of Transgender Forum and this column live in or near the Michigan area, they may be able to attend the show and report back to us on what they saw.

In the ever-changing world of comics, according to the website Mashable, The Oct. 28 issue of Batgirl celebrates the wedding of Batgirl’s best friend: a transgender woman named Alysia Yeoh. Alysia has been with the Batgirl comics for years; her appearance marked the first instance of a transgender character in a mainstream comic book series. Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, joins the bridal party for Alysia and Jo, who began dating in 2014. Batwoman received media attention in 2013 when two of its writers left DC, after the publisher refused to depict a lesbian wedding between Batwoman and policewoman Maggie Sawyer. DC has since amped up its LGBT roster, with the openly gay Midnighter, bisexual heroes Constantine and Catwoman, and a lesbian wedding officiated by Wonder Woman. Who knew there were so many LGBT happenings in the world of comics. I may have to pick up a few issues at my local comic book shop. I know of one in Berkeley I just visited. I am sure they could direct me. If you are a fan of comics, take a gander.

From the film Southern Comfort.

From the film Southern Comfort.

Finally, a new musical based on the famous transgender documentary Southern Comfort is putting out a call for transgender performers to appear in the production. Based on Kate Davis’ 2001 documentary, Southern Comfort centers on a group of transgender friends in Georgia. The Public Theater — the influential downtown institution that has recently provided the launchpad for Hamilton and Fun Home, as well as the Broadway-bound production of Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong’o — has added the transgender-themed musical Southern Comfort to its 2015-16 season. The production, which has been staged before in 2011 in New York and Pittsfield, Mass, features bluegrass-infused music by Julianna Wick Davis. The show is scheduled for previews on February 23 leading up to the opening on March 7, 2016.

I hope that was enough nuts and bolts to keep you going for another month. Remember, the holiday movie season is heating up in November. Later this month look for The Danish Girl, a film starring cis actor Eddie Redmayne as the world’s first trans woman to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Oscar buzz is in the air for that movie FYI. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

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Category: Fun & Entertainment, Media, Music

Amanda F. Steele

About Amanda F. Steele: I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 4 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved here to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. The adventure continues...

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