Trans Media Arts — Trans People in the Arts

| Mar 13, 2017

March is here! Time for Wearin’ o’ the Green, Noreasters, and springing forward. So whether you are stuck inside looking at 22 inches of snow or basking in the Florida or California sun, please promptly peruse the preposterously perfect column highlighting transgender folks like us doing their thang in showbiz that is . . . TMAC. (psst . . . that’s Trans Media Arts Column) 

Virginia West

An acclaimed new documentary is putting the drag kings, drag queens and transgender performers of Columbus, Ohio in the national spotlight. Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens, which opened in select theaters March 3. In it, the documentary’s subjects explain the challenges of navigating queer nightlife in the Buckeye State. “Being embraced by straight people has not only challenged their viewpoints, but it’s also challenged ours,” one man says. Columbus boasts a trans and queer-friendly reputation. The city ranked 15th in a 2015 Gallup poll in regard to U.S. cities with the highest LGBTQ populations. Directed by Gabrielle Burton Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens took Burton six years to complete. “I wanted it to only be in the voice of the performers,” the director, who opted against using a narrator, said. “I wanted to capture the diversity in the performances and experiences of people here.”

Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens opened in New York and Columbus, Ohio on March 3. In addition, the film will be available on iTunes and other streaming platforms March 7. 

The character Hannah.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., my beloved hometown, an opera entitled As One by composer Laura Kaminsky with Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed hit the stage. The piece, first premiered in 2014, follows the journey of a transgender character named Hannah as she comes to terms with her identity. Presented by the Pittsburgh Opera’s Second Stage, As One, while not an elaborate production, is a very moving work written for two voices, a baritone and a mezzo-soprano, with a string quartet. It is a personal work, and it is best experienced in an intimate space like the studio at Pittsburgh Opera’s headquarters. It is also worth noting that As One is the first opera by a female composer that the company has ever produced. Bravo to Pittsburgh!

Laverne Cox made history as the first trans actress cast as a trans main character in CBS’s legal drama Doubt. (Canceled after two episodes.) For her next project, it looks like she’ll blaze another trail by playing a role not written with a trans character in mind. On Tuesday, ABC announced she will be the co-lead on The Trustee a female buddy cop pilot from Warner Brothers TV, and Elizabeth Banks and Max Handleman’s company, Brownstone Productions. She’ll play Amanda Jones, a brash ex-con finishing out her prison sentence by doing menial tasks for the police department. Co-lead Meaghan Rath plays her counterpart, Eliza Radley.

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner will give another tell-all TV interview next month. The I Am Cait star plans to celebrate the two-year anniversary of her sensational chat with ABC anchor Diane Sawyer — in which she revealed her plans to say goodbye to her former identity of Bruce and undergo a gender transition — with another sit-down talk because she has changed so much over the last few years. She states that it is hard to believe two years have passed already.

MCC Theater in New York City is conducting a casting search for transgender and gender non-conforming performers, as it prepares for the newly announced first show of its 2017-18 Season: the NYC premiere of Charm, a play by Chicago-based, Jefferson Award-winning playwright Philip Dawkins to be directed by Helen Hayes Award winner Will Davis, a transgender artist. Charm will officially open MCC’s 2017-18 Season in Fall 2017, and will be performed at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Complete dates and additional info will be announced at a later date

In books, a cool new entry by author April Daniels hit the shelves. If you like superheroes (who doesn’t) and magical male to female transformations, this is the book for you. It will be the first book in a new series. According to the description of Dreadnought: Nemesis, Book One Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.
It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. The book is inexpensively priced on amazon.com.

Stay tuned next month for my review of the book by our own Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! controversially entitled Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, and hopefully a review of ABC’s When We Rise, now on OnDemand. Bye for now!

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Category: Community News, Fun & Entertainment, Media

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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