Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Twisted Memory Play for a Dying Art

Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch. Rouge Artists Ensemble. 5/25/07.

It cannot be denied that the Rogue Artists do weird and fascinating work. The dark storytelling of Neil Gaiman and the scary collage aesthetic of Dave McKean are a perfect match for their skillful puppet and mask work. As a result, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch was a strange and twisted piece of theater suffused with nostalgia for a nearly lost art form.

Though the production used most of the text directly from Gaiman and McKean's graphic novel, some of the plot was rather unclear (in a way that it is more clear in the graphic novel), but the intertwinging of a strange personal history with the story of Punch and Judy shows communicated the general point even if some of the details were fuzzy. The idea of coming to terms with memories by creating puppet plays in your head suffused the piece with an odd sense of dream reality that explained when ideas were unclear.

What is remarkable about this particular project, however, is not the storytelling where something may have been lost in adaptation. Instead, the craftsmanship and artistry of the troupe, and particularly Director Sean T. Cawelti, Puppet Designer Joyce Hutter, and Mask Designer Pat Rubio, deserve recognition. The integration of puppets, masks, shadow work, and video made this performance a facinating collage of forms and styles. They captured the stange, dark atmosphere of the piece beautifully.

The show itself dragged in the second act, and there were bits that were weird and confusing in the storytelling, but in general I enjoyed this piece very much and resolved to keep abreast of future Rogue Artists productions. Their work leaves me with the impression that eventually they will do something absolutely transcendent, even if this wasn't necessarily that piece.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Trans Events at LA Pride: Info BBQ

Join us this Sunday for a pre-Pride/Memorial Day Weekend Celebration. It will be a fun afternoon of friends and food. Also it will be an opportunity to learn about Transcend's transgender events at LA Pride, how you can help, and how to earn free tickets to the festival. Food and drinks will be provided (veggie food too!).


Sunday May 27th, 2-5pm
West Hollywood Park
647 N. San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Check out the website:

Monday, May 21, 2007

In defense of Pride

I spent yesterday at Long Beach Pride. When, a few days before the event, I asked a very cute friend of mine if she was going down to Long Beach for Pride, her response was "I don't have to pay to be gay," which I found fascinating. It immediately put me on the defensive, even though I agree with her in some ways. Pride events are ridiculously overpriced. Long Beach Pride cost $20 to get in the door, and many people I know attended Saturday night (the Indigo Girls performed, which would have been amazing to see) as well as Sunday, which would be $40 even before the insanely overpriced food and drinks get factored in. That's a lot of money. Of course, I spent Saturday night at a house party with friends of mine, which didn't cost me anything, though I did buy a sixpack of beer as a contribution that I then forgot about and left in my car, so I suppose if I had been on top of things it would have cost me $8. I went down to the Parade on Sunday morning, which cost me $1 to take the bus back to the house I was staying at after the parade because it was a decent walk and my feet hurt. If I had left it at that, Pride would have been a very inexpensive bit of entertainment in all. Of course, I didn't. I went into the pride festival, which was fairly unimpressive in terms of booths and available information. I didn't really see anything I wanted to buy or organizations I wanted to join. The crowd, however, was fabulous, and that was, of course, why I was there.

It was by no means my first gay pride event, but it was the first time I went down to Long Beach and I find it fascinating how different regional pride events can be. I was impressed by the vibrancy and diversity of the crowd at Long Beach Pride, particularly at the wide range of lesbians and queer women I spotted. At LA Pride, which I have attended a couple of times in the past, the crowd seems heavily weighted toward gay men. Often young, clean, muscular gay men. If there are lesbians, they tend to be older, often LA Power Lesbian types or lipstick lesbians in femme-femme couples. There are a few cute butch ones, but almost always in couples holding hands or making out with femmey girlfriends. Not that there's anything wrong with that; if I had a cute butch girlfriend, I'd spend all of Pride holding hands and making out with her, too. The revelation for me at Long Beach Pride was the sheer number of people I found cute. There were more than just a few butch girls with girlfriends - there was a huge range of diversity in lesbians in terms of color, type, and gender presentation. There were more than just a few people my own age. There were more than just a few people I would flirt with or date (if I were good at talking to strangers). There were cute girls everywhere. And there were butch-femme couples, butch-butch couples, and roving packs of all sorts of queer females in which I wasn't sure who was with whom. I enjoyed spotting cute girls all day, and was reminded that there really are people in this world, even in (or near) LA, that I would gladly date - if only I knew how to meet them. Of course, I didn't manage to actually meet any cute girls at Pride (except a couple of baby dykes that my drag queen friend befriended). Plus, I somehow managed to get hit on by a straight man (one of the security guards), which I find ironic at gay pride. But, in general, my hope for the universe was marginally restored. There are cute girls out there, and I will meet them someday. Which, in existential terms, is rather worth my $20. It is weird to pay just to be allowed in the gates to see all the other queer folks out there, especially since I really only talk to the ones I already know (and those who wanted to take a picture with the fabulous blue-haired drag queen I was standing next to). And especially since, even at gay pride, I couldn't manage to be seen as gay (hence straight man hitting on me). But sometimes it is good just to see what's out there and that you're not alone, and that's what Pride achieves.

I look forward to LA Pride, where I'll be helping out with the newly instituted Transgender Pride events at LA Pride entitled Transcend: Yield for Gender Liberation. It will be a very different Pride experience, but it should be a great time. We're putting together a couple of pretty awesome shows.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Where will you be May 12th?

I don't know what's so exciting about May 12th, but I have approximately 1,000 things scheduled for that day. While I can't find even a single exciting queer event scheduled for May 13th or 14th to recommend to Katz, the 12th is triple booked. My day begins with a fabulous birthday party of which I will only manage to attend the very beginning. Then it's off to Trans/giving, which is always a fabulous show and everyone out there reading this should attend. I don't know much about any of the performers, so I look forward to learning a lot. Here's the info:


Join Us for an Extravaganza!
!Trans/Giving! an L.A. showcase of art, music, performance, and literature from trans*, genderqueer, and intersex artists

May 12th at 6:00pm

at Great Hall in Plummer Park
1200 N. Vista St.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

With performances by:
Wanetta Renay -music and comedy
Maddy Deutch -performance
Jennifer -spoken word
Kalil Cohen -hip hop
Rubi Rodriguez -drag
Kale Likover -performance

and visual art by:
Drian -painting and collage
Kalil Cohen -photography
Leaf -phototography
Matt Nishi -comics
Debra Kate -photography

On the same night there happens to be a benefit performance by Alec Mapa:
Bootleg (Los Angeles, CA)
Proudly Presents a Benefit Performance of...
An Evening with Alec Mapa
May 12, 2007

Come spend an uproarious evening of comedy with America's Gaysian Sweetheart! ALEC MAPA, the GLAAD award winning star of "Desperate Housewives" and LOGO's "Wisecrack!", returns to the LA stage in an all new solo show where he hilariously expounds on his recent marriage, the joys of same sex gift registry, the perils of exotic Filipino Cuisine, and the heartwarming sight of the Bush administration in flames!

AN EVENING WITH ALEC MAPA has played to sold out houses at the Renberg Theater and will be playing at the Bootleg for ONE NIGHT ONLY.

Saturday, May 12 @ 8pm To reserve tickets call (213)389-3856

All proceeds to Benefit Steve Roche and Kirk Wilson, celebrating Steve's remission from cancer!!!

Of course, I'm a little suspicious of any event where they call it a benefit and don't actually tell you the ticket price, but Alec Mapa is a fabulous, hilarious performer so it should be a good show. I'll be at Trans/giving, however.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Jockstraps and Unicorns

Katz of Athens Boys Choir has a new CD out, Jockstraps and Unicorns, which you can purchase at CD Baby or on iTunes. I've ordered mine, and I'll let you know what I think once it arrives. In the meantime, he's announcing tour dates to promote the CD. Those of you in SF take note! Sadly, there's once again nothing taking place in LA. What's that about? Katz says he couldn't hook up with a relevant venue or event. Which is dumb. There must be something out here. He says he could be here May 13th and 14th, which are a Sunday and Monday, not the best days, but surely someone could work something out. So if you have any good connections or ideas for Katz, get in touch with him on myspace. I'd be seriously happy if someone could remedy the skipping LA syndrome.

Here are the announced tour dates:

Saturday * May 5, 2007
Northampton, MA * Northampton Pride
Lampron Park
Katz will emcee entire event as well as a performance

Sunday * May 6, 2007
Philadelphia, PA
LAVA – west Philly
4134 Lancaster Ave
7: 30 pm
with Maple Rabbit and Natalie Joy

Monday * May 7, 2007
Manchester, CT
Manchester Community College
Fireside Comons
All day talks – performance at 3pm

Tuesday * May 8, 2007
Portland, ME
North Star Café
225 Congress St
Portland Slam – Open Mic

Thursday * May 10, 2007
Brooklyn, NY
Galapagos Art Space (this is an early show)
70 North 6th Street
7:30 – 9:30
with Lot Six and Chavisa Woods

Friday * May 11, 2007
Washington, DC
Phase One
525 8th st. SE
with Lot Six

Wednesday * May, 16 2007
Eugene, OR
University of Oregon

5/17 * Oakland, CA * CSU East Bay * 2pm

Thursday * May 17, 2007
Oakland, CA
House Show:
Where: Rocking Chair Compound; 826 Arlington (Off of MLK), Oakland
with imogen binnie and brescia bloodbeard
$3-10 suggested donations, no one turned away
7:30 pm

Friday * May 18, 2007
San Francisco, CA
Femina Potens
Located at 465 S. Van Ness SF,CA 94114 one block from the 16th st Bart Station.

Wednesday * May 23, 2007
Asheville, NC
Joli Rouge
130 College St.
with One hands Hold The Other