June

20

Interview with Amos Mac

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Amos Mac is the co-founder (along with Rocco Kayiatos) of the FTM trans quarterly Original Plumbing. He and Rocco also have mad genius for putting together some of the most interesting, most fun queer events on either side of the Mississippi. Their next event, A Spot of T, kicks off San Francisco Pride in spectacular homo style this Thursday, June 24th.

Lissa Doty: So, tell me about your event on Thursday.

Amos Mac: It’s the first Trans Male Cabaret! There will be performance art, film, visual slide shows, readings, hip hop…Rocco and I really wanted to showcase a wide variety of artistic talents within the FTM community from across the country. Although most of the performers are Bay Area based, we were excited to get some guys from other parts of the US as well (NYC, PDX).

LD: It’s a great idea, and given the relatively large trans community here in SF, it’s kind of astonishing that it hasn’t happened before now.

AM: After working on Original Plumbing magazine this past year, it seems like a very natural step to take (to produce shows highlighting trans artists)…

LD: Ha! I was just getting ready to ask you about that…because OP is pretty groundbreaking, and your events are a wonderful addition to queer culture. And while I don’t identify as trans, just genderqueer, it’s great to see people who look like me and you coming out in droves to your events.

AM: It’s really incredible!

LD: It’s like all the people I would see once a year at the Trans March finally have a place to go.

AM: I am always pleasantly surprised when we throw an event, especially in cities outside of San Francisco. We just had a reading in Philadelphia, a photo exhibit/magazine launch party in LA, a party in Brooklyn…the community really comes out to these events. Some people drive hours!

LD: Your New York events have been a lot of fun – the launch party for issue #2 was packed and the Mr. Transman Contest was inspiring. And it seems like you’re constantly coming up with new ideas.

AM: It’s true! So Rocco and I started Original Plumbing Productions as a way to funnel our ideas into something that goes beyond the print magazine.

LD: When you started the zine last year, did you have any idea that you’d be expanding into event producing? Or did the idea of the zine and the events come hand-in-hand?

AM: I didn’t personally think of anything other than producing the magazine for a long time. When the release parties were immediately huge, we knew that there was an audience and that people would probably appreciate things other than regular club events…

LD: Yes!

AM: Since Rocco and I are both artists, we are always talking to each other about our own individual projects outside of OP magazine. It felt very natural for us to create a space for other trans artists and [to create] events catering to people who appreciate queer art.

LD: What are you working on right now?

AM: I’m working on a video project short: it’s a chapter from Michelle Tea’s book Valencia, which is being made into a feature. (A different artist shoots each chapter with a different cast). And I’m also making a limited edition mini photo zine called Transsexual Trampoline, for Darin Klein’s “Box of Books” zine project.

LD: Love it!

AM: Have you voted for Original Plumbing for Best of the Bay Readers Poll yet? : )  “Best Local Zine” http://www.sfbg.com/bestofthebay2010

LD: When’s the last day of voting?

AM: June 23.

LD: How different is it working on the Valencia project, which involves moving pictures (i.e. video) and a storyline?

AM: Ask me next month when I’ve started it! I’ve just done a rough outline of the script and cast the lead character at this point. I have so much work to do on it in a very short period of time.

LD: Among the many thing that I love about the OP empire, is the humor that infuses your zine and your events.

AM: Thanks!

LD: And I also love that it’s so post-coming out.

AM: Well, yes, we like to interview people about their current lives, way beyond coming out stories. There are plenty of websites out there that have covered those bases for everyone.

LD: OP has generated a lot of press in both gay and straight media – some articles have been awesome (the Autostraddle interview comes to mind), and others have been borderline clueless. Have you changed in how you deal with the media (and with being interviewed) over the past year?

AM: I haven’t dealt with press any differently. You never know what to expect with an interview, and I think it’s important to talk to press about these projects. When a major publication wants to interview you about your work, it’s hard to say no to that, you know? You can only hope they’ve done some sort of homework on trans stuff before the interview and know what is disrespectful or rude to ask beforehand. If questions get too rude, I’m not afraid to tell the interviewer that. And I’ve always been very aware about speaking from my own experience only and not trying to be the mouthpiece for any community.

LD: I always hope that these mainstream articles and interviews end up reaching queers who might not know about OP, and that even if the pieces aren’t ideal in their representation, they’ll still have a positive impact…And speaking of reaching queers, is there some way people can contact you if they want to have an OP event in their town?

AM: Of course! They can email us at plumbers@originalplumbing.com

More of Amos Mac’s work can be found here. And for more extra special good times and hot queers, check out the Original Plumbing party, Unofficial, after the Trans March on Friday June 25th.

May

21

Bordello – You know you wanna go

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Photo by Tristan Crane

It’s spring, it’s Friday night, you’re all dressed up, and maybe you’d like to pick up a hottie before heading out to Flourish to dance your little buns off. Tonight’s your lucky night because Courtney Trouble is screening her latest campy porn flick Bordello at ATA and all sorts of queers, including the film’s stars, will be in attendance. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “But what about the plot?”. Murder mystery, and I’m pretty sure that the creative approach to handling suspected murder weapons wouldn’t pass muster even on CSI Miami.

For those of  you who like their entertainment live, and not just virtual, two of the film’s stars will be giving a bonus performance before the screening. And for an even more interactive evening, flirtation, note-passing and asking out the hot queer sitting next to you will be encouraged by the film’s promoters.

Courtney Trouble will be giving away fun stuff all night, and liquid courage in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms will be available.

Check out the very NSFW website for Bordello here.

ATA (992 Valencia at 21st St, SF CA 94110) hosts video screenings and performances by emerging and established artists.

May

7

Girlfriend and Julie Wolf, the interview

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In addition to having killer chops as a musician, Julie Wolf is quite possibly the nicest person you’ll ever meet. She’s currently the Musical Director for Berkeley Rep’s Girlfriend, a musical about a budding romance between two gay teens. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, you’ll also have the joy of seeing her perform with her all dyke band (Julie – rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals; Shelley Doty – lead guitar, backing vocals; Jean DuSablon – bass; ieela Grant – drums). I interviewed her on the set of Girlfriend, and we discussed how this musical is totally sweet and how Berkeley Rep is totally rad.

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This whole show is full of fabulous queers. Todd Almond wrote the musical, which was inspired by Matthew Sweet’s 1991 album Girlfriend. He’s got some serious gayboy street cred, which you can see by his mashup of Bach and Dolly Parton here. Todd also recently released a cd of his own work, Mexico City, which you can buy online or at the show.

Berkeley Rep is also a great place to see live theater. Good sightlines, and an intimate feel without being claustrophobic. They have special discount tickets for the under 30 crowd. Food and alcohol, including, yes, hard liquor (!), are available in the lobby. And in stroke of genius, you can preorder your gustatory delights before the show starts, and have them waiting for you at intermission. Check out their trailer for Girlfriend:

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Who’s who

Todd Almond, Book, Vocal Arrangements and Additional Orchestrations
Matthew Sweet, Music and Lyrics
Joe Goode, Choreographer
Les Waters, Director
David Zinn, Scenic and Costume Design
Japhy Weideman, Lighting Design
Jake Rodriguez, Sound Design
Julie Wolf, Music Director
Michael Suenkel *, Stage Manager
Mina Morita, Assistant Director

Cast (in order of appearance)

Ryder Bach, Will
Jason Hite, Mike
Tyler Costin, Understudy (for Mr. Bach and Mr. Hite)

Musicians

Julie Wolf, Rhythm Guitar / Keyboards / Backing Vocals
Shelley Doty, Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Jean DuSablon, Bass
ieela Grant, Drums

World Premiere: April 9-May 16, 2010, with a possible extension to May 23.

Berkeley Repertory Theater: 2025 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94704

April

11

Scalpel! Makes the Cut

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The skinny: Nefarious plastic surgeon plans to take over the world with his army of femmebot Stepford Wives.

Why it’s fabulous: Drag queens and Bunraku puppeteering.

Just the facts, Ma’am: Brava Theater San Francisco, CA, thru April 17, 2010, $20-35.

From the sharply executed choreography of the opening number to the witty lines of the final scenes, the energy of the Scalpel! cast is unflagging and infectious. And considering that injuries resulted in a considerable reworking of the cast since opening night, it’s all the more impressive. Leanne Borghesi in particular does a standout job as the maid Martha (she was originally cast as the reporter Kitty Kelly Brown). But the secret star of the show is Emily McGowan as the ancient, tottering Fritzy. With deadpan delivery and epic comic timing, McGowan owns the stage with her brilliantly feeble stiffness.

In the second act, the Bunraku comes into full play, with puppeteers assisting in the wonderfully choreographed fight scenes. No details here;  you’ll have to see it – and enjoy it – for yourself. But the puppeteers make possible some of the best (of the many) pop culture references in the show.

Designers: Scenic Designer – Matt McAdon; Costume Designer – Abra Berman; Choreographer – Tina Banchero; Fight Choreographer – Dave Maier; Light Designer – Cathie Anderson; Sound Designer – Sound Productions.

Cast members: David Bicha, Leanne Borghesi, Laurie Bushman, Deena Davenport, Juan De La Rosa, Mike Finn, Marilynn Fowler, Arturo Galster, Cindy Goldfield, Jordan L’Moore, Emily McGowan, Sarah Moore and Katie Rubin.

Band members: Peter Fogel, Peggy L’eggs, Christian Matthews, Jeff Mitchell and Tim Perdue.

Puppeteers: Joe Cassserly, Karla Hargrave, Thomas John, Todd Young and Phillip Sebastian.