Apr 21, 2006

On the Road from Austin

A convergence of events leads me to write, finally: today I saw a comic strip where the character said "I'd hate to have you waste perfectly good blog material by actually talking"; I am also in Austin, a city totally un-wired, that is, wireless. Free. For everyone. So I have no excuse.

I'm here to "network", in the least icky way possible, with the fabulous Drag Kings and other performer types. Today marks the 4th anniversary of Kings N Things, Austin's premier drag troup. Check em out at www.kingsnthings.org. I'm stoked to see what these boys have to offer, having just had my mind blown last night by the small but excellent Alamo Kings troupe in San Antonio. They performed with a larger group of "female impressionists", as their godmother, Erica Andrews, called them. (See her at www.simplyerica.com). I'll compare and contrast later tonight, after I see what these Austin Kings get up to. Ah, sweet antici





pation.

I'm here in the state of my birth to do my very first pro-theater show (in Texas), presented by Jump-Start Performance Company. I met the fabulous Steve Bailey, superb S.T. Shimi, and most holy Lisa Suarez in 2003 at the Alternate Roots Annual Conference. I performed "Underground Transit" for them, and we've been trying to figure out a way to collaborate ever since. Finally, the National Performance Network supported us in that endeavor. Hooray!

This week I've been meeting with local area folks, spreading the word about my performance ("Debutante Balls," May 26th & 27th), and trying to build up interest in the "Words Can't Describe" event we'll be hosting as part of my residency. I want to work with San Antonio gender performers of any stripe (but especially FTM/drag-king types, since the community here has little visbility), and we're hoping to make it a community-building effort for Houston-Austin-San Anontio regional performers (and activists...but those lines are so often so cross-hatched...). Yay space! Yay support! Yay gender! Yay politics as aesthetics and aesthetics as politics!!!

Ahem. I just hope that folks will come out and play...and then keep on keepin' on together.

I'm doing basically the same work in the very different community-locale of Seattle, WA, presented by the Pat Graney Company. That'll be May 17th and 19th at Richard Hugo House.

Here's the second part, at both venues, that I'm very excited about:

"Scott Turner Schofield | National Performance Network Residency | Trans-Ally Community Forum

Who: Transgender people of any identity or orientation (eg, people who in any form of language or philosophy identify with the word/concept/identity “Transgender”); People who share community with Transgender people; Allies to Transgender people; People who want to learn more.

What: The Trans-Ally Community Forum is a forum that privileges storytelling over rhetoric, and everyday issues over philosophical questions of identity. A diverse panel will be invited to tell short stories about their lives as transgender people, friends, family, lovers, allies, onlookers and bystanders to transgender communities in [$town$]. This will serve as a model for how the rest of the dialog will take place: participants (not the panelists) will then share their own short stories so that everyone in attendance will take home an idea of the realities of our intersecting communities, here and now.

This forum does not allow critique—no rhetoric, theory, or “calling out” of any “isms” that may be inherent in a person's story. Will will listen radically to one another, and listen to our own internal responses. In so doing, we will see where we stand, understand our issues and, hopefully, each others' intents. We can take this knowledge into further community work outside of this conversation, but here, we tell our stories, and listen to one another.

Why: Too often, communities get caught up in and divided by our own identities and our expression of them. Further, language and access to rhetoric defining what is or is not acceptable to progressive and/or “subversive” communities silences us, for fear we will offend or show ourselves up as imperfectly defined and/or executed. Sometimes, we need to just be who we are, think what we think, find community, and learn without fear of alienating others/isolating ourselves. Sometimes, we just need to take our own pulse, and listen to those of the people around us. The Trans-Ally Community Forum seeks to model a way of doing this, aims to create a space where, for just two hours, we can be individuals in community who are, or care about, or want to learn more about Transgender people. "


I feel like this event is a coalescing of so much thought and desire for action on my part. It's about storytelling; it's about being who you really are, imperfectly, in the community where you live; it's about listening and really hearing, without letting whatever axe you have to grind dull your empathy or your progressive learning. I hope that the people who end up participating will be able to work with that intention.

I have been so frustrated, lately, by people who would rather find the oppression in every sentence than the liberation in the expression of an ideal. Easy for this straight white guy to say, right? Except that I notice it more now that I'm a straight white guy who looks like all of those things. I'm still a radical feminist. I'm still the same person who was moved and educated and inspired to action by class-conscious, anti-racist, pro-choice queer nationalists (well...not all in the same person, but you get what I mean...). I'm fully aware that I need to be vigilant around the privileges suddenly being handed to me...but that's the thing. I know. And too many folks I meet these days don't trust that I know, because of the way my gender and race fit together now. It's a peculiar form of prejudice--one that I know I too have committed against white straight men in my life (before I became one). The downside to transition, eh? Hm.

Off now to see D'Lo perform "Ramble-Ations": A One D'Lo Show, at ALLGO -- the country's only statewide queer people of color organization (www.allgo.org). Again with the excited anticipation!

1 comment:

Lisa Carter said...

It is really informative and helpful for the people. Drag Troup