Greetings from Boulder, CO where it has been delicously warm and sunny, unlike back home in Pennsylvania, where my husband, Glen Retief, a South African, freezes his bits off during an Artic blast.
I just attended the massive Creating Change conference in Denver with 4,000 earnest LGBTQ activists. As an introvert, an event like Creating Change feels like an Xtreme Sport to me. Thanks to help from my friends (Abby, Keisha, Michael, Jakob, Sharon, Zack) I got through alright.
As the title above announces, there are big changes ahead for me and my performance work. Since fall 2007, right before I retired my Homo No Mo ex-gay comedy, I premiered, Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible. In it I look at the stories and lives of gender and sexual minorities in the Bible. The play morphed into a performance lecture that I will perform later this week at Iliff School of Theology.
But over the past five years much has changed. These days there are so many folks with transgender experiences going to seminary. I’m thrill to see so many young trans scholars, clergy, and activists available to speak to the public. Also, I feel led to add a new issue to the list of topics that move me to performance art.
So, this May I will begin work on a film version of Transfigurations. Out of the blue I got funding for this project, and together with Alex Skiltolsky, we are going to create an artful and beautiful film version of the performance lecture. Hopefully I can even include a study guide for groups that want to go deeper with the stories.
In the fall I will officially retire Transfigurations and no longer perform it. This is important for at least three reasons.
- I can move aside so those places that invite me to present Transfigurations can insteaad host trans Bible scholars and storytellers. Of course if there is a trans character actor who has the theater chops to perform Transfigurations, I will be happy to talk about others presenting the work
- As an artist, I need to move on so that I can challenge myself and my audience. If I hadn’t retired Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House way back in 2008, I imagine I would still be performing it, which would have inhibited the creation of new work.
- Climate Change has made an impact in my life. I see it as the queerest issue of them all, one that brings under its shadow all of the human rights and social justice work that we d0–homelessness, police brutality, women’s reproductive rights, etc.
In the latest episode of Climate Stew, my weekly cheeky podcast, I explain my own transition to climate work. It is not that I am leaving behind the issues that have moved me in the past (gay reparative therapy, justice for trans people) rather these will get incorporated and expanded on through the lens of climate change.
As always I will seek to provide skillful, insightful, and downright silly performance work. My relationship with you, my audience member, is a vital one. I invite you to join me on this next leg of the journey.