Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-08-23
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Drag debunked in new documentary 'Miss Gay Black America'
by Sarah Toce
2013-06-27

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Outside of RuPaul's Drag Race and various Pride celebrations, how many of us truly understand drag? Not just the hair and makeup part, but the true inner-workings of what it means to present in drag? A new documentary seeks to highlight a part of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history that is so often ignored, sometimes chided, misguided, or overlooked.

According to Indiegogo.com, Miss Gay Black America "will explore the popularity of female impersonation in African American communities and the discussion that this topic lends itself to around the ideals of femininity and masculinity." The documentary film will highlight "stories of their careers and relationships, of loved ones lost to the AIDS epidemic, and of the kindness and insurmountable talent of performer Terri Livingston. Through these interviews as well as through re-imagined scenes from Terri's adolescence, Miss Gay Black America will tell the story of a man whose sheer brilliance and incredible heart touched the lives of everyone around him, underscored by the history and evolution of the world that he found to call home."

"The goal is to raise at least $25,000 by August 1, if not more. This amount represents a very small portion of the budget that is almost half a million dollars," said director Mary Morten. "We have to do a lot of travel for this production, so road trips and cheap airfares here we come!"

Scrappy travel expenses will all aid in ensuring that future generations understand their LGBT history. Think these firsthand accounts are in books you'll read in high school? Think again.

"Storytelling is important. We learn so much by reflecting on our history," added Morten. "Unfortunately, it is clear that most of us do not have access to materials that provide personal accounts [of] what it was like in the late 70s, 80s and 90s in the gay community. What was it like to be a black gay man who performed as a woman and did so with unbelievable style and class? Terri honored the art form and treated it with a great deal of reverence. I think my role as an activist has moved to that of a documentarian. I want these stories preserved."

Preserving also means understanding...and that leads to teaching, and the circle goes round and round.

"Female impersonation, or drag, is a very important cultural phenomenon. We will definitely highlight the split about what is or what is not drag. We have every kind of image available to us from RuPaul to Tyler Perry to Flip Wilson, etc. Are men who have transitioned to living as women full-time still considered to be drag queens? It's a spectrum and we are certainly exploring it in this film," said Morten.

Morten's first feature film, Woke Up Black, was cause for discussion post-screening. It followed five black youth for two straight years - during which time filmmakers (and the audience) witnessed interactions with family members, educational institutions and the legal and judicial system. Miss Gay Black America will also be released with a discussion guide. It's a necessary step, said Morten.

"I'm looking forward to these discussions after audiences see the film and as with my first feature film - Woke Up Black. We'll produce a discussion guide since I think there will be lot to talk about."

Audiences have so far responded positively to Morten's work-in-progress.

"It has been surprising to find a very robust drag performance community in some of the most conservative cities in the country. We have been to Indianapolis four times starting last fall since this is where my brother was living when he died. People have been so kind and generous to us. I cannot do my work as a director without research and thanks to the Chris Gonzales Library and Archives and places like Talbott's and Indy Pride in Indianapolis, I have been given unfettered access," Morten exuded.

Adding, "We were the beneficiaries of a fundraiser in Indianapolis about four weeks ago during their Pride festival activities. The Bag Ladies are men - and a few women/drag kings - willing to dress in high heels and wear outrageous costumes to entertain and raise money for the Indianapolis LGBT community and beyond. They have been around for more than 30 years and started raising money at the very beginning of the AIDS epidemic. I will be forever grateful for their inaugural support."

In fact, one of the performers followed in the documentary was filmed during the Indianapolis fundraiser. Morten recalled, "About three weeks ago, while in Indianapolis, we followed a performer, Asia Labouche, who still lives as a man full-time. We filmed him all day from beginning to end as he went about his day and then transformed into this 6'5" drag queen. It was unbelievable!"

Morten's Chicago roots run deep as well. "In Chicago, my brother worked at the Baton for many years. Jim Flint, the owner, who is in the film as well as several of the current performers, remember my brother. I have not met one person who knew Terri who will not talk to me about him. That's pretty amazing!"

Chicagoans will get a first sneak peak of the trailer for Miss Gay Black America at the Black Alphabet Film Festival on July 2-3 during Black Pride events. Support the documentary and Morten's work by donating to their Indiegogo fund here: www.indiegogo.com/projects/miss-gay-black-america/x/417173 .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Business owner defends sign that mocks trans women 2017-08-23 - A Lockport business owner said that his sign mocking transgender individuals was intended as "satire," Herald-News reported Aug. 16. The sign, which said, ...


Gay News

Davis to start work with Sierra Club 2017-08-23 - Transgender-rights advocate Precious Davis is leaving Columbia College after three years to work for the environmental agency Sierra Club. In a Facebook post, ...


Gay News

National roundup: Military group, Black AIDS Institute, cruising sting 2017-08-23 - The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA )—the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families—praised the U.S. Commission on Civil ...


Gay News

Showbiz news: George Michael, Oprah, Adore Delano, Imagine Dragons 2017-08-23 - George Michael—the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who died last Christmas at 53—was honored in Los Angeles for his decades of humanitarian work with Project Angel ...


Gay News

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Condemns Trump's Proposed Transgender Military Ban 2017-08-18 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ), the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, ...


Gay News

Trans advocates discuss military ban 2017-08-16 - Officials from the Trans United Fund, an advocacy working on behalf of transgender and gender-expansive individuals and their allies, and SPART*A, an organization ...


Gay News

EI solicits pro-trans support at state fair 2017-08-16 - Equality Illinois has been in Springfield at the Illinois State Fair, which runs Aug. 10-20, seeking support from fairgoers against President Trump's proposed ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2018: GOVERNOR J.B. Pritzker talks campaign, trans cousin and state budget 2017-08-16 - J.B. Pritzker seems to be everywhere these days. The seemingly ubiquitous commercials touting his campaign as governor might be the sign of ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Declan McKenna: Breakout star on trans teens, identity 2017-08-16 - British singer Declan McKenna is heading for the big leagues and people like Adele are singing his praises. He won Glastonbury Festival's Emerging ...


Gay News

National roundup: Trans-ban responses, NYC beating, History Month Icons 2017-08-15 - The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) responded to comments made by President Donald Trump regarding the service of transgender troops and ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.