Representing the whole lives of transgender and gender variant musicians, each story is one of a journey in progress through a first-hand perspective of the intersections between gender performance and stage performance. The feature documentary Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance will allow a venue for a particular niche of trans existence to be revealed and celebrated.
The individuals and bands featured in Riot Acts are celebrated as talented, inspiring, sexy, critical and fully three-dimensional in a manner that purposefully counters the vision of isolation and destitution frequently portrayed in mainstream media. As transpeople ourselves, the producers seek to capture trans and gender variant identities as complexly as they are embodied and performed, both on and off the stage.
Discussion highlights include songwriting, voice presentation, coping with voice changes, passing/not passing, presenting a body/bodies on stage, audiences, venues, the idea of the spectacle, societal and media representation, performing gender and notions about "drag," and the personal as political, culminating with the notion that the trans experience isn't always one of tragedy.
Whether a personal journey, a political journey, or a literal journey, the aspect of travel, through years or miles, is a binding stylistic element throughout Riot Acts. In-depth interviews are spliced carefully abed travel and performance imagery, while sequences are juxtaposed visually by the mergers of 16mm film, super 8 film, video and still photography. Furthermore, experimental uses of audio and sound as well as the complexity of the original music of the interviewees themselves, forms a truly mixed media documentary. As trans people, our bodies are nontraditional and our ideas about culture and identity are non traditional. Why shouldn't our way of making art be non traditional as well?
Featured interviewees include Anderson Toone, Lipstick Conspiracy, Katastrophe and Trannysaurus Sex (San Francisco), Basic Fix (Portland), Ryder Richardson (Seattle), Tough Tough Skin, and Venus DeMars (Minneapolis), Adhamh Roland (St. Louis), Ryka Aoki De La Cruz (Los Angeles), Jessica Xavier (Washington, DC), The Shondes and Novice Theory (Brooklyn, NY), The Degenerettes (Baltimore), Systyr Act (Boston), The Cliks (Toronto, ON), and Coyote Grace (Sonoma County, CA).
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