To defy gender norms and standards of aesthetic acceptability in the public sphere is to be subject to the watchful eye of a skittishly uncomfortable society, forever shaming and policing those who do not conform to its expectations of beauty or gender presentation. For most trans* and gender non-conforming folk, this hawk-like regulation occurs most often in spaces of travel, while performing the rituals of airport security or attempting relief in a public bathroom. What results is often confusion, harassment, or violence, making the inconveniences of travel far more dangerous and unpredictable. Hence WANDERLUST – a tantalizing adventure into the world of travel. This queer strip show seeks to transform nightmarish experiences into fun and sexy fantasies.
As a trans* identified artist, designer, and documentarian, von Bex* came up with the WANDERLUST project while reflecting personal experiences as an international nomad. “I’m trans-identified, genderqueer in appearance most often, and that means that there’s usually some ridiculousness when it comes to deciding who should pat me down,” said von Bex*.“One time I was patted down by an agent I considered pretty hot, and I thought, ‘what if there could be a fantasy TSA experience? That was sexy instead of annoying/scary/embarrassing?”
The show will feature sexy and humorous interpretations of the typical travel experience that seek to both empower the viewer and neutralize otherwise oppressive and embarrassing experiences. It will also avoid reopening painful wounds, choosing to not necessarily re-enact typically frightening or anxiety-inducing situations but offer an alternative to the norm -even if it’s one that only exists on stage for a single magical evening.
The cast is a multicultural, multi-gendered mix of artists, authors, dancers, drag and burlesque performers, and activists from all over the United States who each draw from their own experiences to contribute to the idea of a different, more exciting world of travel. Each cast member comes from diverse backgrounds and talents, from circus aerialist and massage therapist Marshall Jarreau, who reached the finals in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance, to burlesque dancer Kristina Weena, who is a founding member of the award-winning queer drag and burlesque troupe Liberty City Kings (LiCK).
The cast members were selected based on their skills and history of social justice work. “They are all very skilled at what they do (along with being incredibly sexy), and I hope that this production uplifts them in a way that they can bring to the audience,” stated von Bex*.
The show is set to open in the San Francisco Bay Area in June 2014 and is currently fundraising through an Indiegogo campaign. The goal is to raise $9,700 to cover the cost of travel expenses, venue and set up fees, and performance materials. Donors get a range of gifts for each cost bracket, from free tickets and custom leather luggage tags for a $10 donation to Producer credit, a special massage from Jarreau, champagne and a meet and greet with cast members, and much more for a $1500 donation.
Watch a preview of the show.
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This post was written by Point Alumnus Erika Turner.
|About Point Alum Paul von Bex*|
|bex* is a trans-identified independent documentary filmmaker and visual artist with degrees in Visual Anthropology and Film & Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.Born and raised in Seattle, they took an early interest in video production, and placed 2nd and 3rd for the 2001 Northwest Council for Computer Education (NCCE) Conference. Since then, bex* has had films shown at numerous festivals, including Black Lily Film & Music Festival, Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, and the Diamond Screen Film Festival. In 2010 bex*’s papercut animation won Best Animation at Diamond Screen. bex* is a 2006 alum of Point Foundation, the nation’s only multi-year scholarship program for LGBT students. bex* is also a 2009 Leeway Foundation Transformation Award recipient.|