Posted By Sandra Alland

Last night I went to hear visual artist and activist Del Lagrace Volcano speak about gender, and intersex history, culture & art, at GoMA (a co-production with the Glasgay Festival). The talk was superb, and I urge you to check out Del's work. Sadly, as Del himself pointed out, the evening would have been better attended had GoMA not removed the information from its website in order to avoid controversy. I think it's downright shameful not to promote aspects of the Sh[OUT] LGBTI program -- that GoMA itself planned and commissioned -- because of worry about the reactions of tabloid newspapers and fundamentalists.

This is Del's general artist statement: "As a gender variant visual artist I access 'technologies of gender' in order to amplify rather than erase the hermaphroditic traces of my body. I name myself. A gender abolitionist. A part time gender terrorist. An intentional mutation and intersex by design, (as opposed to diagnosis), in order to distinguish my journey from the thousands of intersex individuals who have had their 'ambiguous' bodies mutilated and disfigured in a misguided attempt at 'normalization'. I believe in crossing the line as many times as it takes to build a bridge we can all walk across." It really is about time the world woke up and recognised that there are more than two genders out there, and (as Del pointed out), that most of us do not actually know what gender we belong to even in the supposedly scientific way (i.e. Have any of you had your chromosomes tested?)

In less important and revolutionary news, I finally took my friend N's advice and started watching True Blood, that American vampire tv show. I've always had a thing for vampire art (and also some less-than-brilliant vampire movies), so I thought I might vaguely dig it. But it's actually really exceptional for a tv show! The characters are interesting, and the idea of good and evil is complexly presented. Fascinating echoes of both black and gay liberation movements are constantly present because of the plot around vampires "coming out of the coffin" and demanding equal rights. Also vampires will screw anyone, they are so open-minded ;-) But I think perhaps what I like best (apart from the sex, blood and gore haha) is the fact that for once an American television show is not set in New York, Chicago or LA. It's set in the south, in Louisiana. It's refreshing to see the south depicted, and not just as a place full of rednecks (haha, rednecks! Vampires. Red necks. Ha.) Two of the main characters are a supersmart black woman and a supersexy out black gay man, and there are also several strong, intelligent white women (as well as ongoing comments about class). I think the show does much to counterract the ridiculous depiction of the south as being full of nothing but uneducated, right-wing fundamentalists.

Oh, and a quick update on ongoing entertainment on the Subcity reviews forum (see my last two posts)... quite fascinating that many of the nasty comments -- about Zorras being sadly unknown on the internet and deservedly linked with Spanish porn, about it not being racist to be bored by foreign languages, and about whether we "even know what misogyny means" -- have been mysteriously removed from the forum. And replaced by people writing very calmly (and supposedly objectively, ha) about how both Y and I are good on our own, but our fusion just doesn't "meld." And how accusations of racism are "unfair." Again, I don't think this is a superbly important debate (mainly because I don't think these guys are interested in listening), but I thought I'd let you know just for the record, so my earlier comments don't sound out of proportion.

Posted By Sandra Alland

Last night I rented Ari Folman's stunning and shattering Waltz With Bashir, an animated documentary about the devastation of the 1982 Lebanon War. It's one of the best films I've seen in a long while, though it left me drained. An Israeli soldier suddenly regains his memory after 20 years and has to come to terms with a devastation he helped bring about. The film is a rare glimpse into the confusion and ignorance of young soldiers sent into battle without the slightest clue of who they are trying to kill or why.

In other news, this Thursday 9 April, Zorras play Muse-Ic at The Bongo Club with Ex-Men and Shell-Suit Massacre. It should be a swell night of spoken word bands. Only £5/4, starts at 9pm.

Friday at 8pm is the launch of the latest issue of Lock Up Your Daughters in Glasgow, a great wee zine of queer women's stuff. There's an interview with Zorras in this issue, too! The Flying Duck, 142 Renfield Street.

In still other news, I saw a short theatre piece collated and directed by Stef Smith, Breaking Binary. It was part of Queen Margaret University's presentations, and explored gender variance and transsexuality through several monologues by various writers. A very brave piece to do in Edinburgh, kudos to Smith for that! The piece was visually quite stunning -- different images were created using plastic wrap to divide the space (and performers), and the audience sat on all four sides of the stage. Some of it was bit heady and didactic -- it was hard to know who the intended audience was... I think this a wonderful introduction for non-genderqueers or people not aware of the issues, but perhaps slightly preaching to the converted otherwise. Also it was occasionally confusing in terms of who was talking and when we were listening to a new character -- though I personally love pieces that are not 100% clear and spelled out, this can be problematic with issue-based work if the director wants to say something specific. Overall the piece featured good performers, fairly solid writing, and imaginative direction!






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