How did my burlesque show go?

It went well!  Well, actually it wasn’t flawless, but neither was it a disaster.

I did make one mistake that I won’t make again.  I made a silly choice to wear heeled boots to the club, when I should’ve gone with sneakers or something.  The parking situation was several blocks away and I had several trips to make carrying several bags, and fans, and a big hat.

So by the time I was at the club, my feet were pretty much in pain because of my poor choice of footwear.

And then there was an issue with the access from the dressing room to the stage. Basically there was a door that only came up to about my eyeballs, at the end of a 2 1/2 foot wide corridor, then down a steep staircase to the area beside and behind the stage, a normal width hallway.  All this I would have to traverse while wearing a 4 foot wide outfit with a big hat over a little hat, which basically was all stuff that I couldn’t knock off my head seconds before going on stage.

So suffice to say, I had to come up with a way of putting the largest bits of my outfit on in the hallway next to the stage, but I managed nonetheless.

I’m currently still in the process of editing a video that in no way whatsoever was shot at that club that sorta had a no-video policy.   What video? There’s no video, except the one you may or may not see that may or may not have been shot at any location.   You did not read the last sentence, I was not here.

So for now, lets just imagine what it all looks like in these wonderful photos shot by a long time photographer of the Boston nightlife, Derek Kouyoumjian .

Yes, this dress is the nicest thing I've ever made in one 24 hour period, mostly out of cloth I had squirreled away that just all matched perfectly.

 

Hey, we've seen this one before. But this time I got smart and chopped another couple in inches off the tulle ankle skirt. No more getting caught in my heels!

I'm not quite sure why they kept the video/slideshow thing running, but it does give a pretty cool effect.

 

I'm not sure, but I believe I've been photobombed by Gene Dante of Gene Dante and the Future Starlets!

Smirk.

You can sort of barely see the steampunk gears elements to this gold corset. Yes, that will be a future shoot, possibly later this month.

This routine was what I call the “Pocket History of Burlesque”, or “Brief History the Fan Dance” – I haven’t quite made up my mind yet what I ought to call it.

It’s essentially the fan dance/motorized fans performance I’ve done a few times (Montreal/L.A.), but adding the first part to it (the Victorian dress over all of it), is actually performing it as I originally envisioned it.  See, it’s the past, present and fture of the fan dance, get it?

So, I’m going to keep refining this routine, but I might also just get back to basics since I’m really a costume/crazy prop person first, performer second.  It’s a learning process, working out the bugs, seeing what you’re capable of, and seeing where things can be improved and what’s a trouble spot.  As I keep doing them my confidence grows…  I know I have a lot to learn still.

So, the things I learned from this performance?  Not to destroy your feet before a show, otherwise by the time you go on stage you’ll pretty much just want to get through the whole thing intact.

Video to follow!

(by the way, I’m editing two new solo videos for my site right now)

-Tara

Posted in Behind the Scenes, burlesque performances | 1 Comment

Backstage

Well, I’m backstage at the Paradise if you can call it that. It’s upstairs from the stage through a 32 inch wide narrows hallway and through a door that only comes up to my eyebrows!

Uh oh. I’m not fitting through there in this

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So I’ve had to resort to trying to devise a little staging area immediately backstage in the hallway where I can put on the fans that hang off the back and the big Victorian dress and hat that goes over it..

Yikes!

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This should be fun .,, I go on in 45 minutes, theoretically …

Tara

Posted in Behind the Scenes, burlesque performances | Leave a comment

My Fan dance burlesque – Part deux..

So I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be performing my “Brief History of the Fan Dance” burlesque routine at the ManRay Reunion Part Deux event April 12th at the Paradise Rock club in Boston.

Quoth their event page:

This is an official gathering with former ManRay Head Resident DJ Chris Ewen, Bartenders Extraordinaire Terri (Teresa Niedzwiecki) and DAISY (!!!), your Hostess Xtine, Mistress of Ceremonies Latex Lily and The Delicious Dancers.
Performances by:
••Tara Emory!!
••Ms. Fire Island 2013-14 Zola!!
••a Hubba-Hubba Fashion Show!!
••Jøhnny Evîl, Isobel Valo, & Xtine!!
& some Surprises!!

Facebook Event Page

Purchase tickets at TicketMaster

As many of you in the Boston scene might know, ManRay was the goth/fetish/club that I first went to in the mid 90′s and they were a very big part of my coming out to the world as trans and well, glamourously fetishy! And while they closed down in 2005, they’ve had a few gatherings like these over the years.

And this year I’m happy to say that I’m a big part of it, and not just walking around the crowd. I’ll be bringing my fan dance performance (performed in Montreal, Boston and LA) and hopefully stepping it up a notch this time!
Any of you who have seen some of the videos of this show, (as performed at the Tranny Awards 2013). may or may not be aware that there was originally supposed to be more to it. As the fan dance is currently performed, it represents the “present” (the outfit above) , and then the “future” (below).


Well, truth be told, there was supposed to be another part to it, represnting “the past”, that being a large Victorian dress over that red outfit (which is also over the gold outfit). Of course, over two outfits mean that I won’t be able to move much, but part of the humor of the performance is that the Victorian idea of “stripping” consists of showing some ankle and taking off some gloves…
So I’m going to try to make a stab at actually pulling off the first bit, which I never had done before. I’ve already re-edited the music track and fixed some pacing problems I had with it.

And tomorrow will be making the Victorian dress to go over all this, and rehearsing my heart out between tomorrow and Saturday evening. It will either be a spectacular success, or a spectacular failure, but either way hopefully it will be spectacular!

-Tara

P.S. As of 6 pm today, here’s the Victorian dress so far. Right now its a little baggy since it has to be over 2 other layers but tonight ill be making a big hat and finishing this.

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, burlesque performances, My life | 2 Comments

My end of March shoot – “Class and Distinction”

This is my Polymorphe Red and Black marbled latex sorta suit.  Just tweaked a bit better and pushed a little further.  And I didn’t know what to call the shoot, so I sorta just went with the working title I was thinking, though honestly the title doesn’t make much sense.

I only shot ninety-something shots, which wasn’t quite enough, so went back into the studio to do another 120 or so.  The total amount in the set is 181 pictures, just went up on my member’s area of course.  And though I might later on change the name of the shoot, it was one of those sorts of things where I knew if I agonized over picking another name, I’d be here for a few more days before releasing it – and I really needed to get the shoot out now.

And if you’re wondering – Yes, it is real.  And yes, I know.  But it’s about 50 years old.  It’s quite clearly vintage, you’ll probably not see another one like that.  I mean the fur coat, silly.

-Tara

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Furs, Latex, New shoot! | 3 Comments

I’m a kinky, pervy, multi-faceted cosplaying porn star.. that just happens to be transgender.

Uh oh, here comes the floodwaters as the dam bursts and I talk a bit about my own experiences, and where I fit in with regards to transgender activism and all that.

Let me put it this way.  Anything a cisgendered woman can do, so can a transgendered woman.

I see a lot of younger transwomen throw shade on those who wear wigs.  It’s to the point where the term “wig wearer” is synonymous with cross dressing, with the obvious implication that underneath that wig, the person must be sporting a hairstyle so masculine it makes Guile from the video game Street Fighter look like a long haired hippy.

Yo? Who you calling a pansy? I'll hit A and C twelve times in a row and bust your ass..

I freely admit that I wear wigs for my shoots.   What? You thought that purple hair was my own?  It’s not that we haven’t seen my natural hair, its just that if your career takes you into color coordinated costumes and you’re playing what is essentially a zillion different characters, then yes, you’re gonna switch it up.  And in showbiz and burlesque, I know plenty of cis women who wear wigs all the time for dressing up.  It doesn’t mean that they’re cross dressers (which I’ve had some people try to mis-label me as).

One can properly be labelled a cross dresser if they go back to that other gender expression when the clothes come off.  Since I’ve posed naked a lot and still appear female, then that’s not applicable.  Hey, I’m not dressed, right?  And not going back to any sort of boy life, hence no application of the “cross” part either.

And it’s not like you’ve never seen my natural hair- you have.  But it’s a lot of work and it would make every shoot look the same.  Thats not what I do.  I play lots of different characters, yet I seem to attract a lot of crossdressing and “sissy” fans.

Eh, yeah, that’s OK.  I’ll be honest, I don’t care who you are as long as you still love me and give me your money ;)  Yeah, I know how that sounds, but guess what, I’m trying to eek out a living as a starving artist.  Have you seen my house?

For those of you wondering, THIS is basically my natural hair, with some extensions, and of course, dyed red. Looks nice enough, but it's a lot of work. Best put- I have what you'd call "problem hair". It's no wonder I use wigs here and there. And if you have a problem with it, I'll blow your head off!


But yeah, if a cisgendered female can dress up in fetishy kinky outfits and play all sorts of larger than life characters, than so can a trans woman.

Again. my natural hair. But not my natural day to day wear.

And if a cisgendered woman can open her legs and feel sexual and kinky and so all sorts of wonderfully perverted things, then so can a transgendered woman.

My gifts and my talents are with my erotic imagination.  It’s given me an edge that I can keep my art fresh whereas other trans porn stars seem to churn out shoot after shoot looking exactly the same.  Maybe I’m just jaded but after a while that gets stale.

It’s funny.  When I started out in this business over 10 years ago, one could have a successful solo adult website based completely on just being trans.  Because that was enough to stand out.  And I admit, it was pretty much easy money back then.   I mean, it wasn’t wiping your ass with $50 bill times, but it was still decent pay for the amount of hours you’d spend investing in it.

I still recall the glory days when I had maybe a dozen or twenty photo sets on my site that had only 100 pictures per set, in glorious 640 x 480 resolution (ooh! its high res!)- and I was pulling in actually decent money.  And while I can still maintain a halfway decent income now, its tougher and tougher these days considering that I have far more content and the quality is better than it’s ever been, yet I pull in a fraction of what I used to.  As bad as it was growing up pretty poor, it did teach me to not live beyond my means.  Well, at times I have, but I have some common sense about it where I think some of my peers do not.

I don’t know if it’s oversaturation of the market or the loss of the novelty (just  being trans and naked on the internet isn’t enough any more).  My livelihood is pretty much dependent on remaining something of a novelty, and definitely a fantasy object.  But hey, there’s plenty of alternative cisgendered female models who engage in all sorts of fantasy role playing as well, so it’s not off limits for me.

So yeah.  I play a lot of different characters, and you’ll never know what you’re going to get when my next shoot pops up

And yes,  I will even use the increasingly unpopular term “shemale” in marketing my adult work, because I always thought it was a cutesy hokey term that conjured up hybrid creatures like a “mermaid” or a “unicorn” (sadly a unicorn means something else these days).  I’m totally okay with that, because I sorta miss those days when the novelty made me, well, special.  Well, I’ll use those terms until something that’s not so damn clinical comes around to replace them.

That’s the double edged sword of trans rights progress.  I’m totally for the complete integration into mainstream society of transfolk, and champion that in my day to day lifestyle, but my career persona is obviously over the top (and needs to be to stand out).

It’s funny. I do some performing and burlesque, though these days it’s more of a showcase of my costume conceptual talents, and tongue and cheek sexiness.  It’s never been “drag” and I’ve always resisted any sort of drag pigeon holing.  I’ve always rolled my eyes at drag queens.  I did not watch RuPaul’s Drag Race until last season because when it comes to trans-activism, I’m right there side by side standing in solidarity with the younger generation, who think some elements of drag hurt trans-activism.

But then I watched Drag Race last year, and discovered that I didn’t really hate those people as much as I thought I would.   In fact I started to like quite a few of the contestants.  And even more so when there was one who indentified as trans first, then a drag queen second (was that Monica Beverly Hills?).    Honestly even I didn’t think that was a possible option.

And then I realized that there was little harm in using some of those drag tricks of the trade to enhance my own art.  It’s a tough world out there for trans-folk to forge careers and make a living, you might as well use every advantage you can find.

So in conclusion- did I come to a conclusion?  Sometimes I think I’m just rambling on and on about stuff.  I guess people read what I write, and some people pay attention to me.  Geez, look what I do, of course I want people to pay attention to me.  I’m still trying to figure out if my life is even interesting enough to tell my life story.   But it’s on my mind, at least I’ll say that.  Maybe that  means I’ll blog about stuff in a non-filtered way, but at least I’m saying something.

-Tara

Posted in My life | 7 Comments

You young transgender kids have it so easy…

When I was growing up in the 70s and 80′s, there was _quite_literally_no_such_thing_ as a transgender teenager in middle or high school.

And when I mean it “didnt exist”, I’m not saying that it didn’t technically exist, I’m saying that when that sort of thing was a “known thing”, it would basically be so noteworthy that you’d have a tv spot about it on 20/20 or 60 minutes.  You know, all that “born in wrong body” crap.

It seems like there’s been an exponential increase in the visibility of tg activism in the media.  Hey, I’m all for that, and I’ll relate my experiences.  And for all that I’m quite certain that there are tg activists that think I’m the Worst Thing Ever to happen to the trans community (more on that later).

But what I want to talk about now is how people conventiently forget what life was like for anyone not conforming to heteronormative/binary/gender “norms” in the pre-internet days. In the 80′s in my suburban high school of 900 kids, I can only think of maybe one or two who were brave enough to come out as gay, the fear FOR YOUR LIFE was pretty pervasive.

ALso, I think there were 2 black kids in my whole school,and like one asian kid. Who was adopted and had a Dutch last name.

You Millenials and (whatever the next generation is past that) have it pretty damn easy in the diversity deprtment.

Oh, and there was no such thing as autism – I had never heard that term till college in the 90′s. In high school, the “special needs” kids were put in what was nicknamed “the retard room”.

Just random thoughts as I assemble more ideas and topics for my memoirs.

-Tara

 

Posted in My life | Leave a comment

“Sweet Lolita” now up.

My next photo shoot pretty much speaks for itself.  Since it’s late at night and I’ve been working very hard to get the photos up within a day and a half of shooting them, I’ll just post some samples and edit this text later.


The whole set is an impressive 198 pictures. I shot something like 335 of them, so knocking the set down to a sub-200 number was a challenge.

-Tara

Posted in New shoot! | 3 Comments

All Praise The Goddess Half-or!

It’s Spring Cleaning time here, and I’m going to see if I can basically cut in half my various collections of stuff.

Growing up a child of a hoarder, I was taught that I could really collect and have anything I wanted to (cost and space considering, of course).  From toys to bikes to vintage obsolete computers to cars to (more recently) shoes, I have multiple you name-its.  And in many instances, these collections are dear to me and for collections of things of value, they can be “investments”.  With any collection, if you have the space to store them properly and they are reasonably organized, they can be an asset and a comforting reminder of things you like.  That borderline between “collecting” and “hoarding” is usually defined by the ability to live and function properly around all the stuff.  A collection of 300 Matchbox cars from the 70′s is far more manageable and valuable than a collection of VHS tapes with TV shows you already have on DVD, or a collection of car parts from my dad where maybe they’re worth something, but there’s way too many boxes of them to properly identify them or go through the trouble of finding buyers.

I’m NOT the sort of person who has nothing to my name.  People who don’t own anything, and can just up and move to wherever, always struck me as people without a sense of place or home, and it’s like their life is totally at the whim or wherever a job or a career is.  As appealing as that is to some people, it’s not so much to me.  I’ve never been that sort of person, as I like a place that’s a home with a sense of coziness.  It was like that growing up, but now it’s gotten to the point where it occupies too much space in my brain.  But if I wanted to unload EVERYTHING I have, I could probably open up an antiques store just of that stuff, and even then, it’s probably only about a tenth of what we had growing up, with parents that were hoarders (well, mostly my dad).

As I start writing more personal stories about my life, I will obviously touch upon the whole children of hoarders thing, but for now, I’m just going to talk about my current situation.

Having a collection of crap can often times limit what you can do and where you can go and how you can function.   But if the collection is neat and manageable, that’s ok.  So I’m going to see if there are some collections of things I can at least cut in half.

Now some things I don’t see getting rid of any part of.  Like I won’t be getting rid of any of my outfits that I’ve painstakingly created.  I also recently acquired about 10 mannequins that I display my outfits on.  I won’t be getting rid of any of them, because to me having my outfits on display in my studio is an asset.

And there are some collections that will be transferred.  Just glancing over there I see there’s a small stack of unused but brand new faux gilded picture frames on the floor.  If I actually take the time to frame some prints and put them on the wall, I’ll transfer that collection to where it needs to be.  On the wall they don’t take up any space, and also I might use up half of the picture hanging nails I have in the process.  Double points!  All that house paint I have? Well, put it on the walls and exterior of the house, that will use it up.

Would I get rid of half of my furniture?  Well, that’s a tough call. I have been saying that I’m not going to bring anything else in my house unless it’s an antique or particuarly Victorian, but I can think of a few tables I have that aren’t antiques that I might give away.  Also, if I get rid of some old books and magazines, then in the process I can get rid of a shitty particle board bookcase too.

But there are some collections of crap that are taking up so much space (and brain space) that it’s time to (at least) cut them in half.  I’ve got a lot of books here.  Some of them were moved/quasi-inherited from my parents house to be used specifically as background elements for shoots like the “National Pornographic” shoot.   Now that that’s happened, that pile of outdated encyclopedias and 50 year old sets of non-interesting books?  Those can go away.   Burn, baby burn!  There’s also books and various crap that came with the house I bought, as well as boxes of tchotchkes and other shit.  Some of that stuff can just go, go go.   But if a book is interesting or clearly valuable or over 100 years old, I tend to save it.

But in my recent quest for fru-fru china and tea cups for my latest “Sweet Lolita” shoot,  I can’t tell you how many plates, cups and non-interesting glassware and other kitchen shit I ran across in this house.  I’ve got stuff that belonged to my ex, stuff that belonged to the past owners of this house, and then plates and mugs and cups that I’ve always had that aren’t anything special.  Stuff that’s great and useful when you’re starting out at 20, but years later isn’t as nice or pretty as stuff that came later.

But the important thing is to fight the learned habits that come with being a child of a hoarder.  Its fighting the hoarder logic that “if it’s useful, keep it”, when I’m getting to the point in my life where I ONLY want to surround myself with pretty things I like.   My goal by the end of this year is to have my house looking pretty and beautiful and to live the lifestyle of a pin up model living in a cute 250 year old New England cape cod cottage, all done up with flowers and a beatifully landscaped yard.

And there’s not room any more for hoarder logic.  Though hoarders take that logic one step further where if they see something with no apparent use, they’ll invent a use for it – or save it until the day when it can be useful.   That happened with my parents because they lived through the Depression, and even more so with my dad probably because his father died tragically during that time at the young age of 35.  So any of this pottery and glassware I don’t like,  if it can’t be sold on the internet, fuck it, it’s going away.  Or hey, maybe it’s smashy smashy time.

Yard sale it all away? Maybe.  Yard sales are a lot of effort and you basically sit around outside while people paw through your old crap and lowball you nickels and dimes for stuff.  Maybe- if I get enough of everything together.  Otherwise, it’s almost easier to donate or toss that stuff.

But other collections I have-  vintage bikes?  Geez, I got about 30 here, mostly 10 speeds from the 70′s bike boom.   Which have become relatively scarce to the point where they’re in some demand (who know that shitty, heavy Schwinn Varsity you hated would become desired by a millenial hipster?).  I’m sure I could pare that down to just the ones I like or have sentimental value.

Vintage Macs?  I’ve got about 10 vintage mid 80′s compact Mac systems, and they do sell well for about $100 on ebay, so there’s money to be made there, and if I end up keeping one Mac 512ke system just for giggles and nostalgia, that’s ok.  Though my huge Atari 8 bit collection I could see selling off the duplicate systems and cartriges.

Car stuff?  I grew up in what was basically a car junkyard, and was never told that I couldn’t have 10 cars.  At least I knew what was interesting and cool, and I sort of gravitated towards French cars.  At 16 years old I bought a Citroen DS when they were at the bottom of their value for the paltry sum of yes- twenty dollars.  And then subsequently bought up each parts car I could in the southeastern New England area.  I’ve got some cool-ass stuff squirreled away and this year I’m going to try to restore that one rust-free Citroen DS barn find I put away inside back at my mom’s house.  In the process I’ll probably get rid of most of the collected other parts (and whole entire parts cars).  I now it’s time consuming to do, but for good or for ill, I actually know Citroen DS’s very well, and it’s a skill that I have, so in the end, I should have one complete and functional classic car that’s actually worth some money.  And that itself I could sell later on down the road when it’s all painted, when I get to the point where I’m bored with it and/or desperately need the money.

Could I pare down my collection of things like shoes?  Well, I won’t be getting rid of each left shoe (though trust me- a hoarder would discover 1001 uses for ophaned shoes), but I might be able to eliminate about 25% of my over 75 pairs that are ugly, worn out, or pain inducing.  My vintage camera collection that came from my dad?  Eh, I dunno.  I’ve got a lot of stuff I inherited from my dad that’s cool but very obsolete (yep, even formats that are obsolete during the film era, anyone remember 620 film?).  A collection of 20 or so cameras doesn’t take up much room and if displayed nicely, can add to the decor of a room.  Not sure about all the darkroom stuff though. I basically have enough old darkroom stuff to make- well, a proper darkroom.  Perhaps if the itch to engage in some old school photography comes around.  Like yeah, when I get done with everything else in life.

There are other things I have that are simply around because they were saved for specific projects, most of which are leftover whatist from my parent’s house.   Like I have a good couple of cubic yards of interestingly shaped styrofoam packing pieces, that were going to be used as a sci-fi background elements for UNS.  God dammit, I just need to just use them up, then toss the fuckers, or just toss them pronto.  Piles of stone wall stones in the yard?  Figure out where I want some garden walls, and USE THEM UP.

And another important thing – I can’t let my anyone else near me try to claim ANY of this stuff.  Anything I give away has to GO off the premises.  I was trying to get rid of about 5 shitty old frying pans and at the 11th hour they were claimed by my tenant/housemate so fuck all, I ended up getting rid of like 1 of them.  Fuck that shit.  I’m not going to enable someone else’s hoarding, especially if that means it will still end up being my problem eventually when said tenant moves on.

And that actually works in the inverse too.  I have to teach myself not to “save” shit from my mom’s house that I don’t have a place/immediate use for.  Though when you get something like restorable antiques, that gets a little dicey.  I’ve got countless potentially cool heirlooms at my mom’s, but I just got to get to a point where I decide if they’re worthless or worth doing something with.

So…. Let’s see where I’m at in the coming weeks.  And if in the process of getting rid of stuff, I get some props to use for photo shoots, all the better!

-Tara

Posted in hoarding, My life, Victorian | 4 Comments

And I would have wanted to have been Columbia anyway…


So I’ve been wanting to write a bit about my experience at Arisia ’14, which is pretty much your standard sci-fi-comics-anime convention in Boston.  For me mostly, it was an opportuity do a bit of cosplay and show off, which of course is like my thing these days.  Also, I’ve been having more fun cosplaying at events than getting dressed up in my outfits for fetish nightclub nights.  But I’m not all about the clothes, no siree bob.

My experience with Arisia was a lot of fun, but sort of an excercise in How Not To Do a Con.   You see, I decided to go at the last minute, and the convention was located near enough where I’d drive to it every day, but far enough away to be a pain as it was super cold out.  Add to that I didn’t really plan ahead to stay at/get a room at the hotel, but I was lucky enough to be able to park right next to the con.

So, I had a lot of fun walking around as Molotov Cocktease, but the Friday night when I went home, my car mysteriously didn’t start, and required a AAA jump.  Then the next day it also required another jump to get it going and back to the con.  And a third one to get home.  (turned out to be a bad ignition switch that robbed voltage from the coil when cranking it over, exasperated by the extreme cold- flooding the carb, etc.)

So to make this part of the story short, the convention was stressful for me as there was a few times when I was convinced I was going to freeze to death in my car waiting for help, emotionally breaking down as much as my car was breaking down.  This winter has been the Winter From Hell, and if you remember the post about the ski trip with no skiing?  This convention was the week before and was the reason why I was so adverse to the cold.

Anyway, that’s not really what this blog post is about.   I’ve been becoming more and more of my fucked up journey my life has been as a transsexual.   I’ve been thinking this way for a while because I’m in the preliminary stages of writing my memoir (more on that later).

Because what was the bittersweet highlight of the weekend was that I attended a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing for the first time, which is something I so far had manged to avoid.

Ok so at one point I saw it on VHS or maybe even DVD and of course I know most of the songs already,  and maybe once in like college I went to a showing where people threw rice and did the whole waving their hands as the windshield wipers thing and all that.  This was something of a different take on it, as a group called the Tesseracte Players acted it out “in the round” so to say, with many people playing different characters.  And it was great to watch and it was a hoot.  A friend of mine was in the show and seemed shocked that I had never seen it, though she said more for the sci-fi angle than the cabaret/crossdressing angle.

Yep, I’ve never experienced Rocky Horror.  I didn’t really know what to say or shout at the screen or what to do to participate, which I guess has sort of evolved over time.  But to be honest, it’s not really my sort of movie.  I best explained to my friend by saying something along the lines of:

“Well as an actual transsexual from nowhere near Transylvania, or Pennsylvania for that matter, it’s the sort of movie that you kinda resent growing up trans.”

Maybe it’s when you see actors doing gender bending for them, it’s just acting.  It’s not that any of them (to my knowledge) are trans in real life.  But maybe gender expression has come a long long way, you know, where no one gives a shit any more.  I mean, look at Facebook, which just recently expanded their gender identity labels.  Or look at Fetlife, where there’s a mind bogggling array of labels it’s like playing with a Mr Potato Head.

And there’s been a lot of recent conversation on tumblr about trans-labels, so much that the “Tranny Awards” received so much flak for the word that they changed their event to “Transgender Erotica Awards” or something.

Gender expression and labels have come a long way.  It’s come so far that I don’t think this new generation of trans-folk remember what it was like ten years ago, or even twenty years ago, when transsexuality was basically non existant, and only the subject of a 20/20 news story about someone “in the wrong body”, or the rare Jerry Springer Show appearance.

But growing up, Rocky Horror was just another poor role model for a person discovering that their gender idenity was different.

Rocky Horror to me was just Hollywood As Usual.  I never wanted to be Frank N Furter.   As much respect as I have for Tim Curry’s portrayl it’s always told me that trans folk are just sex crazed weirdos.

And of course, look who is saying that, right?  Hello Black Kettle, meet Pot.  Yes, I do portray myself in a sexual context that I bet there’s a whole bunch of serious transfolk out there that resent what I do.   But there is a serious person behind all the glam and pink and whatever you see in my professional persona on my website, who is interested in the political and social implications of trans acceptance.  As far as I see myself, I’m just like any cisgendered female model who does crazy costumed porn, just that I’m trans.  When I’m  stripped of all that pomp, I’m a gender neutral, tomboy-ish like girl .

Which is why whenever I see Rocky Horror, the only character I would ever want to be is Columbia, the little squeaky voiced quasi-dyke vulnerable girl (just as long as Meat Loaf isn’t my boyfriend. Yuck).

Hollywood’s tradition of transfolk being the butt of jokes is easy to see by a sampling of what trans-ish cinematic offerings there were in the 80′s and 90′s.

First off , you got Tootsie, the less said about the better.  Same goes for Mrs Doubtfire.  In Silence of the Lambs the killer Jodie Foster is hunting down wants to wear a girl suit made out of real girl!   (I hear Hannibal is a good show, but I sorta have a built in boycott to anything associated with Silence of the Lambs.)   To Wong Foo..- sort of the Americanized, watered down version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.   As you get into the 90′s The Crying Game is a little better with trans depcitions, but in the end sorta reinforces the cisgendered binary.  Later on, you get slightly better depictions like in “Transamerica” though it’s all like, hey, they can’t find an actual trans actress?  This goes all the way up to Hollywood giving itself a pat on it’s own back for Jared Leto portraying what is billed as a transsexual in Dallas Buyer’s Club, (which I have yet to see), but really not helping the cause much.

And after a while you stop bothering to wonder how transfolk are going to get humiliated in the media, because you just know its going to be a shit storm no matter how well they’re depicted.  Because then you’ll get all these people on the religious right screaming about Hollywood mainstreaming and normalizing transsexuals that they see as freaks of nature, and then you don’t even get much help from elements of the gay crowd, when drag performers actually reinforce gender binaries because they fully admit that they’re guys, and live lives full of male privilidge and male trappings.

I have mixed feelings about RuPauls’ Drag Race, which I had held off watching until last year.  And I enjoyed it a lot.  And yes, I even wondered how I would do if I entered the competition.   Maybe I’d have something to teach them, while at the same time not give in for a second to their catty, bitchy, sterotypically gay behaviours.   It would be _interesting_ and probably damn good television either way.  But I digress.

So I had mixed feelings about experiencing Rocky Horror for the first time.  Maybe I’m just territorial when I see people casually play with gender expression when it’ a touchstone of genuine social pain for someone like me.  Maybe when you get right down to it, it’s just that.  It’s just me.  And maybe it’s something I just haven’t gotten over yet, because the gradual and slow acceptance of transsexuality (which still has sooooo far to go), is standing on the shoulders of so many who experienced it in a time when society was far more hostile.

Even today, I’m still trying to figure out who the Hell I am.  And it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

-Tara

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From the pages of “National Pornographic”

Thats the title to my Imperialist explorer/safari/steampunk shoot I have finally finished up.

I actually had this whole Dr. Livingston I presume sort of library set up for months, but it took me a while to get around to making the perfect outfit to go with it.  I hope it’s to your liking!

Really old school seflies...

After my last shoot, all this brown is the perfect antidote for all that pink assault on the eyeballs!

This new shoot just went up on my site, to a total of 189 pictures.

Would you like to see a sequel to this, where I’m out on safari and get captured by the horny bloodthisrty cannibals, who put me in a comically oversized cauldron?  Let me know and I’ll do it this spring when it warms up outside and I can utilize my bamboo patch that’s taking over my yard!

-Tara

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Victorian | 7 Comments