Holly Would (Play with Gender)

Just got this cool press release which makes me wish I was anywhere near West Hollywood:

Grrrl, boi, lezbo, butch, femme, lipstick, drag king, trans, dyke, bulldagger, tomboy, genderqueer, one-way, kiki, power femme …

Each generation of lesbians uses new and different terms to describe how we present ourselves and what attracts us. GenderPlay in Lesbian Culture is the first ever Los Angeles exhibit to talk about labels and explore gender and its boundaries.

The OPENING EVENT, at the One Museum on Saturday March 14, will feature singer Phranc, emcee Marie Cartier and performance art from Latina trio, Butchlalis de Panochtitlan.

The exhibit will show how lesbian life played out through the centuries; from two-spirit native people, to cross-dressers and tobacco-chewing women of the Civil War and, to stone butches, high femmes, and kiki’s of the 1950s, though the dykes of the lesbian feminist 1970s, to queers, bois, and Trans people of today. Learn who was ‘out’ in the Wild West and who was ‘passing’? Why were kiki lesbians kicked out of the bars in the 50’s? Why did lesbians go ‘androgynous’ in the radical 70s and tell butches to go back in the closet? What made lesbians go lipstick in the 80s? Who or what is genderqueer? And today, in the 21st Century, how can you tell when a lesbian boi is really a girl?

Using first-person accounts, GenderPlay in Lesbian Culture features the stories of women who ‘passed’ — such Deadwood’s Calamity Jane … Harlem’s Stormé DeLarverie, Left Bank author Romaine Brooks… and today’s MSNBC cable news star, Rachel Maddow.

GenderPlay, which will run for two months, gives us a chance to re-think our old stereotypes and challenge our vocabulary. Through its depiction of women who challenged gender, the exhibit examines how ‘passing’ gave opportunity, freedom and language to women’s lives in history. Read the dashing Judith ‘Jack’ Halberstam’s take on drag kings and find-out why power-femme Joan Nestle questions the difference between “Femme-ness” and femininity.

The exhibit also highlights a re-mix of vintage photos, archival docs, history, and a big-screen movie loop of genderplay clips from classic movies to the hottest queer and lesbian documentaries now.

GenderPlay is the creative idea of the new lesbian cultural guerilla group, LEX – the Lesbian Exploratorium Project. Producer Jeanne Cordova and Curator Lynn Ballen, say, “We think the intersection of gender is a place that every lesbian has visited, even if she’s never thought about it that way. The exhibit is a conversational invite to all the lesbian communities to dialog about gender fluidity.”

If you can’t make the opening event on March 14, a follow-up — ‘GenderPlay@ the Movies’ — will continue the theme by featuring specially selected queer films on Sunday, April 19 at the Macha Theater in West Hollywood. This evening is co-sponsored by OutFest. And a panel discussion on genderplay and its role in lesbian culture is planned for a May date.

GenderPlay the Exhibit, opens Saturday, March 14, 3 to 6pm.
It is proudly co-produced by LEX and the ONE Gay & Lesbian Archives, with co-sponsorship from the City of West Hollywood and LA Pride/Christopher St. West.

It will run for two months, March 14 to May 23, at the ONE Archives Gallery & Museum at 626 N. Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood (entrance is on El Tovar).

The Gallery is open every Friday 4 to 8 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5pm.