Late-night email from Melanie Lane. Wonderwomen, for which I was dramaturg, won the 2017 Leipziger Bewegungskunstpreis. Mad props to Mel, Rosie Rascal and Nathalie Schmidt, Robert Bartholot, Florian Bücking, and Fabian Bleisch — and LOFFT Theater in Leipzig, where we premièred.
The brilliant Melanie Lane’s new performance, Wonderwomen opens tonight in HAU1, with: the awesome pair of professional bodybuilders that are Rosie Harte and Natalie Schmidt; set and costume design by Robert Bartholot; music by Clark; lighting by Fabian Bleisch; and feministing up in your dramaturgy by Frances d’Ath (yup, the one who has this blog). It’s on the main stage, and looks deadly. Here’s some photos from dress rehearsal yesterday.
After the rope adventures in Majorca, it seemed a good idea to buy one of those more-expensive items required for climbing, one that in Australia would be considerably more expensive than here, and due to that has inflicted a long-term habit in me of not going to buy needed things because I expect them to be horrendously pocket-jabbing. So, a rope. The most necessary of equipment besides shoes (with which, you can do an awful lot of climbing and seldom need for more), and the single most costly. Sure, a rack of trad gear goes for eye-watering prices, but individually each piece is seldom over over a hundred, even for cams or a set of nuts, and considering the amount of drilling going on, who really isn’t climbing for want of a trad set?
As for the price, well if you bought cheap shoes, harness, ‘biners, and quickdraws, you could probably kit yourself out with everything for sport climbing for the cost of a rope. Which in Australia tended to be on on the high side of $350, so understandably I never shelled out for one. Here though, I have to remind myself that things are relatively affordable, even Shimano SPDs leave change from a hundred for a couple of books (yes, was in bike shop yesterday, bike needs servicing), so, rope it is. Still a sizeable chunk of €200 though (enough left over for enough chocolate to be sick on), but that’s for 70 metres of 9.2 mm Mammut Revelation. Not sure when I’ll be leading a 35 meter pitch, but not to worry, it’s very pretty (the pictures don’t do the colours justice, either).
When I was a student, I would trundle up to Melbourne Uni and on weekends and holidays hole up the the stacks somewhere, a large Sikh pushing the trolley of returns often the only other person in the vicinity of my nest in the Central Asian shelves where I’d devour everything from Kazakhstan to Pakistan, paying careful attention to those parts most mountainous and wild. My enduring favourites were old travelogues, especially of women who ventured out on their own to spend winters in Skardu or years in Kabul, or meandering across unmapped stretches. I planned to go, at least through Baltistan, and maybe along the northern side of Tian Shan mountains. Adventures in China and sundry wars detoured me though.
Since my recent time in Melbourne, I’ve re-found my love for Central Asia, even when I had to spray Issey Miyaki on the pages of Louis Dupree’s Afgahnistan to mask the rank odour of stale cigarettes in its 600 pages, the cover of which has beautiful men with long hair and daggers jumping and dancing, and another of Buzkashi. I added many blogs from the ~stans to my reading in those and subsequent months.
Yesterday, I discovered Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan, and of course was immediately smitten. Especially the photo, taken by Pouria Lotfi which now graces the desktop of my darling Mac. Sitting in the kitchen tonight feeling lonely and somewhat lost, I decided to take photos…
Someone, obviously stupid, whom I haven’t bothered to remember despite having a vague association in the Melbourne contemporary dance SCENE, when finding out early last year Frances was a tranny mused that perhaps I was doing it as a career move, coz y’know, I’m a crazy artist an’ shit. Yeah so jumping on the shemale bandwagon, as Becky points out in her TG Predictions for 2007, “TG Sells”, and I’m a desperate whore for small change.
While still being able to lay claim to being the first foreign tranny choreographer in China, coz every transsexual is first at something, in the meantime before I’m the first tranny to do something else (probably first tranny rock climber in China is another title I’ll claim), here’s all the transsexual, gender, cross-dressing, art, film, music, books, politico-legal-socio-cultural stuff I remembered to bookmark from the last month, and there’s been stacks of it.
First with books and previews from She’s not the man I married, by Helen Boyd, which I really hope I get a copy to review, along with all the other books I prattle on about here.
Then there’s Transparent, Love, Family and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam that got a write up in San Francisco Gate, “Real women can have penises. And “the brain and the heart are the only organs with a gender, and … all genital modification or lack thereof is simply a personal aesthetic choice.””
I’m quite fond of using science to cudgel ignorance and bigotry if not into realising the error of its ways and subsequently proseletysing, then at least being rendered incapable of further harm. So, a couple of research papers for proof that intelligence begets human rights:
50 under 30: Masculinity and the War on America’s Youth, or “don’t call the police if you get a beating for wearing lipstick, boy”.
More interesting for me in that geeky viscera obsession, Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure from European Journal of Endocrinology. I think the title pretty much says it all, and the part of me that goes, “yay, science!” thinks this is quite cool and the next person who inadvertently ‘he’s’ me is gonna get a paint-stripper drenching of vitriolic abuse based on this paper’s abstract. The part of me that is always deeply suspicious of the motives, interpretations, and ethical dubiousness in science, viz. finding a biological cause and subsequently a ‘cure’ for homosexuality, transsexuality and any other otherness thinks, “well in spite of their brain structure in what was a pissy small sample to start they were tranny both before and after hormone treatment, so whatever part of the body this identity resides in, it’s exterior to the scope of this research”.
Anyway, on to where transsexuals belong, in entertainment.
Over in Thailand, Venus Flytrap have their first album out, plus videos and their first single. Not to be outdone in the battle for Asian tranny-pop (that’s t-pop, like j-pop and canto-pop), Lady have some videos out too.
A big “I shit on ya!” to any asshole who thought making “he she it?!?” jokes about Santhi Soundarajan was funny. I’m not even going to waste my time trying to explain why I will poison your whole family to seven generations, and give you syphilis till your rotting brain drools out your nose. You don’t use it anyway. She is an unimaginably superior human than you could ever be, and won a silver medal in the 800 meter sprint at the Doha Asia Games to prove it.
And finally, ex-Guangzhou artist Cao Fei gets in on the crossdressing scene too, and asks
男人么？man? 女人么？woman? 男人 man 女人 woman 不是男人 not man 不是女人 not woman 我是男的 I’m man 我是女的 I’m woman 成为男人 be a man 成为女人 be a woman, while looking dead sophisticated in suit and goatee.
A while ago, I wrote about the IOC making moves to allows transsexuals to compete in the Olympics. A couple of days ago, this article appeared fanning rumours that two athletes from China, a discus thrower and a wrestler are transsexuals.
Doubts fill the air around the Olympic venues in Athens following a rumour that two transsexual Chinese athletes are taking part in the Games.
Nobody can confirm or deny the truth of the rumour but if true, it will be the first case of its kind in the history of the Olympic Games.
Sex verification tests were discontinued by the IOC in Sydney 2000. According to speculation circulating in Athens, two transsexual Chinese athletes, a discus thrower and a wrestler, could be among the members of the delegation from China.
“It is a case of a subject already accepted by the International Olympic Committee … but I believe it is one which needs to be studied in depth how it could affect some sports”, said Felipe Munoz, president of the Mexican Olympic Committee, in Athens.
In a move that is seen as an important step forward for transsexual rights globally, the International Olympic Committee ruled on Monday that transsexuals will be able to compete in the Athens Olympics and all subsequent games as their chosen gender.
“This has been something of an open door,” added IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch. “We needed some rules and regulations in place.”
Some people contend that transsexual athletes have a physical advantage against other women. Men have higher levels of testosterone and greater muscle-to-fat ratio and heart and lung capacity. However, doctors say, testosterone levels and muscle mass drop after hormone therapy and sex-change surgery.
Until 1999, the IOC conducted gender verification tests at the Olympics but the controversial screenings were dropped before the 2000 Sydney Games. One reason for the change was that not all women have standard female chromosomes.
The move has not been welcomed unequivocally though, as it stipulates the transsexual athletes must have undergone genital reconstruction surgery, which is something not all transsexuals want to undergo. The ruling means that the way is now open for Canadian champion downhill mountain-biker Michelle Dumaresq to compete.