Thursday, April 28, 2016

Celebrity Crush Tease Part 2: Son of Rage and Love

"I don't feel any shame, I won't apologize
When there ain't nowhere you can go" - "Jesus of Suburbia" by Green Day

As I mentioned in Part 1, Tony Fo-Hawk's Billie Joe Armstrong act for Tuesday Tease's Celebrity Crush show morphed into something else entirely.  Green Day's American Idiot is one of those albums that has changed my life forever.  It continued to do so through the years as I saw the "Jesus of Suburbia" music video and the Broadway musical.  I connected with the Jesus of Suburbia character (Johnny in the musical) so much that he partly inspired a short story of mine.  

Although my college theatre days were behind me by the time the stage production debuted, I still fantasized about playing Johnny or his alter-ego St. Jimmy, who has been portrayed by women.  I'd been thinking about whether I could do an American Idiot act for one of the Broadway-themed shows that occasionally pop up or even a punk rock show.  Then I found my opportunity with Celebrity Crush.

Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
Because the Jesus of Suburbia had an alter-ego, I decided that this would be the one time that the Tony and Hana would share the stage in the same number.  While choreographing the routine, I realized that it could not only be about the dissatisfaction I felt with my current identity (outside the glitter world), but it could also explore my complicated relationship with gender.  You see, the musical version of "Jesus of Suburbia" features many cast members, including some of the women.  I decided to work the female vocals in to represent the transition from Tony to Hana.  I drew upon some classic burlesque moves to highlight my attempt to force femininity upon myself, which was what led me to burlesque in the first place.

The transition also reflection my constant questioning of whether my genderqueerness is a result of internalized misogyny or an actual reflection of who I am.  I don't think I'll ever have a definite answer, but I know that I am okay with people seeing me as female as long as they acknowledge that I do have a masculine side and do things that code as "male".  The ending of my act is supposed to reflect that.  As the Jesus of Suburbia leaves town in hopes of finding a better future, I go forward hoping to find acceptance, both from the people around me and myself.

Photo by Brandy Lynne Photography
Once I realized that this routine would represent my truest self, I really threw myself in the rehearsal process (I had the bruises to show for it).  This was also when I was struggling a lot with my new day job so it was nice to have an outlet for the frustration and self-loathing.  Once again, American Idiot has provided some solace for when things just seem to unbearable.  If I ever meet Green Day, I will have to give them so many thanks for giving me so much.

Speaking of giving, I'm making a rare appearance in Denton tomorrow to give Cheyenne and Nephenee a proper send-off to the North in marital bliss.  Cheyenne was one of my Academy of Queerlesque classmates and has always been supportive of my career.  So if you're in the neighborhood, please come celebrate with us at Glitterbomb!

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