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Transgression Run Amok 

Wednesday, May 25 2011
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We recently had one of those “only in San Francisco” moments. No, it wasn’t during the Sex Worker Film & Arts Festival, in which numerous smart, talented, sexy, educated, funny women and men went hog mad to show that sex workers are real live humans and that we as a society should decriminalize prostitution to get over our sexual hangups and give legal protection to those in a very dangerous (and old) profession. No, we already knew that. The “aha” moment came when we took notice of Kirk Read’s show, “Formerly Known As.” It’s a lineup of men and transgender people who are sex workers. Read states its purpose: “Female sex workers have historically led the way politically and creatively, so we hope this festival is an incubator for more male and transgender artists to join the dialogue.” Think about that. The transgression doubles back on itself to be absurd and amazing at the same time. And speaking of amazing, Read has put together quite a collection of performers over two nights. There’s Cyd Nova, who grew up getting fiercely turned on by fairy tales (such as the Little Prince being dominated by that “uppity rose”). There’s Double Duchess, a performance duo that includes a person named Krylon Superstar — which alone is enough to make us love the act. There’s 85-year-old writer George Birimisa, who penned the novel S&M Gym 30 years ago and continues to write plays. There’s Brontez Purnell, who has published several zines (including Fag School) and played in several punk bands (including Panty Raid). Want more? There’s Read himself. We’ve described him as the only person we can imagine who could tell a story about being fisted by a trucker and make it seem tender. Read writes. Read reads. Read does performances that seem like standup but aren’t. Read does weird stuff with his body that have to be seen to be believed. Only in San Francisco? Tonight that’s a pretty safe assumption.
Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: June 9. Continues through June 10, 2011

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Keith Bowers

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