Thursday, June 19 | 9:30PM
Justin Vivian Bond and Chris Vargas present Transexual Menace
with Northside Film Festival
322 Union Ave. 
Brooklyn NY 11211

Rosa von Praunheim, Transexual Menace, video, 75min., 1996

Transexual Menace takes its title from the name of “the most exciting political action group in the USA”—transgendered people who are defining themselves, demanding their legal rights, and fighting for medical care and against job discrimination. Considered by von Praunheim to be the “most fascinating [project] in my long life as a filmmaker,” Transexual Menace is a sensitive and carefully crafted portrait that deals with issues openly and honestly. “I was able to earn the trust of many who are often reluctant to be interviewed. Courageous people talked to me, who transitioned in such problematic professions as law enforcement and firefighting.” Transexual Menace gives viewers remarkable insight into the home and work lives of transsexuals from many cultures and countries, including female-to-male transsexuals and those with families and children.

The event will be followed by a conversation with trans luminaries Justin Vivian Bond and Chris E. Vargas (director, Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art - MOTHA)

Filmmaker and gay-rights activist Rosa von Praunheim is one of the leading figures in gay and lesbian cinema and New German Cinema, although his deliberately controversial techniques, designed to challenge audiences, have sometimes caused him to be criticized by both gay and anti-gay supporters. Praunheim originally studied painting in Berlin and from there was an assistant for such gay filmmakers as Werner Schroeter and Gregory J. Markopoulous. As a director, he made many underground short films on Super-8 or 16 mm stock before going to work in television where he became known for such genre parodies as Die Bettwurst/The Bedroll (1970).

Von Praunheim made his first gay-themed film, Sisters of the Revolution, in 1969. The film was a three-part look at homosexual participation in the early women’s liberation movement taking place in New York. One of his most influential films was 1970′s made-for-TV outing. It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Situation in Which He Lives, another example of his usage of negative gay stereotypes to politicize their plight and plea for more rights. Not all of von Praunheim’s films focus on homosexuality; some deal with those living on the fringes of society.

Mx Justin Vivian Bond is a writer, singer, painter, and performance artist. Mx Bond is the author of the Lambda Literary Award winning memoir TANGO: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels, published by The Feminist Press and Susie Says… a collaboration with Gina Garan (Powerhouse Books, 2012). V’s debut CD DENDRPOPHILE was self-released on WhimsyMusic in 2011 and was followed by SILVER WELLS in 2012.  Mx Bond was nominated for a Tony Award for Kiki and Herb Alive On Broadway in 2007. Other notable theatrical endeavors include starring as Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis in Scott Wittman’s production of Jukebox Jackie: Snatches of Jackie Curtis as part of La Mama E.T.C.’s 50 Anniversary Season, originating the role of Herculine Barbin in Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking play Hidden: A Gender, touring with the performance troupe The Big Art Group and appearing in John Cameron Mitchell’s film Shortbus. Mx Bond is a recipient of The Ethyl Eichelberger Award, The Peter Reed Foundation Grant, and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award for Performance Art/Theater, an Obie and a Bessie. 

Chris E. Vargas is a film and video maker based in Oakland, CA, whose thematic interests include queer radicalism, transgender hirstory, and imperfect role models. He earned his MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. Since 2008, he has been making, in collaboration with Greg Youmans, the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love...with Chris and Greg. Episodes of the series have screened at numerous film festivals and art venues, including MIX NYC, SF Camerawork, and the Tate Modern. With Eric Stanley, Vargas co-directed the movie Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2012), which have been screened at Palais de Tokyo, LACE, Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, and the New Museum among other venues.