by Pramila Baisya
On the occasion of Pride Month 2021, we revisit the Special Pride Episode of #CreativityWillSaveUs, our series where prominent figures from the world of art, entertainment & business unite to reflect on the central value that creativity brings to humanity during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
What does pride mean to you? The first image that is most likely to pop in your head is a rainbow flag. The pride parade is filled with individuals who both identify as queer or allies proudly waving the flags throughout the month to represent the proud visibility and ongoing resilience of the queer community. However it is integral to access, where does pride truly come from? How do queer individuals overcome self-hatred, imposter syndrome, ostracism, and quite often disapproval from their families? The answer lies in creative outlets.
But How When Why?
The first part of this episode of #CreativityWillSaveus is a segment taken from Slap & Tickle, a play written by Award-Winning Author David James Parr, telling a sweetly ill-fated love affair featuring a gay man and a transgender woman. The piece was recorded in quarantine and is part of the Pride Plays Series 2020 co-produced by Actor Michael Urie. Actress Pooya Mohseni plays the character of a transgender woman who chronicled the first stages of coming out as a trans woman. Her monologue covers common questions such as how, when, and why? Instead of fixating too long on these empty questions, her side of the monologue ends with “the dress now fits.”
“I’m glad I almost fell in love with you.” The heart wants what it wants.
From Slap&Tickle by David James Parr
Actor Sebastian LeCause plays the part of a gay man who eventually romances Ms. Mohseni’s character. He comically recalls how he tried coming out to his Dad by saying he likes Han Solo and his father, not understanding what he meant. The play continues to play on themes of intimacy, courage, and love, things many queer people fear they will never experience. Their journeys have them star-crossed and by the end, they both share an equal sentiment: “I’m glad I almost fell in love with you.” The heart wants what it wants. To watch the full Pride Plays Series video, click HERE.
#CreativityWillSaveUs takes on a new rendition when it comes to discussing art not only created during a pandemic but also as a means of expression for queer artists. Many allies don’t consciously realize that growing up queer means losing a part of your childhood because you could not grow up fully expressing yourself. Creativity at an adult age however is a reclamation of that childhood, allowing full expression of the stories that need to be told. This and other urgent and timely topics for the LGBTQ+ community today we discussed through two-panel conversations with he protagonists of the #CreativityWillSaveUs Special Pride Episode, hosted by Creative Point-On editor-in-chief Tommaso Cartia, and artistic director and business strategist Daniela Pavan.
Quarantine granted everyone regardless of sexual orientation the unique freedom of boredom which singer-songwriter Erene Mastrangeli spoke about.
Creativity at an adult age however is reclamation of that childhood, allowing full expression of the stories that need to be told.
Erene Mastrangeli spoke in this interview about refinding your gifts and creativity. “Our gifts are necessary to contribute to the evolution of humanity.” She dove into why, as a musician, “boredom” can somehow become a great resource for an artist, because she could play the piano or write a song simply to pass the time. From that moment of stasis, Erene was able to unexpectedly release a song called “Treasure”, which extends hope that all of us need to find the treasure within us to keep humanity going.
Producer & actor Robert Driemeyer spoke about Judy Garland and the history of bars in New York and how they often turned down queer patrons. In his segment he gave an important explanation regarding the 1969 Stonewall Riots, and why he decided to simply make a special rainbow cocktail for his Broadway Barfly – a weekly video-series that pairs theater lore with classic cocktails and historical context. “The rainbow cocktail is communal. What is better than sitting down and having a drink with someone?” Explains Robert during the conversation. It is such a simple pleasure that was denied to queer folks before our time, and this disconnect in community with social distancing in the covid era, is one that queer folks worldwide had to deal with unfairly. Queer liberation continues to charge on and now many are afforded the privilege to enjoy this pleasure and company.
“It’s wonderful that our stories can bridge together because none of us live on an island”
Actress and Trans Activist Pooya Mohseni spoke about her character in David James Parr’s play saying, “It’s wonderful that our stories can bridge together because none of us live on an island,” in regards to portraying a trans woman in a gay man’s story. She brought up how often trans people and their stories do not have a “traditional” place with queer stories as a whole and being part of this project was a step forward in bridging a gap between different people of the queer community.
The #CreativityWillSaveUs Special Pride Episode also featured: Photographer/Cinematographer and Digital Artist Claudio Napoli, who decided to fill the emptiness of the NYC’s streets that this year, for the first time since 1969, will not see their proud LGBTQ+ community marching for its rights, with an inspirational recollection of the last three Pride that he participated in; Photographer Thomas Cluderay who gives us an exclusive peek on the Washington D.C. quarantine, where he lives, through his collection “Stoop Sessions in the COVID Age” and from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, actor Larry Buzzeo who performs one of his favorites cheerful tunes, What a Wonderful World, part of his “Quarantine Karaoke”. The backdrop for the performance is a beautiful walk on the Fort Lauderdale beach that Larry recorded last summer, wishing for the world to safely reopen its wonders.
This pride month after a year long pandemic offers a unique time and perspective in creative expression. As things reopen and we adjust to a new normal, more inclusive and unique stories are finding a place at the forefront. Queerness continues to expand and evolve in its expression, and the fight for liberation is unstoppable. Queerness combined with creativity ultimately can and will save us.
Thirsty for more creativity? Point out our #CreativityWillSaveUs Series Phase 2 here below, with tons of conversations with prominent artists from all over the world. Ready, Set, Imagine!