There are a few things you already know about the unmistakable Tammie Brown. Like her overdrawn lips, video bytes of her clapping back at RuPaul, and quizzical one liners – “C'mon Teletubby, teleport us to Mars”! You may not know that this RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR) All-Stars Season One queen is a small-town Texas born boy named Keith Glen Schubert (the T is silent but more on that later). He is a fluent Spanish speaker and a Buddhist with a Wikipedia-like knowledge of cinema and Native American culture. While Tammie would snarl her iconic, Mommie Dearest-like lips at all those labels, she would like Fresno’s drag fans to know she will be bringing her own brand of weirdness to Fresno this Friday, May 17 to FAB nightclub and is ready to entertain the masses.
Having a chat with Tammie feels like a playlist on shuffle: First you're having a light chat with a friend then you're listening to a queer theory podcast with a guest professor, next song is all Faye Dunaway film quotes, then a few hits referencing lesser known artists and somehow relating those back to the trans-community found in indigenous cultures of the past. It's clear that Tammie is not only well-versed in many topics, she is curious and over-the-top and a one-of-a-kind artist and a gay man.
Wearing more than one identity at a time is a familiar tune for Brown. At 12-years-old, he was mesmerized by indigenous cultures that were being taught while enrolled in Mexico public schools. It was the stories about the “two-spirited” people, who were the shamans and respected wisdom keepers in their respective cultures, who would be referred to today as trans-women and trans-men, that struck a chord for young Brown. For Brown, this was an awakening moment. He gained confidence and empowerment to face some dark episodes of depression, self-acceptance, his eventual coming out, and going on to march to his own rhythm. It was that new confidence that led to the wry-witted Tammie that audiences got to know when she launched her career from a handful of incredibly memorable and shocking RPDR moments.
Today, the line between Keith and Tammie is blurred. She often stays in drag after performances and during some days. If you’re looking to recreate her signature curled lip look, Tammie’s current obsessions are the “Russian Red” lip color by Mac Cosmetics and her own custom, self-made lashes. Those are the same custom lashes that Tammie has made for the Linda Evangelista eyes of fellow RPDR star, Valentina.
The final aesthetic of Tammie’s look can be described as a palette of Joan Crawford, Charles Busch, Amy Sedaris, and Tootsie. If you are Millennial and need to Google those names (yes, that’s shade), the references don’t stop there. The list of known and unknown artists only gets longer when you begin to look at the inspiration and collaborators behind Tammie’s electro art-pop music. Inspired by Amanda Lear, you may have heard “Porta Potty Prostitute” from the “Little Bit about Tammie” album. If you were a Millennial and Emo, your skinny jeans may implode (shade again) when you find Tammie Brown featured in the Senses Fail’s music video for “Elevator to the Gallows”. Brown looks again to Lear in his upcoming album “Schubert” (remember the T is silent). Fresno audiences can expect to hear hits like “Porta Potty Prostitute” and “Lipsync Suicide” and may even hear debut songs from the Schubert album at Fab on Friday, May 17.
So get ready to “Shaka Buku” with Tammie at Fab this Friday. And don’t be ashamed to Google that reference either. You can find Tammie Brown’s music on all media platforms.
I was able to catch Avengers: Infinity War on opening night. The culmination of ten years of dedication to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) was coming to a close. After being a fan of Marvel comics since I was six, this was another moment in my nerdy history that I would cherish. I smiled, laughed, cheered, and cried as the movie hit the ground running and never let up. By the end, after what I refer to as the “ashing” happened, I was thrilled. Beyond overjoyed that the film did not have a happy ending. Excited that the heroes did not win the day. Not because I was rooting for Thanos, but because it was something new. Something fresh. Something I craved because I had been denied it for so long.
So often we are given things hand wrapped and tied off with neatly with a big bow and a thank you card. It is rare to see anything other than the guy winning over the girl, the bad guy going to jail or being killed, the wedding happening without a hitch, etc. It becomes repetitive and predictable. And if the point of stories is to give the reader and/or viewer something to get lost in, then the storyteller has effectively failed. Infinity War helped change that narrative. It helped us get lost in the woods.
As the credits rolled, I sat in my seat with a huge smile on my face,and one thing was different this time around; no one was clapping. Everyone in the theatre was devastated by the “ashing” and no one knew how to react (which is great by the way). The audience simply sat there stunned that over half the characters that had been introduced over the ten year run of the MCU were now gone. Fiction had finally hit too close to home. It had finally become real and it had finally taken more than we were willing to give.
During the desperation that was the entirety of Infinity War, one moment stood out to me almost over every other moment. When Scarlet Witch had been knocked down by Proxima Midnight and Black Widow declared “she’s not alone.” The camera panned up to see Natasha ready for action and Okoye coming to her aid. This fight would be three on one and I, as well as the rest of the audience, was ready for it. I have been here for Black Widow since she took down the security forces in Iron Man 2. Okoye was my instant favorite as Black Panther started. And seeing the amazing progress Scarlet Witch has made has given my heart a reason to swell with joy as the short fight went down.
There was no heart swelling during the all-women hero scene in Avengers Endgame. In fact, there was more cringe and eye-rolling than anything else. All in all, I understood the point the Russo Brothers were trying to make, I do however feel like the scene was simply unnecessary. At least the way it played out. Captain Marvel does not need backup. As the most powerful hero in the MCU to date, she is the most capable person to get through the endless sea of bad guys to help the Avengers win the day. That moment alone makes the scene difficult to get behind. There was no purpose for it. There was nothing about that scene that furthered the plot of the overall story. It was a moment of gratuitous feminism that was not needed.
I’m not suggesting that Scarlet Witch was weak and needed the saving, but in the scenario that was painted around her, she was actually in dire straights. After days of fighting off The First Order and its lesser minions, all while keeping Vision and the mind stone safe and alive, she is finally brought down by being blindsided. Captain Marvel simply had to use her powers to plow through the hoard of Outriders and Thanos. The sense of urgency was practically nonexistent. I am all for strong women being strong women, but in a contextual setting, I still need them to advance the plot. A hard thing to balance in the MCU in general. Most of the overpowered characters have been misused throughout the first three phases, but for some reason, Endgame went one step too far. Instead of focusing on the overall story, it focused on moments in the story.
The all-women hero scene was not horrible, but it was definitely done wrong. Instead of giving Captain Marvel the gauntlet, it would have been better served with Pepper Potts running the glove down the field. Pepper has ties to Tony and that relationship adds agency to the rest of the team to make sure she makes it to the van safely. She is one of the more vulnerable people in the fight and her personal connections make her someone you genuinely want to make it to the end. Captain Marvel could have been the first to come to her aid, but she should not have been the one to be supported by the other women. There really is no need for it. The difference between the Infinity War and Endgame scene is simply a necessity.
There was a lot going on in Endgame, almost too much to really sit in a moment too long. Where Infinity War is one two and a half hour long moment. It’s a story that drops you in the middle and whisks you away before the real end. Endgame is a messy epilogue to answer all of the questions one has had over the past decade. There was not enough time to fit it all in I felt. Then to add moments of pro-feminism onto that distracted from the story that was being told. At that point in the battle, you do not want Thanos to get the gauntlet. There is no time for superhero poses and one-liners. This is 4th and goal and it needed to stay that way. In Infinity War the moment mattered because it was part of the overall plot. You were invested in Scarlet Witch’s survival because she was a key piece in winning the war. She was the only one capable of destroying the mind stone, and as we see in the end, the only one powerful enough to hold off Thanos. Until then she is ash, Wanda’s life is something the viewers are invested in. With Captain Marvel being the most powerful person on the field, there is no stress about her safety because the viewer does not feel like she’ll actually be vulnerable.
The want and need for addition of strong women in these hero movies is warranted. My only concern is adding them for the sake of it and not for an actual purpose. These are expansive stories that can be told and include everyone, while not overlooking anyone group of people. Infinity War had it, Endgame did not. It’s as simple as that. Give me strong women with a purpose, not just strong women. Give me a story that shows strong women being awesome, not just strong women being awesome. There should always be a point. There should always be a reason for everything that is done in fiction. Nothing should be there to appease someone who might complain about the lack of diversity or lack of equality. If the moment is not there do not force it. All things have their place and sometimes less is more. I want a strong woman, but show me the respect of giving me a strong woman done well.
Editor's note: Welcome Tiffany! Can't wait to read your upcoming pieces.
What better way to start off Spring than with the introduction of my new book, Escaping Camp Roosevelt!
If you enjoyed my previous four books containing stories brimming with real emotions and real-life situations filled with realistic life challenges and where vibrant character experience personal growth, and, of course, love, you are going to love my new book! Escaping Camp Roosevelt is an emotional and touching story of two young men, who, for very different reasons, find themselves on the streets, struggling to survive in a homeless encampment.
Eighteen-year-old Tucker Graves loves two things---his darling little sister and the thrill of playing baseball. He never dreamt that he’d be homeless, but after a series of misfortunes, he, his mother and his sister find themselves living in a dilapidated homeless encampment called Camp Roosevelt.
Homeless for six years, Dancer has mastered the tricks of living on the streets as a sex worker. The quiet, reclusive and calculating ways of this twenty-year-old help him to survive although he has learned to trust no one. When Tucker and Dancer meet, neither man can deny the attraction he feels for the other. Both men, struggling with their own emotional pain, question whether falling in love is even possible, especially when survival is on the line?
Above all else, Escaping Camp Roosevelt is about finding your truth, and the ability to forgive even when the wounds are deep.
Greetings from your Volunteer Manager and Events Coordinator, Andrea. Are you tired of me yet? OmMGosh! So am I! Hahaha!
I would like to shout out to Dave and Busters GM Jason, Op Manager Jeremy, and Events Specialist Stevie for the amazing evening they sponsored for our community. We had a banquet room, a prize wheel with so many prizes, a photo back-drop, music videos, and 2 wonderful wait-staff. The food and drinks were on point. We had a little over 40 community members show, candy goodie bags (thank you my parents), door prizes, and my heart was over flowing. Thank you to all that participated, you made this evening off the charts for us. We truly received the royal treatment, and we are forever grateful to Dave & Busters. We can't wait for the next one!
I'd like to thank our Founder Jason, who has been keeping our organization going since 2001. When I came on in September 2018, I did not know what to expect. Jason has given me so much positivity, and encouragement. I am learning so much from him, and appreciate him and his faith in me. He's not allowed to take a vacation, yet. Hahaha!
We have two awesome events coming your way.
Our next event will be at the Fig Garden Library for the LGBT Fresno and Pink Panthers Movement invites you to a FREE movie night.
February 27th, Doors open at 5:30 pm, Movie Begins at 6:00 PM, Discussion/Resources from 7:30-8:00 pm. RSVP here.
“A Kid like Jake”
The movie stars, Jim Parsons (Sheldon of Big Bang Theory), Claire Danes (Julia Vaugh of The Hours), Octavio Spencer (Minnie Jackson of The Help), and Leo James Davis (as Jake).
LGBT Fresno and The Pink Panthers Movement Fresno want to bring awareness towards the importance of accepting and supporting children who are exploring gender expression. Resources will be available at an informational table. Snacks & drinks will be provided (please, no outside food).
Our next event is March 23rd at Lafayette Park with Equality Kickball at 2pm. They are hosting a Kickball game & potluck BBQ, and we are all invited. Wear your most fun Rainbow sports gear, bring a side dish, and beer. Simple enough? Oooooh Yes!!! I almost forgot...there will be cake!!!! LGBTQ+ community members and Allies are welcome, as players and cheerleaders. Please, don't forget to bring your positive attitude! RSVP here.
2019 Tranz Ball, hosted by Imperial Dove Court Fresno on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND - DOORS @ 5PM; DINNER @ 6PM; SHOW @ 7PM - at Fresno City College at 1101 E University Ave, Fresno, CA 93741 in the Old Administrative Building in the Sky Room. Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door; $10 for youth (18 years & under).
The theme for this year's event is Through The Looking Glass: An evening of Trans - Inspired Disney characters. Join us as we watch contestants compete for the titles of Mr. Tranz Fresno (Identifying as male), Ms. Tranz Fresno (Identifying as female), Tranz X Fresno (identifying as both masculine and feminine; androgynous), and a Junior Tranz Fresno Title (Youth 20 yrs and younger).
Finish out your year with some excellent LGBT cinema, here is our top 9 films of 2018:
9 Alex Strangelove
High school senior Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) has it all - the grades, the girlfriend (Madeline Weinstein), and the motley crew of hilarious friends. Everything is smooth sailing until Alex shares that he's decided to part ways with his virginity - and meets Elliott (Antonio Marziale), a sweet and confident gay boy who isn't shy about his instant crush on Alex.
8 The Miseducation of Cameron Post
The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the backseat of a car on prom night.
Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz star in a tale of forbidden love.
6 The Little Stranger
After a doctor is called to visit a crumbling manor, strange things begin to occur.
Your first and only time to experience this in theaters! OUT On Stage is the absolutely hilarious and one-of-a-kind, originally produced comedy hosted by Zach Noe Towers - OUT Magazine’s “One of the 10 comedians to watch in 2018,” the comedian that Sarah Silverman calls, “So, SO, SO Funny”!
July 24th, 8PM at Regal Fresno Stadium 22, 250 Paseo Del Centro, Fresno
Tacos! Now that we have your attention, prepare yourself for amazing food and great entertainment. Our annual Cinco De Mayo show is right around the corner. Hosted by the talented Patricia de Leon - featuring your favorite local talent. All proceeds benefit the 2018 Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival (food provided by Tacos Marquitos!)
Doors open/dinner served 6:30pm-7:30pm $15 cover; Show 8:00pm $10 cover. An all ages event.
With an early Easter out of the way, I am ready to welcome Spring. It is the time of year when I find it increasingly hard to write as I stare out my window enjoying everything that is in full bloom. The bees and hummingbirds are fighting over the jasmine in the yard. The lilies and irises are popping up in the flowerbeds. It is the time of year that I fall deeply in love with my backyard all over again.
Is it really possible to fall in love with something all over again? Some people would say that you never really stopped loving it in the first place, but that you have just forgotten what it felt like.
Being married to the man of my dreams for over thirty years, I have found that what love feels like now has changed over the course of our several decades together. The butterflies fluttering in the belly stopped long ago. I no longer get tongue tied at the very sight of him when he walks into the room. These physical responses have been replaced with something else; an indelible sense of comfort that he knows I’m not perfect and yet he still loves me. He is the one person that slows me down, allows me to catch my breath, renews me. He is my soulmate.
These reassuring feelings of comfort happen over and over again. Just like in my yard, with the changing cycle of the seasons, the beauty is continually renewed and revealed in a multitude of ways and often takes me by surprise.
Limited time offer to receive free and discount copies of Marriage Equality USA's book, "The People's Victory," for you, your family, your friends, your local libraries and schools, your local PFLAG / GSA / etc. or anyone you like!
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical comes to the Saroyan Theatre October 24 - 29, 2017 Ticketmaster is the official ticketing source for Broadway In Fresno and the Saroyan Theatre.
Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.
Art is relevant in Fresno because this community needs it, the freedom to create is such a beautiful thing and sometimes it's all people have, I come from a community where training isn't likely because it's not practical to some people but passion I feel comes along way and a lot people I know have so much passion and heart to give to the arts, especially the younger generations. It's therapeutic for most of us.
A Fresno native may or may not realize the volume of art that is produced here, not to mention the artists who come out of Fresno and the surrounding areas. Some household names include Audra McDonald and Chris Colfer who have appeared onstage and onscreen, among several other talented individuals who call the Central Valley their home. Many artists start off young in capacities such as the Good Company Players Junior Company or at Bullard TALENT K-8 School. Some youth do theatre during high school and find a way to the community theatre stage. We see generations of artists come out of the valley in waves, going to schools known for their strength in the arts as well as artists who move to metropolitan areas to live their dream. Michael Flores, known as “Michael Christopher” as a choreographer, is a Madera native who has been a prolific part of theatre and the arts in the valley for the past few years, and is quickly growing a following through his artful and intellectual dance videos.
I have been involved in the arts in valley for only about 4 years, since I graduated high school in Madera. I had no idea what community theatre was because I only did the shows at my high school but when I graduated and discovered this community of people that loved the arts as much as I did I suddenly fell in love with the passion each person had toward theatre and performing. It wasn't until In The Heights at the Selma Arts Center where I had that chance to show what I can do creatively. I was trusted and I felt honored to put on a show so many people cared about.
While dance is Michael’s true passion, musical theatre and performance has given him a space to do and create what he loves. In addition to choreographing for the stage, Michael has also turned to the screen to market his work and share his art. A couple years ago, Michael began choreographing dances, then putting them into a short-film format to tell a story. Some videos are inspired by a piece of art, music, or pop culture, while others are modeled after politics and personal experience.
The choreography videos are a personal thing to me if I am going through something emotionally I get through it by visually creating what's happening in my mind, I am in love with not just Dance but makeup, costumes, and pretty much anything with production value and I really try to make them a production because that's what I do… My favorite project I've worked on would have to be the Pacify Her Movement Piece which a lot people refer to as the "blue boy video" so many people related to the video which is truly best part! When you touch someone else through your work makes it a little more worth it. Most people don't know that the video was about me and a situation I was in, so when other people relate to the story it kinda makes me feel not so alone. Of course the actors and dancers were amazing emoting all of this, I seriously have some talented friends that make this all possible.
Flores has created a style and nuance through his work. Many of his pieces feature brightly colored paint and technical yet pedestrian choreography. His work highlights local performers who are familiar to the Good Company Players, Stageworks Fresno, and Selma Arts Center stages, so the performers may be familiar to his audience as well. Michael’s pieces have not only created an extensive portfolio for his choreography projects, but also to highlight the talents of local performers and provide them with experience in the field. Despite the immense talent of himself and the performers that Michael works with, he constantly pushes his performers to improve and do better until his vision is achieved.
I feel like almost every choreographer and dancer should take an acting class. It's crucial in Dance, especially contemporary and lyrical where storytelling through the music is pivotal in the style. More depth needs to come out instead of having two emotions (happy and sad). A dancer is a story teller and acting is so important to me that I want to see the dancer go through all of the emotions the song, putting them in with honesty and coming from a real genuine place. I try every time for my choreography to come from that place, real moments so that the audience can truly connect with your work. My biggest fear is being in-genuine.
Michael’s work has heart. There is depth behind all his projects whether they be a musical-theatre inspired piece or a personal soliloquy through dance. Michael’s projects are anything but in-genuine, and the valley needs to see more true art such as his.
I would like to affect my community by promoting how we can be vulnerable and express our feelings through art, sometime being "strong" is touching when someone has overcome something and I think showing that struggle and making it empowering through art is beautiful.
Support the arts, love each other and be kind.
Keep up with Michael Christopher Flores on social media via Instagram @michaelchristopher17000 and on YouTube – Michael Christopher.
StageWorks Fresno's production of The Full Monty has a lot to offer: great music, terrific singing voices, cute choreography, and pelvic thrusts. But what is most important was a network of love that transcended the boundaries of gay, straight, male, female, performer, and audience member. Today I heard some very unfortunate news, that Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington had committed suicide. In my opinion he was one of the best male vocalists of my generation. I went into this show feeling a little down and out, and looking for something. I wasn't sure what. I was like one of those emotional shoppers at the department store who was upset and unpredictable and not sure if I wanted flat front or pleated slacks. Only it wasn't slacks I was looking for. It was a man. Yes, I was looking for love in all the right places.
They grabbed my attention right away with a Chippendale dancer with a winning smile. Thank you for the tasty hors d'oeuvres, I thought. But where's the main course? It came as a two act 14 song musical that addressed themes of masculinity, insecurity, and ironically suicide. The suicidal character, who happened to be gay, was rescued from his car, that had a tube from the exhaust pipe coming through the window, by two straight best friends, Jerry and Dave, that he worked with. The first type of love we saw was unconditional. These two men showed him a type of friendship that would help him regardless if he was going to kill himself or choose to live. Finally having friends in his life, he chooses life over death. This was the character I fell in love with, Malcolm McGregor, played by Dominic Grijalva. Not only was he the best dancer and had strong vocal and acting technique. He was by all means the most excited of an extremely excited group of actors.
Notable were the songs performed by Jams Schott as Jerry Lukowski. His artistic choices in the form of jazzy vocal riffs really impressed me. Horse's song was a fun and testosterone filled eclectic celebration that reminded me of many of the great black men that have been in my life. I try to leave my personal biases out of the shows I watch. However in this space, the Clovis North HS Dan Pessano Theater, and on this day July 20, 2017, it was impossible. With such an intimate show, The Full Monty, we are uplifted by the love we have between husband and wife, father and son, friends and lovers. And once again I renew myself by saying like Malcolm, I choose life! I hope you do too. So gay guys, grab your best straight, and head over to see the Full Monty.