Our reading of Jackie Kay’s “Trumpet” reminded me of the Fresh Meat Festival, which is based here in San Francisco and founded in 2002 by artistic director and choreographer Sean Dorsey. Fresh Meat is a production that consists of multiple transgender and queer artists and performers ranging from musicians, dancers, poets, and poets. Fresh Meat Productions “builds community through the arts by creating, presenting and touring year- round transgender arts programs”, and they are the first organization of its kind in the nation. Fresh Meat Productions presents a wide range of transgender and queer arts, including dance, music, theater, and poetry. As stated in their mission statement, “Fresh Meat’s programs empower transgender artists and audiences, expand the repertoire of original work authentically exploring transgender experience, bring visibility to transgender and gender variant communities, connect transgender artists with diverse audiences, promote the artistic development of emerging and established transgender artists, empower voices, stories and bodies that have historically been excluded from the arts, promote dialogue and build community”. The Fresh Meat Tour in 2012 featured Shawna Virago, a transgender musician and Sean Dorsey Dance, The Barbary Coast Cloggers, as well as a number of other transgender and queer artists and groups.
Shawna Virago is a transgender musician originating from San Francisco, and her music is known to combine folk, punk, and roots music to create her own style. Virago’s music is known for her “raw observations about survival in a predatory world, sticking up for the underdog, queer love and gender outlaws”. Virago has been mentioned in such publications as Curve Magazine, OUT, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Shewired Magazine has even named Virago one of the nation’s “Top 25 Hot Femmes”. Virago is also the artistic director of the San Francisc Transgender Film Festival, (SFTFF). Virago’s own music video “Transsexual Dominatrix” has been screened in more than 25 film festivals around the world, including such places as Berlin, Copenhagen, Prague, London, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Bologna, Italy. Virago is also a published writer, and has work that appears in “Gender Outlaws: Next Generation” and in anthologies such as “Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love, & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary” and “Take Me There”.
Sean Dorsey is an award- winning choreographer, dancer, and writer here in San Francisco. He is recognized as the U.S.’ first acclaimed transgender modern choreographer, and his work is generally looked upon as a fusion of contemporary dance, storytelling, and theater. Dorsey’s new concert “The Secret History of Love” is currently touring in 20 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Tampa, San Antonio, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. Dorsey is currently working on a new concert, titled “The Missing Generation”, which investigates the contemporary impact of the loss of almost a whole gay and transgender generation to AIDS in the 1980s.
Fresh Meat Home Page: http://www.freshmeatproductions.org