A new documentary about trans musicians features queer bands to watch

 
 

You may know Actor Slash Model as the duo with the folksy tunes, stand-up base and rad song titles (“TN Tranny Two Step,” “SM Cowboy”) but for the past three years, music has not been the only thing on the Chicago-based duo’s plate. The band has been going coast-to-coast working on a film about trans-identified musicians, shedding some much-needed light on trans musicians in the indie music scene.

The band, trans men Simon Strikeback and Madsen Minax, teamed up with filmmaker Malic Amalya to explore “trans and gender variant identity” and prove once and for all that “Hey, we’re here and we’re not going away.”

The film (which has yet to be named but Off The Beat, Me Neither and The Neverending Title Search For the Actor Slash Model Film Project have been thrown around) combines live performances with interviews from various bands. It is slated to screen at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival in August and will make its rounds from there.

One of the bands featured in the film is queer Portland- and San Francisco-based trio Basic Fix, whose poppy, sexy and club-ready tunes are certainly worth checking out.

The tunes of frontman Kelly Moe, bassist Maile Thiesen and drummer Fabian Toledo were described as “Madonna making out with Beyoncé Knowles while Zero 7 plays in the background” by Portland’s Just Out. Sounds hot to me. (You may also remember Kelly Moe from the Gossip’s video for “Listen Up.”)

Kelly Moe

“Part of our work with this film,” Strikeback told Think Pink Radio, “is to recognize that trans identity is not tragedy. Trans people live meaningful, successful lives.”

“… a personal journey, a political journey, a literal journey, the aspect of travel (through years or miles) is the binding stylistic element in this film,” the band says on its website. “Our lives are 4-dimensional, our media is 4-dimensional, and each person is on his/her/ze’s journey. As trans people, our bodies are nontraditional, our lifestyles are non traditional, our ideas about culture and identity are non traditional. Why shouldn’t our way of making art, be non traditional as well?”

The film’s screening at the Vancouver film fest may be coupled with performances by some of the bands featured, but plans are in the works. (We will keep you posted, of course.)

Until then, you may want to check out other bands that will be interviewed and will perform in the upcoming film. For fans of acoustic music with a folksy, bluegrass feel, Coyote Grace is worth a listen.

And if you haven’t heard trans hip-hop sensation Katastrophe, definitely check him out .

And, of course, Actor Slash Model’s album “Cheap Date” is a fun listen and all proceeds go to the film project.

 
 

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