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One Freak Show review and interview
One Freak Show review and interview
by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Friday, August 31st, a small, but enthusiastic, audience was treated to a one-night only presentation by Lynn Breedlove, comic, author, film-producer, trans-advocate. Seattle stalwarts, Maggie and the Von Foxies, opened the show with some nationally celebrated burlesque performances, and if you haven't seen them, try to check them out at the ReBar, Saturday, September 15. They give a great show that will have you laughing raucously.

Breedlove was the entertainment highlight for a weekend conference, here, called Gender Odyssey, in its fifth year. Gender Odyssey says it's "focused on the needs and interests of transmen, genderqueers, FTMs, and other gender-variant people." So, for entertainment, they turned to one of the only performers whose standup routine exposes the funny side of the trans world. Aside from his (or her or herms?) one-person show, Breedlove is also known for "Godspeed," an autobiographical novel (so I guess it's fact-based, but also fictionally embroidered). Some know Breedlove as the leader of Tribe8, the dyke punk band.

One Freak Show directly addresses trans issues and the difficulties that people with sexual ambiguities face in the world. Breedlove has a hysterical introduction to the subject using small stuffed animals, like a "Hello Kitty" who identifies as a pirate, and a lamb that identifies as a shark. This childlike introduction to the topic puts everyone at ease and helps set the tone for the silliness to follow.

Breedlove (he considers himself male-identified, so I'll use "he" for simplicity)

started doing a comedy routine after realizing that performing in Tribe8 didn't allow people to understand the words, with the music playing and the people moshing, so he decided to learn how to tell jokes. He did write songs about it for Tribe8, about he was a "woman-loving woman and now he's a man-hating man" and how complicated it is to go from being a feminist dyke to acknowledging his male side.

In an after-show interview, he describes being a bridge between the feminist dyke world and the trans world. "A lot of people don't identify as a man or a woman, they identify as 'trans'&they are in transition." He isn't sure that he would want to go the surgery route, or if he even "needs" to. He's at a place in life where he can pretty much go along as he is and focus on things like writing screenplays and doing this routine.

One Freak Show is for people to relax about the complexities of the issue and points at the "community" conflicts where "everyone takes things personally and gets mad at everybody because everyone has different identities and we can't figure out how to co-exist with each other." The "who's more oppressed" mentality. "We all have our cross to bear and let's honor each other's cross. That's what my comedy is about."

But Breedlove doesn't just want to talk to the smaller community of GLBTiQQQRSTUV (Breedlove does a really funny riff on letters) people. He loves that straight non-trans people always attend his shows and appreciate the boundary-leaping comedy and love his show. Straight men, in particular, find his comments on "male culture" hysterical, like when he demonstrates how men behave in bathrooms, where they're not supposed to look at each other. He likes that all of these cultures of people are sitting in the audience learning to relax and enjoy each other. "Be aware of our tensions and that we're all dealing with being human and with bodies and histories and we all need to give each other slack."

"People are super attached to gender organization based on plumbing. And if you threaten that at all, people get homicidal. If you do that [create ambiguity over your sexuality], then there is no ground under us and the whole world will fall apart. The threads of society will be ripped asunder and 'we'll have to kill you because you're the reason for it.' Because they're so scared."

Breedlove says part of his ambivalence over injecting "Vitamin T" (testosterone) into his body is that he has a history of drug abuse by injection. "It's a little scary to have rigs around and a bottle of a year's supply which if I did it right now, sounds like a good idea to me. I don't know what's a good amount of drugs to put into a needle. I'm a high-functioning person, considering I have ADD, I'm menopausal and I've had a stroke on shooting cocaine!" He has cautiously tried some testosterone gel, for a couple of months at a time. "Does it help the hot flashes or cause the hot flashes? That's my main concern right now. What's gonna get rid of the hot flashes?"

A blurry place in transition, which can last for many years even with plans for surgery, is even more blurry for Breedlove, without surgery or hormones. "I don't often stand up for myself about pronouns. Ok, if you want to call me 'she' I guess&alright, shim, herm whatever. I like 'he' but I don't want to give up my 'I'm taking a stand for the feminist dykes and I'm going to stand up for women forever.' Just cuz I'm he doesn't mean I won't stand up for women. I want to make sure everyone knows that." He has friends who have had surgery who changed their minds and call themselves female, again. "The sentence that is hurting us the most is 'You're not a real blank.' Starting my sentence with 'you' isn't going to help anybody to hear." He wants people to hear what he has to say and that it comes from a place of love. What's sure at the show is that you'll hear some damn funny stuff. Breedlove says, "Lighten up! When you point your finger at someone, you have three pointing back at ya!"

For more information, go to www.lynnbreedlove.com or www.myspace.com/lynnbreedlove.

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