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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Tag / queer art

Saint Joan: Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s “Ms. Blakk For President”

As she walked over the confetti-coated floor of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s upstairs theater, Dania felt caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one side of her –– rather, on either side of her, while they sat on a couch during the performance –– were Eleanor and Gwen, who were excitedly violating the “100 Yard Rule” to praise the performance before they had left the building. They had joined every whoop and holler that evening, each chant of “LICK BUSH IN ’92” and “MARSHA P,” each numb silence when the story’s parallels to 2019 were abundantly clear.

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Split Decision: Ekachai Uekrongtham’s “Beautiful Boxer”

“Why…this one?”

“Curiosity, basically,” Dania said. “I’d heard about it but never actually watched it before.”

She could tell from the reactions during the film –– none negative, but none enraptured –– that her friends had mixed opinions on Beautiful Boxer. As a very early example of a transgender biography on film, it was replete with issues that would sink it for a modern viewer.

“It’s a male actor playing the lead, right?” Gwen asked. On screen, the name Asanee Suwan scrolled by, in line with Nong Toom and her deadname.

“A male boxer, yes,” Dania said. “He had never acted professionally before this, he was chosen so he could nail the fight scenes.”

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Brandi Carlile’s “Give Up The Ghost” with Kaysy Ostrom

“That’s how you know it’s on vinyl,” Kaysy grinned. From the speakers, the crackle of the record could barely be heard –– but in the empty room, it was clear as any other voice.

“What’s the typical phrase…” Gwen mused, tapping her chin. “It sounds ‘warmer?’”

“I’ve never understood that,” said Dania. “It’s music, how is it gonna be warm?”

Seemingly in response, the album began just as Dania finished speaking, with a strum across the guitar and an insistent rhythm on the bass string. Before more than a moment had passed, a voice joined the tune and provided the beginnings of a story.

I went out looking for the answers / and never left my town…

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Living On Lotus Blossoms: Patricia Highsmith’s “The Price of Salt”

With a herculean effort, Eleanor managed to wrench open the jammed window in their apartment, letting the June breeze waft through the room. Thick beams of the sun hit the floor, the couch, and Dania’s open eyes.

“Gahh!” Dania recoiled, shielding her eyes. “The light!”

“I’ll close the blinds in a second,” Eleanor promised. She carefully reached out the window, attaching the ends of a purple, white, grey, and black flag to the windowsill. It billowed in the breeze as she shut the blinds, blocking out the light.

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