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Chris E. Vargas and His Video Work: Under “Construction”

November 7, 2017 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Chris E. Vargas and his Video Work: Under “Construction”
*** Artist Chris E. Vargas in person! ***

Presented by the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival and Experimental Tuesdays at the Union Cinema.

Admission: FREE!

Chris E. Vargas is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist currently based in Bellingham, Washington, whose work deploys humor and performance in conjunction with mainstream idioms to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical & institutional memory and popular culture. He is also the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a conceptual arts and hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape. Tonight’s film and video program is a survey of his solo and collaborative moving image work.

to screen:

Have You Ever Seen a Transexual Before?
(digital video, 4 min., 2010)
_Have You Ever Seen A Transsexual Before?_ is both a document of a live performance in the alienating “real world” and a fantastical adventure into another world of queer likeness and identification. The first half of the video records a guerilla performance, and through repetition, becomes a declaration and a campaign for trans masculine visibility. When the campaign proves futile I enter a magical animated world where I observe and am greeted by colorful and flamboyant wildlife.


Extraordinary Pregnancies
(digital video, 10min., 2010)
_Extraordinary Pregnancies_ revisits the “First” Pregnant Man, Thomas Beatie and his wife Nancy, rescripting their vulnerable yet guarded interviews with the big shots of tabloid media.


(digital video, 16min., 2011)
_Liberaceón_,the second in a series of biographical pieces, renarrates portions of the biography of Liberace—the flamboyant, yet closeted, apolitical pop pianist who died in 1987—in order to insert him into a queer history of radical AIDS/HIV activism. Vargas performs as Liberace, embellishing details from his life and spinning them into a mythic origin story of the in/famous direct-action group, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).


ONE for all…
(digital video, 7min., 2012)
_ONE for all…_ is about the tempestuous end of the partnership between eccentric, transgender philanthropist Reed Erickson and the seminal homophile organization ONE. The story focuses on the Milbank Estate, a historic Los Angeles mansion at the center of the conflict, and on the expansive but unrealized dreams that Erickson had for the future of queer activism.


(digital video, 5min., 2012)
CRY BOY CRY is a two-channel karaoke video and performance collage centered around “Smalltown Boy,” the 1984 gay pop anthem by Bronski Beat. The lyrics of the song recommend running away from a violent and homophobic home rather than waiting for things to get better there. The video features performances by artists and activists currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area who have varying degrees of identification with the song.


Sashay Away
(HD video, 8min., 2015 – 2017)
Dignified. Dejected. Head held high. _Sasha Away_ collects the moments of rejection when competition queens know their time has come. What looks wash across those painted faces before they must make their final sashay, away?


MOTHA, Executive Director Address: 
“Introduction” (video, 5min., 2014) & “Cherry Grove”, (4 min, 2014)
Both parts of a series screened during a hybrid live and pre-recorded multimedia presentation in which Chris E. Vargas performs as the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art’s Executive Director. In the series, Vargas discusses projected programming and facility plans for the forever “under construction” institution.


Presented with the UWM LGBT Resource Center


Presented as part of the 32nd Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival which runs November 2-12. The Festival is presented by the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres and is made possible to thanks to Milwaukee Pride; Burbach & Stansbury SC; the Sutton Place Fund and the Valentine Fund of the Cream City Foundation: D.A. Leonard & Michael Ross; and numerous and generous individuals, campus groups, and local businesses and organizations.

The Festival would like to thank in particular Joseph R. Pabst for his years of Foundational Support. 


Experimental Tuesdays at the Union Cinema is a free series unspooling on most Tuesdays throughout the semester that shares contemporary and canonical experimental media. Presented by the UWM Union Cinema and the UWM Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres.

Free and open to all!


November 7, 2017
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Category:


Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival


UWM Union Cinema
2nd Level, UWM Student Union, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd
Milwaukee, United States
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