Post by Rowan Bayne
Wednesday night was comedian Ian Harvie, with a Teen Jesus Barbie amuse-bouche, at the U of A’s Myer Horowitz Theatre.
Stand-up comedy has always made me a bit uncomfortable. Unfortunate politically correct hangups have something to do with it, for sure. (He called her a *what*?) Sometimes the cheap shots are just too cheap, and things like that. Sometimes I have trouble … lightening up.
Ian was winsome and funny. There was plenty of good “he went there.” We talked washroom habits and airport pat-downs. We talked about the cocks: no, he wasn’t born with one; yes, he has a few, some of which live in the bedside table. In the end it mattered that we heard all this by the freedom of comedy’s in-your-face bluntness — here was a rare venue where, outside of everyday propriety, the response of shocked offense (he called her a WHAT?) lacked its usual power to set the limits of the appropriate.
One of Ian’s points (yup, he even had “points”) was that we’re all trans, if by this we understand ourselves to be in motion toward and away from versions of masculinity and femininity, in different ways and at different times. Getting a boob job, getting boobs removed, going to the gym: there are many technologies of gender. The differences among them matter — a lot. But by Ian’s definition the ways we make and remake gender aren’t wholly alien to one another.
On a more general note, an unexpectedly refreshing thing about this year’s Exposure: all its unprofessionalisms! I don’t mean that events are disorganized, performances late, volunteers discourteous: none of that. Everything’s been great. I just mean that I’m really enjoying the aesthetics of oops moments and wardrobe malfunctions, of laughing it off. I find myself most in need of TJ Barbie’s call for help onstage to peel off an especially tricky one-piece (a snowsuit, that is, not a jumpsuit). Or what about how Kristy Harcourt’s co-host antics give Loud & Queer Cabaret that extra something? It’s been fun to laugh along.