L I N E U P
HEADLINER: JORDAAN MASON
Jordaan Mason was the first explicitly trans artist I ever listened to. When I was in high school, I craved cool new music, like everyone else. Well before I came out as a trans woman, I heard Jordaan’s iconic record “Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head” and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t shake it. Listening to these songs ten years later, and they are still some of the most haunting pictures of the hardships life and love as a trans person carry. Playing solo, without the ‘Horse Museum’, Jordaan has continued to make brilliant queer folk, pop, and experimental music that is as brave as any I’ve ever heard. I’m thrilled to announce that Jordaan Mason will be flying out from Toronto to headline our festival. High-school Noraa would be proud.
The band describes themself as “Kinda Mathy, Kinda Screamo, Pretty Gay, But still basically a Hardcore Punk Band.” So often, hardcore lyrics eschew nuance for nuisance, but BustDown alternates between righteous barbs like “unite the right, it’s full of fascists, get them in line / so we can use a single bullet to end their chain of thought” and confessional lines like “nothing let the never fester / builds until the breakdown’s inevitable / what you feel’s what you can’t hide”. I’m really excited to meet these punks so we can talk about right-wing demonic transgender conspiracy theories and the pratfalls of visibility.
Dailen is your favorite. If she isn’t your favorite, it’s time for a new favorite! My theory is that Dailen doesn’t perform, she runs an emulator of a DIY show on a Windows XP and we all become dancing NPCs. Caloric’s square waves and wonky rhythms sound almost too easy, but mask the fact that the melodies and harmonies are out of this world. Dailen obviously knows more about music and retro-technology than most people ever will, but the spaces she makes while performing always makes sure everyone’s having a good time and I respect the shit out of that.
The first time I ever heard CMOV, it was on a tape I bought at the first RIPE expo. It was wrapped in a piece of precisely folded paper with a science-fiction story printed on it. Ever since then, when people ask me what kind of music CMOV makes I say “speculative”. Chameleonic in scope, Kit’s sounds could just as easily be enjoyed in a white wall gallery, on a sweaty gay dance floor, or at a audiophilic night of experimental music. This electronic project is one of the Providence music scene’s true jewels.
Jake Bellissimo (Berlin)
“Baroque pop” artists usually don’t understand what makes pop music great, so they end up writing tired imitations of the Beach Boys, throwing some strings and a trumpet on top, and cutting mediocre records that capitalize on our own nostalgia. NOT SO for Jake Bellissimo, a trained composer, arranger, violist. None of that classical training gets in the way of making “music about feelings” that floats high above the dichotomies of gender and the art world.
June Violet Aino (Hartford)
June is one half of your favorite guitarless transgender noise band, SPACE CAMP, where she can be seen playing a massive 88-key keyboard and blowing into a bright red trombone. Not as many people recognize her as a brilliant and award-winning contemporary composer. Make no mistake: June’s compositions are not Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. These pieces are every bit as dissonant, intense, witty, and metal as fuck as any noise band.
Lady Queen Paradise
Clara is one of the most powerful vocalists, songwriters, and performers I know. Their performances are always technically flawless and often feature the same ten or so songs, but no two performances have ever felt like they could exist on the same planet. Drawing on a solid folk archive, an encyclopedic knowledge of indie rock, and classical training as an opera singer, Lady Queen Paradise taps into something raw, harrowing, but also life-affirming. I have to remind myself to breathe while Clara plays.
I met Marina Murayama while on tour in Philadelphia, and I was blown away at the intricacy of their art. If these songs were just synthpop, the sound would already be full and rich, but Marina couldn’t stop there, instead orchestrating bold arrangements for cellos, flutes, violas. I remarked off hand that if I had to describe this music I’d call it “ancestral chamber folk”, and I’m proud to say Marina uses that phrase on their bandcamp. Murayama’s poetic lyrics like “mend our broken tongues / and let us chew familiar fruit” are just the tip of an iceberg that descends deep into questions of place, legacy, tradition, gender, kinship, colonialism, and selfhood.
PINK NAVEL (Boston)
PINK NAVEL is a prolific rapper from Boston who simply can’t be stopped. Navel’s effortless flow, easy-going wordplay, and sublime beats (that they make themself) make this stuff look easy, like Shaggy using 3% of his power. But Devin Bee’s nerdy, witty wordsmithing is carefully practiced, and with each new release the lyrics get more compelling.
Rory Strong (Los Angeles)
When I asked Rory to play the gig, I thought they were still living in Baltimore, which I thought was far at the time. Then they told me they’re in LA and still want to fly over to rainy ol’ New England this spring to play this gig. I’m so, so excited to play alongside this gentle soul again and listen to some top-shelf rock and/or roll. Whether Rory is making acoustic folk punk peans or shouting loud rock ditties into a megaphone, they bring an electric energy to the space that cannot soon be ignored.
I saw Cam, Timothy-Anne’s lead singer, perform some of these songs solo on an acoustic guitar at AS220 over this summer. They were opening for Kimya fucking Dawson! I remember thinking to myself how amazing music is, how lovely it is to share it with our communities. This très queer band from Boston is a treat for all of us to share.
This is my sad, gay project where I play a keyboard sadly and sing gaily.
I N T E N T I O N
Last year, I made the beautiful mistake of thinking I could book a music festival. I don’t book many shows, period, so I don’t know what made me want to curate a whole fest by myself. Three days before the gig, I was about to cancel. But after many stressful days and sleepless nights, the whole thing came together in a way that felt affirming and special. In my book, it was a huge success: hundreds of people turned out, and seven months later Rhode Islanders voted it best music festival of the year. So, I decided to make the same beautiful mistake again.
TDOV 2019 is gonna pick up where last year left off, except this time is gonna be BIGGER! We’re excited to announce that artists from as far away as Los Angeles and Berlin will be joining us, that additional programming (TBA) will make the whole weekend a queer celebration, and that we’re prioritizing fairer compensation of our performers.
The event is called TDOV, not Trans Day of Visibility, though it marks that observance. This festival is just as much a love-letter to trans vengeance, victory, virtue, vice, vindication, violence, values, vessels.
We aim to critique the idea of visibility, and question the liberal motives that demand ‘representation’ rather than ‘liberation.’ We believe that trans visibility is an inherently dangerous thing to aspire to, but nevertheless we are gathering here to be trans together. This event is intended to be an opportunity for trans people of all backgrounds to get to spend time together and have important conversations about resistance.
I N F O R M A T I O N
All ages welcome!
Door is at 2 PM, music starts at 3 PM, and we’ll be going until 12:50 AM.
There is a suggested donation of $10, but absolutely no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
The space is wheelchair-accessible and located on the ground floor of a building right off the street.
This show will not be sober, as AS220 has a bar. Drinking responsibly is crucial.
There is a restaurant on-site that serves many vegan and vegetarian meals.
Oppressive and predatory behavior will not be tolerated, period. If anyone is bothering you, speak to a team member.
Flyer by Arthur Katrina.
Lineup is tentative.
More information to come! If you are interested in donating money, sponsoring the event, or supporting in any way, please reach out to Noraa. Our chief priority is ensuring the artists get paid.