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Gabriella Soto

Lisa Friday Gets Personal in Trans Am

by Gabriella Soto

This article was first published in Tagg Magazine here.

Lisa Friday takes the stage in Trans Am with nothing more than her acoustic guitar and her story. Told through songs fresh from the vault of original music she’s written over the last 20 years, Friday invites viewers to join her on a rock and roll trip down memory lane. The live, one-woman musical depicts her own transgender experience, raw and real.

Friday’s decision to create and star in her own life story arose as a product of her own self-reflection in the wake of COVID-19. After the cancellation of Keegan Theatre’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, in which she was asked to play Hedwig, Friday took time to reflect on current events and injustices taking place. She believed that what was important to show at this time wasn’t flashy outward spectacles, but honest depictions of the realities people face in life. Thus, Trans Am was born.

Originally performed for a virtual audience, widespread success of her remote production prompted her to bring the show to life on stage. “The Keegan asked me to be part of their 25th anniversary season and we all decided we weren’t going to change a thing. We were just going to go with it exactly how it is,” Friday explains.

She describes her story as a means of understanding our common human desire for self-actualization. When discussing where this self-actualization comes from, Friday explains that “to go through a gender transition can be a very isolating experience. It takes so much self-examination and so much clarity about who you are to get through that.” Through this process, she realized that “everything in our world is informing us that there are binary laws to gender norms, that we have to fit in to certain categories and certain places. And as you transition, you’re going to have to walk through every single one of those places. To get through that and survive, that takes a level of self-actualization that a lot of people are never forced to go through.”

Friday shares that despite her happy childhood, there was no room for her to truly find this in the conservative environment she was raised in. She admits, “we may not realize our authentic selves are probably not welcome in.” Throughout her show, Friday details how her connection to music allowed her to find new places to express herself.

Through Trans Am, Friday hopes that audiences resonate with the realities of this human experience. “Being trans doesn’t make me something other, it actually makes me very human.” Her goal is that people get to see transitioning as a real-world human experience and adds for anyone struggling with their own personal journey, “We need love and support in our lives, we need to receive and give that in order to fully realize who we are.

BETTY’s Back for a Holly Jollypocalypse

by Gabriella Soto

This article was first published in Tagg Magazine here.

In their much-anticipated return to the stage, BETTY recently announced their holiday concert tour. The iconic queer band is back with live performances this holiday season for their “Holly Jollypocalypse.” Trio, Alyson Palmer and sisters Amy & Elizabeth Ziff will be kicking off their performances in Washington, D.C. and closing out their rockin’ festivities in New Hope, PA.

Over the last 35 years, BETTY has released a total of ten albums along with prominent features of their music on radio, film, and tv. Including their iconic tune, “The Way That We Live,” which featured as the running theme song for Showtime’s The L Word. After three decades together, this strong-willed trio has only grown stronger. They credit their long running success with years of lasting friendship and commitment to one another, and the LGBTQ community. She also adds that their loyal fanbase provided them the drive and engagement to keep at it. “We really keep going because of the fans.” The story of how they met can be found on episode one of their podcast BETTY: Girlband, the Podcast.

In the wake of Covid-19—no longer able to do live performances—the unparalleled dedication these women have for one another and their music shined through. While writing individually, the group remained in touch every day. Elizabeth even admitting to walking miles in the snow to just to get to her sister in upstate New York. It was during this time, that the group was able to transition from sharing their songs with live crowds, to reaching audiences online, with the release of several music videos and taking part in live benefits via Zoom.

Now, live and in-person, the group is thrilled to get back to their fans, aiming to bring together all walks of life and inspire fun-filled comradery throughout the tour. Audiences can expect to hear some great music and hopefully, meet some great people this holiday season.

For more information about BETTY’s upcoming holiday shows, visit https://www.hellobetty.com/shows/.