Rhythm and blues singer Jackie Shane possessed an unforgettable voice and dynamic stage presence. She broke barriers as an openly transgender performing artist in an era when such visibility was oftentimes illegal and yet for her undeniable power, Shane was not well known during her lifetime. She released only a handful of singles in the 1960s and played frequently on the local circuit in Toronto, but recorded videos of her riveting performances are scarce. In the 1970s, Shane disappeared entirely from public life. Little was heard from her until 2017, when the only artist-approved compilation of her recordings, Any Other Way (Los Angeles: The Numero Group, 2017), reintroduced Shane’s oeuvre to a new generation.
This evening of music and conversation is the first public event ever produced about Shane, who died in 2019. It invites her friends and collaborators Mark Christopher and Douglas Mcgowan, A&R at The Numero Group, to trace Shane’s trajectory through the history of soul music and to affirm the existence of gender-diverse and non-binary peoples throughout time. Musician Ebony Tay provides a stirring musical tribute to Shane while Zackary Drucker, who interviewed Shane for her Trans Legends article series for Vice in 2018, moderates the program. Drucker’s artistic practice in film, photography, and writing fosters dialogue with elders in the trans community as a means of combatting the false narrative that transness is a twenty-first century phenomenon. The program is inspired by themes of transformation and beauty in the exhibition Orlando and asks us, at a time when transgender legal rights are under threat, to discover Shane’s brave existence.
Any Other Way: Celebrating the Life and Work of Jackie Shane is organized by Zackary Drucker and McEvoy Foundation for the Arts in conjunction with Orlando (February 7 – May 2, 2020). Guest curated by Tilda Swinton and organized by Aperture, New York, the exhibition presents recent and newly commissioned photographs (including works by Drucker), that embody new horizons of timelessness and self-expression as found in Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS
Mark Christopher is a photographer and creative whose work has appeared in CANDY Magazine, KÜHL Magazine, and Newsweek. His commercial clients include Viceland, Taschen, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Carlen Perfums, among others. Christopher’s work has been exhibited at the Harvey Milk Photo Center, San Francisco.
Zackary Drucker is an independent artist, cultural producer, and trans woman who breaks down the way we think about gender, sexuality, and seeing. She has performed and exhibited work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Art Gallery of Ontario; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; MoMA Ps1, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Biennial 2014, New York. Drucker is an Emmy-nominated Producer for the docu-series This is Me, as well as a Producer on the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning series Transparent.
Douglas Mcgowan is a musician, record producer, and editor. He is the founder of Yoga Records and A&R for The Numero Group, Los Angeles, for which he produced the Grammy Award-nominated Any Other Way (Los Angeles: The Numero Group, 2017), a compilation of the recordings of Jackie Shane. He has also produced Laraaji: Vision Songs, Vol. 1 (Los Angeles: The Numero Group, 2018), The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970–1986 (Seattle: Light In The Attic, 2016), among others. Mcgowan received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and MFA from the American Film Institute. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Ebony Tay is an award-winning composer, guitarist, and film producer. In addition to her own recordings, she has composed several film scores. Her audio company, AWE, actively seeks to build diversity in post-production processing across the entertainment industry. For her first feature film, Hate Crime (2005), Tay produced a hit remix that made the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart. Tay has toured extensively through Europe and has opened for Hall & Oates, Mobb Deep, Indie Arie, Brian McKnight, and Gypsy Kings. She’s been signed to Island Records and Palm Pictures, and Sony/Edel Records. She studied composition and music theory at The Julliard School. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.