Can a cute t-shirt fund the revolution? Thisway/Thatway messily explores the junction of consumerism and activism in this intermedia spectacle of fashion, movement, and video.
The Gap (PRODUCT) RED campaign is a collaborative effort between celebrities, multilateral organizations, and Gap Inc.Half of the proceeds from signature items will become charitable contributions to “help eliminate AIDS in Africa.” In this cultural moment where Gwyneth Paltrow declares, “I am African,” and Bono advises we, “Shop ’til it stops,” Laye(red) takes on this pop-cultural appropriation of blackness for profit.
With pop-cultural appropriation of Blackness and the legacy of cotton production under slavery, how do Black queer and trans folks imagine fashion as resistance?
The consummate candy-fag, Thisway/Thatway (aka Stephanie Cooper) is an inter-media performance artist who enjoys the messy collision of glitter and theory. They launched into performance with the finest of Washington, DC’s drag king and burlesque scene before wandering to the Bay area. The child of Black-Panamanian immigrants, their work explores the perils and possibilities of interstitial spaces through voice, video, and movement.
Thisway/Thatway has been presenting performance work at academic conferences, pride celebrations, and arts festivals throughout North America. Laye(red) is Thisway/Thatway’s first solo show in NQAF, but they have been participating for the past three years, including Rally the Troops and the Queer Women of Color Film Festival. Most recently, they joined the Fringes-Margins-Borders tour of southern California, which showcased multidisciplinary projects by queer and trans artists. Thisway/Thatway can also be seen throughout the Bay area with the Bromantics, ButchTap, and Mangos With Chili.
When not on stage, they can be seen as “smarty-pants student” at Mills College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies. A recipient of the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship in Performance Studies, they will begin doctoral study at the University of California-Davis in fall 2009. Cooper’s research interests focus on the politics and performativities that shape black queer and gender-variant communities.