Jared Leto thanks Callie Addams in Oscars Acceptance Speech

Wow, I hardly know what to say! Thank you for taking the time to thank me in your Oscar’s acceptance speech!

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Here’s an essay I wrote to address the few but vocal detractors of the performance:

Jared Leto‬ was kind enough to mention me in his 2014 Independent Spirit Awards acceptance speech (as part of a typically “Jared” list of people involved in the film alongside random notable people) and next he really surprised me by thanking me in his Oscar acceptance speech.

As I’ve said before, my job was to sit down with him and answer lots of questions about what it’s like to be trans, and to make a recording of me reading his lines from the script. From there, Jared did Jared’s thing: a brilliant, eccentric artist created his own performance of a movie character. A movie character who happens to be some form of trans, in this case. Some of his follow up speeches left something to be desired when it came to speaking well on the issues facing his movie character, especially against the backdrops of current politics and social movements. I suppose it’s doubly rare to be a gifted artist AND a great political speaker. But personally, I thought Rayon seemed like a nice person and a real human being. I’ve known people like Rayon.

Anyone who’s followed my 11 years in Hollywood knows that I’ve always advocated for trans people to play trans roles. But I also refuse to shoot down powerful people who take steps to bring human trans portrayals to the screen, even if they are played by a non-trans female (Felicity Huffman in Transamerica, Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry) or a non-trans male (Lee Pace in Soldier’s Girl, Jared in Dallas Buyers Club). To all indications, Georges du Fresne was not a trans child when he played “Ludovic” in Ma Vie En Rose, but that incredible film continues to resonate with trans people and families of trans children. Good and important portrayals can come from non-trans actors. That may be an inconvenient truth, but there you have it.

Sure, I’d love to get these roles as an actress with a history of transition, or see them go to other trans actors. Heck, I’d love to play non-trans roles! But I’m not so short-sighted that I’ll destroy allies and advocates. Even less than perfect allies, if I think the overall contribution is beneficial. This is a view that comes from long actual experience and familiarity with the business. Some small but vocal groups will disagree; that’s just the nature of contentious issues. You can do your thing and I’ll do mine. There are many ways to contribute.

But beware: the same logic that leaves zero room for a non-trans actor to try a trans role will then be used to mandate that trans actors should not be able to play non-trans roles. And that would piss me off.

Leto’s “Rayon” is not the rock upon which I’d make my last stand concerning this issue. His performance is just an inspiration for this discussion. I advocate for positive portrayals and opportunities for trans people in the media. Some people are displeased that this particular portrayal, “Rayon”, is another trans sex worker role. Another trans addict role. Another trans “mystical advisor/comic relief” role. Another “trans person punished in the end” role. Those are indeed over represented portrayals, and I do want more balance… Soon! But I have known people like Rayon. She is not a made-up grab bag of random hateful attributes. She’s a portrayal of an uncomfortable segment of the trans experience that a few TLGB folks would rather be erased and not discussed. I think many of the haters hate Rayon because she isn’t beautiful, she isn’t passable, she isn’t gender binary, she isn’t 2014-political. And when I see that elitist hypocrisy, I’m inclined to push back and write essays like this.

It’s hard being trans, more so in the era and circumstances of Dallas Buyers Club. I’ve known plenty of trans sex workers, self-medicators, wise teachers, hilarious weirdos and people taken before their time due to violence and lack of healthcare. I’ve known trans people very much like Rayon, and maybe if some people got up from their remote-activism-devices (computer screens and smartphones) and left their ivory towers and privilege-bubbles, they’d meet a few people like Rayon face-to-face, too.

Then they could see that a human portrayal of this real segment of the trans community is a good thing. Even if it’s by a non-trans person.

Please do hire trans actors for ANY role, especially trans roles. But please don’t shoot trans people in the foot by attacking allies willing to open the door for us as we approach equality.

Calpernia at Oxford University

Calpernia to Speak at Oxford University February 27th, 2014

Calpernia will speak at the Oxford Union debate titled: This House Believes that Gender Exists to Oppress. It will be held on the evening of the 27th of February in the Oxford Union buildings in the heart of the city of Oxford.

On the day of the event, there will be dinner which starts at 7.00pm and the debate beginning at 8.30pm. Drinks and reception to follow.

Calpernia for OCC Makeup Fall 2013

Calpernia for OCC Makeup (Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics)

Calpernia for OCC Makeup Fall 2013 Moderncraft

Calpernia for OCC Makeup Fall 2013 Moderncraft

Good News, Everyone!I can finally share a preview of the images for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Fall 2013 Moderncraft Campaign, for which I had the good fortune to model this year! Read more about it at http://www.temptalia.com/occ-makeup-moderncraft-collection-for-fall-2013-lip-tars

Calpernia for OCC Makeup Fall 2013 Moderncraft Collection

Calpernia for OCC Makeup Fall 2013 Moderncraft Collection

Musical Evolution: Cabaret Style

Calpernia's Blue Glass Demos

Calpernia’s Blue Glass Demos

Ok, Kids, so as you may know my musical exposure was limited pretty much to Bluegrass gospel and folk during my most formative years. Most everything since then has had a breathless sensation of “catching up on something from the past”, a discovered treasure, but one to which I had no connection in my history.

We were allowed to watch old black and white movies, though, and I’ve really been enjoying coming back around to the music of Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and then related artists (in my mind) like Peggy Lee. I’m probably using the words slightly wrong, but I’ve been using the word “cabaret” to describe my one-person club performances of these high-character, high-camp songs that usually sit somewhere in a cinematic narrative. I know there’s a long Broadway history of this kind of thing, but I’ve always been strangely put off by the “Broadway scene” as I perceive it. Current Broadway music doesn’t have the rich, classic Jazzy, Bluesy or Big Band feel of the movie versions I like. It’s pop-y, overly modern and has the ugly tinge of reality singing competition feel to it: singing as a way to “crush the competition” and build one’s self up rather than bring a character to life or entertain the audience.

I feel something in a lot of Broadway music, and music in general now, that seems to have forgotten that the artist is there in service of the audience. To entertain, enchant and please them. I feel so much ego and self aggrandizement in performance nowadays.

Which is why I love going back to my own personally cherished goddesses and their canons. This summer, I hope to record my first real album in London with Patrick Wolf, a wonderful friend and inspiration. For now, I’m posting some of the “fourth wave” of my music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp and iTunes. The previous waves were: Childhood Folk Gospel, 90′s Amateur Remixes and Early LA Tracks. I’m excited about this next chapter!

Calpernia in Facebook's national commerical

Facebook Home Ad Features Calpernia

Calpernia in Facebook Home Commercial featuring transsexual and drag queen characters

Calpernia in Facebook Home Commercial featuring transsexual and drag queen characters

Update: Here’s the commercial!

See Calpernia as one of the new Faces of Facebook in their national commercial for Facebook Home!

 

The video was originally leaked and introduced by Mark Zuckerberg himself here:

If you peek about 28 minutes 41 seconds into Mark Zuckerberg’s LiveStream announcement of the new Facebook Home software, you might just see a familiar face or two. Yours truly, America’s Transsexual Sweetheart Calpernia Addams and Drag Queen Superstar Shangela of RuPaul’s Drag Race appear over the shoulder of the male lead. I have the pleasure of singing “After You Get What You Want”, a Jazz classic, to him over his shoulder as Shangela bursts forth from a beverage cart. Is Facebook’s featuring of trans and drag entertainers in a national commercial a first for the company? Let’s hope the inclusiveness continues!

Check around 28 minutes 41 seconds in:
http://new.livestream.com/facebooklive/events/1980369/videos/15474908

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America's Transsexual Sweetheart

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