Game Changer

I believe that in order for the world to change: you have to change the visual image. The icons. Icons are powerful, they create illusion. In order for those illusions to work favorably for liberation from preconditions, social conditioning, hence stereotypes, you have to change the image. If we reinforce an image of what this-and-that is: what Asian is, what Black is, what Italian is, or in this case, what “gay” is, there is no change; only reinforcement of the same. So it’s like costuming the world: where by changing appearances, you shift an entire perspective of society’s opinions and reactions toward a preconception.

Cheryl Tiegs Model Poster Girl 1980sNUNE is a short film loosely based on a 1980s novel that I wrote, called RED AS BLUE. I started out with the idea in RB of creating something against the grain of the 1980s. Back in the 80s, you have perfect beautiful poster girls like Cherly Tiegs, Farah Fawcett, and Christie Brinkley and as a lesbian, queer questioning, or non-binary youth, kids would fall into depression because those girls were reserved for macho males, for that macho male image. All the movies an TV images impressed upon the youth tend to show that the “boy gets the girl.” But the girl never gets the girl nor the boy gets the boy. It was always boy gets girl. The suicide rate and depression among youths were very strong—because being unable to sexually identify with the icons shaped for you meant that socially, you did not belong.

So I decided to “change history backward.” You can change history forward by figuratively casting a stone to skip far across a pond—as if to throw a vision into the future, or like planting a seed that will grow into something larger.

With RED AS BLUE, I am changing the past by re-creating the images of what the kids went through and reversing history and mending the generation of that time. The past creates the future. It is never too late to heal the past, in one’s life or through the creative arts.

By “healing backwards” through film, the future today, also changes…because it is just like therapy, of how revisiting the past to gain a new perspective—allows a forward movement, to let go and be in the present, and to move on.

Jessica Lauren, the redefined American beauty in Strangeway's NUNE
Jessica Lauren, redefined American beauty in NUNE

In RED AS BLUE, the ideals of what is gay are shifted. It’s the story of an outsider, punk girl who falls in love with a cheerleader whose friends would never suspect her to be gay. It turns out that neither of these girls are “gay.” They simply find love and discover it in unexpected ways and darkest of times.

The other part of the past that I’d like to be healed, is how the politics and ethos of the 1980s were mentally putting the children to sleep. So much so, that I believe the numbing of their potential has lead to the pandemic of homicidal teens (or children killing children; such as the Columbine incident). With RED AS BLUE, I am reaching into the past of where much of the problems began; with the oppression of the youth and their sexuality (through the fundamentalism and conservative beliefs of that time) and the backwards and dogmatic era of Reaganomics.

When I started writing RED AS BLUE, I was disturbed by how Hollywood and the publishing world has for a long time, kept out stories about the youth that was raw and real; meaning, there is a “Disney” mentality that is not doing the youth any justice. Just as there were not any image for queer youths to live by, there were no real “teen flicks” to live by. The truth is, although THE BREAKFAST CLUB is one of my favorite films, it also was not real enough. It didn’t go as far as TIME SQUARE (dir. Alann Moyle), and even TIME SQUARE was bastardized once it fell into the hands of distribution; because originally, the two girls in the film were lovers.

With RED AS BLUE, I was determined to let the youth be as real and as raw with their feelings, their experiences, and to give them a sexuality that is truthful. Their awareness, although shrouded by their environment, is very much present and crystal clear; as much as their unconscious would permit them to purge their beliefs—unfiltered.

Ji Strangeway is a filmmaker, writer, and poet specializing in female-centric LGBTQ. She is also a fierce blogger aiming for a new level of indigoness and bad assery. Find out more: www.jistrangeway.com | Follow FB: jistrangeway.official  #jistrangeway

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About

Ji Strangeway

Ji Strangeway

Executant of the Ineffable

The Three Gates of Speech stipulates that you ask these questions before putting your foot in your mouth: Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? Since this doesn't fit the purpose for every occassion, the criteria for my path is: Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Indigo?

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