Miss Major Griffin-Gracy has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for more than 40 years.
A veteran of the Stonewall riots, a former sex worker, and a formerly incarcerated inmate, Griffin-Gracy has spent her life raising up trans youth and fighting intolerance. Now, Sonoma County residents will get a chance to see that life in documentary form at the Bay Area Arts Fest, a festival of documentaries, feature films, live music, activists and comic artists that takes place October 13-16.
The 2015 documentary “Major!” is set to screen at 7 p.m. Saturday at Santa Rosa’s Arlene Francis Center as part of the opening night of the festival. The film received the Audience Award and Special Jury Mention at Outfest in Los Angeles and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Insideout Toronto.
The screening will be followed by a performance from Oakland-based singer and composer Ah Mer Ah Su, who contributed music for the film and whose EP “Rebecca” was named one of KQED’s “10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2017.”
The opening night is presented by the Arlene Francis Center and United Against Sexual Oppression North Bay, and is a fundraiser for San Francisco’s Saint James Infirmary, a peer-based health and safety clinic for sex workers. Tickets are on a sliding scale from $10-20, and can be purchased here.
Day two of the Bay Area Arts Fest, October 14, will feature Emmy award-winning documentary “Screaming Queens,” which tells the story of the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riot in San Francisco – one of the first collective acts of militant resistance against the social oppression of queer people in the United States.
The screening will take place at Brew Coffee & Beer in Santa Rosa and will be followed by a talk by Janetta Louise Johnson, Executive Director at TGI Justice Project and co-founder of the Comptons Transgender Cultural District, the first transgender cultural district in the country. Tickets can be purchased here.
The festival will close on October 16 with a screening of Tangerine, an acclaimed comedy-drama directed by Sean Baker. The film follows transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella who, upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend has been unfaithful to her while she was in prison, embarks on a mission with her best friend Alexandra to get to the bottom of the rumor. Their “rip-roaring odyssey” leads them through various Los Angeles subcultures.
Tangerine premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received glowing reviews from film critics. Alex Star, author of the webcomic Tittybar Tales, will give a talk before the screening. Tickets to day three of the festival can be found here.