Chris E. Vargas, “ONE for all…” (2012), digital video, 7min. (image courtesy Dirty Looks)

For over a decade, trans artist and activist Chris E. Vargas has challenged the dominant hetero- and homo-normative cultures with subversive and very funny video work. These range from the early web series he produced with Greg Youmans, Falling in Love… with Chris and Greg about a cis/trans odd couple, to a revisionist Liberace bio pic, inserting the singer into a history of queer activism (Liberaceón), and a send-up of the “First Pregnant Man” tabloid stories (Extraordinary Pregnancies). Vargas is also founder of the Museum of Trans Hirstory & Art (MOTHA), a virtual and nomadic collection of exhibitions and events dedicated to increasing the visibility of trans culture and art.

Far from the sanitized versions of trans life seen in the mainstream media, Vargas’s work “insists on an expansive and unstable definition of transgender,” as MOTHA’s mission statement notes. Next Tuesday, the queer video and film platform Dirty Looks will present the first-ever West Coast survey of Vargas’s early works, offering Angelenos a rare opportunity to catch a dozen of his humorous and smart short films on the big screen.

When: Tuesday, October 23, 8pm (tickets: $12)
Where: Downtown Independent (251 S. Main Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at Dirty Looks LA.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.