Artist Talk & Selections from "Happy Birthday, Marsha!"

Saturday, November 14, 2015 6:55 - 9:00pm

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The cast of 'Happy Birthday, Marsha!' Reina Gossett & Sasha Wortzel
The cast of 'Happy Birthday, Marsha!'

Bring Your Own Body, an exhibition focusing on transgender artists and archives, presents a free, public event.

Happy Birthday, Marsha! is an experimental film about the legendary transgender artist and activist Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson and her life in the hours before the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel, who co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced the film, stage a performative lecture and screen selections from their highly anticipated film.

Reina Gossett is a black trans woman who has been archiving and spotlighting the lives of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson throughout her work including as membership director of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and as an artist and writer. While writing the script Reina drew from her relationships and interviews with those who knew Sylvia and Marsha best. Reina’s writing has been featured in Barnard College’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment & The Prison Industrial Complex, Post Post Script Press and Randy Magazine.

Sasha Wortzel is a filmmaker, artist, and educator. Her work explores the politics of space in relation to race, gender, and queer desire. She has recently presented work at the Berlin International Film Festival, DOC NYC, Outfest LA, BFI Flare, Tribeca Interactive, Leslie Lohman Museum, and the Guggenheim Lab. Her work has been supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the Astraea Foundation’s Global Arts Fund. She was a 2012-2013 fellow of filmmaker Ira Sach'sQueer/Art/Mentorship. She received her MFA from Hunter College.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.