Percy Katt – Swan Song

Percy Katt dressed as Egyptian against papyrus background.
Percy Katt stands in front of a red and gray ornate wall.
Percy Katt in a still from his video SWAN SONG.

I’d like to introduce you to a friend and creative collaborator, Percy Katt.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Percy since we were both small town kids growing up in Saskatchewan.  As adults both living in Toronto, we reconnected working on my series Im a Stripper and Shadowlands where Percy was costume designer. 

His evolution as an artist since then has been remarkable as you’ll witness in his latest video below.  (NSFW!)

I appreciate the opportunity to share the work of my artist friends with you.  I think you’ll be amazed at the amount of work that went into Swan Song. 

Charlie David

Swan Song is a bookend to the last ten years of my creative life and a tribute to my alter ego Percy Katt. Percy transcends gender and refuses to be pidgeon-holed, this is a celebration of artistic and sexual diversity. It is meant to be jarring, overwhelming, a sensory overload of visuals and information for a generation with increasingly short attention spans. Swan Song features guest appearances and fashion creations by over twenty dynamic Canadian artists, performers and designers. 

BIO
Percy Katt’s rise to notoriety began at the age of 17 with a whirlwind haute couture modelling career in the world’s fashion capitals. As exciting as gigs with heavy hitters like Jean Paul Gaultier and Etro were,  Percy was ready to take back ownership of his image and return to Canada to reinvent himself as a chameleonic performance artist.

Some highlights from Katt’s tumultuous career include television appearances on “Shadowlands”, “I’m A Stripper”, “Who Lives Here?” and “Style by Jury”. His art has been featured in magazine spreads including OUT and The Advocate, coffee table books, the solo exhibition “The 9 Lives of Percy Katt” in Sofia, Bulgaria and in burlesque/performance art shows and academic lectures across North America. Percy Katt has been the recipient of several prestigious design awards including GRAPHIS and he has had the honor of sharing the stage with the iconic Dita Von Teese.    

 // percykatt.com  // Instagram @percykattofficial

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Polyamory – PolyLove documentary

men and women explore polyamory in Polylove documentary

PolyLove is a new investigative documentary that explores polyamory, non-monogamy and the journey to redefine a ‘relationship’.  Brace yourself, because we are going to a place where bravery and honesty are essential.  A place where loving someone enough to set them free isn’t just a trite metaphor – it’s essential to your personal and relationship growth.  

Single    Married    It’s Complicated

In North America, 48% of marriages end in divorce.*  In business, if your product is failing for half of your customers, then you need to fix it or offer something better.    * SOURCE  ‘Divorce demography’ Stats Canada 2013

Non-monogamy and polyamory demand radical rethinking of our societal constructs.  It’s not about breaking what’s unbroken.  It’s about examining why ‘cheating’ is more socially forgivable than discussing the option of non-monogamy or polyamory with those we love. 

More and more people are experimenting with monogamish and polyamorous relationships. We commit to each other, but have a porous boundary around our relationship, meaning we’ve agreed that it’s OK for either of us to express romantic feelings toward other people or to be physically intimate with other people, so long as we’re honest and transparent about our intentions with one another.

Men and women in relationship groupings.  Three sets of feet stick out from the end of a bed depicting polyamory.

The thought is that these things don’t diminish the integrity of a relationship. Rather, they may deepen the understanding of each other’s wants and desires, and give us the space to grow independently, without growing apart.  There’s even a new word for the emotion of feeling happy for a loved one’s bliss in another relationship.  Goodbye jealousy, hello ‘compersion’. 

So why non-monogamy and polyamory now?

Well, people haven’t changed much, but their environment has. Just think: Monogamy established itself thousands of years ago, when society was ruled by scarcity of resources and potential mates were in limited supply.

We’re now living in a period of great (though unequally distributed) abundance where our basic needs are sufficiently met, and reproduction is a choice. As a result, the reasons to be with a single mate for life are less urgent.  With the rising ambivalence toward commitment, statistically most millennials will put off marriage indefinitely. In place of monogamous pairings, hookup culture flourishes and “open relationships” are commonplace. These are merely rational economic responses to excess inventory and changing expectations of romance. Viewed in this context, conventional monogamy is getting long in the tooth.

But just because more young people are choosing to say, “I don’t” than “I do” doesn’t mean monogamy is irrelevant.  It just means that there’s now more than one option for building meaningful and satisfying relationships. 

DIVE DEEPER:   If you’re interested to learn more about polyamory, watch the PolyLove documentary and check out the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands where three men explore an unconventional relationship in the 1950s.  

shadows of three men against a tent in the TV series Shadowlands where polyamory is explored.
The threesome scene in the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands

Some great reading materials include the non-monogamy intro reader classic, The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton.  For my personal favourite on the topic try What Love Is: And What It Could Be by Carrie Jenkins.  

If you enjoy audiobooks you may wish to try USA Today Bestselling author Ella Frank’s four audiobook series that explores polyamory in Confessions. 
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Gender Reassignment

Gender Reassignment - Tiana

“My gender reassignment is not about my balls. What I wasn’t comfortable with was living as a man”.  

Tiana is fierce and speaks her mind unapologetically. Somehow, there is this assumption that trans people’s ultimate transformation is to match their gender identification with their physical genitals.  For some trans people, this might be the case. Danica is a perfect example. For her, matching her gender to her genitals was a very important part of the process. In Danica’s words, “I hate to say it, but it’s the icing on the cake!”
 
Society at large is obsessed with trans people’s genitals.  You are either male or female and nothing in-between.  Tiana, like so many other trans people, keep proving society wrong and insist that gender, biological sex and sexuality are on a spectrum.  Tiana loves her balls and penis, and quite rightly so as she considers herself a “top” (a person who engages in the penetrative role during sexual activity).  

The world is not black and white but ever-changing shades of gray.  The trans experience, is a diversity of experience.  That is why we cannot pigeon-hole Tiana OR Danica. Though they refer to themselves as trans women, their individual stories are unique, powerful and ultimately transcend convenient labelling. 
 
Though Tiana has had some plastic surgery, she is not currently on (nor has she ever been on) hormone therapy. Unlike Danica, Tiana is unwilling to take large doses of estrogen and change the chemical makeup of her body.  In her own words, “I want to save my liver.”  There are many side effects to being on estrogen hormone therapy.  These might include: deep vein thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, pulmonary embolism, the blockage of an artery in the lungs, gallbladder disease and some forms of cancer.

Tiana’s natural body type (even before transitioning) is long and lean.  For Tiana, being an ectomorph was a blessing in disguise. Through plastic surgery, she was interested in “feminizing” her face, but not her body.  She continues to visit a  cosmetic clinic for general upkeep with botox and facial fillers.
 
“I view my body as feminine, even though I have balls.  My balls are not on public display.  Unless you are going to sleep with me, you really don’t know what’s going on down there”.

I am so impressed with Tiana’s honesty.  It’s refreshing and inspiring.  She is living her life the exact way she wants to live it.  Who could ask for anything more than a life lived to its fullest? 

Gender Reassignment vs Gender Confirmation

I recently had a conversation with my producing partner, Charlie David, about the use of words to empower minorities, particularly in the case of trans people.  We discussed the importance of using a vocabulary that is positive, helpful and more accurate. Instead of saying gender reassignment surgery, perhaps we should instead say gender “confirmation” surgery.  It is important to consider this etymology as it validates a person in gender transition.  “Gender Reassignment” suggests that a person is making a choice to switch genders. It’s not about choice; it’s about using surgery as a therapeutic tool to help trans people to be more comfortable with their gendered, chosen self; to reaffirm and confirm their true self.

 ~Nico Stagias, director Balls documentary

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