#Kickstarter | Red Umbrella Project Funds #LGBTQ Sex Workers Documentary

By Jaye Johnson

#Kickstarter| Red Umbrella Project Funds #LGBTQ Sex Workers Documentary

“I love using writing and performance as a way to process

my experiences in sex work by taking that power back.”

– Anna, from The Red Umbrella Diaries

The Red Umbrella Diaries is a feature-length documentary film about seven LGBTQ sex worker storytellers as they prepare for the biggest performance of their lives, a night at Joe’s Pub in NYC. The performers will tell true stories about their experiences in front of an audience of over 200 people and as they prepare for the big night they’ll share intimate portraits of their lives, all documented by an Emmy Award winning film crew. The film explores the question: what happens when people whose voices are never heard in mainstream media take control of their own stories and how they are presented to the world?”

From The Red Umbrella Diaries Kickstarter Page

Audacia Ray’s Red Umbrella Project seeks to “amplify the voices of people in the sex trade through media, advocacy and storytelling programs,” and The Red Umbrella Diaries unfolds each person’s voice firsthand, with an emphasis on LGBTQ sex workers’ transformative narratives.

The “audacity” of this project includes witnessing, chronicling and sharing the first-person narratives of sex workers, many of whom continue to work in the field to the present day.

As the collective prepares for its November NYC prose/poetry performances, The Red Umbrella Project is asking for additional community support to fund the accompanying documentary via its current Kickstarter campaign.

Documentary Sizzle Reel Video Excerpts Include:

Dominick, reading from a glowing laptop in a darkened room as he humorously shares an anecdote about making his client become financially accountable. When you’re self-employed, yes: you can prevent bait and switch behavior. As a part of the documentary, Dominick says to the camera, “I do think there is something momentous and revelatory about stepping out in front of a crowd and turning to face them, and offering them your story.”

Anna, reminiscing with the audience about an experience with a client who didn’t yet know the difference between racism and classism. “At Gucci,” Anna says, “They don’t give a fuck about him and his money.”

Ceyenne: as a part of the documentary, we see this writer relating to the camera, “Not every sex worker wants to be this dizzy airhead that doesn’t want to stand up for something.”

What’s rewarding about this project among the many that Ray describes is that meaning and experience is shared with us directly from the folks living each truth: from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the poignant to the commonplace.

From the Kickstarter Website:

Since 2009, the Red Umbrella Project (RedUP) has created a safe space for sex workers from diverse backgrounds and experiences to share their stories, their frustrations, their triumphs and tragedies at a monthly storytelling event, the Red Umbrella Diaries, at Happy Ending Lounge (a former massage parlor turned cocktail lounge) in New York City’s Lower East Side. More than 100 sex workers have told their stories at the Diaries over the years, and now its time for a bigger venue and a celebration of some of the series’ brightest stars. On November 14th, seven Diaries performers will take the stage at Joe’s Pub – and we’re documenting the performers on their journey.

When author Joan Didion mused, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” there was no exclusionary clause or afterthought regarding sex workers and/or LGBTQ sex workers. Her quotation, some say, had to do with trying to make sense of others’ stories and words through our own filters. We’re magical meaning-makers, so that’s essentially what we do.

Art entertains as much as it elevates and transforms us.

About Audacia Ray

Audacia Ray is the founder and director of the Red Umbrella Project, an organization that amplifies the voices of people currently or formerly in the sex trades by choice, circumstance, or coercion. A former sex worker herself, Audacia now facilitates writing, media, and advocacy trainings so that people in the sex trades feel empowered to tell their truths and make change.


Show Your Support @Kickstarter:

For those of you who are or will be in New York City in November, tickets to the Red Umbrella Diaries event are only available for purchase via Kickstarter.

The event takes place at Joe’s Pub NYC on November 14, 2013 at 7 p.m.

| Read more by Jaye Johnson here, and Share your comments below. |

Contact Jaye about this blog post by tweeting @jayevajohnson,

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Source: #Kickstarter | Red Umbrella Project Funds #LGBTQ Sex Workers Documentary

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