I remember hanging out with Gina when we were both fresh faced and brand new LA. The years are now close to double digits since then - and since then, I've watched Gina become of one the most prime fountainheads of queer culture and community in Los Angeles. Be it through her own performance of theatre, on stage music, or cultivating Sorority - a platform for artistic self expression open to those interested in sharing their work. Yes, the context of her work is entertaining, but it's political - personal - and boundary pushing. She has created a space not only for queer folx but also, in my opinion, for lesbian culture, which can sometimes seem to have less of a spotlight.
I remember going to a Sorority show at the Hammer Museum last year. I left totally inspired and charged by the raw and real quality of the performers, wishing I had enough courage to be one of those sharing their hearts to the audience and feeling connected to my community which can sometimes seem so spread out over the Los Angeles landscape.
Gina's curation has been some of the most exciting things I've been lucky enough to witness over the years. Her progress has continued to grow, her work ethic is one of the strongest I know, and her curiosity and open mind continues to push and influence who I choose to be with my mind and my work. Los Angeles is so lucky to have this fireless being in it's center.
Who are you?
My name is Gina Young. I'm a playwright, director and performer who lives in Los Angeles. I created SORORITY, a hub for queer and feminist performance in Los Angeles, and we're presenting NEW READS, a series of staged readings of new plays and musicals by women, that starts this weekend Oct 21-Nov 9 in Los Angeles.
Why do you make your work?
So many reasons. There was no overlap between my queer community and my theater community. I thought, who is making the kind of work I want to see on stage? How can I bring them all together? I'm excited about authentic representation and seeing people who were previously excluded finally taking center stage. I care very much about cultural change and resistance. I also want a life surrounded by music and art and couldn't imagine doing anything else.
What do you believe in?
The power of community to transform and heal.
Name one thing you say yes to?
And one thing you say no to?
Right wing values.
What change would you like to see?
A living wage for artists, better ideas than prisons, an end to poverty, the toppling of existing power structures... haha how much time do you have?
Name one thing that makes you happy?
The resilience of LGBT people worldwide in the face of adversity. Also persimmons.
How would you describe your personal routine ?
There's never a routine, and that's the best part.
What did you want to be as a child?
Harriet the Spy. Definitely surprised I didn't end up in the FBI/CIA.
Can you remember one solid piece of advice you've gotten for the growth of your work ?
I got a fantastic piece of advice that I never understood until recently. I was told, if you want a life in the arts, what does a full-time work week really look like? What does that even mean? Because you have to make it happen. It always seemed impossible, because so much is out of our control. Waiting to be chosen; for someone to pick you, to cast you, to fund your project, to select your script. But the question is, what CAN you control? Are you really putting in the time and effort there, or are you just procrastinating and working around it? When I put more proactive energy into meeting the people I wanted to meet, seeing more work and building more community, everything changed for me.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I'm doing it right now! Collaborating on a dream project with my former college bestie and an incredible cast. And it's a musical!
Who is one person in culture that you feel is making positive and inspiring change ?
So many right now! Lena Waithe comes to mind because I just saw something she posted on Instagram and was like YES.