Self-Portrait, Yuko at Gene Frankel Theatre, Katrina & Sara at Gene Frankel Theatre, and What’s Happening Woman?


Gail Thacker




© Gail Thacker. Courtesy of the artist.


What's Happening Woman?

I was watching a documentary on "infinity"–
“I am bigger because I know how small I am in the universe.”
I am part of everything.

When Shirley Chisholm ran for president in 1972, I was 15 and watched the empowerment of feminism. These types of historical actions influenced me and are the blocks on which I stand––the embodiment of feminism and the civil rights movement. Now, I seek Intersectional feminism and support the #MeToo movement in the 4th wave of feminism.

When I walked in the door of the Gene Frankel Theatre as a queer visual artist 22 years ago, it was still under the watchful eye of Gene Frankel. Gene died in 2005. The following year, 2006, I reformed the space from a school to a performance space. In between our productions of rentals, I sought out women, LGBTQ, and BIPOC voices and invited these artists to the Gene Frankel Theatre. Like when Helixx C. Armageddon got on stage as a poet. Or when Pamela Sneed created her mural outside of the theatre during the Black Lives Matter protests. Sneed hand-painted the repeated words “STAND UP” next to her poem. Paul Alexander wrote the musical TRINKETS about a club in the 90s Meatpacking District (Jackie 60) when the neighborhood was rough and tumble, and female-identifying trans sex workers watched out for each other on the street. The play was about this community, and it was incredibly uplifting. This is what I find the collaborative projects at this theatre bring.

I strive to work hard against toxic patriarchy energy––to keep this theatre giving, safe, and open. The experience and hard work of keeping the doors open, of having an available space for those whose voices would not be heard otherwise, has been an ingredient in my activism. The power of “yes” is contagious, and the power of art, I believe, connects our hearts, minds, and souls.


Artist Statement

To embrace the marvelous, the irrational, and the accidental—

I am often inspired by the sets and invite friends into the theatre so I may take their portraits. It becomes a state of play that starts off with a basic idea and grows into something more collaborative. I think of all photography as a collaborative experience. And because we are queer, the subject matter naturally lends itself to that a sort of subconscious truth in the portrayal of each artist I photograph.


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