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No Ordinary Man: The Billy Tipton Doc Screening and Roundtable Discussion

When: Thursday February 4th, 2021 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM EST

Access to screening: February 2-3, 2021

The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies presents a limited-access screening of the ground-breaking film No Ordinary Man: The Billy Tipton Documentary in advance of its international theatrical release on Feb 12! After viewing the film, join us for a roundtable conversation and Q&A between the directors, writers, and cast, featuring Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt, Amos Mac, and Marquise Vilsón. The film will be available for viewing February 2nd-3rd through a password protected link that will only be accessible to viewers based in Canada. The roundtable will be held on Thursday, Feb 4 on Zoom, and a link will be sent on the day of the talk. All are welcome to attend the roundtable regardless of location! Live captions will be available for the talk.

About No Ordinary Man Co-directed by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt and written by Amos Mac and Aisling Chin-Yee, the feature-length documentary No Ordinary Man is an in-depth look at the life of musician and trans culture icon Billy Tipton. Billy Tipton came of age in the 1930s and 40s, playing saxophone and piano near his home in Kansas City and touring with his band across the American Midwest. Billy was one of hundreds of mid-level musicians who brought the swinging style of Duke Ellington to small town supper clubs. In the 1950s, Billy stopped touring and settled down in Spokane, Washington where he started a family. When he died in 1989, the story of Billy’s life was rewritten by tabloids and talk shows as a tale of trickery and deception – a legacy of contested meaning which endures to this day. Details of Tipton’s life have long been tied to Diane Middlebrook’s biography Suits Me, which claims Billy as an ambitious woman passing as a man in pursuit of a career in music. In No Ordinary Man, Tipton’s story is reimagined by trans writers and performed by trans people. The film juxtaposes details from Tipton’s life with the experiences of transmasculine actors as they audition for the role of Billy. Complicated, beautiful and historically unrivaled, this groundbreaking film shows what is possible when a community collaborates to honor the legacy of an unlikely hero.

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