Happy Birthday, Marsha! at MoMA

February 14, 2019
The Museum of Modern Art

Happy Birthday, Marsha! will screen with Blame by Quinn Shephard as part of the opening program for the series The Future of Film is Female, organized by Caryn Coleman, guest curator, and Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, at The Museum of Modern Art.  

Tickets and details here.

Upcoming Jan 2019

Video installation Lost in the Music will show on a yearlong loop as part of She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York at the Gracie Mansion Conservatory (opening January 22). Happy Birthday, Marsha! will be included in the Nottingham Contemporary’s Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance exhibition and show in the Sharjah Film Platform in January. In February Happy Birthday, Marsha! screens at the Museum of Modern Art and will also be installed at the Brooklyn Museum in the exhibition Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall (May 3–December 8).

heroic in its ordinariness

Curated by Staci Bu Shea with Julie Dickover
Crisp Ellert Art Museum
January 18–February 21, 2019

A group exhibition with work by Elizabeth Atterbury, Beverly Buchanan, Taraneh Fazeli, Feminist Health Care Research Group, Carolyn Lazard, Redeem Pettaway, Falke Pisano, and Sasha Wortzel

animated gif

Happy Birthday, Marsha! at the Andy Warhol Museum

Art in Context: Visibility and Erasure

The Warhol
Friday, November 30, 2018

In 1974 Andy Warhol completed his most lucrative commission—Ladies and Gentlemen, a series of over 200 striking portraits of African American and Latina drag queens and trans women. The subjects received just $50 to sit for Polaroids in Warhol’s studio, and they were not named when the work debuted in Italy in 1975. Now over 40 years later researchers at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have successfully identified all of Warhol’s subjects in the series, including iconic transgender performer and activist, Marsha 'Pay it No Mind' Johnson.

Join us for the Pittsburgh premiere of Happy Birthday, Marsha! followed by a discussion about visibility, representation, and authorship with filmmakers Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel, moderated by local advocate Ciora Thomas. Happy Birthday, Marsha! imagines iconic transgender performer and activist, Marsha 'Pay it No Mind' Johnson in the hours before the 1969 anti-policing riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Starring Independent Spirit Award Winner Mya Taylor with cinematography by Arthur Jafa, Happy Birthday, Marsha! blends documentary storytelling with historical fiction to counter the endemic erasure of trans women of color from narratives of political resistance.

New Videos for Sacha Yanow: Cherie Dre

NYC-based performance artist and actor Sacha Yanow invited me to create videos for their new performance Cherie Dre premiering at Danspace Project October 25-27. Through movement, text, and music, Yanow creates an intimate history of the Jewish Borscht Belt, mental illness, cultural assimilation, political repression, and gender trouble, from the Bronx to the Catskills.

Still from video for  Sacha Yanow: Cherie Dre

Still from video for Sacha Yanow: Cherie Dre

Sacha Yanow: Cherie Dre
Oct 25-27 
Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church
131 East 10th St. New York, NY 10003

Tickets are on sale here.

Shakedown + Happy Birthday, Marsha! at BAM

Happy Birthday, Marsha! screens with Shakedown at BAM Rose Cinemas October 12-14. Tickets and details here.


Dir. Leilah Weinraub
2018, 72min

In the Los Angeles club scene of the early 2000s, one party stood out from the rest: SHAKEDOWN, a black lesbian strip club where storied performers like Mahogany, Egypt, and Jazmine reigned and queer sexuality and sisterhood were celebrated with euphoric abandon. Compiled from over 400 hours of footage shot by the club’s resident videographer Leilah Weinraub, this rapturous documentary is a dreamlike evocation of a utopian time and place.

Happy Birthday, Marsha!

Dirs. Tourmaline & Sasha Wortzel
2018, 13min

A portrait of iconic transgender artist and activist Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson in the hours before she ignited the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

Happy Birthday, Marsha! at The Kitchen

Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel: Happy Birthday, Marsha!


September 21-22: Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel present a live immersive screening of their film Happy Birthday, Marsha! which imagines iconic activist and performer, Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson in the hours before the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The evening will include performances by intergenerational collaborators on the project including Mya TaylorJimmy CamiciaEgyptt Labaija, and Geo Wyeth, who will score the film live. Organized by Lumi Tan.

Tickets on sale here

New York Premiere of Happy Birthday, Marsha! at BAM Rose Cinemas

An Evening with Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel

On the occasion of the New York premiere of their new collaboration Happy Birthday, Marsha!—about legendary transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson—this program brings together a selection of quietly radical short films by Tourmaline and Sasha Wortzel, which offer moving considerations of queer and trans identities both past and present. 


Screening August 16 as part of the BAMcinématek series Women at Work: Radical Creativity organized by Dessane Cassell. 


Does the body (June 21-August 12) is the Museum’s first live performance exhibition, presenting the newest generation of American artists who blend the avant-garde legacy of performance art with pop culture.

Each work challenges crucial ideas about the body and identity through dance, music, comedy, and spoken word, and will invite you to connect with the artists and your fellow visitors to find ways to “dance better together.” The exhibition also includes a larger ongoing presentation of documentaries and recorded works that offer an introduction to these five exciting artists—Morgan Bassichis, Moriah Evans, Will Rawls, Jen Rosenblit, and Mariana Valencia.

The exhibition will include my film We Have Always Been on Fire (2018) featuring Morgan Bassichis. More details here

Curated by Mark Beasley, Robert and Arlene Kogod Secretarial Scholar, Curator of Media and Performance Art

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Independence Ave and 7th St
Washington, DC 20560


Happy Birthday, Marsha! World Premiere

Happy Birthday, Marsha! will have its world premiere at OUTFEST FUSION in LA next month. We are so pleased to be premiering in a festival that spotlights the work of queer, trans, non binary, and gender non conforming people of color.

GIF by Lauryn Siegel

GIF by Lauryn Siegel

Happy Birthday, Marsha! will screen twice during the festival which takes place March 9-13:

Saturday March 10 at 9:30 PM at the Egyptian Theatre

Sunday March 11 at 5:30 at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres

The New Museum Publishes Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility

The New Museum publishes Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, the Latest Installment in the Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture Series. Edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton.

A still from  Happy Birthday, Marsha!  by Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel on the cover of  Trap Door

A still from Happy Birthday, Marsha! by Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel on the cover of Trap Door

The increasing representation of trans identity throughout art and popular culture in recent years has been nothing if not paradoxical. Trans visibility is touted as a sign of a liberal society, but it has coincided with a political moment marked both by heightened violence against trans people (especially trans women of color) and by the suppressionof trans rights under civil law. Trap Door grapples with these contradictions.
The essays, conversations, and dossiers gathered here delve into themes as wide-ranging yet interconnected as beauty, performativity, activism, and police brutality. Collectively, they attest to how trans people are frequently offered “doors”—entrances to visibility and recognition—that are actually “traps,” accommodating trans bodies and communities only insofar as they cooperate with dominant norms. The volume speculates about a third term, perhaps uniquely suited for our time: the trapdoor, neither entrance nor exit, but a secret passageway leading elsewhereTrap Door begins a conversation that extends through and beyond trans culture, showing how these issues have relevance for anyone invested in the ethics of visual culture. 

Lexi Adsit, Sara Ahmed, Nicole Archer, Kai Lumumba Barrow, Johanna Burton, micha cárdenas, Mel Y. Chen, Grace Dunham, Treva Ellison, Sydney Freeland, Che Gossett, Reina Gossett, Stamatina Gregory, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Robert Hamblin, Eva Hayward, Juliana Huxtable, Yve Laris Cohen, Abram J. Lewis, Heather Love, Park McArthur, CeCe McDonald, Toshio Meronek, Fred Moten, Tavia Nyong’o, Morgan M. Page, Roy Pérez, Dean Spade, Eric A. Stanley, Jeannine Tang, Wu Tsang, Jeanne Vaccaro, Chris E. Vargas, Geo Wyeth, Kalaniopua Young, Constantina Zavitsanos

Available for purchase from MIT Press here.

Atlantic is a Sea of Bones Premieres at Whitney Museum

Visual AIDS presents ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS for the 28th annual Day With(out) Art on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2017.

Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell.


Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon

“Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” investigates gender’s place in contemporary art and culture at a moment of political upheaval and renewed culture wars. The exhibition features an intergenerational group of artists who explore gender beyond the binary to usher in more fluid and inclusive expressions of identity.

September 27, 2017 – January 22, 2018
Morgan Bassichis, Sadie Benning, Nayland Blake, Justin Vivian Bond, Gregg Bordowitz, Pauline Boudry and Renate Loren, Nancy Brooks Brody, A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner,  Leidy Churchman, Liz Collins, Vaginal Davis, Harry Dodge, The Dyke Division of the Two-Headed Calf, Josh Faught, ektor garcia, Mariah Garnett, Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel, Sharon Hayes, House of Ladosha, Stanya Kahn, Carolyn Lazard, Simone Leigh, Ellen Lesperance, Candice Lin, Troy Michie, Ulrike Müller, Willa Nasatir, Sondra Perry, Christina Quarles, Connie Samaras, Curtis Talwst Santiago, Tschabalala Self, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Tuesday Smillie, Sable Elyse Smith, Patrick Staff, Diamond Stingily, Mickalene Thomas, Wu Tsang, Chris E. Vargas, Geo Wyeth, Anicka Yi

Curated by Johanna Burton with Natalie Bell and Sara O’Keeffe

New Museum
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

We did it! Happy Birthday, Marsha! successfully funded on Indiegogo

In just a few weeks the persistent demand that the story of Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson deserves be told in all its beauty means that we have not only met but exceeded our post-production goal $30,000 by 117%! This is truly a historic moment and made possible by all of our 638 backers, who have ensured that this film is gonna be legendary. THANK YOU!

You can view the campaign here.

Cooper Union’s exhibition Bring Your Own Body presents Happy Birthday, Marsha!

November 14; 7 PM | The Cooper Union

The cast of "Happy Birthday, Marsha!"

The cast of "Happy Birthday, Marsha!"

Bring Your Own Body, an exhibition focusing on transgender artists and archives, presents a free, public event.

Happy Birthday, Marsha! is an experimental film about the legendary transgender artist and activist Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson and her life in the hours before the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel, who co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced the film, stage a performative lecture and screen selections from their highly anticipated film.

More info here