Discover

Dispatch | “Takarazuka Made Me Butch”



[Editor-at-Large Fatima Al Qadiri sends a missive to DIS from Japan, where she is on holiday, about a noteworthy group of “it” girls.]

Have you heard about “Takarazuka“? It’s a Japanese musical theater group that is all female (women play the men’s roles). It’s cheesy as hell but it’s so bizarre.

Takarazuka has a crazy following and has been around for nearly a century (it was established in 1913). The theater has its own high school that accepts between 30 and 50 girls each year so that they can be “female” (which is a girl who out-femmes every woman) or “male” (which is basically the most beautiful “butch European man” look). In Japanese these two groups are referred to as the musumeyaku and the otokoyaku, respectively. These are permanent distinctions that the appointed women carry with them throughout their entire careers. Thousands of girls apply for admission, and it’s so big that the admissions are a televized event!

The most fascinating aspect of this theater is that a large percentage of famous Japanese actresses are former Takarazuka. Can you imagine if this process applied to Hollywood? Who would be made butch and who would be femme? I see Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, and Susan Sarandon as otoyaku myself, whereas Jessica Alba, Keira Knightly, and Natalie Portman would be the more feminine musumeyaku. Don’t you agree?

Groupies of the Takarazuka are insane closet lesbians, and tickets for shows are sold out months in advance. Presently, they are in the midst of a run of Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. It’s just the weirdest shit.

Recent Posts

Wether (excerpt) | Andrew Norman Wilson

In the summer of 2014, Nicole Russo and I started planning a show at her gallery, Chapter NY, together. The gallery is a single room. It has a recessed doorway that is also a window, and an air conditioner pierces the glass above the door. The gallery faces south and receives direct sunlight, so the shade in the window is always drawn. A temperamental radiator sits on the floor. Steam from the city’s underground steam… [read more »]

(IM)MATERIAL: Industrial and Post-Industrial Fabrication

Last Friday, the Judd Foundation hosted a panel on the relations of production underpinning fabrication in contemporary art, featuring artists Josh Kline, Dora Budor, and Keith Tilford. Organized by CCS Bard students Adriana Blidaru, Tim Gentles, Jody Graf, Rosario Guiraldes, and Dana Kopel, the event’s presentation proceeded from the premise that a paradigm shift in the economy — from industrial, manual production on the one hand, to post-industrial, digitized outsourcing on the other — deeply… [read more »]

BLACK MARKET x BITCOIN CENTER NYC

Forget white wine and cheese! Art fair week is coming up, and there’s a new kid on the block… Born out of a reaction against traditional art fairs, Black Market is the culmination of a desire to experience live entertainment in the midst of a commercial art space. Premiering at Bitcoin Center NYC, the leading international Bitcoin startup, Black Market deconstructs current themes central to hip-hop — such as finance, determination, and celebration — and… [read more »]

Meet BINA48, the world’s most sensitive robot

Have you ever loved someone so much you wanted to clone them? Well, that’s exactly what Martine Rothblatt did. BINA48 is one of the world’s most sensitive robots. She’s been programmed based on the mannerisms, beliefs and memories of Bina Rothblatt, wife of satellite entrepeneur and author Martine Rothblatt. DIS caught up with BINA (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture, 48 exaflops processing speed and 48 exabytes of memory) just in time for her live #Whettalk… [read more »]

SUPER JUNIOR-D&E ‘촉이 와’ CHOK CHOK DANCE

Twerking is so over. Do you Chok Chok Dance? Watch ‘Can You Feel It’ by Super Junior’s D&E. Everyone who’s anyone is in it: SNSD, SHINee, f(x), EXO and Red Velvet. Get addicted and send DIS your reaction vid! Some epic reactions: Also a one hour nightcore version:

Tifkas | Rosie Hastings & Hannah Quinlan Anderson

@Gaybar is a multidisciplinary art project and event series, led by the collaborative duo Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan Anderson. Since their graduation in 2014, they have explored the notion of the ‘gay bar’ spatially, aesthetically and politically by re- and dematerializing it in a variety of formats. Through modes of social celebration, critique, and at times, mourning, @Gaybar commemorates the fight for queer spatiality, virtual and real, whilst discussing contemporary sociopolitical issues such as… [read more »]

Simplexity™: Utopia and Dystopia in the world of Telfar

In a time which has been referred to as postmodern, the grand ideological narratives of the past cease to exist, or are at least reshaped or replaced by meta-narratives1. Idealism and the modernist idea of ‘constant progression’ dominated the 19th and 20th century, nourishing the fabrication of countless Utopias in culture – that is, fantastical ‘nowheres’ of the mind, ‘ideal, imaginary societies.’2 However, in the self-referencing, ironic, cynical, pastiche-ridden climate of contemporary art and fashion,… [read more »]

How to Sleep Faster #5 | Arcadia Missa

How to Sleep Faster is an interdisciplinary journal published by the research project and South London gallery space Arcadia Missa, led by founding director and curator Rozsa Farkas. The fifth volume in the series continues the thematic exploration of precarity developed in the former editions, but moves in to the realm of nihilism and fantasy as a refusal of the current socioeconomic climate. Moving across mediums of critical writing, poetry, net.art, interviews, performance documentation and… [read more »]

XPO Gallery presents ‘Les Oracles’

XPO Gallery Paris opens a new group exhibition entitled ‘Les Oracles’, fully dedicated to the potent, historically problematic conjunction of science fiction and women- curated by hyperactive artist and curator Marisa Olson, with new works featured from artists such as Julieta Aranda, Juliette Bonneviot, Kristin Lucas, and Aleksandra Domanović. Here, Olson discusses the particularities of the exhibition with Jeppe Ugelvig. Jeppe Ugelvig: In which way do the chosen artists incorporate science fiction, or how are… [read more »]

C R A S H | New Scenario

C R A S H Flashing lights of the metropolis. Stretched coaches cruise the steaming asphalt. Never sure what they carry. Hidden behind tinted glass. Like whales they glide through crowded streets, stolid and majestic. for a future IV: but what if we are not alive? Somewhere there among the remnants of the great pacific island, the blooming vortex of the world, roughly between 135°W to 155° Wand 35°N and 42°N in the accelerated rage… [read more »]