GOOD TALK: THE STYLE ACTIVIST

Virtual Arts presents Good Talk: The Style Activist, a Virtual Live Theatre production that showcases the personal stories of artists with hope, humor, and humanity according to a common theme. This episode features Portland, Oregon based fashion designer and activist Judith Rizzio chatting with host Lynnie Godfrey.

Virtual Arts Productions adds another show to its season with a live online theatre performance of the signature show, Good Talk, on Thursday November 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm PST.

This month’s Good Talk features style activist, Judith Rizzio, from Portland, Oregon.

Self-described as a style activist, Judith, owner of Out of Our Closet, says that her forte is “Designing your personal fashion style so you don’t disappear.” After collecting vintage clothes for decades and working with the LGBTQIA+ community, Rizzio has found a niche place in America’s fashion landscape. She dresses transgender folk with grace, dignity and flare! While the task sometimes seems treacherous, Judith approaches each person as an individual aching to fulfill a fashion vision that is often times only in their own mind. 

Born in New Jersey and raised in a Sicilian family, the mind of this immaculately dressed transformer breeds drama into dresses and opera into pant suits. Don’t expect to walk away from a session with this monumental magician dressed like your mother, unless that’s what you’re seeking.

Judith began as a costume designer for a political theatre company and a thrift store hoarder of clothes, clothes and more clothes. She has a passion for fashion and a need to embrace and engage women from any age group and any sequence of events that got them there. Not interested only in typical tiny models, she conjures clothes onto various bodies of all shapes, sizes and persuasions. And she does it with love.

Her life’s work has been activism. She is a feminist, an activist and a bi-sexual to boot. Her spiritual palette is vast. And in her hands, a client is Queen or a Queen.

In the presence of Judith, there is a lightness and brightness like Tinkerbell meeting Wonder Woman.  As a mature person, she says, “Now that I have more time and am more confident in myself to be a creator, I’m finding that I haven’t been so fulfilled in such a long time, especially in times when we are being pressured to conform so we fit prescribed fashion norms.”

The future for Rizzio is full of political panel discussions, television appearances, speaking engagements and ideas in development ☺.

So, join us and meet this fantastic fashionista at our online streaming theater Virtual Arts Productions and see how she helps people mine the delicate transition from drab to daring.

Broadway actress and director, Lynnie Godfrey, hosts this informative online theatre event for Virtual Art Productions. Godfrey, a fashion icon herself, will introduce and engage Rizzio in a discussion about Judith’s diverse and dynamic career as a fashion activist.

This online theatre performance is live and only on Zoom. Tickets can be purchased at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/good-talk-the-style-activist-tickets-199452236007

Accompanying this month’s Good Talk are three pre-recorded shows that can be streamed on YouTube at Virtual Arts. The Chit Chats are free online streaming theater pieces that are approximately eight minutes in length.

Chit Chat with Noah Rose Keeling

This streaming online theatre piece features Virtual Arts’ own Gret Menzies Gonzalez in a one on one online discourse about Noah’s gender identity journey from male to female. Always uncomfortable in her boy body – this Boulder City, Nevada native reveals her earliest dreams about being female, the gender that she felt most comfortable with. This is not a story filled with regret, but instead, an upbeat introspection. Keeling is a grad student in San Diego, California and she blossoms beautiful tales of “figuring out” how to take the difficult step of righting her gender identity. Positive parents allowed her to take the steps she needed in the ever-changing world of informed gender and sexual identity choices.

Standing tall and facing the world, Keeling is an advocate for genuine choices in life and the choice to speak her wisdom and walk her walk. Well spoken, funny, free to make out-and-out decisions that would alter her life has put Noah on a path to a safer and more satisfying life.

When she is joined by Judith Rizzio for a consultation, we learn quickly that Noah Rose Keeling is no novice to fashion. She is an avid Project Runway fan and loves Edith Head and Dior. Noah wore a black t-shirt and black pants uniform for years until she transitioned and is now looking for her new body’s fashion sense. Now that her body fits who she is, Noah would like to play more with heightened femininity which she shies away from, but she knows her dream image, which is Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl – the leopard dress! She loves statement pieces and drama and vintage inspired clothes. Rizzio assures Noah that she has “come to the right person.”

Rizzio encourages Noah to “go bold” and be herself.  This compelling dialogue of online theatre between friends of fashion inspires individuality. “Fashion,” says Rizzio, “is illusion,” but that is not the fact with Noah Rose Keeling’s current life. She is alive and living her life to the utmost.

Chit Chat with the Javier Family

Virtual Arts Productions chose to address the slippery slope of gender and sexual identity language this month – you know, the terms and adjectives that make you sweat when addressing your friendly transgender neighbor. How to assess and make progress in our day to day encounters with newly identified gender and sexual terms is all the talk in the meeting on Zoom with the Javier family from lower Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii.

We chose this family of five to get personal with our pronouns. Mom, Anna, a Buddhist, a dancer and her kid’s greatest advocate, humorously does her best to explain terms like cisgender and binary. She mixes them up but lands on top with the help of her oldest child, Jerry or “Cherry Lane”. Jerry, a graduate of Berkley University who works with the LGBTQ+ community, is a beacon of knowledge and delicately corrects the adjectives to meet reality and soothe his mother’s pride. Jerry quietly leads his family and the community at large with boosting the linguistics that often tie our tongues and damage our self-regard in adjectives relating to gender and sexual identity. His dangling earrings and sweet smile make him a prophet of stress free gender and sexuality speak. Jerry does not see obstacles, only solutions.

And finally, there is Daniel, a sophomore in high school, making his way in a small community by following his heart and soul. Youth does not diminish this young man. He is proud of his journey and hopeful for the world’s future. With colored reddish hair and enough charisma to quiet the fools, Daniel is a jewel in the crown of youth seeking justice for their instinct.

As a gay man, this writer has scraped knees from falling over my tongue in my new home, Portland, Oregon, where every gorgeous manifestation of gender and sexual identity greets me daily on a walk to the supermarket. But I am encouraged and humbled by this vastly superior thinking family, the Javiers, who are just living their life with humility and resilience.

Chit Chat Sound Bites from Society

Our third Chit Chat is a mélange of voices from friends and academics who are asked to define terms like pansexual and non-binary. This is a streaming online theatre piece that breaths honesty and truth in a trying, wordy new vocabulary facing us like a sunrise.

Join us for an exciting November of Good Talk and Chit Chats that lead us into the diverse future of gender and sexual identity. We hope you’ll learn a lot and laugh a lot and once you have viewed our online streaming theatre pieces, you will have the opportunity in the real world to fall or walk forward. Our tools are the people experiencing this changing landscape right now. Virtual Arts Productions is an online virtual theatrical production company dedicated to supporting artists worldwide by producing works of diversity with hope, humor and humanity. Check out our website at www.virtualartsproductions.org.

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