PuSh Blog

Spotlight on Antonette Rea, part of the Great Beginnings Initiative

February 02, 2011

When Dave Deveau, Project Coordinator of Great Beginnings talked to us about Antonette’s talents with words and performance during a PuSh Festival production meeting, I couldn’t wait to meet her. Antonette wrote a poem about Podplays, the show that she is currently working on for the PuSh Festival, part of Great Beginnings Initiative. When I met her, she was eager to share her art with us on video….

About the Artist:

Antonette is featured in Sad Mag, Issue 5, article written by Daniel Zomparelli, photograph by Sarah Race. Here are some excerpts from the magazine:

“I’m known for my foul mouth,” says Antonette Rea. “And I can tell is like it is, and be really graphic, but I’m just  trying to be honest.” This sailor-mouthed, trans goddess is notorious for her honesty. Antonette has gone through many struggles in her life, from drugs to homelessness to the sex trade, and now she heals her pain through poetry. Her poem “Free Me from Anxiety,” recently published in issue 76 of Geist magazine, recalls her past through slam poetry.

Engaging and apologetic, her work mashes together concerns of poverty, sexuality, gender, discrimination and humour all into one package, and it exemplifies her personality. Just a few minutes with Antonette – in person or with her writing – demands attention. She doesn’t smooth over the edges of her past. Her language comes from her personality, which was born from her survival instinct. So her words are rough, but she balances them with a musical quality, like tattoos and pink heels.

“When I was young I was a goddess of cool, because I was so different, with the tattoos and high heels,” she says. “I got a lot more attention from most of the trans because of the sleeve tattoos and I was all dolled up.” A former resident of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Antonette’s microcelebrity status came from her original style, which also cause a lot of abuse. Begin different on the streets brings forth notoriety in many different ways, but Antonette pulled through and brought poetry along with her. Although Antonette has moved this city, she still manages to keep her diva status with a positive attitude. “Just gimme a mic and a spotlight, the new tranny is in town.”

Pick up an issue of Sad Mag for more articles on inde­pen­dent art & cul­ture in Vancouver
Read “Free Me from Anxiety” on Geist Magazine
Find our more about Great Beginnings
Read “Reflections on Great Beginnings” by Dave Deveau, Project Coordinator, Great Beginnings. 
More info on Podplays