A young man visits the Bentley archive and becomes captivated by a photograph of a man from the 1920s. He imagines that the man in the photograph is his boyfriend or maybe it’s him in another life.
This performance was part of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Ham?” a live performance created by Holly Hughes and students for the 10th Anniversary of the UM Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
Co-written by Ricky Herbert and Jim Leija. Featuring Ricky Herbert as himself.
From Jim Leija:
This piece began with a trip to the Bentley Historical Library, the archive of student life at the University of Michigan. One of my collaborators, Ricky Herbert, found a photograph of a young man in drag from the 1930s. He wrote a few short texts about how he fell in love with the man in the photograph. We became very interested in the idea that Ricky was having a long-distance relationship over time. Using the text as a starting point, we created a video narrative in which Ricky performs a song dressed in drag, suggesting that he might actually be the figure in the photograph. This performance challenges our expectations about the purpose and potential uses of the archive.
Video and photography by Jim Leija and Andrea Lewis with Mike Radakovich, Erik “Schlomo” Steele, and Johanna Schuster-Craig. Produced by Holly Hughes. Directed by Jim Leija.