Like Glass

A daring Short Film that is both a celebration of the vibrant underground community of drag performers and club kids in NYC, as well as a look into some of the challenges that non-binary people face in daily life.

A stylish, visceral, sometimes surreal look into the underground nightlife scene of NYC – this setting is used to explore the psyche of a character coming to terms with their fluid gender identity, and the challenges that come along with embracing that freedom in a world of binary norms. We watch as Zion (played by Jesse James Keitel) discovers and celebrates their true identity as non-binary identifying – and how this effects their daily life, at work and at home.

This film is engaging in current and resonant conversations including: misogyny within facets of the LGBTQ world, the fight for non-binary people to be understood and accepted both in their own community as well as in society at large, and the prevalence of violence that is seen between gay men and towards gender-fluid and trans members of the community. We are attempting to widen the narrative surrounding themes of Gender Identity of by showing a gender-fluid character that is strong, empowered, endearing, but also conflicted, flawed, and as human as anyone else.

As much as this story is an exploration of these deeper more complex themes, it is also a vibrant explosion of the colorful expression found in NYC’s nightlife scene – started back in the 70’s and 80’s with the rise of the underground gay clubs, and the emergence of the Club Kids movement, and kept alive today by young people who continue to push the boundaries of gender roles, fashion, and performance art, by using their own bodies and identities as the canvas for transcendent expression.

The script was initially inspired by the real-life experiences of the film’s stars. Jesse James Keitel and Maggie Borlando are active members of the club scene in NY, belonging to the group HAUS FEMANON. They appear in clubs and bars throughout NYC and Brooklyn multiple times a week, under their psudenyms: Peroxide and Magdelena, occasionally performing, and hosting at legendary nights like “Battle Hymn” by LadyFag at Flash Factory.

Armanino was inspired by the idea of characters who were examining their inner-lives in such an outward way – taking one’s identity and manifesting it into a physically realized performance. This struck as the perfect backdrop for a story about the evolving identity of a community with so many facets and nuances, as the LGBTQ has today.