Elena Joy: Welcome to Out of Queeriosity. Consider us your field guide for queer pride. You will hear from the best of the best in terms of queer business leaders, queer relationship experts, the activists working to protect us all, and everyday LGBTQ plus people that have figured a few things out so you don't have to.Out of Queeriosity is brought to you by the Pride and Joy Foundation. Let's do this.
Hey, fam. It's your girl, Elena Joy. Welcome to another awesome episode of Out of Queeriosity, the podcast for Pride and Joy Foundation. Today, we are chatting with juliany taveras, pronouns they, them, a queer playwright of color who created the stage adaptation for the children's book, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, which will debut at the internationally recognized Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This award winning book, and now the stage production, follows Morris, a child who loves his mother, his school, and the sound and feel of a special Tangerine dress. You can learn more about the book and the show in our show notes. It is amazing. I highly recommend checking it out. There's a guide, there's everything. But for now... Let's learn more about the playwright and their journey to success. I give you juliany taveras.
Elena: Welcome to Out of Curiosity, I'm your host Elena Joy, pronouns she, her, and so excited to be sitting down today with juliany taveras. Now that's how I said your name, but how do you say your name?
juliany: Yes, that's pretty great. Yeah. You know, I just say, yeah, if I'm speaking in English, it's always a little different how it comes out, but that was great. Thank you.
Elena: How many languages do youspeak?
Juliany: Just two English and Spanish. I grew up speaking. Yeah. And my Spanish is very like me colloquial, um, I
Elena Joy: love it. So going right into that, I always like to ask kind of how we identify and find those commonalities there.
So I always lead with, so I'm Elena joy, my pronouncer, she, her, I am a white cisgender woman who identifies as queer as a lesbian. I am a single mom. I'm a first gen grad college graduate. I am neurodiverse. And I have a disability. And so those are kind of my positions that I bring to every conversation, every interaction. Right. And juliany, how about you?
juliany: Thank you. Uh, I love that. What am I feeling and sharing today? I'm juliany taveras is kind of my fancy, full blown artist slash government name, or what my mom calls me if she's a little mad. I have a lot of nicknames. I go by JT. I go by Nini at home. I go by Loma. So those are some of my many names.I use they, them pronouns in English and ella in Spanish. And what else do I feel like I'm showing up as today? I think as far as... y queerness, I usually use just queer and trans as these like larger umbrella terms. That's just been what's helpful for me, is having these broader terms that I get to be very fluid within.And then yeah, depending on the day, I might have a more specific word, like, you know, uh, pansexual, or genderqueer, or genderfluid, or agender, or two spirit. Yeah, I'm always kind of in a dance with language. But just feeling that sort of queerness as showing up in that fluidity and I am neurodiverse as well and I also identify or align with, um, sort of mixed race Caribbean identity and all its nuances.
I am recently a Titi, as my sister had her first child last year, that's been transformative to myself and my being. And yeah, I am a New Yorker, I'm a diaspora kid, I'm a first gen, first one in my family born in New York, in the States. So that sort of liminal space is very familiar to me, and a lot of my… Selves and expressions and yeah, I’ll stop there.
Elena Joy: I love that. I feel like we really got to know so much about you in just such a short period of time. And you were in charge of that, right? Like you were able to say, these are the identities that I'm going to put out here for y'all today. I love that. I love how it can create such incredible connection that way. What generation do you identify as? Are you a Gen Z er? Are you a millennial? Gen X er?
juliany: I identify, I guess I find myself as like the very last of the millennials, I say very frequently. I'm the last of the millennials.
Elena Joy: You're the elder millennial. Yeah,
juliany: yeah, so we, uh, I feel like I'm in that cusp. I was born in 94.[00:05:00]
So I definitely feel like I have friends who are in that sort of... Becoming Gen Z energy. (Oh, okay. Yeah). Sisters, Gen Z. But yeah, I feel like I kind of was the very end of the millennial era with generation that like remember a lot of analog stuff. But then we wore the guinea pigs for all the digital stuff that rules the world now.So that's been reflecting on that actually. But yeah, that's where I would...
Elena Joy: A hundred percent. I love that. And so you're based out of New York now, but we are gathered here today to talk about your current project, which is, which is based out of Chicago. One of my favorite cities along with New York, of course.And let's, let's dig right into it. So how I heard about you is as a playwright who has transformed a children's book into a play that is going to have a fabulous run in Chicago. So. Please tell us a little bit more about your experience of taking a children's book and getting it into action and movement and performance.What was that process like?
juliany: You know, we are still in it. So I'm still learning a lot, which is super fun. The book is called Morris Micklwhite and the Tangerine Dress. And I've had the deep pleasure of being the one to adapt it for the stage. Yeah. And actually not just for Chicago, it's three, three cities.So I'm super excited about that. It's going to be Chicago children's theater or the Chicago children's theater and the Rose theater in Omaha. And also, uh, the children's theater company, Minneapolis is where we're first premiering. So we're opening up there in Minneapolis and then we'll be in Chicago. Soon. I'm excited for when, but it's, that's gonna be really fun because yeah, I'm already learning so much about the process right now at the children's theater company. And then we're going to get to take that same story and have it manifest in an entirely new way in Omaha and in Chicago.
But right now. I, well, yeah, I'm still like processing because it's been a long time of just sort of the, the solo part of the playwriting process, which has been the part where I'm just at home in this room with my little laptop, you know, writing words down and trying to hear them all in my head and play all the characters and then as of earlier this year, I was able to.Go to Children's Theatre Company for some workshops in the spring and that was super helpful because that's when I first started to like hear it and see these amazing student actors really put their heart into it and that helped the script go a long way and now we're in the middle of rehearsals and we open in just a few weeks.
Oh my god, a couple weeks. Yeah, I'm like oh it's so soon. I was there for the beginning of rehearsals and then I'll be flying back to Minneapolis next week for the tech and opening process. And it's just been so magical. I mean, I had, I have experienced adapting and adapting children's work actually. So it's not my first time doing that, but it is my first time doing it for the stage specifically.
And like, you're describing like what that means, what comes with that medium and the aliveness and the three dimensionality, but it's just so special. And I'm so, so excited to get into tech and really feel all the elements like this is something I love about theater. I get that sort of solo writing time and then it becomes this also sort of extroverted collaborative experience with all these other artists.
So there's all these amazing designers and our awesome director, Heidi and again, these brilliant, brilliant student actors and our one brilliant adult actor holding things down. And they've just been so awesome and are bringing so much heart to it. So It's all coming alive. You know, I think tech week notoriously for theater kids, you learn a lot in tech week. A lot goes wrong. A lot goes right. And then at the end of it. You birthed this, this thing that you can share with the world.
Elena Joy: I love that theater has such a special place in my heart. It was my safe space as a kid and now I'm living life as an adult, this mom of four kids and my third child is a theater nut. And it was not by way of me, like in raising her, I was in life 1. 0. I was a very like conservative Mormon mom. We didn't go to the theater that often. Maybe we got into Hamilton a little bit. And that was about as far as it went, right? Because theater was like my college life. Like it was way back when it wasn't mom life, but because you know, the universe has other plans. My child became this absolute theater nut. And so I'm back in that world again. But in a suburban white world of children that get to take classes, right? I came from a, I was the production manager for the black theater troop in Phoenix, Arizona. Like I was in a different theater world than these kids are experiencing theater.
Right. And it's been wild to watch and. Still, what has become predominantly clear is what a safe space it creates for our queer community. And, I will say this very clearly where she's going to school. They have a robust theater department and I swear it's the theater department that brings in more diversity of culture than the sports program. Then the arts program, then the band program, diversity of culture, diversity of orientation, it's happening in theater programs. Why do you think that is?
juliany: Wow, thanks for sharing that. That is so cool to hear and to, yeah, reflect on. And the power of that, you know, and I come back to all the time too. I'm like, wow, theater, theater is what has saved so much of us, brought us together.And like that larger, I think, expression, that idea of expression, which will come back sort of like to what's happening with this Morris Micklewhite story as well. But the idea of like, where we get to express, to play. To be ourselves, to be other people, right? To fantasize, you know, to like try things on and to tell stories together. And so that collaborative aspect I think is such a special thing. And I think, you know, whatever setting, for example, your kid is in right now, so much of that is going to transfer to meeting other people and being in other places, right? This idea of like, we're always collaborating. We're always sort of that working together, that sort of like co creating something, you know, is like, that's what life is.Is sometimes when I come back, I'm like, that's what we're trying to do here and actually shouldn't be, you know, sort of relegated to just this. Okay, you can do that in this art space, you know, and it's like, it has to permeate everything we do and how we move. But yeah, I think that has to do so much with it. Right. Is like that, that's where we're drawn to, to tell stories, to sort of imagine outside of the sort of boxes and the straight and narrow that we're kind of are often like raised in right there's a space where even if it's because it's under the guise of play or dress up right now. Yep. Ask certain questions and be like, Oh, but it's just, you know, and I think that's, that's valid. And that's real when we're coming from, you know, places where we don't feel safe to just for that stuff more directly or more openly. So. I don't know. I think there's a lot there, but yeah, it's definitely been true in my life as well as like where I found so much of community and curiosity, people who are trying to connect across difference.
Elena Joy: Yeah. And what was it about your, your history and your upbringing that led you to this position of being this playwright and re imagining this very important story that needs to be told and experienced, not just read, like reading it is fabulous, but I think experiencing it is going to take it to a whole new level. So what kind of brought you to this position of being a part of that?
juliany: You know, it's been such a wild path. I think about it like, I, so I went to, I grew up in the city, you know, and I remember I first was at this Langston Hughes School in Canarsie, and I was in this like dance group and we had all fun, creative things like that. And then later in middle and high school, I was in Yonkers in the public school system. And I had some amazing English teachers that I always love to shout out as far as supporting me, but we didn't have any sort of, we didn't have a lot, we didn't have a lot of resources, we didn't have a theater program, we, uh, I think they maybe did like a Shakespeare thing every year that I was completely disinterested in, and otherwise I would try to start these clubs or whatever, and the principal would be like, please chill, like, no, like, there's no faculty that's got money, you know, it's like, but please, I have a pamphlet, um, but you know, and I always made the best of it, but it was, looking back, I'm like, yeah, it was, Things were scarce. You know, I was on the tennis team and that got cut. By the time I was a senior, like we were not very resourced. And yet this is the thing. My friends and I were like an improv club all four years. And all you need for improv club is you show up, you thank God, Mr. Rader, thank you for being our faculty after school. And then it was us just showing up with pieces of paper with prompts, our bodies being goofballs, and that was the closest we could get, you know, to what we were trying to do theater and storytelling wise. So I was thinking, you know, I guess it started with Improv Club and the piles of books I was reading from the public library and PBS Kids, which raised me and my mom says all the time.
You came out like this because I, when you were my belly, I went to the library and I read to you all the time. Um, so that's always part of it. (Shout out mom.) Yeah, exactly. You know, cause my parents grew up in the Dominican Republic and then they came here in their early twenties to New York to, yeah, try to support a family. Right. And my little sister was born and then they were just, they've been working hard since then to do that and made it possible for me to then come into a life where I have all this room to explore and to end up. In a job like this, which even that wasn't really on purpose. Other than I hear my mom will casually tell me stories about this, like what, like troop her and her friends had when they were kids. And I was like, you never told me that. Like I'm over here wondering how I came out a weird theater kid. If no one else in my family is, but like you were out here doing your version, you know, so just the interesting origin story things that in our lives. So yeah, I was just always into writing and then improv.
And then I was so hungry for trying actual resource theater. When I got to college, I went to Vassar and that's where I really started doing like collaborative theater with resources, right? With designers, like, Oh, now we have a budget, we can make stuff. And then I started playwriting after I read the play blue by Virginia Grice, which totally changed my life. And like I said, up to that point, plays had been presented to me as like the Shakespeare that we read every year in high school. And you know, maybe like fences or a doll's house, which are not bad works.I'm not trying to say, but I wasn't like, I didn't read those. And then it was like, yeah, I want to write one of these. I read blue by Virginia Grice. And I was like, well, no one told me that plays can be like epic poems and queer and Brown and, you know,Indigenous and like cosmic, you know, like that's how it felt to encounter her work. And so then I was like, I want to try it. And I guess the rest is history. I like somehow while I was just like goofing off and doing teaching artists work in the city and writing my little plays at night, because it helped me process the world around me. And I'm super grateful that that led to like, just by so much blessing and alignment and support from other people. You know, getting a playwriting agent and then ultimately being able to join projects like Morris Micklewhite. And lots of people, yeah, just shout out to everyone along the way who saw something in me or had that faith or said my name in a room I wasn't in, you know, I think there was a lot of that. And I'm really grateful for that. I don't think any of us, I'm very into disrupting that idea of like geniuses and artistic and we're self made. And I'm like, no one's self made. That's very rude to everyone who has been involved in keeping you alive and supporting each other. Right. Like we all need each other. So it's been a wild path, but yeah, I'm super, super grateful to then get to work on projects like this one, which like you said, I really hope are impactful when they're actually felt and experienced and seen because it's, we talked about this, like, my director Heidi and I, as recently, as it's been getting closer to the production. And we've been doing interviews and stuff. And we were both kind of talking the other day and we're like, it's weird because when we're in the room, we're not thinking about this being controversial or we're not thinking about this being this huge deal. We're just like, yeah, this story is so cute. This kid is amazing. These student actors are brilliant. They're having so much fun. We're having these amazing conversations around self expression and bullying and gender. And it's just what it is. Look, we're all there being like, yeah, we love this stuff. And then you step back and you're like, right.
And larger context. These books are being banned and these laws are being rolled out or rolled back and this is like very real stuff going on around it. Um, so we've been sitting in that and, you know, thinking about, yeah, how special this would be a part of sharing this story right now.
Elena Joy: Yeah, I'm really reflecting on the duality of that, right? The, the duality of both realities are happening and it's our weird job to resolve those two realities, right? Both the reality of being in the room with the humans. The people, right? The nuance of the experience. And then, like you said, that larger world and how it's going to be received and how it's going to impact lives both negatively and positively, right? Like that interesting duality, which actually really takes me back to your improv focus and when you're saying like those, that was really my roots. I was thinking the prominent thing that improv teaches everyone, especially kids with developing brains is yes, and - yes, that reality and another reality, right? Like that is the thing that we come out of improv with is that skill to be able to do that. And I think that that has to be playing into how, how you're working with the story, but also how the story is coming alive and impacting this duality of realities.
juliany: Yes. I love that. I love that. And right. And then when I became a teacher of improv, when in my, you know, mid twenties, I was teaching all over the city and it was really improv based and original writing sort of performance stuff that we were doing with these amazing students all over the city. And that made me really deep in that appreciation for like the tools that that improv had given me, even though I was just having fun and being the teacher and being like, Oh yeah, we're just having fun. That's the point. And we're actually learning all these skills and it is that Yes, And right. And we teach, like, actually, if you deny that reality, nothing happens, but then everything, you know, it's like, that's literally life.
Elena Joy: Which is the play,right? Like we can't deny the reality that we have children that are experiencing this experience to deny that reality means we stop. It's over. There's no more nothing, right? But to radically acknowledge the reality of what that child is experiencing, then we get to move forward and connect and create the community that supports that child.
juliany: Exactly. And for me, I mean, it's, it ends up being sort of like, yeah, it's very deep, deep thing of like, what is possible, you know, I've been thinking about this becoming a Titi and then also building community with mothers like young mothers and single mothers in my life right now and having this conversation about children and where the school system is at and right the stuff I'm working on And just being like, they're literally, we like say it as like a platitude, like the children and their future and like, but I'm like, that is so deep. Like when we think about it, like what becomes possible when we actually nourish and show up for young people and for children, instead of trying to control them or deny their reality or like dictate what their life is going to become. Like when we actually support and, you know, cultivate what children come into this world with that spirit of, like, it's literally going to transform the futures that, that then we get to live in and they get to live in. So it's that, it's that deep. Yeah.
Elena Joy: Hey fam, our mission at Pride and Joy Foundation is to prevent suicide and homelessness in our LGBTQ plus community. We envision a world where every LGBTQ plus human is heard, housed, and mentally healthy. We are re imagining how we are pursuing that in 2024, and we want your voice to be a part of that. Head to our website and take our two question survey that our board will use to determine our path forward in 2024 prideandjoyfoundation dot com. Click on the survey banner at the top and let us know what issues you want us to focus on in 2024. Pride and joy foundation dot com. Thank you so much, fam.
Elena: I think the other thing that really stood out to me and what you're saying was like you said, like none of us are self made, right? We all need a network of, of lots of different supports professionally, emotionally, physically, right? We all need those networks. And I, one of the big things that I teach in my presentations is especially for queer people, our network is our net worth. So many of us come from systems that do not have networks of support built in. And so it's doubly important for us to be able to have the skills to go to these networking conferences or networking meetings or to be able to know how to be in our master's program and how to leverage these relationships later on so that we can help each other out. Like, none of that is very natural in our community because we haven't seen generations of parents do that with people like us. Right? So there's always that barrier that we kind of have to overcome and. figure out how do we expand our network so that we can each build each other up in these careers and this visibility and the impact that we're trying to have. What was networking like for you? Because I feel like in the queer experience, it's not, it's not Chad in the break room.
juliany: No, it's not. No. And this is so interesting because I'm like, wow, the combos I've had with my queer friends over the last day, right. And all our 20 going through college, coming out of college, that crisis being like, huh. And it's totally that of being like, what, what is kinship and community look like for us when our, you know, as queer people that's been so attacked and disrupted intentionally over the decades. And then from my perspective too, as a. Caribbean person with Afro indigenous lineage and thinking about like Indigenous history and the history of our of our country and the adjacent countries. And it's really tied there to where I'm like, they have been right. Part of the colonial project from the beginning has been trying to control what kinship looks like. Right. They came and, you know, you see you see longhouses or you see these collective spaces and they burn them because they said that is threatening. We have to impose, you know, the, our model, the colonial model, the church model, the nuclear family. And that's a way of separating communities from themselves, you know?
And so I think the queerness is at that same, you know, I get to exist at both of those as a lot of other people. And even if folks are not existing at, you know, are in a different positionality to those systems, we're actually all existing under. that history, you know, regardless of who, who we are and what our own lineage is. And so I think queerness is such a powerful thing of being able to like, see that and know, and you know, for better for worse, because we are, we are like, there's no, this is not supporting us. This is not these family models, right? These. So many of unhoused young people are LGBTQ people, right? These family systems reject us, and then we have to find our order our own way. And that's really heartbreaking and also really, really powerful. So like thinking about those conversations with friends and for me, it's been, yeah, connecting. It's not Chad in the break room, right? We don't have a blueprint. And I actually think that can be very powerful because then we're not. We are in that creative space, right? We're in that improvising space of being like, All right, no blueprint. How do we want to do it? How do we want to show up for each other? How do we want to connect? And I think that's a really beautiful thing that happens with queer people so quickly, is being like, cool, like, what are you up to? How can I support you? Like, you know, here's what's going on over here. What has this experience been like for you? You know, I remember talking to other, like, you know, queer people, older people in my life when, you know, thinking about like, do I want to go to grad school? Do I want to do this? And looking to those kind of young elders, because we lose a lot of our elders, you know, right? So we kind of have to be our own elders and figure it out together. But yeah, I do say that I do love to talk about and name folks in my life who have in ways big and small, been key to where I am in this moment, because I think it's important to be able to name that and hold that and appreciate that and also be that for other people. So yeah, I know I, for me, it was really just like, I think, I followed what my, you know, spirit wanted to do creatively and who I had a good time making things with. And you know, when we're young, we're also a little more courageous too, and bold, and just sharing our work, even though it's the first thing we've ever written, we're like, yeah, look at this! Like, you know, I'm trying to that energy, because then you get a little, you get older and you're like, eh, and self conscious. And I'm like, yo, we were really just excited to mix up and share it.
And that energy was part of how, you know, able to connect. And I have. You know, someone who's like, Oh, you were playing. I know someone who's that's how I got a free, you know, MFA was like, my play writing professor in college was like, Oh, I know someone at pen America and he's got this program and there's playwriting scholarships if you want to send in your stuff and then I was like, okay. And then that's, you know, and not realizing it was going to be like starting in a couple months. It was like the end of my, my senior year of college. And I thought she meant for the like following year because everyone I knew was applying to grad school like months ago. So then it ended up being like, no, this fall. And I was like, okay, um, just magical things like that. And then, um, Yeah, just trying my best to really just, yeah, do what feels right and in alignment for me instead of trying to chase, right, a more sort of traditional, usually straight, white, whatever it is, oh, path to success or career. I was like, I've never, you know, yeah, when we're coming from tough background, we're just trying to, we're still trying to just be ourselves and step into who we are. And so we're not like, oh yeah, here's the. You know, the, um, the 20 year plan for having to have a career. I'm just like, I'm just trying to do my best.
Elena Joy: Yes, absolutely. So one of our themes, well, our theme at Pride and Joy Foundation for 2023 has been Your voice, Your power. And we really focused on how, when we can use our voice. It is so powerful for ourselves and healing and developing a connection with ourselves and learning what is true and authentic about ourselves. It often comes through using our voice as well as powerful for our community, for our families, for, for our society at large. So I think it's pretty clear, but I want to hear in your words, how have you been using your voice and, and amplifying your power through it?
juliany: You know, I. I'm really sitting with that question, even though like I'm like, wow, yes, I am actually so grateful. I'm like, there's, if I pause, I'm like, right, this, I'm part of the show that's happening. There's this other children's book. I was able to adapt. There's going to be a full length animated feature that that's going to come out into the world. And I've gotten to work on all these exciting things lately. And at the same time, I have been sitting with that question of like, because I think, you know, we're always all changing is the other thing, right? We don't have a single voice that, that is always going to be saying the same thing our entire lives. Yeah. So I feel like that's something I've been told since I was, yeah, a young writer in my teens. Well, the voice is so strong in your writing. We love your voice, you know, and I appreciate that. And I also, it's something that we tend, right. As I'm growing older, as I'm changing, as I'm learning from the world, I'm also kind of still having to be in process with what I want to do. Yeah, with my voice and what I have to say in this moment of my life. So I'm really in that moment of transition right now, but I think, you know, I, so far I have just been trying to, uh, just, I think of the context of like Morris Micklewhite and writing for children's media. And really there specifically, I feel like I'm really committed to using my voice to just be like, shout out kids.
Look, listen to this kid. Listen, you know, kind of that thing where sometimes it's like using our voice to amplify other people as well. And so when it comes to children, I think that's where I'm at, right. Cause I'm an adult now and I'm like trying to be always be in touch with my inner child, but like something I really think about is like our, you know, children are so, especially I feel like in our country, which doesn't really invest in, in, you know, uh, theater for young audiences or children's media. It can be, yeah, I just want, I want us to really, to really care about them in a meaningful way as their own people. And so something, yeah, it's like working on Morris right now, that's definitely what I feel like I'm trying to bring my voice, my personal experience, of course, to the writing process as a queer person and also. Oh, just be like, and kids know, kids know what they're talking about. They know what they're saying. They know what they're feeling. Even if they don't have all of the words we have yet, or even if they're still figuring out how to articulate. They're actually so much more expressive than us usually, really, because they are filtering and judging themselves less.
And so I really am like, can we listen to them? Can we make room for them? Can we, yeah, like you were saying, can we like validate their experience and go from there? Um, so really important to me working on Morris, working on Julián, which was the adaptation of the book Julián is a Mermaid. And any other like theater for young audiences I've been doing the last few years. And then that helps me nourish, yeah, my own inner child and my voice right now and, and continue making my own work about, like, my... my experience and the intersections that I live at and the perspective through which I can look at the world. And yeah, I have a lot of, I still struggle with the like artist doubt of like, yeah, that, you know, it still creeps in of like, does, what do I even have to say?
Sorry, the New York sirens. There they go. (It's the setting.) Yes, it's the ambience. (Yes). We're really in Harlem off the river, y'all.
But yeah, I, I appreciate kind of that theme and that reminder, which again, can sound so simple, but it's so profound of like, we all have a voice. It all has power. Cause yeah, sometimes I get in my head being like, what, what new thing do I have to say? Well, why, why share my art? What could it be? You know, those sort of inner critic, you know, uh, doubt that we can have, but then we have to remind ourselves like, yeah, only we have the experience that we have. And it's not about scarcity. It's not about, you know, it's about like, we all have things worth saying. And worth learning from, you know, learning from each other because we all have these, you know, vastly distinct experiences on this shared planet. So it's a process, but I think that gets just being like, yes, say, you know, I'm getting really into making zines again because I'm loving the little stakes of like, yeah, I just need to, like, make a little thing and like, just draw and like express something. And that's been helping with that, right? It's like, oh yeah, no matter what it is that comes out, it's worth sharing or like worth saying, you know, worth.
Elena Joy: it's worthy, whatever it is that comes out, it's worthy of every look and listen and yeah, absolutely. I really resonate with that. I, so I coach LGBT key plus leaders who are stepping into visibility moments, usually on a stage or on a platform in some way. And how do we do it in a really safe way? Cause oftentimes a huge part of why they're there is their identity. Right. They're there to speak on the queer perspective of whatever corporate sales or whatever. And so we want to make sure that that's a really safe experience, right. Of like, what about my identity is for public consumption and what is private for me, and of course that's always changing and, and yeah, I think it's so interesting how voice plays into identity and identity plays into voice and how, how that creates this connection that so many of us are really, really hungry for. I'd love to ask, with our last two questions. They're my favorite. So if you could speak to juliany of five years ago, just five years ago, what would you tell them?
juliany: Okay. I'm like doing some mental math five years. Okay.Uh, five years ago, I was 24, which was my golden birthday because I was 24th of March. So they call that your golden birthday. And, uh, I mean, yeah, it was in the, it was in the thick of that my teaching artistry work. I had finished grad school where I wrote two, two of my full length plays that are still are really important to me.
And honestly, I would just be like, keep it up, dude. I honestly can say just, I was like, something that I can appreciate about myself, especially when I sort of am in conversation with my older self, is that I, uh, You know, many in existential crises, many is, you know, all the things that we go through and yet I never really was holding myself to a like very specific like future. I was always kind of just like, which I guess can sometimes create more crisis where I'm like, I'm just going with what feels right. And I'm just trying to do what, you know, like where I feel called to, but I appreciate that about my younger selves, you know, because it meant that I was always, it was that yes and energy. Like, I really feel like you named that. Thank you. Like, if that's my, my roots, it was always like, all right, this is what's happening in the world, or this is what, who I feel like I am today. Or like, this is what I am interested in creating right now. All right. Yes, And like, what's going to happen if I do it? So I think I would just be like. Yeah, you, you keep that up. Like, don't let that be taken from you, you know, uh, stay in conversation with that, that improv kid in your heart and keep, you know, valuing what's important to you, which is community and, and self expression and, and this sort of liberation, right? Wanting to liberate ourselves from all of whatever. That can mean so many things. That can mean so many things. But I think that, yeah, five years ago, my slightly “babier” self was, was still trying to follow that impulse. So I would just, I would just. I would just pop in their head and like a little ghost and, and cheer them on and yeah,
Elena Joy: I love that. I love that. And then our last question we often see in our queer community, not a lot of us intrinsically look very far in the future, especially after the last 4 years or so that we've had the future feels so uncertain and it doesn't feel almost accessible or plannable or strategizable or any of those things. Right? And I feel like that. That's something. It's really important to interject back into our community or to start in our community is this idea of where do I start? Myself as a queer elder, because we haven't had those very much the queer elders that I have in my life I treasure because like you said, they are rare and so incredibly important. And there's for me, there's not enough of them to be able to see myself there. Right. So where do you see juliany in 30 years?
juliany: Yeah. Well, kind of, like I just said, it's never a specific context, which I think is great. But like what you're getting at too is like, well, how do we, which I, the way I phrase it for myself is like, how do I want to feel what I want to be surrounded by? You know, what, what I want to have been able to say about my life. And it's so true. I've been really trying to like, step into that. I call it also, yeah, becoming that queer elder, becoming, you know, being the future ancestors that we are going to be. And yeah, it's hard to say. I try not to think too specifically because of the climate and other things where I'm like, I don't know what the world's gonna look like around me, but I hope that juliany in 30 years, you know, spent those 30 years trying to create the best world possible with the people around them and sharing their spirit and their art towards that end across, you know, whoever is meant to receive that message. But I really want it to be the queer elder that invested in, right, the youth after me and invested in the world around me and didn't just give up on it because it's so easy to feel despair, like you said, these last four years, especially very, very easy and completely understandable to fall into sort of despair or like this sort of blankness or dissociate or feel disempowered around what we can do with our own lives in the years to come. And so I am putting the call out to my future self to be like, if you're going to battle that, but you're going to win the battle and that you're not going to despair. And you're going to, you're going to build and you're going to create beautiful worlds. Just like that improv kid was co creating goofy stories. We're going to use those skills. To create the best world possible. And I was going to say, even if it's just for the people around me, but that's not even if it's just right, that's all each of us. That's why it's going back to why our voice is powerful is because we need to be doing that everywhere that we are, right? There's not going to be this, like one thing that's going to save us as one person, right? This whole, you know, like we actually need to be feeling our power and the worthiness of our voice and name what we want the world to look like around us wherever we are. And that's how that happens. And so Hopefully that's, that's what I'll have been up to in 30 years. Um, like gray hair. I don't know. I'm like, I'm imagining the vibes to like the aesthetic, like hopefully some really fun elder fashion.
Elena Joy: Absolutely. I love it. I want that future. And we're not going to get there unless we can start at least visualizing it. Right. That's where it has to begin. So the more we can visualize that kind of a future for ourselves, let's do that. Absolutely. Well, we're going to, I'm going to be discussing the book and the play and the details all about it in the outro, but I, you are such an amazing part of our community and I know our audience is going to want to follow your career and follow everything that you do. Where can they keep track of you?Where do you play? Are you on social media?
juliany: Sort of not real right now. I'm like, you know what? Y'all just hit up my website. I pay for that domain. I might as well use that and put myself there. It's just juliany taveras dot com. And if I am active on Instagram, which is a yes or no, depending on the week, the day, the vibe, because it's a strange place. My website will link to my Instagram if I'm using it. So yeah, just my website's the best place. I do want to revamp it. Soon. So look out for that and you can find me there.
Elena Joy: What project do you have besides Morris that's coming out that you're, you're super excited about and we should keep an eye out for it.
juliany: Oh, the other one, I don't have an exact date yet, but I am super excited for the premier of Julián, which is the animated feature by cartoon saloon and which would pitchers, which has been an absolute like honor and delight to work on the last few years. Um, you know, animation takes time and Cartoon Saloon is an amazing independent studio that extra takes their time. So we, uh, don't have an exact date yet, but I think in the next year, which will come quickly. So keep an eye out for that. Yeah. Again, it's called Julián based on the book Julián is a Mermaid.
This is already out. I have, uh, I worked on two seasons of with love on Amazon prime video. We don't know yet. Well, the season three, the strike is ending though. Yeah, we'll see what else is to come, but that's going to be some exciting stuff in the next year.
Elena Joy: I love that when Julián comes out, we want to have you back.
juliany: Oh my God. That would be awesome.
Elena:Yes. That'll be great. Thank you so much, juliany. This is a pleasure.
juliany: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Hey, fam, ready to learn more about this incredible show. We have a ton of info in our show notes, but here are the highlights. First, why this show? Well, the children's theater [00:41:00] company, artistic director, Peter Brosius says it best.
So I'll just quote them. When I first read Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, I was immediately intrigued by the delightful cover art, which showed a spaceship, a quirky, unusual planet, and a little boy in a bright orange dress. I loved the celebration of imagination. The tenderness of a child's exploration and the innate curiosity of this young boy. It was filled with innocence, whimsy, and the joy Morris found in expressing all aspects of himself. I knew this could make an amazing play. When we read the plays of juliany taveras, we knew we had found a playwright of immense creativity and wonder. And when we paired juliany with director Heidi Stillman, whose work has been filled with invention and delightful theatricality, we knew that we had the right team to bring this story to life.
Now, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, the play, it will run from October 10th to November 19th, 2023 at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as juliany mentioned two other stops as well. Now tickets may be purchased online at children's theater dot org forward slash Morris. That link will be in our show notes and ticket prices start at 15. I hope you enjoyed getting to know juliany and their journey to success. Whether you're a queer creative needing some inspiration or the parent of one of those queer creatives who wants to see how success happens for queer adults. I hope you found what you're looking for until next time, fam, be good to yourselves.
I appreciate you.