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Psychic City, Montreal, Canada (with Tranna Wintour)

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How was it that, in days of yore (ok, pre-internet) queer kids that were scattered all over the world still somehow managed to find and fall in love with the same movies and books and music?

I explored this, and a few other burning questions, when I caught up with comedian/singer/host Tranna Wintour to find out about Psychic City, an underground club in Montreal that hosted Trannavision and closed in 2018.

Find out more about Tranna by following her on Instagram

Tranna Wintour 0:00
was just special. There was just the shows that happened there. The people that went to the shows the social aspect of it, it really was. It was unique. I do miss it. I think sometimes I think this conversation has made me realise that I missed it more than I realized. Because it really wasn’t just about the shows it was really about just the feeling. And again, the way that it allowed so many new comedians, especially queer identifying comedians that that space really gave a lot of them their first shot.

K Anderson 0:39
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, a podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there, and the people that they used to know. So kick city was a bar in a dingy basement in Montreal that may or may not have been run legally, and existed for a few short years before closing in 2018. I caught up with comedian, singer and co host of her own podcast named chosen family Tranna Wintour, to talk all about queer kids struggling in suburbia, creating without the pressure of financial success and trauma vision. The night she ran at psychic city. Oh, and full disclosure, I should let you know that we prattle on for a while about showgirls and how it’s probably the best way to get.

So trying to vision. Mm hmm. If I was like visiting, and I was looking at going out one night, and I wanted to go somewhere fun. How would you pitch train a vision to me what happens?

Tranna Wintour 2:22
Well, I don’t have an elevator pitch. And I never have an elevator pitch for anything that I do, which I should really learn to be better at. But essentially, television is watching all of the awful movies that you love and grew up with, and watching them in a really new way. Pretty much. So basically, I’ll give you an example. So I would choose the movies based on the movies that I’ve grown up with and that I really have an affinity for, but that are technically awful movies. So showgirls is like the prime example.

K Anderson 3:01
I mean, what was technically or for the fairgrounds. That’s amazing film.

Tranna Wintour 3:04
Well, that’s what I was just gonna say. I think that the discussion on showgirls has really evolved. And now there seems to be like an academic appreciation, which I was on board with at one point, but I’m like, No, we must keep it a bad movie. Why does it have to? Why do we have? Why does it have to be critically appreciate it? Why?

K Anderson 3:23
Yeah, like, why do we have to enjoy it ironically, when it is just good?

Tranna Wintour 3:27
Yeah, well, exactly. But I think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it, ironically, too. And sometimes things should be allowed to just be bad. It’s like suddenly, when showgirls as a phenomenon became so big, people wanted to legitimise it, but it doesn’t need to be legitimised. You know, it doesn’t. Our love for it doesn’t need to be justified or explained. But other movies that we’ve done, too, we’re both of the Sex in the City movies, which in my own life, I’ve been, I watched those movies like twice a year every year. And we also did crew intentions, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the Devil Wears Prada. The sort of key is that the movies can be self aware. Because one time early on, I chose Spiceworld. So basically, when I choose the movie, we screen, the movie, and myself and a panel of three other comedians. Two of us sit on each side of the screen, and we do live commentary as we’re watching the movie. And the live commentary really varies from just sort of straight up commentary. And often it devolves into us sort of pretending to be the characters and doing dialogue over the movie. It’s just sort of a mix of all of that. And in a weird way, it’s also allowed us to sort of re examine these movies, which most of them are from the 90s in the early 2000s sort of look at them through today’s lens, I’m not expecting them to, you know, be where we’re at in terms of discussions about sexuality, and gender, and race and all of those things. I don’t think it’s fair to sort of, you know, look at things from the past with the standards that we have now. But it’s still fun to look at. And there’s humour in, in looking at how far we’ve come and evolved in terms of certain subject matter and themes. But all to say,

K Anderson 5:31
you were saying that you they have to not be self aware.

Tranna Wintour 5:35
Oh, right. Sorry. Yes. And so early on, we chose Spiceworld, and it just didn’t work. Because Spiceworld is so self aware. Like, no one made that movie thinking it was a good movie, you know, like, that. Wasn’t there? Again, it

K Anderson 5:49
is a good movie. I mean, Ryan’s in that film. Yeah,

Tranna Wintour 5:53
I know, I love it. But that but they were so a reference in there. You know, so you can’t really do a reference on top of a reference. You know, just it’s not funny. Um, so I mean, it was still fun to watch slice world with the audience. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t as funny as our usual shows were, you know, we we pick on things that were made very earnestly, you know, that were not made tongue in cheek that were not made in an irreverent sort of approach, like pretty woman, you know, like pretty woman was genuine. Everyone involved in that movie, thought they were making something good.

K Anderson 6:37
Yeah, yeah, that really doesn’t hold up to scrutiny in 2020,

Tranna Wintour 6:41
at all at all, but that’s what makes it so fun. So fun to watch. And there’s something about that nostalgic connection. That is really beautiful at the shows and like, it’s sort of like having a movie party with all your friends. Like we used to sort of, you know, the way that we used to go to each other’s houses and go in the basement and watch these movies, and now doing it as, quote unquote, adults. You know, it it? I don’t know, it just brings back some of that childhood joy. But with an adult perspective on things,

K Anderson 7:22
um, so did trying to vision star at psychic city.

Tranna Wintour 7:26
It did. I had the idea of not that the idea for the show is anything new. I mean, this format has been done in many different versions by many different people. But as such a pop culture junkie. For me, even in my stand up comedy, there’s always an aspect of pop culture that’s involved, because that’s just what I’ve been interested in my whole life. I don’t know why it just has always been this obsession. So I wanted to do a show that would really allow me to dive into my obsessions. And a comedy friend of mine named Rachel, who’s equally obsessed with a lot of the same movies that I was, when I was telling her about my idea for train of vision. She told me about psychic city, because at the time it was being run by her cousin because I was looking for a space to do it. Because technically, I’m not legally allowed to do this show. You have to get the right public screening of a movie. So I needed somewhere that was going to be underground, somewhere where I could get around that. And then she told me about psychic city like this underground space that was being run by her cousin. And I went to check it out. And it was just the perfect fit. It literally was in a basement.

K Anderson 8:50
And sir, let’s use that as a jumping off. Tell us what it was like so you to go downstairs to get into the venue. Yeah.

Tranna Wintour 8:57
So it was in this building on St. Louis Ah, close to the corner of pine in Montreal. I forget what the exact building number is. I used to know it by heart because every time I’d make my Facebook event pages, I was at the typing address. So I used to know that address by heart I think it was 49 something but on sale Iran not too high up. And it was in, you know, from the outside of very average looking building. There were lofts and people living in that building. It was partly actually was the majority of that building was residential spaces, people actually living there. And on the main floor of the building, there was a gym, this like privately owned gym that smelled like my high school gym. So every time I had to walk in the building, I had to pass this gem on the first

K Anderson 9:50
floor grab this smell to me.

Tranna Wintour 9:51
Oh god, it’s so hard to describe. It’s just kind of funky and stale, and a bit more GE, a bit like my high school, I think was built in the 70s. So it just sort of carries the funk of like 35 years of teachers.

K Anderson 10:12
And so this smell brings back to a Matic memory. Yes, class was horrible. And I’m right there with you.

Tranna Wintour 10:20
Yeah. So every time I would walk into the building that psychic city was in, I’d walk into the building you make right, the gym was right at that turn, and the door was usually open, and there was a class going on. So I’d always get a whiff of that.

K Anderson 10:37
And some terrible music pumping out as well, no doubt.

Tranna Wintour 10:40
Surely, then there was like a little elevator that was for the people living in the building, I don’t think that elevator actually went down to the basement, it only went to the higher up floors. And then next to the elevator was this, there was a some stairs to go down towards the basement. And actually, at the top of the stairs, there was a gate in front of the door. So usually, someone was already there. So the gate was opened. But later on, I had to like do some of the like, I would have to set up the venue myself, which I really hated. So like I’d have to stop. But at the beginning, when I first got to Second City, all of those sort of logistical things were taken care of.

K Anderson 11:28
But wait, wait, wait. So you had like the keys and you had the space to yourself and you could like create your own music videos and dance around and you hated it?

Tranna Wintour 11:35
Well, because I like I was always a bit scared of that venue. Because it was kind of creepy. And I didn’t want to like, I wasn’t scared when I was there, like with people. But if I had to go there alone, and like turn on all the lights and like set things up, like, I don’t know, it would that would stress me out. That would stress me I’m interested but they were really great. Like, as like city went on, like a lot of people had the key and like you could sort of they were really open, you could really do what you wanted with the space. It was really a space that existed to you know, allow people the freedom to create the kind of events that they wanted to create without having to pay like an astronomical fees venues are so expensive.

K Anderson 12:29
Okay, so he said, We’re going down the stairs, man, what happens.

Tranna Wintour 12:33
So you go down the stairs. And then you reach the bottom, it’s not that far down. And you enter this. I don’t even know how to describe it, it kind of looks like something you would have seen in like an underground punk movie from the 80s. Like, all the walls are graffitied it kind of like the the main colour of the walls was this sort of like mint green. And just like a lot of like black writing graffiti, like just sort of all over the place all over the place. And then there’s another gate that leads to the psychic city space, because down in the basement, which I didn’t know, for a long time, so I was going to psychic city for months and months and months, thinking that it was the only space down there. But when you reach the bottom of the stairs and you go you make a sort of slight left towards the city, if you go right there’s this other door. And it leads to I mean, I can’t even tell you how big this underground world was underneath this building. But basically, psychic city itself, I’ll just keep describing psychic city and I’ll tell you about the other side of the underground world.

K Anderson 13:57
It’s a sex dungeon because you’re building it up. Well, no. Okay, well, we’ll get there. We’ll get there.

Tranna Wintour 14:03
We’ll get there. But then you go into psychic city, the ceilings are very low. There’s all these pipes that are exposed along the ceiling. And within the psychic city space itself. There’s also a lot of graffiti, but it’s a bit more artful. There’s like illustrations on the wall. And, but it’s like it’s dirty, it’s really dark down there. There’s no fire escape. So like you know, was a hazard in many ways. And I had a friend once who came to see train division and it was her first time it’s a big city and she had a panic attack like she had to leave the space gave her a panic attack. And I think the first time that I went down there, I mean, I didn’t have a panic attack but you do feel claustrophobic, like the ceilings are very low. And it’s very dark down there. There’s no windows. There’s nothing It costs Looks like an unfinished basement, you know, like the floor is. I mean, there’s no tiles, there’s no carpet, it’s just sort of cement, it’s all concrete. And, but they did a good job of like making it kind of shabby cute, with the sort of, like, you know, colourful lights, that made it look a little bit more cheerful. There is like, there’s a stage, but the stage is also very low to the ground, it’s just like a slight elevation from the ground, because again, the ceilings are so low, you can’t really have a stage that’s high up. So the stage is very much on the same, you know, level as the ground. And there was a little backstage area, behind the stage where there were, there was a lot of band equipment, there were like, there were, I think like two drum kits in there, there were some random mannequins just also like some, like old sofas and old chairs, bookshelves, with like, old books, like there was a lot of junk, there was a lot of junk old lamps, being bags, just a lot of cords, a lot of wires, everything was just very exposed, it really looked like this. Sort of, you know, just uncapped basement, just that, you know, where people had been throwing their shit for decades. So very trashy, very, you know, just a mix of like just all kinds of crap. But it had its charm, it really had a charm. Like it didn’t. There was a, there was a cool energy in there.

K Anderson 16:45
And I’m so next door.

Tranna Wintour 16:48
So next door. So the only reason that I ever found out about the next door is because one time we were doing trend division. And there was a band that had their jam session that same night, which was very rare, like we had never encountered this before. But they were playing this, like, they were just playing so loud. And it was like this really intense like, like melody, less punk music. So it just sounded like raging noise, basically. And we tried to keep on with television, like just pretend that we were in hearing it. But it was really difficult. So we actually, like pause the movie. And then we went to I was too scared to go alone. So my friend Rachel, who was on the panel that night, she came with me. And so we opened the door that was on the other side of you know, where you go down the first set of stairs. And I mean, you walk you open that door. And I thought you know, there might be like a room or two. But it’s like it almost looks like an underground parking garage. It was enormous, the amount of space that was down there. Like, I just couldn’t believe that all of that existed under this random building in Montreal that people were living in. And then we just had to basically like follow our ear to find where the music was coming from. And we ended up down this like long hallway. And we found the room and we knocked at the door, sort of shaking in our boots, not knowing like Who the fuck was going to answer the door. And we’re just to you know, girls and like not to, like weaken that. But like we like we’re not like fighters. We’re not rough and tumble. We’re not the rough and tumble kind of girls. So we just didn’t know what we were about to encounter. And I was definitely scared Rachel’s a bit more of a badass than I am. Let’s see, Rachel. And then this guy opened the door to be honest, I don’t even really remember what he looks like but I just remember getting a glimpse into their gem space. And it looked like a kill chamber honestly like they were like it was just all grace cement and like dirt and I’m just was so fucked up. And we asked them if they could that we were doing a show and that we were going to be done really soon. And I think they stopped playing for a little bit like they weren’t nice, but they weren’t as mean and scary as we thought they might be. But I just had no idea that on the other side of this door that I had always walked past that there was like this whole other world

K Anderson 19:45
and so I really don’t need to know this but I’m interested anyway. On the on the ground floor. There was no resident residential space. No, okay, because it’s gonna say like, like festival having a venue You’re in the same building as, as flats always causes problems, as far as I’m aware, Oh, for sure, like having a rehearsal space as well.

Tranna Wintour 20:11
Well, things did. So you bring up a really good point. And that’s part of how psychic city ended. So I’m not fully aware of the entire history of the space. But from what I remember hearing from the people that were running it, like, I don’t remember how Rachel’s cousin became to be the person running the space. I don’t know how they inherited it. I don’t know who they got it from, or why they wanted it. But it was a space that has existed for decades, people have been using that the space that became psychic city. Since I believe the 70s. There were like, but like as many different things as as a bar as an underground venue as a drug den as like a rave club, like this was never a legal space. Or it was never you like whoever was paying the rent on it. It was very rarely ever used, legally. So people, I guess the people who have have been the sort of tenants of the of the psychic city space over all these years, you know, we’re doing with what they wanted to. And then when Rachel’s cousin took over, they wanted to make it a sort of venue. But, I mean, it was not illegal space.

K Anderson 21:41
Yeah. How could it exist for so long?

Tranna Wintour 21:45
Because I don’t know. Well, because I think part of it is that it always when things would go wrong. So when whoever was running, the space was busted. They would give up whatever operation they were running, and then someone you would take over that lease, and then they would start doing what they wanted to do with it. So I think there’s always been I think there’s been these sort of intermissions, you know, like, I think there’s been times where that space is a little bit dormant. And then someone takes over the lease again, and then starts doing something with it. Because I guess sort of what started happening towards the end of psychic city is that we never knew who it was. But there was someone who was calling the cops on the space quite frequently. And it just became too risky to run the space. So they had to shut it down.

K Anderson 22:35
And so with the police come in, like break up, or would they just come and kind of act intimidating,

Tranna Wintour 22:42
I think it was that they would come intimidating. I was never there when the police showed up, because my shows were always quite tame and quiet, you know, we’re just watching a movie, and it was people laughing. So it was never anything really disruptive. But from memory from hearing from the other people, especially the people who really took care more of the administrative side of running that space. It was more just intimidating, but I think they were getting warnings. And you know, like at the shows, we were trying to sell drinks and stuff, you know. So if it just became too risky for everyone involved to keep using the space that way.

K Anderson 23:23
And so did you like have noticed that it was going to close? Or did it just close overnight?

Tranna Wintour 23:30
No, it closed overnight. So I remember, I think it was a friend who also used to produce shows there that messaged me or I might have seen the post directly myself on Facebook. But there was no real warning. The only thing that I knew was that things were becoming sort of precarious, and that it was becoming more and more difficult to run the space. But no is really from one day to the next. It was just like psychic city is no more.

K Anderson 24:02
And how did that feel?

Tranna Wintour 24:05
I really was devastated. Because Trannavision. And it wasn’t only Trannavision there were so many comedians in the city, particularly queer comedians, and female comedians, who were really using psychic city in a way to create shows that they had always wanted to make that there never really seemed to be room for anywhere else, especially in the more conventional comedy spaces, which are typically spaces run by straight white men. And I really believe that psychic city is what gave birth to the queer comedy scene in Montreal. It allowed this community to express themselves in a way that we just were never able to before. And I think so many queer people in Montreal felt like the shows that were going on. It’s like city was a space where they felt comfortable and safe to do comedy. So I think that psychic city was really monumental and what it did not just for the time that it existed, but just for what it gave to everyone who, who created in that space. Yeah. So at the time, it was the only space that was really like that, especially on the English side of things, because Montreal is a bilingual city, and Anglophones are a minority. And so the Anglophone art scene is a very, very small scene. So it finally felt like with psychic city, we just had this blank canvas that we could really do whatever we wanted to do. There was a comedy collective in Montreal called the brunch club that also used to produce a lot of shows at psychic city, one of the best shows that I ever saw they had produced, and it was basically like those old TV dating shows,

like with a host, and like, you know, with a bachelor Bachelorette, and there were like three contenders that were like, hidden behind this partition, and watching it live, it was just like, I don’t like that was one of the nights that I think I’ve laughed the most of my life. Like, it was just so brilliant, but you’d never really see a show like that anywhere else. Like, people were getting really experimental with their comedy. And it was just so great to see. So when. And also, like, you know, psychic city is where I was doing a lot of my shows almost exclusively for like a year. And I was so attached to that space and the freedom that that space gave to me. So when I saw that post, or when I had heard that it was closed. I was really sad, but even I think before feeling sad, just panicked. Like, where the fuck am I gonna do my shit now? Like, there’s nowhere else like this? Where can I possibly do what I do? So I was really I was terrified. Before I was sad.

K Anderson 27:03
And how did that then shake out?

Tranna Wintour 27:06
So I if I remember correctly, I think that I was, I had already announced the Jurassic Park edition of Trento version. So like that was like already, like planned, I think it was planned for like the week after the announcement that it was closed. Um, and I still really wanted to do it. And my friend Sasha, who ran the brunch club comedy collective, she really helped me find a sort of temporary alternative venue to do it in. I forget what it was called the venue that we did it in, but it was a it was a it was a legitimate venue was the first time train division was above ground. And, and it went amazingly well. But I sort of knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep doing it at that space. So I had a few months where I wasn’t doing television, it was sort of on pause until I could find the right space for it.

K Anderson 28:09
And, and I wanted to talk about this, like spirit of a venue or the vibe of a venue. Because when we were talking like, before the interview, you were saying that psychic city wasn’t like exclusively a queer venue or anything, but that it had kind of a queer mentality or attracted a queer audience. And I’m really interested in how venue venues or people running the venues or it’s just some kind of magic ingredient makes that possible and makes that happen. And without being like, hey, queers come here, right, they’re able to attract that audience. And and, yeah, what is it about psychic city that was able to do that?

Tranna Wintour 29:00
Well, I don’t think it was the space specifically, although one thing about the space that did allow for that magic that you’re describing to happen, and to spark in that particular spaces that the people running the venue, really had this sort of like anti bigotry, anti violence, anti hate speech sort of policy, way before many venues and even festivals adopted literature that was very explicitly that you know, so Second City really had like a zero tolerance policy for racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia. Right off the bat that was really very clear, again at a time where that was not common for venues and spaces. So I think that was a fundamental aspect of why that space became adopted by queer artists and why It became the sort of venue of choice. And I think also, I think trend division was one of the first regular shows to start happening there. And

K Anderson 30:13
once they knew you were there, they were through the doors that were you saying? Well, I’m

Tranna Wintour 30:17
not saying that I was by but my show, not intentionally, but just sort of organically, especially based on the concept of the show and the film choices. You know, the films that I chose are movies that have a very queer cult following. And those are just the movies that I have just not that I naturally found my way to in my life, you know, it’s not calculated. But television attracts, like, a predominantly queer audience. And if not, specifically, we’re like a very queer friendly audience, like, I mean, if you look at my audience, it’s predominantly female, and or queer. And a lot of the people who come to my shows are also artists and creative people themselves. So I think that, you know, people would come to my show and the other shows that were happening, it’s like a city as well, and then become inspired and be like, Wow, I’ve never even heard of this space, or I never even knew the space existed. And all you had to do was like, send a message to psychic city on Facebook and be like, here’s what I want to do. Is this date available? It was like, very easy, you know, and I think it just it’s by it just grew from there grew from those first few hands, those first few handful of shows that were pretty queer in spirit, that drew queer audience and that audience became inspired to create their own shows. And it just grew and grew from there.

K Anderson 31:46
And can we just like quickly sidebar off and talk about queer cult films? Like now it’s a bit different? Because if I was like, a baby gay, and I went online, I could kind of get the manual and get all the instructions. Oh, yeah, I watched this film. And then I watched this film, and then I watched this film, but like, you know, growing up in suburbia, and not like just having like, no, kind of. I can’t that’s not the right word. No one to look up to or kind of know queer media to consume. Yeah. Isn’t it fascinating that just so many queer kids gravitated towards the same shit? It’s

Tranna Wintour 32:25
the most fascinating thing. Honestly, I was talking about this with a friend just the other day, I really can’t explain it, obviously. But we did. We did. A lot of us had a natural calling towards. I mean, I remember it just being a kid in the 90s in the video rental store, and how without knowing anything, just looking at certain movie covers, like the covers on the box, and just being instantly drawn to them. Like I would just go stand and like stare at some of those covers. One of them was death becomes her I remember staring at that movie box cover in the video store. I guess it’s the glamour, you know, I guess that’s what I was. I was sort of fundamentally drawn to in some

K Anderson 33:15
way. Like, you know, if you think about Cher girls, that was kind of I mean, as far as I know, that film was made to kind of titillate heterosexual men and obviously it went terribly wrong, but all of the promotional material everything about their campaign to promote that film was targeted to straight man so yeah, how the hell has it like me as like a young gay going to the video shop be like, I think I want to watch this. Well, I

Tranna Wintour 33:48
think part of it was like it is the cover art you know, it’s it’s that’s what drew us in I think, like, naked lady like, that’s

that’s not appealing to me. Why? Why? Well, because well, she’s not fully naked. She’s, she’s,

she’s exposing her leg from this like, last bad shape. Yeah. shape. That’s what drew

K Anderson 34:16
because we love lattice. Is that what you’re saying?

Tranna Wintour 34:20
I think we, we it’s that idea of dress up, you know and like and wanting to channel’s certain energies and figures you know, like for me like I that was one of my favorite things as a kid was like, wanting to play dress up wanting to pretend to be different characters. And I think that the characters on all of those movie boxes from like, showgirls to Romi, Michele’s high school reunion presented these possibilities for dress up and character play and there was an over the top notice even in just, you know, the VHS box. covers that was appealing to us. You know, it’s the same way like I was talking about this recently. I was talking about Madonna and how when I was a kid, like, I didn’t really have much of a concept of who she was. And my, like, first entry point to the world of Madonna was actually a visa. And I was only like eight or nine at the time, and I saw the trailer for a visa on TV. And I don’t know what it was like, but I, I just, and I remember telling my mom, I’m like, I have to see that movie. And she took me to see it. And then I became obsessed with the soundtrack. And then through that I discovered the rest of Madonna’s work, but I had no idea who Madonna was. So for me at that point in my life, it wasn’t like, Oh, I have to see Madonna’s new thing. Or like, this is a Madonna movie. I didn’t even know I didn’t know who she really was. I didn’t know that she was this clear icon. But I saw that trailer and it was a calling.

K Anderson 36:01
I mean, if it was desperately seeking Susan, I would be like, right there with you. But Evita? Really?

Tranna Wintour 36:06
I know, but that’s what I’m saying. Like, it doesn’t make sense. But I, but I, she was calling to me. It’s like all these movies like all these movies that were never intended to necessarily appeal to queer children. They they, there’s just something in them that presents a calling. Yeah. Yeah. Like, it’s like this almost like, you know how like only dogs can hear. It’s like these movies, we’re putting out this sound wave that like, just a myth. And most queer kids picked up on it not all your kids off. It’s not to say that all queer people have the same taste and everything that’s

K Anderson 36:52
obviously the same they are.

Tranna Wintour 36:56
But that’s what the proof that like, like you said, like, you know, now your kids can go online and just google like queer movies, and they’ll get but we had to listen out for that, you know, sonar. And it will always remain unexplainable. You know, I don’t think that it can. I mean, we can there are reasons, but fundamentally, I don’t think it can. It’s a phenomenon that can’t be explained. You know, it’s the same way that like, so like in music that so many straight women artists have these massive gay followings. And they’re always asked in interviews, like what’s up? Like, what are you and gay audiences? Why do gay people love you so much? And none of them can ever fully answer it? You know? And maybe it shouldn’t be answered. Maybe it’s just this beautiful part of being queer that that we get to experience it’s like being in on this secret that our straight counterparts, like having nothing to do with it’s our secret garden, these movies, you know?

K Anderson 38:05
Yeah, I don’t know. Like, I feel I feel as though with music, I can kind of get my head around it a bit more. because music is something that you consume before you purchase it in most in most cases. But with films like you are just taking a gamble, but yeah, based on like, the cover and things. Exactly. I find it like fascinating that, like you in Canada, me in Australia, someone else in the US someone else in the UK, like all like with different cultural references, different backgrounds, went to the video shop and was like, I really want this Naomi Malone flick.

Tranna Wintour 38:45
Exactly. And it’s so funny, because, you know, most of the queer friends that I have, like I didn’t grow up with, I met them much later on in life. And they, you know, they all love those same things when they were kids. And we were all sort of off in our own little corners in the suburbs, where we felt like we were the only peer kids, but we didn’t know that like, throughout the whole world. There were all these other kids just like us watching the same stuff. You know, like for me, the first one was really the Wizard of Oz when I was like two years old. Yeah, and I think that, you know, and but all the straight kids watch that movie too. But it did not do to them what it did to me and us. You know, like it changed. I don’t know it like it was a calling, you know, like, it sort of laid the foundation for my entire personality and just way of being in the world. Like it was not just a movie for me when I was a kid it was like this entry into something else. It was a portal.

K Anderson 39:55
And and so where do you stand on returned to us?

Tranna Wintour 39:59
Oh my god. I saw it when I was a kid. And I have no memory of actually watching it. But I know that I watched it as a kid because it traumatised me. And was no, it was princess mom the room with all the heads. I’m honest, I legitimately had nightmares about this my whole childhood and even into my teen years. And to the point where for a long time, I didn’t even know if that movie really existed, or if I had just imagined it. And then like when Google and the internet became what it became, at a certain point, I remember googling, I guess, I don’t even remember how old I was. But late teens, let’s say or I’m googling, like, horror version of the Wizard of Oz. To find out if these memories or this these nightmares that I’ve been having my whole life is rooted in something real, or is this truly just a figment of my imagination, I had no idea if these memories that I had existed for real or if they were just something I made up. And then in that Google search, I found out about return to AWS. And then I found like a DVD copy somewhere and I watched it and I’m like, this is the source of all my nightmares. This is it. This is what I saw. And and I said, was that cathartic? Or Yeah, I

K Anderson 41:18
really want to Okay, all right. Good.

Tranna Wintour 41:20
And, and I think it’s brilliant, like I love returned to us. But I like and I think at the time, like, that’s partly why it was such a commercial failure. Is that that first group of parents who took their kids opening weekend, what are the odds? Don’t fucking take your kids to see. Like, it’s next level terrifying.

K Anderson 41:47
Yeah, I mean, that’s why it’s so

Tranna Wintour 41:49
good. That is why it’s so good. And I do think that it’s important for kids to watch things that that spook them, you know, to just have a childhood where all you saw were like Care Bears. Like, that’s not interesting. I mean, eat but

K Anderson 42:04
like the Wizard of Oz has scary moments as well.

Tranna Wintour 42:07
But you know, like, even from the time that I saw it from the first time when I was two, like I had this instant love for the which I never was scared of her. I love

K Anderson 42:16
the Wicked Witch of the

Tranna Wintour 42:18
West. Yeah, I loved her from the time that I first saw it. And then I was her for Halloween when I was three. Like, I always loved I was never scared of her. I really saw her as glamorous, you know, like, her first appearance on screen. And that red smoke explosion is like to me like that’s on the same level as like Madonna emerging from the disco ball on the confessional store. Like it’s the same level of glamour and the idea of like, a diva making an entrance. You know, even in showgirls, we see that with no me like when the volcanoes are erupting. Crystal Sorry, just emerges, you know, like, these, like, over the top glamorous entrances is something that I’ve just like, always been drawn to and it starts with the Wizard of Oz. And and so did you try and imbue that into trying to vision then?

K Anderson 43:20
Like, God throw a smoke ball down before you came? Oh?

Tranna Wintour 43:26
Well, considering that there was no emergency. We’re not fucking around with fire and like city or smoke. Um, no, but I’ve always dreamed of it. You know, like, I, I’ve always, I think I’ve always had that fantasy of like, putting on some kind of like, larger than life show where I would get to do those kinds of things. Or my biggest one of my biggest dreams of all would be to like, be in a cult movie, you know, to be in a movie that is like, critically panned. Everyone fucking hates everyone wears the movie to shreds. But then, in the midst of all these shreds, the queer people come and shred and start putting the shreds back together in a way that makes sense for them. That’s my dream, to be part of something like that. Because you cannot plan that you cannot plan that if I were to try to make something that would appeal to a queer audience in the way that showgirls does in the way that even cats did last year. first movie, since show growth to really to really do that, but you cannot plan that because what you’re making has to be intentional and sort of like with the movies that I was choosing the train of vision. It’s like the movies have to have been made on ironically.

K Anderson 44:46
But the thing say okay, so you’re you Elizabeth Berkeley. You have like, you know, oh, I’ve landed this film bro. I am going to shed my typecast teen sitcom roots, and I’m gonna like make something and I’m going to be a Hollywood star. And then the film bombs and your career is like fucked. If some fag came up with like, oh, wow, I love that film would just be like, pissed off. I just do not want to hear this. Like, how long do you think it would take to get over that like that heartbreak? 20 years? I don’t remember. quite happy to be like, in that wilderness for 20 years as long as but

Tranna Wintour 45:37
but if yes, if I were Elizabeth Berkeley, but whereas if I were myself, you know, I just as a queer person, know things that Elizabeth Berkeley didn’t know when she was 25. You know what I mean? Yeah. Um, so for me personally, if I was in that situation, Fugu would milk it right away? That first bag that would come up to me and be like, I love that movie. I’m like, thank you, like, you’re ready to buy

K Anderson 46:05
a T shirt.

Tranna Wintour 46:06
Yeah, I’ve been milking it from the get go. But I understand like, exactly as you laid it out. For Elizabeth Berkeley, it was devastating. You know, it was supposed to be this big thing. And so many people were up for that part, you know, like, it was supposed to be this big thing. And she got it. And it was a disaster. And people were awful to her and ripped her apart. And it was a really devastating experience. But when they did the 20 I believe it was the 20th anniversary screening at the Hollywood Bowl. And she showed up and there were like, I don’t remember how many 1000s of people there for the screening. cheering for her. I cried when I saw that. Like, it really made me emotional. You know, because I think that Elizabeth finally reached this point in her life where like, it was worth it. It was worth it. Because the movie did actually end up meaning something to a lot of people and becoming a part of people’s lives in a way that most movies just don’t even the good ones you know, like the ones that are critically acclaimed and that win a bunch of Oscars they don’t live in the every day hearts and minds the way that show grows does for so many people. That’s incredible. To me to be part of something like that would be so much more meaningful than being part of some like, critically loved you know, artful. Wife. Happy whoring. Yeah, but ultimately boring, and ultimately, something that people watch it appreciate. And that’s it. Whereas like the diehard showgirls, fans, like they’re quoting that movie in their everyday lives, they watch that movie, like every year, if not more,

K Anderson 47:51
hamburgers really violently?

Tranna Wintour 47:53
Yes, exactly. They give lap dances to the point that a person will come in their pan.

K Anderson 48:02
They’ve always got water in their ears, because the way they ride around swimming pose.

Tranna Wintour 48:08
Exactly. You know, like, I really like and I think that Elizabeth finally understood that, you know, and I think that for many years, she didn’t know that that’s what was happening underground with the movie. And then when she went to that anniversary screening and saw it firsthand, you know, and felt that love that wave of love coming at her because that’s the thing too, is like, of course, there are parts of it where we’re laughing at the movie, but we genuinely like love it, you know, and we love her

K Anderson 48:42
rooting me. Yeah,

Tranna Wintour 48:44
so like, you know, when she went to that screening, it’s like, no one’s laughing at you like we fucking love you, Elizabeth Berg. worship you like that, like that’s beautiful.

K Anderson 48:58
ml. So psychic city. Now when you are performing or presenting it, you know, lots of people want a piece of you. Lots of people want to come and talk to you afterwards. Did anyone do that to you? And were they particularly flirty?

Tranna Wintour 49:17
Oh my god, no, they’re never flirty. It’s like this is gonna sound so egotistical but it’s my favourite part of the show. Is after when people come up to me.

K Anderson 49:27
Oh, really?

Tranna Wintour 49:28
Yeah, I always make myself like very available to people

K Anderson 49:35
to share. I’m going to be sitting over there make a cue

Tranna Wintour 49:37
Well, I don’t actually say it. But I like I said when the show’s over. So it’s like city for example. Like when the show was over. You know, I thank everyone for coming final Cheers. You know, people would start leaving, I would pop into the backstage area. Just to thank you know The panelists and I, but I would only be back there for like a minute or two. And then I would go and like, hover at the back of the venue when where people have to walk by to leave. And I would just hover there, and I still do it now, like, I’ll do a show, The show will be over no matter what venue, I’m in, the show’s over, I popped backstage, I like count to 60. And then I go back into the main room and stand by the exit.

K Anderson 50:25
Why? Why am I counting to 60?

Tranna Wintour 50:28
I know, I’m just kidding, I don’t know, I think like you have to, you have to, I can’t just walk from the stage to like, the back of the room, you know, like that. That’s not it, you just can’t do that there has, like, I think there are certain codes and performing you know, like, in the same sense that like, you wouldn’t be sort of like hanging in the main room before the show starts and just like, walk up from the audience, you know, there’s just sort of that’s just this little protocol or little traditions, you know, like, in the same way that like, you know, bands, like have to leave the stage and then come back on for their encore, like, technically, why do you have to do that? Yeah, yeah, you know, so it’s sort of the same thing. Um, and I think the reason that that is a moment like that sort of encountering people after the show really means a lot to me is because there was a really long, like, I was never like a child star was never a child performer. I was like a wallflower, just trying to be invisible. But that had this performer energy in me that was so profound, but never really knowing how to channel that and not having the confidence to put myself out there in the world as a performer or as an artist. But being such a die hard fan of music and film, and worshipping, particularly, pop stars, and the musicians that I you know, was really attached to as a kid like Atlantis Morissette and Madonna, and so many of them. So for me, you know, when I’m doing a show, and someone comes up to me after and tells me that it really meant something to them, or that they had the best time, or that they thought it was so funny. It’s like, that that’s been me my whole life. Like, I’m that person going up to, you know, the singer that I just saw at the end of the shore, waiting for them outside the stage door, and just wanting to tell them that I loved what they did. And I’m so there’s this part of me at the end of show when someone comes up to me that like, I can’t believe that in my own small way. I am on the other side of that now, you know, cuz I never thought I would. I never thought that I’d be on that side of things.

K Anderson 52:44
But do you not just find it, like, really awkward sometimes?

Tranna Wintour 52:49
Sometimes it’s really awkward. Yes. But I find that there’s a sweetness in that awkwardness. You know? It’s it’s never it’s never a painful awkwardness. You know, sometimes it’s more that it just goes on a bit too long. And I think like in the times, where like, I’ve waited for someone backstage or like after stage door, like, wanted to talk to them. Like, I think that I’m really good at sensing when you know, the scenes over. So it’s like I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say we’ve had our little moment and I move on, I don’t stick you know what I mean? Like I I never overstay my welcome. But yeah, there’s a lot of people who are not who can’t read, or can sense when the moment has come to a close, you know, but we’ll see I never so awkward that like, I want to jump out of my skin. Like, again, there’s just a sweetness. You know, I think sometimes people and also like, this maybe sounds egotistical, but I really don’t mean it that way. But sometimes they think the babbling or the things going on too long is because they’re just they’re like, a little bit intimidated, and they’re nervous, and they don’t really know what to do with that energy. And I just find that kind of sweet. And I’m also kind of surprised that like, I could produce that feeling in anyone, you know, because I sometimes like I just like, I’m like, I’m just me, I’m just here, you know. And I think in that sense, it’s also taken away a lot of the mystery or the excitement around meeting people for me, to be honest, you know, like, it doesn’t to me like wait like doing that stage door thing or waiting to like, take a picture with someone or get their autograph after a show like it since becoming a performer myself. It’s really lost a lot of its appeal. Honestly, because I just it’s like, we’re all just people. Like there’s nothing that’s special about any of us. At the end of the day, you know, that like warrants this reaction of someone just like bumbling over your face, you know, like we’re all equal.

K Anderson 54:55
I think that’s why I don’t like talking to people after performing because I feel really like I mean, you know, I’m awkward at the best of times. But I feel really like, Oh, God, please don’t say nice things to me because I’m not going to do how to respond.

Tranna Wintour 55:12
Well, I mean, but I, maybe, what am I trying to say? I, obviously there are compliments and critiques that I take more seriously than others. You know what I mean? Like, one time, like the most surreal moment, I think, in my entire life so far is, I don’t want to tell the whole story. It’s too long, but just to really boil it down. I did my own sort of solo comedy slash music performance in New York City, and my comedy heroes, Sandra Bernhard came to the show, not randomly, but I won’t go into the whole history, but she came to the show. And then after the show, she came backstage to see me and like, hug me and be like, You knocked it out of the park, like you have it. And it was such a significant moment in my life, you know, like, it just was so affirming to me to have like my hero, come to my show, and then come to see me after. So there is something special, like that moment that you’re talking about, like the after show, when there’s these social interactions between the audience and the performer on a more personal level? I think they’re important to the whole performance experience. I think they’re part of the moment. You know, I think they’re an important part of the moment. They’re not always significant. You know, but there’s something about that post show exchange that, I don’t know, it’s me can be really beautiful and moving sometimes.

K Anderson 56:48
So you’re saying I should just suck it up and get on with it?

Tranna Wintour 56:51
I mean, no, I’m not saying what you feel comfortable with. I feel comfortable in those moments, you know, and I think that as corny as it isn’t, as much as I would love to believe in that I am this, like, completely self fulfilled, self realized person. And I’ve seen how that can also be toxic in its own ways. You know, there’s still a part of me that wants to feel appreciated, you know, yeah. And I know that sounds really corny. And maybe we’re not supposed to admit that we want that. But it makes me feel really good. And it makes me feel like I’m doing something that actually has a purpose. Because it’s meant something to someone that’s been there, you know. So I like to hear it, because otherwise I don’t know it. Because I don’t have an I guess without hearing it. I don’t fully believe that it’s real, you know?

K Anderson 57:47
Yeah. Yeah, I can appreciate that. And say my original line of questioning was basically did anyone snog you.

Tranna Wintour 57:55
So it only happened once? No, no one stopped me in Second City. Because I think that as a trans person, especially when it comes to like this straight men that are interested in me, which is like my biggest demographic romantically speaking. They’re just too intimidated. They don’t they’re even if they want to be flirtatious. There’s this whole, like, you know, sort of gay panic that’s rooted in some kind of misogyny and just, it’s never people never flirt with me openly and easily. Unfortunately, that’s just not a thing for me. So no one tries anything. No one tries only once it happened at this other venue, which actually is just up the street from psychic city called the wiggle room, which is like a burlesque cabaret club where I’ve done a lot of shows. And one time I did snug there with someone from the audience who approached me confidently, oh,

K Anderson 58:59
is going to get more details.

Tranna Wintour 59:02
Well, there’s really not much more details than that, honestly. Um, he was he was like a regular at the shows there. And just a really great, cute sexy guy. And we had a little flirtation and yeah, it just led to a little snogging. Yeah, and he’s like, I guess straight identifying. Or by maybe, but all to say is that like, That never happens to me like after shows or even when people like DM me it’s never No one’s ever trying to screw me. Which is like a bit frustrating but also, I’m I’m glad to not really have to deal with that because I I’m not good at turning people down. It makes me feel very uncomfortable.

K Anderson 59:48
But like so you don’t you know you don’t regularly experience the magic of dick pics in your DMS.

Tranna Wintour 59:55
No, not on my social media. I get a lot of dick pics on the dating apps.

K Anderson 1:00:00
Okay, okay, well that’s okay.

Tranna Wintour 1:00:01
Yeah, but not like I don’t have like, I don’t have someone like messaging me on instagram being like I saw your show last night.

K Anderson 1:00:14
Here’s my pic.

Tranna Wintour 1:00:16
But one time someone who had come to one of my shows sent me a DM like the next day and was like I was at your show last night. I really loved it. I like he just went on, but like all these like really, really lovely compliments. And I was so unaware that he was actually hitting on me. Because then, after I was just like, Oh, I’m really glad you enjoyed the show. Like, thank you so much. So nice to hear that. Yeah, exactly. Then he responded with like, and I’m not just saying that because you’re sexy. God, he is so hot. Like, my taste in men is like very, like generic 90s soap opera hunk sort of, you know, situation like Joanne Ahrens. Yeah, kind of but like, like, more, more more. Just like, like, yeah, like Baywatch. Or like someone that would be like, on the cover of like, Men’s Health magazine, you know, like a beef cake. Okay. 90s beef. And not that this guy totally was not, but in a lot of ways is and so like, I’m just so not used to it. So maybe sometimes it’s happening, and I’m not aware of it. You know, like, maybe sometimes. I’m not aware of the ulterior motives.

K Anderson 1:01:40
Well, you better pay more attention next time. Or where people to leave the show.

Tranna Wintour 1:01:48
I do it more. I’m not that obvious. But maybe I am. But no, I’d like to be available to people at the end of the show. Just because I know, at the end of the show that I go to, like sometimes I want to like go up to that artist and be like, I really loved what you did, you know? Because I know that to not have not, that doesn’t mean something to every artist. You know, for some artists. It’s like, thanks. No, they don’t really they’re not moved by what you have to say. They don’t care what you took out of it. But I I do I care?

K Anderson 1:02:24
Yeah, no. Again, this is like, why am I like the fact that I’m so socially awkward comes in that I can’t do that with artists as well. Like, I really enjoyed it because of this, this and this, because it just comes out like, Oh, that was good. Yeah.

Tranna Wintour 1:02:40
And that’s totally fair. You know, that’s totally fine. I mean, I remember like, even going to shows with like, friends of mine, and like going to see their favorite artists, and then we’d be like, you know, outside the stage door waiting for them. And my friends would be like, so nervous. They’d be like trembling, I’d have to, like do the talking for them. And like, I do get nervous, then I’m a bit awkward when I am, like, you know, meeting a hero or an artist that I really love. But to me, like the thrilling part of it always outweighs the sort of scary part of it.

K Anderson 1:03:13
I think there’s also like, how, you know, I mean, no, no, if I go to a show for someone who I’ve never seen before, and then when I say to them afterwards, I really enjoyed that. But if it was like someone who I was just like, Oh my God, this person, like has soundtracked my life and has been so important to my development as as a human being and the way I think and the way I approach music, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, like, how can I go? And then encapsulate all of that in 30 seconds?

Tranna Wintour 1:03:43
Well, you can’t. But the flip side Well, first of all, there is a danger to meeting the people who mean that. Yeah, yeah. So you have to know that that’s the there’s a risk. But in the handful of times that I’ve done it, it’s always gone well, and it’s always been worth it. But if I went up to someone who you know, is all of those things that you just mentioned, and they were awful to me I would be really devastated

K Anderson 1:04:16
but it’s not even if they were awful if they were just so so like if they were just a human being

Tranna Wintour 1:04:21
right. I know I know. But I think that because like for the people who really have meant so much to me like Atlantis is one of those people for me and I did need a Lana’s once very briefly, it was after her show we were waiting at the stage door and she came out of the room many people around and so she was able to take like a little time and like take pictures and find stuff. And I had laryngitis at the time so I could barely speak I had lost my voice. But it’s so stupid and it’s so corny but I was just like obviously couldn’t say everything that she’s meant to me. But I literally was just like, like on behalf of My like nine year old self, Can I have a hug? And I just we hugged and gave her laryngitis? No, that’s not contagious that way. And, and it was just like really sweet, you know? And I could feel her openness. Like, I would not have been comfortable to just ask that to anyone you know, but you just have to pay attention to the energy of the moment to you know, yeah, I think you can if you’re paying attention, you can tell who is who’s, who’s receptive to hearing how much you mean, how much they mean to you and who’s not? I usually find that energy is pretty clear.

K Anderson 1:05:39
Yeah, I guess the risk comes in when you’re like, planning. Yeah. And I just

Tranna Wintour 1:05:45
feel like I when someone really means something to me, it’s like, I just, I don’t know, in this weird way. It’s like, you kind of want them to know you exist, you know, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.

I don’t know.

That’s just me, I guess.

K Anderson 1:06:03
Yeah, no, I get what you’re saying. I just, you know, I’m always I’m always assessing the risk and assuming the absolute worst is going to happen. Yeah. So yeah, avoid these things.

Tranna Wintour 1:06:17
To me, like my Oh was like the biggest fear or like, the biggest risk is that there just won’t be a meeting at all. Like that. They’re like they, you know, like when we were waiting for Lana’s? Like, there was no guarantee that she was going to come out, you know, or that you hadn’t even already left the building. For me, like, that’s always like the worst case scenario. I think that because I also trust that, at least in the times where I have gotten the chance to like, meet a hero or someone that I admire that because the love is so genuine. I really think that they sense it. And I think that I, I know where I’m coming from, and I know that I’m not like a cycle weirdo that’s gonna like stalking them for the rest of their life. So you know, like, I know that this is harmless for all.

K Anderson 1:07:08
Yeah, well, I think I always come across really deadpan and so people can’t tell if I’m being serious right now.

Tranna Wintour 1:07:14
Okay. I think like, I don’t know, I come off. Well, I don’t know. I guess I come on. I have a little I guess there’s a warm to me. Yeah, I don’t have that room like that. Yeah. Like, let people pick up on like, I remember even like meeting Tori Amos once. She would I think she does this on most of her tours. Like she comes outside, like, outside the stage door like before the show. And it’s sort of like a known thing amongst her fans. And when I had seen her like, I was a relatively like, new fan. But I just remember her just like kind of taking a liking to me. And just like we were talking and it almost became like a show for everyone else that was there. A moment? Um, but yeah, I think it’s up to everyone to decide how they feel about those kinds of moments. Um, but I love them. I think they’re important. I think it’s important for audience and performer to mingle.

K Anderson 1:08:17
Okay, so psychic city disappeared? overnight, it’s no longer What? What does Montreal Miss now that it’s gone?

Tranna Wintour 1:08:33
Well, I mean, largely what was lost, we regained with the diving bell. So I don’t, I don’t feel like I think that the loss was thankfully temporary. Because if we have lost like x city, and a stays like the diving bell had not replaced it, we would really be missing a space that would allow artists to create in a way that is not a financial risk, which is so important. You know, like I’ve, I’ve looked at other venues in the past and like renting them out. And it’s like, there’s just no way for me to make a profit here. You know, like, the rental fees are so high. It’s crazy. It’s not feasible, you know, especially when you’re doing a low production show. It’s like you can’t really charge that much for the tickets, you know. And so psychic city really offered a kind of freedom to create without the financial burden that we usually face when it comes to putting a production together. And I think that because it was underground, and it was so chill. And there wasn’t this like financial pressure To make what you’re doing a success, there was room to really be experimental. And maybe that’s what we’re missing a little bit still, you know, is just a space where you can work out what you want to work out without really having to worry about anything outside of that. You know, if there’s five people there, you’re not going to be like, annihilated by the financial ruin of this of the night, you know. And I think that’s really bad was really valuable. It really allowed so many people to put things together that maybe they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

K Anderson 1:10:42
Did you ever go to psychic city? Well, if you did, tell me all about it. Share your stories or photos or whatever you have from those days. With me through social media, you can reach me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, yada yada yada with the user handle K Anderson music, and whilst you are at it, give trena a follow on Instagram. Her account name is trena Wintour easy, right? Love spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the coming here. You can hear the first single well groomed boys which is also playing underneath my toolkit and right now on all good streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribe, left a review on Apple podcasts for just told people who you think might be interested in having a listen to. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.

 







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