Historic queer Brooklyn comes back to life in Eliot Page’s new virtual reality series

Elliot Page walks the red carpet at the 2021 Met Gala

Elliot Page walks the red carpet at the 2021 Met Gala Photo: Screenshot

Elliot Page is set to bring Brooklyn’s queer history to life via an upcoming virtual reality (VR) experience.

The out trans actor has signed on to be an executive producer on a new VR series based on author Hugh Ryan’s 2019 nonfiction book When Brooklyn Was Queer, according to Variety.

Precise details on the project are scarce, but like Ryan’s book, the series will take viewers on a journey through the New York City borough’s queer history from the mid-19th century to the present, highlighting poet Walt Whitman’s early days as well as the stories of lesser-known figures like drag kings Ella Wesner and Florence Hines, Black lesbian Coney Island dancer Mabel Hampton, and others.

Unlike a traditional TV or streaming show, however, the series — from the “extended reality” (XR) entertainment studio New Canvas, directed by Emmy winner Yasmin Elayat, and written by Sasha Masha author Agnes Borinsky — promises to be an immersive experience. Rather than watching on a screen, viewers will be transported to the Brooklyn of the past via their VR and XR headsets, where they can explore and watch events unfold around them, both in completely virtual and partially augmented environments (where virtual appear on top of the viewer’s real-life surroundings).

In a joint statement, Page and Pageboy Productions’ head of development Jordan Smith said that the project fits right in with their mission “to tell elevated, entertaining, original intersectional, and socially responsible stories that explore themes like generational queerness.”

“As a creative company that pushes boundaries, it is exciting for us to work with New Canvas to bring queer stories into the world of XR for the first time,” Page and Smith said. “We believe making quality art that portrays varied, authentic experiences elicits empathy, understanding and ultimately has the power to change hearts and minds.”

“Hugh’s book upended my assumptions about the many forms of queerness that have long pulsed through our history,” series writer Borinsky said in a statement. “With this amazing team, we get to overturn conventions about how stories get told and how we position ourselves relative to the past.”

When Brooklyn Was Queer isn’t just a book; it’s a beacon for an extraordinary VR adaptation that enables us to connect the past with the present,” New Canvas chief strategy officer and executive producer Wadooah Wali said. “This team is uniquely positioned to transform these profound stories inspired by real people and events that will immerse audiences in bold new ways for the very first time. It’s both our joy and obligation to honor these historical truths, presenting them in a dynamic new medium that goes well beyond what can be achieved with traditional, flatscreen entertainment.”

Elayat, whose 2017 VR documentary Zero Days VR won an Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary, called the history uncovered in Ryan’s book vibrant and layered” and “integral to the fabric of [New York City] and American culture itself.”

“As someone who’s dedicated to the restoration and celebration of these hidden narratives by using cutting-edge technologies in dynamic ways,” Elayat said, “I’m thrilled to join this talented team.”

Originally Published Here.

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