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Wed, Jun 29


The Academy SF

A Tale as Old as Time: Exploring Queer History and Identity Through Beauty and the Beast

Using the classic tale as a leaping point, Opera Parallèle and The Academy bring together an exciting and suprising panel to explore the themes of identity and perceptions of beauty in the LGBTQ+ community.

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A Tale as Old as Time: Exploring Queer History and Identity Through Beauty and the Beast
A Tale as Old as Time: Exploring Queer History and Identity Through Beauty and the Beast

Time & Location

Jun 29, 2022, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM PDT

The Academy SF, 2166 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA


About the Event


This event is available for Academy Members, their invited guests, and interested members of the greater community. We appreciate if you would RSVP your attendance.


From 'the first gay character' in a Disney movie in 2017, to Jean Cocteau's relationship with his leading man Jean Marais in 1946, to Howard Ashman writing his timeless songs while dying of AIDS in the 90s, Beauty & the Beast has a deep queer history. 

Using the classic tale as a leaping point, Opera Parallèle and The Academy bring together an exciting and suprising panel to explore the themes of identity and perceptions of beauty in the LGBTQ+ community.

Panelists include:

  • Michael ‘Mojo’ Mohammed - Moderator
  • Dr Ellie Zara Ley 
  • Hadleigh Adams
  • Dr. Nicholas L. Baham III

Opera Parallèle presents a new production of Philip Glass' La Belle et la Bête this July 14-17 at SFJAZZ. This exciting new theatrical experience blurs the boundaries of film and opera, fusing Jean Cocteau’s iconic 1946 film with a powerful and arresting score by one of the world's most prolific living composers, Philip Glass. 

Tickets for the performances:


The Club will also be open during regular hours (Wednesdays 5-11pm) for Members and their guests not attending this event.


The Academy is currently accepting new memberships. If you are interested in becoming a Member and enjoying all of the associated perks and benefits, please click here to learn more.


Members are welcome to bring up to (5) guests per Club visit. They may be Members or non-members.


Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and food items are available for purchase. Academy Social Club Members receive certain beverages complimentary. Ask your bartender or host for details.


This event will take place in accordance with all currently applicable health guidelines per the City of San Francisco and SFDPH. Our full safety information can be found HERE. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Michael ‘Mojo’ Mohammed (He/Him) - Moderator

Michael Mohammed, researches the representation of performers with historically excluded identities in opera and theatre. He is on faculty at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San José State University, College of Marin, and San Francisco Community Music Center. A stage director, choreographer, and performer, he has co-created work with Amplified Opera, a Toronto-based company that places equity-seeking artists at the center of public discourse. He is an Affiliate Member of the Black Opera Research Network. Having performed with Opera Parallèle on numerous occasions, Michael Mohammed currently works as the company’s Community Engagement Ambassador.

Dr Ellie Zara Ley (She/Her/They)

Dr Zara Ley is an accomplished and well recognized plastic surgeon specializing in gender affirming surgery. She is proud to serve her community by offering fully comprehensive gender surgical services through the Gender Confirmation Center in San Francisco alongside Dr Scott Mosser and Dr Alex Facque. Dr Ley finished medical school at New York Medical College after immigrating to the US while she started medical school in Jalisco, Mexico. She completed full general surgery residency at the University of Arizona then continued to gain plastic surgery subspecialty degrees that include craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, hand surgery and microsurgery at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, then finishing with plastic surgery fellowship at the University of Utah. After a couple of productive years of academic surgery sharing her knowledge and experience to medical students, residents, and fellows, she moved back to Arizona with her family. She had the opportunity to meet internationally renowned gender surgeon Dr Toby Meltzer who felt that her vast experience and skill set would make her an ideal surgeon to take under his wing and teach her the art of gender surgery. These were her defining and formative years as a gender surgeon and discovering that serving her community in this privileged and blessed position would become ever fulfilling and deeply satisfying.

Dr Ley is passionate and devoted to helping transmasculine, transfeminine, nonbinary persons, and especially gender diverse youth to reach their goal of aligning their bodies with their genuine sense of self and identity. She also hopes to serve as a positive role model to not only those in the LGBTQ+ community as a transgender professional but also by representing gender, ethnic, and immigrant inclusivity and diversity in the medical field.

Hadleigh Adams (He/Him)

Baritone Hadleigh Adams is a regular artist with Opera Parallèle, performing in 5+ productions with the company and is currently starring in Philip Glass’ La Belle et la Bête at SFJAZZ. Born in New Zealand, Hadleigh relocated to the US in 2012 after studying at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He is a former Merola artist and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. Among his extensive performance history he has performed as a principal baritone at London’s Royal National Theatre, the Nederlandse Reisopera, Lincoln Center Festival, the San Francisco Opera, and the LA Philharmonic. His performances centre around the baroque, and modern operatic repertoires. More information at

Dr. Nicholas L. Baham III

Dr. Nicholas L. Baham III is a Professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University East Bay and teaches courses in Black Studies and Genders & Sexualities in Communities of Color.  Dr. Baham is a San Francisco native. He attended college at the University of Chicago where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science; earned his Master’s degree in Anthropology at Stanford University; and received his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington. His academic research focuses on African American religious experience, sexuality, and artistic expression. His book, The Coltrane Church: Apostles of Sound, Agents of Social Justice was published in 2015 by McFarland Press. He has a growing body of published journal articles and book chapters on the Coltrane Church, African American musical and religious expression, James Baldwin, and critical media literacy including “I Know You Know: Esperanza Spalding’s Hybrid, Intertextual, Multilingual, Relevant Jazz Aesthetic,”  “Radio Free Coltrane: Free Jazz Radio as Revolutionary Practicein Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture, and a co-authored chapter entitled “The New American Authoritarianism: How the Corporate Media Normalized Fascism in 2016” published in Project Censored 2018. As part of his growing academic interest in Afrofuturism, Dr. Baham served as an editor for The Journal of Future Studies special 2019 edition entitled “When Is Wakanda? Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity.” He has presented his work nationally and internationally at the American University in Paris, Universite Paul-Valery in Montpellier, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Tuskegee, and Suffolk University. Dr. Baham is a co-host for the Along the Line podcast for Project Censored, and has appeared on BET, local KPOO and KPFA radio, Osterreichischer Rundfunk and the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, Pitchfork ezine, Canada’s SexTV and in ColorLines and Esquire magazines. He is also a board member for the Media Freedom Foundation for Project Censored. He has a blog of African American politics and culture called The Upper Room at At California State University East Bay, Dr. Baham teaches courses on Afrofuturism, Jazz Cultures, Black Sexualities, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Racialized Masculinities. Among his many faculty governance responsibilities, Dr. Baham served two terms as Chapter President for the California Faculty Association and is currently serving as campus Diversity Equity Liaison Officer and chair of the Faculty Diversity and Equity Committee.

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