TikTok- and Instagram-famous trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who became the center of an unwanted culture-war firestorm earlier this year, is performing in San Francisco tonight, and she says it's her first time ever performing with a symphony orchestra.
You may know Dylan Mulvaney from a series of videos she posted last year on TikTok and Instagram, documenting Days One through Day 365 of "being a girl." It was a trailblazing series in discussing the daily trials and joys of gender-transitioning, with uncommon candor, transparency, and cheerfulness. On Day 221, she was invited to the White House to speak to President Biden about trans issues.
By Day 365, Mulvaney was invited to do a full stage show at New York's Rainbow Room — at 30 Rock — musical numbers and all. And then in April 2023, Anheuser-Busch partnered with Mulvaney, who at that point was no stranger to brand endorsements, to help promote their "Easy Carry Contest," in which Bud Light fans were being encouraged to make videos of themselves carrying as many cans of beer as possible. This endorsement caught attention of right-wing goons, and pretty soon Kid Rock was posting a video of himself shooting up a case of Bud Light and calling for a boycott.
The controversy led to declining Bud Light sales, and a push from within Anheuser-Busch to rebrand themselves, and the Wall Street Journal reported that two marketing executives had been put on leave as a result. Mulvaney called the controversy "so loud that I didn’t feel part of the conversation," and lamented that the right wing has a "need to dehumanize and to be cruel."
Mulvaney has a musical theater background, and before the pandemic had been cast, as a boy, in The Book of Mormon touring company — but then never got to go on tour.
Tonight, she is headlining SF Symphony's "Holiday Gaiety" show — for which there are still tickets available — along with drag stars Peaches Christ and Bianca Del Rio. And she spoke with 48 Hills about her plans for the show.
She says she'll be doing one Christmas song, and a Sondheim number, because, "if I had only one chance to sing with that big of a symphony behind me, I’d want it to be Sondheim."
Mulvaney, who lives in Los Angeles, says she's a frequent visitor to San Francisco because it's where her best friend lives. And as she tells 48 Hills, "The arts and culture up there are unparalleled to anything else in California, because it is a mini-New York. There’s so much queerness, and it feels like a safe place to perform."
She adds that she is hoping to move on from social media content about being trans and show people other sides of her in the coming year. "Many people know me from TikTok, but now I want them to see that I can expand into the mainstream — especially on stage because my roots come from theater. And I also would love to be able to bring my TikTok audience to the love of Broadway. So hopefully, more on-stage stuff next year."
"Holiday Gaiety" at SF Symphony is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 15. Find tickets here.