You need to shop for the holidays and you want to dismantle the patriarchy? Me, too! Supporting small businesses owned by women, queers, people of color and other minorities warms the cockles of my heart. Since my wealth is more in influence than it is in bucks for the time being, one of my favorite holiday blog traditions is my gift guide!
Capricorns are the goat climbing the mountain. Persistent, ambitious, success-driven, not showing weakness. The cardinal Earth sign. The Keep It Together and Look Good Doing It sign.
I understood Grandmother’s reticence to ask for help when she got swept away to the hospital, to sit in a bed by herself and not call her kids or grandchildren. Just to do it on her own and not bother anyone. Getting away with not seeming like a mess or like she needed anything.
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Dara and I have been so hard at work expanding Dollypalooza, the epic fan tribute to Dolly Parton I started in 2014.
First expansion: we moved to a bigger venue in NYC and doubled our capacity! We sold out last year and hope to get even more Dolly fans in the door. Tickets are on sale now for the September 3rd show (Labor Day weekend) and if you buy them by August 10th (Wednesday) you'll get a free Dolly for President poster! Pick it up at our merch table, it will be under whatever name you give when you buy your tickets.
Second expansion: we added an LA show! October 29th, we're calling it "Dolloween" because we hope people will dress like Dolly or related Dolly characters/country cuteness. Tickets are not yet on sale, I'm still booking it out. If you know a performer in LA or willing to come to LA, send them the online form to apply! I especially want to curate a diverse cast, so folks of color, queer folks, older folks and folks of size are highly encouraged to apply. I cast drag queens, burlesque artists, performance artists, tap dance, puppetry, anything campy or fun and in the spirit of Dolly Parton. Application deadline is August 23rd.
You all know that Dolly Parton is one of my heroes. She taught me to Dream More. It's part of her four pillars of success, as she outlined to the University of Tennessee graduating class commencement speech and then elaborated in her book Dream More. (I highly suggest the audio book read by Dolly herself.)
Dolly says, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” That's what I work to do with this blog, and that's what I'm hoping to support with this Reiki-infused tea business!
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You guys, last year I produced Dollypalooza on a faithful impetus after a really profound and spiritual visit to Dollywood during a difficult time in my life. (Dara was going through chemo, my super generous friend and philanthropist Jess whisked me off to Dollywood, we went to Night of 1,000 Dollys in Knoxville and couldn't get into the club it was so crowded.) So I risked literally every penny I had to secure the $2,000 bar minimum at the venue and the stipends I promised all of the best Dolly performance artists I knew in NYC and Philly. It ended up being a huge success, even though the show started at 11PM! We also raised $1,400 for Dolly's Imagination Library charity through our raffle and Jess, our matching donor!
This year I wondered if I got the venue for an earlier show (7PM doors, 8PM show) if we could get more folks in the house and if we could raise even more for the Imagination Library. I am aiming for $10,000. Maybe that's bananas, but we worked really hard to get silent auction prizes and raffle prizes that might get us close! Like Dolly says, "You'll never know what you're capable of until you're brave enough to try!"
I made a decision once I realized I was losing weight to be extremely neutral about it with myself. I even made it a spiritual challenge, to see myself as just a soul having a human experience, that my body is going to change no matter what I do (hello, aging) and that this was just another change. I don’t want to feel bad or glad if I do end up increasing weight in the future. I want to accept it as another phase my body is going through.
I also wanted to really live the phrase Health at Every Size. I'm willing to do the work of knowing what my body needs to feel healthy and do the work to love myself at every size I'm at. If I am going to live the belief that all bodies are good bodies I am going to live it with myself.
Lucky is a great way to describe how we feel post treatment—we saw the movie the Fault in Our Stars, about a teenage girl with terminal cancer. It really hit home how temporary love can be. And even though the length of love is sometimes short, it can still have important, life changing intensity.
I feel like Dara’s cancer treatment was a life changing intensity kind of time for me… as it was for Dara. We’re excited to see what our relationship is like after cancer treatment.
About three months ago I was in Pigeon Forge, TN on a trip to Dollywood with my friend Jess. We are both super fans of Dolly Parton but didn't think that our adventure to Dollywood was going to be anything more than just a fun trip to check something off my bucket list. We stumbled onto Dolly's homecoming weekend at the park and a convening of more Dolly fans than I'd ever been around at one time. The energy was intoxicating!
One highlight from the weekend was going to Night of 1,000 Dollys at a gay bar in Knoxville. There were actually only about 8 Dollys I think, but I couldn't tell for sure. We couldn't make it into the bar because it was so packed, but we had a great time in line meeting local folks and taking photos with all the amazing Dolly styled queens who walked by!
I was super inspired by the event. I've produced several Rebel Cupcakes around Dolly Parton themes, including a staged reading of Steel Magnolias with me performing as Dolly's character Truvy. But I wanted to do it bigger than I have ever done before.
When I got home I booked a great venue, with a huge stage and a backstage area worthy of a LOT of queens ready to honor the glitteriest star in modern times. I love Dolly Parton and I am so thrilled to bring this vision to life!
The event takes place on 9/5--fantastic homage to the song 9 to 5!