Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2013-05-20

The Forest of the Future: A Sanctuary at the Edge of the World

Back in March, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in an amazing sanctuary space amidst a temporary art installation in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s hard to explain what the Forest of the Future was, but for some background you can read the curator/producer Quito’s statement about it here. It really gives a good background of how they just wanted to make a magical space to bring together a bunch of the visionaries they’ve met in their world travels, see what connections and catalyzing could happen, and that space was a forest.

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Me, Quito, Sparkles and Dusty.

The Forest had a team of amazing artists who worked endlessly to make it happen. I first arrived on opening night to volunteer and everyone had clearly been missing sleep for days. No wonder, once you stepped inside the space was truly otherworldly. That doesn’t come without an intense about of labor, love and vision.

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This video by Ricardo Nelson is a treasure and gives an overview of what the Forest looked like that still photos can’t quite capture (I’m in the first few frames, fisting a tree).

Forest of the Future : A Sanctuary at the Edge of the World .. from Ricardo Nelson on Vimeo.

There were lots of events that happened at the Forest during its two-week run, but it was also open daily for hang outs pretty much whenever you knew someone was going to be there (or 3p-late if you didn’t know someone). Quito did a lot of sleeping at the Forest, so I did a lot of solo time because I could get in.

Here is a list of amazing things I did while in the womb of the Forest of the Future:

I slow danced to “The Golden Age of Hustlers” as recorded by Justin Vivian Bond, with my then sweetheart. It’s a song I love deeply and never hear, so it was serendipitous that it played at that right moment and filled me with such sweetness and connection, not just to my sweetheart but to the universe.*

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I made out in the button bog.

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I had a couple of deep fights in the button bog that have left buttons in so many surprising places in my room.

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I read my tarot cards in the tree house when no one was in the Forest but me and some girl sleeping on the mushroom pillows in the field below.

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I did queer punk yoga twice, lead by Lizxnn Disaster.

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I cried my eyes out as LeRoi Prince read an amazing piece invoking the struggles of our queer ancestors. It’s the kind of thing that I try to invoke appreciation for before every Rebel Cupcake, but in long form.

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I had a flirtation/romance/make-out with a hot foreigner.

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I sang sea shanties along with a crowd, lead by a performance artist.

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I sat in on a discussion about queer communities, discussed what we owe communities as leaders and “who are your people.”

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I had a long conversation with a different foreigner about love and relationship permutations, polyamory, nonmonogamy and why we have such limited words for all the different types of romantic relationships we can have in the English language.

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I brewed and served tea in great cauldrons as a volunteer shift.

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I ate melty rose butter on fresh bread baked as an art installation.

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I made some amazing connections with people I already knew. I met a lot of new people. I developed a better understanding of radical faeries.

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I went to a sexy party that was dedicated to giving healing energy to Kate Bornstein. We all signed a card before people went off to their various corners/trees/button bogs/home to have some privacy.

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After a performance, during a dance party, I literally lost three hours. I thought it was 11PM and it was 2AM. All concept of time was erased that night.

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I cuddled on mushroom pillows.

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I did yoga in a field of soft fake grass and confetti. I never thought I would be able to say that. It was messy and liberating.

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I knitted. A lot. Many times during those two weeks I just packed up my knitting and hopped the train to the Forest. Quito brought a chair up from the green room just for me knitting. One time I wore fairy wings while I knitted.

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I watched Quito read from their upcoming book about Brooklyn nightlife and saw a lot of amazing photos of me and my friens from 2009-2011.

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I laughed hysterically as a bunch of buttons clattered out of my bra on the floor of the bathroom.

I saw people get rope suspension in the trees. It was so beautiful.

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I got yelled at by security for loitering in the wrong part of the building but my companion sweet talked them into letting us look at the view of Manhattan at night anyway.

And so much more. The Forest of the Future was an extraordinary thing in which linear time didn’t exist and reminded me how all amazing things don’t have to exist forever to change you forever.

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*My friend Silas Howard and Justin Vivian Bond and others are fundraising to make a video of the “Golden Age of Hustlers.” The video is going to be an homage to queers, transfolks, sex workers and will be really beautiful. They need to meet their fundraising goal really soon and can use any help you can donate!

2013-04-15

Cupcake Cabaret, a Performance Celebrating Self Love at Stonewall, 7PM on Thursday, April 18th

My mission in life is to make the world safe for people to love themselves. One of the ongoing projects I keep is very dear to my heart, which is a performance art series celebrating the radical act of self love. It is definitely very radical to love yourself in a society that tells you that you aren’t worthy of any love or appreciation, or conditional love and appreciation (like, if you lose 20 pounds, etc…). One of the things I love most is to hear how artists have used their differences to become empowered. That’s what I curate in this series.

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Photo by Laura Sawchuck.

I’m super excited to have Ivan Coyote, the dreamy professional storyteller, author and multi-award winning bad ass, in NYC from Canada and featured performer at the upcoming Cupcake Cabaret.

First, here’s all the information on the show:

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 * New York, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Cupcake Cabaret Featuring Ivan E. Coyote
Doors 7:15p, Show 7:45 * $7-$15 sliding scale
53 Christopher St, NY, NY
W 4th St. / Christopher St. Stations

Cupcake Cabaret is a performance celebrating the strength we get from what marks us different in this world. Size, gender, sexuality, class, race, dis/ability, age, religion and all numbers of identities bring the artists in the series a sense of power and esteem.

Featuring Ivan E. Coyote, storyteller, author of many incredible books, and heartstring puller all the way from Vancouver, Canada!
[http://www.ivanecoyote.com/]

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Ivan is an incredible storyteller. If you aren’t familiar with their work, you need to dip into the treasure trove of youtube.

From Dear Younger Self (the video above):

“Do not cave into the pressure from mainstream society to fit in. You do not and will not ever fit in. And one day you will realize you don’t even want to anymore. And that your difference is inherently tied to your beauty and your bravery. And your giant, mystical, invisible brass balls. You will grow to love these balls, younger self, and they will swing majestically between your ears inside the head you will hold up proudly.”

I basically can’t hear anything Ivan reads without crying a little (or, sometimes, a lot).

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Photo by Jah Grey.

Another out of town miracle visiting NYC and performing Thursday night is my friend Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha! A queer, Sri Lankan, disabled writer, performer and cultural creator, Leah inspires me to no end. Her poetry is incredible.

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Felice Shays, living in Brooklyn, NY, is a Femme feminist performance artist and author of Brutal Affection, her forthcoming book about the magic of rough sex (among other things). She radiates strength, sweetness and glamour and not just in a rhinestone cowboy boot kind of way but in an I want to do whatever she wants me to do kind of way. Her performance work is personal, empowering and delightful. She once fisted a watermelon at Rebel Cupcake wearing a bridal gown.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

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Photo credit Stacie Joy.

LeRoi Prince is one of my favorite gender performers in NYC right now. Their butchlesque acts are charming, their Prince numbers are dead-on (read: sexy, sultry, entertaining), and political work is heartfelt and incisive. They read a piece at the Forest of the Future calling forth the importance of our queer ancestors and what they fought in order for us to be who we are as a community today that made me weep. Everyone was weeping, though, it wasn’t just me.

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LeRoi Prince is obviously my favorite Prince impersonator. Photo credit Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Bevin Branlandingham is also performing, which is me! I’m reading from my memoir! I’m almost done with the first draft. Whatever section it ends up being the themes are empowerment, rebirth, dishy dyke drama, spiritual awakening, sex, and dirty Brooklyn dance floors.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey. (With my friend Sam, singing a little R. Kelly.)

You shouldn’t wait to RSVP on Facebook, you should do it now.

And if you haven’t seen Ivan’s piece “To All the Kick Ass Beautiful Fierce Femmes” and you are a Femme or you are in relationship to Femmes, I highly recommend it. A friend of mine is newishly out of the closet and newishly dating Femmes and I’m putting together a curriculum for her to learn about Femme and this is required watching.

2012-02-03

Brooklyn! Next Thursday, February 9th, Rebel Cupcake Celebrates Prince!

The fabulous front desk gay who works at my office often hands me tidbits of gay gossip along with my coffee in the morning. “Willow Smith cut her hair!” was this morning’s news. I immediately made the obvious joke along the lines of “I whip my… wait a minute” and then it reminded me of this amazing video shot by Laura Delarato for Rebel Cupcake last month.

Athens Boys Choir performs “I Whip My Faux Hawk.” You’ll love it. A queer homage to the glory days of Willow’s hair.

And speaking of Rebel Cupcake, it’s next week! You should come! all the details are below and on the Rebel Cupcake page.

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I love Prince a lot and I think the best dance floor action for Rebel Cupcake of all time was last year’s Prince tribute.

Janie Martinez is an actress, movement artist and featured fatty on the Adipositivity Project. (I love that photo.) We shared a soulful acapella version of “When Doves Cry” last week and I know she loves Prince like I do.

LeRoi Prince is a Rebel Cupcake regular, whose debut on the stage was at last year’s Prince tribute. I can’t wait to see more. Also you may remember LeRoi from the all queer Outsiders cast.

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Ben Lerman wowed me with a ukelele version of “Super Bass” at our shared New Year’s Eve gig and I’m looking forward to his Rebel Cupcake debut.

The gourmet cupcakes from hot Femme baker Morgan Hart are themed on Little Red Corvette and the photo booth is going to be amazing and maybe Heather will let me borrow the unicorn we found on the street, a little gift from the goddess to us.

It appears the second weekend of the month is becoming the “it” month to be a queer in Brooklyn (or visit town). Hey Queen, the BFF party to Rebel Cupcake has moved to the second Saturday, and Niki and DJ Average Jo are doing a Sunday party called Low Rider. You should also join the Rebel Cupcake group on Facebook to see the amazing photo booth photos and also be in on the invites as soon as they are hot off the press.

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ALF likes the new apartment better.

I’m back shortly with another post I’m almost finished with about my inaugural experiences with acupuncture. Until then I bid you adieu from my land of boxes! (So grateful the move part is just about over and it’s all unpacking, painting and installing from here!)

2011-02-26

Valentine’s Day Weekend Non-Stop Queer Style

This year’s Valentine’s Day weekend was glamorous and non-stop. There was an intense agenda of queer happenings and what better way to get my feet back into the Brooklyn swing of things after my extended sojourn in San Francisco* than to try to do everything? It began with Rebel Cupcake 10: Erotic City on Thursday, February 10th.

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My friend Trent who is one half of That’s My Jam.

The theme selections for Rebel Cupcake are a truly scientific process.**
It goes like this: I thought Valentine’s day is four days later… fuck Valentine’s day, let’s get dirty. Erotic stuff…. Erotic City! I love Prince.

The cupcakes were vegan this time, orange/chocolate and cappuccino flavor, made by Rebel Cupcake fan Mannie.

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It was a wild show that involved an impromptu punching demo by traveling Portland punching Booth Wyatt Riot, the drag Prince stylings of fresh face LeRoi Prince and capped off by the incredible performance of Epiphany. She sang a couple of songs and her version of Fuck You brought down the house.

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LeRoi Prince.

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Epiphany.

After truly getting down to a Prince-heavy dance party (the floor was still packed at 2:45 AM, definitely the latest I’ve seen the dance floor at Rebel Cupcake thrive at that level), my weekend kept rolling.

Friday night was the closing party/ritual for Into the Neon, a group collaborative show between many queer artists I know and some I don’t. The exhibits were incredible. I was especially moved by Daniel Lang/Levitsky’s piece about the murder of a gay man in a park in Newark. I loved Amy Agony’s reading nook with a zine library to pore through. I was honored to be included so many times in Quito Ziegler’s exhibit, she pointed out to me that me and my posse were especially prevalent on her row themed “tenderness.”

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Daniel’s piece was a hand-cranked movie with a soundtrack you listened to. It was very haunting.

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Quito’s exhibit.

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Drag station.

There was a tree in the middle of the room surrounded by foam and blankets, which was the best place for me to enjoy the evening considering my long Thursday night dancing and nine and a half hour Shop Girl day.

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With Marcy and Natalie.

Glenn Marla decided to have an all day open house for his birthday party, where I rolled in at 9:30 (another nine and a half hour Shop Girl day). My thoughts are in this episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket. I went home to get ready for Hey Queen, my favorite dance party that isn’t Rebel Cupcake. I decided to change because Wyatt Riot and Jessika Fancy were planning to wear spandex and I knew I needed to up my fashion game. I did pretty well considering I dressed in 5 minutes.

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With my friend LJ. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

I chatted with Justin Vivian Bond a bit about Femme fashion and wearing two pairs of tights on the brutal party nights (it has been an especially horrible winter in NYC). V performed a three song set at 1:30 that was just glorious.

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I love Justin Vivian’s storytelling. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

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Accompanied by Nath Ann. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

The next day was another Shop Girl day that found me sharing a leftover cunt cupcake from Glenn’s birthday party (made by Damien Luxe) with plus size super model Tara Lynn. She’s really nice and fun and was shopping the vintage racks at Re/Dress. Even a work day can be glamorous!

Sunday night was a work night, where I met up with my neighbor and co-creator Heather. She is directing and I am producing an all queer 10 minute staged reading of the Outsiders at Rebel Cupcake on March 10. We needed to watch the movie and prepare for the auditions.*** My BFF Brian just moved in around the corner from both of us and we used his big tv and our friend Michael made us chicken parm. It was perfect.

Monday was Valentine’s Day/Validation Day. I was asked to be a celebrity judge for a Nerd-Off competition at Nerd Off Production’s Nerd Love event. Since my current relationship status is Window Shopping**** I thought it would be fun to ask one of the other celebrity judges to be my Valentine.

Molly Equality Dykeman
is a piece of work. She’s a poet, butchlesque performer, a security guard, a lady chaser. I thought it would be fun shtick to banter about while we were judging nerds. Having a celebrity date was pretty awesome.*****


Maybe everything you need to know about Molly is in this video?

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Photo courtesy Molly.

I required Molly to wear her finest butch accessories (in this instance a Love tie from the dollar store) and bring me a flower from the dollar store or a bodega. After exchanging gifts we took photos with Syd London for Time Out New York. She gave me a box of chocolates, a card that complimented my boobs and the flower.

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Photo courtesy Molly.

I brought for her scratch-off lottery tickets, a diet coke and a cookie decorated with haiku by Kazi, a poet who works inside a Lotto stand on 53rd and Lexington.

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Photo by my BFF Brian.

The nerdiness of the Nerd Off was ridiculous. It was hosted by Kelli Dunham and Cheryl B. I had to ask a lot of nerd to English clarifying questions. It was a joy to be part of and award prizes with the other celebrity judge, Diana Cage, for such talents as “Best Use of Math Teacher Blog to Perform Erotica.”

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Photo courtesy Molly.

Check out more photos from the event on the Time Out New York website.

Some of you might be wondering how I can maintain this stamina. The key is that I don’t drink much (one or two well-timed drinks max) and I wear flat shoes when I intend to dance a lot. At the end of this whirlwind weekend my feet were actually quite sore, but I felt deliriously happy and incubated in this amazing community of artists and friends that make Brooklyn my home. A community kind of love, really.

*I have been in the Mission so much in the last 9 months that Yahoo news (benignly) falsely reported that I live there.
**April’s theme is I Love Lucy (an old school show biz style line-up) because I scored a great vintage dress that is very Lucy. I just have to work on the hair style.
***Watching that movie is sort of like watching porn. It’s so hot and bromantic!
****Window Shopping is my current approach to dating given the amount of emotional work I’m doing on myself. After being totally off the market for several months, I am approaching dating again with extreme caution. I’m not going into any stores, I’m not asking how much something costs. But if something pretty catches my eye and the shop keeper comes outside I might ask about it. If the shop keeper is willing to transact right there on the sidewalk, okay. Basically, I’m not doing any pursuing and I’m letting things happen if they happen but not concerned one way or another.
*****I’m still open to a date for March 14th’s Steak and Blow Job day.

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