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

2013-03-04

Big Changes for Rebel Cupcake / March 7 Move to Lower East Side / March 16th Yes Ma’am at the Mansion

First of all, both of the Rebel Cupcakes I produced in February got some great press. Check out the Time Out New York gallery from the NO PANTS NO PROBLEM Rebel Cupcake collaboration on February 14.

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Courtney Trouble was a dream to work with and is such a dedicated and talented artist. I’m so impressed by her Femmepire! Go buy all her porn!

Check out the QueerPorn.TV write-up and gallery of photos (NSFW link) from our special Courtney Trouble / QPTV collaboration on February 28th!

I spend a fair amount of my time working on creating body positive queer nightlife. I have been doing queer production work in cities since 2001 and had sort of given up on it when I moved to NYC in 2004 because it was so rough getting venues. Getting venues is still one of the hardest things about throwing events, but, like all things, experience and connections have really helped to move it forward. So is knowing how to embrace change and knowing when to catalyze it.

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Though I may appear to be just a Plus Size Party Girl, for readers of my blog you know I put a lot more thought and intention into everything I create. I’ve been producing Rebel Cupcake for almost three years (she turns 3 on May 6th, International No Diet Day) and I really love Sugarland in Williamsburg. It’s somehow both a nightclub and a dive bar, but better than that it’s wheelchair accessible and has a lot of nooks and crannies.

I’ve been hearing for years that Thursdays are hard for people and Williamsburg is hard to get to since the only train it’s on is the L train. This is why, when I was thinking about adding a second dance party, I insisted it be on a Saturday and somewhere in Central Brooklyn. (It was for these reasons that I started my new party baby, Yes Ma’am, in Prospect Heights, though now we’re moving to a bigger venue in a mansion on the Crown Heights/Bed Stuy border–more info below.)

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From the third Rebel Cupcake, July 2010! (We’re now on the thirty seventh!)

As with a lot of monthly parties, Rebel Cupcake has been flagging in the last few months. Not so much that a lot of people noticed, and there have been some special events that have off-set the flagging, but I could definitely see a downturn in the attendance. These two fancy residential buildings went up on either side of Sugarland, closing off the amazing outdoor smoking deck. The management changed at the bar, which was fine but then all the personnel changed, too. Then our resident DJ Bryan Black, who was such a great fit for the party, moved on, and nothing gelled yet for a replacement. I knew something needed to happen to shake up the energy for Rebel Cupcake to have her sparkle shine the brightest.

I did a lot of soul searching about it. Rebel Cupcake is like church to me. Queer performance and creating body positive/flamboyant space are both very important to me. We do a lot of woo, though mostly we just have a roaring, magical time together. One of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten was that someone felt like Rebel Cupcake was the one dance party that they felt like they could be their most authentic self. That is exactly what I work to create.

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This was our first anniversary party in May, 2011. Photo by Amos Mac.

I’ve been spending some time getting to know the producer behind another queer party promoting machine, Boy Wonder Events, and we really have complimentary energy and skill sets. Emily is a genius at DJ curation and pulls a really eclectic queer crowd that is yet not that overlapping with my crowds. (I went to Hot Rabbit a couple of weeks ago and did three laps around the very packed club and found no one I recognized from my parties.) Maybe it’s because Boy Wonder is mostly in Manhattan, but it did make me think that if I got to keep the cabaret aspect of Rebel Cupcake that was so important to me and collaborate on all the other details with someone else it would breathe new life into the party.

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Me and Emily, photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

So, Rebel Cupcake is shacking up with Sweet Fox, the Boy Wonder Events’ Thursday party. First Thursdays of the month at Lit Lounge, a performance space in a sultry basement on the Lower East Side. Accessible by three different train lines (the 6, F, and L) and it all starts on this Thursday, March 7th.

Like all great domestic merges, we bring different things to the table. Sweet Fox brings some awesome drink specials ($5 Bud/BL, $5 Foxhounds, $10 Beer + Whiskey Shot, Late Night Happy Hour 130-230am), great DJs, and Rebel Cupcake brings the flamboyant performance and cupcakes. We’re compromising on the go-gos and alternating our house photographers (from the talented Gizelle Peters to the equally talented Kelsey Dickey).

This month’s theme is UHaul (appropriate and very gay, no?) and I really hope the Rebel Cupcake regulars will welcome these changes and bring the magical energy from our island in Williamsburg out to the East Village!

REBEL CUPCAKE / SWEET FOX: UHAUL

Thursday March 7th

10PM-4AM

$5 / $7 after midnight

At the legendary LIT LOUNGE: 93 2ND AVE @ 6th Street, Manhattan, NY
(F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Astor Place, N or R to 8th St, L to 1st or 3rd Ave)

REBEL CUPCAKE: a flamboyant dance party for all shapes & flavors! WINNER of Go Magazine Awards for Best Emcee (Bevin) and Most Eclectic Crowd!

And SWEET FOX, the Lower East Side queer dance party with flamboyant go-gos and a dreamy basement performance space. We’re celebrating all things UHAUL !!

Performers:
Molly Equality Dykeman
The dykiest performer I could think of for the UHaul show! She’s so hilarious. Photo by Anya Garrett.
*Molly Equality Dykeman
Security Guard at a public school by day, Poet and Comedienne by night

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Photo by Courtney Trouble.
*Fancy Feast
Our in-house Stage Kitten brings Burlesque!

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*DJ LADYLYKE (Stiletto) & DJ MITCH FERRINO (Monster/Hot Rabbit) spin dance beats all night to keep you moving!!

Find the rest of the info on the Rebel Cupcake page. Pre-cruising on the Facebook event.

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As if one big change wasn’t enough, Yes Ma’am is moving to a bigger location! We love our art gallery in Prospect Heights and will be doing some special events in the Summer at that space, but we’re stoked to get into this historic mansion on the Bed Stuy/Crown Heights border!

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Me and Nicky (co-producer) and Hana (in the corset) who runs our door for Yes Ma’am. Photo by Courtney Trouble.

DJ Average Jo will be spinning at the landing of this amazing staircase! We’ll have a dedicated dancing room, a dedicated room for chatting and drinking and who knows what will happen with the middle room.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Yes Ma’am.

Come on out Saturday, March 16th!

10PM-3AM Dancing * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
CASH BAR
375 Stuyvesant Ave @ Decatur, Brooklyn, NY
Bed Stuy/Crown Heights border (2 blocks from Utica Ave A/C train)

More info on the Yes Ma’am page and on our Facebook event!

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Yes Ma’am.

2012-10-25

Book Review: Cheryl B.’s My Awesome Place

I am totally delinquent posting this book review since I read a preview copy from the publisher a couple of months ago during my Summer of Memoir. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a really hard time writing this review because Cheryl B., the author of My Awesome Place, was my friend and she is dead. This is not a spoiler alert, it’s in the first line of the foreward by Sarah Schulman. “Cheryl Burke died of medical malpractice in June 2011 at the age of 38.”

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Cheryl B., Diana Cage, Molly Equality Dykeman, Me and Kelli Dunham at Nerd Love in February 2011, Kelli and Cheryl’s Valentine’s Day show.

But the book is out and Cheryl’s friends and her literary executor put together her memoir work so that it could be published and we can know more about her life. Like what it was like to grow up in Staten Island and New Jersey in an alcoholic home with a controlling mom and a dad who broke a plate of spaghetti over her head when she told him she got into NYU. How she drowned her feelings in alcohol and drugs but also learned how to trust her creative spirit. How she became this amazing poet and performer and made a name for herself in the 90s on the slam poetry scene, touring the country and writing plays.

How she dealt with continuing a relationship with her family even though it wasn’t at all easy. Working through her father’s death. Watching her good friend go through cancer and acting as his caretaker. How she bounced back from a guidance counselor who told her to be a toll taker on the NJ Turnpike and clearly she is a genius artist (that part of the book actually made me angry).

It sounds like everything in the book is heavy stuff. And even though a lot of it is, Cheryl moves through the words with such energy it becomes easy to understand, move through it and laugh a lot. Cheryl’s really well known for her sarcasm and wit and that blankets the book.

I felt like it was such a gift, to get to know her better through this book. I had no idea what she lived through and how she managed to become the caring and wry person I knew. I knew she had been ten years sober but I didn’t know the extent of her survival.

I also enjoyed her journey to her sexuality. It’s trite to say it’s a coming out story, but it is a really compelling path to dating women and starting to have serious girlfriends and then having a boyfriend and navigating people’s reactions and judgments around queerness and bisexuality. I think folks who have experience dating across the gender spectrum will find this aspect very relatable.

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Similarly, she was fat as a teenager she talks about navigating in a world when she went to college and lost all of her weight and got skinny. I wish the book had gone into that more, but it is relevant to her story and dealt with sensitively and not like some kind of narrative where the main character gets skinny and suddenly everything is okay. Everything is certainly not okay with Cheryl when she loses weight.

Her cat is also a central character and I deeply appreciate that aspect. It seems sometimes that Sabrina the cat is the only thing keeping her alive.

Kelli Dunham, my friend and Cheryl’s widow, wrote the afterward about her cancer and finding the support network of her friends.

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Me and Cheryl at the Spelling Bee for Cheryl B. I organized with my fellow Re/Dress Shop Girls. She was heartily nerd identified and this was a great way for folks to show their support for Cheryl both monetarily and spiritually.

Writing this review I had a memory of Cheryl before the spelling bee coming to Re/Dress and changing behind the counter into these black patent leather stiletto boots and I remember thinking “Man, Cheryl is such a bad ass.” And there is a scene in the book where she walks up and down Manhattan in black stiletto boots looking for a job as a cocktail waitress and I thought “Man, Cheryl is such a bad ass.” And maybe that’s the message of this book. Cheryl was a bad ass and you can be, too.

It’s hard to promote a book when the author isn’t around to do a book tour or go on the Today Show or whatever. It’s also really awesome to support small publishers and Topside Press is really awesome and providing a venue for a bunch of queer and trans authors to get their voices heard. Buy Cheryl’s book! (If you order it before the end of Friday you can get a free ebook in addition to the paperback.)

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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