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

2016-01-02

Remembering Ellie

Cancer has claimed another amazing queer pal of mine at a young age.

Ellie Conant was a kind, magical creator of community space. Her parties (Choice Cunts, among others) were legendary in the NYC queer scene when I moved to town and I was honored to join her as a party creator. She was exciting to party with and really fun to be around. She was the kind of person who showed up and instantly made you feel like a friend. And even though maybe you never ended up grabbing that coffee together because. NYC. Busy. We saw each other in crowded bars, clubs, community events and always shared squeezes and managed to have a five minute meaningful conversation.

elliebyleslievanstrattenPhoto of Ellie by Leslie Van Stelten, from this GO Magazine article about her that I loved.

I remember once we talked about how we really needed to help one another as queer party promoters and plug one another’s parties. She wanted to do a THING and get us all together and it was a brilliant idea that kind of remained in the club because we got busy.

I remember when she was ending Choice Cunts and we talked about life cycles and how much we give of ourselves as party promoters. I don’t think that people who aren’t queer cultural producers understand how much work goes into creating things. It’s not about the money for most of us. (When I was doing Rebel Cupcake I was lucky if I made $100 and once lost $400.) Queer cultural producers have an idea of how we as a community can have fun together and want to help direct that fun, bring people together and create new opportunities. It’s a joy to help people find joy.

She had a real way of acknowledging that being a party promoter was way more work than we were paid for, and I’ve worked to emulate that to other cultural producers. It was a way in which she honored the work of party creation that I really appreciated and I learned from her how to value it.

Ellie did what so many people aspire to–she changed and improved New York City.

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Ellie embodied that generosity of spirit and fun shepherding. She had a gregariousness I admired and a fantastic sense of style.

She will be missed and she was spectacular. All of the loss I’ve experienced in my short life has reminded me to live life to the fullest and savor every adventure. It’s also reminded me that taking care of myself so that I can enjoy the adventures is important, too.

Ellie posted this really great quote to her Facebook wall last week.

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While rooting through my photo archives for that selfie I know I took with Ellie at a random party that I can’t find, I found so many photos of my queer departed friends. Especially of Taueret, whose suicide in March I’ve still not fully processed.

taueretatpurim2012Taueret, at a Purim Party in 2011.

I like to say this thing Glenn Marla once told me, which is “We’re all going to be gay for a real long time.” It’s a nice thing to remember when you feel like you’re not going to bang that person because they’re monogamous or the timing’s not right. But it’s cold comfort when someone passes away and you know you’re not going to have the joy of running into them again in this life.

In these moments, I feel really grateful for opening up to spirituality. It helps me out emotionally to feel that the afterlife is something awesome beyond our wildest imaginations. That our departed friends and family move into a new way of interacting with us. Dara made up an acronym when she was diagnosed with cancer called POTSA (Passing On To Something Awesome) that she insisted me and those close to us use when we talked about death.

Given how generous and friendly Ellie was in life, I have no doubt that in POTSA she is out there conspiring to create magical good times for every person she touched. The effects of her influence in human form are beyond what we can possibly know.

I really hope that her transition is peaceful and brings her excitement. I’m sending prayers for her family, her partner Melissa, and all who knew and loved her and are feeling this tremendous loss.

2011-07-05

Hey Brooklyn! Dirty Dancing at Rebel Cupcake on Thursday, July 14th!

Remember that scene in Dirty Dancing where Baby carries a watermelon and ends up in this magical, steamy, sweaty dance party?

And then Johnny Castle teaches her how to dirty dance?

I have always wanted to throw that party, and now, in the heat of July in an air-conditioned gay bar I am recreating it!

All the info is below, I am super excited about the show and especially the sweaty dance party to follow!

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Thursday, July 14th, 2011 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake 15: Dirty Dancing
10PM-2AM Dancing; show 11ish * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
Late night dancing til 4a
Sugarland: 221 N 9th St @ Roebling, Brooklyn, NY
(3 blocks from the Bedford L subway stop)

Rebel Cupcake: a flamboyant queer dance party for all shapes & flavors!

*Sugarland DJ Bryan Black spins slow jams & riot grrrl favs to get you going, dance beats all night to keep you moving at a house party level–perfect for dancing and mingling! The dance party is soul music, the songs that inspired the iconic movie Dirty Dancing, are steeped in history and make sweater summer nights unforgettable.

*Performances by:

*Jessica Halem as Frances “Baby” Houseman
Comedian and hot Femme in the role she was born to play, she’ll also be doing a comedy set!
[http://www.jessicahalem.com]

*Heather Acs as Penny
Magical Femme performance art wildflower, she’s directing the Dirty Dancing vignettes and performing her new work about star dust.

*??? as Johnny Castle

*Amelia as Dirty Dancer
Our flamboyant go-go will get you in the mood for dirty dancing!!

*& More!
*Nogga Schwartz ready to decorate your facebook page with antics from our wild photo booth!

We’ll have chairs out during the performances and there is a lot of seating available in grottos and at the bar. This is a great party to be loungey and social or dancey. The show will be over by midnight so earlybirds can make it home–the show is about 30 minutes long.

As always, free cupcakes while they last! Vegan & gluten free sometimes available. This month we’ve carried a watermelon instead of cupcakes!!

Accessibility notes: The stage area and bar are wheelchair accessible. Coming into the venue is a little narrow but there are no stairs to enter or to get to the main seating area for the show. Lots of street parking available. (Please let me know if you need any accommodations!)

Check out the photos from past Rebel Cupcakes at the facebook group! The most stunt-ridden and flamboyant photo booth in queer New York City.

2011-05-12

Queer Book Worm Parties

So it’s 7PM on the second Thursday of the month, which means I’m at Re/Dress and since all the go-backs and tagging are done and all the custies are happy* I am sitting here daydreaming about my make-up and hair for Rebel Cupcake tonight. Every second Thursday I leave the store at 8 and have exactly an hour and fifteen minutes to get home, walk Macy, do my hair and make-up and do any last-minute Rebel Cupcake thingies.

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Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein.

This ritual has lasted for a year now, I am so happy and thankful to get to keep producing this party, that this party is so genuine/fun/not sceney/feel-good/flamboyant/queer/body-positive, to have work that is flexible enough that accommodates me doing all the different gigs I do.

I don’t usually perform in addition to Femmeceeing and producing the event but since it’s the anniversary party I’m doing my Lesbolesque act. Which means I’m also mentally rehearsing my act, a ritual that is as old as my drag king days. Did you know I used to perform as a drag king? That was really where I found myself a decade or so ago, on the drag king stage.

Also coming up within the week are two parties I’m excited to have a hand in. Total queer book worm parties.

Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, the anthology just released from Arsenal Pulp Press, is doing it’s NYC launch and it’s not just a reading! There will be music performed by the amazing Rae Spoon. Rae is Canadian. Rae was featured on FemmeCast. Rae is my friend-in-law and beloved by many of my favorite people.

Also, Ivan E. Coyote! Such a heart-string pulling story-teller! Author extraordinaire! Canadian! Have you watched the video To All The Kick-Ass Beautiful Fierce Femmes Out There? Watch it and cry a little.

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Ivan!

Also, Zena Sharman! So smart, sassy and funny. And a (you guessed it) Canadian!! There is so much maple at this event I just cannot wait.

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A few of my favorite things, Canadians, BBQ and making foolish faces. Zena on the left, hotties Ashley Aron and Smith on the right.

And also me! Reading a story that is a cousin to what I have in the book because I want to give people an incentive to buy the book to read more about debunking the femmephobic notion that Femmes are high maintenance. My friend who is a women and gender studies professor told me it’s a “highly quotable piece” and will be required reading for future classes he teaches so I feel super excited about making contributions to academia (even though in my opinion the book is so much more colloquial than academic).

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To cap off the readings/music/book launch a queer book worm DANCE PARTY!

When I was a little kid I was so shy and awkward and hardcore bullied for being fat so I just stuck to myself during recess, standing alone reading books. Literally standing in the playground, Baby Sitters Club or Nancy Drew or Christopher Pike in hand. So now all of this queer book worm dance party action, marrying my love of books and dancing is really like this amazing full-circle situation.**

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DJ Polar Sounds, hot butch magic times on the decks until 2 AM!

Not to be outdone, next Friday, May 20th is the Feminist Press (swoon, right?) dance party fundraiser FASTER PUSSYCAT!***

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The raffle is a fat girl’s dream–a gift certificate to Domino Dollhouse and a Re/Dress gift certificate are both up for grabs!

The party is at that 116 space I talked about in my last entry!

It’s queer summer, the book worms are using party fliers as bookmarks, and hitting the dance floor!

*Hey Deb!
**What would I put on a bookmark if I were able to slip it into ten-year-old tiny fat Bevin’s beloved books? “It’s all going to be okay.” A photo of a cute faggy gender queer with an age-appropriate explanation of queer sexuality. (I didn’t even know that people could be lesbians until I was 14, how’s that for in the closet?) Or maybe not because maybe it was easier just being fat, and better to be ignorant of being queer for awhile? Maybe just a photo of me at 32 having so much fun and loving life?
***We watched that movie in my feminist filmmaking class in undergrad. Love it!

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