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

2009-08-24

Femme Book Club!!

As I announced in Episode 9 of FemmeCast, I’m starting an online Femme Book Club (FBC). I started FBC because I am a distracted reader with a to-read list a mile long–especially books by and/or about Femmes. One of the best things about having Femme community is conversations with those Femmes. We are a smart bunch. So what better motivator–finish a book and get to discuss it with other Femmes?

It’s no secret that my friends call me the Queer Oprah (and my career goal is to have a talk show). In that vein I thought about the ways I could have a Femme Book Club and use my media outlets to bring it worldwide and get other Femmes & allies reading and talking!

Here’s how it will work–FBC has its nexus in Femme Family NYC. We’re an open and inclusive Femme organization based in New York. We’re reading one book a month, selected by a member who wants to lead a discussion. If you’re in NYC you should join us. If you’re far away or can’t, I’ll post the discussion questions here at QueerFatFemme.com. If you have a blog, write them up on your blog and I’ll post a link on the entry. If you don’t, just respond in the comments section.*

I will try to give as much lead time as possible for people to procure and read the books. Again, slow/distracted readers represent!

AUGUST FEMME BOOK CLUB SELECTION:
Dorothy Allison’s Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (get your blog posts ready around Sept 1, and ongoing). Discussion leader: Sophie, Madam of Strategy.

SEPTEMBER FEMME BOOK CLUB SELECTION:
Amber Hollibaugh’s My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (blog posts ready around Sept 29, and ongoing). Discussion leader: Damien D’Luxe, Co-Head Madam.

Our first meeting is Tuesday, September 1 at 7:15 PM at Madam X, 94 West Houston Street. Probably in the backyard if we can swing it.

The second meeting is Tuesday, September 29 at 7:15 PM. Location TBA.

One of the things I hate most about finishing a book is that it has to end! When I’ve been carrying a book around for weeks (it takes me a long time to finish a book, again, distracted reader) I get attached–but when you have a book club or people to discuss it with, you really get to relive the book. I love the ways in which discussion can also help you see other aspects about a book you didn’t see on your own.

I will get the discussion questions likely from our group leader at the FBC in-person meeting and I will add some of my own. And what I will do with FemmeCast is still being worked out. I might include some snippits from the in-person meeting (if participants are cool with it) or perhaps have some correspondents talk about their reactions to the books. I like to keep things interesting.

I sincerely hope you’ll get the books from your local feminist or LGBT or indie bookstore. If you don’t have one of those or want to/need to buy online, if you use my links in this post I get a few pennies towards production costs.

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Atlanta’s own Ms. Stewart, performing at the East Coast launch party for the book Femmes of Power. She’s also featured in the book!

*Participation in Femme Book Club is open to everyone, Femme identified and not. However, our discussion is specifically geared towards being inclusive of all races, ethnicities, class backgrounds, ages, abilities, sizes, etc… Entries should adhere to this spirit of inclusion and respect. If you have questions about this let’s talk!

2009-06-10

Femme Pride Week Recap!!

Oh my lord! What a week! Together with the other Madams of the Femme Family, we pulled off New York’s first ever Femme Pride week!

I feel so honored to be in a place and time where Femme is an identity to be celebrated and honored, and the breadth of Femme presentation is acknowledged and illustrated. I hope more and more as we do NYC Femme events that self-identified Femmes of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, fashion inclinations, backgrounds, sizes, etc… feel welcomed and want to be part of seeing the power of autonomous Femmes coming together.

Speaking of Femme was so full of light, love, power and intensity! Femme identified readers from throughout New York City and our special guest, Mira Bellweather, from Michigan, threw down once again at NYC’s feminist bookstore, Bluestockings.

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Mira’s piece on superqueeroes and superhero identities was so great I am going to record it for FemmeCast, so stay tuned.

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Felicia Luna Lemus was incredible, and you can pick up her books (that are so great!) at her website.

I did a piece I wrote about my deadbeat dad and will probably release on the podcast. I got one of the best compliments, from an artist whose work I respect and draw inspiration from, who said it was simultaneously funny and poignant and worked on both personal and broader levels. As I write more for stage, I’m trying to develop a style. Sort of a sarcastic Carrie Bradshaw with teeth and politics. I think Speaking of Femme works so well because clearly there are people who are hungry for the words and performance of Femmes as they explore their own gender/sexuality identity politics and also because Femme artists need a place where we can workshop our materials in a safe environment with other queer artists.*

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My outfit for Speaking of Femme is my favorite summer halter dress (from Re/Dress) and a bouffant/ponytail inspired by Jacqueline from the Real Housewives of NJ. And Zoe, whose dress is from Re/Dress as well.

We had some in between events that celebrated Queer identity and Fat identity, to round out Femme Pride week, which I’ll separately blog.

The other Femme Family produced event was our coming out party. We were very intentional about the elements of the evening meeting with the mission of our organization. We wanted to have it facilitate conversation and community building, so we kept the dance music at house party level instead of “Omigod I can’t hear you” bar level. We wanted to preserve our current Femme history and show the breadth and depth of Femme presentation & Femme allies present, so we had a photobooth with a professional photographer and fabulous lighting. And we wanted to have a cabaret with Femme identified performers doing work that called into the room the incredible history and legacy of the transwarriors and Femmes that came before us.

We did the show at the Historic Stonewall Inn, where the Rebellion happened 40 years ago. If you see the neighborhood now, you know how much the West Village is losing the queer rebellious element. It was nice to bring in some of the queer flash that seems to have started segregating in Brooklyn.

I put together this slideshow that includes a lot of shots from the night and some video from the performance. Since Flickr is a bit picky about longer videos, there are two more videos of different performances from the Cabaret apart from the slideshow. I have to say, I was impressed at the big turnout** and the amazing hotness of the crowd. It illustrated that Femme comes in all kinds of packaging, and I look forward to proving that again and again and again.

Be sure to watch the videos… if only I had video editing software!

The photobooth was such a fun aspect of the night. I’m pasting a couple of my favorites here, but soon they’ll all be at our website.

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Almost all of the Madams.

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Almost all of the rest of the Madams. (And we want more! Wanna organize? Jump right in! Rachel did and she was our stage manager!)

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Me and Jesse, one of the most well-dressed men I know. I interviewed him for Episode 10 of FemmeCast on courtship and butch fashion.

So if you are near NYC there is a vibrant Femme community happening right here! Community is fostered on the internet but it exists in real life!! If there’s something you want to see happen in NYC, join the Madams! If you want to have Femme community, come out!

And you can always start your own Queer Femme organization in your hometown! The Atlanta Femme Mafia exists to be the big sister chapter to help smaller chapters start! New chapters were just approved in Melbourne, Austin and someplace in the midwest!

*I’d love to create a queer femme writer’s group to workshop groups with, but you know. I do a lot of organizing and not as much working on stuff.
**The proceeds go to help the Femme Family have a “Love Your Body” themed entry into the NYC Pride Parade–so gaystream and bodyhating, generally.

2009-06-01

Femme Pride Week 2009!

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Damien called this photo the perfect greeting card for Happy Pride Month*! We took it outside the fabulous queer Brooklyn dance party “That’s My Jam” (same name as that FemmeCast episode) last weekend. The glorious part of my new apartment is that it is walking distance to this magic.

If you are anywhere near NYC this weekend, you NEED to make a trip! The Femme Family has been working really hard to prepare our first ever FEMME PRIDE WEEK! As the denmother of the queerscouts I’ve put together a little itinerary to make your week super fabulous and well-organized (I am a Capricorn).

It all starts on June 3! With our second Speaking of Femme event. The first one was amazing, powerful and inspirational. We’ve got an even bigger line-up and we’re really excited!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 * New York City, NY
Speaking of Femme II

7-9PM* $5 suggested donation
Bluestockings: 172 Allen St.

Featured readers:
> Felicia Luna Lemus
> Leslie Freeman
> Heather Acs
> Judy Yu
> Najva Sol
> Mira Bellwether
> Amanda Krupman

Femmeceed by Co-Head Madams
Bevin Branlandingham [http://queerfatfemme.com]
and Damien Luxe
[http://www.axondluxe.com]

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Friday, June 5th there are two amazing events worthy of your attention and party hopping.

First is a reading/book party for the launch of the new book Lessons from the Fatosphere.

It’s at Re/Dress, 109 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY.
6:30-8pm shopping, mingling + book buying/signing.
8pm reading
Post reading dance party! (There are fat go-go dancers.)
Free!

At 10PM I am moving on to the going away party/benefit for Slow Jams, a former vegan current ethical butcher (!) moving to Portland and the event is produced by his girlfriend, a queer femme from the Femme Family, and Axon D’Luxe is performing (my co-head madam of the Femme Family) as well as djed by a queer femme and there are bound to be lots of hotties dancing. It’s going to be a great event with great music.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009 * New York City, NY
Femme Family Coming Out Party!
doors at 9:30p, show at 10p, dancing and mingling ’til 2a! $5-$10 sliding scale
The Historic Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St.

Pride kick off & coming out party for NYC’s newest queer femme + allies organization.

We’re reclaiming the space of the Stonewall Riots to celebrate and honor our Femme foremothers & transwarriors who fought for pride, justice and our right to be fabulous.

Fabulous cabaret performance, great music at a house party level perfect for dancing AND mingling (we’re being really intentional about making community & fun all at once). Signature cocktail: Glittertini! Dress: Footloose & fancy free!

www.femmefamily.com

Performers include:
Miasia, world class belly dancer! [http://www.miasia.org/]
Liza Deception, burlesque
Glenn Marla, Tranny Superstar [http://www.myspace.com/smulyan]
Heather Acs, Performance Art Wildflower
Axon D’Luxe, mixed media electrotext wordsmith [http://www.axondluxe.com/]
Bevin Branlandingham, Femmecee & Host of FemmeCast [http://queerfatfemme.com]
Maggie Crowley, The Femme Show [http://www.thefemmeshow.com]

AfroTitty & the Fierce Force go-go squad

MORE TBA!

DJ:
Shomi Noise

INTERACTIVE FEMME HISTORY PROJECT:

Bring a homemade poster and some copies providing a visual and textual history of your femme heroes to display & give away!

Sunday, June 7, 2009 * New York City, NY

Go have brunch at my newfound discovery, Cheryl’s Global Soul. Chris and I don’t know for sure if she’s “family” but she is nice to look at from a brunch table.

*I am always a really big fan of June in NYC. With the killer combo of the weather warming up, perpetual students finishing their finals and the flurry of pride festivals beginning, there’s never a dull weekend. I’m a girl who loves to travel but I rarely dream of leaving NYC during June.

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