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

2011-06-07

Everyday Glitter

After months of seemingly endless rain/fog/end of times weather, we’ve finally got summer in full swing here in Brooklyn. I thought I’d celebrate this by doing a round-up of the little things that are delighting me lately.

ITEM THE FIRST: Hot Summer

Summer always starts so suddenly, like she throws you up against a wall and gets you all flustered, making you forget your own wardrobe. That you do, in fact, own 90 degree weather appropriate fare, except you begin scrambling. Before the Trans Women Belong Here dance party (we made $379!) last week it was so incredibly hot. I tried a new outfit three times and ended up wearing a dress I’ve owned for at least five years. I’ve learned that once I try three unsuccessful permutations of a new outfit I must accept that it is not happening, and thus I need to turn to a tried and true favorite. Same thing happened with my hair, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like but after three attempts I just did my femmepadour and called it a night. The following photo is not what I wore to the TWBH benefit (still waiting for the photographer’s shots).

IMG_9549.JPG
This was my favorite going out outfit in May–a black and gold rosette tunic with teggings and black and gold boots. Sadly it’s too hot to wear that now.

IMG_9432.JPG
Speaking of hot summer wardrobes, Cristy Road introduced these shorts as “nightlife shorts.” Too short to take the bus in Bed Stuy, just short enough for the dance party. Photo from Rebel Cupcake.

Since as I write this it is Prince’s birthday (June 7), he has released a new song called Hot Summer. It’s a good listen. Google for it, as the link I’ve had keeps going away.

ITEM THE SECOND: Monday Funday

Since I work a non-traditional schedule and Mackenzi owns a store that is closed on Mondays we often partake in Monday Funday activities. This ranges from mani/pedis to going to the beach to trips to the suburbs for soup and breadsticks to meanders in local neighborhoods. This Monday Funday we went to Park Slope for lunch and had a delightful stroll. I didn’t realize how much walking we would be doing but we ended up clocking a lot of blocks. By far the most awesome part of our day was getting glitter tattoos at Exit 9 in Brooklyn.

IMG_9635.JPG

IMG_9636.JPG
Mac had her existing tattoo glittered. The shop keeper expertly and quickly filled it in.

IMG_9638.JPG
I just went all lesbian cliche, with a rainbow glitter dolphin on my dominant wrist.

We capped off our adventure by getting burritos at the new taqueria on my corner and ate them on my stoop. It was so peaceful and lovely.

IMG_9640.JPG
No Mexican food for Macy.

IMG_9642.JPG

ITEM THE THIRD: More Stoop Sitting

Stoop time is really my favorite part of the beginning of summer. My friend Heather lives around the corner and one night at 11pm she texted “Come have a beer on my stoop with me.” I was already in my loungerie and settled in front of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy* but something about the ability to be outside and have a heart to heart compelled me to throw on real clothes and walk Macy over to Heather’s. And it was exactly what I needed. We talked about being artists and summer and love lives.

You know how sometimes your friends tell you something really simple and it’s exactly what you need to hear? Heather said “Bevin you have to remember that you’re really pretty. Don’t forget that.” You do all this work around self-love and unlearning the hatred and feelings of ugliness and whatever and yet sometimes the scared little kid inside you forgets and you just need someone to remind you that you’re pretty and you’re worthy just because you’re alive.

IMG_9492.JPG

So that’s what good friends are for. That’s why you let people in. That’s why you show people the tender underside of yourself because you need them to help. To remind you of the basics. When you’re different in a way society deems unpalatable you need ways to undue that armor that gets built up just to exist. You need ways to develop tender connections to other people. My relationships with queer femmes and other folks who are supportive of my identity was crucial to becoming an actualized human being and not just a robot going through the motions before I die.

IMG_9606.JPG

Anyway. Heather. Magical. Thank you.

ITEM THE FOURTH: Femmespiration

Speaking of Heather, she invited me to be on a panel of young** Femmes that was going to compliment a panel of Femme performance artists from NYC and London as part of the MUSING MUSES: A FeMUSEum conversation with Lois Weaver, Carmelita Tropicana, Amy Lamé and Bird la Bird.

The panel was so inspirational! And in such a meta way, too, because the panel was about the muses for each of the participants. Dolly Parton, Divine and everyone’s grandmothers were mentioned. Sometimes it is really helpful to hear other artists talk about how they find their motivation to create in order to rev your own mojo.

IMG_9604.JPG

Each of the artists on the panel has done so much, too, it was very femmespirational. I am especially excited to see Lois Weaver’s work on femmes and aging, see a performance of Carmelita’s, and visit Bird La Bird and Amy Lamé in London. Um, Amy is producing a pageant called Burger Queen. What I wouldn’t give for a patron to fund my trip across the pond so that I could compete. I really love the artistic format for pageants and one of the categories is cooking–I have a great recipe for Spotted Owl Casserole. And Amy is gorgeous and accomplished and I just want to follow her around.

IMG_9609.JPG
Amanda Cheong as a giant vagina. Amanda’s writing something new for Rebel Cupcake: Love Long Distance on Thursday.

Amy interviewed Kate Bornstein on stage. I couldn’t love Kate more. She makes me want to be a better artist. She, as an artist and a human being, truly has the ability to make her audience feel safe and loved.

IMG_9615.JPG
Kate’s Femme swagger is killer.

ITEM THE FIFTH: A Pig Grows in Brooklyn

Almost as quickly as we said hello to Penelope the pet piglet that my roommate was raising here, she moved upstate to my butch ironworker roommate’s boyfriend’s farm. Turns out my roommate is allergic to her, and Penelope was a lot happier being able to roll around in real mud instead of scratching herself on our (turned off) radiator.

IMG_9498.JPG
Silas, Penelope and Macy.

IMG_9552.JPG
Brian, Arnulfo and Penelope.

Photo 72.jpg

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday, Penelope. We’ll miss you. Hopefully I can go upstate to visit her in her new digs with the baby goat and the baby ducks.

ITEM THE SIXTH: Random Hotness

I was surprised and delighted to find out I was listed as one of the Autostraddle’s Hot 100 Real Gay Ladies***. It’s an honor that such a rad popular website is so supportive of my mission to promote self-acceptance. I’m also pleased to be on a list with so many other hot queers.

And just today I found out I am nominated for a “couple” of awards at the Go Nightlife Awards. Won’t you join me on June 15th? What I love about it is that it brings out such a cross-section of NYC nightlife. I went to the event last year and it actually did end up getting me a couple of dates with a steamy 20 year old. I’m bringing Taylor as my date so we’ll see how I do rustling up some casual action this year. He is an excellent wing man. 1,000+ people on the dance floor…

IMG_9571.JPG

*I have recently rediscovered this show. I never liked Grey’s Anatomy before but it is watch instantly on netflix now and for some reason it is speaking to me. In a month I’ve watched 50 episodes.
**I love to be reminded that 32 is young.
***Yes, I made it on an internet hot list and I still need my friends to remind me sometimes that I’m pretty. Self-love is a daily practice!

2011-05-06

Buying Bras from a Queer Perspective, A Radio Play and Sad Songs at the Bar

Three posts in one!

Happy International No Diet Day!

The nice folks at Autostraddle asked me to contribute to their mega article about buying bras for queer bodies. It’s really cool and funny and I think you’ll like my Queer Fat Femme perspective. The Lane Bryant plunge bra really did change my life. Go read it.

The Bra Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes and Gender Expressions

Bevin3.jpg
Here’s me wearing a bra. Photo by Shameless Photography.

In unrelated news, I was in a radio play! It’s about a small town gay bar written by my friend Taylor who is from a small town in the South but really this bar and these characters could be anyone. I see a lot of my family in Memaw and Missy and some of the hateful Femmes I’ve known in my time could easily be the Femme in this. I play both the Butch main character and the Femme in this play. Grab a cold drink and give it a listen!

Missy’s Big Chance from Tom on Vimeo.

A Radioplay by Taylor Black
Edited by Tom Leger
with Bevin Branlandingham as Missy and The Femme, Julie Blair as The Bartender
Recorded at Collect Pond in April 2011

Taylor and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. We share an affinity for queer nightlife, lesbianism, Lucinda Williams and other related music so often we pre-party while watching an Indigo Girls DVD (with Taylor in the audience as a baby gay) and drinking champagne or reading aloud from lesbian magazines.

IMG_9161.JPG

One random Thursday Taylor texted me asking what I was up to. I had been at a press cocktail party exploring a new space I might use to book some parties in the West Village and was feeling just mischievous enough to get into some trouble. And since hitting lesbian bars with a gay boy is totally my 2001 I figured for nostalgia’s sake we had a plan.

IMG_9149.JPG
Great drink menu and make-out ambiance at 116 but no backstage… So I am thinking more of a swanky cocktail night.

I had him meet me at RF Lounge–formerly known as Rubyfruit Lounge. I don’t know why they changed it–most of the queers I know around my age have a copy of Rubyfruit Jungle. I love that book. It made me fall in love with New York City long before I ever visited. Also, as an aside, while I enjoy our queer nightlife parties, I intentionally throw mine at a gay bar and try to patronize queer bars and queer-owned bars as much as possible. There’s a reason there are only three lesbian bars left in New York City, we have to keep going to them in order for them to stay open!

IMG_9147.JPG
116’s flattering lighting.

We ventured in for RF’s $5 martini night and Taylor made a beeline for the jukebox. They have a killer one–the kind that plays mp3s and lets you search for artists so you aren’t shackled to one genre. And Taylor really hit my sweet spots with his selections, both by our dear Lucinda.

IMG_9146.JPG
The strawberry capirinhas at 116 were killer.

RF Lounge also has a video game machine that plays Erotic Video Hunt, which is one of my favorite bar games. During those two songs, I was enjoying a $5 cosmo, playing a fun game and listening to sweet sad songs–happy as a clam. The other bar patrons were sitting belly-up to the bar, not a soul was dancing. It was so magical in its simplicity.

We settled in, got more drinks and played more random bar games. And as Taylor headed to the jukebox and put in his $10 bill, the bartender shouted “No more slow songs!!” Now, first of all, Lucinda may play sad songs but they are certainly not all slow. And they also matched the tenor of the crowd in the bar far better than the vintage remixed Britney that was otherwise playing.

IMG_9145.JPG
The bartender at 116 didn’t try to control the music He was quite sweet.

Not one to be yelled at by a non-relation, Taylor abandoned his 20 credits in the jukebox and returned to my post at the video game machine. We had thought we were in for a nice sad sack takeover of the bar but not so. We finished our drinks and I returned to the jukebox to use Taylor’s credits. I played some Prince and Pointer Sisters (much better dance music than was being piped in) and some Sheryl Crow just to be contrary. Of course, I ended the set with Buttercup, my favorite fast song from the new Lucinda album.

IMG_9152.JPG
116 has a photo booth with a mirror to check yourself first! I didn’t have four singles so I didn’t use it but I intend to go back for it.

We left shortly into the playlist and headed to Cowgirl Hall of Fame for a late dinner (New Yorkers eat dinner really late, this is a thing) and then to Kamp in Park Slope. This is a weekly gay bar event that is really low key and fun, sweet bartenders, great dj (played Prince right after we got there) and even had a bull dog chilling under a bar stool. I was the only girl. Keep the 2001 hits coming.

IMG_9144.JPG
From the outside one would have no idea the moodiness and sexiness of 116.

After this experience Taylor and I decided we’re going to start a sad mob and do little takeovers of bars with good jukeboxes and drink specials and play good sad music. A bad remix of the 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl” might drive me to drink but a dose of Lucinda’s “Metal Firecracker” will keep me drinking and toasting to better times ahead.

Powered by WordPress