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

2015-04-10

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Downton Abbey Teas (No Spoilers)

THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

That’s important for anyone who remains a Downton Abbey virgin. My dog groomer, Sequinette, of Fur Majesty NYC grooming, recently confessed to me that she hasn’t ever watched it. I know she’ll love it, so I said it to her and I say it to any of my readers who haven’t gone there with Downton… It’s waiting for you when you’re ready.

People are so into Downton for a ton of reasons. Here are some of the reasons I love it:

1. High drama: This show, like Empire, Nashville, Alias, Dallas (I went there with an 80s nighttime soap opera), loves to make 90 degree turns with its drama. By the end of an episode out of nowhere a character’s life will be changed forever. Also, like Buffy, the show’s writers are not afraid to kill off a beloved character, which amps the drama up 10 million percent. Scientifically proven high drama factor.

2. Vintage glamour: OMG the costumes! The hair! The sets. Downton the location (it’s set in some huge castle that is a real life place) is practically a character in the series.

maggie-smith-downton-abbey-2The Dowager Countess (played by Maggie Smith) is my favorite character. Her one liners are amazing. “Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s very middle class.”

3. Class tension: There are not a lot of shows on television that address class in any way, even the ones that are set in working class surroundings don’t always discuss it. I love that they talk about it, and especially that the show over the seasons addresses changing times in England, that exploration of the division between “upstairs and downstairs” (the upper class and the serving class that served them) is actually pretty nuanced and ongoing.

4. English people experiencing feelings: Emotions aren’t something Brittish people are known for being comfortable with and it’s so fascinating watching characters who are supposed to suppress feelings having them. The actors are really great in Downton Abbey.

06MCLAINE_SPAN-articleLarge-v2

5. Shirley Maclaine! She shows up sometimes.

6. Tea passion: I literally always go make some tea while watching Downton because they remind me about tea and then I want to drink some.

So when Dara and I found a canister of GRANTHAM BLEND tea from The Republic of Tea at Bed Bath & Beyond last summer we were dumbfounded. Did we plop $12 on a caffeinated tea I probably wouldn’t like as much as PG Tips (because it is my hands-down favorite black tea why try something else). But the answer was, we love Downton Abbey and I figured it would be great to try it.

englishrose

Then on a recent trip to BB&B* I found more Downton Teas! Their English Rose tea (based on the daughters Grantham) and their Estate Blend (an Earl Gray based on the Dowager Countess). After that score I knew I needed to Lesbian Tea Basket about it.

Here are the Downton Tea Blends I tried from The Republic of Tea.

English Rose Tea (delightful hibiscus rose blend)
Grantham Breakfast Blend (a black tea basic–don’t be fooled it does not taste like ginger)
Estate Blend (an Earl Gray that is the best vanilla black tea I’ve ever had–you can only get it at Cost Plus World Market OR the CPWM in the Bed Bath and Beyond)

There are FOUR MORE varieties of Downton Teas I still need to try (and you can get them from The Republic of Tea website). Lady Cora’s Evening Tea is next on my list (chamomile lemon blend). Bates’ Brambleberry tea (another caffeinated black flavor tea) comes out on May 1st! And for $6 you can buy a sampler pack of ALL OF THE DOWNTON TEAS. I love a sampler.

You can watch all the seasons of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime here in the States! And *sob* the upcoming season is going to be the last!

20141106_153105I think I love BB&B partially because of my triple B initials and partially because of the coupons and partially because I live in the city and it is kind of the best suburban style store and partially because of all the as seen on TV merch.

*We were at Bed Bath because I had coupons! I bought a $130 slow cooker/roaster/steamer thing for $80 on a gift card! I felt like the best Cooking Identified Femme Huntress when I scored that level of discount and used a gift card. I love coupons. I’ve been posting my recipe successes with the Ninja 3-in-1 on instagram.

If you want to buy your Downton Tea with a coupon, sign up for the Bed Bath & Beyond mailing list. The most valuable one for this I think would be to get the $5 off $15 coupon from the back of the catalog or use the 20% off coupons from the mailings or that you sometimes find in People Magazine. It’s like the best ongoing easter egg hunt when you have a BB&B gift card like I do and you want to ultra maximize your savings. Do you have BB&B money saving tips to share? Please comment!!! I love this game.

If you want to watch all of the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket, my web series where I rate and review tea and reclaim tea parties for lesbians, clickie here!

2015-01-22

That Time Dara and I Met Abbi and Ilana from Broad City and the New Yorker Wrote About It

When Dara was going through chemo last Winter and Spring, sometimes all she could do was watch TV. TV was great because it gave her something to focus on other than the constant state of nausea she was in or how uncomfortable or painful her body felt.

IMG_7020Me and Dara, about a month out of chemo at the Dyke March. She let me paint “Fuck Cancer” on her still bald from chemo head. Because all of my friends know how much I love Broad City I periodically get texts from late adopters telling me I was right about how great it is. I try to live a spiritual existence where being right doesn’t matter to me but I do enjoy being right about cool cultural things that are awesome.

It was really important to Dara from the very beginning of her cancer diagnosis to keep it positive, so she was super interested in finding shows that were up lifting. It was also hard with “chemo brain” to watch anything complicated. She burned through Parks and Rec—so much so that I ended up missing a few episodes of the last season because I couldn’t keep up with her. She was a little stressed knowing Parks and Rec was nearing the final episode available and a friend of hers, Lalta, suggested she turn to Broad City, a new show on Comedy Central executive produced by Amy Poehler, the star of Parks and Rec.

We started watching Broad City right away and absolutely loved it. We have since watched each episode multiple times, and scoured you tube for episodes of their Broad City web series, the pre-curser to the more polished and lengthy Comedy Central show. As a cancer caregiver the belly laughs afforded by the antics of these women were really helpful medicine for my spirit, too, and Dara absolutely loved it.

20140605_162157

Abbi and Ilana are so charming and hilarious. I think it does what 2 Broke Girls and Girls tried to do with the early twenties women living in Brooklyn situation but with an authenticity and reflection that the others miss. It’s goofy, adventurous and New York is an important part of the show, including the street harassment, subway weirdness and other hassles of trying to live day to day here. I appreciate that sometimes Ilana’s character takes on being politically correct but to an extreme where she maybe doesn’t get it. Dara calls the show a modern-day Cheech and Chong for women.

I especially love Lincoln, played by Hannibal Buress, who you might remember from blasting Cosby for the rape rumors and Cosby’s trash talking of the Black community back in October, igniting the recent round of scandal. (If you haven’t watched Hannibal’s original comedy act in Philly about that, do.)

By the point in chemo where we stepped deep into the Broad City hole, Dara was bald bald. Combined with the perpetually youthful aesthetic so common among masculine of center queers she looked even younger, moving towards an 8 year old make a wish kid aesthetic.

20140603_173316I want to say that Dara’s diagnosis was not terminal like an actual Make a Wish kid. We knew that. But she does look kind of like an 8 year old.

It was coming up on her 39th birthday, for which she was in the thick of planning her “Chemo Karaoke” video where she wrote a parody of Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and got a ton of friends together to shoot it in the chemo infusion center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This was a huge project for her and it was great for her spirits, giving her something to focus on and made chemo kind of a project or a game rather than the really physically, emotionally and mentally devastating ongoing medical procedure that it actually is.

One night after our second round of watching Broad City, I said, “What if you made a Make a Wish video and asked Abbi and Ilana to write you into their show?” Dara immediately countered with, “I should get them to come be in my Chemo Karaoke video shoot!”

So we did it. Why not? It was a low-stakes, really fun way to spend an evening, making the video. And even if Abbi and Ilana couldn’t come to the video shoot, at least it was a way to say thank you for producing art that was really delighting us during a time that was pretty shitty. Obviously their art production is at a totally different level and reach than mine, but it always feels really awesome when people tell me that the things I’ve written, workshops or performances I’ve given made a difference in their lives. It’s never a bad time to make someone feel good about themselves, as my bestie Rachael likes to say.

20140507_230933 (1)They make Broad City toilet paper.

We had no idea how to get it to Abbi and Ilana. I tweeted at the Broad City account knowing it might not go anywhere. Then I thought, maybe through six degrees of separation we could do it, so I posted it on my Facebook wall. Turns out I know someone who knows someone who dates an executive at Comedy Central and that I know someone who went to high school with Ilana. Boom. Within 24 hours we had an email from their manager.

Abby and Ilana were busy writing the second season of their amazing show and couldn’t come to the shoot. But they did invite us to be their guests at their show the night before Dara’s birthday party. We were excited, in all our internetting we never realized they were still doing their live improv show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.

14299828758_e9fc7bab10_zWe got four tickets, so Dara’s friend Allison (second from left) who flew in from Atlanta for the video shoot came with us and our awesome friend Donna (far left) came along as well.

When we got there we had a huge surprise. First of all, they saved us seats in the front row. Then after they came out and performed their first act (a very full energy improvised dance to Drake’s “Started From the Bottom”), they did this whole long intro about a special guest joining them, and it turned out to be Dara! Ilana’s brother Eliot Glazer brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday and Abby and Ilana gave her a bunch of Broad City schwag.

20140508_170656

Ever relentlessly documenting my life, I videotaped it.

The whole thing was surreal and it was so wonderful to see Dara so happy, when during chemo the state of just not being incredibly uncomfortable/in pain/nauseous/whatever is a victory.

The show was great and we watched them play Fuck, Marry, Kill with Natasha Lyonne. Afterwards we were out on the street and ran into an old friend of ours and were chatting for awhile and realized Abbi and Ilana were coming out of the theater. Dara decided to go up to them and thank them for everything. It was really sweet and a nice connection. They filmed a chorus of Hit Me With Your Best Shot with the gusto of seasoned improv comedians.

16155615728_fbe4a6602e_z

Improving Hit Me With Your Best Shot with Abbi and Ilana:

It was all so thoughtful and fun and really awesome of them to do that for Dara. The next day during the epic shoot for Chemo Karaoke, it was a great story to tell. And the cake was delicious! Billy’s bakery is the shit, I worked around the corner from them for a few months and fell in love with the banana cake. Trust me. Trust Ilana and Abbi. It’s the best one.

While Dara was talking to Abbi and Ilana, a reporter from the New Yorker sidled up to me and asked my name and Dara’s name because he was trailing them to do an epic piece about Broad City. I had to go through this whole fact checking thing after the fact with someone from the New Yorker*.

IMG_20140618_180212They didn’t send me a copy of the magazine, which I think would just be polite, if you’re going to spend time doing ten minutes of fact checking.

Broad City is shooting to the moon right now! Season 2 just premiered and it’s hilarious. Abbi and Ilana interviewed Sleater-Kinney for NPR (I could not figure out how to get into that event). You can catch all of the first season of Broad City on Hulu, and I think for a limited time on Comedy Central’s app and website without plugging in a television provider. You need a tv cable provider log-in to watch Season 2. And it’s worth it!

14463296416_d2f7e3bbd4_z

Here’s the finished produce of Dara’s Chemo Karaoke video:

*P.S. If you’re reporting something and someone’s name doesn’t sound “real” to you, don’t euphemize it by saying “[H]er girlfriend, who goes by the name Bevin Branlandingham.” Everyone is entitled to use whatever name they want, even if it sounds made up. No need to add the “goes by the name” because it is condescending and unnecessary and will result in many texts and tweets from uppity queers about lack of respect for chosen names. Like why couldn’t he just say, “Her girlfriend, Bevin Branlandingham…” Just saying.

2014-04-23

New Body Love Video by Mary Lambert

This has been an amazing few days of body love video work on the web!

Mary Lambert, the hot tattooed queer singer brought to the stage of the Grammy’s by singing the hook on Macklemore’s “Same Love,” song has released a new video about Body Love!

mary-lambert-the-grammy-nominations-concert-live_3987122

It’s a gorgeous piece of spoken word about loving your body and finding your value within and I was super stoked to see lots of different types of bodies in it, including a trans*gentleman lovingly stroking top surgery scars.

Mary did a whole social media body love campaign to support the release of the video that I lament I didn’t find out about until today when I was cruising her facebook fan page.

Also, a great post-script to the very earnest Mary Lambert video, which is all about how it doesn’t matter if people find you fuckable if you love yourself on the inside, is this super weird but awesomely irreverent video from Ilana Glazer. Ilana is one half of the duo behind Broad City, a tv show on Comedy Central that you can find on Hulu. Broad City is what Girls and Two Broke Girls tries to be but fails. It’s hilarious hijinks of two Jewish girls (one of them is queer) living in Brooklyn. I laughed for a very long time at a subtle Trader Joe’s joke.

Ilana makes the very important point that you, yes you, are completely fuckable and tons of people want to fuck you. And then it kind of devolves into a very “happy 420” place which I suppose is hilarious and makes a lot of sense if you are high, which I was not when I watched it so I’ll find out from friends.

2012-10-18

What Brian Learned from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child

I have to say I feel complicated about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child. I am utterly delighted by the show, and the title character’s lust for chicken nuggets, pink, glitter and tulle are quite dear to my heart. The fact that the family portrayed is not at all interested in class passing and are utterly at liberty on camera being themselves makes them so, in the words of Four Four, free. It also challenges notions of what is “fame” and what is “appropriate” on television. The complicated parts I feel about it are wondering if it is poverty porn? Is it creating a spectacle out of people simply because they don’t conform to what are the typically televised “standards” for Americans? I mean, compared to the Real Housewives, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child is actually a lot more loving and interesting, a show based on interesting unabashed characters versus manufactured drama and pretend wealth on Barbie bodies.

Heather likes to tell me I’m really idealistic because I still believe that television can do good things. (She said this after I talked about how much the Real Housewives does to advance women’s spirituality since they all go to psychics.) I think that a television show highlighting a working class family from rural Georgia who don’t conform to body standards is radical in its own way. I mean, Mama on that show has plenty of body shame to dish out on other fat women which I find really sad, but she’s still a fat woman on prime time television and that’s better than yet another Kardashian look-alike.

Anyway, my BFF Brian posted these brilliant recaps of Honey Boo Boo on his Facebook page that he has given me liberty to share with you, dear readers, in case you were wondering what you missed or, like us, are missing the weekly installments of wacky hijinks in South Georgia.

xo,

Bevin

IMG_3688.JPG
Me and Brian on his birthday. Our friendship just turned 12!

Last night, Arnie and I sat down to watch the premier of this program. We had a houseguest from China. We baked pasta and poured pinot noir. I learned a lot. These are the top 10 things I learned.

1) A vagina is more properly known as a biscuit. This is becuase vaginas flake open like a really well made biscuit. Like the kind you get at Hardees.

2) When searching for a family home, don’t look for one that is merely near the rail road tracks. Look for one that has freight trains constantly roaring through on an easement you’ve granted the rail road across your lawn.

3) In some parts of Georgia, black men get the confederate flag painted onto their chests and drape themselves in an Ol’ Dixie the size of a bed sheet at sporting events.

4) In some parts of Georgia, bobbing for pigs feet and belly flopping in a puddle of mud are considered sport equivalent to the Olympic Games.

5) You can never have enough living room furniture on which to display pallet after pallet of toilet paper.

6) The best way to lose weight is to fart 12 to 15 times per day, while passing around a bucket of cheese balls. This is because it is a fact that farting 12-15 times per day is a sign of good health.

7) If something like one in three hundred people who swim in a local stagnant pond will contract the flesh eathing bacteria known to be living the local stagnant pond, these are acceptable odds.

8) It is acceptable to refer to your teen daugher as “Chubbs.”

9) Most often, when one excuses oneself from the dinner table, it is because one has to make a poo poo. If you are a “what you see is what you get” kind of person, the intent to go make a poo poo should be announced when leaving the table in the middle of the meal.

10) The only way to avoid having nasty hair is to always wash it in the kitchen sink. Use a stool if necessary.

***

Last night, was another episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child. I learned a lot. These are the top ten things I learned.

1) Extreme couponing is even better than sex; it’s like doing your crack rock. And if you’re doing it right it takes an hour and a half to get through the checkout line.

2) If you are an adult standing up in a shopping cart, you may fall and take out and end cap.

3) The best place to pick wax out of your ears? The dining room table.

4) If you put a teacup piggy with on the dining room table, it will shit on the table where you eat. This is hilarious!

5) How to have a good time on the weekends: Find the carcass of a deer that has been hit by a car lying on the side of the road. Grind up the deer and put it in the freezer for later eating. Good times.

6) A redneck waterslide can be made from a tarp, a hose, and a bottle of baby oil. It may be a little messy, but God made the dirt and the dirt don’t hurt.

7) Elvis helps Santa Claus make toys.

8) If you and your baby daddy are on an anniversary date, romance is in order. Here are some romantic things you can do. Use a fork, just this one time. Eating with your hands is for all the other days. Feed your baby daddy jell-o off your spoon. Sexy and jiggly both. Give your baby mamma a gift. Wrap up a 40 pound, bronze statue of a deer, no need to box it, and reference your road kill weekends as reason a deer statue is meaningful.

9) Common law spouses are more properly known as “Shack-‘em-up mates.”

10) If there is no sign posted at your business explicitly forbidding pigs, then it is assumed that pigs are allowed in your dress shop.
***
I just watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. These are the top ten things I learned.

523251_10152064008180137_1785218337_n.jpg

1. Summers are hot.

2. In some parts of Georgia, goods can be obtained at the Kuntry Stoe

3. Practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice make perfect.

4. Pets like to be fed. This is annoying. Therefore it’s ok to rip a child’s pet out of her arms and give it back to the breeder.

5. It is a good idea to put you 6 year old on a four wheeler especially after getting a good laugh when Crazy Tony gets crushed underneath his.

6. Mama does not like to be thrown in the mud because she can’t get out.

7. Best place to trim toenails is in Mama’s bed. Trimmings should be left behind in the sheets.

8. Mama thinks Sugar Bear should wear his Santa suit to bed in July because it is “smexy.”

9. When having contractions, best not to pee so you don’t have your baby in the toilet.

10. The later stages of pregnancy hurt your biscuit.

***

I just watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned:

240302_10152086826450137_1707459305_o.jpg

– New babies smell like poop.

– Cream cheese tastes great straight from the container. Even better when it’s licked from your fingers.

– At water parks folks let their vajiggle-jaggle hang out out.

– If you never remove your socks on account of one time your foot got run over by a forklift and now your toes are mildly deformed, insects will NEST IN YOUR FLESH.

– Spray tan is like poop in a can.

– There is something called a “Rock Star Diva Pageant.”

– If you have sass judges will looooooooove you.

– If your nerves are getting the better of you while you are waiting for that gay up front to announce whether your child has won “Grand Supreme,” just lay down on the floor. Keeping your seat is neither necessary nor possible.

***
Hey, you guys! I just saw the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned.

620900_10152103665990137_263117926_o.jpg

– Shhh! It’s a Wig. Is is the name of a place.

– Wigs for children are called wiglets.

– In the summer, you can pass time by stayin’ inside and diggin’ your boogers.

– The best time to invest in a new pool is the last week of summer.

– Sugar Bear’s puttin’-together-skills ain’t that good.

– If you get two sides, then why can’t the sides be meat? This is the eternal question.

– There ain’t no helpin’ crazy.

– In Georgia, the “Department Store” is a dumpster in a field. You can get there via four wheeler and they have very good prices.

***

I watched the latest episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you guys. I learned some stuff. This is what I learned.

468274_10152120549415137_1376113750_o.jpg

– The Bam Bam look is when you don’t wear shoes to go shopping at the gas station mini-mart.

– Each roller skate must be put on the correct foot. Otherwise wearing them is uncomfortable.

– Your baby does not come out of your butt. It comes out of your biscuit. But a woman will ew herself before she has a a baby.

– Do not piss on mama’s couch. Do. Not.

– Recipe for lemonade: take five pounds of sugar and add 2 gallons of lemon juice. This is because the secret to good lemonade is a lot of sugar and a lot of lemon juice.

– What’s for dinner? Butter, sketti, and ketchup.

– It’s been a while since Alana done had road kill in her belly. This is because the deer ain’t migrating like they used to.

523806_10152152048070137_572483047_n.jpg
The recipe for sketti. It’s actually really good, in case you are out of pasta sauce at your house.

***
Hey, you guys! I saw tonight’s episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I learned stuff. This is what I learned.

241495_10152136445295137_2134170639_o.jpg

-Supermodels look like they are undergoing electroshock.

-Mama don’t wear no makeup. Period.

-A good way to earn money if you’re impoverished is to play bingo.

-Bingo is a sport. But couponin’ is mama’s all time favorite sport.

-Miss Georgia 2011 is that tall in real life.

-If Alana can’t talk with her mouth full, when is she gonna talk?

-Miss Georgia 2011 never thought she’d say “fart” on camera, but that was before she met Honey Boo Boo, so…

-Perfect gifts for a 7 year old on her birthday: Hot sauce, soap, and cereal bars.

-Forklift foot and gravity sometimes conspire to prevent Mama from enjoying inflatable water slides.

-One more thing. Look it up yourself. #booboosneeze

Next week is the family sized season finale.

***

Hey, you guys. I saw the season finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo tonight. This is a photo of Alana’s reaction to being told she may want to avoid chicken nuggets.

603588_10152152504085137_1716117636_n-2.jpg

I learned a few final things over the course of this family sized episode. This is what I learned.

-Good place for a family portrait? Under an overpass.

-Sugar bear is not the dress up type. Unlessen it’s a funeral.

-Baby Kaitlin arrived on the Biscuit Express.

-Baby’s don’t smell bad like raunchy biscuit bad. More like formula bad.

-Eleven fingered babies remind Sugar Bear of Swiss Army Knives.

-Chubbs may not be an animal person.

-If you have to choose between going to a pageant and attending the birth of a youngin’, remember that the youngin’ will be born only once. You can’t take that back.

-Alana to gnats: Move to Africa. I’ll help you pack your stuff.

-Says Mama, “I raise my kids to be who they are. You can like us or love us. ” And she’s right. Those are the only choices.

-Alana has chicken nugget power.

2011-10-30

What You Could Be Watching Instantly Right Now

Filed under: Queer Oprah — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:18 pm

Oh my lard, readers, it has been a crazy adventure. And by adventure I mean I have done literally nothing but convulse/rest/look pathetic in bed for a solid seven days, then in my recovery period I went to work, came home and fell asleep. The flu. Bad. I am paler than usual and have very little creative juice available.

I know I left you all hanging in the middle of GAY SEX WEEK. Never fear, it shall resume next week. Having the flu is totally not on my sexy lifestyle agenda and every time I thought “It’s International Fisting Day I need to finish my blog post” I followed up with “Oh my goddess this hurts so bad (good thing everything is temporary).” I like to add the good thing everything is temporary to the end of unpleasant experiences, it is helpful in maintaining a good attitude. So next week, patient readers. I have more GAY SEX WEEK gems!

The one thing I am really up on are the things you can stream instantly on your computer, since that is what is seeing me through these days. Most of what I’ve been watching are courtesy of the recommendations of friends. Hopefully this blesses my fellow crusaders against the flu virus. Grab a popsicle and some clear liquids and start streaming!


It snowed in October on Saturday. It was crazy. And cold.

What I’m Streaming Lately on Netflix Watch Instantly
Yeah, I know they went through it with their whole “We’re raising prices, we’re splitting in two, wait no we’re not!” thing. I dumped my DVD component and I think I’m just fine with streaming only. $7.99 a month isn’t bad.

Breaking Bad
Basically, this chemistry teacher who is living the American reality of barely making it on his salary finds out his wife is surprise pregnant, his son is 16 and has cerebral palsy, and he is diagnosed with lung cancer with 18 months to live. His money making plan to ensure his family’s future? Cooking crystal meth. There are three seasons available on Netflix and I have ripped through the first two. The show is high intensity, moody and moves slowly. The acting is exquisite. I am often reminded of the advice I got when I was in college “Never trust a tweaker.” This show is like Weeds meets Bill Nye the Science Guy meets Dexter. Queer content: minimal.

Friday Night Lights
My sports knowledge and interest are about even at zilch. I thought briefly about cruising gay softball leagues for dates but even the chance to get laid didn’t bring me out to the ballgame. So it speaks volumes to the writers of Friday Night Lights that it kept my interest for five seasons straight that I binged on for about 2 months. The characters are riveting, the marriage between Kyle Chandler (I mean, Coach Taylor) and Tami Taylor is very realistic, so is their relationship to their teenage daughter Julie. The dreamy Tim Riggins is basically the brooding alcoholic most girls dream of. Football plays a major role in the plot and I found myself learning and caring about the game. I found it much easier to follow the show on Netflix than I did when it aired on tv–sometimes it moves slow but then turns on a dime. Queer content: a couple characters come out but the plots never really go anywhere.

Joan Rivers: Piece of Work
Joan Rivers is all show biz all the time. This documentary of a year in her life is really fascinating, I love how she constantly reinvents herself. I also really admire her admitted workaholism well into her seventies. Did you know she and Melissa Rivers processed the suicide of Melissa’s dad by writing and starring in a TV movie about the experience of his suicide? It’s bananas. Queer content: it’s show biz. Lots of queers around.

Kevin Smith: Too Fat For 40
I wish Kevin Smith would jump on the body love bandwagon, considering what a good advocate he ended up being after he got kicked off a Southwest flight for being too fat.* Body accepting he is not, but he is a great storyteller and this performance video of his 40th birthday party/live performance in Red Bank is really interesting. Essentially Kevin takes a question from the audience and tells one riveting story after another from his life as a director and midlife developed pothead. I aspire to being able to be that good of a storyteller. Queer content: Kevin goes on at length about his gay bear friend who teaches him about gay bear terminology–pretty accurately.

What I’m Streaming Lately on Hulu for Free

American Horror Story
Starring Connie Britton, the mom from Friday Night Lights, and Dylan McDermott, I was sold on the cast already. It was created by Ryan Murphy of Glee/Nip/Tuck fame and this show is as scary as Glee is obnoxious/addictive. Now, this really depends on your definition of what is scary and I am more of a psychological horror movie person. But they play the strings like a good violin and yet I find it compelling and want to know more about this creepy murder house (flashbacks to different histories of the house pepper each episode) and watch more. Queer content: former owners of the house were a gay couple, I can’t decide how I feel about them being discussed the way they are–mostly I’m annoyed at the kinkphobia and wonder if that will get resolved later on.

Pan Am
While this show doesn’t have the amazing storytelling, characters or cast of Mad Men, it certainly has the costumes and props. It’s very adventurous, much like a Nancy Drew novel, and a great eye candy sort of thing to keep your mind off your ailing body. I suggest watching the behind the scenes content on Hulu–lots of real Pan Am flight attendants from the 60s talking about their real experiences and how it is incorporated into the show. Queer content: So far none.

Parks and Recreation
This is a show I tried when it first aired and couldn’t get into it. Then I binged on it one night while working on my taxes and was swayed. The characters are hilarious–I especially love government hating bureaucrat Ron Swanson and the ceaselessly self-promoting Tom Haverford. It is rare I’m interested in anything enough to watch it more than once but I’ll happily go through the first few seasons on Netflix again and again and the most recent episodes on Hulu. Queer content: minimal.

What I’m Borrowing From a Friend on DVD

The Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 2

Someone on TMZ was tweeting that if you have a favorite Housewife you shouldn’t be allowed to procreate. I think that is crap. The Real Housewives is a really well-crafted show based on folks who have (or appear to have) lots of dough and lots of time on their hands to wallow in drama. On the surface this would drive me crazy but for some reason the alchemy in certain casts is really great. My BFF Brian loaned me this season of this cast and I found it helpful to watch to keep chugging through the agony of the flu. All of these women are incessantly complaining about castmate Danielle, who is one of those people who is so out of touch with reality that knowing her might make you question your own grip on reality–I’ve known a lot of Danielles in my time. Also I love Caroline’s no-nonsense attitude and her wacky adult kids. Queer content: gay friend of Caroline’s son makes a few appearances (more in season 3).

Anyway, friends, back with more soon. Send your healing vibes my way! Happy streaming!

*By the way, I will never fly Southwest. Ever. I don’t care how cheap it is, they keep kicking people off their planes for really fucked up reasons.

2011-08-31

Fatting Around The Premier Party for TLC’s “Big Sexy”

IMG_0441.JPG

My dear friend Leslie is on a new show on TLC called Big Sexy*. It follows the lives of five New York City women aged 24-30something who are all plus size and work in the thin-centric fashion industry. Big Sexy premiered last night and has two more episodes that air on Tuesday nights at 10PM. I’m sure the first episode will re-run a few times this week.

IMG_0456.JPG
Me and Big Sexy star Audrey.

Leslie and her fellow cast mates organized a viewing party for their friends and family at a big sports bar in Times Square.

IMG_0451.JPG

It was studded with the NYC plus size fashion glitterati. From my perch on the third floor I spied Monif C. (whose fashions were all over the fashion show and Nikki’s photos on the show), GabiFresh

IMG_0464.JPG
Wilbur of SK Wilbur Designs. (and his mom!)

IMG_0480.JPG
Plus size stylist Steffany Bready Edwards.

IMG_0442.JPG
Local celebrity Glenn Marla kept screaming “Curvy girls rock! Big is beautiful!” In the spirit of the evening. Glenn didn’t think the show was “overwhelmingly offensive.”

IMG_0425.JPG
Mackenzi, who shares a name with a lot of the stars of Toddlers and Tiaras.

It was also very Times Square realness, which is a different experience from typical Manhattan nightlife for those of us who live in NYC and rarely go near tourist-packed Times Square. This German tourist told me that she wouldn’t know I was a lesbian if she just looked at me. Mackenzi told her “She even goes to Michfest!” Femme invisibility strikes again!

IMG_0467.JPG
This other tourist wanted me and Audrey to pose in a photo with him so I asked Audrey to act like a tourist with me, thumbs-up style.

The cast worked hard to make the party happen, getting various sponsors including this vodka. We had $5 drinks all night (I enjoyed the Big Sexy Tini) and while outside on a smoke break with Mac I noticed that the vodka was low calorie via this giant billboard. Not that you could tell in the beverages, or that it really mattered since each drink was made with sugary mixers.

IMG_0461.JPG

IMG_0431.JPG

IMG_0488.JPG
It supposedly has electrolytes.

I brought my girlfriend Cougar, and it was really fun to point out all of the outfits the girls on the show were wearing that they bought from Re/Dress. Three of the five cast members got their New York Fashion Week outfits from our store.

IMG_0429.JPG
After being single for so long it’s fun to have a plus one who really likes going out.

I was excited to finally see the show, having heard about the concept since Summer 2010. I was impressed at how it turned out. I was especially happy to see all of the fat positivity that managed to seep through the editing for TV/entertainment process. They made the cast seem very relatable.

Big Sexy Premiere

Things I loved about the show:

Seeing Re/Dress (the store Leslie and I work at)–it looked great, fun and huge, which is hard to convey to folks when they haven’t been to our warehouse-sized store in real life.

IMG_0453.JPG

Tiffany asked her ex-boyfriend whether he dumped her because she was fat and he said “No, it was because you’re crazy.”

IMG_0487.JPG
Tiffany.

Tiffany dressing down a boy who said he only did it to fat girls when he’s drunk.

IMG_0438.JPG

Heather making fun of self-identified wizards who want to date fat girls.

IMG_0434.JPG

Leslie delivering clever lines like “Double chin win.”

IMG_0435.JPG

Leslie and Audrey shopping at Pat Fields and discussing using dresses made for thin women as accessories.

IMG_0500.JPG
Nikki and her BF.

Audrey admitting to being a 24 year old virgin, which I thought was a brave choice, especially contrasted to many other reality shows that make it seem like everyone is having sex by high school in our society. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 21 and had graduated from college and I think being a late bloomer was a good choice for me, but something I had a lot of shame about when I was living it.

IMG_0494.JPG

I wasn’t thrilled with the show’s depiction of the BBW party the cast attended. I thought they portrayed the women who attended as dowdy and desperate, which I didn’t think was fair. I also thought they were policing the sexuality of the women participating in the thunder thighs contest–sure it’s not the classiest portrayal of sexuality but I think policing bodies of any kind is disempowering to everyone involved. Body shaming is certainly more degrading than participating in something sexual and fun that might be bringing a lot of empowerment to the women who are involved.

In that same vein, I think all bodies should be celebrated and my body liberation politics cringe when I hear the show’s tag line “Once you go big you never go twig.” Everyone deserves love and dignity, no matter their size.

Of course since this is a queer blog I have to comment on the lack of queer content in the show so far. I did offer to be Leslie’s gay bestie on the show, but so far the production company hasn’t taken me up on the offer. I imagine myself to be like NeNe’s friend Dwight, but stealth queer in appearance, at least to German tourists.

And you have to talk about commercials. As someone who has considered a couple of different reality show projects, one of the concerns that is always brought up is “Will all of the commercials be weight loss commercials juxtaposing our fat positive message with interests capitalizing on insecurity?” I noted in the first commercial break a long commercial for Weight Watchers.

IMG_0447.JPG

But then the next break had a commercial (that elicited cheers from the crowd) for Lane Bryant/Cacique.

IMG_0454.JPG

And later on there was a pizza rolls commercial. So I think it really spanned the weight-related commercial spectrum.

Overall, though, I love the show and I can’t wait to see the next two episodes. I hope it continues to talk about the real frustrations and triumphs of living big and sexy in New York City!

*The name stumped me for awhile until I was told that Big Sexy is something that fat girls get cat-called with. Here’s hoping we can reclaim that from cat calls by saying Hey Big Sexy to each other.

2010-06-28

Help Me Get a Talk Show! Also, Rebel Cupcake!

I am involved in a really exciting contest! Sometimes my friends call me the Queer Oprah, because within five minutes of meeting someone I’ll get their life story. And my career goal to have a talk show. Well, Oprah herself is having a contest to pick the next talk show star for her new network, OWN.

It took a lot of work, but I submitted my entry and am on a mission to get 100,000 votes by Saturday, when the voting ends.

VOTE HERE! CLICKIE!

Here’s the description of my talk show. There’s also a video of me (bonus to you if you can figure out what my hair bling is) on the voting page.

Bevin Branlandingham is a warrior for self-acceptance and wants to create a show built around the lifelong journey to self love. Her show includes four major components: Health at Every Size (physical and emotional/mental health), Style at Every Size, Sharing Stories, and a Variety Show Aspect including the network of artists Bevin works with that celebrate the radical act of self love. Bevin has an open-minded and soothing spirit that will inspire viewers of all backgrounds to get to loving themselves.

Thanks in advance for your voting (I have no idea if there’s a limit on how many times you can vote), telling your friends and whoever else you think would be into supporting my dream to have a talk show about self love!

****

Life never ceases to be anything but a roller coaster. I had some incredibly great news and some incredibly sad news, within hours of one another. My California tour was really fun and amazing, I met some inspirational people, filmed a section for the Fierce Fat Femmes documentary with the insanely gorgeous Kelli Jean Drinkwater, performed, produced and then took some time off in Southern California. I came back to Brooklyn in the heat of Femme Pride Week, followed immediately by LGBTQ Pride Week. Now things are set to wind down for a moment.

36199_402489659385_512354385_4082331_5776615_n.jpg
Happy Pride! Photo by Nogga Schwartz from the last Rebel Cupcake: Queer Root. More photos here.

I’m super excited for the next Rebel Cupcake, July 8th. One of my besties, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is in town from Oakland. Along with her is Kit Yan (reigning Mr. Transman and brilliant slam poet), BUTCHLESQUE by Grrls Who Run with Foxes (who promise no sawdust and glitter in the audience) and Burlesque by Bambi Galore.

rebelcupcake3beach

If you’re a plan in advance person, the August Rebel Cupcake is on August 26. The theme is Steel Magnolias!

And remember to vote for my talk show! Voting ends Saturday!

2009-05-26

What’s the Fattest thing you’ve done today?

Right now I’m on Gaycation with my Bestie Rachael (The founder of Femme Mafia International and FemmeCast’s Sexpert), which basically means I get a cheap flight to Atlanta and come live down here for a few days, going to parties and living life cheaper than in the Big Apple. Plus I love the South with a great passion.

One of the nicest things about Atlanta is that socializing is fundamentally different. I find in NYC we’re all so busy and it takes so long to get from one part of one borough to another that we tend to meet one another at events and restaurants instead of loafing around in our apartments being casual and relaxed. Plus our apartments are pretty small. In Atlanta they have big houses that cost less to rent per month than my 2 bedroom apartment.

IMG_9255
Me, Rachael and our friend Angela during a dirty south bar crawl (through all the dirtiest gay bars in Atlanta).

Since I don’t have TV at my house, I binge on BS tv when I’m gaycationing with Rachael, cozied up in her king size bed. Last time I was here she introduced me to the Real Housewives of Atlanta*. This time I discovered the magic of the BBC documentary Should I Smoke Dope? It is hysterical watching this reporter get high for thirty days and try to record it for posterity. “I don’t want to eat the crisps but then I wake up and I’ve had four bags and a chocolate cake!”

Part of the joy of not watching TV regularly is not being exposed to commercials, and especially diet commercials. I have now seen this new Weight Watchers ad campaign** about Hunger as a cute fuzzy monster plush doll. It’s as though Hunger is a Muppet. He even tap dances like he’s on a vaudeville stage.

The concept of the commercials is that these women (and only women) ignore/defeat their Hunger, despite the fact that he’s hella cute and chilling in the vending machine at work. However, I think Hunger is totally awesome and I want to take him with me everywhere and make sure he gets chorizo when he needs it.

weight-watchers-commercial

I introduced the concept of the fattest thing you did all day in FemmeCast episode 3.5. In brief, last summer Glenn Marla came up with the brilliant idea that fat people (and fat allies) should start cataloging the fattest thing they do every day***. It’s a great way to train yourself to relearn fat as a good, positive and fun thing instead of the mean, crappy word it usually is. I also like to use humor to gain some power/control over oppression and it’s fun to joke about oppression with your other fat and fat ally friends.

The fattest thing I did today was try to go into a Weight Watchers (clinic? meeting space? storefront? what are they called in strip malls?) so that I could see if they had Hunger plush dolls. They did, but they weren’t open, sadly. I totally want to have one to bring with me to restaurants and take photos with, doing lots of creative things with Hunger. And also maybe have one with a squeaker inside for Macy, my Shih Tzu, to play with.

Not that I’m saying hunger is a good thing, I’m just much more likely to want to have fun with it in order to make fun of the diet industry. I think instead of trying to fight hunger, you should try listening to your body and what kind of information your hunger is giving you. And let it give you a good show when it is tap dancing.

*My favorite quote from that series is “Have you ever seen such beautiful feet on a man? I am fifty years old, have you EVER seen such beautiful feet on a man??” That series is delightful.

**I also really like the F-Word write-up about the Hunger campaign and Janeane Garafalo’s schilling WW.

***This also works with other identities. To celebrate queer femme identity, I like to have all of the Femme Family Madams do a go around before each meeting answering the question “What’s the Femmest thing you’ve done today?” Today Madam of Southern Glam, Amanda, tweeted “femmest thing i did today: use a power sander on my newly purchased antique makeup vanity.” That’s my favorite answer so far.

Powered by WordPress