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

2016-08-08

Dollypalooza NYC is September 3rd, Here’s How to Get a Free Dolly for President Poster

Dara and I have been so hard at work expanding Dollypalooza, the epic fan tribute to Dolly Parton I started in 2014.

dollypaloozagroupsingLast year’s big finale! All photos by Ves Pitts for Dollypalooza unless otherwise noted.

First expansion: we moved to a bigger venue in NYC and doubled our capacity! We sold out last year and hope to get even more Dolly fans in the door. Tickets are on sale now for the September 3rd show (Labor Day weekend) and if you buy them by August 10th (Wednesday) you’ll get a free Dolly for President poster! Pick it up at our merch table, it will be under whatever name you give when you buy your tickets.

Second expansion: we added an LA show! October 29th, we’re calling it “Dolloween” because we hope people will dress like Dolly or related Dolly characters/country cuteness. Tickets are not yet on sale, I’m still booking it out. If you know a performer in LA or willing to come to LA, send them the online form to apply! I especially want to curate a diverse cast, so folks of color, queer folks, older folks and folks of size are highly encouraged to apply. I cast drag queens, burlesque artists, performance artists, tap dance, puppetry, anything campy or fun and in the spirit of Dolly Parton. Application deadline is August 23rd.

ladyquesakimberlydarlindaLady Quesa’Dilla, Kimberly Clark (who played accordion with Doll Parts last year!) and Darlinda, Just Darlinda.

Here’s all the good stuff about NYC:

This is the first year we’re having a photo booth! My incredibly talented artist friends Ryan and Matt are driving in from St. Louis to install it with 40+ props! Including Dolly wig cut outs, boobs, quotes and other memory makers. One of my favorite queer photographers, Shoog McDaniel, is taking portraits!

We added a trivia component! I always wanted to play Dolly trivia so I am putting it together. The webmaster of the longest-running Dolly fan website, Dollymania.net has agreed to write the trivia. The winning team at trivia will get a basket of Dolly goodies to divvy up between them.

The performers are amazing as always.

♥A full 45 minute set by the very fun and gifted Dolly Parton Tribute Band, Doll Parts. The enthusiasm they play with is from the hearts of people who love Dolly at level 10.

dollpartsfinale

♥My hero/friend/legendary burlesque super star World Famous *BOB* joins me again as Femmecee. Dollylujiah!

♥Sequinette you’ll remember from the Double Dolly act and last year’s epic Backwoods Barbie/Dolly signature cape act.

sequinettedollyback

♥ Lady Quesa’Dilla, teacher of the children and much like Dolly herself, a charming storyteller.

♥Darlinda, Just Darlinda, a fabulous cutting edge burlesque star, producer and teacher at the School of Burlesque.

♥NathAnn Carrera joins us again as Dolly DJ and will serenade us with 60s era Southern Gothic Dolly tunes and gossip about Dolly and Judy’s moonlight naked runs on her estate.

♥Not on stage but a very talented performer herself, Camille-Bettina Atkinson is my wildly indispensable stage manager. If you know her, get her to belt a few lines of “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.”

camille

New this year to the NYC stage:

♥ I am very excited to bring Sweetie–a legendary New York City drag queen (drag mom to my friend Glenn Marla). This article from Paper Magazine about Sweetie is great, I especially love how she talks about how things are opening up around age, femininity and size in the gay community due to the Bear movement.

sweetiePhoto from Paper Magazine.

♥Tammy Cannons!!! I always wanted to bring a small town gay bar drag superstar to Dollypalooza and Tammy is a bright, passionate light and the kind of glitter beard Queen who makes you rethink your ideas about gender.

In addition to our marvelous performers, we have a fan costume contest! I highly encourage folks to dress as Dolly or as a related character (Carl Dean, Burt Reynolds, Judy Ogle), a country queer, or HIGH DOLLY FAN EXTREME whatever that means to you. You can win a cash prize based on audience hollerin’!

nathannNathAnn.

A big part of the show is the benefit for the Imagination Library, Dolly Parton’s early literacy charity that sends books to kids in need from age 0-5 every month. We have some merch for sale (Dolly for President posters and buttons, Dolly Mint reiki infused tea) and some raffle prizes in addition to our silent auction.

Last year we raised over $7,000 and this year we’re aiming for $10,000! We have Dolly fan art from all over to go to the highest bidder, in addition to a trip for two to LA for the LA Dolly Parton show at the Hollywood Bowl, and trips to Dollywood!

Do you have fan art you want to donate? Do you have airline miles you want to donate to help us make awesome silent auction prizes? Do you want to be a matching donor? We would LOVE to talk to you about it. Email me queerfatfemme at gmail and we’ll coordinate.

For both events I have the honor of working with Jessica Scarlett for graphic design (she’s amazing, I’m having her work on Bevin’s Tea as well!) and my friend Bridget Sweetz for web and branding work (also amazing). I love doing work and getting to collaborate with my talented friends!

Here’s the Facebook event

Sign up for the Dollypalooza email list!

Purchase tickets here. Get ’em by August 10th to get your free Dolly for President poster.

dollypalooza_pc_backweb dollypalooza_pc_frontweb

2016-01-07

My Website is Having Issues

Hey y’all. Been having some difficulties on the back end of my website. I run WordPress, and have since the beginning of this blog in 2008. In the past almost eight years I’ve had four big issues, three with hacks and now some backend weird issue with memory allocation. I’m still trying to get it figured out through the WordPress tune-up service from my host. They migrated my site to a new dedicated WordPress server, so folks who have my site cached might have to do some kind of cleansing to get to my site again. Cleansing is good for you? I’m trying to adjust my attitude to seeing this as a positive thing, even though it’s stressful to be on the road and trying to manage stuff from afar. Also I got sick in Illinois and it’s cutting our trip short. More on that later!

I would love to have a WordPress expert person on call who can help me with this stuff as it pops up. (It always happens kind of urgently and I scramble to get someone to help.) Also looking for advice from folks who have blogs with lots of hits about how you handle your backend web stuff. Anyone out there know of a WordPress expert who is taking new clients let me now. queerfatfemme at gmail

Until it all gets fixed, please be patient if you find weirdness trying to read entries on the site. And greetings and happy new year from Truth or Consequences, NM, where I have spent the past 18 hours sleeping, resting, and healing in the magical hot springs water of Blackstone Hot Springs!

hotspringsbevin

Ugh. Websites.

2015-11-11

Call for Couple’s Finances Stories! / Mix Festival is This Week

Hey friends! My incredible roommate Damien Luxe has developed an amazing financial empowerment workshop series (more on that in a later post). I am doing a presentation at the Cross Class Relationships Workshop on November 22nd here in Brooklyn, where I will talk a lot about what I know professionally–prenups, buying real estate, creating agreements–and I will talk about what I know personally having been in cross class relationships. I would like to create a handout resource of personal narratives from folks who have come up with creative financial solutions to finances. Here is the call below:

medamienbedstuyMe and Damien a couple of Springs ago!

Couples’ Finances! Especially *Cross-class couples* or *Couples with Creative Financial Situations* or *Couples who are more than two people*:

I am looking for one or two paragraphs max about struggles you’ve had and creative solutions. This can be about:
*Budgeting together
*Setting and following through with financial goals (like buying property and having kids)
*How you value domestic labor vs paid outside the home labor
*How you work it out when one of you is more resourced
*How you work it out when one of you has higher income
*How you retain independence while comingling finances
*How you pay bills while NOT comingling finances
*Particularly helpful apps or websites for you
… or more things I haven’t thought of!

Email it to queerfatfemme at gmail. Please let me know if you are okay with me including your first name(s) and ages. This handout will likely be archived/available on my blog as a resource for other people! Need these no later than November 20th!

medamiencookiesMe and Damien at our holigay cookie party last year! Going through all of these old photos made me SO SAD to be moving out! It’s been so amazing living with such a kick-ass Femme powerhouse!

*************

This week in NYC is the 28th Annual Mix Festival. It’s a really fun installation art factory for five days only and opened last night. I just got a press release for it with the schedule and it looks dense and hard to figure out what to do. What I usually do with Mix is find out when my friends are screening films or performing, go to those and then just show up (it’s free to hang in the installations) the rest of the time and let the Goddess guide me. Honestly, there will always be something awesome happening at Mix and great folks to meet. Here’s the website, it’s on through Sunday. I cannot underscore how epic and life changing and cute Mix is.

One year there was a uhaul exhibit honoring the legacy of a gay cruising culture in the late 70s and 80s involving truck fucks where they would pop into unlocked trucks in the meat packing district and do it. I haven’t been to the factory yet this year (going tonight for Queer Rebels curated short films) but I am hoping for something as epic.

The week includes:

128 short films! And 15 short-film programs
Four Features!
13 Artist-built installations!
Six original performances!
Four late-night parties (Wed. – Sat.)
35 of the filmmakers themselves live and in person and stoked to answer questions and talk filmcraft!

I’m super excited about the digital archive project happening–I have a few videos I need to get digitized for performance art and for archiving and this is the perfect time to coincide with my move. It also got me to go through my tapes and dvds! You need to make an appointment to do the digital archive. If you want to see some of my feminist films from 1999 swing by tonight!

22010538922_02dfb4b9d8_zWatching the amazing MIZZ JUNE perform last year at Mix. Photo by Tinker Coalescing.

2015-08-02

I Withdrew My Energy from Michfest and Here are 10 of the things I Learned

Filed under: Events and Announcements — Tags: — Bevin @ 10:29 pm

I decided over the Winter to withdraw my energy from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

Since I’ve previously spoken so publicly about why I think trans women should be openly included in the Festival as attendees, performers, workshop presenters, staff and crafts vendors, I think it is important that I speak publicly about my decision to withdraw my energy.

I took inventory of my values. Near the top of my values is my art and activism in the world helping people love themselves. My work is about neutralizing body currency but even more dispelling the myth that anyone is not worthy of love.

Further down the list of my values is my investment in resolving this conflict. The problem for me in the last few years became that I really believed in my strong vision that the conflict could be resolved in favor of trans women’s inclusion. That belief and passion in my conviction fueled me into an energy expenditure that was out of line with my actual system of values.

I felt an obligation to show up to Festival and keep having these conversations because in many ways I grew up there. The Michfest community raised me into political consciousness. I began attending in 2001, at 22 years old. I learned that you could love your body at any size and gender presentation on that land. I learned to love myself there.

2001JelloShot
2001Shuttle2001, I was 22 and fascinated by everything and taking a jello shot just handed to me. // My friends Erica and Karen waiting for the Shuttle.

Over the years they began to feel like my family. Stepping away from my family or a community I belong to when we have a disagreement is not how I roll. I want to show up for conversations. So I did. It was through my privilege as assigned female at birth that I was able to develop these trusting relationships and have these conversations in the way I did. I really believed in the goodness of the place, the culture of the people and the openness and warmth that I know the women there to be capable of. I really believed change could happen.

Going to the Festival takes a lot of energy, it is a huge undertaking mentally, financially, physically and emotionally to live off the grid and outside that long. Working at the Festival takes a lot of energy, putting in 8 hour shifts. Working on actions for inclusion takes energy before, during and after Festival.

2002femmedragkings2002 at the Femme Parade with my drag dad, Johnny KingPin.

In the summers of 2013 and 2014 I added co-facilitating a four part workshop called Allies in Understanding, aimed to develop communication between women on all sides of the debate about trans women’s inclusion. Building bridges and understanding where there had been a total communication breakdown. Not easy work, but I felt like this might be the key to open up a solution to the decades old debate.

Work with Allies was rewarding and effective with incredibly smart women I respect and love, but wildly time consuming. Days during the Festival I would end up working a 12+ hour day. That’s a really huge energy commitment.

photobyandyalseri20102010, Trans Womyn Belong Here action on stage at the Sia concert. Photo by Andy Alseri.

Among the work I’ve been part of I felt was most meaningful was Trans Womyn Belong Here’s scholarship program funding trans women’s attendance. Having their presence so that they could be part of the dialogue on the land about trans women’s inclusion was crucial. Over the past couple of summers the TWBH presence has dwindled, and so has the presence of trans women on the Land. My motivation to do the work was on behalf of trans women who wanted to attend. As that number dwindled, so did my motivation. I don’t feel it ethical to have dialogue about inclusion without a trans women presence, and there were no out trans women in attendance last summer.

I believe everyone in the world is entitled to know and feel their inherent awesomeness. My association with Michfest harmed my ability to do that work. Thus, I decided to withdraw my energy and redirect it towards making the world a better place in different ways.

memegan20072007 Femme Parade with Megan, a friend of mine I met at the Festival in 2002.

Some you win some you learn. I learned a lot. Here are some of the things I learned during my 14 year tenure as a Festival attendee and later, as a staff member:

1. People cling to things as they are with the idea that keeping something alive is succeeding. Things have a lifespan. And letting things have that lifespan is important. The fact that Michfest is ending is okay. Even your own participation in community is a thing that has a lifespan, and it is okay to let go with love.

2. “All that you touch, you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change.”–Octavia Butler, the Parable of the Sower.
I believe nothing can last that cannot bend and change. I’ve learned that watching the Michfest infrastructure unfold from the inside out. I feel that a lot of the reasons Michfest is ending have to do with not being open to change, not just because of the intention but also the ways in which they used their resources and public relations.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of not being willing to change, which is why I was open to checking my value system and seeing if it lined up with where I was putting my energy.

hollynearshrine20082008 inside a Holly Near shrine.

3. I fuck up and I sometimes cause harm, even as I intend to do good. I know that I have fucked up in my process with and my communications about working through this conflict. I am willing to learn. I always want to be doing better. I want to be open to fucking up because I never want the fear of fucking up to hold me back. I want to be open to checking my behavior, actions and words because I want the world to be awesome and I want to help it become awesome-r.

forks20092009.

4. There were more than 2 “sides” to the debate about trans women’s inclusion at Michfest. Certain women wanted autonomous space that was trans inclusive. Certain women wanted autonomous space that was trans exclusive.

There was a whole spectrum of women with feelings in the middle somewhere. Most of them knowing that they wanted autonomous space for women but not sure how trans inclusion would affect that space.

I heard two women tell me the same idea for a trans inclusion policy, one of them identified as trans inclusive and the other as trans exclusive. But both with the same idea. There was more alignment than folks realized looking outside the conflict.

There are lots of folks who still attend the Festival who believe in the full inclusion and participation of trans women.

All of the people who attend the Festival love having a separate space for women identified people. 90% of the folks who attend, regardless of their position in the discussion, want everyone else to be their full expression of themselves for that one week a year in the woods together.

The other 10% are just assholes. There are assholes everywhere you go, even in a loving intentional community. I have learned that.

2010backpackchair2010 with backpack chair.

5. Learning to navigate this issue and love people in spite of our differing politics has actually made it easier for me to open up to my family of origin. I now know how to weather conflict with resilience. I show up with my family authentically myself and I accept them even though I don’t agree with some of them politically. Working with my Grandmother on her internalized ageism, fatphobia (etc etc etc) is a life’s work, but I love her and all the things she’s taught me about owning my Femme. I have more tools for loving her around the places we disagree from having done this work on the Land.

2010grover2010 photo outtake with Grover.

6. I want to give my energy to spaces where trans women are welcome with open arms. Where they are included in the programming and their experiences and needs are just as valuable as the experiences and needs of all women in attendance. Outside of Michfest I do this 100% of the time. I didn’t know at 22 years old that you had to ask if trans women were included in full participation of a women’s festival but I know now that I need to make sure of that before I invest my energy.

Last September I attended the Ohio Lesbian Festival to see what it was like at a fully trans inclusive festival and it turns out it’s great. Anyone who wonders about trans inclusion should go to the LezFest or another inclusive festival like Fabulosa in CA.

transphobia is square 20112011.

7. I think the work to resolve the conflict by the administration of the Festival began in earnest about a decade too late. Maybe if we had Allies in Understanding workshops starting in 2002 we could have seen change enough to create a trans inclusive Festival. (Work on the outside of the administration of the Festival for inclusion, including Camp Trans and actions on the Land, began in earnest in the late 90s.)

I sent my resignation letter via email to the owner of the Festival, and one week later (before she replied to my email) I got the announcement that the Festival was going to end after 40 years.

It was a mind-fuck to learn about the end of the Festival after I had already gone through my own grieving process. To learn that it would end still felt shitty. Especially given the amount of work we had done with Allies in Understanding to build room for resolution in the conflict. It felt like we gave up once we started really working to resolve it. But I realize now that it was too late.

There are hundreds of women I know who attended or wanted to attend the Festival in the past who could no longer hang in there until it became trans inclusive. So many folks have told me how they miss it and they hope for change. Everyone who wanted to attend a trans inclusive Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival has a different kind of mourning that a lesbian institution could not be open to a full spectrum definition of women.

I don’t think there ever has been or ever will be an institution like Michfest and I think the failure to change and the failure to work in earnest to resolve a huge organizational issue lead to its demise.

Though it is owned by just one lesbian, I think that the Festival is the product of the energy of the thousands of women who attended the festival and who ever wanted to attend the Festival. This has always included trans women. I have been told that trans women have always been at the Festival. They certainly have been since I began attending. There’s much to be lamented in the grief around the Festival’s legacy, but I hope there isn’t an erasure of the fact that trans women have always been part of the community.

miraclewhips20112011 with the Miracle Whips.

8. I love my Michfest family and I trust that the relationships I’ve developed will continue to stand. I know lots of folks who stopped going years ago over the issue of trans women’s inclusion who are still considered part of the tribe to the folks they love. I think one of my biggest fears was losing the tribe, but I know that people will speak my name and keep me close to their hearts even if they don’t see me on the land.

9. People get really concerned with other people’s choices. I’ve lost friends and colleagues without a word over this conflict, whether they were people who are staunchly pro-intention or staunchly anti-Michfest.

One of the nicest things a friend of mine said to me was, “Bevin, I love you regardless of where you camp.” And that person was an important part of my process when I was thinking about leaving what I have long regarded my queer homeland. It is scary and hard to put a stop to a thing you’ve had in your mind and a political goal that was so meaningful. It’s really helpful that I had friends who had different political opinions from me who would never go to Michfest hang in there with me to help me make this shift.

facial2012My friend Sam giving me a facial in the woods. 2012.

10. I love going on vacation with big groups of people I know. It’s what made Michfest feel like “home.” It’s the feeling I was willing to work so hard to preserve. Even when I didn’t know a woman, if I saw her on the path I smiled at her, because probably eventually I would meet her. I want to start coordinating big vacation trips with folks I know.

(There’s a cruise to Alaska with some gay friends of mine in September 2016, I’m totally serious about getting a bunch of people together. Let’s cruise and camp and go to theme parks and on RV road trips.)

This summer I am 98% totally happy with not being at Festival. I miss my friends but I know I will see them in the world. It’s not the same as living with them in the same “town” for 2 weeks a year but I feel confident I can womanifest something really awesome in its place.

The 2% missing this year? I miss my breakfasts with Sully, this totally amazing baby I got to eat with every morning last year when I’d get up at 7AM for my workshop prep. I do not get to have breakfast with a baby every day in my real life.

9600470693_0990889476_z2013 with me and Sully.

And I’ll miss the Twilight Zone glow party on Thursday night.

The Twilight Zone has been the home to a bunch of super awesome mostly working class dykes from the Midwest who have always been very trans inclusive and provided the safe(r) space for trans women on the land to camp. The glow party this year will be an epic send-off to a complex much-beloved and much-maligned institution.

PhotobyLauraVogel20092009. Photo by Laura Vogel.

2015-05-24

Rebel Cupcake Dance Party and Cabaret Returns One Night Only June 19th

Hello beloved readers from all over and NYC friends! After a lengthy hiatus, Rebel Cupcake returns one night only for a special engagement at a huge venue with a lot of intention! This is a great event to come to town for in June! The night before the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island!

4777784616_d9d471f45b_zMe, Femmeceeing at Rebel Cupcake 3: Rebel Cupcakes at the Beach. Photo by Nogga Schwartz. You can tell it’s NYC summer in the photos for that show because everyone is glistening from the humidity!

Rebel Cupcake is not just a queer dance party, it is an intentionally body positive space where all bodies are good bodies and everyone’s flamboyance is encouraged and supported. It’s incredible dance jams with lots of room to move. It’s in an accessible space with gender neutral restrooms, a rarity in NYC nightlife venues. It has a 30 minute cabaret with three show stopping acts by diverse artists.

I Femmecee Rebel Cupcake and it is always my favorite thing to present the art I’ve curated with the crowd. When I started doing body positive nightlife I knew a show was important in setting a tone for the evening. It also really helps ease social anxiety and encourages people to mingle–I even give a moment for everyone who is looking to meet folks for make-outs or flirts to raise their hand. People have met their long term partners and besties at Rebel Cupcake! (And if you’re not looking to meet anyone and just dance, there’s space for that too of course!)

16774059314_72a62c4155_bMe and Fancy Feast, our long time resident Stage Kitten who got her start as a stage kitten for the Rebel Cupcake stage and is now a big-time burlesque artist in the NYC scene! Photo by Kelsey Dickey from the June 2012 Rebel Cupcake: Let’s Get Physical.

The theme this time around is Time of Our Lives, which is a riff on the newish dance jam by Pitbull and Ne-Yo about going out and partying even though shit in life is rough, and also a nod to Dirty Dancing because it’s a classic movie that was one of my favorites growing up. I always felt like Baby did going into that dirty dancing party back in the worker area of that resort when I started going out to bars and parties. Even now my social anxiety flares up in a new queer dance space. It’s always my hope to dispel that for folks as quickly as possible at my events!

For our June 19th show, I’ve engaged the services of the AMAZING DJ Precolumbian from Philadelphia. Here’s her bio, she’s extremely talented. Listen to her soundcloud!!

ChaskaWeb

Precolumbian is a Philadelphia-based genderqueer dj, musician, and media activist. Weaving together her Latina/Andina and Queer/Trans ancestries, her work operates as a medium for empowerment, decolonization, and community building. She has been transforming dance floors from Brooklyn to Mexico City, sharing the stage with Big Freedia, Kid Sister, Niña Dioz, A Tribe Called Red, Le1f, Cakes Da Killa and more. Precolumbian was honored with the 2013 Leeway Transformation Award for her innovative work in the club and she was a 2015 Official SXSW Showcasing Artist. Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/precolumbian, MTV Iggy: http://ow.ly/M6G71, Electric-LLama: http://ow.ly/M6GcN, The Media: http://ow.ly/MEXGi

Since this dance party is a celebration of life of sorts, I asked the artists to bring numbers along the theme of “What gives you life.” These are all folks who have done show stoppers before and I’m so excited to have them.

1492213_10201133982331866_567117264_oPhoto of Mizz June by Kelsey Dickey from Rebel Cupcake: BDSM Holiday Party.
Mizz June is one of my favorite people and her music and performance is so captivating. She’s the kind of person you see on stage and never forget.

merry-cherrie
Merrie Cherry is on fire with charisma. She’s a drag queen based in the Bushwick drag scene. She commands a room (I’ve seen folks in bars stop their side conversations transfixed by Merrie Cherry onstage) and I know in the next couple of years she’ll be a household name. (Read this article about why she’s everything)

1266088_10200733798247514_697370623_oPhoto by Kelsey Dickey from Rebel Cupcake: The Craft. There’s been a lot of mash-ups of BDSM and witchy spirituality at Rebel Cupcake!
Miss Mary Wanna has the most unique shimmy of anyone I know in burlesque and she’s bringing ROLLER SKATING BURLESQUE to the Rebel Cupcake stage. It’s an honor to have the facilities to host that kind of epic act.

1272782_10200733802567622_84972401_oPhoto by Kelsey Dickey.

Special Guest Party Host and one of my favorite fat queers Devon Devine of the legendary Hard French party in San Francisco will be joining us!
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Party Host: DJ David John Sokolowski of Hot Fruit / Psychic Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter

When I first started flyering for Rebel Cupcake in 2010 folks asked if there would be cupcakes and I said “Of course!” Which meant before every party I was making several dozen mini cupcakes. Until I prayed to the Goddess for someone to relieve me of the job and she blessed me with Morgan. She has been the Cupcake Princess for Rebel Cupcake for a long time. She’s a gourmet chef and baker, though it is not her all the time gig. (I can imagine if she ever decided to open a bakery or cafe she would be wildly successful, but I kind of love that it’s special just for Rebel Cupcake and folks lucky enough to know her to eat her delicious one of a kind cupcakes.) We’ll have gluten-free/vegan and a boozy gluteny version, free!

131170_4067480605562_1576758754_oHaving Morgan talk about the cupcakes on stage at the Rebel Cupcake: Toddlers and Tiaras show. She’s sooo good with a theme! Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

One of my favorite memories of Rebel Cupcake are her International No Diet Day cupcakes in 2013–she riffed off of grapefruit, reclaiming it from previous bad diets!

135211_4067475925445_1999806388_oIn hindsight I should have been archiving the photos of Morgan’s cupcakes with the description of the ingredients! Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Photos by Kelsey Dickey, our longtime Rebel Cupcake photographer.

1269191_10200733807367742_1043340212_oPhoto by Kelsey Dickey.

I was especially inspired to bring back Rebel Cupcake as a way to channel grief from losing two friends this March. Both were under 40 and one (Taueret) was a close friend of mine when I started Rebel Cupcake. She’s in so many of the photos from Rebel Cupcake when it was a monthly party, performed a couple of times and helped inspire several of the themes.

4777152381_bfe59cf329_zTaueret at the third Rebel Cupcake, adding some sizzle to Bambi Galore’s burlesque act. It was a really hot moment! Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

1417776_10201133974091660_1964427268_oTaueret at the most recent Rebel Cupcake (December 2013, BDSM Holiday Party Rebel Cupcake) with Fureigh, Vic and Dusty playing Leather Daddy Santa. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

4356548063_a3bfb905ec_zPhoto of DJ Sirlinda by DJ Lil Ray.

My friend DJ Sirlinda, who passed in 2012, was part of the very first few Rebel Cupcakes as the DJ. I wanted to honor folks who we danced with by an altar at the side of the stage. Please feel free to bring something (a photo, keepsake, token) that symbolizes a friend you’ve lose who you used to dance with to add to the altar.

Here are all the details. In case you hate waiting in line at party o’clock, advanced tickets get a priority entry line and are a bit cheaper than the door price!

Friday, June 19th, 2015 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake: Time of Our Lives
Littlefield, 622 Degraw St., between 3rd & 4th Aves, Gowanus, BK
Trains: 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, or Q to the Atlantic Terminal, F or G to Carroll
$10 pre sale tickets–priority entry line / $13 at the door
11PM Doors and mingling / 12AM Show

Rebel Cupcake is a body positive queer dance party for all shapes and flavors! Time of Our Lives is about dancing even though things are rough. It’s about the human desire to have a great time. Dance because it feels good. Dance because the music is amazing. Dance in honor of someone you lost you used to dance with. Or just come party with your friends.

Wear: Whatever makes you feel your 100% most authentic and fabulous self. Wear that outfit you can’t wear anywhere else. Wear short shorts for the first time. Wear what gives you life.

Rebel Cupcake began on International No Diet Day in 2010 and has received the following accolades:
*One of the 50 Reasons NYC is the Greatest City in the World, Time Out New York
*Most Eclectic Party, Go Magazine Nightlife Awards
*Best Emcee: Bevin Branlandingham, Go Magazine Nightlife Awards
*But best of all, the repeat compliment, “This is the party I’m most comfortable being my authentic self.”

Accessibility notes: The venue is wheelchair accessible. There are gender neutral single occupancy restrooms. Street parking near the venue. There’s a lounge area in the front of the venue with real chairs. The stage area is standing room, the show will be less than 30 minutes and if you need a chair for show accessibility I can reserve one for you, email queerfatfemme at gmail.com

830264_4533038204211_445095766_oTwerking at Rebel Cupcake: No Pants No Problem February 2013 party. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

2015-03-19

I’m Presenting at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in DC, SEXx Interactive in Philly and Deadline in NYC

Hey dear readers! One of the things I love most is teaching workshops about body positivity, authenticity and sex positivity. It’s a great combination of my passion for performance and information sharing. I have some upcoming appearances I want to share with you in case you happen to be in the area and want to come by.

(P.S. Please introduce yourselves! I promise I will be just a normal amount of awkward. And nobody ever died of awkward.)

10860953_734925559936428_5472055412046050292_oAll photos here are me doing a reading from my almost finished memoir at Drae Campbell’s TELL, a queer storytelling show, last December. Theme was holidays, so that’s why the Santa beer sweatshirt. Photos by BGSQD because it was at the BGSQD, the queer bookstore in NYC.

Washington, DC Area March 21st (this Saturday) I’m on a panel at the annual National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Arlington, VA.

Sex-Positivity: Educate, Empower, and Self-Define

Time: Saturday, 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Description: Sex positivity is the belief that consensual sexual expression is both healthy and important in contributing to a safe and inclusive campus climate. Sex positivity is grounded in comprehensive sex education, exploring and deconstructing gender norms, and promoting body positivity and self-love. Implementing sex positivity is transformational on a multitude of levels, ranging from your relationship with yourself, to relationships within your community, to influencing policy. Join us for a fun-filled conversation that explores how your feminist club can bring sex positivity to your campus!

Moderator: Kelsey Carroll, Feminist Majority Foundation

I’m excited to join the following panelists: Natalie Dibo – President, Goucher College Feminist Collective, Ponta Abadi– blogger, Sex and Privilege, Bevin Branlandingham, blogger, QueerFatFemme, Sophia Kerby, State Policy & Partnerships Coordinator, Advocates for Youth.

10842183_734927129936271_3649774888158777087_o (1)Me with (L-R), Drae Campbell, Kelli Dunham, Topher Gross and Robin Cloud. All of us performed at Meow Mixx back in the day when it was still a bar on the Lower East Side and when I told that to the audience Robin said it meant we were old. But I thought it was kind of beautiful, to perform in this new amazing space and bring that energy of the old bar poetry/comedy/drag/queer performance scene into that space together. Maybe we are kind of old, but at 36 I still feel like I have a lot of life left to live.

Philadelphia, Friday, May 8th, SEXx Interactive Conference.

My talk is last in the 1PM slot (scheduled for 1:36). I’m presenting a TED style talk entitled “Reclaiming Sexuality From a Society that Wants You Disappeared” about my journey to embrace my sexuality as a fat person who was really disembodied for my entire adolescence and into my young adult life.

SEXx Interactive: a journey for the mind, heart and body taking place in Philadelphia May 7-10th. This event is sponsored by GALAEI, a queer Latin@ social organization, in collaboration with a team of sex-positive community members. We seek to: connect the complexities of the intellectual, spiritual, and physical dimensions of sexuality; create spaces for interaction and conversation across gender, race, and sexual orientation; and support the empowerment of the curious and seasoned alike. This interactive forum will engage participants with informational presentations, sexuality-based performances, “how-to” workshops, and sexually-themed art exhibitions. We expect this forum to expand the viability of a sex-positive culture by uniting those of like mind in the pursuit of knowledge and comradeship.

10644320_734925399936444_1684985250348298_oSpeaking of being old, when I saw the logo for one of the presenting organizations for the SEXx Interactive conference it looked very familiar and then I realized that my graphic designer ex partner, Seth, designed the logo when we were together over a decade ago! Small queer world.

New York City, April 3rd, 7PM Deadline: Works In Progress from Cutting Edge Queer Artists. Facebook event here.

Deadline is at the amazing queer bookstore, Bureau of General Services: Queer Division, that now has a permanent space inside the NYC LGBT Center on 13th street.

I’m performing the work in progress of my TED talk from above at this incredible event curated by Sabrina Chap, the roster of former performers at Deadline is really incredible and inspirational.

LA: May 13-27th–I am going to be in LA for two weeks, visiting family and accompanying my partner while she does some education policy conference stuff and a stunt driving course for her 40th birthday. Since I’m in town if you have a college or retreat center or want to produce a thing and want me to perform or present or do a reading or facilitate a discussion, let me know! queerfatfemme at gmail.com

2014-11-07

MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival is Next Week and Why You Should See the Bambi Lake Documentary

Wonderful blog readers, if you have the capability, I’d love it if you opened this video in another tab and listened to the soothing tones of the “Golden Age of Hustlers” by Justin Vivian Bond while you read this blog post. I’ll wait.

Bambi Leaning 1Silas with Bambi.

My friend Silas Howard directed and produced an incredible documentary Sticks and Stones about Bambi Lake premiering in NYC on Tuesday Bambi is the chanteuse, erstwhile sex worker, performer and songwriter of “The Golden Age of Hustlers.” I absolutely adore this song, I’ve seen Vivian perform it several times over the past few years. Sticks and Stones follows Bambi through her old stomping grounds (the ’70s along Polk Street in San Francisco). The 14 minute film has Bambi reminisce about those Golden Days, a three year period before drugs diminished the spirit of the hustling there, pre-AIDS during the Harvey Milk days.

Bambi talks about how she got into performing in the 1980s punk scene in San Francisco and when she developed the courage to begin songwriting. For anyone who is a fan of the song, hearing her tell the beautiful story of San Jose Johnny the Libra is really touching.

Silas cuts into the footage of Bambi and the archival footage with shots from the video shoot for the Golden Age of Hustlers (the video I asked you to play in the background of this post) that Silas co-directed. Sticks and Stones is a really touching story but also very, very sad. “We all get a golden age of about three years,” Bambi says.

The documentary has premiered in San Francisco and LA and is having it’s NYC premiere next week on the opening night of MIX NYC, the queer experimental film festival.

12274733794_a0084c23f1_zHere’s the scale of MIX! It’s giant! A big art factory! All of the photos of MIX here in this post are by Tinker Coalescing.

Last year I went to MIX for the first time and had a blast. I always thought it was just a film festival, but it’s also a huge-scale community art installation featuring epic lounge areas, a stage, performances and so much eye candy to absorb. I plan to spend a few nights there next week during it’s temporary run. Tuesday, November 11 through Sunday, November 16 and then it’s gone.

12774420383_97ba2940db_zLast year one of the installations was the Breastival Vestibule by my friend Rachael Shannon.

The films I’m planning to see are Un(dis)sing Our Abilities–a sexplicit series of shorts about sexualities not seen in the mainstream, queer, fat, disabled, of color and otherwise; One Size Fits All, a series of short films about bodies including the Sins Invalid documentary. Sins Invalid is a performance project based in the Bay Area about sexuality and disability that I’ve never been able to see and am excited to see the film. Nomy Lamm and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha are in it!

Here’s the calendar of films. There are so many to choose from!

12272014053_30bd05f2ca_zHeather Acs produced and performed in a show one evening at MIX. You’ll spy Mizz June there on the left. Heather is producing another show, Ms. Heather’s Drama Club, on November 18th and 19th in NYC.

I’m hostessing at Psychic Fall, a huge nightlife gathering in the MIX NYC space on Saturday, November 15th. RSVP here on the FB or buy presale tickets!

1278807_276340495896758_7447648647983650576_oMe, Cristy Road and Avory Agony at last year’s MIX.

1781559_276340119230129_1756652014182454650_oMy friend Sabina, a queer punk from Sweden.

12272019533_155d6fb28c_zThe MIX Screening room gets tucked away amidst all of the art.

I’m also going to spend a bunch of time hanging out with my friends in the epic art space.

If you can’t make it to MIX Sticks and Stones will release online in the Spring and I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Now go watch the Golden Age of Hustlers video!

2014-07-22

Announcing Dollypalooza September 5th in Brooklyn, NY!

About three months ago I was in Pigeon Forge, TN on a trip to Dollywood with my friend Jess. We are both super fans of Dolly Parton but didn’t think that our adventure to Dollywood was going to be anything more than just a fun trip to check something off my bucket list. We stumbled onto Dolly’s homecoming weekend at the park and a convening of more Dolly fans than I’d ever been around at one time. The energy was intoxicating!

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One highlight from the weekend was going to Night of 1,000 Dollys at a gay bar in Knoxville. There were actually only about 8 Dollys I think, but I couldn’t tell for sure. We couldn’t make it into the bar because it was so packed, but we had a great time in line meeting local folks and taking photos with all the amazing Dolly styled queens who walked by!

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I was super inspired by the event. I’ve produced several Rebel Cupcakes around Dolly Parton themes, including a staged reading of Steel Magnolias with me performing as Dolly’s character Truvy. But I wanted to do it bigger than I have ever done before.

When I got home I booked a great venue, with a huge stage and a backstage area worthy of a LOT of queens ready to honor the glitteriest star in modern times. I love Dolly Parton and I am so thrilled to bring this vision to life!

IMG_6618I kept taking pictures of Jess with the queens and she would be like, “Are you sure you don’t want one.” And I told her, “When the right Dolly comes out, I’ll know it’s time.” This was my Dolly choice.

The event takes place on 9/5–fantastic homage to the song 9 to 5!

Friday, September 5th, 2014 * New York, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
DOLLYPALOOZA: An Epic Fan Tribute to Dolly Parton
Doors 11p, Show 11:45 * $12 early advance, $15 advance, $20 at the door
http://dollypalooza.brownpapertickets.com
LITTLEFIELD, 622 DeGraw Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY
Atlantic Terminal (2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q trains) /Carroll St. (F & G trains)

Dolly Parton has inspired generations of performers and we gather to salute her positivity, flamboyance and high glitz glamour!

Come one, come all, as we use drag, burlesque, live music, performance art and glitter to celebrate all there is to love about Dolly Parton!

Featuring:
World Famous *BOB* performed Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas” while distributing candy canes from her bra at a Rebel Cupcake show in 2011.

Nath Ann Carrera performs a show entitled “I Don’t Want To Throw Rice, I Want To Throw Rocks: The Early Southern Gothicism Of Dolly Parton!”

Merrie Cherrie is a glittery leader in performance communities, much like Dolly herself.

Chris (of Hur) was deemed the most avid Dolly Parton fan of the New York drag scene.

Sequinette created an act about Dolly’s secret Butch lesbian lifestyle.

West Vargina joins Sequinette in recreating Dolly’s vision of the Stairway to Heaven.

Miss Mary Wanna once performed a risquee butter double team number to Dolly’s “Potential New Boyfriend.”

Femmecee Bevin Branlandingham named her law firm after her favorite Dolly Parton movie and considers Dolly a spiritual guru.

and MANY more performers!

Interested in performing at Dollypalooza? Apply here by August 10th.

IMG_6566Examples of great Dolly fan outfits.

FAN CONTEST: Cash prize for the best fan outfit of the evening!
Nath Ann Carrera also DJs before and after the show, there will be epic Dolly dancing!

RAFFLE: A raffle to benefit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (a literacy program that provides one book per month directly to children who need it) will feature amazing prizes!!

RSVP on Facebook!

Accessibility notes: There is plenty of street parking available. There are gender neutral single occupancy bathrooms. Littlefield is wheelchair accessible. Some seating available for folks who need it. Email queerfatfemme at gmail.com

2014-07-10

Bevin Branlandingham Included in Go Magazine’s 100 Women We Love

Every Gay Stamina Month, or “Pride Month” as most people call it, Go Magazine, the big lesbian party and lifestyle magazine, produces a list of 100 Women We Love. This year I’m included!

I’m super honored to be on the list talking about my mission to make the world safe for people to love themselves, and especially their bodies!

″Too many folks spend so much of their lives putting off really living and enjoying themselves until they lose weight or modify themselves in some way. Truly feeling worthy is an inside job, not something that is conditional on outside acceptance or conforming your body to a cultural norm.″

Unlike lots of lists out there, Go Magazine asks for an interview and consent from the participants and I was really grateful to get to talk about what is important to me about the work that I do. Consent is sexy!

Check out the whole article here! 100 Women We Love–Bevin Branlandingham.

20140702_173956My mom is going to be stoked that I’m right next to K.D. Lang.

2014-01-14

I’m in the Happy Healthy Lesbian Telesummit

My new friend and colleague, Amy McDonald, invited me to participate in the first ever Happy, Healthy Lesbian Telesummit.

For those of you who have never participated in a telesummit before, basically it’s an online “event” (meaning, a limited period of time) where you can listen to live or recorded presentations or conversations with moderators. I went deep down the rabbit hole of woo and self-development at the first Hay House World Summit last year. This one is next week! January 20-24!

Facebook The Happy Healthy Lesbian Telesummit

Amy is the Founder of the Happy Healthy Lesbian, an online community for queer women who want to live their best lives. To help us all off to our best start in happiness and health for 2014, Amy has brought together all of her favorite queer women mentors, coaches and guides in The Happy Healthy Lesbian Telesummit.

And guess who she’s chosen to talk all things Happy and Healthy Body? Your old pal, Bevin Branlandingham!

She’s also talking to my health coach Victoria from Heart Beets Holistic, my newly minted relationship coach (more on that journey in a blog post later this week) Christine Dunn-Cunningham of the Lesbian Love Guru, and my friend Dawn Kirby who taught me about tapping! She’s launching a business to help women heal from sexual trauma.

You can register for the summit here. You’ll get emails each day of the Summit with the days’ available conversation to download!

Amy will be speaking with lesbians and queer women from Canada, the USA, Thailand, and Australia, sharing wise woman wisdom about how we can all be happier and healthier this year. Together we’ll share our favorite tips and techniques of happy and healthy bodies, relationships, money, food and nutrition, travel and spirit.

All by queer women for queer women.

Registration is free and easy. AND by registering you’ll also be able to access loads of free gifts from me and Amy’s other guests, including teleclasses, e-books and more.

Register here!

I’m really excited about this event. I hope you can join in the fun!

2013-12-17

Link Farm: Marriage is not a Coupon to Redeem, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Supporting a Loved One through PTSD

I have three things to share with you today that I’m pretty excited about. The first is an article I wrote for Autostraddle to celebrate the launch of their fancy new redesign! It’s all about marriage rights for queers and how marriage isn’t our only option.

“Marriage is like a chlorinated community pool that we now have access to. I think that people forget that queers have been swimming in the ocean the whole time. We have always had to be creative about how we create our love relationships and, now that we don’t have to be creative, I hope we still can be.”

Check it out on Autostraddle!

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This dress is the closest thing I have to a wedding gown right now and I love it so deeply. Gratuitous shots of two of my favorite people and heroes, Barbara Carrellas and Kate Bornstein. The documentary about Kate is available to tour to schools and festivals, get in touch with Sam the director–I saw it last weekend and it is phenomenal.

The second thing is that it is December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. It’s a day of remembrance and solidarity for folks lost this year. Sex work is work, and it can be extremely dangerous as media, laws and other social constructs create a society in which sex workers are not seen as people who deserve protection and are disposable. Working to legalize sex work is something I’ve been interested in since I was in law school over a decade ago. Right now I work with Desiree Alliance, an organization that brings together harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers.

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Me and Jacqueline at the Desiree Alliance Conference last summer. The next one is in the Summer of 2015.

To borrow from my friend Fancy Feast, who says it so eloquently:

I would be nowhere without the sex workers in my life. Today and every day we need to be doing what we can as allies and advocates to make their work safer. That means all sex workers everywhere, not just the white ones, not just the cis ones, not just the ones with college degrees. Every. Last. One of them.

You can learn more about December 17th events and projects here.

The third link I wanted to share was this article about Supporting a Loved One Through PTSD or Panic Attacks. I’ve been going through a lot lately both on my own level with many deaths (three in total) and then also as a caretaker and supporter of a person with breast cancer. As of this morning, I’m maybe going through the process of putting down my other cat (I put down Bear six months ago). It’s a lot! And the last three weeks have been kind of a huge emotional roller coaster. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a difference in care and support and I liked this article and thought it might be useful for folks who look at someone going through a hard time and wonder what to do. For me, right now, it’s just folks being there and being willing to listen.

Often in the midst of the episode, the distressed person doesn’t necessarily have their full vocabulary and can’t articulate exactly what they need in that moment. Afterwards, they may avoid talking about it out of embarrassment, fear, or a desire to preserve the peacefulness of the present.

So how do you learn what is helpful?

If you’re like my partner, mostly through trial and error. However, this cartoon inspired me to draw up a list of tips, taking from my own preferences as well as those of some friends. They’re not universal, but they’re a starting point, I think, for the right mindset.

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My friend Avory cuddling ALF on Friday night.

2013-12-03

Queer Family Holiday Rebel Cupcake Saturday December 7th

rebelcupcakeleatherfam.jpg

It’s here! My annual queer family holiday party! All the pertinent details are here and at the bottom of the post.

This is the fifth annual party I’ve thrown in NYC to celebrate queer families around the holiday season. In 2009 I did a Queer Family Holiday Party (part of the series of shows I produced in advance of getting my first monthly party, Rebel Cupcake). In 2010-2012 I did the monthly Rebel Cupcake in December. Now that Rebel Cupcake is no longer monthly I still wanted to have that holiday coming together spirit. This is an intentional event I do every year to cultivate and celebrate queer families of choice.

I’m very stoked to do things a little different this year–instead of a show I’m having INSTALLATIONS! Each installation artist is curating a specific holiday hybrid with BDSM. I was inspired by a leather family event I went to this summer that had a family photo booth. Why not do it in the holiday way?

LEATHER DADDY SANTA PHOTO BOOTH
Featuring Dusty Shoulders. She promises some amazing beard action, Santa suit and accessories. I’m working with our photographer Kelsey Dickey to have a super cute photo booth so you have something you might want to print out and send as cards to maybe your kinky friends but maybe not your mom (depending on your mom, I guess).

ERIN HOUDINI’S CHRISTMAS TREES
I took a rope class with Erin Houdini a couple of months ago through the Lesbian Sex Mafia and it was awesome! I learned so much. And Erin’s ropes are fucking sumptuous! The colors are also incredible and she’s selling them at Rebel Cupcake for $10 off their online price so bring cash for stocking stuffers. And stick around and watch her decorate people like Christmas trees! I am bringing ornaments.

JACQUELINE MARY’S JEWISH MOMMY HANNUKAH CELEBRATION
Mommy/boy play is awesome and so is Jacqueline and there’s something delightfully maternal about serving latkes and dreidel action. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

DAMIEN LUXE SERVES SOLSTICE
Damien is a genius performance artist and notoriously adept at BDSM so I asked her to serve something for Soltice.

MIZZ JUNE SERVES SHOTS
Whatever she wears will be its own installation, and the incredible Mizz June is always a delight. Buy shots from her, or send a shot to someone else at the party.

DAVID JOHN SOKOLOWSKI SERVES BEATS, BUT LOW ENOUGH SO YOU CAN TALK
One of the secret reasons I love throwing parties is because I have enough influence to set the volume of music. I never understand why music needs to be so loud in a club. And I know this isn’t just because I’m 34, I’ve felt this way since I was 20. Like, at a house party music is loud enough to dance and experience but still soft enough to be able to have a conversation. But at a night club or bar it’s gotta be at top decibal I still don’t understand. So I am the kind of person who is all, play good music but let’s keep it able to have a conversation.

People have met their partners, one night stands, new besties (it’s where I met Jacqueline and many of my dates) and artistic collaborators at past Rebel Cupcakes. I want y’all to mingle and meet folks!

Also David is a great DJ.

FREE TREATS!
My Cupcake Princess is out of town (*sob*) and I haven’t found a back-up yet so if I don’t find someone who wants to make cupcakes for Rebel Cupcakes (you get supplies covered/free admission/GLORY) I will be doing it myself like in the old days. But trust, RC is a place for decadent treats and I try my best to honor our gluten and vegan cupcake challenged siblings.

Here’s all the details. Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, December 7th, 2013 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake 41: Leather Family Holiday
8PM-10PM; NO SHOW–Come early to experience all the installations * $10
Stick around after to dance at TNT til 4a
**NEW LOCATION—THIS N THAT BAR: 108 N. 6th St. @ Berry, Brooklyn, NY
(2 blocks from the Bedford L subway stop)

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From the Queer Holiday Extravaganza in 2009! Me, Deb, Glenn Marla and Taueret from our Re/Dress Brooklyn days! Photo by Ally Picard.

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