Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2021-08-17

I’m Not Engaged but I had an Online Bachelorette Party Anyway and Here’s How it Went

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bevin @ 7:58 pm

If you’ve hung around my blog or social media for awhile you probably know that I’ve been engaged a couple of times. (For those who have been around a really long time you might remember both of those characters!)

Both times I was planning weddings I never felt super inspired to have a Bachelorette party.

Truthfully, I was wildly overwhelmed finalizing a guest list for the wedding, let alone all the sub wedding events that tradition dictates.

I got to the point on the second go-around that I was going to do an invite everyone and take RSVPs til we were at capacity and then do a wait list. I know that sounds tacky to some of you (good thing I don’t really care what people think). My friendships mean a lot to me and I know folks have weird schedules and things come up so it was the way I tried to make it easy for me and for them.

When the second wedding was called off, I thought it was a fun idea to have a bachelorette party while I was still single. When it was a party that would matter to me and a fun celebration of singlehood. And I’m pretty burnt out on being engaged and next time I’m here for a swift engagement. No bachie.

The one big vision I had when I was planning that wedding was t-shirts! I didn’t want “bride squad” shirts I wanted them to say just my name–Bevin. A little Bevin team shirt. (They exist now!)

I had originally hoped that in 2020 I would have a bunch of cute little Bachelorette parties. I was going to go on tour and try to get folks together here and there as I could. Friend reunions! Maybe get some of my pals who now use cannabis to join me at the Glowing Goddess Getaway self care retreats. For me a perfect Bachelorette weekend IS a GGG, simply because relaxation, self care and good fun make for my ideal weekend.

But 2020 happened the way it did, all tours were called off and I was left wondering if maybe I could do an online Bachelorette party. That way, everyone can come, no one has to pay to travel or take out a whole weekend. A couple of hours, some good performances and connection time felt great to me!

I know something isn’t just a passing idea but it’s really something I want to do when it feels like unfinished business. This idea popped around in my brain for over a year!

To be honest, in 2019 I actually needed a Divorce Shower* but I was too emotionally overwhelmed to ask for what I needed. So in 2021 when I was still thinking of this Online Bachelorette and facing a second pandemic June I thought it was a good time to do one.

I connected with my bestie Rachael, an event planner, community organizer and skilled at performative debauchery and we talked through the vision.

I wanted a short performance and then some hang out by the virtual campfire time. Rachael suggested I try a real online platform versus a zoom for professionalism and I happened to have a credit with EventHi an online ticketing site that has been producing tons of great online events all pandemic.

The initial performers came together pretty easily, my favorite drag king Johnny Kingpin (my drag dad from back when I did drag), my favorite performance poet Regie Cabico and my favorite sex ed instructor Ashley Manta the Cannasexual (TM) all said yes! Plus my friend Sailene was willing to do a centering meditation to kick it off and my friend Deidra was willing to do a blessing to close it out. They are both the founders of the Glowing Goddess Getaway and it felt super nourishing to have that energy in the virtual room.

I asked a few other folks to perform who had been meaningful to me during my career so far and got some no’s, but if you’re not hearing no you’re probably not asking enough.

I sent out a bunch of texts and emails to folks I love all over. I loved using EventHi because in addition to sending guest list invites to folks I could just put out the ticket link on my social media and anyone who felt like they wanted to could come through.

Is it a bummer when folks can’t come? Yes. Having planned two weddings and countless events I know that there will always be a few folks who feel essential who won’t be able to prioritize your event. You have to make the relationships more important than the event.**

Even the morning of the event my bestie Rach couldn’t make it because of internet issues. I didn’t sweat it because I just knew the event that was meant to happen would happen.

And it did! I had hired ASL interpreters because of a potential guest who needed them and even though she didn’t make it the interpreters made it really fun and performative online. I cannot recommend it enough for both accessibility and also another level of polish and fun for online events. I have an incredible ASL interpreter for Saturday Zoom Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics and they were able to connect me to two really fun queer interpreters. Watching Ashley Manta do a pleasure based anatomy lesson with ASL interpretation was super rad.

I’m so grateful to everyone who attended and especially the first time Johnny Kingpin did a drag act in many many years. SO CUTE and fun! And if you like poetry and cookies, Regie Cabico has a Queer Cookies Cookbook out you’ll want to see.

The attendance wasn’t giant but honestly I prefer intimate events. I am comfortable on stage in front of thousands but I actually prefer parties with 10-12 folks max. I have grown to understand what I need more in this stage of my life (thank Goddess) and at the end of the event I felt so complete. Loved, connected and nurtured.

People even flirted during my party and went on a date and I love being part of creating connections. That’s a success!

I thought to myself after the event, “I’d rather have a huge turn out at Fat Kid Dance Party class than my Bachelorette! I’m glad I did it because I want someone else to feel permission to celebrate themselves unapologetically when they need it.” And I now have a video of the event to show my future spouse so they can meet my people!

The bachelorette shirts weren’t ready in time for the party but now they are! And you can buy one if you want to have Bevin emblazoned across your chest!

We can always connect socially distanced in real life or on a zoom sometime and celebrate the awesomeness of being (whether in a marriage relationship or not)!

*Divorce Showers make sense to me. When you’re getting married you’re typically combining two households. Maybe in a Bridal Shower you get stuff you want that upgrade you but when you’re divorcing you’re splitting one household into two and you actually need that stuff. And who’s in a great financial position when they’re getting divorced? I sure wasn’t. I think our society over emphasizes weddings and there’s so much pomp and circumstance for a series of events leading up to the wedding. I love pomp and circumstance but I also value relationships over events.

**My favorite definition for a Bridezilla is a bride who is making an event more important than the health of their relationships. I’m not that.

My blog is supported by my Patreon page! I’m an artist entirely supported by Patreon.com/fkdp if you find value in the work I create please consider pledging support through Patreon! Or send a donation into my virtual tip jar: Venmo: @bevin-b Paypal to queerfatfemme (at) gmail dot com or buying a shirt! Thanks for being here!

2021-06-15

Mononymously Using the Name Bevin for Three Years and Here’s How It’s Going

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bevin @ 10:34 pm

I reflected on my podcast last week with my friend Mayuri that I never blogged about dropping my last (and middle) name.

If SJP is back on set as Carrie Bradshaw I can sit at my little table looking out the front window of my home and resume blogging.

I formally adopted a “mononym” in 2018, right around this season. I didn’t even know that word at the time but I knew I had a deadline to decide what my name was going to be in the credits of my life’s greatest work so far.

At the time I was engaged to be married to who I believed was the love of my life! And whose last name ALSO happened to have a B initial so changing my last name but not initial would continue my charming but complicated triple B name.

Born Bevin Barbara B*****ham I wore a lengthy formal name well as a weird child. I hated how unusual my first name was, how no one could spell it. How I was frequently sorted by schools and summer camps into boy cabins because they thought my awesome gender neutral name was a boy name. I have frequently used the name Jenny at Starbucks.

I didn’t even like my paternal grandmother who I was middle named for! I absolutely ADORED my maternal grandmother whose name (Anise) would not have had the triple B initials and my mom said alliteration won out. I love alliteration, I am into it. My name was a good one for the first part of my life.

I changed my stage last name to a dramatic made-up version of my government last name in 2006. A weird former client when I was a lawyer printed out my Friendster profile and send it to the state ethics committee. (Gay hating? Or just an early adopter troll?)

I knew I immediately needed a strong barrier between my professional government name and the name I used when I threw queer nightlife parties, wrote opinionated blogs and all of my other colorful performance art.

My long complicated name Bevin Branlandingham on so many fliers! I just never loved the real estate it took up when I could maybe just go by Bevin? That always was in the back of my mind but I think it felt like taking up too much space to just use one name. IRONIC that less letters felt like more space.

Prince, Cher and Madonna were early examples to me of what was possible with a mononym AND a body of work to back it up. It felt like, of course they use one name they are icons. By 2018 I was starting to think about how it made me feel to not have a last name on things and the feeling was undeniable. It felt right, clean and wonderful.

At the time I was planning a wedding. And the idea of a bachelorette party felt like a wild hassle! I love getting together with friends but planning a wedding and running a small business are two consumptive things and I felt like a destination wedding was plenty for a bachelorette. The only thing I wanted was that moment where everyone is wearing a cute shirt that matches each other.

You know how at some bachelorettes there is a white tee shirt that says Bride and a different color shirt that says Bride Squad? I saw that for me except all the shirts just said “Bevin” on them in a cute barbie font. With a heart over the i. (How I prefer it written, if you’re asking, is with a heart over the i.)

So with all this swirling in my head I even went on facebook and asked if folks thought I should change my stage last name to my future government last name (my ex fiance’s B last name) OR if I should keep Brandlandingham OR if I should drop my other names entirely. Sometimes just talking it out with folks you love helps get clarity on what you really want. I really just wanted to go by one name!

I am SO GLAD I honored my gut instinct and used my mononym for the credits in the Fat Kid Dance Party aerobics video! I sure am glad I didn’t use my ex’s last name! (She is herself named in the credits–she was a big help on that production.)

Since 2018 I learned from queer ancestor & disco legend Sylvester what a mononym was. I have had to explain to multiple journalists “I don’t care what your editor will say, I really only use one name.” I have learned nearly every last name box is impossible to skip on the internet. I get a heart flip of joy when I see my name on a piece of mail with no perfunctory last name.

It makes me feel closer to Prince who I jokingly refer to as my “real dad.” Prince and Bevin are both 5 letters. He’s good at taking what makes him weird and advancing humanity. I study him on you tube a few times a week–dance moves, performativity and mindset.

It also feels undeniably good not having a middle or last name associated with people from whom I experienced violent abuse as a child.

Renaming is a form of reclaiming and I hope you’ll give my podcast with my friend Mayuri a listen. Their story of reclaiming their name is powerful.

One of my dearest longest friends designed a Bevin bachelorette shirt (four designs and styles to choose from) for anyone who wants to support me and delight me to purchase!

And everyone is invited to my online bachelorette party (kinda a campfire with toasts and a brief bit of drag, poetry and a lot of tender moments!

2012-08-23

Re-Entry Nacho Bites

Oh gentle readers. As you know I was away in the woods for two weeks, on an epic road trip to Michigan and back, then I threw Rebel Cupcake (joyfully joined by so many of my friends en route home from Michigan and en route to Baltimore), then I hopped a bus to Baltimore to join the Femme Conference already in progress. I have been on a queer magical utopia high for three weeks and I am having to make adjustments in order to come down from it and get back into my pretty magical day-to-day life.

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At the Femme Conference being unintentionally matchy-matchy with Emma because they picked my outfit that morning.

“Re-entry” as it is called in our circle, “decompression” as it is called in other circles, is really rough. Returning to the “default world” is hard. I used to be the kind of summer camp attendee who cried on the bus coming home (I no longer cry on the way home). I’m a comfortable Earth sign, change can be hard. So I usually build some time into my life for re-entry that usually involves a lot of downtime, watching a series on dvd or something and a shame spiral about cleaning and unpacking. I never know what it is going to take. I also work from home which means I am working to catch-up on being away but also doing the downtime/shame spiral. I’m a mess.

This year I decided to get really decadent when I had a lot of Feelings I didn’t know what to do with and make myself Nacho Bites from scratch. I love tiny food a lot, enjoy a small plates lifestyle even though it’s totally impractical as a bachelorette. Anyone in my immediate circle has heard me proselytizing about Nacho Bites this summer. It’s made by Hot Pockets and is an appetizer in the grocery freezer section and I think has queso, ground beef and salsa. I have been meaning to make them myself with ingredients I liked more that felt less processed and I decided to get into it yesterday.

It took over two hours to prep and then more time to clean-up but I thought it was totally worth it. I usually turn on some kind of inspirational noise (like a talk, sermon or interview) and it’s very meditative. I also felt really grounded and in my space afterward, having felt so odd and not quite at home at home until then.

So, here’s how I cobbled together my Nacho Bites and I am interested to know if folks have better/different/faster dumpling assembly methods than my sort of figure it out on the fly methods. I always love when my favorite bloggers share recipes so here goes.

Ingredients:

Tortilla Dough
(I followed this recipe)
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Homemade Queso
(I followed this recipe–I just didn’t feel like doing the Velveeta version though it is infinitely faster)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Serrano chile, diced
2 jalapeƱos, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1(4-ounce) can RO*TEL (or any can of diced tomatoes with green chiles)
3 cups shredded cheese, cheddar and Jack varieties recommended
1/4 cup sour cream

Nacho Bites Innards
1 recipe Tortilla Dough (or 15 tortilla dough rounds)
1 recipe Homemade Queso (or like 1 1/2 cups of your favorite Queso)
2/3 pounds of ground meat prepared with spice OR some kind of taco seasoning
Try: Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s (my fav), chorizo the regular kind, ground turkey/beef/chicken (I think the poultry sucks up the taco seasoning well, maybe even some carnitas if you’re getting fancy
1 diced jalepeno
1 diced tomato
(You could easily sub about 1/2 cup of salsa but since my queso was very involved I skipped the queso)
1/3 bunch diced fresh cilantro
(I suppose cilantro averse could forego it but I am very very very pro cilantro)
Small handful of scallions if your CSA is overabundant with them like mine is.

Prepare the tortilla dough and pull apart fifteen little globs of it, about an inch and a half each round. Set them out to rise a little.

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Prepare the queso. Take a long time because it takes a long time and be really mindful of the roux. I had to throw in some corn starch toward the end. I also only had buttermilk but whatever. I wish it was a little spicier, so I’ll add more chili next time.

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The queso is so flavorful.

Prepare the meat by cooking it all the way through. Also, if you prepare it with taco seasoning, cook all the water out so there are very little juices left.

Dice up the rest of your ingredients and set aside in little bowls or plates or whatever and prepare to make dumplings!

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At this point pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and put the cookie sheet in there to pre-heat as well.

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The cilantro is really so beautiful.

I flattened out each ball of tortilla dough and assembled them like little mini tacos, being sure not to overfill. Putting a spoonful of meat, then a generous drizzle of queso, a couple dices of jalepeno and tomato and a little sprinkle of cilantro. Then I bundled them together. Traditional Nacho Bites have a pyramid shape and I tried making that, which was most effective.

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I accidentally overfilled one batch of them so I’ve learned from that.

Then take the heated cookie sheet out of the oven (be careful, obvs) and lightly grease it with a little olive oil misto action or some butter, and transfer your dumpling babies to the cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Then pull out and let sit a couple of minutes. Enjoy!

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My dumpling assembly skills continue to need work.

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