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

2017-03-30

FAT SEX WEEK XXL: Meet Fancy Feast Who Made Fat Sex Into a Career

Welcome one and all (who are knowingly entering into this adult-themed conversation)! This is Fat Sex Week XXL, the second edition of QueerFatFemme.com Fat Sex Week where I explore many facets of fat sex. Named for Magic Mike XXL, which was even better than the first Magic Mike, I’m hoping this edition is louder and fatter than ever before! Check this tag for all of the posts!

Rebel Cupcake was a monthly body positive queer dance party and cabaret in Brooklyn I produced. It was at a divey club/bar called Sugarland with the triple threat of sound system, lights and a stage and it was all mine one night a month. I think that a performance sets an energetic stage for a specific experience; I wanted to produce empowering acts that made people feel good about being weirdos. I began every night with an hour or so of 90s R&B and Riot Grrrl music for mingling, then had a brief stage show, then cleared the chairs for a dance party. The shows were about 15 minutes but some nights were longer, like the staged reading of the beauty shop scene from Steel Magnolias. I booked burlesque, Bearlesque, butchlesque, drag queens/kings/gender performers, live music, belly dance, poetry (only knock your socks off great poetry, it was a nightclub), fire performance, readings and whatever else I found in the realm of body positive/weirdo positive/queer and fat performance realm.

Fancy Feast fit right in with the unicorns.

I used to have to hustle every single month to book a stage kitten. I was always relying on the kindness of last minute serendipity. Somehow I would find someone who willing to wear a cute outfit and be on stage picking up clothes from the previous performers in exchange for drink tickets. Fancy Feast walked into Re/Dress, the vintage plus size and resale clothing boutique I worked at, she said she had taken a burlesque class at the New York School of Burlesque (it’s a real thing) and she volunteered to stage kitten if I ever needed one. It was as though the Goddess heard my plea to get someone consistently available to fill this role and here she was.

“We fear not being beautiful.”

After a couple of months and a theme that would work for her (I curated the show themes very thoughtfully) I gave her a slot. She was great, but what was even better was watching her develop as a performer over time. Fancy Feast works really hard and she’s very smart, she thinks things through. She’s always improving. She also has a lot of fun on stage and she owns her body. That, to me, is ultimate sexy right there. It literally doesn’t matter what your body looks like, to me it is how you embody yourself fully that makes you hot on stage.

On being fat on stage: “I walk in the fat one and I get to choose how I walk out.” Photo by David Byrd.

Fancy has flown to the top since her glitter beginnings at Rebel Cupcake. She’s been Miss Coney Island (which is a big deal in New York City and a perfect title for her) and is well-recognized. And now there’s a documentary about her!!!

If you are interested in hearing a smart woman talk about owning her body, performing erotic dance, selling sex toys, living a very realistic NYC performance artist life, subverting beauty standards, and finding a place to express yourself while being weird or exaggerated, you should watch this documentary.

On performing to a not body positive crowd: “I don’t want to walk into a room and know everyone is going to agree with me.” Photo by Ellen Stagg.

Or if you want to be inspired as an artist by another artist’s practice, watch this documentary.

Or if you just want to watch a hot fat woman take her clothes off a lot, watch this documentary.

Glitter spank at Rebel Cupcake, photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Maybe a little bit of all of those things? Leon Chase made this amazing one hour film about what it’s like to be a fat burlesque artist and sex educator, but from the very one of a kind perspective of Fancy Feast.

Fancy Feast also often said yes to other random gigs I had. Go-go dancing at my off-shoot dance party (no performance) Yes Ma’am. Here I am with co-founders and co-producers DJ Average Jo and Nicky Cutler and Fancy Feast is working it even though we were in an art gallery and didn’t know what exactly to use as a go-go box.

I make a brief appearance as Bevin Branlandingham of Rebel Cupcake (major points for spelling my name correctly, Leon). He chose the exact right photos and video clip for Rebel Cupcake. Me in a “Yes Fats Yes Femmes” glitter tank top of my own creation in a still shot with Fancy Feast, and a video of me recreating a gif of a Glitter Spank I saw on Tumblr. Using Fancy Feast’s ass.

Kate Bornstein & her amazing partner Barbara Carellas performed at my Rebel Cupcake second anniversary party. Fancy Feast, as Stage Kitten, was called upon to hold Auntie Kate’s umbrella. Sometimes volunteering has its own glamour! (I’m similarly briefly in a documentary about Kate Bornstein, while introducing her and Barbara at Rebel Cupcake. That documentary is also quite incredible.) Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

People who feel weird among other folks will identify strongly with Fancy Feast. For her and me being weird is a really beautiful thing. You know, being the swan among the ducks, looking for other swans. It just feels so good to me to watch someone on TV (well, chromecasted from youtube) who is reflecting what I believe about all bodies being valuable. About sex being a normal part of human communication that should not be shamed. That glitter is a really important part of self expression.

“Ugly is not the worst thing you can be. Being boring is. Be ugly, not boring.”

Fancy Feast is more than 100% of the time working to advance fat sex, at least by being a fat presence in multiple facets of the sex industry. I felt like it was remarkably appropriate to kick off Fat Sex Week XXL celebrating this incredible documentary. Grab some popcorn and watch it!

Follow Fancy on Twitter @fancyburlyq on Instagram @fancyfeastburlesque and find her on Facebook as Fancy Feast!

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.

2013-05-01

Book Review: Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked by Meggan Watterson

Cruising Twitter one day in early April hero and mentor Barbara Carrellas tweeted that we should check out the new book from her friend Meggan Watterson. I plunged into the internet rabbit hole, learning that this book was about delving inward for spiritual fulfillment, something I have been yearning to develop. With Barbara’s recommendation and my curiosity piqued, I was ready for it. Hay House Books sent me a review copy of Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked.

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The book is part memoir, part self-help manual, part spiritual overview, with a distinct focus on the Divine Feminine. I learned so much about world religions and spiritual practices I didn’t already know.

The author travels on two different pilgrimmages to Divine Feminine sacred sites in Europe and tales of those journeys are part of all of the awakenings in the book. She trumpets many times that she went all that way to find something that was inside herself the whole time.

That’s what was most captivating for me reading this book. I wanted to find a way to not get so rocked to my core every time something happened “to” me or someone in my life left. I’ve done a lot of this work, through building my self-esteem and self-worth, but I know there’s something in my spirituality leading me to that solid, unshakeable core as well. That is the ultimate destination in the relentless pursuit of my joy.

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From the book: “The fierceness of Kali’s iconography is a symbolic attempt to capture the intensity of her force. The complete transformation Kali’s unconditional love demands feels as terrifying as her appearance. It’s a love that is powerful and paradoxical, trasformational and frightening, because it asks for nothing less than complete surrender.” Kali is a goddess for those of us who have been called “too much.”

Meggan talks about her intense fear of flying that she was able to overcome with an integrated spiritual practice, ultimately learning how to replace her fear with faith. By the end of the book she mentions dancing down the aisle of the last commercial flight she was on. A stark difference from the white knuckled grip of fear she used to experience. I think a lot of folks can relate to wanting to unlearn fear that holds us back from our destiny.

The book is organized in seven main steps to “Reveal” the sacred truth within. For those out there interested in body liberation activism, her chapter on REVEAL: Your Sacred Body will especially resonate. Getting into your body and seeing it as sacred is essential work to living wholly integrated. She also talks about returning to the body after a childhood sexual assault and I thought it was a great chapter about embodiment.

I’m also particularly curious about how one listens to their soul-voice–that still, small voice that creates impressions or straight-up talks to you from the inside, telling you where next to go. There’s a whole REVEAL: Your Soul-Voice chapter.

I really enjoyed Meggan’s tale of meeting “the hugging saint” Amma, who literally hugs every single person she meets. I was so impressed–what a heart-open way of connecting with people. Amma’s website claims she has embraced 32 million people. That’s like more hugs than anyone gets in a lifetime. Looking at Amma’s photos I see so much of my step-mom in her it’s actually really mystical.

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I’m also always ready to find cissentric language in things that talk about “women’s” whatever, but this book wasn’t gender essentialist. It talked extensively of the bond women share, the sacred feminine, but made very little reference to how womanhood is embodied or created.

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From the book, discussing her first visit to the Black Madonna of Notre Dame de Vassiviere, pictured above. “The Black Madonna is black not just because of her relation to the Egyptian goddess Isis but also because ‘she has literally or figuratively been through the fire and has emerged with an immense capacity for love and understanding.'” That is how I always want to emerge from pain.

Bonus for all of you R. Kelly fans out there–she met him on a ship once.

Books like Reveal are necessary because so much of feminine energy and women’s bodies are erased, ignored or subjugated from modern-day spirituality. I learned so much that piqued my spiritual interest. One of the signs of a good book is that it keeps sliding into my everyday conversations. Like talking to my roommate about my interest in the Gnostic Gospels, turns out she has a copy and it’s in my living room waiting for me.

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When people talk about what was edited out of the Bible it makes me so annoyed! My mom, who declined to raise me Catholic though she was raised Catholic and now attends mass every Sunday as an out Lesbian in a gay-accepting church, always said she was suspicious of any book that deleted the voices of women. I wish I had spiritual teachings like Reveal growing up!

Buy Reveal on Amazon for $13.29, Kindle for $10. Buy it from Hay House directly for $15.

2013-02-20

FAT SEX WEEK: Three Books To Help You Have Better Sex While Fat (Regardless of Whether Or Not You’re Single)

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work, as long as fat girls in lingerie are safe for your work.)

On Friday I discussed seven ways to be a good ally to your fat lover. Now I want to give some tools for folks to become better lovers to themselves–as in, learning to get in touch with your body so you can have better sex.

Growing up fat (or having a body that is in any way non-normative) in a fatphobic society is very damaging. It was very traumatic for me to feel like my body was always “wrong” and I definitely did not feel like I had access to owning my sexuality. In some ways I completely dissociated from my body and interacted with it as little as possible. (I write more about my experience of disembodiment in this post.)

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Look it’s me and my new pal Devin who was kind enough to loan me her ass for this photo when I saw how hot it was. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

I used to feel afraid to leave relationships because I was afraid the sex would never be as good as it was with the person I was with–a deep scarcity mentality. “So and so knows my body so well, so and so does this trick how can anyone replicate that?” Those kinds of thoughts. It was as though all those years I wasn’t getting laid because I was checked out from my body I needed to make-up for by staying with the wrong kinds of partners. Like I might never get banged properly again.

I’m here to let you know, dear reader, that these fears were false. If anything, sex has gotten better and better as I’ve gotten older and I know the reason is that I am the common denominator in the good sex I have.

I think each break-up from a relationship with good sex is like getting a gift bag! You learned how to have new and improved sex with that lover. You learned how your body responds to different stimuli, you got to experience someone’s body in new ways and come up with more party tricks to bring to other lovers. Hopefully you explored more your capacity to flourish under someone’s touch. This partying gift is amazing!

You can keep the learning going, single or while in relationships, with a cadre of lovers or while between regular bouts of getting banged. Doing the work of getting to know your body and getting to know yourself sexually is a gift you give yourself for the rest of your life. There are lots of different ways to learn about sex–there is so much knowledge available to willing explorers. Below are three body positive resources that will help you get in touch with your sexuality from a body positive perspective!

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Holly Amory at Rebel Cupcake in February, NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Mind Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage

For people who have bodies that are female in origin, or who have sex with people’s whose mechanics are female in origin, this book is an amazing resource. I’ve read a lot about sex and sexuality but I still learned so much from it.

“Desire, sexual satisfaction, and orgasm truly are fraught more often for us than for men… [T]he ways in which we have been taught to fuck don’t always serve our needs and desires.” Diana talks about the female body from a place of empowerment and learning about the mechanics of your body physically, mentally and emotionally.

It is written from an incredibly feminist perspective. It is woman-empowering and body positive. I didn’t realize how much of our eroticism and what we learn about sex is based on male-centered desire. Ugh, patriarchy is such a boner-killer!

The book includes lots of work book sections where you get to explore your desire and what turns you on. And physical exercises! I felt more in tune with my body and my desires after I read it. (I also got some funny looks on the train while reading it…)

You can get it through my amazon link here, but request it from your local feminist sex toy shop! I’m always surprised when I go into Babeland and I don’t see it on their shelves, mention it to the people who work there but they don’t stock the shelves.

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Me and author Diana Cage.

Fucking Transwomen Zine by Miranda Bellwether

For folks who have transwomen bodies or who partner with transwomen, this zine is incredible! So many great tips for sex and the ways to have fulfilling interactions in a body that is not taught in sex ed and is ignored in the vast majority of mainstream sex how-to literature.

I also think it’s great for anyone who has sex that involves a penis whether or not they identify with it presently. Miranda spends several pages of the zine talking about the soft penis, which is basically ignored in sexual literature but “You can actually do more with a soft penis than a hard penis–if you are creative.”

The zine is full of sex how-tos, body knowledge and autobiography.

Buy it here for only $5! All of the money goes to Miranda!

Ecstacy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas

I did a book review of this book last year, but I wanted to give it special mention here. This is basically a body love “you are worthy of erotic pleasure exactly how you are” goldmine. It’s a workbook, so you’ll need a notebook to go along with you on your sexual exploration, but the work it gives you is worth it.

People of all body types and levels of sexual exploration, especially if they feel cut off from their own sexuality, will totally benefit from a trip into this book. I did most of the work in this book while not getting laid regularly and it really helped me feel more in touch with what I wanted from sex when I was having it again rather than be caught up in the ideas of what I wanted from sex. Really cutting through your own bullshit (and the bullshit we are fed from society about what we should want) and identifying what our desires are is incredibly liberating. It also makes it much easier to find the right partners to explore with!

Read more at my book review and interview with Barbara Carrellas.

Buy the book!

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Me, Barbara and her partner Kate Bornstein at Rebel Cupcake in May, 2012.

Stay tuned! FAT SEX WEEK wraps up tomorrow!!

2012-05-30

SUMMER BEACH READS: Kate Bornstein’s A Queer and Pleasant Danger

Hey friends! I’m starting a new blog series about Summer beach reads–I’ve got a nice stack of books to recommend for you.

To kick this Summer series off, I have the honor of hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Kate Bornstein’s new incredible memoir

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Kate Bornstein is probably one of the sweetest and kindest humans I have ever met. She is iconic, inspirational, and gorgeous. In her memoir she describes herself as a puppy dog and I think that is absolutely correct; she brings that level of joy and excitement to interpersonal interactions and onstage.

The book is what I would describe as a “Chatty Memoir,” the kind that is written as though she’s sitting across from you lounging in your living room telling you her life story. It’s so engaging. She often addresses the reader as a pal, telling us to go ahead and google things while she waits. I’ve read a lot of Kate’s theory and seen her perform and keynote events but never got the full scoop of what she’s gone through. I mean, the process of getting to be a charming babe like Kate Bornstein is no less than spectacular. She went to an all-boys prep school and is one of the only two women degree holders from Brown University prior to 1970. She totally could have been a Normal and she isn’t. She chose to follow her truth and live an extraordinary life, often with great opposition, but by following her heart she came out on top.

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And beyond just telling us the who, where, what and how of her life, she’s extremely revealing about her process. Not just some of the deepest parts of her personality (as Kate says in the book, “Life’s better without secrets,”), like her diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, but also the internal process of what it was like to be here. She cracks open her heart and shows us the internal realities of growing-up and adulthood prior to transitioning, many ongoing touchstones of what it was like knowing she was “girl,” how she related to it and how she either leaned into it or away from it with facial hair, sex, weight and clothing. Her lifelong battle with anorexia, how she learned to starve herself and then how she learned to think she could be pretty while being voluptuous. What it is like as a cutter, the pain and relief and how she used it to get through. Vivid plans for suicide attempts.

I’ll be honest, parts of it were a little hard to read, but for me not the ones you might think. She describes the above processes in detail and I found those confessions comforting–we’re raised in this culture not to talk about that and not a lot of artists are brave enough to talk about all of this at once.

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Me, Kate and her girlfriend Barbara Carrellas at Rebel Cupcake.

What I found hard to read was the huge section on Scientology! You guys, don’t ever take that free personality test! Did you read that 26 page article in the New Yorker about Scientology? I did and it freaked me out. I learned even more about what goes on in Scientology from this book and I had a crazy nightmare a few nights ago while in this section that Tom Cruise was trying to kill me. Kate’s memoir will convince you to never take that personality test for real.

Another thing that stuns me about how awesome Kate is as a human and a writer–the perspective of compassion she writes the book from. Having compassion for ourselves and others is probably one of the best places to live a life of peace. (I learned that from my friend V’s last blog post and it has changed my life.) There is a sweetness to Kate’s memoir that is as kind and charming as Kate herself. No matter all of the awful things she’s gone through, she’s come out of it stronger and more interesting, and to maintain that perspective of compassion is truly inspirational.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Queer and Pleasant Danger ASAP and schlep it with you to the beach. It’s so worth the weight of a brand new release. (And it’s also available for Kindle or whatever other e-reader you use!)

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Kate reading the section from the memoir about being a 24/7 slave to a Butch/Femme couple in Seattle on an iPad. Maybe an iPad’s not great for the beach, but whatver, read it en route.

I leave you with this quote I found incredibly touching from Kate’s mom. “No matter how your world falls apart–and honey, that’s what happens: we all build ourselves a world and then it falls apart–but no matter how that happens you still have the kind heart you’ve had since you were a child, and that’s what really counts.”

SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE: Here I am introducing Kate and she reads a little piece from the memoir. This video shot by Rebel Cupcake videographer Laura Delarato!

But you don’t have to take my word for it! Here are the other stops on the blog tour:

Monday, May 28th: en│Gender

Tuesday, May 29th : io9

Wednesday, May 30th: Queer Fat Femme (That’s Me!)

Thursday, May 31st: Large Hearted Boy

Friday, June 1st: Random House Blog

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2012-05-14

Begin Again

One of my favorite concepts in meditation is the idea of it as an opportunity to practice beginning again. It’s a concept brought to me from a book I have been slowly creeping my way through, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program* by Sharon Salzberg. It was only ten bucks and came with a guided meditation cd and basically sets out why meditation is great and a gentle, 28 day program for becoming one of those daily meditating people you hear about and want what they have.

But, for me, like with all things, this meditation book has taken me way more than 28 days to get through and that’s okay. Sharon says in one of the very first meditations that as you get lost in thought you get to begin again. Come back to the breath. It’s very gentle. The practice of being gentle with yourself with something as simple as a thought coming into your head during meditation, when the idea is not to think, is a radical notion for someone raised in our culture of harsh judgment and perfectionism. Especially for me, where I relied on overachieving and appearing as perfect as possible as a survival mechanism through a difficult childhood and adolescence. Gentleness with yourself is a radical act. So is the idea that you can “begin again” even after you’ve done something wrong.

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When I was a fat depressed, often suicidal, teenage closeted queer I never thought I would be a New York plus size party girl making out with Zach Morris and gay AC Slater but maybe this was always my destiny. I wish I could tell early 90s awkward Bevin that it gets better. And also that her crushes on boys that looked like Zach Morris and AC Slater were just gaydar.

So, you see, dear readers, I am at yet another begin again crossroads. That law firm job I got in January that I was so stoked about? Totally bad fit. I won’t get into the specifics, but after about a month of thinking it was going well, it just wasn’t. My talents are manifold and were not a good fit for that environment. And I was miserable and working really hard. Certainly not making enough money to be worth the amount of stress I felt, though I believe that even one of those $150,000 a year associate jobs isn’t worth that kind of stress on your body and life. And so, after three and a half months, I am going my own way again. As a Capricorn overachiever I can be very committed to things and get mired into it even if I am not enjoying it, so to have it only be a three and a half month detour is significantly shorter than I otherwise would have stuck it out.

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Me and much of the cast of Bayside the Un-Musical at Rebel Cupcake. There’s one weekend left in their run (May 16-19th at the Kraine Theater in the Lower East Side), I saw the show and it was ridiculous and a MUST SEE for any fan of Saved By The Bell.

It was a shock when it happened, however the relief and peace I have felt since it was decided I wouldn’t be working at the firm anymore told me this was the right path. Decision making is a self-correcting process, I believe that even when you make a choice there is guidance about that. If you make the wrong choice, there will be a gentle (and then not so gentle) nudge away from it until you get on the path you’re meant to be on. Sort of like when I was engaged to someone who I know 4.5 years later was a terrible fit but at the time was undeterred and had no perspective. That was a self-correcting process. And, even though it was devastating at the time, I feel great about the life I have now.

The last 4.5 years have held a crazy amount of change for me. My life is radically different but so much more than I could have imagined. My Saturn Return was bananas–end of engagement, laid off from a job of 5 years, a terrible living situation necessitating a move while being on unemployment–and things keep on changing and upheavals keep happening. I sold my beloved Prius in April because I knew financially it was the right choice–good thing because then I lost my job and selling it has given me SO much flexibility.

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And today, I have a lot of possibilities and opportunities. I have been working on a new memoir, shelving the more difficult and emotionally fraught memoir for later, and it’s flying out of my hands and into a shitty first draft. (All hail the working through perfectionism enough to be okay starting with a shitty first draft!) I am feeling more creative than I have in months. I’m happy. It’s been two weeks and part time work and per diem jobs are sort of popping up. Enough to pay the bills.

I won a reader’s choice nightlife award from Go Magazine, the largest circulating free lesbian magazine in the world, as Best Emcee (and thanks to all of my readers who voted!). Rebel Cupcake won for Most Eclectic Crowd.

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The awards were really heavy. I felt like the Adele of the Lesbian Nightlife Awards. Also my Grandmother thinks I look like Adele since she went blonde and I don’t know whether it is because we’re both fat and wear big eyelashes but I’ll take it as a compliment.

Rebel Cupcake, a nightlife party celebrating all bodies and flamboyance, just turned two years old! At the two year anniversary one of my heroes, Barbara Carrellas, did a sex magic fire ritual and the demo bottom turned over and she made a cake out of foam on the bottom’s naked torso with two candles in it and the whole club sang Happy Birthday to Rebel Cupcake while the cake burned. That was an incredible moment.

I wrote a new workshop and debuted it at Columbia University for their Radical C.U.N.T.S. club about embodiment and learning to get into our bodies. (Called Get Me Embodied, like the series of embodiment posts I am continuing to write for the blog.) It was such a wonderful experience and afterwards I just thought “This is what I need to be doing.”

All of this happening literally on the heels of my last day of 9 to 5 work I am taking to be a sign that my artistic life is on the right path. It is terrifying trusting the universe and not knowing how I’ll have retirement or health insurance, but I am also very, very happy. And I know, somehow, I will figure it out. And I know there is power in letting myself begin again.

*I link to Amazon because I get a tiny referral fee for anything folks purchase from clicking through to Amazon from my blog but I suggest buying it wherever you can, it is a great read.

2012-05-07

Thursday Night! Brooklyn Queer Party Featuring Kate Bornstein and Barbara Carrellas!

OMG, Kate Bornstein is on the cover of the Village Voice this week!

She is also reading from her new memoir at Rebel Cupcake on Thursday, May 10th!

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I’m super excited. I love Kate, I can’t wait to read the new memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today.

And also Barbara!! You recall her from the book review I did of Ecstacy is Necessary. She’s doing a demo on stage! And hopefully Bluestockings will be able to come to sell books so you can get them signed by Kate and Barbara!!

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Kate at Rebel Cupcake in September, 2010.

It is also our second anniversary! Two years ago on International No Diet Day I started a queer party to celebrate all sizes and flamboyance and it is still going strong! We’ve had tons of performers from all walks of the LGBTQ and ally lifestyles, traveled to Oakland, CA, and won awards! Come celebrate!!

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All that, plus the same dancing/antics/joy/flamboyant good times you can always expect from Rebel Cupcake!! See you there!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake 25: Night of 1,000 Cupcakes (Second Anniversary)
10PM-2AM Dancing; show 11ish * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
Late night dancing til 4a
Sugarland: 221 N 9th St @ Roebling, Brooklyn, NY
(3 blocks from the Bedford L subway stop)

Rebel Cupcake: a flamboyant dance party for all shapes & flavors!

Performers:
*Kate Bornstein
Gender theorist, Performer, Playwright and Author of the new memoir A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today.
[http://katebornstein.typepad.com/]

*Barbara Carrellas
Sex Educator, Sex/Life Coach and Author of the new book Ecstasy is Necessary.

[http://www.urbantantra.com]

*& More!

*Sugarland DJ Bryan Black spins slow jams & riot grrrl favs to get you going, dance beats all night to keep you moving at a house party level–perfect for dancing and mingling!

*Nogga Schwartz ready to decorate your facebook page with antics from our wild photo booth!

*Hella foxy Hana Malia, our stylish and charming door captain.

Suggested dress: Wear that outfit you don’t have the occasion to wear otherwise. Old bridesmaid dress? Someone else’s old bridesmaid dress? A prom dress? A tux? Some combination of both? The very sluttiest thing you can imagine? Leather and Lace?

We’ll have chairs out during the performances and there is a lot of seating available in grottos and at the bar. This is a great party to be loungey and social or dancey. There is also a smoking deck! The show will be over by midnight so earlybirds can make it home–the show is about 30 minutes long.

As always, free gourmet cupcakes while they last! Morgan Hart is our Cupcake Princess.

Accessibility notes: The stage area and bar are wheelchair accessible. Coming into the venue is a little narrow but there are no stairs to enter or to get to the main seating area for the show. Lots of street parking available. (Please let me know if you need any accommodations!)

2012-03-06

Get Me Embodied: Ecstasy is Necessary Book Review and Interview With Author Barbara Carrellas

Barbara Carrellas radically changed how I saw my sexual identity without even knowing it. I went to a workshop she gave at the Lesbian Sex Mafia on fire play. Even though I had existed in community with tons of kinky folks, I never thought it was for me. And then I saw how empowering and beautiful it was to set someone on fire for pleasure and connection. All of my fire safety skills from Girl Scouts were so thrilled about the care and attention put into the act, and I was immediately drawn to the kind of connection and trust created through those acts.

Barbara is an author, sex/life coach and sex educator. Her new book, Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide, is on a blog tour and today is my day! Welcome to the blog, Ecstasy! Would you like a cup of tea?

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Me and the Miracle Whips, a feminist performance troupe from LA.

I said hell yes to the blog tour mostly because I think Barbara is awesome and also because I want to learn how to have better, more fulfilling sex, I identify as being in the relentless pursuit of my joy and getting a galley copy of her new book is a pretty rad perk of being a blogger. This book was beyond anything I imagined it was going to be.

This book is an empowerment manual for embodiment. It is a road map to learn how to go into your body and get to know yourself on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. I spend at least 6 hours a week diligently working on these connections for myself and there was a lot I learned about myself within the first seventy pages.

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Photo and body paint by Camrose Artes Infinitae.

You begin to examine your values, needs and desires are right away. I was really surprised when I was working through my values, since this timing coincides with my thinking and talking about how I find balance and settle on my priorities. Distilling your core values to six main tenets tells you what your priorities should be, gives you some guidance as to how to align your life.

Get a cute notebook when you’re getting the book. You’ll need it for your work going inside and becoming the expert about your own body.

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It can be frustrating as a single person without many regular sex partners to want to improve your sex life and not really know where to start. I am a big believer in the power of attraction–that you attract what you put out. This book is a great place to work from within to draw to you what it is you want from a partner. I felt not once alienated by my single status. Barbara also begins the book by giving a shout out to “they” as a gender neutral singular pronoun and the book is explicitly queer positive.

I was able to ask Barbara a few questions that I thought the readers of Queer Fat Femme would enjoy and also really just wanted to pick her brain for things that were going to help me on my ongoing journey for body self-love. It’s win-win, we’re all on the same team!

What is one great thing that folks who feel disembodied can do to open themselves up to ecstasy?

Breathe-often and deep and full. Send your breath down into your torso so deeply that you can tickle your genitals from the inside. Use your breath to experience your body from the inside out. When we feel disembodied we often feel like we can’t place our bodies comfortably in the world. Go within. Try and sense the universe inside your own body. When you orgasm, instead of trying to blast out of your body, dive deep within. Revel in the love and dark mystery of your inner-verse.

Do you have any advice on learning to feel comfortable with a new sex or play partner?

I like the Tantric approach. Accept what is the way it is. Don’t fight it, use it. Sit across from your partner, gaze into their eyes and breathe. This will no doubt be uncomfortable at first. Don’t fight it. Giggle and squirm if you need to but don’t speak. Just keep breathing and eye gazing. As you breathe, gently allow your feelings of nervousness or fear to begin to move toward excitement and anticipation. You will both soon feel an emotional space open up that is safe and comfortable to occupy together. You might want to follow that with some wordless, safe sensual touch. Then you can begin to speak. Whatever kind of speaking follows (negotiation, limits, safer sex, desires, etc.) will be much more easily spoken and received.

How can we help ourselves feel worthy of joy & ecstasy?

Ask yourself, “If I did feel worthy of joy and ecstasy what would that look like? What would that feel like? What would I do or do differently if this were true? If you can’t imagine this for yourself, imagine how someone you admire would feel or act. Then fake it till you feel it. I mean it! Act “as if.” Think of this practice as your emotional rehearsal space and show up for rehearsal daily. You will eventually-probably soon-feel some measure of joy and ecstasy. That will lead to more joy and ecstasy. The joy and the ecstasy will eliminate any feeling of unworthiness. One caveat: this is not a one time transformation. It’s a skill. Once you’ve learned the process you can use it whenever the not-good-enough feelings threaten your joy.

Isn’t Barbara so smart and grounding? I feel calmer just reading her responses. Imagine how great it would be to see her live! Check out her book tour schedule here.

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Me, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Kit Yan, Drae Campbell, and Miss Mary Wanna at Cupcake Cabaret, a show about the radical act of self-love and empowerment I produced last winter.

The book is out and you can buy it! I, of course, as always implore you to get it from your local feminist sex toy store or indie book store. But if you want to buy it online you can do it through this link. Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide

And there’s so much to read about Ecstasy is Necessary all along the blog tour! Here’s the schedule below:

1 March Kate Bornstein : Kate Bornstein’s Blog for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws.

2 March Viviane : Viviane’s Sex Carnival~A Blog about Sex and Sexuality.

5 March Betty Herbert : Love in the Long Run

6 March Bevin Branlandingham : The Queer, Fat, Femme Guide to Life (That’s me!!)

7 March Kendra Holliday : Striving to bring shy folks out of their shell, and offer a safe haven for those exploring their sexuality and creative side

8 March Sinclair Sexsmith : The sex, gender and relationship adventures of a kinky, queer, butch top

9 March Nancy L. Hill : Cultivating a Beautiful Life

12 March Andrea Zanin : Thought on Sex and Life

13 March Rubyyy Jones: Love Lust & Light

14 March Jill Boyd: Smart-ass Virgins Make Better Whoopie

15 March Heal Your Life: Live blogging with Barbara!

2011-10-18

GAY SEX WEEK: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Better Sex

Hi friends and welcome to NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK, where each day this week I am going to talk about GAY SEX to increase LGBT presence in the media. Monday I addressed how to find other people to have gay sex with you. Today we’re chatting about how to have better sex.

I’m calling this GAY SEX WEEK in a satirical way in order to increase the presence of GAY SEX in the media (in reaction to a HuffPo article calling for less sanitized GAY SEX in the media) but really I mean queer sex.

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Miss Mary Wanna making it rain at the Zombie Queer Cabaret I produced in 2009.

I want to make explicit that my working definition of GAY SEX is any sex that a queer person has who wants to call it sex. What gets you off? That’s GAY SEX. What counts as GAY SEX to you today might not tomorrow and that’s okay. Variety is one of the very best attributes about GAY SEX.

Most of the links in this post are Not Safe For Work (NSFW) just so you know.

Here at QueerFatFemme.com I try to make it clear that there are no queer gatekeepers. For example, Femmes are still queer even when they are doing it to cisdudes. So when one of my Femme pals started doing it to a cisdude and reported back that the cunnilingus was surprisingly great (“Better than a lesbian! Best of my life!” she shockingly announced) I took my charm and talk show host realness to the source. Hanging out with this boy I asked him “So what made you so great at eating pussy?” (To be fair there was a lot of bourbon involved.)

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Talk show host realness. Zombie-style.

He told me he read a book! A pussy eating book.*

Mindblowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide

I heart Diana Cage and think you should buy all of her books.

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When this happened again to another friend who started dating a nerdy cisboy I knew there was a theme–some people are just naturally good in bed and others take that natural talent and add to it by studying ways to please their partners. To sum up–nerds are good in bed! You can study and get better than you already are!

So I asked around to my nerdy friends who are rumored to be good in bed what their favorite resources happen to be and created a little round-up.

One time on FemmeCast my friend Eden said that the key to being good in bed is to “never fall in love with your own line”–everyone’s body is different and you’re going to have to learn to pay attention to what your partner responds to and what they want. A trick that works on Femme A might not work on Femme B. (It might, though, so there’s always fun in trying.)

Communicating with your partner is the best reference guide. Listen to what they have to say about what feels hot to their bodies, how they like their bodies referred to and respect their boundaries. I firmly believe this is a conversation to have outside of the bedroom. Over dinner, perhaps, or over cocktails. It’s just a lot less vulnerable than getting a critique while you’re all naked and sweaty. Also, ask about fantasies and things they would like to try out. And bring some fantasies about what you would like to do to them to the table. I never even considered the magic of female ejaculation until a partner had studied up on it and brought it as a suggestion.

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Heather and Damien as Zombie Femmes. Genius.

One friend suggested these basic tomes to learn how to be a good and versatile lover.

Orgasms by Lou Paget.

The Good Girl’s Guide to Bad Girl Sex: An Indispensable Guide to Pleasure & Seduction by Barbara Keesling Ph.D.

This same friend also suggested “The occasional men’s magazine, astrology guide, watching queer porn like QueerPorn.TV and the classic Crash Pad.”

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Me, one of my favorite porn stars Lorelei Lee and Bambi Galore.

Since I am engaging in some sex Real Talk from my own life this week, I will fully admit to having been the grateful recipient of a lot of sex tips from Maxim Magazine. Like everything geared towards heteros and not queers, take what you like and leave the rest, but those men’s mags round up some good advice, much of which is interesting to women. Some of the best sex I’ve had started with a tip a lover read in Maxim.

Her final recommendation was Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas, who is a queer femme. I’ve been very curious about this book since I took a class given by Barbara–I like the link between sex and spirituality.

I can’t recommend Urban Tantra highly enough!

I asked a gay boy friend where he goes to learn more about sex. He said “I’ve always learned new things from other gay men. They’re really willing to teach you–hand’s on. It’s a great way to pick up boys.” In fact, he said, men rarely won’t or don’t talk about sex. (I am sure this is different for lots of folks but I thought it was a neat way to combine a thirst for knowledge with getting laid.)

My favorite place to go for information about sex and sex techniques is Autostraddle. If I want to know more about something or try something new I’ll google [the sex act I am looking for] + Autostraddle.com. They have hard working editorial staff publishing round-ups at the end of each week on NSFW Sundays.

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AfroTitty. Meow.

It was via Autostraddle I found KittyStryker’s “F*ck Me, I’m Fat: A Hot Guide to Fat Sex.” It is a pretty exhaustive round-up of fatty sex tips. I was ready to have more to add but by the end I was like, “Well, that’s most of it.” My addition to the fat sex round-up is to consider wearing a strap-on on your belly instead of closer to your crotch for better leverage. I had a lover pull that on me once and we were able to change things up a lot.

Zines are a super rad resource and there is an amazing zine called Fucking Trans Women. Issues are available on the website as a PDF and I think it is well worth it–how-to guides, sex stories, told by trans women for trans women and their lovers.

It can be sort of alienating to read all this stuff about becoming a better lover when you don’t have someone handy to try things out on, so I suggest learning how to be a better lover to yourself. This is a set of skills that will never expire. My friend Matie’s store Self Serve Toys in New Mexico has a great guide to trying out what works for you sex toy-wise and it’s a locally owned queer and feminist business that ships worldwide. You can even call them at the store and ask questions and get recommendations.

I just stumbled across some good FREE EDUCATIONAL PORN on another feminist sex toy store website, the Smitten Kitten. They star queer femmes Tristan Taormino, Courtney Trouble and Dylan Ryan among others and seem pretty rad. (I am having trouble loading them on my macbook so I can’t get them to go past the first minute.) Check them out and let me know what you think!

Also, don’t forget now and again QueerFatFemme.com has the good sex tips. Lola Dean’s time-tested blow job tips are really great!

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Lola Dean!

So, okay, I hope you acquired new resources from this post and have some really great new stuff to learn about GAY SEX for NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK.

*Here I am linking to Amazon for book buying but I think that you should get your sex ed books from your favorite feminist sex toy store. However, if you want to buy online and use my linky to get anything at amazon (whether I link right to it or you go rogue and buy a Wii) I get a tiny referral fee and it helps me buy more queer books.

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