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!

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

2012-12-05

Brooklyn! Two Great Parties This Month AND An Incredible New Year’s Eve Bash!

Dear Readers, I’m back from California and have THREE really fun events in the month of December!

Yes Ma’am, Saturday, December 8th

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Me, DJ Average Jo, and Vicky Sin, our go go for the first Yes Ma’am.

The first Yes Ma’am was a wild success! It was so fun. The chatio was filled with folks meeting and mingling, the dance floor was popping.

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Our bar staff setting up.

At the end of the night everyone started chanting “One more song! One more song!” DJ Average Jo was on FIRE. The bar sold a steady stream of the Yes Ma’am punch and I am experimenting with some new concoctions for next month to try to ease the hangover. I’m 33, these things matter to me.

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The chatio. Full of queers! My heart burst.

We had the New York Toy Collective tabling and this woman who was cleaning up from the event before Yes Ma’am said to me, “So, really, what kind of party is this exactly?” I assured her it was a dance party and for queers sex toy tables are really no big deal and not neccessarily indicative of some kind of orgy happening at any second. I mean, sure, sometimes but not always.

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The New York Toy Collective pack n plays are so soft, and each is handmade by queers in NYC! Way softer than Vixskin.

Here are the details for this weekend! I hope to see you!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham, Nicky Cutler and DJ Average Jo Present
Yes Ma’am
10PM-2AM Dancing * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
CASH BAR
886 Pacific Street @ Washington, Brooklyn, NY
Prospect Heights (2 blocks from Clinton/Washington C train, 5 blocks from 2/3 to Bergen)

More info and accessibility notes on Facebook.

Also, we’re doing a Yes Ma’am New Year’s Eve party on 12/31/12 (obvs) and the tickets will be $15, with a champagne toast and lots of swanky additions to the Yes Ma’am roster. Stay tuned here for information, but it promises to be swanky, unpretentious, fun and just licentious enough to be epic.

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Rebel Cupcake, Thursday, December 20th

This month’s installment, being so close to my birthday, is encouraging folks to bring their Muppet flamboyance hard. It’s also on the last day of the Mayan calendar, when it is predicted that we will shift to a more humane civilization. I think Rebel Cupcake is the best way to celebrate that!

On the (expanded because I’m feeling indulgent) performance roster this month:

Kit Yan
Kit Yan, playing Rainbow Connection on the ukelele.

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Ariel Speedwagon, in her third holiday season Rebel Cupcake, with a tribe of holiday unicorns. (Ariel is pictured in the center of the photo next to me, with the Menorah bling.) Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

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Damien Luxe, performing the end of the world alphabet. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

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Abby Fantastic, fresh burlesque bottom to the Rebel Cupcake stage. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

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Miss Poison Ivory, back to the stage, bringing a fallen angel act. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

All this and gourmet cupcakes!! All the info is as follows (and on Facebook for pre-cruising):

Thursday, December 20th, 2012 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake 32: Muppets @ The End of the World
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)

*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!

*Kelsey Dickey is our photographer and excited to decorate your facebook page with antics from our wild photo booth! The photos are up on our group page–join!
http://www.facebook.com/groups/110847398949000/

*Check out Rebel Cupcake TV by Arsenal E., the Rebel Cupcake Videographer! http://www.youtube.com/user/rebelcupcakevideos

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

*Stage Kittening this month: Fancy Feast.

Suggested dress: Muppet chic, Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear, Beaker, Kermit. Remember, Rebel Cupcake is the place to wear that outfit you have no other occasion to wear. Bring it. It’s the end of the world as we know it (as predicted by the Mayan Calendar).

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. 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!)

2012-07-17

Rebel Cupcake on Thursday! Sarah McLachlan Tribute Show Next Week! Queer Memoir Decades, too!

July is a fun month to be a queer New Yorker! I’m doing some really cool shows and I’m excited to tell you about them.

First, as usual, is Rebel Cupcake! A couple of RC regulars asked me to do a Classic Rock Cupcake, so here it is! Thursday, July 19th at Sugarland, 221 N. 9th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Nath Ann Carerra is doing Fleetwood Mac’s “Sisters Of The Moon” and the psychedelic gender variant black mass chanting number “Coven In Charing Cross” by Coven. “It’ll be a thematic 60’s psychedelic lesbianic occult whirlwind,” says Nath Ann. I’m so thrilled!

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Glenn Marla and Hana Malia have been preparing for their upcoming theatrical piece “My Wife’s Ass” and will present a dance excerpt from it. “In a tale of the bravery and imagination required to fall into fat love, My Wife’s Ass explores agency over and fear of the fat queer body, the ‘headless fatty,’ unabashed consumption, ‘fat panic,’ the backlash against gender non-conformity, and how the ‘war on obesity’ is experienced at street level.”

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Photo by Patience Owens

And Miss Mary Wanna, the reigning Miss Rebel Cupcake, and just general sex-pot shimmy queen is turning up to strut her stuff to classic rock.

More info at the Rebel Cupcake page. Pre-cruise on Facebook!


On July 23, a Monday night, I am performing a lesbolesque interpretation of Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession.” My act is based on a tie die bandanna I bought at Michfest in 2001 and about Femme identity.

The entire show is a queer performance art tribute to the album Fumbling Toward Ecstacy, with each track on the album represented. It is truly a one of a kind show that should not be missed.

Check out all of the info at the Facebook invite (along with clever performer bios).


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July 29th, dangerously close to when I leave town for three weeks, I am reading a chapter from my memoir at Queer Memoir: Decades. The show is part of the Fresh Fruit Festival and is going to be really fun and awesome. I hope you laugh at the memoir chapter because it is meant to be a funny tale of sex between queer generations.

https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9693308
use code “MEMOIRIST” to get ten dollar tickets if you buy at least two.

2012-01-24

Everyday Glitter: Everything is Coming Up Babelandingham

Oh, sweet readers, it has been a bit since I updated and my very good reason is that I have had so much intense change in this giant tidal wave of awesome. With change often comes a whole mess of work to do, but the other side of this mess of work is a big fat glittery rainbow. Also sometimes the everyday glitter is really really big pieces of sparkling confetti.

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Serpentina from the Coney Island Sideshow at the Beyond Visibility: Illuminating and Aligning Femmes in NYC Cabaret.

Glitter The First: I believe being open to possibilities means being truly open, trying new things you thought you would never do. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, that line of thinking. So, in embarking on a job hunt I was truly open to a lot of possibilities and careers. And then the sort of unbelievable happened–I was offered a job working at a boutique firm specializing in LGBT legal issues.

This was basically my dream job in law school and I never thought I would actually find a golden corral full of gay magic but I did. And I’ve been there a week and really love it. I learn new stuff every day. I am also working with some amazing folks and for a senior partner I really admire personally.

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Anyway, this is a BIG WIN for Babelandingham. I am very excited for this development in my professional life. Also the office dress code is “dapper” and I’m having some serious sartorial satisfaction in this environment.

Glitter the Second: I had spent New Year’s Day saying to my friends at this wonderful birthday party for Heather how happy and peaceful I felt even though I didn’t have a job and there was so much uncertainty in my life (this was before I got the job offer). Then the next morning, as though a joke by the Goddess, I got a call from my landlords saying they wanted to terminate our lease and we had thirty days to move out.

Now, I know my rights and they didn’t give me proper notice, so I had more than thirty days from that phone call. But I also knew I had a finite period of time to take action. I flipped out a bit, since my savings would be entirely extinguished by the cost of putting a deposit, first and last months’ rent on a new place. Not to mention the hassle of finding a new place with three (adorable and well-behaved) pets in New York City.

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And then things sorted themselves out. My friend Sarah Jenny was moving out of her place where she lived with my good friend Damien. I am able to take SJ’s room in a home I already feel very connected to and have loved so much already. SJ gave me her boxes from her move and together with boxes from Mackenzi’s store the logistics of the move have worked out pretty well. Other than the agita of packing my entire life up in an unexpected hurry, it is a really good change.

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SJ’s boxes are a great guide for what to pack next, since the contents are already on the side.

I haven’t been very good at asking for help with this process (I realized the last time I moved I had a lot more help because I was asking for it), so that’s a practice I need to get into for the unpacking and painting process.

But what an opportunity to practice leaning into change and embracing it! When I was life coaching with Lynnee Breedlove he used to tell me that the best way to deal with change was to lean into it. I could be whining about what a pain in the ass it is that my landlords are terminating our lease or whatever, but I’m able to turn this into an opportunity for a huge energy shift in my life. That’s amazing!

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It’s the apartment where I made all of my birthday wishes!

Also, as I embark on full-time office work once more, maintaining space in my life for my art is really important to me. Damien has long been a personal hub in my life for art and activism and I am really excited to make a home with her, a home which I hope fosters my creativity and helps me keep moving forward with my art. Plus the time structure of having a 9 to 5 hustle is good for my writing practice and I’m really hoping to get the first draft of my memoir finished by the end of the summer.

But in the meantime my new 60 hours a week at the office plus packing means I’m basically MIA from my social life. Soon to remedy!

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Me and my future roommate, Damien!

Glitter the Third: Rebel Cupcake was a critic’s pick in Time Out New York! We had a huge turn out on January 12th. I never believed when I was a fat, depressed and suicidal teenager that I would someday be out, proud, and an event producer hovering above the Gay and Lesbian section of a New York magazine holding a cupcake. I always thought getting skinny was going to make my dreams come true. Turns out it was embarking on the life-long process of learning to love myself that was what brought my wildest dreams to me.

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February 9th: Dance Music Sex Romance is a Prince Tribute show and on the bill is Ben Lehrman (Prince on the ukelele!), LeRoi Prince and an almost confirmed fat burlesque act I’m really excited about.

March 8th: New Wave Rebel Cupcake! With a 20 minute feature set of The World Famous *BOB* and Princess Tiny & The Meats’ homecoming show! This is going to be an incredible show!

And check out this really fun promo video for Rebel Cupcake by the awesome Laura Delarato!!

Glitter the Fourth: I’m presenting a workshop “Love For EveryBODY” at Ivy Q, a conference at Brown, on February 18th. If you’re there please stop by to say hi! Once I have more information I am going to put it all on my calendar page.

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Glitter the Fifth: I am a poster girl in the Stand 4 Kids Campaign! It’s geared to stand in solidarity with fat kids and in opposition to hate speech masquerading as health initiatives that unfairly target fat kids instead of promoting health for every kid.

Stand 4 Kids Campaign

Glitter the Sixth: At the recent Rebel Cupcake Damien surprised us with a live recording of Shit Femmes Say! An internet meme right on stage! Here’s a video of it!

So my life is crazy busy but crazy awesome. And this doesn’t even begin to encompass all the awesome happening right now. I hope your 2012 / Year of the Dragon is starting out on a winning note.

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***********

Blog benefactor Domino Dollhouse is back for another month of blog benefacting! Tracy, the babe behind the Dollhouse, just launched a line of vintage style lingerie that I think folks who like plus size lingerie are going to drool over.

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The High Waisted Vintage Style Garter Panty is so hot! And a bargain at $39.99. I wear this style of garter belt and I find it considerably less fiddly.

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The Sweetheart Overbust Corset is something I am personally lusting over, as I totally need a new red corset as mine sadly broke. (“Need.”) $99

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Domino Dollhouse is now carrying bra and panties sets! For $14.99!

Don’t forget she also stocks tons of cute clothes and accessories!

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AND she has partnered with one of my favorite designers, Sweetooth Couture, carrying the Gumdrop Empire Waist coat in an exclusive colorway–purple! So foxy
and goes up to a 6X. $179.99 and your purchase supports two incredible independent plus size designers working to make fashion more accessible for fat folks.

The special coupon code for QueerFatFemme.com readers is still available for another month! Enter “QFF15″ (case sensitive) at check out to get 15% off your Domino Dollhouse order!

Thanks for supporting the blog, Domino Dollhouse!!

2011-10-17

GAY SEX WEEK: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Finding People to Have Gay Sex With You

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. I thought that the first thing I would address about was how to find other people to have gay sex with you.

Conveniently, this solicited advice question landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago. I offer some solid tips to you, dear readers, and some direct advice to someone who has a specific desire.

Dear Bevin,

I’m not sure who else to come to with this and you seem like the kind of person who doesn’t mind listening- so here’s my problem, I don’t know where to meet femmes that are into other femmes. I’m a cisgendered female and I present in a very feminine way and that also happens to be what I’m attracted to, but ever since I came out, I’ve dated butch identified women because that’s what I thought I had to do. I don’t want to do that anymore, I’m twenty five now and I want to be with someone that I’m actually attracted to.

My problem is finding them. All the femmes I meet either say really offensive things right off the bat (a big red flag for me is women who say, “if I wanted to date someone that looked like a man, I would just date a man”) or prefer to be with non femme identified people. Where are all the femmes that are into other femmes (and are also not racist/sexist/homophobic/mean and are body positive feminists)? They must be out there, right? Where do I meet them? Should I lower my standards?

I realize you’re not an advice column, so thank you for listening. Your blog is wonderful, it’s guided me through some serious issues and I will forever appreciate your willingness to be a voice in the dark.

Thanks,

NO FOFA FOR ME

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Femme on Femme! Miss Mary Wanna gropes Fancy Feast. Both will be performing on November 10th at Rebel Cupcake’s Cat Party! All photos by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Dear NO FOFA FOR ME:

Thank you for the compliment about my blog! I love being a voice in the dark for folks. Or a voice in the glitter for other folks. I have every confidence you are going to get laid. Sometimes it really seems like you are a Femme wandering the desert wanting a glass of water to drink with nothing but mirages on the horizon but just like that (imagine a swishy gay snap) everything will change for you.

GETTING LAID TIP THE FIRST: Do It Yourself
This is a little bit of a trick answer, because before you do anything about finding a sex partner it really helps to be having an enriching solo sex life. Light candles, take yourself out on dates, take a bath, woo yourself. Be physically experimental. I’ll admit to often defaulting to being a lazy masturbator, but I think nothing attracts someone to you like the glowy glowy aura of having good orgasms on your own. During my “walking through the desert” times anytime I go out if I’m doing myself right I have more fun in the world and get more flirts.

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GETTING LAID TIP THE SECOND: Name Your Desire
You are already doing something right, which is you’ve found and named a desire. There is nothing in the GAY SEX handbook that says you only get to have sex with certain other kinds of gays. Femmes don’t have to just have sex with Butches, just like the sports dykes don’t have to just stay isolated to their own kind and lesbians who look like Justin Bieber don’t just have to have sex with pop star lookalikes. The queer umbrella is pretty magical in that way, folks who run in my circles have sex with all kinds of different gender presentations and preferred gender pronouns, cisborn or not.*

I know this is not true of all gay circles, what with gender and sex policing. Gender and sex policing makes it harder for other folks to get laid! That makes me sad. When it comes to sex I think the more the merrier. I want all of my fellow gay comrades to be getting as laid as possible.

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That said, I think the climate for how accepted Femme on Femme Action (FOFA) is changes from queer group to group. I believe really firmly in being the change you want to see in your community. Be really vocal about your desire, tell your friends you like Femmes. Most people want to help you get laid. I have a really specific kind of pairing I like to partake in (Femme/Fag**), I articulated it to a bunch of folks while I was walking through that desert, listened to that Stevie Nicks song “Leather and Lace” a lot and then it sort of happened for me. I didn’t do these things specifically to get laid but just to honor my desire (see below), and I think it happened for me because I articulated my desire and then let go of the results.

GETTING LAID TIP THE THIRD: Honor Your Desires
Another thing I want to make clear is you should never lower your standards. Being a picky identified person myself, I know that not lowering my standards means a lot of sex-free months between sweethearts, walking through that desert longer than usual. My mind is my erogenous zone and when I don’t like someone that much personally/politically I just lose my wood for them entirely. But it also means I am never spending time with folks just for the sake of getting laid. (Hence the importance of item one above.)

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Katie (center) wrote on PrettyQueer.com about how she is not that into sex. I think everyone should get as laid as they want, not everyone likes to have sex and I believe the right 10 minute person is out there for her who will do it to her while she watches Real Housewives.

GETTING LAID TIP THE FOURTH: Get Your Friends to Help
I think it is good karma to help other people get laid. It’s like this feedback loop of if everyone is getting laid I’m going to get laid, too, eventually. I am a natural matchmaker and keep my eyes and ears peeled for folks I know who are single. So tell all your friends what you’re looking for and eventually someone will know someone.

It is also super important to let folks know your relationship status! I always ask people’s friends if they are available. Lots of people are in open relationship situations. I think that if you have a Free Ass Pass or are Monogamish or PolyOneWay the onus is on you to let your friends know so they can help you get laid and help their other available friends zero in on you.

I also believe in starting your own community groups to create affinity. I am sure there are lots of other body positive, anti-racist queer folks near you hankering just as much as you are to find community and get dates. Whether you want to sleep with them is variable, but I find if you make friends with someone with politics that match up with yours they likely have friends who have similar politics and can introduce you. Community organizing is a great way to meet folks. I wrote up a blog post about starting a community organizing group.

I mean, do community organizing because you’re passionate about something not because you want to get dates (we’re not living in a sitcom–I can easily imagine Neil Patrick Harris’ character on How I Met Your Mother doing this) but if you’re genuinely pursuing your paths and your desires you will meet folks and have more dates.

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GETTING LAID TIP THE FIFTH: Rejection is Expected
Rejection is a practice. Nobody ever died of awkward. Anytime you are pursuing getting dates or laid it is going to involve rejection. The more you get rejected the easier it becomes and besides, why waste your time coveting someone who is not able to see how awesome and succulent you are?

GETTING LAID TIP THE SIXTH: Turn Getting Laid Into a Hobby
In the spirit of getting your friends to help, I asked a friend of mine who is getting very laid right now to send me some tips about how to get laid. They told me that getting laid was their main hobby, which is why they were so successful.

A) To improve your odds, go where the action is. Find out where like minded people who share your interest will be and show up.*** If you want sexual connection, go to a sex positive environment like a sex/play party or sex education event. Once there, talk to folks about what you are interested in and be open to learning if this is a new experience for you.

B) Persistence pays off so be prepared to show up more than once. Any kind of connection with folks is a combination of repeated presence over time and community requires participation. Find the groups or events that you feel drawn to and become a regular so people can get to know you and what you have to offer and vice versa. For the biggest bang for your buck, volunteer!

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Kit Yan!

C) Be open minded about your own desires. There’s a fine line between knowing what you want and going after it, and being too focused on a specific thing that might not exist exactly the way you envision it. Your best bet is to be curious about meeting people where they are and seeing how that resonates with you. Be open to being surprised so you can see what is actually being offered even if it doesn’t perfectly match your expectations.

D) Practice safer sex. Protect yourself and your community with pride. Know your boundaries of what is safe for you and learn how to communicate that to potential partners. This includes being able to say no to people who might be using substances that would impair their judgement. You want a hot and joyful connection that both (or all!) of you will remember with no regrets.

Sex is part of your lifelong journey of self expression. Since it’s the part with orgasms, it can be worth a little effort to step outside of your comfort zone and into something new and exciting. Enjoy the ride!

I hope this list helps you all find folks to have lots of GAY SEX with in celebration of NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK!

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*My favorite PGP is Majestic’s “gutteral moan.”

**I’m attracted to lots of different folks, including Femmes, but Femme/Fag (no matter the gender looks and acts like a Fag) tends to be my most common pairing and is oddly specific. Also, lots of folks say “[That person] is a Fag” to me a lot as though that should discourage me from pursuing it. But lots of queer folks do it a lot of different kinds of queer folks, including Muppet Femmes like me.

***Also, no matter your attempts to get laid, it is really important to show up for causes and parties and local businesses that are important to you. Your participation is important, your dollars matter and your community will shrivel up without your support. Don’t stop going to parties assuming they will always be there, keep shopping at your local store that caters to you and supports your community first.

2011-04-09

NYC April 14! Queer Performance and Dance Party Rebel Cupcake 12: I Love Lucy

Rebel Cupcake 12: I Love Lucy

Booking for a monthly show is so heartwarming. I get to share some of my favorite artists with my crowd and create a special alchemy of performances to fit certain themes and, always, leave the audience feeling good and ready to dance, mingle and let their lights shine. Sometimes I day dream about who I would have at a show if I had a big budget and could fly someone in every month.

Serendipity often has a hand in determining the line-up for my show, and this month’s Rebel Cupcake she really came through. Not one but two of my favorite out of town beauties are in town for Rebel Cupcake–I hope if you are near NYC you’ll come out!

The photo booth is black and white in honor of the I Love Lucy theme. Optional dress code is to serve Ricky, Lucy, Ethel or Fred. Save $2 off the door by signing up for our texty texty list (promise no spam).

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Miasia is one of my favorite people in this world and she also happens to be a world-famous belly dancer. She lives in Washington, DC so I don’t get to see her very often, but luckily she happens to be in town and will be gracing the stage of Rebel Cupcake once more!

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“Miasia is an extraordinary dancer. Of all the thousands of women I
have taught, she is the best of the best. Her stage presence is
intoxicating and her joy is infectious. Miasia’s technique is flawless,
but a true artist must be more than that. A master technician must be
warm and engaging. Miasia is what I call a heart, gut, soul dancer.–Artemis Mourat”

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Miss Mary Wanna was introduced to me on a blind performer date for the Zombie Queer Cabaret I did in October 2009 and I am so grateful for the introduction! She has a one-of-a-kind shimmy and real comedic presence. She is going to go far in burlesque.

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This sassy southern creature of the night has been knocking over trash cans, causing hiiiigh-jinx along the east coast, and has once again found her way to the magical streets of New York City. She currently builds her den in Philadelphia, bumpin and grindin in the name of brotherly and sisterly love with other DIY queens and kings alike. Whether she’s peeling away fur or feathers, Miss Mary Wanna is certain to blow your mind and get you high!

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Photo by Quito Ziegler

What can I say about Glenn Marla that I haven’t already said sixteen times? His tag on my blog is one of the most often-used (almost as much as Femme, Community, and Dating!) because he is brilliant. I am lucky to have him in my life, to call him my friend, and have named one of the peacock feathers in my new tattoo after him. He is a world-class performance artist and does some extraordinary work. Since this night is all about 50s showbiz, I requested his act “Put a Little Mascara On.” You’ll love it.

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The Portland Phoenix calls Glenn Marla’s work, “performance art that pushes the envelope without pushing the audience away,” Time Out New York Calls Glenn a “downtown prophet” and The New York Times calls Glenn “an obese transvestite in tights.”

Fancy Feast comes to us from right here in New York City. She’s a fresh bottom and Rebel Cupcake regulars will recognize her as my trusty stage kitten. She’s under the hot lights this month ready to do some comedic burlesque in the style of Lucy hi-jinks!

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When she first started stage kittening for me her name was Boob Radley and I was really hoping for an act involving her dressed as a ham.

As always, free cupcakes while they last! Vegan & gluten free sometimes available.

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. Lots of street parking available. (Please let me know if you need any accommodations!)

2011-01-10

Unicorn Party

Kentucky Fried Woman is one of the most inspirational Femmes I’ve had the privilege to know. She is kind, creative, talented and hot. She is a burlesque, drag and tap performer (among other performance talents). She also makes incredible fried chicken. We met years and years ago at the International Drag King Extravaganza.

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Me, Kentucky Grilled Man and Jukie Sunshine backstage at Flabulous! 2 in Oakland last June. Flabulous! is just one of many incredible productions KFW has curated. Photo from my camera. All other photos in this post are courtesy of KFW.

Another thing that is true about KFW is that she has an intense love for unicorns.

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When one has friends scattered throughout the world and Facebook links us together, we get to have intense fear of missing out (FOMO) when we see all of the amazing photos and events going on without us. KFW lives in Oakland* and I live in Brooklyn and I have never experienced such intense “I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN THERE” as when I heard about the Unicorn Party she threw.

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The International Ms. Leather weekend is held yearly in San Francisco. One of the annual events is a Uniform Party. KFW got a bunch of friends together to crash the party dressed as unicorns. Basically the idea was that they walked in and said “I thought this was a UNICORN party!” I doubled over when I heard that.

They got together beforehand, crafted unicorn horns (here’s a tutorial if you want to know how to make one out of paper) and dressed together in a hotel room. I saw a few photos on Facebook of the unicorns at the uniform party and it was hysterical.

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One of the first times the World Famous *BOB* performed at one of my events, Cupcake Cabaret, she said performing there was like being in a unicorn stable. I loved that compliment, and when coming up with the theme for the January Rebel Cupcake it occurred to me that *BOB*’s comment should just be taken to the next level.

So it is in homage to two of my favorite unicorn people that this Thursday’s Rebel Cupcake is a Unicorn Party.

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Folks get $2 off admission if they wear a unicorn horn. I am hoping people are getting creative. Even a piece of binder paper twirled into a cone and taped to your forehead is in the unicorn spirit.

Also, you can totally buy the bandanna sported by Glenn Marla on the flier for the party at my etsy shop! The unicorn is named Gumdrop. They are a genderfluid fat unicorn and the mascot for my blog.

I think KFW has shown that there are so many different ways to be a unicorn in this world.

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*Also, no FOMO this month, Bay Area!! I’m taking Rebel Cupcake on the road! Jan 28th I’m pairing with Hot Box to present a Rebel Cupcake: Oakland! The line-up is hot and I’ll post more info here once I have it!!

2010-12-24

Hard Candy Christmas

This Fall I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and my art and doing a lot of growing. I have also been spending a lot of time video chatting with one of my BFFs, Spunky, who lives in California. I took time off from my retail job (Re/Dress, one of the three prongs of my current career spiral path) thinking I would somehow by the grace of the universe be able to afford to go out there for Christmas. See my mom, see my friends and heart family and mellow out in some warmer weather.

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World Famous *BOB*, me, Glenn Marla at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

Things have been tight financially for the last couple of months. My main source of my three-pronged career path income has been really slow for lots of reasons, mostly the market and climate. Thus, around Thanksgiving I realized it was going to be toast to any plans to vacation for the holidays. Self-employment/entrepreneurial realness.

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I got written up as one of the 45 Hot Entrepreneurs in Go Magazine in November, though. I think it’s an awesome stamp in my celesbian passport. I have yet to get laid from it. I like to call this photo a Clark Kent/Superman juxtaposition. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

But then I realized that I was having trouble digging into my memoir, my friend Damien has been having great luck working during DIY artist retreats. I could afford to drive to Philly, I have heart family that lives there and needed a cat sitter. It worked out very serendipitously. So, I’ll be going away, doing no work other than art and self-care for several days.

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Damien, watching art. She’s doing so well on her push-up-a-thon! Photo by Quito Ziegler.

And, yeah, it’s sort of sad and isolating sometimes to be single at the holidays and not with your family or whatever. But then I remember my very saddest Christmas ever, when my ex-fiance and I had just broken up the month before, I was going to California to see my family without him on a trip we had booked together. I remember waking up on Christmas day with this ache in my chest, knowing he was with his new girlfriend and her family I couldn’t even begin to think about what to think about through all of that sad. It was so crushing.

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World Famous *BOB* has a tissue for you and for me. November Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

What really got me through that time was Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” I had just bought her autobiography on cassette tape and was really digging into my passion for her. It’s such a good song from one of my favorite movies (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas).

This year I’ve been hearing about everyone’s hard candy. Having a family or not having a family is hard. Both are hard. There’s either the pain and isolation/liberation and joy of not having obligations on the holidays. Or there’s the expectations upon expectations upon performance upon pleasing everyone upon love upon celebration of being with family. I think hard candy is part of life and it can bring you sweetness or toothaches. It’s just how you saddle up for the ride.

I have had a lot of blessings and amazing things going on in my life this year. I’m so grateful for this magical unicorn life I get to lead, the costumes I get to wear without even thinking about it, the lives I get to change just by making the art I feel compelled to make. Just this year I can count on both hands all of the new incredible artists and friends who have come into my life and are changing it. I have so much. And even as my birthday and Christmas plans have fallen through because I got the flu for Christmas I feel really lucky I didn’t make elaborate travel plans so it was easy to just sit here under the covers and rest. And now I have some presents to open up while I try not to move too far from the couch.

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Also grateful to have reached a doctor so soon before Christmas. She said “Have you been taking it easy?” I said I’ve been “taking it normal.” Photo by Quito Ziegler from a lesbolesque performance I did before I got the flu.

I got woken up from a nap today by the UPS man delivering a package for my birthday from my far away BFF in California, who I’ll luckily get to see at the end of January. I’ve been able to book a trip to get Rebel Cupcake on the road to Oakland (more info on that soon). So it all works out!!

As a Happy Holidays from me to you, I present this touching video from Rebel Cupcake 7: We <3 Dolly, burlesque legend of our time World Famous *BOB* performing Hard Candy Christmas.

I hope wherever you are you are safe, happy and full of love.

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Me and Sophie at Rebel Cupcake 8: Holidays on Fire. Sophie stopped by my sick bed today to bring me a care package of birthday candles, mac n cheese and feminist literature. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-11-19

Secret Agent Femme: Bringing Your Authentic Self on Dates

Long time readers will recall that I have a penchant for dating out of towners. I’m trying to go localvore for awhile, but there is something uniquely thrilling about traveling for a long-anticipated date.

I had such a date earlier this year. It was in a colder climate. I was staying with a good friend of mine and going to go on a coffee date with an internet friend I had never met in real life. We agreed to coffee ahead of time, to ease the pressure, and then a check in about whether we wanted to be on a “date-date.” If we did, we would proceed to dinner or something, if not I would go back to my friend’s house.

This brought about a significant fashion dilemma for me. I like to know what activity is in store for me on a date so that I can dress appropriately. There is nuance in what kind of garment I wear for different occasions and I certainly see a vast distinction between what I would wear on a coffee date and a dinner date.

Typically, I like to wear one of two dresses on a first date. I am very consistent about this because dating is enough of a hassle that I don’t want to stress out about what to wear. 9 out of 10 of my first dinner dates involve one of these dresses. They travel easily (again, see above regarding long distance), they are flattering and appropriate for evening wear.

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The blue and brown dress, often paired with boots when it is cold or blue patent leather heels. I am pictured here femmeceeing the date auction fundraiser for the Lesbian Love Octagon.

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The red dress. Here I am photographed with my friend Regan who is a chef. I know my readers enjoy the butches. She is wearing gingham on gingham because she knows I like someone with the fashion huevos to pair pattern on pattern. And I enjoy gingham. Typically I pair this dress with red or black (or red and black) heels or boots in the winter. It also makes for a great post-performance dress. Also on a date I would not be wearing teal sparkly hair bling or (as much) glittery make-up.

The red dress is so ubiquitous I couldn’t even find a photo of it and needed to stage this shoot the other night after a lesbolesque performance. It is Torrid, I bought it at least six years ago. It has aged very well. The blue and brown dress I bought on ebay three years ago from a seller whose inventory exclusively consists of a plus size mannequin so I can only guess they are out of business.

My friend Elisabeth said in shock “You give them that much cleavage on a first date?” And I replied that yes, I believe my cleavage to be a gift from the goddess so I like to share.

I think it’s really important to be as authentic as possible on a first date. Also on any subsequent date. Don’t pretend to like sports if you don’t to impress someone. This is basic but it is amazing how many people I’ve dated who aren’t real with me and really amazing friends of mine who have fallen into the same “I want you to like me” impulse. I just heard a story about a professor getting her research assistants to burn her the latest hits so she wouldn’t have to admit to my friend that her favorite music was easy listening!

In the spirit of authenticity, I think it is important to dress in a way that expresses who I am. But, of course, there is that fine line between “darling of the paparazzi” Bevin and “dinner date” Bevin. Just like there is a fine line between “coffee date with an old internet friend I have a crush on” and “dinner date with an old internet friend I have auditioned and want to have grown-up time with.”

I told this dilemma to my friend and guru Damien Luxe and her answer was so simple it was genius. “Put a change of clothes in your purse and, after the coffee date, change.”

At first I hesitated. It felt sort of high maintenance to change in the middle of a date. But then I thought about my post about redefining high maintenance and reminded myself that I am a professional Femmecee and burlesque performer. I can change clothes in about 2 minutes flat (and do make-up and hair in 10) if I want to. Plus, changing during a date is a very authentic Bevin thing to do. Something I wouldn’t think twice about doing if I was out with friends.

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This is what I wore on the coffee date. It is eShakti. Here I am pictured with Deb, the owner of Re/Dress and Nicolette Mason at Monif C.’s 5th anniversary party.

I had to re imagine my purse for the afternoon/evening and opted for the travel-friendly leopard tote bag that has been serving me since I studied for the bar exam. It artfully hid my dress. I chose the red dress as I thought it packed a little more “wow” factor. And if I was going to secret change, I thought I should bring as much wow as possible.

The coffee date went very well and just before we left for dinner, I pardoned myself to go to the restroom. As it was winter, my shoes stayed the same (tights and black snow boots), and I changed into the dress. I put my coat on and my date had no idea until we arrived at the restaurant that I had changed. She was stunned and commented on it profusely.

That remains one of my favorite fashion moments of any date I’ve ever been on. The reception the gesture got only further reinforced how important it is to bring my real self on dates and never hesitate to express myself.

2010-10-23

Miss LEZ! Sunday, October 24th! Buy Tickets in Advance!

Recall the time that I competed for the title of Miss LEZ. I can’t believe it was a year ago already. Murray Hill is bringing it back again, better than ever!

Check out the hot contestants! (Not pictured, N–The Only Letter in Burlesque.)

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MISS LESBIAN LOVE OCTAGON // VICKY SIN, a lipstick wearing, ballad belting, glitter loving Burlesque babe

MISS REBEL CUPCAKE // DRAE CAMPBELL, a performer, filmmaker, choreographer, comedic gender bending butchy with an adoration for bow ties

MISS CHOICE CUNTS // GOLDIE PEACOCK, a Bed-Stuy based genderblender, movement artist, go-go dancer and muse

MISS HEY QUEEN // ARIEL SPEEDWAGON, a performer, a dancer, a dandy, and a romancer whose work has been seen on Broadway, Lafayette, Chrystie, and other fine streets and avenues in New York City

MISS RE/DRESS // AFRO TITTY, a Power (For not Over) Bitch Femme Shark with fierce politics and a bangin’ rack/shimmy/shake

MISS WILDCARD // N, The ONLY Letter In Burlesque, is a kitty loving, graphic designing, burlesque dancing, drag queening, singing sensation! The show is going to be incredible. I’ve performed with every contestant within the last six months and I can tell you that no matter who wins it is going to be a fabulous journey.

My friend Drae (teeth bared in the photo) is representing my party as Miss Rebel Cupcake! I’m so excited that Rebel Cupcake is only 6 months old and already we’re presenting someone to become the queen of Lez nightlife. The little party that could. We got four of the contestants at the last Rebel Cupcake on stage (photos forthcoming) and it was a really fun to present them to the audience.

As part of Drae’s prep for the pageant I’ve been grilling her with potential judge’s interview questions. Apparently I’m a bit of a pageant mom. “No, that’s wrong. Always say this. No, no, do this.” Mostly I just hope Drae shows the audience and judges how weird she is, because I think her wit and weirdness are her strengths going into the competition.

Buy tickets in advance! The show sells out every year! And stay tuned here for a recap!

More info on the Miss LEZ Pageant here!

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Other fun New York City things to take note of:

Justin Bond’s new play starring QFF.com favorites Glenn Marla and Heather Acs. More info on Justin Bond and the House of Whimsy: Re:Galli Blonde (A Sissy Fix) through the link. The play is running this weekend and next weekend only!

The Lesbian Love Octagon musical runs for one weekend only, November 4-7. It’s an incredible show and I can’t wait to see its current incarnation. The brainchild of Kimberlea Kressal, she’s been working on it for 11 years. I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished and the cast is extremely talented. Buy tickets in advance!

2010-08-18

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Fresh from my annual adventure in the woods at MichFest, I thought I would provide some highlights from my summer adventures.

TAMALE AND THE POWER OF STICKTOITIVENESS

I got to spend a lot of time with the gorgeous and caring Miss Tamale Sepp. I met her through the IDKE community years ago, and have performed alongside her precious few times but consider her a kindred spirit. She’s two months older than me but it feels like we’re twins in some ways. She likes to say “I’m dramatic, not drama” and I could not agree more. We share a penchant for flamboyance and big personalities, red hair and big tits.

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One of the things I love most about Tamale is her relentless drive and passion. She decided the last afternoon of the festival that she wanted to spin poi. She needed this very specific type of camping fuel. “Coleman something something in a red can” she repeated to anyone who would listen. She easily asked 600 people and as the afternoon wore on and I was beginning to give up, as the cuntree store ran out of all sweet snacks other than keebler fudge stripe cookies, as campers had been flooding out the front gates since the early morning hours, as night was beginning to fall. She got a tip from someone to check beside a specific high traffic dumpster as a lot of campers leave things behind. I bid her adieu after another heart to heart atop a hay bail.

Two hours later she was at the Last Chance Desperation Dance* grinning from ear to ear, handing me a book of matches with a can of Coleman fuel at her feet. She saw it in someone’s cart and asked if she could use some and they gave it to her. She performed three of her beautiful fire dances that night, one solo and one using me as a sexy (and very trusting) prop underneath her, and then later as part of the Womyn of Color Community Tent burlesque show.

Had Tamale given up when I was beginning to doubt the possibility, she never would have had that fulfillment and the hundreds of women who watched her perform that night would have missed out on some beautiful midnight magical moments. It was a really salient example to me of the benefits of tenacity and putting your needs out there.

Me and Tamale

ACTIONS FOR TRANSSEXUAL WOMEN’S INCLUSION
Stage Protest during Sia
Photo credit Andrea Alseri
A photo from the stage protest during Sia’s “Breathe Me”. The people are all wearing “Trans Women Belong Here” t-shirts. During the “How to welcome transsexual women to Michfest” organizing meeting Sia and JD attended and she invited people to wear their shirts and come on stage.  There were an additional 3 rows of folks behind the catwalk. Also when we (the folks on stage) raised our arms, a bunch of folks in the crowd stood with their arms raised as well. It was really beautiful to be part of this action.  I’m like third back from the center wearing a long sleeve black undershirt and striped skirt.  I did my best to make a t-shirt look good.

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Rae, one of the transwomen inclusion organizers, did an excellent t-shirt modification.

There was a lot of productive and peaceful organizing on the Land this summer around the issue of transsexual women’s inclusion in the womyn-born-womyn community intention at the Festival.** It was really great to see so much visible mobilization and have so many great conversations with people who are long-time (like 20+ years) attendees of the Festival. I have seen a shift in the community perception of the presence of an all-inclusive definition of “womyn” within the last decade I’ve been attending the Festival, but of course there is no crystal ball to tell us when/if/how that shift will be reflected by the Festival itself.

Welcoming Transsexual Women on the Land
Photo Credit: Amanda Leinberger

Women’s space is personally very important to me, and something I see as a periodic necessity for my ability to live in this society. I grew up in Girl Scouts and going to Girl Scout camp. I also believe very strongly in gender non-essentialism and that gender is non-binary. I think that women’s space can be inclusive of a non-binary gender, and the umbrella can be as big as it needs to be to include all women. I also don’t believe anyone has the right to decide who else is a “woman”. Not the clerk at vital records who files the birth certificates and not someone who is organizing an event. I think gender is self-determined.

The first time I went to Michfest it blew my mind. This was before I learned about body positivity, before I learned that Femme was anything other than pejorative and being able to see a literal sea of women’s bodies (and a lot that looked like mine) in a comfortable and free environment radically changed my view of my own body. I want Fest to become that kind of space for all women. I am committed to doing the work from the inside, while I’m there to spiritually replenish my ability to do my art and activism in the outside world.

What was disheartening this summer was the interactions with Camp Trans this year. My friend Bryn, a long-time Camp Trans goer, read a piece about her experience at Festival in 2007 on Episode 9 of my podcast. It’s a really great listen.
There were reports of vandalism on the Land this summer from people camped at Camp Trans, and as a worker who works at the front gate, I heard people yelling terrible things from their cars at us as they drove past. This is something I’ve never experienced from Camp Trans. I’ve been over there many times, have a lot of friends who camp there and have enjoyed the “kinder gentler” peaceful activism that has been the trend over the last several years. I know whatever happened were the actions of a few individuals and not a whole community, but it is very disappointing that it happened at all when the actions going on from Festival Goers were so positive.

FINDING YOUR OWN RHYTHM

I spent a lot of time on vacation this year fighting off bugs (they were worse than ever) and trying to look good while doing it. A Festie Virgin friend of mine told me “I was lead to believe this was going to be some sort of non-stop sexy romp in the woods” and I responded “Nothing deters my sexual appetite like the taste of DEET.” Not that sex doesn’t happen in the woods, but when I removed getting laid from whether or not I felt my Festival was fun or a success I had a much better time. This theory is also true for conferences and other high-pressure hook-up queer social gatherings.***

I think it can be really hard to understand that what makes something a good time for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true for other people. This took me so long to internalize. Some people have to get laid to have a good time or do [x,y,z] to have a good time. I would always beat myself up for not enjoying things in a similar way because I absorbed what other people were saying should be my goals for what is a good time.

The Festival is a great space for me to remember this lesson. Some people go to the Festival for the sole purpose of just drinking with their friends all week, some go for the nature, some book up every moment of their day with workshops, concerts and activities. I sometimes get so wrapped up in the idea of the time I think I should be having I become really checked out from the joys and pleasures of the time I am actually having.

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Indigo Girls was my favorite concert and I remained completely sober for it because I wanted to really experience the joy of seeing one of my favorite bands play. I was also experimenting with how to wear flannel as high Femme. Also pictured is my friend Des in her outfit from the Butch Strut.

It took me several years to realize that just because I was “camping” didn’t mean I had to dress like it. I’m always far happier wearing clothes that express who I am in a way that zip away hiking shorts and tevas don’t even come close to doing. So I wear what I want and accept that there might be a wardrobe casualty (rarely).

Sharp in the woods.
Partying in the dark dark woods? Sequins will get you noticed.

This is another lesson in not letting fear hold you back. I don’t worry about being overdressed anymore, and the same goes double for as costume-friendly environment as MichFest.

FEMME PARADE
My friend C. approached me at the beginning of Festival week and told me that her dream was to get her light blue convertible in the Femme Parade and have me ride in it. I told her, “I didn’t know that it was my dream to ride in a light blue convertible in the Femme Parade until this very moment but I am happy to help make this happen.” It took many conversations and work on many folks’ parts but the coveted and extremely difficult to acquire Festival vehicle pass was obtained and we took up the rear of the parade.

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All in all I had a great time, deepening friendships and spending some quality time helping to create something entirely put together from scratch every year by women. It’s an incredible experience and incredible feeling. I can’t wait to do it again.

*Not the official name in the Festival program.
**More on this topic is being pooled at this site here, clickie clickie.
***Likely another blog post on this topic is forthcoming.

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