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

2015-04-15

Fun Home The Musical is Totally Awesome

I was offered press tickets to see a preview of Fun Home, the new Broadway musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home. Alison Bechdel is famous (to me and to every lesbian from the 90s, as the author of the famed comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.
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I knew a bunch of people who saw the first version of the musical when it played at The Public Theater, and also I know the dog walker of the woman who adapted the graphic memoir as a musical. It’s a tiny queer world. (Her dog is REALLY sweet.)

I have very few feelings of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as someone who lives in New York City, developing FOMO resistance is a survival strategy. Yes, somewhere at this very moment there are a ton of parties going down and I’m not missing anything. I feel this way about books and TV shows sometimes, trusting that one day I’ll get to it if it’s that good. This is why I didn’t read Fun Home when it first came out and I was too broke to see it at the Public.

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Ugh, I wish I had read Fun Home when it came out! It was so good!

The setting of the story is Alison’s family’s obsessively restored house not unlike the Addam’s Family’s period mansion. Additionally, the family’s funeral home business (the “fun home”), time traveling to college when Alison came out, and in the musical there is time traveling to present day while Alison is working on the graphic memoir and trying to understand her father.

Her dad is volatile, moody, obsessive, difficult, secretly gay and it isn’t certain but probably he committed suicide, just four months after Alison came out to her parents.

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Due to the literary references and analogies in the book I kind of found myself wishing I had read Henry James, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald and more heavy hitters in American and European literature so I could better understand Alison Bechdel’s when I was reading the graphic memoir (imagine a cartoon doing that), but then I remembered that my brain is full of the entire works of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Dorothy Allison and I’m not missing any of the old white dude set.

In reviewing the photos from a family (minus her mother) trip to the shore with one of their young male baby sitters, with new eyes, she draws connections to literary hard hitters.

“In one of Proust’s sweeping metaphors, the two directions in which the narrator’s family can opt for a walk–Swann’s way and the Guermantes way–are initially presented as diametrically opposed. Bourgeois vs aristocratic, homo vs hetero, city vs country, eros vs art, private vs public. But at the end of the novel the two ways are revealed to converge–to have always converged–through a vast ‘network of transversals.'”

This is all written over a drawing of the family’s station wagon in the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s the kind of book that you can glaze over the stuff you don’t understand because of the pictures, but if you’re a word whore like me you’re looking up the two words per page you don’t know.

I went to see the musical on Broadway fresh from reading the book and so curious how that sweet elderly poodle’s mom had adapted it to the stage. Here’s Alison Bechdel’s comic in video form about the transition from book to Broadway.

I thought the musical was great. It was super tender and distilled the important parts of the book for me. It was brilliantly staged in the round, with furniture moving up from the floor and around through holes in the stage. It struggled to flesh out the mother’s character, who I thought had a bigger part in the book.

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Dara thought Bruce Bechdel (Alison’s closeted gay dad) could have had a bigger emotional payoff, but I also wish I had been listening to the soundtrack ahead of time so I could really hear what he was singing in the last couple of songs, which is I think where the payoff was. Also, it’s so heartbreaking to watch the story of a person, especially a queer person or otherwise non-societally conforming, who lived their whole life in a 1.5 mile diameter circle.

The part that I felt was most different in the musical was the part played by Joan, who in the book is kind of a background character, but the dimension she gets in the musical makes her so charming and also the actress has some great swagger.

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It’s also really freaking cool to see a masculine of center Lesbian as the star of a Broadway musical, as the narrator character is present-day Alison Bechdel (not the real Alison, an actress) in all her tee shirt, jeans, converse, short hair, bespectacled glory.

The book is a quick read, and I think my having read it made a huge difference in how I was able to experience the musical.

It was also so great to learn soon after the show that there is a sequel to the book! Are You My Mother.

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Everyone I’ve talked to about the book says they love the scene where young Alison sees a butch for the first time. Here’s the you tube video of the song from the musical. It’s so amazing when you see a butch for the first time and you’re not used to seeing gender non-conforming people who you identify with!

Tickets are Broadway pricey at $75-$150, but this one is worth it. It’s on Broadway through September 13th, so grab them fast! And if you can’t make it to NYC to see it, read the book and then get the soundtrack. Both are really fantastic! (Ugh, especially the cute coming out dialogue “Thanks for the Care Package.”)

2012-09-13

Things That Delight Me

I’m sitting in a West Philadelphia coffee shop drinking all the cheap beverages (iced coffee, green rooibus tea, soon to be followed by CHAI probably, caffeine I’m getting crazy on you) and working on my book. So far my shitty first draft* is 30,000 words long and that is an incredible jaunt down my emotional, sexual and party roads for the last four years. Someday soon I will share it with you, dear readers, in a form you can hold in your meaty paws and will hopefully make you laugh and cry and want to go out and have hot fat sex.

In the present time, however, I have some stuff that delights me that I want to share with you. A lot of it has to do with cats.

Macy loves visiting Philly because my nieces drop a lot of food.
Macy loves visiting Philly because my nieces drop a lot of food.

ITEM THE FIRST:

I am delighted to travel and am totally seeking opportunities to travel to colleges, retreat centers, gatherings, community spaces, coffee shops, rooftops to speak, perform and facilitate workshops. Here is a list of the performances and workshops I offer!

ITEM THE SECOND:

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Me and Quinn at our friends’ wedding in May.

Free form idea-creating with my friend Quinn in New Mexico about a future Cat Ranch for rescue kitties. This all stemmed from a discussion about a real-life cat circus that Quinn’s girlfriend Matie** took her to.
Q: A cat played the drums.
B: It’s like Magic Mike for Lesbians.
Q: I will freely admit that I have a DEEP adoration for cats and would have several if I could. If I lived on a farm it would be all over. ALL THE BARN CATS!
B: There was a lesbian lawyer I knew who always wanted to have a rescue farm full of rescue cats that were fixed and just got to live their days roaming in a herd.
Q: Hi I’m Quinn, Ranch Hand and Professional Cat Herder. Overalls sans shirt, kitty buttons. These are all service cats.
B: You and Matie live in New Mexico, this dream could become a reality. Imagine how happy the ranch cats would be eating lizards.
Q: And other giant fast-moving insects. PERFORMING PUSSY EXTRAVAGANZA.
B: THE PUSSY RANCH. There could be a giant vulva on a barn.
Q: Would you come help us paint it? Maybe we could get a world record for biggest painted vulva.
B: I would totally come help you paint it. Imagine all the cat hair tumbleweeds during a dust storm! You could do adopt-a-cat from afar things like they do for cows at the Farm Sanctuary.
Q: Silverbutch quinner and her cats-a-plenty.
B: Also there are folks who go from farm to farm doing workshares in exchange for a place to stay and food. Imagine the lesbians coming through town to hang out on the ranch. I hope Matie is down with this plan since we’ve basically done everything except put a down payment on the ranch.
Q: I sure hope so, I’ve already mapped out what I’ll be doing from the age 45 on. Growing catnip.
B: Did you know catnip has the opposite effect on people as it does on cats? It’s calming!
Q: I will also grow sage, rosemary, and other things to fill the lesbian tea basket and cat farm. “This is our house blend.”
B: Uniquely fertilized herbs. We can do meditation classes where people come and meditate while brushing the cats. WIN WIN.
Q: Cat therapy that caters to lesbians. Have you lost a loved one? Was this loved one a cat? Let us help you heal.
B: The annual benefit will be a CAT RODEO.

So basically we’re just a kickstarter away from making THE PUSSY RANCH a real thing.


My cat Bear.

I pushed through the screen door and I stood out on the porch thinking "fight fight fight at all costs." #anicat
My other cat ALF. I post a lot of photos of my cats and Ani DiFranco lyrics on my Instagram. @queerfatfemme

ITEM THE THIRD:

This video of the extremely talented Ashley Aron fronting the Vancouver, BC based Butch Choir called Leadfoot. It’s amazing!

ITEM THE FOURTH:

This video by Kitty Crimes called Yogue Out. If you are a fan of Leslie Hall, be it for her gold lame’ body suits or for her amazing beats and hilarious songs, I feel you will enjoy this rap about yoga.

ITEM THE FIFTH:

Helpful to the writer is a friend you can gchat and demand simply “Inspire Me” and she comes up with something like this. (Thanks Bridget, for being that friend.)

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Okay, dear readers, back to writing the bridge to the next chapter of my life…

*Much love to Anne Lamott for that liberating language from her amazing writing book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
**P.S. All future suitors take note that’s a great date for Ms. Branlandingham.

2011-10-05

Mailbag: Can I Meet Single Hotties at Rebel Cupcake?

Hi Bevin,

I happened to come across your blog and find it fun. I’m average weight but queer. I am interested in attending one of your Rebel Cupcake parties. Do you have a mailing list that you can add me to?

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[All photos by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake. These are from the John Waters Rebel Cupcake on September 9.]

I have another question and am a little embarrassed to ask it but here goes… Do you get at least a few unattached butch women showing up to your parties (and I mean very butch)? I don’t know how to meet these kind of women and they’re my favorite.

Thanks,

[Name Withheld]

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Diana, AfroTitty and Bev.

Hi [Name Withheld]!

Thanks for your compliment about my blog! Rebel cupcake has two ways to stay in touch–there is a Facebook group (if this link doesn’t work search for the group named, aptly, “Rebel Cupcake”) where you’ll be automatically invited to each event and a text list where I text you once a month and remind you about the party. The text list gets in for $2 off the cover price to all of my events.

As for your question about unattached butches, the thing to know is lots of the folks in the queer community, while they may present masculine of center, don’t always identify as butch. You might find some of them attractive if you like butches but it is always best to let other folks tell you their identity preferences instead of assuming. I met my GF at Rebel Cupcake and she is not butch identified. But she looks and acts like a fag, which is how I like my women.

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This is the John Waters quote I wished I had used in the pool in Atlantic City.

Folks all along the gender spectrum and body spectrum find a home at Rebel Cupcake.

Also lots of other folks met their sweethearts at Rebel Cupcake (butch or otherwise). So yes, lots of unattached folks but it is a really low-pressure easy environment and not explicitly creepy or cruisey in a non-consensual way. Sometimes I poll the audience during the show to ask who is actively looking for action. I once got scolded by a regular because I forgot. Anytime I am nearing the end of the show and it looks like I’m forgetting, please remind me! I love a gentle heckle.

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Rebel Cupcake is up for some awesome GO Magazine Nightlife awards. One is for Sexiest Vibe (what happens on the smoking deck stays on the smoking deck), Most Eclectic Crowd, Best Queer Party and I am nominated for Best Emcee. Anyone on the internet can vote, and voting is open until November 5th! Please vote for Rebel Cupcake!

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Look! It’s Rebel Cupcake favorite Bambi Galore! Rebel Cupcake is also home to lots of Femmes. And we encourage the wearing of sexy clothing and burlesque.

I think Rebel Cupcake is a great place to meet people regardless of whether you are looking for a sweetheart, a meaningful overnight relationship or just friends or meet no one and just dance (though usually I try to introduce myself to everyone who is there between 10 and 11 before the show starts, thus if you are there early I might meet you). The smoking deck is not very loud, it is easy to strike up a conversation, there are grottos to chill out in and the performance at 11pm is meant as a way for me to break the ice for you. PLUS the photo booth is a great way to stay in facebook touch with the folks you meet.

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Also Rebel Cupcake is really fun and it’s an explicitly body positive dance party which is not really common. Support the queer nightlife that supports you!

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(Sometimes there is a discount for wearing costumes but there is always discount for being on the texty list.)

And if you are really interested in explicitly Butch-identified extremely Butch and you mean VERY Butch women, I suggest the NYC Butch-Femme socials. Story dropping time–I know someone who went to those socials explicitly hunting for her future Lesband* and she totally found her dream Butch. I am not saying anything about how Butch anyone who goes to those events are because I haven’t been in a long time, but I bet if there is a VERY Butch woman really looking for the Femme of her dreams she would probably go to those. But I hope she’d also show up to Rebel Cupcake.

Hope to see you there!!

xoxox,

Bevin

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I look a little crazy in this photo but I feel it was in the theme.

*Lesband: Addition to the queer lexicography. Lesbian spouse who is maybe not all the way husband identified. My friend Lauren and I came up with this when we were in college and I was exploring my new lesbian identity and wondering “HOW DOES IT ALL WORK???”

2011-05-12

Queer Book Worm Parties

So it’s 7PM on the second Thursday of the month, which means I’m at Re/Dress and since all the go-backs and tagging are done and all the custies are happy* I am sitting here daydreaming about my make-up and hair for Rebel Cupcake tonight. Every second Thursday I leave the store at 8 and have exactly an hour and fifteen minutes to get home, walk Macy, do my hair and make-up and do any last-minute Rebel Cupcake thingies.

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Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein.

This ritual has lasted for a year now, I am so happy and thankful to get to keep producing this party, that this party is so genuine/fun/not sceney/feel-good/flamboyant/queer/body-positive, to have work that is flexible enough that accommodates me doing all the different gigs I do.

I don’t usually perform in addition to Femmeceeing and producing the event but since it’s the anniversary party I’m doing my Lesbolesque act. Which means I’m also mentally rehearsing my act, a ritual that is as old as my drag king days. Did you know I used to perform as a drag king? That was really where I found myself a decade or so ago, on the drag king stage.

Also coming up within the week are two parties I’m excited to have a hand in. Total queer book worm parties.

Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, the anthology just released from Arsenal Pulp Press, is doing it’s NYC launch and it’s not just a reading! There will be music performed by the amazing Rae Spoon. Rae is Canadian. Rae was featured on FemmeCast. Rae is my friend-in-law and beloved by many of my favorite people.

Also, Ivan E. Coyote! Such a heart-string pulling story-teller! Author extraordinaire! Canadian! Have you watched the video To All The Kick-Ass Beautiful Fierce Femmes Out There? Watch it and cry a little.

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Ivan!

Also, Zena Sharman! So smart, sassy and funny. And a (you guessed it) Canadian!! There is so much maple at this event I just cannot wait.

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A few of my favorite things, Canadians, BBQ and making foolish faces. Zena on the left, hotties Ashley Aron and Smith on the right.

And also me! Reading a story that is a cousin to what I have in the book because I want to give people an incentive to buy the book to read more about debunking the femmephobic notion that Femmes are high maintenance. My friend who is a women and gender studies professor told me it’s a “highly quotable piece” and will be required reading for future classes he teaches so I feel super excited about making contributions to academia (even though in my opinion the book is so much more colloquial than academic).

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To cap off the readings/music/book launch a queer book worm DANCE PARTY!

When I was a little kid I was so shy and awkward and hardcore bullied for being fat so I just stuck to myself during recess, standing alone reading books. Literally standing in the playground, Baby Sitters Club or Nancy Drew or Christopher Pike in hand. So now all of this queer book worm dance party action, marrying my love of books and dancing is really like this amazing full-circle situation.**

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DJ Polar Sounds, hot butch magic times on the decks until 2 AM!

Not to be outdone, next Friday, May 20th is the Feminist Press (swoon, right?) dance party fundraiser FASTER PUSSYCAT!***

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The raffle is a fat girl’s dream–a gift certificate to Domino Dollhouse and a Re/Dress gift certificate are both up for grabs!

The party is at that 116 space I talked about in my last entry!

It’s queer summer, the book worms are using party fliers as bookmarks, and hitting the dance floor!

*Hey Deb!
**What would I put on a bookmark if I were able to slip it into ten-year-old tiny fat Bevin’s beloved books? “It’s all going to be okay.” A photo of a cute faggy gender queer with an age-appropriate explanation of queer sexuality. (I didn’t even know that people could be lesbians until I was 14, how’s that for in the closet?) Or maybe not because maybe it was easier just being fat, and better to be ignorant of being queer for awhile? Maybe just a photo of me at 32 having so much fun and loving life?
***We watched that movie in my feminist filmmaking class in undergrad. Love it!

2011-03-16

Ways to Tell a Queer Femme is Queer

There’s been a lot of buzz around the internets lately about Femme identity. I am unsure where the controversy began but I think it had something to do with this post on how to spot a queer Femme by Fuck Yeah Femmes. The curator of that Tumblr sent me a message asking me the following question:

Hi Bevin! I’m glad you liked my list of femme traits and tell-tale signs, I am interested to hear what you think could be appended to the list! Some people commented that the list was not “inclusive” enough and I definitely didn’t intend it to be definitive. Those are only my ideas, certainly a broader picture will emerge if many different femmes give their perspective as well. So here goes: “Ways to Tell a Queer Femme is Queer?” “Ways to Get a Femme Girlfriend?”

FYF certainly didn’t write a definitive list. I mean, it’s totally subjective and I read it as a playful narrative, almost a fantasy sequence. I love it because I see so much of my unbounded Femme sisters in it. I also understand the question about determining whether a queer femme is queer. It can be so frustrating to feel that we are “hiding in plain sight” and the chance to teach someone how to see us is really exciting. (As a side note, I plan to answer “Ways to Get a Femme Girlfriend” in a later post.)

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Spot a Femme in the Wild. The Femme author in her natural habitat, on stage. At my birthday party doing 9 to 5 at Rock N Twang Karaoke at my second favorite BBQ restaurant in NYC, Hill Country BBQ. It was so fun. I’m wearing a lei made of cookies and sex toys, a gift from Kit Yan.

The problem is, there is no one “us.” Identities like Femme are deeply personal and there’s no one way to be Femme. There are certainly overlapping characteristics and generalizations that exist–which is how we find each other and create community. Tenderly paw in paw we find ourselves a niche (or several) in queerdom. But it is essentialist to say “This is a trait common amongst Femmes,” because as soon as you think you’ve isolated one commonality about Femmes you’ll find a whole pile of Femmes who belie that trait. This is simultaneously awesome and complicated when you’re trying to spot a Femme in the wild.

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Spot a Femme in the Wild. The Femme author in her secondmost natural habitat, the dance floor. Photo by the ever so talented Amos Mac at Stay Gold in San Francisco.

Personal identities are fluid.
I’m 32 and while I settled into Queer Fat Femme about a decade ago, there are a few permutations I enjoyed for awhile but have since moved away from. I don’t feel comfortable with the term “High Femme” anymore. I think some people use it to mean ever so very Femme or indicate some extreme extent of feminine expression. I’m totally a girl who will wear bright make-up at all times of day or night and I feel completely comfortable over-dressing for any occasion because my self-expression matters more to me than fitting in. However, using the term “High Femme” just sounds like hierarchy to me.

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Fancy Femme? Flamboyant Femme? Giant Eyelashes Femme? How Many Blingies Can I Fit in My Hair Femme? I Do the Opposite of Coco Chanel and Add One Accessory Before I Leave the House Femme? Photo by Dee Dean Leitner from the Hard French Winter Ball.

I totally understand that it is a term steeped in history and tradition, and anyone who self-identifies as High Femme is fine by me. But in terms of my Femme expression and identity, I prefer to think of us as living in this gorgeous glittery rainbow venn diagram of overlapping adjectives, none “higher” or “lower” than another semantically or otherwise.

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Is this splitting hairs? Likely. Do I care? No. My personal identity is exactly that, personal and individually tailored to who I am. It gets to be as nuanced as I care for it to be.

Also, let’s keep in mind the heart and loins are complicated entities, their relationships with the individuals they’re attached to change often. We’re all going to be queer for a long time* and probably do queer really different twenty years from now.

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Jessie Dress tagged herself as a Glitter Femme.

Discussion of fluidity aside, let’s get down to brass tacks. How do you spot a Femme in the wild? I’m going to approach it from a different angle, which is share with you how I determine if someone is queer in the wild (leaving Femme out of it momentarily).

One thing I do is assume everyone is queer until they out themselves as straight. Straight people don’t have to worry about the pronoun game, and generally not particularly strategic about telling you genders of the folks they do it with. This game works for me a lot, especially because I typically out myself right away. Usually when you do that your fellow queers will find some way to out themselves and you’re basking in mutual rainbows of recognition.

When this doesn’t work and I spot no visible gay signifiers (Ani DiFranco tattoos, gay lady jewelry), I either ask them directly or ask their friends.

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Source.

Asking directly works for me because I have the sort of inquisitive personality and ability to put people at ease that nine times out of ten makes people feel okay telling me things. This is why I am a talk show host. However, this doesn’t always work and going to the friends to find out is great. This is also what I do when I want to know if someone is single and I am too shy to ask them.**

Now to deal with the Femme question. I think a casual, “So do you identify as Femme?” directed at the person is okay, but this question needs to be addressed with a lot of sensitivity and care. You may be Femme positive, but the person in question may not. I remember being told, just after coming out, “You’re a LIPSTICK lesbian!” and I felt so shamed about it! I didn’t know there were Femme positive communities out there, I didn’t know being feminine could be empowering and get me laid.

Casually dropping hints about Femme positive websites you visit or events you’ve been to/wish you could go to is a nice way of fleshing out identity and creating a safe space for that kind of stuff. Also a nice way to heavily hint about queer stuff.

And here’s the thing I’ve discovered through my personal relationship history anecdata: I’ve never seriously dated anyone who was Butch identified. I am super Butch postive, lord knows I love me a fat Butch. But, what I find attractive in another human is far more complicated than even personal queer identities. So if you’re out there looking to “spot” a queer Femme, I mean, maybe the Femme part isn’t as important. You do you, go to the kinds of events that have the kinds of people you want at them (or start those events), the right people are going to cozy up to you and you’ll be basking in the magic of the great rainbow queer venn diagram in no time.

*Hat tip to Glenn Marla for that nugget.
**Friends are great for the single question, too, because they’ll give you the real scoop. Relationship status is sometimes even more complicated than identity. “Poly but complicated rules,” “Single and totally off the market dealing with serious life stuff,” “In five long distance relationships and only looking to date locally.”

2010-12-16

Why You Should Buy Elisha Lim’s Calendar Right Now

Let’s start with the facts.

Elisha Lim is handsome.
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Elisha Lim is well-dressed.
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Elisha Lim is a talented artist.
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Elisha Lim has used this triple threat for good by converting it into a 2011 calendar.

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A 12 month calendar of handsome dandy queers from January to December. Full colour images and comics feature sartorial queer style, shopping anecdotes and strategies, and a celebration of walking proud in what you wear.

The comics feature excerpts from “The Illustrated Gentleman” and “100 Butches” and contain a hand-drawn monthly schedule for each month.

I like that it’s small. It’s the kind of thing I could tuck easily into a small corner of my kitchen or by my bed or anywhere on the walls of weird narrow New York City realness apartments. However, you want to make sure it is someplace where you can read each month. Each illustration includes an essay.

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Elisha further offers purchasers of the calendar a bonus.

If you want to send this calendar to flirt with somebody, or just to say happy birthday, I can add a dedication into the package.

I appreciated so much that my version of the calendar was sent to me in brown paper packaging with my name in a fancy script. I loved it. I am going to save it. Perhaps it will become my return address label.

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Support a hardworking queer artist!! Clickie here to go to the calendar shop!

2010-05-23

Butch Fashion

When I talk about fashion it is generally with an eye towards Femmes for obvious reasons. Butch fashion has been a topic of conversation recently as the Re/Dress Shop Girls & The Femme Family are prepping for the upcoming Sartorial Summer: A Butch Fashion Show*.

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I titled the event after one of my favorite new fashion blogs, The Sartorial Butch. What a much-needed concept. After hearing about the event The Sartorial Butch decided to drive down from Maine and let me personal shop for her and the Sartorial Love.

In celebration of Butch Fashion Week in Brooklyn**, I present unto you, gentle readers of all gender presentations, the fashion items of the more masculine flavor that I enjoy a great deal. Both in a purely platonic allies-in-fashion-greatness way and also in a subtle lay down for any future suitors doing research.

TWO-TONED COWBOY BOOTS

I love cowboys and cowboy boots. I also like flamboyance. Two-toned cowboy boots are the perfect storm of flamboyance and rugged cowboy magic.

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L-R, Ariat International Men’s Cobalt XL, Ariat International Men’s Legend Full Quill Ostrich, Justin Boots Peanut Brittle Iquana Lizard, Wilson Handmade Custom Two Toned Boots. For hard to fit sizes, they can customize just about every part of the boot but they are pricey!

As a bargain shopper, I encourage people to shop thrift, vintage, ebay and etsy for boots on the cheap. But as feet are a nonrenewable resource, I also believe in investing in a good pair of boots that will last forever.

My friend Mackenzi called two-toned cowboy boots my sweet spot. She’s not wrong.

DIP ME IN HONEY AND THROW ME TO THE BUTCHES WITH BOW TIES
Thanks to K. Ulanday Barrett for that quote. (Follow Browntranslaments on Tumblr! So so so good.)

I think bow ties are one of my very favorite things. Both nerdy and dapper.

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DJ Sirlinda, who is djing the butch fashion show & dance party portion, wearing a bow tie at Hey Queen. Photo by Scout.

A bow tie can dress up virtually any outfit. They come pre-tied, clip on or the old-fashioned do it yourself kind.

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See? Virtually any outfit. This is Ariel Speedwagon, one of our models, at Hey Queen.

GENTLEMANLY ACCESSORIES

I was on a date with someone and he gave a ride to a friend of mine between parties. Because I’m the Queer Oprah, suddenly my friend was unintentionally crying and talking about a break-up. He whipped out a handkerchief and handed it to her. As a souvenir from the date he left another handkerchief in my purse, which I found the next day. Both were sweet gestures and spoke to preparedness.

Hankies can do a lot, including let people know your desires.

I also enjoy the full range of old-fashioned accouterments. A nice flask, a pocket watch, a sexy knife. I smelled something sweet in the air at a party once and immediately had a reason to talk to this fine gentleman, Justin Credible.

Kris is fancy. Flavored tobacco smoke.

But it doesn’t stop with flavored tobacco smoke. No no. Then suddenly a pocket watch comes out.

And lots of fancy accessories in pockets.

Good accessories are a huge conversation starter for me. I have stopped people on the street because of their extraordinary fashion and flare.

Of course, my very favorite butch fashion accessory is integrity! Living with intention and ethics are really important to me, especially as regards the feelings of their friends and romantic partners. All the intention towards your fashion doesn’t matter one iota if you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly treat other people poorly.

COLLARED SHIRTS

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Photo by Quito Ziegler.
Here is Elisha Lim, after a Sister Spit show in Manhattan. Looking dapper but not trying too hard on a hot and humid night. Also pictured is Silas Howard in the sparkly suspenders (!) and collared shirt, who is probably one of the most consistently well-dressed butches I know. Check out the info on his new movie “Cooler” The Movie. (Also they are still looking for investors and it sounds like a great investment. Message Silas through the fan page!)

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Again, I like flamboyance and cowboys, and often those have a perfect marriage in a good cowboy shirt. This one is available from Old Man Pants Vintage, which is an etsy store run by a friend of mine from Oakland.

FLUEVOGS

Clearly I love fancy footwear, but I lust after Fluevogs in a major way. Sometimes, when I am window shopping on the internet, I coordinate his & hers Fluevogs. As in, “I want to go on a date and I want to wear these shoes and I want my date to wear those shoes.” It’s a fun game.

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L-R Snyder in Blue Cairo, Resist Creeper, Rusnak, Wessex.
Women’s Row: Truth: Pilgrim , Wish, Arabica, Buffy (I like these both for what they’re named for and their appropriateness.

Fluevog shopping money saving tips–shop resale! We get Fluevogs in at Re/Dress and tweet about it. Fluevog stores have a 15% off sale every year for John Fluevog’s birthday. Very rarely, but sometimes, they have huge vintage Fluevog sales. I got a pair for $30 once.

I will say this for Fluevog heels: they are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn.

BEING WELL-PUT TOGETHER & PERSONAL EXPRESSION

I love sweater vests, ascots and other items that make an outfit and outfit, but individual personal style matters most to me in terms of turning my fashion head. Someone just today confessed to almost exclusively wearing knee socks, always mismatched. It’s hot! It’s goofy! It’s an expression of personal style.

Both of these outfits show a lot of personal expression:

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Alix Izen of the Inverted Eye, from the flier for the Folsom Street Fair. A specimen of the put together butch. His fashion is always swoon-worthy.

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I am always impressed by my friend Jesse’s fashion. Check out his tips on courtship on Episode 10 of FemmeCast!!

*And just a note from our preparations for the event–three of the models said that they would be willing to wear just underwear.
**We’re talking Butch in the same totally open-ended self-identification ways I use Femme. And check out the second event, the Original Plumbing Release Party on Friday night! SO MUCH GOOD FASHION AT THOSE. And hot queers of all presentations.

2010-02-11

Winter is Style Phobic

Yesterday my Femme friend Rachel posted to FaceBook that she doesn’t understand how to dress for snow and solicited tips. Femme Family Madam of Beauty, Bryn, responded “Snow = Femmephobic”. An FF Butch ally complained about snow being butchphobic because of the giant duck-like snow boots she is forced to wear.

Let’s be real–winter is just plain stylephobic. It’s a lot harder to be cute in the cold, what with all of the layering and the arduous task of putting on coats, gloves, hats, and special shoes just to leave your house. I grew up in California and didn’t experience my first real winter until I was 21. A decade later I’m still not over the novelty and annoyance.

I have come up with some ideas as to how to inject style and sass into your winter blah blah blahs for not a lot of money.

1. Get an accessory that can transition the everyday into glamour.

Your coat and accouterments are the first thing everyone sees on you. It’s also the one outfit you’ll wear every single day. Making it a good one is important.

This year I found a great way to transition 3 late fall weight coats (or California winter coats) to be really stellar and glamorous outerwear: a $10 Old Navy khaki trench, a getting sort of crappy houndstooth coat I was thinking of giving away and a mid-range mod print black and white coat. I bought a vintage fur stole* for $20. It wasn’t in fabulous condition, so I felt totally fine stitching it up, closing it with a pin and throwing it over any one of those coats. Instaglamour!

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I wish I had a better shot of the coat but I think the Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha cameo totally makes up for it.

I also bought a really gorgeous pair of teal leather gloves for $10. They were GAP in origin (but I got them from Re/Dress). They really pop against any kind of neutral coat, they’re water proof, and they actually work to open Macy’s poop bags, which is not true of most gloves. I believe in good leather or leather-like gloves only if they are cheap because expensive gloves get lost.

I feel complicated about hats so I try to have a coat with a hood in late winter. I’ve been seeing girls wear really floppy beret style hats this winter, with their bangs able to show and still function as a hat. I like having big hair so it makes it hard to deal. I have earmuffs that wrap around the back of my bouffant.

I shop like a magpie so pretty much anything sparkly gets my attention. A sparkly scarf is my day to day in the deep winter. Glenn Marla here models a glittery ascot. I’ve seen many of my hippest queer friends layering their scarves this year–so even if it is a thin glittery overlay you can put more layers under them. One girl showed up to a gallery opening with I think at least 5 scarves around her neck.
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Nothing says “I’m bringing a little winter cheer to this bitch” like wearing bright accessories in the depths of February.

2. Become a Maple Chaser.

When you’re confused about what to wear in the winter, look to our Canadian cousins. If anyone knows how to dress for insanely cold weather, it’s people who live it 5 months of the year. I like to cruise my Facebook friends to see what the Canadian fatties are wearing and then pester them with questions about where stuff comes from.

A visiting Canadian walked into Re/Dress this winter wearing the most gorgeous full-length fuchsia down coat. She also had fuchsia hair. I see a lot of well-dressed folks at the store and it takes an especially foxy outfit to stick in my memory like that.

It was likely this coat from Lands’ End. It’s still not on sale, but it might be by the end of winter.

3. Get some bangin’ outerwear.

I scour all year long for good outerwear (this is how you can get stuff for cheap). I found my calf-length down coat at a Marshall’s last January on sale for $40 when I was in there looking for some impulsive-make-me-feel-better-cheap-lingerie to buy. A plus size new with tags calf-length down coat is hard enough to find, let alone for $40. It is always worth it to rifle through the coat section of those places.

Sometimes it is a good idea to splurge when the time is right. My friend Miasia bought this coat from an online Parisian retailer. It’s INSANELY gorgeous, warm, and she got it on sale. I forget where it’s from or how much she spent but I say worth it. It’s form fitting, flattering, unusual and wool.

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Even Macy gets some amazing outerwear for the coldest months. This waterproof for the snow pink lame’ and silver coat was $2, new with tags at the goodwill (originally from Target).
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4. These boots were made for walkin’ not fallin’.

I am a faller. I hate falling. I don’t understand people who don’t wear snow boots. They have treads and are waterproof and keep your feet warm. I think snow boots get a bad rap as being big crazy duck shoes. They don’t have to be sporty like that! Online footwear shopping is your friend for snow boots.

My first winter as a working girl, I had to travel to do closings, so I needed a pair of boots I could tromp around Manhattan in that went seamlessly with my work wardrobe. I found a pair of Lands’ End fleece boots that are completely black, inconspicuous and have lasted for 7 years. The lovely part I’ve found is that, since they are black, they work equally well with tights, leggings or work pants.

Right now I am in love with these stylish Fitzwell Lesley’s. They’re spendy, though.

On the other end of the spectrum, Deb, the owner of Re/Dress, introduced me to these totally cute boots.

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I believe these are Tretorn Women’s Glad Rubber Boots. They’re about $48 and Deb reports very warm and keep her feet very dry!

Your boots do not have to sacrifice fashion for function!

5. Make the big reveal a good one!

As for the stuff underneath all of those layers, I like to wear polyester vintage dresses in the winter. They are extremely warm (nothing like a fabric that doesn’t breathe). I also tend to layer tights under leggings and wear wool socks. Because when wool gets wet, wool stays warm. (I learned the tights instead of long johns trick and wool socks bit from my winter camping training in Girl Scouts.) When you wear tights under your clothes it also doesn’t matter as much if they have runs or holes in them because they’re hidden.

When you dig your car out from 4 feet of snowdrift wearing tights and you fall in a snowbank, you dry off really quickly, where jeans will retain the freeze far longer. I’ve found this year’s crop of tights from Target and Avenue to have a good longevity.

I also like to put my scarf on right after I put on my perfume (just one neck spritz)** because when it comes off it retains a subtle whif of fragrance which is a really good olfactory seduction.

And no time is more of a special time for cleavage as the winter. Frankly, there’s just not as much and I like to do my best to defeat that.

I end this post with one of my favorite songs of the now (even though it’s a little old). It IS hard to be a girl in all seasons!!

*It was sold to Re/Dress by World Famous *BOB*, I bought it with store credit I got for trading in my white fur collar/muff/hat set that I never wore because it was too pristine. In turn, Australian burlesque performer Lillian Starr bought my set from Re/Dress. The beauty of resale!

**Always being mindful of people with scent sensitivities–that’s no joke! If you know someone who has one NEVER wear perfume around them. My mom is scent sensitive and perfume is like migraine-inducing kryptonite.

2010-01-21

I Believe in Butch* Abundance

During the Femme Family Heart Share Brunch on Femme Competition and Femme Mutual Aid, we were talking about the ways in which Femmes sometimes compete for affection from butches.

I declared to the room of ten, “I believe in Butch* abundance!”

I went on to explain that living in a scarcity mentality is damaging to community and collaboration. There is enough love to go around. There is enough sex to go around. There is enough.

I totally know what you are saying. “Oh Bevin! There’s no one in this town to date! I know them all! Wah wah wah!” Or “Oh Bevin! There are no butches for me to be friends with! Who will watch football/craft/do other butch bonding activities with me?”

I think that there are tons of butches. Openly relying on anecdata, I meet a new butch-identified person every single week. This is specifically butch, not also including the many myriad masculine-of-center folk also orbiting the queer community and are new-to-me all the time. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I am attracted to them–quite the contrary, generally I am not. I think oftentimes people who are complaining of butch scarcity are specifically referring to a lack of people who they are attracted to and are sexually available to them.

The fact that my single Femme friends are still finding new butches* we don’t know through OK Cupid, Craig’s List and other online dating sites further reinforces my anecdata.

I keep telling the story of a fat femme friend of mine who found a really fabulous artsy late twenties butch none of us had ever met before on OK Cupid as though it is an urban legend. Because those dating sites can often seem so dried up, it still feels like an urban legend to me, even though I’ve actually met the butch and she’s foxy, smart, funny and exists in real life.

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This is my friend Kieran, with our mutual niece Etta Pearl (we are heart family). She’s single, butch and totally awesome. She also does sweet things for me like bought me flowers for my birthday and brought me cupcakes to the middle of nowhere when I was camping.

Further, I think there is a lot of butch abundance evident in the burgeoning Butchosphere. Check out the Sartorial Butch, putting a face and words to the fashionable faggy butches I often call friends. Also, check out this amazing post by amazing subversive stitcher BeeListy in response to gender policing in the Butchosphere.

Not to mention a whole conference of butches, studs and aggressives! When cruising the conference facebook photos** I didn’t recognize at least half or more of the attendees.

People also like to argue that the “next generation” is not producing any butches. I say not so! I have a lot of fresh out of college friends who are 23 and totally rocking the Butch label proudly and who want more butch friends. Shout out to SirMaamSir, Alex, who taught me Garage Band and is helping with FemmeCast.

I think propagating the notion that butches are diminishing is dangerous.

When you get into the mindset that there are only so many butches around, it enables the excusing of bad behavior.

In the past, I have clung romantically to people who were super shitty to me because I didn’t believe that there were other cute butches out there who would treat me well. Cutting ties and sending the badly behaved back out into the water enables me to have a heart free and wide for those who are ethical.

Packing the JAM.
My friend Grover told me that morning she was “packing the jam”.

Further, believing in a scarcity of butches propagates competition and bad behavior on the part of hoarding or horse-thieving queers. Going after a butch who is dating your friend***? Not cool at all. I have had some significant emotional violence wrought unto me by two different close Femme friends because of a sense of butch scarcity. I don’t wish that on anyone.

Okay, you know your community better than I do. But, in this day and age of people traveling all over (four of my favorite people are going on tour next month, maybe through your town–including SIlas who totally still identifies as Butch) and people moving to far flung god-knows-where, I feel that there is enough deck shuffling that there will always be someone new. You just have to be open to it.

I’ve also taken to widening my online dating search to no location parameters–I like to see who else is out there, plus I love to travel. I am not closed to the idea of a long distance romance, I love a good laycation.

So, gentle readers, when you begin the familiar butch scarcity rant, stop and challenge yourself into a different way of thinking. What if you believed in Butch* Abundance, like I do? What doors would that open up in the realm of romantic and friend possibilities?

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*And queers of a more masculine gender persuasion, including but not limited to butches, genderqueers, transfabulous people, studs, AGs, and other non gender identifying foxy folks.
**Act like you didn’t do that yourself.
***Unless they are poly/non-monogs AND you’ve had those important, possibly hard/awkward conversations.

2009-12-19

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Queer Holiday Gifting

Hey, how did it get to be 6 shopping days left until Christmas?

Last night on a phone call with Damien Luxe, we talked about one of the biggest skills we gained in higher education–the ability to execute big results despite procrastination flawlessly. This is how I approach holiday shopping, too. Honestly, I always have good intentions but I just don’t usually get around to having everything together for big things under the tree on time.

So, what I like to do is print a picture of what the thing is I bought or ordered or have in the pipeline and putting it in a thoughtful card. (I’ve actually done this a lot with crafts I haven’t finished.)

It is in the spirit of celebrating and supporting my procrastinating blog readers that I present unto you this nice list of some possible last minute shopping ideas. These will work for your sweetie (Femme or otherwise), your BFF, your ultra liberal mom, your boss, whatever, from some of my favorite shops and queer artists out there. Way more interesting, thoughtful and pro-small business/artist/supporting the community gifts than something you grabbed at Target at the last minute. And they can usually be shipped right to your intended recipient!

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Buy your dapper dandy or pretty princess or sparkly queen something shiny from Looks Good From The Front! Her hair pieces are elaborate and gorgeous and her price points went down after my last blog post about her!
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On looks alone The Inverted Eye is my favorite online retailer. Such a gorgeous online shop. But there’s so much more to it than “subtly kinky items and discreet fetish antiques”–there are amazing costume pieces and decorative items that need to be in a burlesque performer or retro lover’s home.
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Perfect gift for the Butch or Southern Rose in your life! This charming barber’s hair dressing display would look great hung on the wall.

Art By Mags has some amazing stencil work. If I were still the employee of a republican with a sense of humor, I would totally get him a Rachel Maddow Truth-Teller wall-hanging. I would also get any roller derby girl the really hot roller skate clock.
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Fat Men’s Vintage Clothing! At last there is a store just for butch vintage style! Online even! So amazing. Old Man Pants vintage is run by a really hot queer. The stuff is amazing! My dream retro king boyfriend or girlfriend would shop at this store. I have no further words, just go check it out.

CUSTOM ART!

Nothing says “Honey I know you love glitter” like buying a customized glitter painting! Glitterbombe Portraits by Cherry Poppins. Custom artwork for you or someone you adore. You can get a portrait of yourself or a favorite idol! Email ms.bombe [at] gmail [dot] com to start discussing your custom piece. Coming soon: www.glitterbombe.com.
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V Kingsley makes custom quilts that are so gorgeous I can’t even really talk about it. I’ve seen her work in person and it is absolutely stunning. It’s also made by one of my Femme heroes, someone who walks the walk of living a life of service, being whole, loving and gorgeous. Her free spirit fashion helped me to break out of my shell when I was a baby Femme and saw her for the first time. So anyway, look at her quilt gallery and decide to get a keepsake made with love and magic!

CALENDARS!

I love a good calendar. This year I am most excited about the Adipositivity Calendar. I’m not in it but a lot of the hot naked fat bodies in it are friends of mine. Part of what helped me come into acceptance and love of my fat body (how it is versus how society tells me it should look) was seeing the actual diversity in women’s bodies, fat or otherwise. You can get it through Cafe Press, the proceeds go to the artist so she can keep making really important fat art!

(If you’re in NYC you can come into Re/Dress NYC where we have them on consignment.)

REGIONAL GIFTS–PHOTOGRAPHY

I think one of the best things I ever did for my self-esteem was to get comfortable in front of a camera. Working with the right photographer can do wonders to make you feel like a sex pot, pin-up or just more at home in your skin. So is creating keepsakes for you, a loved one, history.

A great Seattle gift is a full or partial gift certificate for a session with Fat Bottom Boudoir. I was shot by Molly recently and she is really easy to be with, understands the special needs of people who don’t meet the mainstream societal standards of beauty and can make people really comfortable. Her portrait eye is really amazing–I have never seen someone in one of her pictures that doesn’t seem more like themselves and also really good looking. Molly sometimes travels to do marathon sessions.

My friend Kelly at Closed Circle Photography specializes in weddings (her shoots are amazing!) but also does some really lively portrait work in Boston or thereabouts. She’s also a big traveler. A great gift for a mom-to-be, recent parents or anyone who wants to document growth and development is a package that includes a few sessions–I’ve seen some of the year-to-year work Kelly has done and it is really endearing.

In NYC my friend Sophie started a pin-up photography business called Shameless Photography. She does full pin-up vintage makeovers and glamour shots at really reasonable prices or for barter/trade.

REGIONAL GIFTS–PERFORMANCE

Ms. Cherry Gallette has offered the following: bay area patrons can purchase the gift of cherry for their friends and/or themselves. this means that on an agreed upon date, i’ll come perform for their event or party and/or get down and dirty in the kitchen and make them a sugary treat in full costume. how sweet does that sound? Email chachacherry [at] gmail.com for more info!

You can also give tickets to a big upcoming queer performance, design a fancy night out and detail it in a card, and get creative.

I will also give a plug to my employer, you can call Re/Dress NYC and order a gift certificate on the phone and we’ll send you a cutesy email to print out and give to your intended. We have some amazing clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, purses, neon leg warmers… Love knows no size limit. (P.S. All of our vintage coats just got reduced to $99 or less.)

There are a lot more ideas I was given than I have time or space to blog about, but these were some of the most sparkly and unusual. I encourage everyone to not let your procrastination hinder your thoughtfulness and resourcefulness–last minute gifts can be both and support your community!

2009-08-14

Interview: Butch Voices Conference

One of the things I wish for most in this world is the ability to teleport. If I had that ability I could be at all the amazing events happening around the country at any given time instead of making those obnoxious and hard decisions about how to spend my travel dollar and use my time. Curses.

Joe LeBlanc, the Conference Chair and founder of the Butch Voices Conference August 20-23, 2009, told me about the conference almost a year ago and I loved the idea. Watching it develop since October has been really incredible. What began as the germ of an idea has become something really big and amazing. If you can road trip or take a last-minute change of plans and go to this conference you absolutely MUST. The Femme Conference changed my life–I can only imagine how incredible Butch Voices will be.
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Their website is fantastic (seriously, if you plan a conference copy their site organization) has a ton of information on it including the absolutely riveting schedule of events, workshops, media, keynotes, etc… Definitely read through that. But before you go over there, read through this blog interview I did with Joe, Krys and Q below.

1. As the founder of the Butch Voices Conference, tell me about founding the conference–what was your inspiration and how did you get it going?
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Joe LeBlanc: When I attended the Femme Conference in San Francisco in 2006, I thoroughly enjoyed the space there. And it wasn’t even my identity being celebrated. That conference really got my mind going about gender and sexuality. I thought to myself how great it would be to have space like that for Butches. At the time I was just beginning to get interested in gender discussions, and becoming more active in the queer community. I didn’t know any other Butches who wanted to create that space and have the in depth discussions about identity and beyond. After attending a few transgender conferences, and presenting at a couple of conferences myself (Femme 2008 and Borders and Bridges 2008), I began to make some great connections with more people who were doing the work in various areas, and even with some who were Butch and transmasculine identified.

After the last Femme conference in 2008, in Chicago, I decided that I really wanted to do something to create that space for Butches of all types. So often, because of our very visible appearance, as Butches and transmasculine people,we aren’t expected to have those hard conversations. Our voices aren’t always being used as they could be. We aren’t really being understood by each other, much less those who do not identify like us. Thus, the idea of Butch Voices was born.

For me personally, I want to have those conversations with other Butches and Studs, of all types. There’s just not enough out there about Butches and Studs historically, let alone in today’s media. We need to share our stories with each other. We need to support each other, and connect with others over our commonalities, while respecting our diversity. I decided to get the ball rolling to create this organization and conference for Butches and transmasculinities of all races, presentations, identities, and backgrounds. Little by little I contacted people that I’d met along the way over the last couple of years, sharing my vision of creating something by us, for us, and about us. In the process, I have met some pretty amazing people who are committed to making Butch Voices a reality and something big.

Butch Voices isn’t just the conference that is happening in Oakland next month. Our mission statement is, “To provide education, community support, positive visibility, and cultural activities to all self identified Butches, Studs, Aggressives, their allies, and the general public.” Our first event is this year’s conference, and we look to have a national conference every other year. In the off years, we hope to inspire more regional conferences and gatherings. We also hope to provide a web location to promote all things Butch, Stud, AG, Tomboi, etc related, to get people connected, to let others know that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel or go at this alone. There are others out there, just like you who are experiencing similar oppressions, and fighting that good fight.

2. What I like most about your website is that it says right up front “The point is, we don’t decide who is Butch, Stud or Aggressive. You get to decide for yourself.” If you identify as Butch, what does that mean for you? If you don’t identify as Butch, what do you prefer and what does that mean for you?
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Krys Freeman (BV Logistics Chair): I prefer not to use labels, as I feel they are restrictive, and often don’t accurately represent a whole person. I feel as though labels like BUTCH, STUD, TOMBOI, DOM, all have a way of dehumanizing a person that doesn’t sit well with me. Nonetheless, I allow people who ID me to call me how they see me. Sometimes I’m a Stud, sometimes I’m a soft Stud, when I’m around my white friends I’m Butch. When I’m in NY I’m AG, when I’m in DC I’m a Dom. Some days I’m sir, somedays I’m ma’am. Some days I’m “Ma,” other days I’m “Poppi,” or other variations of that and “Daddi.” It’s no sweat off my back. I am always Krys, very much masculine woman. Very much fag boi, meaning I read as masculine but I have very “femme man” tendencies. I’m a gentlewomyn to the women I encounter.

3. I’ve been really impressed with the grass roots organizing and fund raising endeavors throughout the USA. What has been the reaction to the events and the conference?

Joe: The reaction to the events and conference have been overwhelmingly fantastic. We’ve had so many people reach out to us to be involved one way or another. Major filmmakers, authors, educators, national organizations, performers, members of the press and businesses – all wanting to be a part of the Butch Voices movement. We’ve connected people in cities who identify similarly who had never met prior to the event happening in their town. We’ve raised money for the conference, and we’ve opened up avenues of communication for so many people. I’ve really been amazed by the people who have contacted us to be a part of what we’re doing. Coming across so many people who are Butch, Stud, Tomboi, etc. identified who are doing so many fantastic things out there. We just don’t know about each other, which is another example of just how much this conference is needed. We are just not connected to each other, for so many reasons: race, language, location, age, etc. The grassroots efforts, and word of mouth advertising is really getting our message out there. I’m really excited about the conference and the future events with the Butch Voices community.

4. What are some workshop highlights from this years’ programming committee?

Joe: The entire program is just so amazing. I’m really looking forward to each of the Keynote speakers we have the great fortune of having at the conference. Jeanne Cordova brings with her such a rich history from her work with The Lesbian Tide, to her present work with GenderPlay. S. Bear Bergman has that ability to cross various gender avenues and at the same time give pointers on chivalry. Malkia “Mac” Cyril, from the Center for Media Justice, brings her passion and various well-honed skills for using media in grassroots efforts to help others in creating change. The Intergenerational Panel is one that I’m really looking forward to. We have panelists with ages ranging from 20’s to 70’s presenting. I’m also looking forward to Cheryl Dunye’s session on the images of Butches and Studs in the media. Another person we’re thrilled to have is Ivan E. Coyote, an award winning writer and performer. Ivan is doing multiple duties as presenter with the session, “Bootcamp for Procrastinators” and as a performer in both the Saturday night Butch Nation performance and Sunday’s Spoken Word. As well, we recently confirmed Kimberly Peirce, the writer and director of Boys Don’t Cry and Stop-Loss, and Jack Halberstam who will be participating in two sessions over the weekend. I am completely stoked for this conference. The entire weekend is jam-packed with so much great stuff and I’m thoroughly pleased with the entire line-up of events we are offering to our attendees.

5. What do you hope people will get out of the Butch Voices conference?
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Q Ragsdale (BV Outreach/Media Chair): I hope that conference attendees will leave with a broader perspective of our community, understanding that though we are all very similar, at the same time, we are so diverse and that all the flavors of Stud, Butch, AG, Tomboi and transmasculine identities should be united through celebration. It is not easy being who we are and I also want people to leave knowing that there is an overwhelming amount of us in this world. There should always be an ear to listen, a hand to extend to another, or a shoulder to lean on because none of us are alone.

6. What do you see as the role of allies (Femmes and non-Butch/Aggressive/Stud identified folks) at the conference?

Krys: Allies have a place at Butch Voices because they are the ones there supporting us, having our backs and holding us down when people malign us, call us names, or try to ridicule and ostracize us in public. Our allies affirm our humanity and they can speak to others from a more objective space about who we are and why they support and love us. Without alliances social movements can’t happen.

7. Anything else you’d like to say about the conference?

Q: This is only the beginning. We are on a mission to spread our message that there is no strict set of criteria that one must adhere to in order to identify as Stud/Butch/Ag or a mixture of any identities. Mainstream society, the L Word, characters in movies, the LGBT community as a whole and even some of us, do not determine who we are. We define ourselves individually but celebrate each other collectively. Together our VOICES will be heard!

Joe: Thank you for your questions and for your support as a Femme ally, Bevin. I definitely want to remind folks that they don’t have to necessarily be Butch, Stud, AG, or Tomboi identified to attend the conference, we have lots of love for our allies – Femme and otherwise – at the conference. We need our allies to attend as well, to learn with us and share their voices on these topics also. The first Butch Voices Conference is going to be amazing. We have a fantastic line-up that is going to blow everyone away and really make this such a fantastic event. Registration is still open and folks can get tickets for the individual events, as well as one, two, or four day passes for the conference. Be sure to visit the Butch Voices website www.butchvoices.com for more information and to register today.
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