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

2015-11-13

One Night at MIX Festival

Every year I struggle with how to describe MIX Festival and it’s magic and wonder when I plug the event on my blog and social media. People fly in from all over the world to gather for this experimental film festival/queer community gathering/installation art. After my epic Wednesday night in the MIX Factory I thought I would just give it a good Bevin narrative, maybe that’ll tell you what’s up with MIX.

meandvictoriamix

I arrived right on time for my appointment with the XFR Collective. It was early for MIX, 5PM, and the house lights were still on. The XFR Collective is a media preservation organization that works to provide low cost preservation services for obsolete media to non-profits and artists. I had a couple of VHS tapes I wanted preserved for my art. When I looked into doing it myself locally it cost $125 and I put it in the “I will get to this someday” pile and having the opportunity to do it for free was a high priority for me!

lazermixLazer, visiting from out of town and sporting these holographic wedges!

The first tape was a collection of Feminist Films from my Feminist Film and Video class in 1999 at UC Davis. It was my first foray into body liberation activism even though I didn’t know it! My friend Dianna and I did a five minute video talking about plus size shopping and how marginalizing it is. The soundtrack includes Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco. (I come by my Deep Lez tendencies honestly and earnestly.) The other video was my dad and step-mom’s wedding video, which I am going to use for a performance piece about her affect on my life I’m developing. (Liz died of a heart attack when I was 19 after having taken Phen Fen. Dad never joined the class action.)

anothermixselfie It’s a big part of why I do the work I do in the world to help fat folks feel valued in their bodies as they are rather than pathologized, and the first part of that was to learn to love myself.

The tape transfer process was not smooth because I was the first person of the day and there were technical challenges, so I just hung out with the volunteers. All three of them were librarians or archivists (shout out to my librarian babes!) and they were sweet and charming. A couple of them were even wearing vintage media themed outfits, like a sweater with folks in 3D glasses emblazoned on it! By 6 they hadn’t resolved things, and said I was free to wander instead of waiting for my tapes. Jacqueline thought it was funny when she arrived that they were archiving a wedding tape and didn’t realize it was my tape! “Deep 80s fashion” she mused. It was Merced, CA in 1990.

mixfamilyEntering the MIX Factory.

I mentioned in my last blog post I find the schedule hard to navigate on their website (I really just need a trailer for the festival) so I like to let the Goddess guide things. And here was the opportunity! I ran into my friend L.A. Teodosio who was screening a film I had heard about at that very moment but didn’t realize was at MIX.

catbuttface

I bought a ticket and slid into the screening with my roommate Damien (who is on the MIX Board) and a bunch of our pals. It’s called Peace of Mind and is about Teo’s partner Flo McGarrell, an artist who was killed in the Haiti earthquake. The movie is perfect for MIX because it’s a bit documentary, a bit art film, a bit fiction. The soundtrack is sumptuous and sweet, the scenery is beautiful, as Haiti is so gorgeous. It was shot both in Port Au Prince and the seaside town of Jacmel and there was a marked difference between the two places, though the lack of resources were consistent between the two. Flo made an interesting comment in one of the archival pieces, that when he was in Haiti cooking food was so difficult and food was much harder to come by, so he would lose weight. When he would go back to the states he would gain it all back. Flo worked with local artists as part of a project that taught artists and curated work and many of the artists were interviewed in the documentary.

catbuttThis is a cat butt.

Also in the film was a subfilm, a part of the movie KATHY GOES TO HAITI, based on the book of the same name by Kathy Acker, that Flo was working on with the director Cary Cronenwett (who directed the documentary, along with Teo). Zachary Drucker played Kathy Acker and it was interesting to see it, though from what I understood from the documentary the book itself sounds White feminist colonialist. We only saw a part of the book as they had only shot the last chapter, with the intention to shop it around for funding. Due to that and that it was in a larger narrative that addressed a lot of what it was like for LGBTQ people in Haiti, I thought it was redemptive of the source material and appropriately critical of her perspective on Haiti. Check out the trailer for Peace of Mind and if the movie tours in your area I highly recommend seeing it.

creepynestthingNest installation.

Because it’s MIX, filmmakers come to screenings and there are often talk backs, so the awesome Haitian editor of the film (and collaborator of Flo’s) Zaka, was there as well as Teo, discussing the film.

There’s a thing at MIX called “MIXoclock” where they say stuff happens at a certain time but that’s kind of an idea and isn’t really something to count on. Again, with MIX, best to just let the Goddess guide you. So I noticed on my phone that by the time the talk back of this one ended it was already a half hour later than the next screening (I had bought tickets for online). There’s only one screening room so I guessed I had a bit of self care time between the films to go buy some water, check my coat as the coat check was finally open and the house lights were down and everything was doused in purple lights and blacklights. Sitting in a theater for three and a half hours straight is a lot but I was glad for it! ART!

photobydraemixtriangePhoto by Drae Campbell.

The next screening (the one I prioritized and planned my whole night around) was curated by Queer Rebels, a duo made up of Celeste Chan and KB Tuffy Boyce, both Bay Area artists who I’ve performed with and love their work. Their curation of Queer People of Color made films is always spot on. A mix of lengths, narratives and stories, each is on a theme. This one was on Home and my highlights were a short music video about queers of color in the Bay vs tech gentrification and a short film about a gender non-conforming person coming home to their mother who does not accept them and is awash in grief. Another highlight was Orient, a film about the tension between Black folks and Asian Americans and internalized colonialism. Queer Rebels is incredible and the talk back afterward was also great.

celestemix2014Celeste’s galactic jumpsuit from last year’s MIX Queer Rebel’s screening.

After all of that art I stumbled dazed back into the MIX Factory thinking I’d visit with some folks and then head home. It was already 10, I had been there for five hours! Jacqueline and I went out on the smoking deck, I was aggressively hit on by a person who self-identified as “transexual satan” who I then referred to a different friend of mine. Kind of like, “You’re not for me but I have someone else in mind for you,” which is something I have done before and, listen, I roll with babes. It was a successful match in the end and I’ll save the rest of the dirt for Snapchat.

mejacquelinedraeMe, Jacqueline and Drae.

I rolled through the space here and there, looking at installations. You can go into a cat lounge area through its butt. You can sit inside a triangle. You can wander and look at all the outfits. Even the bathrooms are installations this year! I saw people who don’t live here anymore visiting, hung hard with some local friends and had a lot of fun. I was really tired and every time I felt my energy flagging somehow the space would fulfill my need. The best thing that helped me wake up a bit was a decaf iced coffee from Dunkin that Victoria brought me when she arrived at 11PM. I get a zip from decaf that can really turn around an evening and it worked.

victoriamixLike a psychadelic Goddess bearing decaf coffee.

Dinner was served at 11:30PM, it was a pasta with a side of root veggies and salad. Delicious! And free with entry/going to one of the films.

damienpowersuitDamien’s look for MIX that night (as photographed from my desk chair when I screamed “OMG Frye Boots with a vintage power suit!” as she checked herself out in our wall mirror). Here is her on video talking about MIX in her capacity as a Board member!

Victoria and I peeled off from our friends and laid down in a nest of pillows in a small side room where we watched a forest scene with a man “hatching” from a plastic bag. Again and again. The more I watched the more the art came alive. Also, resting laying down was really helpful. When can you do that in social spaces?

outdoorinstallation
photobydraehatchedmixSecond photo by Drae Campbell.

I was about to leave at midnight and then DJ Average Jo, Holly and Topher arrived so I ended up hanging with them. I was under no intoxicants yet was a bit high on socializing. Full disclosure, I did take a tiny bit of adderall to try to wake up around 9PM and that had zero effect. All told, I was there chatting and admiring outfits (two of my favorite things) until 1:30AM. By then DJ Battyjack was spinning, there was a band playing and other people were still arriving. MIX! It’s magic!

mehollymixPhoto by Jacqueline Mary, who said I looked like Muppet Baby Miss Piggy while snuggling Holly. High compliment!

I have a conference this weekend that starts painfully early in the morning but I’m still going to try to go tonight and tomorrow! If you’re curious and you’re in town, go! I coaxed Drae Campbell to come last year for her first time and this year she was there on Wednesday fully in the mix and emceeing!

photbydraemejacquelinedevonMe, Jacqueline and Devin. Photo by Drae Campbell.

2015-03-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time: Saturday, 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm

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

Moderator: Kelsey Carroll, Feminist Majority Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-09-16

Post Cancer Treatment Life in a Nutshell

It’s been awhile since I posted substantively and when I get to this point I get into these quagmires, “But there’s no context for me on my blog anymore!” I like this space to be an ongoing narrative of who I am and what I’m doing at the intersections of these identities of queer, fat and femme. So to kick off more posts about what I’m excited about, here’s a newsy update.

IMG_20140816_203125Dara and I had a great “progressive dinner” date where we went to three different restaurants for different courses. This was for the vegan ice cream course at Van Leeuwan in Brooklyn.

Post Cancer Treatment

Dara is doing well post-cancer treatment. She is really loving life, she has a zest that is similar to her love of life pre-treatment, except her zest is more gentle and self-loving now. She has a way of really being present and relaxing into the idea that a day doing nothing is the perfect way to keep from working too much.

IMG_20140822_220118Me and Dara at a rooftop party a couple of weeks ago. I love when you get to tower over a sea of blingie skyscrapers.

We have so much fun together. We had fun during cancer, she often tells me I “made cancer fun.” My opinion throughout was why should cancer treatment not be a series of tumblr post worthy, good photo opportunity adventures? So that’s what it kind of was. But even as we made the best of things, it was still with a bit of a pall covering everything. Without most of that damper we’re having even more fun now. Everything feels a bit more joyful, with the gratitude of not being in cancer treatment.

We’re doing tons of new stuff. We went to a park neither of us had been to at the foot of the George Washington Bridge on the Hudson River to take a tennis lesson. I haven’t played tennis as an adult and I never took to it in high school; I don’t mean to brag but I lettered in badminton. I was all set on racket sports and didn’t need that clunky tennis racket to cloud my badminton focus!

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But tennis as an adult! It’s pretty fun and quite a workout. I’m sold! Dara and I went to another tennis lesson in a different park and it wasn’t nearly as fun, so now we’re on the hunt for the perfect city tennis situation.

She has her zest back but not quite her endurance… she injured her knee and two other body parts within a week. She has insomnia from the Tamoxifin, a hormone blocker that she has to take forever. Or like 10 years. So that’s another ding for energy.

We are hoping to go apple picking and camping this month! And next month we’ll reprise our trip to Southern California we were supposed to take in June when her father passed away suddenly. It feels healing to schedule out the adventures we want to take and folks we want to visit. I feel really lucky we’re able to do that.

Lucky is a great way to describe how we feel post treatment—we saw the movie the Fault in Our Stars, about a teenage girl with terminal cancer. It really hit home how temporary love can be. And even though the length of love is sometimes short, it can still have important, life changing intensity.

I feel like Dara’s cancer treatment was a life changing intensity time for me… as it was for Dara. We’re excited to see what our relationship is like after cancer treatment. I think we’ll both be different after treatment. (This was also why I declined to move in with her after cancer treatment—I want us to just have fun together for awhile instead of adding another pile of stress to the end of what has been a really difficult year for me.)

Macy’s Recovery

20140821_175210Family selfie.

My beloved dog Macy had surgery for a ruptured disc in July and her recovery is ongoing. Her intense separation anxiety post-hospital has finally waned. Perhaps it was taking her to that first tennis lesson with all that noise and flying balls that convinced her that insisting on being with her people 24/7 wasn’t necessary, but she is finally able to be left at home alone again. For awhile I couldn’t even leave her in my bedroom for two minutes without her wailing. It was very intense.

Macy has to begin pricey physical therapy for her hind leg. She is walking on all of her legs, which is huge progress from the surgery, but she’s limping really hard, her body is shaped kind of like a comma when she walks, curved to the right. She can’t jump onto furniture and she can’t push open the doors in the house anymore like she used to, and she’s bearing 80% of her weight on the front legs which can lead to more problems down the road.

I hope that the physical therapy involves hydro therapy because it is very cute to watch in you tube videos. It’s also very successful at strengthening weakened legs so I’m hopeful for a full recovery.

IMG_20140816_214812The third stop on our progressive dinner date, short ribs poutine from Mile End. Macy in her “accessibility backpack” that enabled us to take her all over the place this summer when she couldn’t be left alone. She even went to an outdoor YoYo Ma concert with Dara in the Berkshires! I picked up the backpack on Amazon for $44 and think it’s a great value.

Macy’s only ten years old and she’s otherwise perfectly healthy. Her veterinary neurologist expects that she’ll live out her days (Shih Tzus live to be about 16). So here’s a pro-tip, if your friend’s dog has had major surgery, don’t say anything like “She’s had a great life!” It’s really different to have a pet diagnosed with a chronic illness or an injury than to get a terminal diagnosis! She has had a great life (she was photographed in Time Out New York and Curve Magazine before I ever was!) but she has a lot more life to live!

I am still visioning for Macy to make it into People Magazine and Southern Living Magazine, two of my favorites. Maybe even Oprah Mag. But mostly, I’m still visioning lots of fun adventures for my charming and magical Shih Tzu!

Plus Size Party Girl

Instead of producing monthly parties, I’m now focusing my energy on less frequent bigger productions. Though, in lieu of all of that, I took a hiatus while Dara was going through treatment.

I just finished producing Dollypalooza, an Epic Fan Tribute to Dolly Parton on 9/5 (get it?). It was the biggest production I’ve ever taken on single-handedly. (Way to come back to party planning with a bang!)

bevingroupsingdollypaloozabyJenaCumboDrae Campbell, Miss Mary Wanna, Me, World Famous *BOB* and MILK from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6. Photo by Jena Cumbo for the Village Voice.

It reminded me of the intensity of Picnic Day when I was in college. That was the UC Davis open house—all departments, student organizations, sports teams, etc… put on some kind of exhibit or event. There was a parade, six stages of entertainment, a student activities fair. Legendary events during my tenure on the Picnic Day Board were the dachshund races in the basketball stadium, cockroach races in the Entemology Department and the fistulated cow demonstration by the College of Agriculture. The fistulated cow was a cow who had a hole cut into her stomach so people could put on a glove and reach their hand into the cow’s stomach to retrieve partially digested grass–cows digest the same food several times. It was rightfully shut down by animal rights protestors in the late 90s.

Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into coordinating that kind of event, involving a board of 20 and 500+ volunteers. There was a frenzy that overtook me and the entire board of organizers of Picnic Day the week before the event. I remember super late nights in the Picnic Day office laminating photographs into security passes. Dollypalooza was the closest I’ve ever come as an adult to that feeling. I love planning and executing major events, especially unusual ones that bring people joy. The lights in folks’ eyes when I fliered for Dollypalooza let me know I was on to something.

IMG_20140906_153536Me and my hero World Famous *BOB*–as her performance she told an amazing story about meeting Dolly Parton and had everyone from the show on stage at the end to group sing Hard Candy Christmas.

We made almost $700 for the Imagination Library in the raffle, Dolly’s literacy charity that sends books every month to kids in need, and it was an unforgettable show. I am brimming with ideas for next year. But I definitely know I can’t take on anything like that single-handedly again. I’m super grateful for Dara’s help—she did some amazing PR work that got a videographer from ABC News to come by, and some interest from People Magazine. My friend Jess, who brought me to Dollywood for the first time, took over the raffle and made that part so easy for me. We also figured out how to do a contest to send the performer who brought the most people in the door to Dollywood and got a raffle donation from Dollywood Cabins! At the end of the show, I felt like Oprah telling people “You go to Dollywood! And YOU go to Dollywood!”

IMG_6337The gorgeous view from the Dollywood Cabin I stayed in last May.

Mental and Emotional Health

Seeing a counselor with the Lesbian Cancer Initiative was the best choice I made as a caregiver during treatment. She pointed out to me going into post-treatment that I would have an adjustment period, and so would Dara. It is a significant energy shift.

IMG_20140829_162150This isn’t for the LCI but it’s from Callen Lorde, my physical health provider.

I’m in the weird process of looking for a therapist for the first time in my adult life. I’ve got about 50 possibilities from friends and am whittling it down. I am intentionally being really public about this process because my mental and emotional health are really high priorities for me and I want to encourage folks to feel empowered about seeking help. While things feel like the “calm after the storm” right now, I also think that the amount of life traumas I’ve faced in the past 12 months is unusual and I’d like to sort through them with a professional. Last night I had a dream about a friend of mine who passed last November and I’m about to go to Atlanta for the first time since her funeral. Crisis mode means you just scoot from one trauma to the next without digesting time, and I want to make sure I can go back in and digest things. Kind of like a metaphorical fistulated cow demonstration.

So that’s me in a nutshell (I really wish I had a picture of me in a nutshell).

Oh, and the first stop on our progressive dinner date (all in outdoor venues that allowed us to have our special needs Shih Tzu) was crispy kale salad in the backyard of Battersby… It was a great date!

2013-11-05

Mercury Retrograde Update About Fundraiser for QueerFatFemme.com

It’s Mercury Retrograde, meaning the planet Mercury is moving backwards instead of forward. Astrologically this generally means communication breaks down, issues from the past resurface and there are all kinds of mechanical issues and it’s really hard to plan anything. Anything. (Learn more about this Mercury in Scorpio Retrograde on the Empowering Astrology podcast!)

bev October 26, 2013113924 - 2.jpg
Photo by Grace Chu.

As though to put a cherry on the top of my Mercury Retrograde experience yesterday I woke up all set to write a post about meditation practice for my blog and I logged on to see that there was some kind of weird gray film over the site. I couldn’t navigate anywhere or do anything. I had been having trouble on the back end of my WordPress for awhile, even in spite of keeping my WordPress install up to date and updating my plugins. Some tinkering by a friend determined there was an ad trying to run over top of my website, spammers of some kind had hacked in through a back-end plugin and tried to drive traffic somewhere. I’m so sorry if any of you tried to read the site yesterday and ran into that, but there’s the mystery solved about what happened!

I feel very lucky that I was all up in my meditation practice so I was able to approach it calmly, figure out what I could do and what was out of my control, and let it go. I’m also grateful I listened to my friends and I’ve been doing a fundraiser to sustain the website, budgeting part of it for a back-end repair. I knew I’d have to get someone with some good WordPress know-how to get in there and clean out whatever virus or rotten code that was infecting my site but I didn’t think it would happen on such an emergency situation! So THANK YOU readers who have donated or signal boosted for my fundraising campaign because had this happened a month ago I don’t know if I would have been able to restore the site so quickly.

The thing about Mercury Retrograde is that I like to lean into the serendipity of it all and just let the good, unexpected stuff happen. So, hopefully it’s going to be a lot easier to use my site because the back end will be less wonky and I can focus on more content!

yesmaam October 05, 2013124540.jpg
Photo by Grace Chu.

That said, I’m at almost 40% funded, which is amazing and THANK YOU AGAIN to everyone who has donated! My blog is officially five years old now and I’m working to raise $1,000 per year of content! There are so many great prizes available, which I enumerate for you below with photos because GFM doesn’t allow photos, starting with the TOO HOT FOR GO FUND ME prizes, that are available through paypaling me (queerfatfemme at gmail.com).

Someone already snatched up the week stay in Mexico City at my friends’ Air BnB but there are some amazing marketing and branding prizes, homemade cupcakes in NYC, life coaching by me and so much more!

Coming up on the blog is the resurrection of the post from last week lost during the internal hurricane, the conclusion to FEMME SEX WEEK once I get my interview questions back from the amazing Femmes I’m interviewing for FEMME SEX WEEK and that meditation post I mentioned above!

Prizes that are too hot for Go Fund Me! (Paypal your donation to queerfatfemme at gmail)

$80
KCMO beer love package
2 bottles of Boulevard Bourbon Barrel quad (2013 and 2011). 2 bomber bottles from the smokestack series if your choice.
And a t-shirt or hat of your choice. Donated by a hot butch from Kansas City, MO, Jen!

$99
Lap(top) dance by Drae Campbell! Drae Campbell, butchlesque artist & comedian, will perform a laptop dance via Skype for you! Up to ten minutes. She’s hot as shit!

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Photo of Drae Campbell by Kelsey Dickey at Rebel Cupcake.

$100
Lap(top) dance by Miss Mary Wanna! Miss Mary Wanna will perform a private laptop dance via skype for you! Up to ten minutes of Southern shimmy! (Also redeemable in person.) We originally conceived this as a lapdance but it was definitely funnier if it was a laptop dance.
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Photo by Patience Owens.

All the Prizes available on Go Fund Me!

$10
I will drop good intentions on you via twitter! My benevolent wishes are totally powerful. (I saw an I will make a wish for you as a prize on a fundraiser recently and I loved the idea that for $11 I got someone’s good intentions. I take this really seriously! I will drop good intentions your way in a public forum!)

$15
I’ll send you a postcard with my benevolent wishes on it! Snail mail rules! Who doesn’t love getting mail? The postcard will be awesome. I made the below postcard to send to friends and it still lives on people’s inspiration boards.

postcard.jpg

$20
I’ll guest list you to my event of your choice within the next year. Maybe you were going to go to Rebel Cupcake anyway? It’s kind of like buying a ticket pre-sale. This applies to events that I’m producing that I get a list for.

$25
One fat unicorn pink bandanna, silk screened by me. It will look very similar to this one that I produced a couple years ago!

unicornpocket.jpg

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$30
One “You Are Incredibly Resilient” poster. Conceived by me, designed by James Leander (a dear friend and graphic designer), 11″ x 14″ full color and a great reminder to stay strong in an oppressive world!

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$39
A tote bag that says “Fat on the inside.” It will be a bold print, and silk screened. I love tote bags and don’t fool around when it comes to them.

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$40
A tote bag that says “All Bodies Are Good Bodies.” Another bold print, silk screened.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.
$41
The baker (we call her the Cupcake Princess) behind the delicious cupcakes at Rebel Cupcake will make a dozen for pick-up in NYC. They are incredible and this is a bargain! Generously donated by Morgan Hart.

$50
Receive an unpublished chapter from my memoir–dishy dyke drama, misunderstood fat politics and a lot of awkward in this piece. It’s a gritting teeth kind of chapter but also pretty powerful.

Bevin reading at the Lesbian herstory archives
Me reading at the Lesbian Herstory Archives from my memoir.

$69
It’s very important that this prize is at the $69 level. 30 minute Tarot reading or life advice from Miss Jacqueline Mary. Redeemable via Skype or in person in NYC!

Tarot reading with Jacqueline. #babestagram #lesbianteabasket

$75
Learn to play (or enhance your playing) the fiddle with Julia Read, an amazing musician! 30 mins, can be via skype or in NYC. Listen to her stuff she’s amazing!!!

$125
All the things! Both tote bags, fat unicorn bandanna and poster from earlier prize levels!

$130
Branding consulting! Marico Fayre offers marketing/branding consultation via skype! Up to 30 minutes of consultation with a professional who can take you from zero to hero! She seriously does this for a living and is incredible at it! Great for a small or big business!

$150
Life advice from ME! I give lots of advice on my blog but now I can tailor it directly to you one on one via skype which I will be able to use once I have a new computer! 30 minutes of life advice coaching via skype or phone with Bevin Branlandingham. Legal advice, self-advocacy, love your body, shopping, dating, self-esteem, etc… Whatever! I’m yours for a half hour!

$500
I will put you on the VIP list to all of my events for the rest of your lifetime. Who knows where the universe will take me? This could be worth millions! Anytime you want to go to one of my events you just let me know and I will list you! What if I get to be a guest on Ellen someday? How about when I make it big and host the Oscars? You’re THERE! You’ll also get a signed copy of all of my books when they come out. Anyone I’ve ever dated can tell you I know how to make someone feel VIP!

Donate here!!

2013-09-27

Update on Fundraiser for Queer Fat Femme

A little over a week since I launched my campaign to raise funds for QueerFatFemme.com and I’m already 20% towards my goal! This is amazing! I’m truly touched by the things folks have been saying with their donations and shares! I’ve been writing this blog for almost five years and I had no concept of what the audience for it would be when I started. I am so grateful to everyone for reading and participating with QueerFatFemme.com.

I wanted to update folks about some of the additional prizes available as well as some prizes that are TOO HOT FOR GO FUND ME but you can still take advantage of through paypal.

First of all, I would like to introduce the designs for the $30 poster and the $40 tote bags.

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For $30 you can get this poster! 11”x14”. I was saying this to myself over and over again while battling a pretty deep depression in August and it felt right to include this as a poster for folks who might need a boost as well. It’s hard being a person in the world sometimes and I think a reminder of how resilient we are is crucial.

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I thought this would make a hilarious tote bag, so I’m doing that. I’m still deciding on colors and type of bag and it kind of depends on how many folks choose this level based on what I can order from the manufacturer and silk screen.

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All bodies are good bodies is the cornerstone of all of my politics. This is also going on a tote bag!

All of these designs were donated by my incredibly talented beloved ex James Leander. James Leander has always been an incredible artist and has recently turned to graphic design and I’m super stoked to have these designs for my fundraiser! Thanks, JLV!

Jacqueline is making potpourri for the fundraiser as well at a $12 level. If you want a little witchy woo, she’s making them with intention and magic and it’ll arrive for you to have as decoration or incorporate into rituals or whatever.

For $80 there’s a beer package from Kansas City, MO, which is donated by a hot butch there named Jen. Go Fund Me took down the prize level because they don’t support alcohol but you can get it by donating $80 to queerfatfemme at gmail via paypal. 2 bottles of Boulevard Bourbon Barrel quad (2013 and 2011). 2 bomber bottles from the smokestack series if your choice.
And a t-shirt or hat of your choice.

I you want a sexy Lap(top) dance from either Drae Campbell or Miss Mary Wanna, you can paypal $100 to queerfatfemme at gmail.com. There’s two available from each of them so get it while the getting’s good.

Here’s the info!
$99
Lap(top) dance by Drae Campbell! Drae Campbell, butchlesque artist & comedian, will perform a laptop dance via Skype for you! Up to ten minutes. She’s hot as shit!

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Photo of Drae Campbell by Kelsey Dickey at Rebel Cupcake.

$100
Lap(top) dance by Miss Mary Wanna! Miss Mary Wanna will perform a private laptop dance via skype for you! Up to ten minutes of Southern shimmy! (Also redeemable in person.) We originally conceived this as a lapdance but it was definitely funnier if it was a laptop dance.
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Photo by Patience Owens.

Here’s the link to donate! Thanks again for all of your support, both money and spiritual. It’s been a rough time for me lately but this has been extremely uplifting!

2013-09-20

The Return of Rebel Cupcake on Friday September 27th and Upcoming Queer Dance Parties

Rebel Cupcake has been on hiatus since May. I decided to put it on the shelf for a bit because I needed a venue/night change. I was hearing a lot that the Thursday night aspect was hard for folks. I got the opportunity to use our original venue, Sugarland, again at an earlier time on a Friday night and I’m thrilled to bring it back periodically for new adventures!

The event is from 8-10, with a little bit longer show at 8:30. Still free gourmet cupcakes, a great DJ and a photo booth by Kelsey Dickey!

This month we’re celebrating The Craft! The 90s teen witch dramedy about peer pressure, fitting in and wiccan mischief.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Here’s the info:

Check out these incredible performers!

From Washington, DC, my old friend MIASIA is performing! She’s basically an international belly dance legend and truly the most unforgettable belly dancer I’ve ever seen.

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On a break from international touring is Kit Yan, who always brings the most tender and magical, powerful and uplifting spoken word to the Rebel Cupcake stage. I can’t wait to have him back!

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Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Fancy Feast began her burlesque career as the resident stage kitten for Rebel Cupcake and is now making huge strides in the NYC burlesque scene and beyond.

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Photo by Courtney Trouble.

Chris Tyler is a Brooklyn-based pop satirist performance artist who does brilliant work that always surprises me. Here’s a photo of Chris performing as Taylor Swift performing as Dolly Parton serving the Paula Deen donut burger at Rebel Cupcake.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Miss Mary Wanna is one of the witchiest burlesque performers I know and she calls Rebel Cupcake a home stage even though she lives in Philly. I am really stoked for what she has planned!!!

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At Rebel Cupcake in January, Miss Mary Wanna felatted two sticks of butter while dressed like Paula Deen. What will she prepare next? Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Our DJ is NEON MUSIC, from the amazing band Youthquake! Playing Riot Grrrl, 90s R&B and lots of 90s dramatic witchy tracks like Kate Bush and Tori Amos on the dancey side of them.

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Cupcakes by guest cupcake baker, Winter Laike at Mixtape Cupcakes!

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Drae Campbell is running the door!

The event is over at 10pm but SWOON takes over until 4am, David John Sokolowski’s monthly blacklight party that is a wild magic pile of homosexual magic. You’ll love it if you want to stay on and keep dancing.

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Photo by Think Theater Queer Photography at Swoon last month.

This show is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to have you all back at Rebel Cupcake. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I began plotting this one!

Full moon tarot reading, witchy stuff. Listening to mellow, nostalgic music, thinking of loves come and gone, moving life forward, curiosity.
Witch witch you’re a witch!

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Other events on the horizon: Wham Bam, our afternoon hang out party, is September 29th at Huckleberry Bar. More info here!

The long awaited return of Yes Ma’am, the queer body positive party I throw with DJ Average Jo and Nicky Cutler. October 5th at the mansion! Mark your calendar!

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I’m fundraising to sustain QueerFatFemme.com and my art projects! Please consider supporting with a gift subscription (and getting some great prizes) if you have been touched by this site!

2013-09-19

Raising Money for QueerFatFemme.Com

Hello, my beautiful and gentle readers. As you may know, anything that starts that way is obviously asking for something, and this is no exception. I’m reaching out to the readers of my almost five year old blog to help keep my blog running, keep my life moving, and keep my work progressing in the ways you’ve come to know and love.

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Working the door at Prime. Photo by Drae Campbell.

You might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as much lately. My laptop, which is the lifeblood to all of my creative and professional pursuits, has been on its last legs for almost a year. As a result, Queer Fat Femme, and my other endeavors, have suffered. The relentless documentation of my life is a huge passion of mine and I love populating my blog with photos, but I can no longer process new photos! Lesbian Tea Basket has been put on the back burner, as my computer will no longer play videos. I’ve also had to table some dire Word Press issues on the back end of the website (my RSS feed is still spotty), and cancel the hosting for the back issues of the FemmeCast podcast.

Aside from the laptop issues, I’ve had some life struggles that have made it difficult for me to focus on building my femme-pire. Life as a freelance lawyer is not always as glamorous as I make it look, and sometimes I feel that all I can do is hustle hustle hustle, which leaves little time for quality content.

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People laughing in the audience at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

As you know, I strive for excellence in all areas of my life, and this blog is no exception. Each blog post takes between three and twenty hours to write, code, photo edit and publish, with most averaging about six hours. I want to keep bringing you the parade of abundance that you come here for, and I simply can’t sustain at the rate I’m going. So I’m asking for your help.

Asking for help is hard, but I know if I don’t get ahead, I won’t be able to do the work I feel so passionately about. After listening to my friends and my heart, I’ve come to the realization that I need to open this up to the public.

I have SO MUCH I want to bring you! I’m finalizing my memoir, have several episodes of Lesbian Tea Basket just waiting to be unleashed, have so much love to spread, so much to share about the turns of my life over the past 6 months, and I can’t wait to share with you!

If I have I made you smile, helped you cope, given you insight, helped you climb out of a bad relationship, threw a party where you met your sweetie, brought perspective to your messy breakup, or made your life amazing in any other way, that’s truly a reward of its own, but warm fuzzies sadly don’t pay my vet bills, medical bills or buy a new computer.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey from Rebel Cupcake.

SO: I’m starting a Go Fund Me campaign! I’ve put together some really fun prizes that might be of interest to you, and some of my amazing friends have volunteered some work of their own. Of course, I’m hoping you’ll contribute because this work is valuable and you want me to continue to be able to do so, but perks don’t hurt!

Please consider donating and picking up an awesome gift along the way! Maybe think of it as a subscription to something you love to read and want to sustain! Please consider signal boosting, as well! It’s cliche, but every little bit really does help.

I am so grateful for the life I live, and for all of you readers for your comments, affection, and strength. I’m also especially grateful for my amazing, worldwide queer family. We’re changing the world. Thank you for letting me be a part of it!

Here are the prize levels, with a little more flourish than the Go Fund Me site will let me do:

$10
I will drop good intentions on you via twitter! My benevolent wishes are totally powerful. (I saw an I will make a wish for you as a prize on a fundraiser recently and I loved the idea that for $11 I got someone’s good intentions. I take this really seriously! I will drop good intentions your way in a public forum!)

$15
I’ll send you a postcard with my benevolent wishes on it! Snail mail rules! Who doesn’t love getting mail? The postcard will be awesome. I made the below postcard to send to friends and it still lives on people’s inspiration boards.

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$20
I’ll guest list you to my event of your choice within the next year. Maybe you were going to go to Rebel Cupcake anyway? It’s kind of like buying a ticket pre-sale. This applies to events that I’m producing that I get a list for.

$25
One fat unicorn pink bandanna, silk screened by me. It will look very similar to this one that I produced a couple years ago!

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$30
One “You Are Incredibly Resilient” poster. Conceived by me, designed by James Leander (a dear friend and graphic designer), 11″ x 14″ full color and a great reminder to stay strong in an oppressive world!

$39
A tote bag that says “Fat on the inside.” It will be a bold print, and silk screened. I love tote bags and don’t fool around when it comes to them.

$40
A tote bag that says “All Bodies Are Good Bodies.” Another bold print, silk screened.

$41
The baker (we call her the Cupcake Princess) behind the delicious cupcakes at Rebel Cupcake will make a dozen for pick-up in NYC. They are incredible and this is a bargain! Generously donated by Morgan Hart.

$50
Receive an unpublished chapter from my memoir–dishy dyke drama, misunderstood fat politics and a lot of awkward in this piece. It’s a gritting teeth kind of chapter but also pretty powerful.

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Me reading at the Lesbian Herstory Archives from my memoir.

$69
It’s very important that this prize is at the $69 level. 30 minute Tarot reading or life advice from Miss Jacqueline Mary. Redeemable via Skype or in person in NYC!

Tarot reading with Jacqueline. #babestagram #lesbianteabasket

$75
Learn to play (or enhance your playing) the fiddle with Julia Read, an amazing musician! 30 mins, can be via skype or in NYC. Listen to her stuff she’s amazing!!!

$80
KCMO beer love package
2 bottles of Boulevard Bourbon Barrel quad (2013 and 2011). 2 bomber bottles from the smokestack series if your choice.
And a t-shirt or hat of your choice. Donated by a hot butch from Kansas City, MO, Jen!

$99
Lap(top) dance by Drae Campbell! Drae Campbell, butchlesque artist & comedian, will perform a laptop dance via Skype for you! Up to ten minutes. She’s hot as shit!

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Photo of Drae Campbell by Kelsey Dickey at Rebel Cupcake.

$100
Lap(top) dance by Miss Mary Wanna! Miss Mary Wanna will perform a private laptop dance via skype for you! Up to ten minutes of Southern shimmy! (Also redeemable in person.) We originally conceived this as a lapdance but it was definitely funnier if it was a laptop dance.
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Photo by Patience Owens.

$125
All the things! Both tote bags, fat unicorn bandanna and poster from earlier prize levels!

$130
Branding consulting! Marico Fayre offers marketing/branding consultation via skype! Up to 30 minutes of consultation with a professional who can take you from zero to hero! She seriously does this for a living and is incredible at it! Great for a small or big business!

$150
Life advice from ME! I give lots of advice on my blog but now I can tailor it directly to you one on one via skype which I will be able to use once I have a new computer! 30 minutes of life advice coaching via skype or phone with Bevin Branlandingham. Legal advice, self-advocacy, love your body, shopping, dating, self-esteem, etc… Whatever! I’m yours for a half hour!

$200
Stay for a week in a guest room (usually rented via Air B&B) with my friends Suzanne and Jen! They are two American queer women living in Mexico City and love football, happy hour and having a good time. Going to visit them in MC is totally on my own personal wish list and here you have the chance to slip in there! They need four weeks notice to make sure the times match-up so don’t book your flight until you talk to them!

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$500
I will put you on the VIP list to all of my events for the rest of your lifetime. Who knows where the universe will take me? This could be worth millions! Anytime you want to go to one of my events you just let me know and I will list you! What if I get to be a guest on Ellen someday? How about when I make it big and host the Oscars? You’re THERE! You’ll also get a signed copy of all of my books when they come out. Anyone I’ve ever dated can tell you I know how to make someone feel VIP!

Donate here!!

Thank you to my friends who have donated their time and services to this endeavor. And thank you, dear readers, for being on this journey with me. I’m super grateful to do this work and I really can’t wait for that work to be done easier on equipment and wordpress that’s not all buggy.

2013-06-28

Eight Things to Keep in Mind For Your First Sex Party

There are a couple of not safe for work photos in this post…

It’s Pride Week and the close to Gay Stamina Month and what better thing to talk about that makes us really gay than… sex. My friend Elisabeth even addressed it in her wedding column!

A few friends of mine are preparing for their first ever play party, so I’ve been doling out advice right and left. It’s called “play” but sometimes folks interchange the word “sex” or the acronym “BDSM.” Whatever you call it, it is a social occasion in which folks are free, perhaps even encouraged, to engage in public sexual or kink behaviors. It’s a good place for people who are exhibitionists and voyeurs, as well as people who want a dose of sexual energy in their lives. There are a bunch of different reasons folks might want to go to a sexy party, a few of which I’ve addressed below. I believe being good in bed is one third chemistry, one third listening to your partner and one third skill. Sex parties are great places to learn new skills and better sexual communication.

I only attend sex parties sporadically and rarely play with strangers–and I don’t play unless I really feel like I want to. When I want to feel agency over myself as a sexual being I like sex parties a lot for that. The energy is usually really good and liberating and it often feels like a way to reclaim my body after a break-up, even if I don’t play at all. And I’m always looking for ways to do that.

My first play party was about a decade ago. I was still living in Philadelphia when I made the trek to Throb on the Lower East Side. It was a queer women & trans play party, the likes of which I had heard about in dyke literature–Michelle Tea books, On Our Backs magazine–and the fringes of my sex positive friend groups. I was in a monogamous relationship (with some make-out freedom) and I’m not sure entirely why Seth was okay with me going without her but I think it was an adventure I felt in every part of my twenty-four year old heart that I needed to have.

I think it was a release party for Sugar High Glitter City and I was too shy to ask Shar and Jackie to sign my copy. I found that first party intimidating but liberating, and not as scary as I thought but still scary in a this is a really new thing I don’t know how to be sort of way. Over the years I’ve become really fond of parties that hire a good DJ (nothing kills my boner like bad music) and have at least one room that feels like a regular party and isn’t very serious. I like to chat with folks and sometimes people are very serious about kink. I’m not. I remember having folks tell me “I heard you were flogging so and so at Switch and making her recite Britney Spears lyrics.”

Like I said, I don’t go to play parties often but I enjoy them. There are some folks who make this a huge part of their life–taking weekend trips all across the country to go to parties. So this list is just some suggestions from my perspective and I encourage you to ask other folks for their ideas as well.

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I consulted my friend Felice Shays about her tips as a long time player, author of Brutal Affection, and the person who flogged me for the first time during a demo carnival at Throb the second or third time I went. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

1. Brush up on consent practices.

Just because someone is at a party doesn’t mean they want to engage in play or sex, or engage in it with you. They might just be there testing the waters or just not that into you or what you want to do. Remember, without no there is no yes. But also, they might just be shy and want to, so it is worth asking and being prepared to hear “No” or “Yes” and remember that asking is the victory, not the outcome.

Some parties have explicit consent policies and practices–you should read all of those before you get there so you have an idea of what to expect. I suggest reading the Learning Good Consent Zine to any person who wants to engage in sexual activity with another person ever (i.e. everyone), but it’s especially good to do this before you go to an explicit play space. Also my tips on How to be an Ally to Your Fat Lover are relevant here, too. Be body positive!

The Myth Party is one of my favorite play parties ever and I suggest cruising their “rules and security” section. They are very thoughtful and awesome. I appreciate that everyone there adheres to these consent policies because it makes me feel comfortable as a queer woman who has sex with folks of non-normative bodies and genders to know that the multi-gendered partiers are all on the same page as I am with consent.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

2. Brush up on your talking to strangers.

I’ve written extensively here about how to get over shyness and ask people out on dates. The same principle applies at a play party–nobody ever died of awkward.

Felice suggested making it a goal to talk to at least one person you don’t know. I had the goal to talk to five people I didn’t know at the single’s mixer I went to a couple of months ago. It’s hard to talk to strangers (even for some extroverts) especially in a sexually charged/awkwardish environment. But probably everyone else is feeling a little nervous, too. Even experienced players get nervous, awkward and consider leaving. Best just to dive in and get through it so you can get to the good stuff!

Felice also said, “If you see something or someone interesting talk to them. Wait until they’re done w whatever or whomever they’re doing.” It’s normal to feel like a weirdo in unfamiliar social settings but remember a play party is just like a regular party. Use a little grace and finesse about when and how you talk to people. Be appreciative not creepy.

Take advantage of cruising wristbands and use that as your opening with people. “I notice you’re looking to engage in S/M play as a top…” Submit party here in Brooklyn has a whole cruising wristband system.

The one-liner that works best in my experience at play parties is, “Would you like to negotiate something?” An ex of mine said going up to people at parties is like shooting fish in a barrel because most folks at women/trans events are too shy to make the first move. Be bold, the rewards are plentiful!

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Felice is a mega-tron babe. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

3. Go with a specific desire in mind but no expectations.

This was from my roommate, Damien Luxe. I think it’s a great idea to have a desire so that way when you do talk to someone or they talk to you and the question comes up whether or not you want to negotiate something, you have things in mind. Examples might be, bondage, flogging, spanking, sex, making out, cuddling, watching porn together, watching scenes together, doing each other’s make-up, learning how to do something.

But going with no expectations is really important. If your getting laid is the only way you’ll feel successful at the party, you probably won’t be successful. Going with the flow and being open to genuine connections is probably better. I learned how to just let expectations go and be appreciative of the experiences I’ve had and wound up much happier (be this at conferences I thought would be total boink fests, and dates I’ve thought were sure things but then there was no chemistry).

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Felice giving a glitter spank demo at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

4. Interact with the host!

Felice suggests “Find the host and ask for a tour and or offer some help.” Getting the lay of the land is really helpful right away. Often volunteering at events is a really great way to meet people you may want to negotiate play with. It’s a good ice breaker, too, and can help you feel more brave, as these parties are all about stepping outside your comfort zone.

I was the Mistress of the Parlor for a play party my friend Trent threw a few Pride weekends ago called “Transaction.” I got to greet people and play matchmaker and ice break. I loved that job! It didn’t get me laid but I think I was secret monogamous at the time so I wasn’t really looking for action.

If you think the host is hot (and probably they are, and very good at what they do), Felice has some specific advice. “Don’t wait til an hour before closing time to ask the party host to flog you or fuck you – they’re possibly cleaning up condoms or wiping down equipment or fucked or flogged out already.”

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I was searching desperately for a photo of LeRoi Prince in Captain Kirk drag to illustrate a point later on in this blog entry but I had to settle for this insanely hot photo of them in a vest and shirt. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

5. Dress in a way that makes you feel confident and sexy.

I’m not so into the leather scene aesthetic of black tank top/tee shirt and black jeans and black boots. Or camouflage anything. Sure, I like 90s style on the right person, but I just think that’s a “safe” look and good style really makes you stand out. How about gray skinny jeans? Your boots should be fabulous. If they were two-toned cowboy boots that would really turn my head.

When I was still pretty new to kink stuff and going out a lot after the end of my engagement, my bestie Rachael came to town to teach me to flog. When deciding what to wear to the party we went to (I think it was Switch at Paddles, may it rest in peace) she highly endorsed me wearing a gold dress. “It’s important to stand out,” she said.

Lots of folks default to the standard slip dress or lingerie, which is fine if that is your aesthetic. But I don’t shy away from a costume and was pretty proud of what I wore to do that hostessing gig at Transaction, which is the same outfit I wore to Femmecee Rebel Cupcake a couple of months later.

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From Rebel Cupcake, August 2010. The fact that I was 31 at the time is sort of startling because it doesn’t feel that long ago and I still have all of the elements of that outfit in my wardrobe. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

Corsets are good, wear great underwear and “consider shaving your personal bits or whatever else you consider primping before you get there,” says Felice.

Most play parties have a place to change, and people often make use of this. No one expects you to arrive “ready.” This is one of those great examples of a place where you can bring multiple outfit changes. At a party I went to with a sweetheart in service to me (and I was performing) I had three pairs of shoes and took advantage of having someone to lean on while I changed heels several times.

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Finding that photo of me meant finding a photo of my darling Miss Mary Wanna from 2010, too. What about wearing a hot apron and fishnets to a play party? Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

6. Mindfully imbibe.

Lots of parties are BYOB. Some are sober (keep your eyes out for that). But be mindful of using alcohol and other drugs when you’re playing. It really messes with consent and boundaries and you don’t want to do something you wouldn’t soberly decide to do with your body or to someone else’s body. There are many other chances in life to get fucked up and a play party doesn’t need to be that place.

But, you know, if you need a beer or a makers on the rocks to ease into things, go ahead. Just be forewarned that there are people who won’t play with you if you have been drinking or using other drugs.

Also, drink lots of water. Felice: “Drink water. Use lube. Drink water.”

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I’ve worn this outfit to play parties, too. This is my dear friend Anne!

7. Pack your toys!

Lots of parties have the big equipment, like beds, crosses to lay someone on, cages, etc… But you have to supply the flogger, canes, dildos, vibes, whatever. What you might want used on you is a great thing to bring because not all tops come carrying all that they have in their repertoire of skills. And if you have something you want to use that’s a good thing to maybe flag with casually in a back pocket. Just a thought for cruising purposes.

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Drae Campbell at Rebel Cupcake NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

8. Kiss somebody.

Felice says simply, “Kiss somebody!” Making out is fun and no big deal. I used to throw make-out parties all the time and they were really fun. I had all these games and got people in huge groups (50 or so) to play where it forced them to interact with people and either kiss, make out or friendly handshake and it was a way to negotiate play and also meet new folks.

In summary, sex parties are totally a fun way to play with energy and get really into your body and your desire. I highly endorse a couple of them before you decide they aren’t right for you. And if they are, you might find yourself on Fet Life getting all up in it every weekend like the sex hobbyists I know.

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The time we had a makeout contest at Rebel Cupcake NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Folks in New York who want to give play parties a try I suggest:

July 11th–the hardly ever happens so catch it while you can Myth Party. It’s like the nightclub of the future, where folks are dancing and mingling but also fucking and playing and wearing Star Trek costumes.

It’s a great answer to the problematic nature of “who exactly is women and trans” because it’s not. It’s a fluid gender party where the needs and comfort of queers of all bodies, genders and ethnicities is privileged. You have to apply to get an invite and it’s definitely, definitely worth it. Especially if you just go to be at a party with sexual energy and aren’t sure whether you want to play. I went as a performer last time and was super impressed with it and felt no impetus to get down with my sweetheart, but felt welcome to. She and I had fun playing with a new dynamic, and briefly playing fetch with one of my roommate’s houseboys who was playing the part of Rover that evening. Pet play may not be my thing but it’s all play, and sometimes fetch is fun no matter who is doing the fetching. These parties are about experimenting and being free.

July 13thUnchained. It’s new, I’ve never been, but a trusted friend of mine went and gave it their stamp of approval so I am passing it on.

Every last SaturdaySubmit. It’s a Women and Trans party I’ve been to many times. They have a great in-house DJ (Angel Boi). The space is a basement, which sometimes smells like basement and is not my favorite olfactory experience but it’s a fun group of folks that seem to change every year or so I make the trek to the basement.

2012-10-02

How I Deal with Allergies and New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket

Getting to be in touch with my body and listening to it means remembering its cycles. When I was about 26 I started getting horrible headaches every Spring that were not affected by my use of ibuprophin or tylenol! It kept happening until I realized they were sinus headaches and took the right stuff (Tylenol Sinus, my savior) which would alleviate them. I went through this cycle of “What’s happening with my body” until I finally realized that these headaches would occur every Spring and were likely developing allergies.

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Riding the Coney Island Wonder Wheel with my pal Leo. It was their first time!

Slowing down and paying attention to your body is really important for self-care. In the last few years I’ve learned how to notice what’s going on with my body. I also know how to anticipate what is coming based on this whole paying attention thing. Spring and Fall my allergies flare up. So, my allergy regime is this, which I typically start before the allergies come in full bloom:

1. Morning nasal irrigation with this Neilmed Nasal Rinse bottle situation.

2. A prescription nasal spray (I think it’s a steroid but not sure). For those of you who are uninsured like me, Walgreens is now offering this discount prescription card where my normally $78 generic spray is now only $15 per refill. This is the same price I was paying for the spray using my erstwhile $350 a month COBRA insurance.

3. Since congestion is a huge problem for me, I also don’t eat dairy or citrus (both congestants) during allergy season.

4. A daily cup of my allergy tea. Suggested by my accupuncturist when I was seeing them during the Spring, it is a combination of Nettles, Goldenrod, Rooibus and Lavender. (The former two are the allergy formula, the latter two are what I added to make it taste awesome.) I bought this tea at a great Herb Shoppe in Brooklyn that has tons of jars of herbs and allows you to make your own blends. Genius!

In general this works, and when it doesn’t I take the sinus headache medicine. It’s not perfect and I’m always adding to it, like trying acupuncture last season (it really worked!) and I am going to try an herbal remedy offered by the Herb Shoppe in Brooklyn I went to for my allergy tea. I’m sure one day when I am monied I will go to an allergist to find out if there’s a better medicine I could be taking but in the meantime this whole shebang is the least expensive way I can figure to go about relieving the allergies.

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The night I sent an all-call out to my pals to watch the Blue Moon and the Coney Island fireworks on the beach and what started as five folks turned into thirty in under an hour. Blankets and blankets of queers!

Of course, since there’s a tea involved, I definitely needed to do a Lesbian Tea Basket episode to rate and review the tea! I also asked my friend Emma Dilemma to guest star so I could ask them about their life as a cis white jewish vagabond punk femme in between jobs and homes.

On this episode we get down with some allergy tea and Emma and I discuss how they became more portable, as a lifestyle and with their personal style. We discuss insinuating yourself into San Francisco Queer Life, the sanitization of Dolores Park and some of the mysteries of Brooklyn. And Emma’s gel manicure!

And congratulations to the winner of the Gaga Feminism giveaway! I used the Random.org number generator and the winner was comment 14, Elusis. Elusis I emailed you to get your info for Beacon to send the book.

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2011-10-16

Introducing Gay Sex Week and Some Everyday Glitter

Hi friends! Life has been steady rolling lately. I am trying to lean into the big changes in my life as best as I can. Working with a lot of fear and scarcity stuff but being gentle, really really gentle with myself. Self-care is my dreamy boyfriend right now. My steady, number one priority. This is a moment by moment choice and requires an awful lot of checking in with myself, honesty and sweetness.

The great part of doing all this self-care is that I am able to really enjoy life. I’ve been up to fun things!

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Poppies! Morgan made these for Rebel Cupcake. Possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.

ITEM THE FIRST: Next week is GAY SEX WEEK at QueerFatFemme.com. I’ve been working on a bunch of blog posts about queer sex and sexuality. I read this article about the status of LGBT movement in the media by Cathy Renna at Huffington Post that was a call to action, essentially, to queer up the voices of the LGBT movement. (In my opinion the whole essence of Queer is that it’s anything but simple.)

[I]f our movement were braver and more open about what actually sets us apart from the rest of the world (they call is sexual orientation for a reason, right?), it would seem more genuine and honest. Talking about sexuality without talking about sex in an honest and appropriate manner often seems to be the order of the day, and it seems like a flawed long-term solution to talking about ourselves. I think it ties in to the age-old debate over whether to argue that we are “just like everyone else” or that we are “more alike than we are different.”

The “LGBT Movement” in the media is missing hella representation by really important aspects of our communities. This is just a couple examples of a billion, but other than Beth Ditto can you think of one Queer Fat Femme in the media? Or how about one Transman of color in the media?

So, get ready for lots of GAY SEX for NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK which also will include participation in National Fisting Day [this link is clearly NSFW] on October 21.

I hope it helps “queer up the movement in the media” and I also hope it helps some folks who are critically underbanged at this time to shake the dust off their sex lives.

ITEM THE SECOND: I gave my workshop “Love for EveryBODY” at NYU for their Pride Week on Wednesday. It was so awesome! I love giving that workshop and teaching self love and body liberation. Often when I teach I learn stuff, too, and this was no exception. What a great, heartwarming group!!

ITEM THE THIRD: Rebel Cupcake was on Thursday and the Wizard of Oz theme brought my friend Drae Campbell (the reigning Miss Rebel Cupcake and Miss Lez) out to do some butchlesque. The character was the Dandy Lion, a cowardly lion take-off, using the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight and just thinking about that act makes me smile. I love it when performers take a Rebel Cupcake theme and run with it to create something amazing. I also hope I can get this act on video!

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Dandy Lion!

ITEM THE FOURTH: I went out last weekend to Hey Queen. I love that party. I got dressed up in this duster, which is as seen on Blanche on an episode of Golden Girls. I made a headpiece from scratch. I took lots of pictures, danced like crazy and chatted a bunch. It’s nice sometimes to just get to take a break from big stressors and shake it loose.

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I am go-going at next month’s Hey Queen! November 19th at Public Assembly. I’ll post all the details on my calendar page, but save the date! I hardly ever go-go dance. I’ve been promised a glitter cannon.

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Miss Mary Wanna is my co-go-go.

ITEM THE FIFTH: My friend Kelli Dunham just started a new online project called Grief Sucks. Because it does.

Kelli performed at Rebel Cupcake on Thursday and it’s incredible knowing someone for ten years and watching them evolve as a human and a performer. She also told a sex story about me (Kelli and I never had sex with each other but we did have sex near each other once) on stage, which I suppose is a great inauguration for NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK.

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Vintage me and Kelli from 2006.

2011-01-18

Art and Soul Tomorrow/Cupcake Cabaret on Friday (as part of Quorum Forum)

Art & Soul on Wednesday!

Hey everyone!

Tomorrow night Glenn Marla and Princess Tiny & The Meats are featured in the artist’s salon at Art & Soul.

CultureFIX is an earnest, comfortable art gallery with a beer/wine bar and really good food. The party has a casual vibe and is great for chatting and meeting new people. If you introduce yourself to me and want to meet new interesting queers I will happily introduce you around.

The salon is from 8:30-9, we listen and dance to soul music, look at art on the wall and have fun until midnight.

See you there!!

P.S. It’s happening again next month on Feb 23, featured artists include World Famous *BOB*.

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Cupcake Cabaret at Quorum Forum on Friday, Jan 21!

I am really excited to be producing this celebration of self-love at this amazing free, community festival of queer magic in the middle of Winter. I’m calling Quorum Forum the Queer Winter Olympics. And thrilled to bring together this awesome line-up of performers. I hope you can make it! If anyone can video tape it please let me know!

Friday, January 21, 2011 * Brooklyn, NY
Quorum Forum & Bevin Branlandingham Present
Cupcake Cabaret
9PM-11PM * FREE (Part of the Quorum Forum Festival of Queer Magic)
Manifesta Loft, 315 Seigel St. (Bushwick) Brooklyn
(L to Morgan Ave.)

Bevin Branlandingham curates a free performance of Cupcake Cabaret, her self-love performance variety show that has been performed in NYC and San Francisco. Cupcake Cabaret celebrates the strength we get from what marks us different in this world. Size, gender, sexuality, class, race, dis/ability, age, religion and all numbers of identities bring the artists in the series a sense of power and esteem. Cupcake Cabaret features comedy, drag, burlesque, spoken word, film, performance art and all manner of genres celebrating the radical act of self-love.

QuORUM FORUM is a ten-day extravaganza of knowledge, skills, and talents for the purpose of creating and supporting sustainable community projects. It includes workshops, discussions, skillshares, performances, and parties. All events are FREE.

Detailed event schedule and descriptions can be found at http://quorumnyc.org/.

Performers include:

Kay Ulanday Barrett
Kay Ulanday Barrett
A CAMPUS PRIDE 2009 Hot List artist, Kay Ulanday Barrett is a poet, performer, educator, and martial artist navigating life as a pin@y-amerikan trans/queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. Currently based in NY/NJ, with roots in Chicago, K’s work is the perfect mix of gritty city flex and Midwest open sky grounded in homeland soil. In Mango Tribe and in solo work, K. has featured in colleges and stages nationally and internationally; from the NJ Performing Arts Center to Chicago’s Hot House, The Brooklyn Museum to The Loft in Minneapolis, K’s bold work continues to excite and challenge audiences. Honors include: Chicago’s LGBTQ 30 under 30 awards, Finalist for The Gwendolyn Brooks Open-Mic Award, Windy City Times Pride Literary Poetry Prize 2009, and recently, a contribution in the anthology “Kicked Out” released by Homofactus Press in 2009. K. turns art into action, as a dedicated activist who works with LGBTQ youth and adores remixing recipes.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B
Cheryl B. is an award-winning writer, poet and performer. Her work appears in dozens of print and online publications, including; Ping Pong, Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution and BLOOM, among many others. As a performer she has appeared at numerous New York City literary evenings and toured the U.S. and the U.K. She is the co-curator/co-host of the monthly NYC reading series Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival, serious literature for ridiculous times. Her website is cherylb.com and she blogs at wtfcancerdiaries.com.

Kit Yan
Kit Yan

Recently Featured in the HBO Documentary Asians Aloud, Kit Yan tell stories through slam poetry from the lens of a transgender Asian American from Hawaii now lost in the big city of New York.

Kit’s work has been taught at universities coast to coast, from San Francisco State to Harvard. He spoke to over 200,000 from the stage of the 2009 National Equality March alongside Lady Gaga and Cynthia Nixon, performed on the San Francisco Pride main stage, Creating Change, and is a nationally ranking slam poet. Kit Yan is first ever and reigning Mr. Transman 2010.

“The eloquence of Kit’s spoken-word delivery lies in the anti-racist, anti-homophobic, gender-inclusive, language that ties his lyrics together.”- Bitch Magazine

Miss Mary Wanna
Miss Mary Wanna
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!

Drae Campbell
Drae Campbell
Drae Campbell is a multi-genre performance artist who is as hysterical as she is handsome. The reigning Miss LEZ 2010, Campbell won the title with a performance combining her funny, poignant storytelling and legendary breakdancing. She starred in the short film “You Move Me,” which is touring the world winning awards and teaching life lessons about oranges and relationships.

Femmecee Bevin Branlandingham
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Bevin Branlandingham is “an ultra-rad warrior for self-acceptance.” [Autostraddle.com] She is the Host and Producer of FemmeCast: The Queer Fat Femme Podcast Guide to Life. She is a flamboyant femmecee, writer, drag king, burlesque and comedy performer. She is Co-Head Madam of the Femme Family, the New York Chapter of the Femme Mafia, on the steering committee for the Fat and Queer conference and the media committee for the Femme Conference. In 2008 Bevin received a Commendation from the Mayor of Jersey City for her work with the LGBT community. Her writing has been published in numerous periodicals and she has performed throughout North America. Her mission is to make the world a safe place for people to love themselves, regardless of their marginalizations. Her website (including blog, calendar of events and workshops) is found at QueerFatFemme.Com.

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