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

2015-04-24

You Should Read Michelle Tea’s Book How To Grow Up

I love Michelle Tea. I can’t say much more than at 22 years old I read Valencia and finally found a literary voice that sounded like my own. Kind of breathless excitement about life, stories and a fascination with other people and my feelings and how they affected one another. Reading Michelle Tea told me I could be a published writer, too. It also told me I could maybe one day be an artist and have an amazing group of inspirational kind of reckless friends and all of those things came to pass.

How to Grow Up is her latest memoir. I have read much of her work over the years and I think it is my favorite. Her writing has evolved a bit, it’s still chatty like a friend telling you a story over coffee rather than writing a story and letting you read it. But the sentences are tighter, shorter and the sentiments are clearer. Also, she has a lot of really deep self-reflection and self-compassion that sharpens what she says through lessons learned. It is familiar to her early work but it is a different and more developed literary voice.

It’s written in essays, which makes it easy to read in chunks, but it is also very difficult to put down!

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I thought at first that the book was basically going to be an almagamation of her great column in xoJane Getting Pregnant with Michelle Tea. (I remember a road trip a couple of years ago where I would take breaks from driving at gas stations and read a couple of articles on my phone.) I was totally wrong about that, the pregnant stuff is only a couple of chapters and it is in a more nuanced, self-reflective tone than the columns.

Her book covers so many topics like doing the work on yourself so you stop dating people who stomp all over your heart, going to Paris fashion week, deciding whether or not to drop being a full-time artist in exchange for steady employment, getting over a huge break-up, having a wedding without spending a fortune, and so much more. I related to so much of it on such a deep level.

1937764487_495d6304f0_zIn November 2007, I had just been dumped by my fiance. I was devastated. My friend Mamone was in DC (I was in NYC) at the Sister Spit show and, knowing what a huge Michelle Tea fan I was, asked the group to pose with this sign to make me feel better! It was such a wonderful gift to receive this photo!

If you out there are reading this blog post, I think you should buy Michelle’s book How to Grow Up. However, these people in particular are going to love it:

Working class folks.

I love how much Michelle Tea talks about money, her feelings about it, growing up working class and oh my goddess how being an artist with an uncertain income is affected by that working class upbringing. I have never read anyone talk about the intersections of those two realities about money–working class/poor childhood and taking the leap to freelancing. It is scary as shit and I need a lot of tools in order to navigate this. I’ve already begun using one of her tools, which is to invite her higher power into

Spiritually curious people.

Michelle opens up about her spirituality, including a Stevie Nicks higher power that helps her through things. Tarot readings, how she meditates, explores Buddhism and explains some Buddhist principles in terms of hilarious real life examples of her love life. She also talks about how meditation has really helped her navigate life with more stillness. And the weird fears we get when we venture into a new kind of deeply religious or woo place with ritual and worrying about getting it “right.” I related so intensely to that I put that sentence in “we” and I’m not going to edit it.

I’m a super spiritually curious person, I’m always interested in hearing folks spiritual practice and woo modalities, so I loved that thread throughout the book.

XO-lv4KJThis amazing photo was taken by my friend Sophie Spinelle of Shameless Photography fame.

12 Step People.

I’m paraphrasing Michelle in a blog post I can’t find that I read a few years ago that she breaks the 11th tradition of AA about being anonymous at the level of press, radio, TV and films–being transparent about where her tools for sobriety came from–because she couldn’t have gotten sober without it. Not telling people about her work in AA would be like lying and acting like she could have done it all on her own.

Anyway, she has so many great recovery gems going on in the book in some ways I felt like I was reading really engaging sobriety stories. I found a lot of good tools for my work in my own 12 step program (for family and friends of alcoholics) and I will recommend this book to my pals in recovery.

I have been thinking a lot about whether or not people who don’t like 12 step language or tools would be put off by the book and I don’t really think so. (I know a lot of folks who had parents or former partners in recovery who have been really damaged by recovery language and don’t like it.) It doesn’t overwhelm the content, and if you take what you like and leave the rest you’ll still enjoy it.

Political people like queers or femmes who critique the fashion industrial complex but also love it.

There’s a whole chapter about Michelle buying her first designer piece, a leather hoodie, and all of the feelings that come up about it from her working class background and history being a vegan punk. How her deeply committed political beliefs are complex and how she had to learn to lighten up a little in order to actually enjoy life and eat enough food to live off of. Um, also there’s a whole chapter about Michelle deciding whether or not to get BOTOX.

20150212_015937Macy’s ankle broke while I was reading the book.

On a personal note, this was the first time I read a Michelle Tea book and actually knew some of the people she talked about because our queer worlds are very small. I had always wondered if I would read a Michelle Tea book one day and know people in real life, and then it happened. Knowing who they were did not change how I perceived them independently of the book and also it did nothing for deepening the story since Michelle writes very well from her own perspective and experience. I kind of thought if I knew someone and read about them it would be a thing but it wasn’t.

(I am always curious about how people talk about people they know and use pseudonyms and all of that because of my blog and the memoir I’m working on. My privacy ethics are very nuanced after years of blogging, but I still sometimes feel nervous about people’s reactions to being in print.)

I highly encourage everyone to buy Michelle Tea’s How to Grow Up and savor it. You will love it.

And then consider picking up Valencia because it rules.

2013-09-12

Marimacho Clothing New York Fashion Week Show Spring/Summer 2014

When I was asked to attend Marimacho clothing’s New York Fashion Week debut last weekend, I was thrilled! This is a company that is focused on sustainability–creating garments that are long-lasting, quality pieces that are meant to be investment pieces in wardrobes. Not just disposable fashion that you wear for one season or less, these are pieces made in New York City at a woman-owned business and not in sweat shops.

I have mixed feelings about NYFW. On the one hand, I see it as a celebration of art and a series of gallery shows about what people are doing with textiles, fabric and human bodies. But on the other of course fashion is an industry, extremely consumerist and the human bodies they focus on only represent about 5% of actual human bodies.

Unlike most of the participants in NYFW, Marimacho designs clothing for folks underrepresented in mainstream masculine fashion. “Classic fashion for the unconventionally masculine.” Their show featured models from a variety of gender origins and current presentations. Though lacking chubby models on the runway I was impressed at everything they had going on along the masculine/androgynous spectrum.

I’ve always preferred personal style over fashion and trends, and Marimacho’s selection this season shows off a variety of statement pieces as well as wardrobe staples.

My favorite pieces included these masculine harem pants. Seriously, harem pants have challenged me as a thing for years but on a masculine person there’s something so weird that it’s magical.

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Photo by Architects.

I also think there’s going to be a time when every dapper queer is going to get a Marimacho suit.

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This is the Short Suit with the Tuxedo Shirt underneath. Photo by Architects.

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Photo by Manny Zoom.

As an event producer I need to give a shout out to the amazing installation art, lighting and DJs that were part of the event!

Folks really brought it out in terms of style for the event!

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I was extra feeling this overalls/mesh shirt/leather vest situation.

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I wore a dress I’ve had forever but haven’t hauled out in awhile.

Does it ever happen to you that you see someone you think you know and then you realize, “I don’t actually know them they are famous, I know them from TV?” That happened to me at the media meet and greet before the runway show. I spy this hot butch with cool blue glasses from the side and I’m all, “Whose that?” and then I realized it was Lea Delaria from Orange is the New Black (and decades of being a queer comedian).

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Photo by Manny Zoom.

Check out Marimacho’s website, which will soon have their Spring/Summer 2014 collection available!

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.

2013-01-04

2013 Intention and New Year’s Eve Look!

Oh, New Year’s Eve came and went and it was a blast and a half. It’s amazing how hard it is to get people to be willing to work on New Year’s Eve. Typically I have a pretty big posse of folks who want to do cash nightlife gigs, especially if it involves getting paid to dress scandalously, but it’s a lot harder on NYE. I, personally, LOVE working on NYE, love having only one place to go, having already set in stone my plan far ahead of time. I’m a Capricorn, it’s my way.

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I also love creating a space without a ton of ridiculous noisemakers. (When Nicky texted me about getting them I was like, “That’s not my style.” She brought some of those popper confetti things anyway.) All photos in this post are by Kelsey Dickey.

My outfit was also pre-determined with the help of Catherines! Catherines asked if I wanted to try out a social occasion look and I said, sure! I was delighted at the amount of vavavoom I was able to score. My outfit was perfectly glamorous and magical.

My two main considerations for plus size party girl New Year’s Eve look were WOW factor and versatility. Number one, I was in charge of counting down to midnight so there’s a moment where eyes are on me. And then also I was going to have to bustle around taking care of party host things like the champagne toast, the weirdly long bathroom line, and all the other trouble shooting I won’t get into but I broke three nails that night and hauled 20 bags of ice while wearing a pin-up wiggle dress. Also, since the Yes Ma’am venue is partially outdoors (I LOVE our “chatio”) I needed to be able to be comfortable chatting outside without having to grab my coat from the coat check.

I selected the Valentina Illusion dress by Kiyonna from the Social Occasion category at Catherines and I was super thrilled with it! I have liked Kiyonna’s designs for a long time and it is fabulous that Catherines has them available. The shipping was really fast and the 3X fit me perfectly.

For a New Year’s Eve wiggle dress I define “fitting perfectly” as a comfortable purple sausage casing.

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I lament I didn’t get a good full-length shot with our photographer but it was a wild party and there wasn’t room for a long shot!

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My co-hosts also looked amazing and I like how Nicky, DJ Average Jo and I are intentionally matchy matchy here.

Catherines also hooked me up with an outerwear piece to complete the look. The Purple Wool Capelet was PERFECT for flouncing back and forth to the chatio. It also buttons in this way that the cleavage still shows when you’re wearing it, an important consideration for WOW factor.

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I took the capelet for a pre-NYE test-run to brunch. This photo is not by Kelsey.

I also love this piece under a coat, because I find that no coat really keeps me warm enough in winter, I usually need a wool layer under my down coat. But because the fur collar is so girthy I don’t need a scarf!

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The cold chatio, with the table for the NY Toy Collective.

Thanks to Catherines I had a really magical fashion New Year’s Eve and am super thankful!

Yes Ma’am’s third party was so great. I was thrilled and touched that so many of my friends came through, what a great crowd to spend the first moments of this brand new baby year with!

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I also love to talk about New Year’s Revoltions/Intentions on my blog and I’ve finally settled on mine, only a few days late. (I got sick and am still recovering.)

This year I’ve decided to “Know My Own Strength.” I struggled with choosing this as an intention for a minute because I wondered if it was going to incite the Goddess to rain down shit upon me the way she did during my Saturn Return. I know I never get any challenge that I’m not actually strong enough for. Also, it’s one of the major emerging themes in the memoir I’m writing, that I didn’t know my own strength. I’m learning a lot from the process of writing the book and some of the stuff I’m learning are things I didn’t realize about myself. Like how much I never really knew my own strength. So I am imagining a 2013 where I meet challenges head-on, knowing I have everything I need to meet them.

Leaning into challenges helps to keep me sane and peaceful in the face of anything. Including the ever important ability to ask for help when I need it!

I hope your NYE was everything you hoped, taught you something about yourself (I sure learned some stuff) and had elements of WOW and glamour and glitter and that your 2013 intention setting has you ready to love yourself right in the coming year!

2012-10-25

Book Review: Cheryl B.’s My Awesome Place

I am totally delinquent posting this book review since I read a preview copy from the publisher a couple of months ago during my Summer of Memoir. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a really hard time writing this review because Cheryl B., the author of My Awesome Place, was my friend and she is dead. This is not a spoiler alert, it’s in the first line of the foreward by Sarah Schulman. “Cheryl Burke died of medical malpractice in June 2011 at the age of 38.”

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Cheryl B., Diana Cage, Molly Equality Dykeman, Me and Kelli Dunham at Nerd Love in February 2011, Kelli and Cheryl’s Valentine’s Day show.

But the book is out and Cheryl’s friends and her literary executor put together her memoir work so that it could be published and we can know more about her life. Like what it was like to grow up in Staten Island and New Jersey in an alcoholic home with a controlling mom and a dad who broke a plate of spaghetti over her head when she told him she got into NYU. How she drowned her feelings in alcohol and drugs but also learned how to trust her creative spirit. How she became this amazing poet and performer and made a name for herself in the 90s on the slam poetry scene, touring the country and writing plays.

How she dealt with continuing a relationship with her family even though it wasn’t at all easy. Working through her father’s death. Watching her good friend go through cancer and acting as his caretaker. How she bounced back from a guidance counselor who told her to be a toll taker on the NJ Turnpike and clearly she is a genius artist (that part of the book actually made me angry).

It sounds like everything in the book is heavy stuff. And even though a lot of it is, Cheryl moves through the words with such energy it becomes easy to understand, move through it and laugh a lot. Cheryl’s really well known for her sarcasm and wit and that blankets the book.

I felt like it was such a gift, to get to know her better through this book. I had no idea what she lived through and how she managed to become the caring and wry person I knew. I knew she had been ten years sober but I didn’t know the extent of her survival.

I also enjoyed her journey to her sexuality. It’s trite to say it’s a coming out story, but it is a really compelling path to dating women and starting to have serious girlfriends and then having a boyfriend and navigating people’s reactions and judgments around queerness and bisexuality. I think folks who have experience dating across the gender spectrum will find this aspect very relatable.

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Similarly, she was fat as a teenager she talks about navigating in a world when she went to college and lost all of her weight and got skinny. I wish the book had gone into that more, but it is relevant to her story and dealt with sensitively and not like some kind of narrative where the main character gets skinny and suddenly everything is okay. Everything is certainly not okay with Cheryl when she loses weight.

Her cat is also a central character and I deeply appreciate that aspect. It seems sometimes that Sabrina the cat is the only thing keeping her alive.

Kelli Dunham, my friend and Cheryl’s widow, wrote the afterward about her cancer and finding the support network of her friends.

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Me and Cheryl at the Spelling Bee for Cheryl B. I organized with my fellow Re/Dress Shop Girls. She was heartily nerd identified and this was a great way for folks to show their support for Cheryl both monetarily and spiritually.

Writing this review I had a memory of Cheryl before the spelling bee coming to Re/Dress and changing behind the counter into these black patent leather stiletto boots and I remember thinking “Man, Cheryl is such a bad ass.” And there is a scene in the book where she walks up and down Manhattan in black stiletto boots looking for a job as a cocktail waitress and I thought “Man, Cheryl is such a bad ass.” And maybe that’s the message of this book. Cheryl was a bad ass and you can be, too.

It’s hard to promote a book when the author isn’t around to do a book tour or go on the Today Show or whatever. It’s also really awesome to support small publishers and Topside Press is really awesome and providing a venue for a bunch of queer and trans authors to get their voices heard. Buy Cheryl’s book! (If you order it before the end of Friday you can get a free ebook in addition to the paperback.)

2012-10-23

Window Shopping with Simply Be

Hi friends! This featured post is brought to you in partnership with Simply Be, as an introduction for my readers. The words are all mine, but Simply Be and I both believe everyone deserves to look amazing at every size!

Simply Be offers clothing in UK sizes 10-28, US 8-26.

I’m super into the Gok Wan retro lingerie collection for Simply Be!

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This bra and high waisted brief combo is so killer! I also really appreciate that the photographs for the retro collection are pin-up styled because, lez be honest, that’s the look I’m going for with my underthings!

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I also love the Gok Wan Divine Outline shaper. I love shapers used as tools and not for body shame. Last night I performed in a performance art tribute to Taylor Swift and reinterpreted the Taylor Swift song “Speak Now,” her wedding busting up song. And I dressed like a bride. And dressing like a bride means bridal shapewear and that kind of stuff is no joke. I came home with some intense marks on my body. I was actually longing for a piece like this outline shaper that’s just about squishing in the right place and not about digging into me with a ton of extra boning. Fashion! (P.S. Shapewear is great for staying warm in the Winter!)

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A friend of mine was just raving about Simply Be bras and I deeply adore a Marilyn Plunge bra. I think the essential garment I wear every day is a plunge bra, regardless of how cleavagey an outfit happens to be.

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This Joe Browns Honeycomb Knit Dress is to die for! I love this for workwear or hanging out. I actually am totally adverse to regular sweaters and prefer sweater dresses where I get to choose where my waistline is.

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Great for going out, the Stud Detail Tunic Dress! I think it’s super sexy and edgy but is still something you can wear to your significant others’ corporate cocktail party.

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I love retro looks in modern fabrics and the Ring Printed Dress With Collar blends this well. The peter pan collar is so sweet and I still think the dress is sophisticated and not totally twee.

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The Joe Browns Fur Collar Coat is really close to the coat I wear all the time in the Late Fall. I created mine by pairing a vintage fur collar with a jaquard coat, but this is actually all the work done for you. And I get compliments every single time I wear it. This coat with the rose details is incredible.

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Simply Be also carries a ton of wide calf boots, including Legroom Boots Extra Ultra Large Calf Width. That’s a lot of superlatives but they are super foxy!

2012-02-14

Everyday Glitter: Validation Day Edition

Hi Pals! It is Validation Day and I tend to write blog posts every year addressing this fact. So let’s just keep the tradition alive.

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Lauren, Damien, Me and Fancy Feast at Rebel Cupcake 21: Enchanted Forest

I occasionally feel salty about the burst of couple privilege but honestly, whatever. Sometimes you got somebody, sometimes you have yourself and that’s still pretty incredible.

Everyday Glitter Item the First:
This weekend I was excited to visit my niece Etta Pearl. She was born on February 9 and just turned 3. I remembered that when she was born I was off in Toronto visiting my sweetheart at the time and was so excited to come back to the States to go meet her.

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And now she’s 3! I don’t feel like I’ve aged a bit, but I have and I’m 33 now and it’s so fun to get to know and care for this tiny person who is now a person who talks and tells stories.

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This was us last summer.

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Etta’s first birthday was a tea party and her moms, Christie and Becky, have always been big tea drinking friends. I was excited to do a Lesbian Tea Basket highlighting some of their tea accessories. Etta was kind enough to co-host with me. We are also repping Sunday morning jammy time realness.

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I told Etta Pearl this weekend, as we played with the remainder of the balloons in the living room, to not let anyone buy her combination Valentine’s Day/Birthday presents. And then her sibling arrived this morning at 6:30AM! So as soon as Ayla Josephine is old enough, I’ll give them the birthday is separate from Valentine’s Day speech. I feel super honored that I got to spend Etta Pearl’s last weekend as an only child with her. And I can’t wait to meet little baby AJ!

Everyday Glitter Item the Second:
I was asked to be an esteemed judge for the Marimacho Hunky Heartbreaker contest. I love thinking and talking about fashion. This was a dream gig.

You can read our criteria and check out the winners here. I had a really great time with all of the folks who were judges. I really love when I am reminded there are limitless nooks and crannies in queer Brooklyn with lots of cool folks I don’t know yet. Also Ivette is a great cook and she made us enchiladas.

I highly endorse a perusal of the hunks and dandies and hunky dandies on the Marimacho Tumblr!

Everyday Glitter Item the Third:
I am struggling with my inner perfectionist about getting back to my “balance.” I keep forgetting that my whole life was just dumped upside down and it takes awhile to get into the groove of a “new normal” and also balance is an art, not a science. It’s a series of decisions regarding your self-care, your priorities, your learning how to check-in with yourself and adjust as needed. I got a pretty good groove on balance before I can get there again. So I’m finding a lot of glitter in the moments where I simply remind myself to be gentle and be patient.

I am super enjoying new rituals in my life as a way to attain balance and be tender with myself. I am learning so much new stuff at work and my brain is firing on many cylinders, so I really need to be gentle. I stop at about 5 every day, make a cup of tea, and turn on Prince for my Prince happy hour.

Everyday Glitter Item the Fourth:
Two incredible compliments from last week’s Rebel Cupcake. One regular party goer and performer told me Rebel Cupcake was the only dance party they felt like they could be 100% themselves. That is exactly the kind of atmosphere I hope to foster. Another gay couple from London was on a bar tour of virtually every gay bar in NYC and they happened upon RC while visiting Sugarland and said it was by far the best party they had been to. What a wonderful thing to say!

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Me and my new roommate Damien at Rebel Cupcake!

Everyday Glitter Item the Fifth:
My friend Jack summed things up pretty well for me around Whitney Houston’s sudden death. It’s been very sad for me to think about and process. I think anyone who has lost someone (whether through their death or other departure) to drugs or alcohol knows the loss it brings up. She was also someone who was really important to our culture and was a cultural touchstone in many of our childhoods. I remember distinctly my single mom’s record collection and how Whitney featured very prominently among those albums. Her songs were each very intense emotional journeys and they are so amazing. It is weird that Facebook is the place where most folks process this stuff, but it is part of what the internet culture has created. And I was surprised to find that Whitney’s death was not a trending topic amongst my friends this weekend–it was the ONLY topic.

Anyway, my solidarity. Drop a few Whitney quotes around your friends these days.

Everyday Glitter Item the Sixth:
Check out this new video for Eat Everything from Rocco Katastrophe featuring Margaret Cho, Athens Boys Choir and the hottie upstart De=MC2.

So, whether your Validation Day is spent with friends emotionally eating maple donuts, on a date with a longtime sweetheart, at home with your cats, on a promising first date, or someplace between all of those, I hope you are gentle with yourself and do something extra glittery, just for the hell of it. Thank you for reading my blog and being part of this amazing journey with me! xoxoxo

2011-11-30

Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip Part 2: Packing

Dubbed the Lesbian Jack Kerouac by my BFF Brian for my propensity for long distance romance, “A girl in every port and on the road with a broken heart,” he describes me, I set out on a life-changing adventure in November of 2011. This is my tale of deep heart exfoliation via asphalt. Check out all the tales in this series at the Gay American Road Trip 2011 tag.

I am a scattered packer. I am also a procrastinator and while I was very on it in terms of preparing to leave I left packing until the day I left. I eased my anxiety by reminding myself if I needed something I could get it on the road and packing the car was going to take exactly as long as it was going to take. I pecked around my house like a hen gathering things to the couch, relying primarily on my reusable grocery bags to separate things. Macy got her own bag. I meant to bring her Macy-friendly carrying bag but I forgot it. Luckily I haven’t needed it yet.

I packed a bag of snacks―crackers, granola bars, lollipops, some tortillas that would go bad at home. Two water bottles, which is a good thing as it is helpful to have a lot of water available for me on the road. I also have a flat of bottled water in the trunk just in case. I enjoy hydration and I know this means I need to stop to go to the restroom every 100 miles.


Sees Little Pops are my favorites.

I packed three warm-weather dresses and three cold-weather dresses (Northern and Southern route realness), a pair of jeans, boots, teggings, socks. Lots of versatility.

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My friend Fae is on the road, too, and for her six month epic trip she is using the Garanimals method of outfits―everything coordinates so she can just mix and match her three skirts, tops, accessories, two pair of shoes, etc…

I have many layering pieces. A hoodie, a shawl, a coat, a sweater for under the coat, a fur collar. I didn’t bring a scarf but picked one up in San Francisco for lighter layering than the fur. These all live in the backseat behind my driver’s seat so I can easily grab something or deposit something if I need to on a rest stop.

I also packed a fancy party dress and a pair of glittery heels. You know, just in case.

Making musical deliberations was serious business. I packed my laptop and the hard drive that hosts most of my music collection so I could periodically update my ipod. I burned discs of artists I needed to have on hand at a moment’s noticed. I loaded my $99 kindle with several audio books in various genres. Just Kids by Patti Smith, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk by David Sedaris, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. My friend Elisabeth loaned me the David Sedaris box set as well. I have well over 100 hours of stories and music to listen to.

I have found so far that I like to listen to lively funny books at night and the more serious books work for the daytime stretches. I also downloaded Rihanna’s “We Found Love” when I left and I listen to it once an hour. Dance music is helpful for those squirrely moments or when I start to feel a little weary.

Since I was going to be staying with so many friends I decided a good hostess gift would be little Lesbian Tea Baskets. I recorded an LTB episode of the preparation of the tins (it’s on the hard drive I left at home, though), but basically I filled sachets with loose tea, tied them with ribbon and put them in decorative tins with a note from me and Macy thanking folks for their hospitality. I figure even if my hostess doesn’t drink tea, she might have guests at some point that do. And it is consistent with my branding. Basically I really thought my BFF Rachael in Atlanta would be tickled pink and I went with it.

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Macy sort of stuck between luggage and the wall in a La Quinta elevator.

I prepared an overnight bag, so all I would have to do is minimal grabbing of items for my overnight stops. The rest of my clothes and laundry live in another suitcase that stays in my car except for layovers and the occasional “Oh, we’re changing clothes for dinner” unexpected couture moments.

So, that’s what I brought!

On the day I was leaving I did stop for a mani/pedi at the place around the corner from my house. For $20 I knew it was worth it to get it done and I am prone to snacking on my hang nails during long drives if my nails aren’t kept up.

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My beach sheet has been helpful more than once.

2011-07-14

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Preventing Chub Rub aka Thigh Chafing

New additions to this post added August 23, 2013! See the bottom!

My mailbag yielded this great question from a reader.

Hi Bevin,

I have a bit of a sensitive question. On your blog, you’ve got all these pictures of you wearing FABULOUS dresses…but what do you do to prevent chaffing? (Or is this not a problem for you?)

(I did a search at your blog before I asked. I hope it’s not too personal!)

Thanks for your blog–it’s fantastic!

–An amateur queer fat femme!

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Camping at FemmeCamp! It got fancy.

Dear Amateur Queer Fat Femme:

Thank you so much for your question and the compliment! I’m so excited to be a resource for you and others. In fact, I have never addressed the timely and relevant issue of chub rub on this blog. (Chub rub is also known as thigh chafing, summertime thigh sweat issues, fat thigh rubbing and the like. But I like chub rub.)

When I was a baby Femme I didn’t think I would ever get to wear dresses all the time for two reasons: the mysterious chaffing between my thighs that made wearing them excruciating, especially in the summer, and my aversion to carrying purses.

And then something magical happened. When I was about 22 I discovered there was a name for this mysterious chafe, and it was chub rub. And there are numerous solutions for it! Also around the same time I discovered a purse I absolutely fell in love with that made me want to carry a purse. And once I had the freedom to carry more things than a wallet and my keys (like femmenabling items like lipstick, hand sanitizer, safer sex supplies and chub rub solutions) I decided there was no going back with this Femme thing, I was all in.

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This is a replica of the purse I fell in love with and carried to death. I used to collect Marilyn Monroe purses, though this one is a photo of another blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield.

So, how to solve the issue of chub rub? First of all, I want to say this is not just a problem for fat people. This is a problem for lots of folks of all sizes who wear pants and who wear dresses. Chub rub is a pervasive fashion issue. Luckily, fat femmes have each others’ backs and we’ve been swapping these solutions for years. Here are some methods I know about, starting with the two I prefer.

First is wearing shorts under your clothes. Not just any shorts, tight fitting shorts. Bike shorts help some.

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Mackenzi found some bike shorts she swears by from Target in the athletic wear section this summer. Here she is in front of her amazing store! It has a brand new ecommerce site so go visit and buy lots of gifts and housewares from her and support a queer fat femme owned business!

I use shaping garments for my shorts-under-dress solution. The best I ever found were from Lane Bryant about 9 years ago. I am grateful that when I worked there I bought a bunch so now they’re only just getting tattered. I have never found such good quality and comfort in a shaping garment since. I think you can get some good ones still from the girdle section of your local department store.

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Me & Sarah Jenny. Sometimes you’re wearing something so clingy that a full-body shaper situation helps to keep the dress aligned. I’m one of those people that doesn’t buy into the thought that shapewear actually makes you look any thinner, I think it just moves your fat around so dresses might fit a little bit differently than if you were freefatting.

This Macy’s light control girl short is exactly the shapewear I am talking about and about half the cost of the ones I bought at LB (that have lasted years). I think shapewear can be a great investment if it isn’t Spanx. Those disintegrate far too quickly and I find them a poor value.

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Me, Leslie and our friend Kwame at a Fourth of July BBQ wearing dresses in the heat. I am freefatting.

I have tried the Lipo in a Box brand (unfortunate name for shapewear) and I found their shorts bunchy and fiddly but they will do the job in a pinch.

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Coordinating tights/leggings/teggings are also a great chub rub solution along the lines of shorts-under-dresses.

If the idea of shorts under dresses sounds hot, well, it usually is (which is why you want shapewear that breathes). So I love the option to use a specialty cream or lotion to ease the chub rub.

My brand of choice is Bodyglide. You can get it online or at running stores because runners chafe, too. I walk right into the running store, buy it, and I’m sure the staff knows that I am a fat girl in their store for the chub rub cream. I use Bodyglide to both prevent chub rub and treat it when it has already happened.

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I think body chemistry has a lot to do with how and whether a certain cream or lotion will work on you, but other friends have suggested:

*Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel, which you can get at drug stores in the ladycare aisle. I don’t love it because I like the ease of the stick application of Bodyglide.

*Raw Shea Butter Lotion, the brand I prefer is Nubian Heritage. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha turned me onto this brand and it is my very favorite, both scented and unscented versions. But I use it as body lotion and not chub rub cream.

*Deodorant. You’re putting it under your arms already, try it on your thighs?

*Silky Underwear Dusting Powder by LUSH I love LUSH from the bottom of my heart and my coworker Afrotitty suggested it to me as a sweet-smelling solution. I have some, I’ll try it.

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Paparazzi moment! Meeting up with my friends Brian and Arnulfo for brunch on 4th of July. Photo taken by Arnie while I was on the phone with Brian and Macy was taking care of business. I’m wearing my favorite denim mini skirt that is actually a skooter (shorts built-in under a skirt that you can’t see are there–different from the kind where it’s just a front flap and you can see the shorts in the back, I hate those). I’ve gone hiking in these, climbed trees, clambered over rocks and walked for miles and miles with no worry about chub rub.

So, AQFF, I hope this list helps you grab those dresses from your closet and wear them comfortably through the rest of this summer and the rest of the times in your life you want to wear dresses!!

P.S. Anytime you purchase anything using the Amazon referral link on QFF.com I get a referral bonus and stash it away to buy myself fun stuff like books and toys. I appreciate it greatly. Thanks to whoever bought a lot of stuff in January!


Here are a couple more additions to our arsenal of thigh chafing prevention!

Bandelettes! 6″ bands of lace that grab onto your thigh fat and prevent chafing. My whole review of them is at this link! $14.99 and a bargain!

Here’s a great natural remedy for the chafing when it happens–a coconut oil calendula infusion! Take about an ounce of coconut oil and melt it, add some calendula (available wherever loose herbs are sold) and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then let it cool and rub it between your thighs for relief. Coconut oil is also another idea for chafe prevention.

*Butt Paste, an all natural diaper rash treatment and prevention! It comes in lots of sizes, and I found Butt Paste in 2 oz for $5.99 on Amazon. There is also a Maximum Strength Butt Paste. According to some of the online reviews folks prefer it because it is natural, effective and has a pleasant slight vanilla scent and most other diaper rash creams smell like medicine. Apparently the maximum strength is also good treatment if your chafing has gotten to the point of open sores.

Again, all chafe prevention creams and oils really depend on how your body chemistry works with them. If you have other methods not mentioned I’d love to hear about them!

2011-05-29

Hot Piece of Hipster: Summer Genderqueer Hair

I think a lot about hair. I just had a discussion with a friend of mine about why we have no overlap in the folks we sleep with though we are both 32 year old queer fat femmes who live in the same borough. Given how small the community we queers roll in, I have overlap with friends of mine all over the country. This friend said she has a thing for people with bad hair and I said “Aha! That’s it! I only date people with good hair.” It’s really the very first thing I notice about someone when I am attracted. Hair, style, tattoos in that order.

So when my friend Max Voltage from Portland asked my opinion about good genderqueer summer hair looks I was totally into the task of compiling favorites. And with Max’s permission I repost my email below so that you out there looking for summer genderqueer hairstyles might benefit from my research. (And for those of you who do not start out with hair like Max, I’ve thrown a few favorites that I didn’t suggest to Max below.)

Here’s a picture of Max’s hair, I took it from a bizarre angle at Hey Queen in April while Max was in Brooklyn on tour:

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Here’s a picture of Max from a less extreme angle:

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Here’s what I wrote to Max:

First I considered your hair strengths. Your hair is really good as it is, though I totally understand wanting to do something different for the summer. But you have this very distinct look about you, with the sexy sideswept bangs that works really well with your face shape and I think any cut for you should enable you to keep that sideswept bang situation in your repertoire, even if most of the time you change it up.*

Maybe it’s the weather or something like that, but for the summer in general one keeps in mind getting the hair off the neck for cooling off purposes and humidity (at least on the east coast, not sure about Portlandia summertime humidity). So I looked for cuts that keep the length in the front but got some of the hair off the neck. I poked around my good haired friends on Facebook, my favorite style blogs and then did a search for genderqueer on tumblr.

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Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

When you asked me for summertime hair, I immediately thought about my friend Nic Switch. They are a genderqueer porn actor and starred in my queer retelling of the Outsiders as Pony Boy. Hair was an important factor in our casting (the whole cast had great hair). Attached are two photos of Nic, one from the front and from the side.

I like that Nic keeps their hair longish on the sides (which is still shorter for you) and combs it forward while instead of just having the generic genderqueer fauxhawk (yawn) Nic does a bit of a pompadour/duck tail lift. The lift also has some good height to it.

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Obvy this would involve some product, and product is helpful for anti-humidity.

Now that we’ve gone into nouveau greaser territory I must also taut the pompadour. Pomps come in all sizes these days and I love a casual summer swoosh above the head. With the length of the sidesweep you’ve got good pompabilities. The pomp would also enable you to keep some of the length on the sides though cutting most of it to maximize summer comfort. Attached is a photo of Jessie Dress, my femme friend who is rocking a hot genderqueer pomp these days. You could do something similar, a little to the side which would maintain a bit of the signature sideswept Max look. You could also optionally have fancy curly sideburns. This would require a more heavy-duty hair product along the pomade spectrum.

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[As an aside, I cannot blog about pompabilities without shouting out my pal Alix of the Inverted Eye who sports my favorite queer pompadour.]

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Me, Ains to the left and Alix to the right at Rebel Cupcake/Hot Box collision in Oakland.

Eric from True Blood has some damn sexy hair. His hair is a side part and swept up with some lingering strands towards the face. His hair is also even longer on the sides but clean cut around the base of the head (no rat tail). It’s not quite hipster sexy, it’s just traditional fashionable boy sexy but I think it could work well for you.

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The last look I attached is some damn sexy summer sidesweep. If you kept your sideswept bangs and maybe deepened the part a bit toward the side (What side do you part on? Left? Right?) and cut the back part off, cleaning up the base of it, you could get this look. It’s dramatic and awesome.

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I found this look on one of my favorite style blogs, Ironing Board Collective. I want to be their fat style correspondent!

Also, are you open to color? I think a few highlights of a honey brown, just something a bit lighter than the brown you have now would make a huge difference in your look, brightening it up for summertime.

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I know I was specifically researching for Max’s needs, but I need to throw some honorable mention summer looks for other folks who don’t have the length situation Max does.

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DAAAAAAAANG. Lafayette is looking so hot this summer in this season four True Blood promo photo.

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Danielle is a hot Texan.

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When I thought of good short hairstyles I immediately thought of the gorgeous creatures in this photo I stumbled upon on tumblr a few months ago. The hair sculptures are amaaaaaaaaazing. I know the hats are all wintercore or whatever, but I ache to find out who these folks are and how they work their summer looks.

Maybe next I’ll do my round up of how I beat the humidity and heat with my own long, thick mane.

*I think hair is an important part of branding. Max is an event producer, performance artist, and violinist. Branding/hair is something to consider.

2011-05-06

Buying Bras from a Queer Perspective, A Radio Play and Sad Songs at the Bar

Three posts in one!

Happy International No Diet Day!

The nice folks at Autostraddle asked me to contribute to their mega article about buying bras for queer bodies. It’s really cool and funny and I think you’ll like my Queer Fat Femme perspective. The Lane Bryant plunge bra really did change my life. Go read it.

The Bra Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes and Gender Expressions

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Here’s me wearing a bra. Photo by Shameless Photography.

In unrelated news, I was in a radio play! It’s about a small town gay bar written by my friend Taylor who is from a small town in the South but really this bar and these characters could be anyone. I see a lot of my family in Memaw and Missy and some of the hateful Femmes I’ve known in my time could easily be the Femme in this. I play both the Butch main character and the Femme in this play. Grab a cold drink and give it a listen!

Missy’s Big Chance from Tom on Vimeo.

A Radioplay by Taylor Black
Edited by Tom Leger
with Bevin Branlandingham as Missy and The Femme, Julie Blair as The Bartender
Recorded at Collect Pond in April 2011

Taylor and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. We share an affinity for queer nightlife, lesbianism, Lucinda Williams and other related music so often we pre-party while watching an Indigo Girls DVD (with Taylor in the audience as a baby gay) and drinking champagne or reading aloud from lesbian magazines.

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One random Thursday Taylor texted me asking what I was up to. I had been at a press cocktail party exploring a new space I might use to book some parties in the West Village and was feeling just mischievous enough to get into some trouble. And since hitting lesbian bars with a gay boy is totally my 2001 I figured for nostalgia’s sake we had a plan.

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Great drink menu and make-out ambiance at 116 but no backstage… So I am thinking more of a swanky cocktail night.

I had him meet me at RF Lounge–formerly known as Rubyfruit Lounge. I don’t know why they changed it–most of the queers I know around my age have a copy of Rubyfruit Jungle. I love that book. It made me fall in love with New York City long before I ever visited. Also, as an aside, while I enjoy our queer nightlife parties, I intentionally throw mine at a gay bar and try to patronize queer bars and queer-owned bars as much as possible. There’s a reason there are only three lesbian bars left in New York City, we have to keep going to them in order for them to stay open!

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116’s flattering lighting.

We ventured in for RF’s $5 martini night and Taylor made a beeline for the jukebox. They have a killer one–the kind that plays mp3s and lets you search for artists so you aren’t shackled to one genre. And Taylor really hit my sweet spots with his selections, both by our dear Lucinda.

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The strawberry capirinhas at 116 were killer.

RF Lounge also has a video game machine that plays Erotic Video Hunt, which is one of my favorite bar games. During those two songs, I was enjoying a $5 cosmo, playing a fun game and listening to sweet sad songs–happy as a clam. The other bar patrons were sitting belly-up to the bar, not a soul was dancing. It was so magical in its simplicity.

We settled in, got more drinks and played more random bar games. And as Taylor headed to the jukebox and put in his $10 bill, the bartender shouted “No more slow songs!!” Now, first of all, Lucinda may play sad songs but they are certainly not all slow. And they also matched the tenor of the crowd in the bar far better than the vintage remixed Britney that was otherwise playing.

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The bartender at 116 didn’t try to control the music He was quite sweet.

Not one to be yelled at by a non-relation, Taylor abandoned his 20 credits in the jukebox and returned to my post at the video game machine. We had thought we were in for a nice sad sack takeover of the bar but not so. We finished our drinks and I returned to the jukebox to use Taylor’s credits. I played some Prince and Pointer Sisters (much better dance music than was being piped in) and some Sheryl Crow just to be contrary. Of course, I ended the set with Buttercup, my favorite fast song from the new Lucinda album.

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116 has a photo booth with a mirror to check yourself first! I didn’t have four singles so I didn’t use it but I intend to go back for it.

We left shortly into the playlist and headed to Cowgirl Hall of Fame for a late dinner (New Yorkers eat dinner really late, this is a thing) and then to Kamp in Park Slope. This is a weekly gay bar event that is really low key and fun, sweet bartenders, great dj (played Prince right after we got there) and even had a bull dog chilling under a bar stool. I was the only girl. Keep the 2001 hits coming.

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From the outside one would have no idea the moodiness and sexiness of 116.

After this experience Taylor and I decided we’re going to start a sad mob and do little takeovers of bars with good jukeboxes and drink specials and play good sad music. A bad remix of the 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl” might drive me to drink but a dose of Lucinda’s “Metal Firecracker” will keep me drinking and toasting to better times ahead.

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!

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