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

2012-09-05

This is What Happened for Bevin at the Femme Conference 2012

My story about the Femme Conference 2012 is completely informed by what it took to get there and my frame of mind. Thus, it begins with the epic journey.

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The Goddess was really on my side getting me to the Femme Conference this year. I knew it was going to be sort of bananas, having been on a road trip and off the grid camping for the 17 days prior to Femme Conference, stopping home for one night only to throw Rebel Cupcake: Lonely Girls (the periodic slow songs were a big hit). This is really a cornerstone characteristic about me, seeing possibility where other folks would see “too much” or “too hard.” Because the option existed to roll all of these travels together I decided to do it.

I had set-up travel arrangements, accommodations and timing before I left, but then one of my pals had to bail the weekend before we were to leave. I was trying to get in touch with our other travel buddy but couldn’t really do anything about it until I was on the road. While on the road Wednesday, barely back on the grid, I touched base with my other travel buddy and she was able to easily solve her conundrums without me, which seemed right. Cut her loose and maybe not go. It seemed like doing the whole Michfest/Rebel Cupcake/Femme Con plan could work if I didn’t have to stop to strategize but problem-solving made it feel too overwhelming and stressful.

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One sort of pleading/processing post on Facebook yielded a room to stay in and a ride (the ride part was hard because most folks I knew were leaving on Thursday). Then, at Rebel Cupcake, 1:45AM, just hours before we were supposed to leave I got a text saying my ride had a family emergency so I was again at square one in NYC. I decided to leave it up to the Goddess about whether and how I would get down there. (Here’s the other thing about this multi-leg travel lifestyle–I didn’t have a ton of money to throw at solving these problems.)

I woke up Friday and booked the only available mega bus to Baltimore ($25, leaving at 1:30) knowing I might not make it to the stop on time. I re-packed in light of taking the bus instead of a car, making some intense clothing and beauty product compromises for the sake of space. I headed out and had big re-thinking thoughts on my way to the subway station knowing I probably was going to miss this bus. I decided nothing worth doing isn’t worth fighting for, so I would head out in search of Femmes ’til I got a real “No” from the universe and not just me second-guessing myself.

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Spoiler alert–I made it to the conference. Here’s Emma.

I took a cab from the subway to the weird, block-long MegaBus situation on 42nd Street and was told that the bus I was looking for was already gone but to “stand at the back of the line.” I was actually pretty surprised when, an hour later, I was herded onto a half-empty bus headed for Baltimore.

The bus stop is not anywhere near Baltimore itself, it is somewhere in the suburbs. Given my waning cell phone battery life and the 90 minutes of public transit I would have to contend with, I took a $50 cab ride to the hotel. It was sort of ironic that the Amtrak ticket probably would have cost me about $75 if I had jumped on it during their fare sale. That was no matter! My pal Hadley was waiting for me at the hotel to grab my bag from the trunk and whisk me away to our hotel suite and offered me booze.

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Bridget and her alternative housing arrangement.

I saw from the car a few Femmes parading in party dresses and got a little nervous. In that about to jump into a new culture way. I’ve been in this culture before but it always makes me a little jittery. I like to think it’s nervous like stage fright–because your audience matters to you. It’s really special to peacock for other Femmes. Put on what makes you feel the best and admire others. For me it is not at all about Femme competition, it’s about how one piece of glitter sparkles on its own but how hundreds of pieces of glitter shine infinitely more brilliantly. But here at Femme Conference we’re shining for each other and it’s ablaze and beautiful.

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Miss Mary Wanna.

So, back at the hotel I put on the opposite of a party dress. My Aerosmith groupie realness outfit packed really small and didn’t require ironing, so it made the cut. I had my share of whiskey to take the edge off the travel and get a little silly. I was still a little nervous. I also needed to eat dinner and know that self-care is essential in the life of a conference-goer. It is so easy to get caught up in trying to get to everything that you forget to eat, sleep and take care of your basic needs.

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We picked up Emma, Jenna and Nomy Lamm from the hotel (ours was about a 5 minute walk away). Nomy’s keynote was on Friday so I missed it but I have heard the themes self-comforting and resilience come out of my chats with friends. We got sandwiches and had a sandwich caucus.

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Nomy and a wrap.

Another session I missed was “In Fierceness and Vulnerability: Deconstructing and Resisting Femmephobia.” Kim Crosby, the presenter, has made the powerpoint available online and it is incredible.

The evening event at Ottobar was the FemmeSPEAK spoken word night. It is such a blessing to have so many incredible performers at one weekend, which means the evening events are epically long. I missed the first few performers but I did get to catch the tail end of my roommate Damien Luxe‘s Exorcism piece, a shortened version of Heather Acs “This is What We Have,” and a featured set of Fran Varian, whose piece in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation is my favorite.

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Heather, performing. I was toting merch from her piece, a lavender tote that says “This is what we have.”

I felt so grateful to be on the floor and present for an actual anthem from Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha called “Femme is For Free.” She is going to post it on her blog really soon, but the power in her voice and the cadence and the words. It was why I was there. In that. Sometimes poetry just breaks you open and Leah’s done that for me before and she did it this time.

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I also enjoyed Dacia Holliday‘s featured performance. There’s a great quote from one of her poems.

“…fem(me) identity means: I love as hard as I fuck, and I fuck as hard as I fight.”

(Thanks to Jessie Dress for catching that.)

Settling into the event I was so caught up in the sparkle that before I got to the front to really immerse in the words I was in the back just seeing people, trying not to talk when folks came up to greet me so as not to distract from the performances. It was awkward, since I was so excited to see folks and triumphant that I arrived but so hearing the siren song of the words that are spoken. I remember turning around and seeing this total BABE behind me and doing a slow creep looking up and down her outfit when I noticed her seeing me and I was like dang, I’m caught being a creepster!* There were BABES GALORE at the Femme Conference.

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I mean like, daaaaang. It was also the hair, Elisabeth has this amazing queer pompadour!

After the show was over we stayed and danced a bit. With no prepared DJ we were enjoying the grace of sound guy at the booth plugging in for us but at the mercy of folks’ iPhone playlists for tunes and a lot of La Roux happened. But it didn’t matter! We were in a frenzy of Femme on Femme adoration and swirling around each other was exactly what we wanted. (Of course, as soon as the Gossip came on Bridget nearly died of excitement, fans of the Lesbian Tea Basket know her feelings.)

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Jenna and Hadley.

After the dancing we retired to our hotel suite, me, Hadley and Emma, with a guest Nomy. We had some great conversations in the suite and even though I missed out on some intriguing invites.

“SLUT PARTY AT THE SKANK PALACE ROOM 256! Bring yr slutty self and somebody else’s slutty self too. Lingerie and lace encouraged but not required. Xo.”–Actual text from my phone.

But a ten minute walk is a long walk after a long day of travel at 1AM and with a full day of conferencing to begin at 9AM the following morning. So I just settled into bed with Emma (totally platonically unless you want to imagine something else but your imagination is without consent from me or Emma) and cruised Facebook on my phone until I fell asleep.

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Sleeping soundly.

The next morning we naturally overslept for the first workshop session, though Haddles was up and at em and out the door before me or Emma got to getting. We scrambled to make it to “Mean Girls” in the 10:30 slot, a workshop given by my friend Amanda Arkansassy (aka Lola Dean) who moved to San Francisco two years ago and her hair is long and ombre now, like happens to Femmes in San Francisco. Their hair gets long and ombre! It’s a thing! Not for everyone, but lots of them go long and ombre!**

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The workshop was great, but full of process because it had like 75 people in it and it’s hard to put all of what you need to talk about when debunking Femme competition and mean girl behavior into 90 minutes, and how to maneuver that with the people and space allotted. Also I had given up coffee not long before and was still trying to get conscious so I spent most of the workshop actively absorbing not participating. First we broke down the whys and then the hows and then we talked about how to heal it. By consensus we actually spent an additional fifteen minutes into the lunch hour finishing the workshop. Amanda’s blog has a really great write-up from the workshop, I encourage you all to go read it. I’ll be here when you get back.

Porch talk, isn’t that an adorable blog name? I love it.

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Afterwards we were going to get lunch. I sort of tagged along into two groups that became one giant group, all of us chanting about getting cheeseburgers. We went for a ten minute walk and then we found a restaurant and by group consensus missed the next keynote in favor of having a sit-down and not rushed lunch. Sometimes I find these informal get togethers, the social aspect of conference-going, to be the most valuable. We did a go around*** at the table and talked about what we wanted to get out of the conference. We made tender connections, Rachel offered to do a rap duet with me as I am dipping my toes into song-writing to create a theme song for Rebel Cupcake.

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On the way back to the hotel we were in a clump of ten and seeing the reactions of the Baltimorians on the street was amusing. At some point a young man asked me (towards the back of the group) “What is going on? Y’all are looking fine!” I just smiled and kept going on our mysterious, babely way. It’s really powerful to roll ten deep.

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We got back to the conference for Caucus time, since Jessie Dress was slated to chair the Fat Caucus. We began with 25 folks that then bloomed to easily 45 while we were doing the initial go around. I was getting a little bit diet-talk-squigged-out because the go-around involved where people were with fat activism. This incites some folks to talk about diet history but when I’m facing a room of so many people talking about diet history I feel overwhelmed and like I’m in a Weight Watchers meeting. I like talking about diet history in context of healing and solutions and strategies, and is ultimately what I prefer to get out of these gatherings (along with community and naming struggle). Luckily, our moderator noticed when the go around had taken fifteen minutes and not even gotten a quarter of the way through the participants and we moved on.

By group consensus we agreed to address fat and health first as a large group and several folks talked about struggles with being fat activists who were addressing health issues and learning how to approach exercise from a Health at Every Size perspective and how that is either effective for them or not. There were a lot of things said but I didn’t take any notes.

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Deeply babely. I didn’t take photos at the Fat Caucus, either.

We decided to break into mini-groups for the last fifteen minutes and I took the role of facilitator for the small group on desire. Having to come up with questions on the fly I just asked the eight or so participants in our group how they have been hurt or healed dating while Fat and/or Femme. We also expanded the topic to discuss what it is like to be Fat dating a not-Fat person. Fifteen minutes felt very short but was also really nice to get the tender tiny discussion to round-out (ha) the Fat Caucus.

Other small group topics were health/disability, race/class, inbetweenies, your size is not my size.

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After the caucus I was heading to another workshop when I was enticed to stop by and visit with Diana Cage and Jessica Halem, two brilliant comic babes and we sort of folded into the Cocktail Caucus. We discussed many important things, including bad dating behavior and our lives.

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I made the wise decision to head to my hotel room around 5:30 knowing I was performing that night and was leaving for the venue at 6:45. I had the room to myself for a brief rehearsal and got as dolled-up as I could before going backstage. I knew sharing the stage that night with forty people (for real) was going to mean cramped dressing room space.

FemmesWerq, the burlesque show, was four hours long. The upstairs of Ottobar is a little bizarre. It’s a rock venue, so there are the typical graffitied walls and a million penises.

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The author may have borrowed a sharpie and left her mark.

It’s like two floors and there isn’t a real bathroom, there is a toilet on a raised stage inside one of the dressing rooms. Peeing in a public space not in a stall is a recurring nightmare of mine and so I feel, having done it backstage at the Femme Conference, it’s one of those things that I will now have exorcised from my psyche or something. Hopefully. With 28 acts to wait through, we definitely were going to need to pee a couple of times.

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Watching Femmes rehearse waiting for my tech needs to be met.

My act was squarely in the middle of the show, right after the intermission we never had. Watching all of that incredible burlesque got me uncharacteristically nervous before performing. My Lesbolesque is highly earnest and hilarious, not the studied art of seduction so many other burlesque performers were putting up. Notable performers were Vagina Jenkins, Dr. Ginger Snaps and a third performer doing an homage to Femmes of Color burlesque. Each performer took a Black burlesque performer and performed an act in homage to her, and then after the three performed there was a slideshow. It was stunning, I am a longtime fan of both Vag and Dr. Snaps with renewed vigor.

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Backstage with Vag, addressing the performers.

My friends the Miracle Whips, a feminist performance group from LA did an incredible piece in homage to vaginas and the various wobegone fates we can have in them. UTIs, yeast infections/bacterial infections and period cramps. It was magical performance art and hilarious and I loved it and want to see it again.

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Me and The Miracle Whips.

Two words: SNAIL BURLESQUE. To Rihanna’s “We Found Love.”

Snail Burlesque
Photo by Nicole Myles.

Backstage before my act my friend Miasia and I had a moment. When I get stressed I like to pray and I find it is really helpful for me to pray before shows as I find creating and performing an act of spiritual connectedness. So we had a wonderful moment, the two of us, asking for guidance and letting the love in and having authentic and beautiful performances. Miasia, of course, killed it. She’s such a fox and an incredible belly dance performer.

My act was the Lesbolesque act I created for Sarah McLachlan’s “Possession,” track one from Fumbling Towards Ecstacy. It is about coming out, finding myself, and finding my place in the Lesbian Community through Femme and Queer. The Miracle Whips were my surprise lesbian back-up dancers and I have no photographs.

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More backstage ambiance with Cameron.

Afterward I played matchmaker with a friend of mine, made out with a date, potentially hit on a Femme from far away who understood I was hitting on her but I was leaving for my date so I wasn’t sure if she really understood, and reveled in the incredible Femme on Femme babely energy of the place. Everyone was a Femme that probably liked other Femmes and everyone was visible. After the final act the place erupted. Folks were leaving for the conference play party, hotel room numbers were being texted around, my very drunk friend tried to tell me how to get to their house for the after after party. But I had booked some alone time in my hotel room and my thoughtful roomies had left safer sex supplies on the pillow.

Emma

Things at the Femme Conference got wild on Saturday night and there aren’t a lot of folks I know who didn’t get action if they wanted it on that balmy Baltimore evening.

The next morning was rough getting to the hotel in time, especially because we had to check out of our hotel and pack our garments. Hadley, Emma and I had a really fun time and decided to get brunch to go so we could at least eat and watch the Femmes promenade. French toast is better with Femmes.

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I had a fifteen-minute power catch-up with Leah while she prepared for her workshop, “Femme of Colour Survivors: Badass Resilience.” I genuinely appreciate that our friendship is often made up of soulful connecting, 90 minutes at a time.

I headed to the “Beyond Classy: Working Class Femme Power” workshop facilitated by Blyth (who you may recall from her guest post on this blog). I think Blyth is just amazing and I also know that class identity is something I struggle with talking about, even though I am so open about the other intersections of my identity. The structure was very thoughtful. Channelle was the moderator, Blyth, Kirya Traber (an amazing spoken word performer), and Arti were the panelists. Each panelist took about fifteen minutes to tell their story about growing up poor or working class and how that intersected with their Femme identity. Then there was a Q & A for the panelists, and the last twenty minutes or so was open to the voices of working class or poor Femmes in the room to talk about how Femme had intersected with their class identity (I hope I am remembering that prompt correctly) and then finally, one word or phrase that was a takeaway of strength from their upbringing. (For me it was “Living on the edge.” Other folks said “Independence,” “Looking fabulous on a dime,” “Beauty pageants,” “Resilience.”)

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The crowd for the workshop swelled from the initial twenty to at least seventy folks, crammed in. Blyth was so overwhelmed she threw herself on the floor.

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Blyth passed around banana bread made by her grandmother and I called it “Working Class Femme Communion.”

Let me tell you, it was an emotional hour and a half. I learned new things about other peoples’ experiences but the stuff that was hardest was the naming of experience that was so much of my own. Like moving thirteen times before I turned thirteen. I had never thought about how that was about being poor or working class. And Chanelle called out experiences of internalized classism in a way that blew my mind.

I was really grateful I made it to the workshop and I have so much to unpack from it in my creative work, in my personal life. I am so grateful to Blyth for creating that space and so grateful to Arti and Kirya for being on the panel.

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Before the workshop got full.

Afterward was the second caucus time but I needed to get caucused with some Feelings cake and ended up spending some good time at the cafe next door to the hotel with some Femmes processing the workshop. The closing plenary was next where we talked about the Femme Collective and how the conference went. Did you know you can get involved on the Steering Committee for the 2014 conference? It is a bunch of work to make it happen and the conference is entirely volunteer-run.

The ride home was great. I was with Hadley and Emma and we got sandwiches from Charmington’s, which is now my favorite Baltimore haunt. It was a good debrief and I was so grateful I got to go to the Femme Conference and participate in this soul-opening, glitter encrusted experience.

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*The hilarious-we-became-friends-later-that-weekend post script to that is she didn’t notice me being a creepster, she recognized me from my blog so she was having an “OMG it’s Bevin!” moment while I was full-on checking her out. Hi Elisabeth!

**Side note, should I have ombre hair? Should my hair be tri-colored? Maybe I should do that instead of cutting it shoulder-length again? I know I’m a Brooklyn Femme but what if I go SF Ombre??

***Go Around is conference-speak for doing a round table of everyone’s name and some other information about them. Often/always at Femme Conference they involved Preferred Gender Pronoun, where you were from and something else related to the topic at hand.

2012-08-23

Re-Entry Nacho Bites

Oh gentle readers. As you know I was away in the woods for two weeks, on an epic road trip to Michigan and back, then I threw Rebel Cupcake (joyfully joined by so many of my friends en route home from Michigan and en route to Baltimore), then I hopped a bus to Baltimore to join the Femme Conference already in progress. I have been on a queer magical utopia high for three weeks and I am having to make adjustments in order to come down from it and get back into my pretty magical day-to-day life.

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At the Femme Conference being unintentionally matchy-matchy with Emma because they picked my outfit that morning.

“Re-entry” as it is called in our circle, “decompression” as it is called in other circles, is really rough. Returning to the “default world” is hard. I used to be the kind of summer camp attendee who cried on the bus coming home (I no longer cry on the way home). I’m a comfortable Earth sign, change can be hard. So I usually build some time into my life for re-entry that usually involves a lot of downtime, watching a series on dvd or something and a shame spiral about cleaning and unpacking. I never know what it is going to take. I also work from home which means I am working to catch-up on being away but also doing the downtime/shame spiral. I’m a mess.

This year I decided to get really decadent when I had a lot of Feelings I didn’t know what to do with and make myself Nacho Bites from scratch. I love tiny food a lot, enjoy a small plates lifestyle even though it’s totally impractical as a bachelorette. Anyone in my immediate circle has heard me proselytizing about Nacho Bites this summer. It’s made by Hot Pockets and is an appetizer in the grocery freezer section and I think has queso, ground beef and salsa. I have been meaning to make them myself with ingredients I liked more that felt less processed and I decided to get into it yesterday.

It took over two hours to prep and then more time to clean-up but I thought it was totally worth it. I usually turn on some kind of inspirational noise (like a talk, sermon or interview) and it’s very meditative. I also felt really grounded and in my space afterward, having felt so odd and not quite at home at home until then.

So, here’s how I cobbled together my Nacho Bites and I am interested to know if folks have better/different/faster dumpling assembly methods than my sort of figure it out on the fly methods. I always love when my favorite bloggers share recipes so here goes.

Ingredients:

Tortilla Dough
(I followed this recipe)
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Homemade Queso
(I followed this recipe–I just didn’t feel like doing the Velveeta version though it is infinitely faster)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Serrano chile, diced
2 jalapeños, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1(4-ounce) can RO*TEL (or any can of diced tomatoes with green chiles)
3 cups shredded cheese, cheddar and Jack varieties recommended
1/4 cup sour cream

Nacho Bites Innards
1 recipe Tortilla Dough (or 15 tortilla dough rounds)
1 recipe Homemade Queso (or like 1 1/2 cups of your favorite Queso)
2/3 pounds of ground meat prepared with spice OR some kind of taco seasoning
Try: Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s (my fav), chorizo the regular kind, ground turkey/beef/chicken (I think the poultry sucks up the taco seasoning well, maybe even some carnitas if you’re getting fancy
1 diced jalepeno
1 diced tomato
(You could easily sub about 1/2 cup of salsa but since my queso was very involved I skipped the queso)
1/3 bunch diced fresh cilantro
(I suppose cilantro averse could forego it but I am very very very pro cilantro)
Small handful of scallions if your CSA is overabundant with them like mine is.

Prepare the tortilla dough and pull apart fifteen little globs of it, about an inch and a half each round. Set them out to rise a little.

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Prepare the queso. Take a long time because it takes a long time and be really mindful of the roux. I had to throw in some corn starch toward the end. I also only had buttermilk but whatever. I wish it was a little spicier, so I’ll add more chili next time.

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The queso is so flavorful.

Prepare the meat by cooking it all the way through. Also, if you prepare it with taco seasoning, cook all the water out so there are very little juices left.

Dice up the rest of your ingredients and set aside in little bowls or plates or whatever and prepare to make dumplings!

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At this point pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and put the cookie sheet in there to pre-heat as well.

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The cilantro is really so beautiful.

I flattened out each ball of tortilla dough and assembled them like little mini tacos, being sure not to overfill. Putting a spoonful of meat, then a generous drizzle of queso, a couple dices of jalepeno and tomato and a little sprinkle of cilantro. Then I bundled them together. Traditional Nacho Bites have a pyramid shape and I tried making that, which was most effective.

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I accidentally overfilled one batch of them so I’ve learned from that.

Then take the heated cookie sheet out of the oven (be careful, obvs) and lightly grease it with a little olive oil misto action or some butter, and transfer your dumpling babies to the cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Then pull out and let sit a couple of minutes. Enjoy!

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My dumpling assembly skills continue to need work.

2012-08-01

50 Shades of Glitter: On Self-Examination and Shifting Desires

I know some folks whose dating histories are full of first timers on the road to Lesbianville. I have plenty to teach a queer newcomer but that just has not been my path, I’ve never been the first queer for a straight person. However, I am often the first Femme folks have ever gone on dates with or slept with. It’s kind of fun to introduce people to what Femme can be and shattering stereotypes. I find most folks who haven’t dated Femmes before me had a lot of really intense ideas about what Femme is or is not and what Femmes do or do not do.

This also has the bummer byproduct of hearing a lot of femmephobic things from folks who are otherwise attracted to me but who are somehow intimidated or otherwise put-off by my Femme characteristics. This has happened a few times and I’m always left wondering if folks really mean they don’t want to date Femmes or they just don’t want to date me. Frankly, I would be less offended if it was the latter because I think most of the time it speaks to unexamined misogyny and Femmephobia to declare that you don’t date Femmes or aren’t attracted to Femme characteristics. Further, just because you might not be into Bevin’s brand of Femme doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be into other brands of Femme.

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Here I am dressed like a gay Narwhal on a queer booze cruise in May. Heather is also pictured.

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I see Femme as a diaspora of femininity. There are a lot of definitions of what Femme means to folks, sometimes this is an identity that is static and sometimes it is fluid and only applies some of the time or to some elements of peoples’ identities. I think Femme is a really sparkly umbrella big enough to fit over all of us. Femme is a venn diagram of femininity and empowerment and the way it manifests on different bodies and sexualities is extremely varied. For some Femme is a gender. For me Femme is how I fit into my sexuality but my gender is something else entirely, much more Muppet.

If we’re coming from a place of acknowledging there are so many different ways to be Femme, why is it valid to make a blanket statement that people aren’t attracted to Femmes at all?

I also want to make it clear that this post is as much addressed to Femme-identified folks who don’t do Femme on Femme Action (FOFA) as much as non-Femme identified folks.

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I’ve addressed this tired line before, focusing on debunking Femme as high maintenance. Now I want to focus on shifting desire and whether the idea that one can actually say they all the time never are attracted to Femmes.

Also, gender presentation is such a mystery. Sometimes it changes! And chemistry and desire are such mysteries, but I think desire is the kind of thing that can be cultivated.

I was talking about this with my pal Quito on a boat cruise on the East River a couple of months ago. Quito is someone who I said once their gender was Gonzo and they enjoyed that description. They were really sweet, openly sharing about being intimidated about dating Femmes. Quito said that the Femmes they know are really ferocious and embodied in their identity. Quito’s eyes got big when they said it and there was more and I wish I had taken more notes. But I understood that they were intimidated.

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I really adore Quito so very much.

It’s an interesting statement because while there’s a lot of ferocity there is also a lot of tenderness. Most of the fiercest Femmes I know are pussycats on the inside. I also am reminded of the constant drone of hearing “You’re too much” as a reason to not want to date someone.

I think there’s also an element of inexperience that impedes folks from feeling like moving toward Femmes. Like, if you’ve always done it to the same kinds of folks maybe you don’t know what the experience of certain feminine elements you’re not familiar with is going to do or how it might be different from sex you’ve had before. Maybe you might be bad at it. Maybe it might not be something you like.

For example, one time I got to inaugurate the first time someone had done it with someone who was wearing fishnets. There was some fumbling but it was incredibly hot. I think that’s true for any kind of new sexual experience. I, personally, intend to continue having new and hot sexual experiences well into my golden years. With new and hot things I don’t understand in my present erotic consciousness and new and hot people.* It’s also really exciting and fun to tell the person you’re with that you’re new to something. Perhaps instead of being intimidated by Femme, you confess to your potential new lover “I’ve never done this before.” People love to be the Marco Polo of sex and turn you out. I always give out sexual first time/best time awards when they are earned. Honestly, if I found the right boy scout I’d actually create patches.

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Also doing something for the first time, while fumbly, might just tell you something is not your thing and that’s cool, too. So maybe that’s desire that comes out of trying something that’s not for you.

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And maybe it’s the person who you don’t want to explore with. But if it’s the person just say “I’m not into you like that” or “I’m not feeling chemistry with you” or something along those lines.

But maybe before you say it’s the person interrogate your desire for a second. Are you balking because of them or because you’re feeling intimidated by a new desire? Or feeling some internalized shame for being attracted to femininity and you have some internalized misogyny to work out?

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For every Femme who wears fishnets and heels there are just as many Femmes who wear sneakers and jeans. And also! Also! Femmes who wear fishnets sometimes also are the Femmes who wear sneakers and jeans. For me I feel Femme all the time, no matter what I’m wearing and maybe sometimes people aren’t Femme identified in their sneakers and that’s cool for them. But I think that all permutations of Femme or not-Femme right this second all desireable and can be desireable.

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So, can desires change? Can folks who have never really found Femme attractive or maybe find a Femme attractive in spite of never being attracted to Femmes before shift their desires or get over the shock enough to pursue it?

I was really compelled by this quote by the late Mark Aguhar.

is desire an unacceptable weapon because so many people refuse to believe desire can be controlled

What Mark said popped into my mind a bunch of times while I’ve been pondering this post the last couple of months. I think this can mean a lot of things but here I find it resonates that desire can be directed. Maybe your fear and intimidation by something new is hard to wrap your head around?

Cherry Poppins, a friend from the Bay Area, came to town not long ago and she told me that when faced with a dearth of tops in her town decided to abandon her bottoming only lifestyle and learn how to top in order to get laid. She said she shifted her desire in order to expand her dating pool and it worked. She believes very strongly that desires can change.

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For me, when I examined my internalized fatphobia and began the journey to loving myself and loving fat bodies, I became very attracted to fat people. They were my primary interest for a long time, for a sense of personal safety and kinship. Now my desire is much more body diverse since I can look on a fat person and find them attractive because I am not plagued by my own internalized shame triggered by seeing another fat person.

And I think there’s a lot to plain old chemistry. As someone who has gotten a lot more selective about who I am attracted to (and how much bullshit I will put up with), chemistry can be really hard to find. I don’t want to squander opportunities for hotness with someone because they are triggering something in me that is bringing up shame. I want to work through that and get to a place of hotness.

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There is an undeniable amount of masculine desirability privilege in queer communities. It’s far more socially acceptable in most circles to go after a masculine of center person or a genderqueer person than a Femme. My roommate Damien Luxe is quick to point out this is misogyny and femmephobia at work.

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I wonder if we, as a community and as individuals, start to interrogate our desires and work to unlearn our ableisms/racisms/sizisms/homophobia/misogyny/femmephobia/ageism (etc…) if desire will change? I think it can.

I also think we can be more intentional and mindful with each other in the ways we express our chemistry and desire. I know it would sting a lot less and feel a lot better if folks said something that sounded like they gave a rejection more thought than the same old line of “I’m not interested in Femmes.” It just sounds like a punishment for an identity that is perceived as mutable but for many of us it is absolutely not.**

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Gay Narwhal is not mutable.

*Monogamies permitting, etc…
**Let’s talk about this at FEMME CONFERENCE 2012! Clickie for more information on the conference, August 17-20, 2012 in Baltimore! I’m performing Saturday night and I would love to meet all of my blog readers who are in attendance!!

2012-07-31

Brooklyn Queer Dance Party Magic Times August 16th

Hi pals! Only 16 days until the next Rebel Cupcake. And yes, I’m going into the woods and off the grid mostly for two weeks and, yes, I will be arriving home the same day as Rebel Cupcake. I am dedicated and excited.

This month I’m doing a theme based on my favorite artist of all times, Lucinda Williams. She’s not dance party per se (or at all) but I love her song Lonely Girls. “Sparkly rhinestones/pretty dresses/fancy hairdos worn by lonely girls.” I just imagine these gorgeous feminine archetypes sitting at the bar and being approached by cowboys or other lonely girls. And we all know cowboys are frequently fond of each other. So it’s a big ol’ queer free for all and it is going to be gorgeous!

Also Bird La Bird is stopping by Rebel Cupcake from LONDON on her way to the FEMME CONFERENCE. She is an extraordinary performance artist and I’m really honored to have her.

My bestie and fellow lonely girl, Taylor Black, is going to sing some sad and beautiful songs live on stage. I am going to wear something sparkly. Come to Rebel Cupcake! Last month I got at least a few folks new make-outs. I really enjoy the chance to be a meta-matchmaker by hosting an event and encouraging a friendly, charming environment with free cupcakes. xoxoxo

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake 28: Lonely Girls
10PM-2AM Dancing; show 11ish * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
Late night dancing til 4a
Sugarland: 221 N 9th St @ Roebling, Brooklyn, NY
(3 blocks from the Bedford L subway stop)

Rebel Cupcake: a flamboyant dance party for all shapes & flavors! WINNER of Go Magazine Awards for Best Emcee (Bevin) and Most Eclectic Crowd!

Performers:
*Bird La Bird
From London, England, an amazing Femme feminist performance artist.
[http://duckie.co.uk/artist.php?id=50]

*Taylor Black
Haunting troubadour and troublemaker.

*& More!

*Sugarland DJ Bryan Black spins slow jams & riot grrrl favs to get you going, dance beats all night to keep you moving at a house party level–perfect for dancing and mingling! The dance theme this month is LONELY GIRLS which means at least 3 indulgent slow dances during the evening. Sway with a friend, ask a stranger to dance, we’re celebrating loneliness and the coming together of strangers in bars.

*Kelsey Dickey is our new photographer and excited to decorate your facebook page with antics from our wild photo booth!

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

Suggested dress: Pretty dresses, sparkly rhinestones, fancy hairdos for lonely girls. Cowboy/bois. Inspiration from Miss Lucinda Williams. http://youtu.be/TxZ_43VsD6o

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

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

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

2012-06-11

Femme Solidarity Workshop at the Philly Trans Health Conference

As you may know, I have two nieces (by heart, not by genetics) who live in Philadelphia and I pretty much jump at the opportunity to go visit. Ideally I see them every couple of months but that is with varying success. I saw an opening in my calendar and decided to re-learn how to take public transit to Philly with a shih tzu now that I am living a car-free lifestyle.

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Time for sniffing baby heads is important in the life of an Aunt.

As luck would have it, a pal was driving to Philly and offered me a ride, the babies were at a party until the evening time so I had an afternoon available and could go with my pal to the Philly Trans Health Conference.

I went to the conference once before, in the early aughts (maybe 2003 or 2004), when it was tiny at the William Way LGBT Community Center and my drag king troupe (including the parents of the aforementioned nieces who were still long from becoming parents) was asked to perform as the evening entertainment in the sweaty lobby of the Center. In my mind the conference always looks that tiny, even as I’ve heard about it for years and how it has gotten more noteworthy. Even up in NYC there is typically post-conference hubub about the ubiquitous, often problematic Femme workshop and top surgery show and tells.

The conference has gotten really huge, it’s at the Philadelphia Convention Center. It’s also free, which makes it an amazing resource for trans folks, allies and healthcare providers. As my pal’s car of eager Brooklynites got closer to Philly and we went through the available workshops in the Saturday afternoon line-up (easily 8-10 workshops in each slot) we got really pumped and made a plan.

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Macy basically insisted on riding in Hadley’s lap.

It was sort of awesome to drive around looking for parking, seeing people we knew through the windows of the lobby (let us never forget how small our communities are) and various costumed superheros from the Wizard Con happening upstairs from the PTHC. We rolled in and quickly abandoned plans for the first workshop block as there were so many folks to catch-up with along the vendor roll.

I was really excited to learn about the Hearts on a Wire collective. They provide community support inside and outside of prison to incarcerated gender variant folks. Here’s a report they did on prison experiences for trans and gender variant folks. Did you know that glitter isn’t allowed in prison? Did you know that inmates held in women’s facilities are allowed some make-up and crafts and that inmates in men’s facilities are not allowed those items? There is a petition to change that! Imagine how a little clickie clickie action YOU can do RIGHT NOW could change the experience of an incarcerated person! Go ahead and sign the petition, I’ll wait right here.

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I forgot my camera for the conference so here’s some extra baby pictures.

I saw a bunch of other people at the conference, including meeting many blog readers! Thanks for saying hello!

I was excited to make it to one of the Femme workshops! That’s right, “one” of! There was a whole track of Femme workshops, so it wasn’t limited to just one.

The workshop I went to was called “Femme Solidarity” and facilitated by Almah LaVonn Rice, Jac Stringer and Katie Spencer. The facilitators created a framework for the discussion with a lot of safer space ground rules and a few ideas for topics, but mainly it was a space they created for Femme identified folks at the conference to, at this late moment in the conference, to discuss their experience and what was on their minds as Femme folks in that space.* I liked that the facilitators created a “stack”, where workshop participants could raise their hand and be added to the “stack” of names to be called on and then not worry about keeping their hand in the air. The conversation ends up a little disjointed but it does seem to flow and then more folks have a chance to talk, rather than just the pushy folks.

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Etta Pearl is learning how to snarl like the baby Femme she is.

I live tweeted the workshop and got quotes as best as I could truncate while things popped around the room. Ultimately, I really enjoyed that the discussion centered around addressing misogyny in queer spaces and how that affects spaces like the PTHC where femininity can be drowned out by a “dudely” privileging of masculinity. I thought it was a good conversation to have and in a free-form workshop like the one we were in, even though it didn’t really address Femme solidarity directly.

Here are my tweets:

Jac has a great pronoun policy. If you know pronoun use it, if you don’t, don’t use them or use general “they.”

“How do we validate each person’s experience with femme and acknowledge our own.”

“How do we merge femme dyke space and femmme fag space and cross gender binaries?”

“It is the responsibility of people in the club space to find the gaps and reach out to other folks.”

“In the past femme workshops @ #pthc2012 have been the white cis partners of transmen that ignored/marginalized experience of transfemmes.”

“The femme workshops have shifted. More inclusive. Has to do with leadership of workshop.”

Femme ally says “Conference is feeling very “dudely.””

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“Queer community can reinforce the same exclusions within itself of the heterosexual world.” It happens at this conference.

“These conversations mean there is misogyny in these spaces. Misogyny is hatred of anything not men.”

“Definition of misogyny arguably defined as oppression and depression of folks who aren’t ideal man. Affects everyone.”

“One of the hardest things of being a femme is the stigma about submission & obedience.”

“I have the opposite experience. Folks I know see femme as aggressive.”

“A lot of people have an extreme connotation with misogyny. The word has a strange stigma. Everyday things are sexism.”

“Worth remembering that misogyny can happen to anyone and can come from anyone. About perception of things femaleness/feminine.”

“Interrogation about lookism in Femme. Commodifying ourselves is violent.”

“Femmes trying to be seen as really tough feels like it is reinforcing stereotype that femme is weak.”

“Femininity in society is so manipulative. Changing femmeness in diff spaces.”

“How can we take on misogyny in femme space and sep from femme identity?”

“No one size fits all gender narrative @ #pthc2012. If this is going to be a coalition it needs to recognize there is dissent.”

“A lot of transsexual women do support the binary gender but don’t necc support gender non conforming folks.”

“Confronting the not femme enough stigmatizing in femme communities online.”

(At some point in here I pulled out the Amber Hollibaugh book I am re-reading and quoted about unlearning her internalized misogyny in order to come out and make community with lesbians–interesting that this is a process that was going on in the 70s and here we are 40 years later dealing with misogyny still.)

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We took a trip to Giovanni’s Room, one of my favorite gay bookstores. Referenced a lot in Kate Bornstein’s memoir.

“Trauma spreads. It is important to do our self care & release it.”

“Socializing (talking & working through socially) is healing & can help us work through our oppressions.”

“Important to decenter femme identity from the stuff we deal with because of being femme. Femme is a beautiful thing to move toward.”

“Aspects of femininity are powerful they hate & fight what is powerful. To me femme is acknowledged power.” @damienluxe

“We want to hear what inclusion feels like to you. We have an opportunity to build that together.”

So those are the tweets! It was an interesting discussion I was glad we had. What it really did was get me totally pumped for the Femme Conference happening August 17-19 in Baltimore! This year for the Femme Conference I declined to submit a workshop or do a panel or do anything other than one performance slot. I figured I could focus on one thing instead of spreading myself thin like I have done previously. I want to just enjoy the conference.

The Femme Conference is only $80 (and there is a discount if you sign up with five other people) and there is a hotel deal for $99 a night for 4 occupancy (meaning $25 a night sharing a room with folks). I hope you are able to make it! I’ve been to the Femme Conference twice, in 2008 and 2010. Both times it was extremely worth it and the 2008 one completely changed my life in some pretty big ways.

If money is an issue and budgets are tight, there are scholarships (applications due June 20) AND a rideshare/housingshare forum on the Femme2012 website!

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The fact that Etta Pearl sought out that Miss Piggy doll when I suggested it above all the other possible Build-A-Bears was heartwarming. Especially because that doll is actually a puppet. I’ll be real, I LOVE stuffed animals and I LOVE accessories and my first Build-A-Bear experience was magical beyond belief.

*At this point the conference was winding down, even though I had just gotten there. In some ways it felt awesome to have fresh conference energy. I totally know the feeling of being fried at the end of an experience like that.

2010-07-26

The Femme Conference is Only a Month Away!!!

Filed under: Events and Announcements — Tags: , — Bevin @ 7:00 pm

I’m performing on Friday night at the Femme Conference (Femmeceeing the Risque Cabaret and debuting my new to me black and white latex boa, a gift from a former life of my Butch Ironworker Roommate)! Come see and check out the amazing schedule of events. It’s going to be transformative! For more info on what the Femme Conference is like, check out Episode 5 and 5.5 of FemmeCast.

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Below is from Damien:

Dear Femmes, Friends and Allies:

Femme2010: No Restrictions, the Femme Collective’s third Conference, is less than a month away!!!

First, we’re so pleased to have confirmed another Keynote speaker! Moki Macías is a queer femme organizer and community planner in Atlanta, Georgia. Among many other accomplishments, she is the co-founder of BLOCS — Building Locally to Organize for Community Safety — a grassroots organization dedicated to building the leadership and power of those most affected by Atlanta’s police and prison system by fighting for police accountability and developing effective strategies to create just and peaceful communities.

Of course, our other Keynote is gender warrior and heroine Kate Bornstein. Ze is the author of several books, including “Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives To Suicide For Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws,” “Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us,” and “My Gender Workbook.”

Second, the registration deadline for regular registration rates has been extended through July 31. Registration is only $75 and includes two nights’ entertainment, three days of programming, a film festival, art show and vendor market. Also, our discounted hotel group rate of $109/night expires on the 31st, too – so book rooms now!

Last – if you’re in Oakland, get yourself to WETbar – Femme Conference Fundraiser at Bench and Bar [510 17th Street, Oakland] on August 1st.

Performance and arts are highlighted at Femme2010 – we’re featuring Rosie Lugosi, an award-winning high femme performance artist from the UK, and Alotta Boutté, the Bay Area’s own songstress and burlesque artist extraordinaire, who will be joined by more than two dozen other exciting performers from all over the continent, with talents from spoken word and live music to steamy burlesque and drag. Visual artists will be highlighted during the conference art show, there is a film and video festival, and vendors from a variety of local and national businesses will be selling their work throughout the weekend.

We have more than forty workshops, and the entire schedule of events is up at our website — where you can also check out our FiftyFemme Countdown to the conference and read our blog: www.femmecollective.com.

Though it is more cost-effective to buy your registration in advance we will still be selling tickets at the door and to individual evening events and keynote speeches, so if you can make it work last-minute we would love to see you!!

Forward this far and wide, and we love you and all the work you do every day for femmes.

xo,
Damien Luxe, of the Femme Collective Media Committee – femmecollective.com | facebook:
blog femmetech.org | art axondluxe.com | work heelsonwheelsdesign.com

2010-03-04

Femme Conference Date Set for August 20-22! Call for Submissions!

I’m on the media committee for this year’s Femme Conference (save the date! August 20-22, 20FEMME, Oakland, CA) and that means I’m updating the Femme Collective Twitter! You know it’s going to be magic up in there! I’m starting the Tweet Down today!

Follow us: http://www.twitter.com/femmecollective

Femme2010: No Restrictions

Femme Logo

Femme Collective presents
FEMME2010: 
NO RESTRICTIONS

August 19th-22nd
Oakland, CA

Hello Fabulous Femmes and Allies!

The Femme Collective is proud to announce Femme2010: NO RESTRICTIONS.  Building off of Femme2006 and Femme2008, Femme2010: No Restrictions

(August 20-22, 2010 in Oakland, CA) continues to explore, discuss,

dissect, and support Queer Femme. The weekend will include workshops,

panels, presentations, performances, film, and art. We invite people of

all genders who are interested in a deeper understanding of Femme, as

well as all self-identified Femmes who want to learn, teach, connect,

and build community geared towards social change.

In this newsletter meet our new steering committee members, check out our Call for Submissions, learn about our registration rates, check out our host hotel!

Join

us this August in Oakland for this groundbreaking event.  Please

forward to your personal networks and help us get the word out!

The Femme Collective

STEERING COMMITTEE

To find out more about your 2010 steering committee click here!

 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Call for Workshops, Papers, Panels, Films, Performance and Visual Art

Femme2010: No Restrictions
Oakland Marriott City Center
1001 Broadway
Oakland, California 94607
August 19th – 22nd, 2010
www.femmecollective.com 

Femme2010: No Restrictions

is a multi-threaded conference and forum for those who think about,

talk about, and create Femme as a queer gender and identity.

Following

our Femme2006 & 2008 conferences in San Francisco & Chicago,

where hundreds of femmes and allies gathered for workshops, panels,

films, visual art galleries and performances, we again invite community

members, artists, academics, homemakers, geeks, techies, activists,

femmes of all kinds, and their allies to continue the conversation by

participating in Femme 2010 as presenters and participants.

We

are invested in having Femme2010 continue to reflect the diversity and

complexity of femme gender, identity and contributions. We hope for

this conference to be a community building event, as well as an exploration and celebration of what it means to build and live queer femme identities.

Submissions

of all kinds are welcome, particularly submissions by femmes. We

encourage proposals by and for people of color, working-class people,

fat folks, elders, youth and people with disabilities. We encourage

submissions that work outside and alongside identity and gender, as

well as those reflecting directly upon identity and gender. Femme2010

will continue the community dialogue from Femme2006 & 08. In

particular, we hope that the intersections of femme with race, region,

class, access, ability, privilege, and marginalization will be talked

about, given space, meditated upon, constructed, and deconstructed.

Finally, we also encourage submissions based on this year’s theme: No

Restrictions.

We began this conference in 2006 out of a desire

to see femme explored and discussed from a variety of perspectives. We

wanted a conference that held the complexities of Queer Femme as its

central focus, while building community. We feel we accomplished that

in 2006 & 2008 and in 2010, we want to continue to build femme

community and bridges, supporting each other across borders and

differences.

We hope to draw participants from across

disciplinary, medium, and social boundaries. We encourage submissions

from anyone interested, regardless of gender or sexual identity. We do

ask that you read our mission statement before submitting.

We are soliciting contributions from anyone interested, including (but not limited to):

> workshops
> panel presentations
> performances
> research presentations
> skill shares
> activist & organizational topics
> visual art
> video or film

Submission deadline is April 15, 2010.

Please submit your proposal through the following links, located at www.femmecollective.com:

Program Submission click here

Performance Submission click here

Film Submission click here

**Please note that the more information we have on your submission,

the more likely we will be able to accept your submission and include

it in the conference schedule.

To learn more about us, our

mission and to contact us with any questions, comments or concerns,

please find us at our website: http://www.femmecollective.com

REGISTRATION OPEN


Registration

is now open!

Register early to save – registration for the entire

weekend is $50 right now, $75 after May 15, and $95 after July 15.   Registration includes all day and evening events.

HOTEL INFORMATION


Femme 2010: NO RESTRICTIONS
Host Hotel
Oakland’s Marriott City Center
1001 Broakway
Oakland, CA 94607
August 20-22, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT INFORMATION

Address

all inquiries and media requests to: Damien Luxe and/or Allison Stelly,

Media Chairs, at femmecollectivemedia at gmail dot com. Your request will then

be forwarded to the appropriate steering committee member for more

information. Additional information is also available at

www.femmecollective.com.

  VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

The Femme Collective is actively seeking volunteers to help us with this year’s conference.  Volunteers get a reduced registration rate for the conference.  If you are interested in volunteering please click here and fill out the form.


Safe Unsubscribe

This email was sent to christine.delarosa@yahoo.com by christine.delarosa@yahoo.com.

2009-08-14

Interview: Butch Voices Conference

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

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

1. As the founder of the Butch Voices Conference, tell me about founding the conference–what was your inspiration and how did you get it going?
Joe3
Joe LeBlanc: When I attended the Femme Conference in San Francisco in 2006, I thoroughly enjoyed the space there. And it wasn’t even my identity being celebrated. That conference really got my mind going about gender and sexuality. I thought to myself how great it would be to have space like that for Butches. At the time I was just beginning to get interested in gender discussions, and becoming more active in the queer community. I didn’t know any other Butches who wanted to create that space and have the in depth discussions about identity and beyond. After attending a few transgender conferences, and presenting at a couple of conferences myself (Femme 2008 and Borders and Bridges 2008), I began to make some great connections with more people who were doing the work in various areas, and even with some who were Butch and transmasculine identified.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. What do you hope people will get out of the Butch Voices conference?
q2
Q Ragsdale (BV Outreach/Media Chair): I hope that conference attendees will leave with a broader perspective of our community, understanding that though we are all very similar, at the same time, we are so diverse and that all the flavors of Stud, Butch, AG, Tomboi and transmasculine identities should be united through celebration. It is not easy being who we are and I also want people to leave knowing that there is an overwhelming amount of us in this world. There should always be an ear to listen, a hand to extend to another, or a shoulder to lean on because none of us are alone.

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

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

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

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

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

2009-07-14

Update about the Femme Conference

Filed under: Events and Announcements — Tags: , , , , — Bevin @ 12:25 pm

From Conference Chair Christine De La Rosa… Please consider donating or hosting a pass the hat $10 a plate event or whatever in your town! The Femme Conference changed so many of our lives, including mine! That’s where I met Leah and many many other Femmes.

If you are wondering what the Femme Conference is all about, I did TWO episodes about it on FemmeCast, Episode 5 and 5.5 are all about the conference.

And I hope to see you all in Atlanta in 2010!

Hello all you fabulous Femmes and allies!

Your Femme Steering Committee hopes that you are having a wonderful year. As you may have guessed it is about time for us to start gearing up for 2010. We are very excited about Femme2010 and hope you are too! For those of you who were with us in 2008, you know that we ran at a $3995.07 deficit. We have managed, through generous donations from Femme Conference supporters, to raise $1606.45 to offset the deficit, but we are still short $2388.62. You can check out the financials page for 2008 here.

http://www.femmecollective.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1:2008-financials&catid=4:femme2008&Itemid=6

While we are excited about planning for 2010, we, as a collective feel it is important to bring the Femme Conference out of the deficit first. This is where you can help us. Please consider making a donation of whatever you can via our Paypal donate button located here.

http://www.femmecollective.com

Additionally if you are interested in hosting a fundraising event for the Femme Conference, just let us know so we can figure out the logistics and help you with it! Any overage that we have from this first round of fundraising will go directly towards the production of the 2010 Femme Conference.

Thank you in advance for your support. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Femme Collective Steering Committee

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