Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2009-10-15

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Doing it and Doing it Well

Damien Luxe brought me the following two terms after her trip touring the Femmes Fight Back Installation* 10,000 miles in August and September.

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Laycation: A Laycation is a vacation or staycation (where you don’t leave your town or home) with a lover where the intent or the result is that you do it the whole time. A vacation to get laid. Or a “we’re so broke we can’t do anything and we’re long distance so we’re just going to lay around and do it when she comes to town” sort of adventure. I love the idea of a Laycation, especially considering how in the queer community often our lovers need to be imported from other places to keep things fresh and ethical.

“Sorry to miss your party, my long distance romance Shawna is only in town for three days–we’re going to be on laycation the whole time.”

Web 3.0: Damien used this term to describe being in person with people–making actual community connections instead of remaining plugged into the social networking media websites (also known as Web 2.0). I have been using the term Web 3.0 to talk about the ways in which Web 2.0 actually enhances real life experience. Like a queer dance party that is announced and networked entirely on Facebook but brings people together. Or those twittering experiences where you’re able to increase your understanding of an event as it is happening.

At the Gossip concert the other night I was getting tweets on my smart phone from the people in my entourage around me (since I couldn’t hear their reactions because we were in a crush of hipster bearded boys), communicating en masse to our friends who were trying to find us in the sea of aforementioned hipster boys, as well as seeing the tweets of JD Samson of MEN (one of the opening acts) from backstage. I think there’s something to that information that adds nuance to an in person situation just so long as you’re not glued to your iphone during the entire experience.

The following term was brought to me by Ally Picard of Bloodhound Photography, who held a copy of the Lesbian Lexicon in her hot little hands.

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According to the Lesbian Lexicon, (and I summarize because it is sadly sold out so I don’t have a copy of my own) the term Bangover describes the sore muscles one has after a night of banging. Seriously, there are certain ass muscles one only feels the day after sex. Or a sore arm. Or a sore whatever kind of body part because of the position/place you all were doing it.

I love it! Allow your Web 3.0 experience to coordinate a laycation, but be sure to nurse that bangover with some advil and gatorade!

These photos were part of the animal print photo shoot conceived of by Damien and photographed by Ally. It was so much fun!

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That’s my dog, Macy, wearing zebra print and doing her best stuffed animal impression.

*It’s really cathartic and powerful–she’s trying to tour it around the East Coast in late Fall, bring her to your town!

2009-10-07

Allow me to be the Julie McCoy of your Queer Love Boat

Darlings! Queer Fat Femme land is about to erupt in sequins and glitter!

This weekend is a really huge weekend for me. First up is Zombie Queer Cabaret!
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It’s going to be full of hotties and I am a big matchmaker from the stage. Could your queer love boat involve a glittery smooch with some Zombie Femme Cupcakes prepared by Amanda, our Madam of Country Glam, and the rest of the Femme Family?

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I’m also very excited to have Lorelei Lee (I fell for her work at the Sex Worker’s Art Show in 2008) and special guest burlesque from North Carolina, Ms. Mary Wanna.
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I do have a thing for bombshell red heads.

The dance party will also be killer–DJ Shomi Noise is one of my favorite local djs.

Then Sunday night I am competing in the Miss Lez pageant.

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I don’t want to give anything away about my platform, but it’s very me and very exciting. The performers I know who are contestants are also really phenomenal. It’s going to be a fun show. Buy pre-sale tickets on sale now!

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Also, if you find yourself up for an adventure out west, you can still buy tickets to and attend the functions at the butch-femme.com bash this weekend. The site is completely not for profit and the weekend is what keeps the site running (along with member donations). I did a great interview with Christine De La Rosa about it for FemmeCast, but unfortunately my computer got a virus and is now on lock down. Until that gets fixed, you’ll need to take my word for it!

2009-09-22

Making My Pageant Dreams a Reality

First thing’s first. October 10 I am making my halloween party dreams a reality with this Zombie Queer Cabaret!! I have wanted to have a big queer bar halloween extravaganza for a long time, so it’s happening in NYC at Stonewall, in much the same format as the Femme Family Coming Out Party.

I called it Zombie Queer Cabaret & Spooky Dance Party because it was a little too early for it to be a for real for real halloween party. And Zombies are so hot right now. You should bust out your favorite costume and come party the night away with a great Femme line-up of performers!!

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I’m reading the second book for Femme Book Club (entry about the first book coming soon) and I am resonating so much with Amber Hollibaugh’s My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home that sometimes I have to put down the book because I am flinching. Sometimes it cuts close to the quick, seeing your own feelings in print like that.

Thinking about my desires and what I dreamed about when I was in high school… a lot of it was pretty simple stuff. I wanted love. I hated myself so much I couldn’t even recognize how much I hated myself. I wanted so desperately to fit in and feel comfortable with my body. I wanted access to all of the cheesy girl stuff like the cheerleading squad, dance team and running for homecoming queen. (Being perky, loud and wearing matching outfits? That is still my thing.)

I didn’t feel like I was allowed access to even try out for any of those things, since I believed what everyone told me about my size–that I wasn’t beautiful and had to rely on my personality and smarts.

I also really loved beauty pageants. I have always had a thing for them. I like watching people perform, I like sparkly outfits, I like good hair and ritual. As a feminist my love for these things is always tempered with critique of mainstream standards of beauty and I love it when they are usurped in some way. I get very excited when a fat girl is on Tyra’s model show, for example.

I feel funny about people competing for something really shallow, like appearance, and for me it’s not really about who wins (though I love when they cry) as the pageantry itself. Flamboyance for the sake of flamboyance.

I never saw myself included in those shows. For one, I’m not a natural blonde, for two in my wildest dreams I couldn’t be (and wouldn’t be) a size 2. Even the plus size pageants they have (and I’ve seen them) are just not the right place for me to live out my pageant dreams.

A few years ago my friend Glenn Marla won the Miss Lez Pageant and it changed my view on pageants forever. Best described here, in the words of the pageant’s founder, Mr. Showbiz himself, Murray Hill:

THE MISS LEZ PAGEANT is a wildly provocative, insane, jaw-dropping alternative beauty pageant for queer womyn that blows the lid off of “gender representation” and shines the spotlight on New York’s underground queer scene. Six contestants chosen from thousands of applicants will be competing against each other in the following categories: PLATFORM, SWIMSUIT, EVENING GOWN, INTERVIEW, and TALENT. There are no rules and the outcome is always worth the price of admission.

Y’all, it’s the emphasis on the pageantry and flamboyance I have always yearned for. For years I’ve been wanting to be a contestant. This year my dream has come true! I found out yesterday that I will represent Fatshionistas everywhere as Miss Re/Dress!

My BFF Brian was prepping me for the contest by firing interview questions at me over lunch today. “Bevin,” he said to me with an intensity only the gay boy BFF of a pageant wannabe can muster, “I can’t let you pull a Carrie Prejean* in this contest and ruin our–I mean your–chances at winning this.”

One of my favorite movies of all time is Drop Dead Gorgeous. I’m watching it obsessively to get tips.** Of course, I’m really just excited to get to compete, especially given the caliber of the other contestants (and my friend Sarah Jenny is also a contestant).

It’s Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Brooklyn. All the details are here. I hope I can count on your support of my bid, near or far.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_USA_2009_controversy
**Mary, the reigning Mt. Rose American Teen Princess says “With one week to go before the pageant, I was finishing my outfit, rehearsing my talent, brushing up on current events, and running 18 miles a day on about 400 calories. I was ready.” I am preparing by doing all of that, but sub in doing yoga and eating bacon for the running and anorexia.

2009-09-02

Videos from Summer Two Thousand and Fine!

First! I am super proud to announce Saturday, October 10, 2009 I am producing a Zombie Queer Cabaret & Spooky Dance Party in NYC! At the Stonewall Inn. All details at the calendar page. Right now I’m booking the show and I assure you it is killer! Costumes of any kind are encouraged but not required. Make travel plans now!!

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When I am facilitating a meeting, I’m a big fan of the “go around”. Tell us your name and stuff like pronoun, identities, and always a wacky question. It’s a good ice breaker, makes sure we’re all on the same page, helps get people closer, sparks convo outside of the meeting. At all Femme Family meetings (where all of us are self-identified Femmes) I ask what the Femmest thing* they’ve done today is as well as a highlight of what’s going on in their lives.

At least night’s Femme Book Club my question was “What was the highlight of your summer.” Mine was three fold. NYC Pride Weekend with the Femme Family. The Femmes of Power Book Launch with the Femme Mafia in Atlanta. And Michfest. Interestingly, in the past two days I have discovered videos published that feature my first two highlights!

I’m especially fond of this one by Maria Rivers of Labrys Magazine in Atlanta.

What I love most about it is that my outfit translates better in video than photo. That crinoline really floofs!

Today I was on the newly redesigned Velvet Park Media reading this blog post about the Butch Voices Conference.** It was with great delight I found Grace Moon’s video about the Dyke March. Best part is Rachel, our Femme Family Madam of Mystery*** talking about Femme Family and then in the next scene Grace is trying to do an interview and it is completely overwhelmed by the shouting of Femme Family and the Femme Sharks. Ferocious!

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Our Femme Family theme dress was “feathers” because our logo has wings. Loved how everyone did something different! You can’t see it but Sophie’s got an old fashioned hat with feathers on it.

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Femme Sharks
Femme Sharks in NYC.

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I didn’t get a good picture, but there was a whole contingent of folks doing glitter & moustaches. This is my friend Blaney.

*Generally the Femmest thing falls into one of three categories: 1. Girly stuff (Today I painted my bedroom hot pink.) 2. Strength and Bravery (Today I quit my job to focus on community work. I’ll get the money somewhere.) 3. Dating (Today I successfully navigated overlapping scheduling of dates with two of my out of town lovers who wanted to visit the same week.)
**I feel pretty complicated about the blog post, and am working up a response.
***Here’s Rachel from the Dyke March. Can you believe the first thing I noticed about her was the eyelashes, and only 10 minutes later did I realize she was actually topless?

2009-08-24

Femme Book Club!!

As I announced in Episode 9 of FemmeCast, I’m starting an online Femme Book Club (FBC). I started FBC because I am a distracted reader with a to-read list a mile long–especially books by and/or about Femmes. One of the best things about having Femme community is conversations with those Femmes. We are a smart bunch. So what better motivator–finish a book and get to discuss it with other Femmes?

It’s no secret that my friends call me the Queer Oprah (and my career goal is to have a talk show). In that vein I thought about the ways I could have a Femme Book Club and use my media outlets to bring it worldwide and get other Femmes & allies reading and talking!

Here’s how it will work–FBC has its nexus in Femme Family NYC. We’re an open and inclusive Femme organization based in New York. We’re reading one book a month, selected by a member who wants to lead a discussion. If you’re in NYC you should join us. If you’re far away or can’t, I’ll post the discussion questions here at QueerFatFemme.com. If you have a blog, write them up on your blog and I’ll post a link on the entry. If you don’t, just respond in the comments section.*

I will try to give as much lead time as possible for people to procure and read the books. Again, slow/distracted readers represent!

AUGUST FEMME BOOK CLUB SELECTION:
Dorothy Allison’s Two or Three Things I Know for Sure (get your blog posts ready around Sept 1, and ongoing). Discussion leader: Sophie, Madam of Strategy.

SEPTEMBER FEMME BOOK CLUB SELECTION:
Amber Hollibaugh’s My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (blog posts ready around Sept 29, and ongoing). Discussion leader: Damien D’Luxe, Co-Head Madam.

Our first meeting is Tuesday, September 1 at 7:15 PM at Madam X, 94 West Houston Street. Probably in the backyard if we can swing it.

The second meeting is Tuesday, September 29 at 7:15 PM. Location TBA.

One of the things I hate most about finishing a book is that it has to end! When I’ve been carrying a book around for weeks (it takes me a long time to finish a book, again, distracted reader) I get attached–but when you have a book club or people to discuss it with, you really get to relive the book. I love the ways in which discussion can also help you see other aspects about a book you didn’t see on your own.

I will get the discussion questions likely from our group leader at the FBC in-person meeting and I will add some of my own. And what I will do with FemmeCast is still being worked out. I might include some snippits from the in-person meeting (if participants are cool with it) or perhaps have some correspondents talk about their reactions to the books. I like to keep things interesting.

I sincerely hope you’ll get the books from your local feminist or LGBT or indie bookstore. If you don’t have one of those or want to/need to buy online, if you use my links in this post I get a few pennies towards production costs.

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Atlanta’s own Ms. Stewart, performing at the East Coast launch party for the book Femmes of Power. She’s also featured in the book!

*Participation in Femme Book Club is open to everyone, Femme identified and not. However, our discussion is specifically geared towards being inclusive of all races, ethnicities, class backgrounds, ages, abilities, sizes, etc… Entries should adhere to this spirit of inclusion and respect. If you have questions about this let’s talk!

2009-06-29

New Minisode of FemmeCast Now Available!!

After a brief hiatus, FemmeCast returns with a minisode all about the sweet stuff (or the not so sweet stuff we turn into a good story)!!

Host Bevin Branlandingham is joined by Femme Shark Correspondent Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, hosting live from a road trip journey earlier this Spring.

Miasia tells her favorite story of street harassment, you can find her website and book her bellydancing at Miasia.org
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Bevin relives a drunken adventure in search of an ice cream treat with FemmeCast Sexpert, Rachael, Femme Family NYC Madam of Hospitality Chris and The Gay Dr. Phil.
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Bevin and Leah discuss “cotton candy pink sugar pussy brain” and how you can make it so finding love and good sex doesn’t mean losing yourself, your friendships and values to a content and cow-like existence.

What we’re listening to:

Gravy Train!!!, “All the Sweet Stuff”

Jill Sobule, “San Francisco”

Stay tuned for our next episode, Thinking Big! or A FemmeCast Guide to Courtship, coming soon!

Subscribe via Itunes


Subscribe via RSS

Stream it live in this magic pink widget doohickey or if you have to download it and take it home, right click here and select “save link as”.

Stream it live right here, scroll down in the widget to find Episode 8.5!!

Get this widget!

2009-06-19

The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Starting a Community Group

To: Bevin
From: Someone on Myspace who lives in Idaho
Re: Question

Hi There!

Since the Femme Mafia website is under construction [It’s back up now] I thought this would be the next best place to find what I am look for. I have been reading your blog for a long time and was very impressed as always with your fabulousness and the success of Femme Pride 2009 this last week. This got me thinking about something I have been putting on the back burner for some time and that is starting a chapter of the femme mafia here in good old Boise, Idaho. Your blog post stated that Atlanta was also working as a big sister chapter to help get other chapters throughout the country get started but the link also directed to the under construction page and frankly I’m impatient lol!

A struggle I found in coming out, and recognizing my sexuality and gender identity was that in Idaho I couldn’t seem to find any lesbians who looked like me, dressed liked me, or understood the issues I was experiencing and found important to me. The social circle I run in I adopted from my partner who leans more towards a butch label and I find myself the only femme in a sea of dykes quite frequently. I KNOW THERE HAS TO BE MORE OF US OUT THERE! I was lucky enough to enter the queer blogosphere and find like minded femmes that helped me find my way and realize that just because I suffered from femme invisibility in my home town didn’t mean it had to be that way. A big motive for me is that I want to help extinguish that issue, as well as the other femme stereotypes that have been created for us here.

I guess what I was really wondering is if you could offer any advice on how to get started, a good way to find some femmes and to create an interest in forming a femme community for support, to open discussion and to hopefully create a loud sparkly place in Idaho for us.

Thanks so much for your time!

Hi [Name Omitted]! Thanks for getting in touch!

The first piece of advice I have for you is that community building only requires two or more people with a commonality, who get together to share it. So keep in mind that while you are one, as soon as you start making space for Femmes, they will join you!

I’m really happy to hear that you have found recognition of your Femmeness on the internet. It’s so hard to walk around in LGBT community and feel like you don’t belong. The first time I ever went to Michfest I felt like I was the worst lesbian ever, so alone and isolated because I didn’t know myself or have any language or touchstone to how I presented. In a sea of lesbians I felt like I looked straight. Of course, that was my own massive insecurity talking. There were lots of Femmes running around, I just didn’t know how to see them or identify with them.

The next year at Fest they started the Femme parade and it made all the difference to feeling included, represented and celebrated. Now it’s a huge, yearly event and while Femme isn’t the majority in the mainstream lesbian community, we’re certainly starting to stomp our stilettos and get noticed in lots of unlikely places.

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That’s me at this past year’s Femme Parade with Emma Riot of the Miracle Whips (an LA based a queer femme performance troupe that works to promote models of progressive femininity, to create radical erotic possibilities, and to disrupt conventional notions of sexiness).

The nice part about the internet is that it makes it easier to facilitate community building. I’m a big believer, though, in taking community offline and IRL*. There’s no replacement for the magic that happens when you see yourself (or at least parts of yourself), in person, across a brunch table, in a meeting, at a coffeeshop, wherever you gather. And making that happen, as a community leader, is a gift you give yourself and other people.

You mentioned that pride is this weekend. My suggestion is to pick a meeting place, date and time (public spaces like coffee shops work best, especially for shy newcomers who may not feel confident enough to come to someone’s home) and make a flier. Do it really DIY, on a copier, instead of doing expensive postcards. At big pride events we are inundated with flashy corporate BS** that the homemade 1/4 page copy on hot pink paper will really stand out.

Say something like “Are you interested in starting a Boise chapter of the Femme Mafia? Come to this planning meeting and meet other Femmes!” I would then include the mission statement from the Femme Mafia Atlanta***, which is what Damien and I did when we started the Femme Family in NYC. It gives people an idea of what you’re trying to do and what it can look like. I also strongly advise against using exclusively the term “femme lesbian” because Femme is so much more than that, and the Femme Mafia in particular is inclusive of bisexual, queer, lesbian, dyke, etc… femmes of all genders.

So pass out those fliers, post in craig’s list Women for Women, let other places on the internet frequented by Femmes know about it (the Butch-Femme.com buletin boards are a great spot to find people looking for community). Post it on Facebook and Myspace and have friends of friends tell people. You are absolutely right, there are lots of Femmes out there.

At the meeting, make plans for what people are interested in organizing. Group attendance at events (like drag shows or bar nights) are fabulous and easy to put together. It took us 6 months but the Femme Family did a fabulous coming out party to great effect, and we got to dress exactly as fancy as we wanted to. And our Femme Poker nights (which are Femme only events) are our smallest attended events but perhaps the most meaningful.

My favorite quote about Femme invisibility is from Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s keynote address at the 2008 Femme Conference. “Femmes aren’t invisible. People just don’t know how to look.” Your job, starting a Femme Mafia chapter, is to teach them how to look!

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What you need to know about the Femme Mafia main chapter is that right now it’s being run by Debby alone, who has to get through each chapter application. You can email her at femmemafia at gmail dot com for the application. But it will take a minute, so don’t let that stop you from starting a local Femme group in the meantime!
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Me and some of the various current and former Femme Mafia leaders, L-R Debby, Angela, Rachael, Jen and me.

*In Real Life
**Though, Absolut, Suburu, etc… if you’re reading this I would love your sponsorship for my Pink RV tour. Get in touch, femmecast at gmail dot com.
***In the words of my bestie Rachael:

“At its most basic, the Femme Mafia is a progressive, edgy organization of self-identified femmes open to all genders that seeks to foster connections between femmes, reinforce femme identity and provide members with the occasion to bask in their own fierce fabulousness and the fabulousness of others. In a larger sense, it provides us with a sense of community, a forum for the examination of our identities, of how each of us fits in the community at large and of how we femmes as a group can make a place for ourselves. The organization also does a lot to counter the many misconceptions and preconceived notions about what a femme is and what a femme does and to show none of those assumptions are true all the time. Being at a Femme Mafia event and seeing Femme reflect back at you in so many different forms can be a challenging and transformative experience. It can also be addictive. I find that Femmes are hungry for it, and so am I. For me, Femme is an umbrella under which we find solace, and not an exclusionary or restrictive predetermined formula. Femme Mafia is reinforcement, it’s challenging, it’s celebration, it’s discussion and it’s fucking fun.”

If anyone reading this is in Boise and wants to be put in touch for organizing purposes, comment here and I’ll send your info along!

2009-06-16

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Dry Spell Edition

I have the following updates to the Queer Lexicography to present unto you.

The first, courtesy of Zuleikha Mahmood, co-founder of the Femme Sharks.

Critically underbanged. It’s a great alternative to the term “dry spell” but can also be used to describe Lesbian Bed Death and any really unsatisfying sex. She used it in a craig’s list ad of all places, to request that someone help her protest her state of being. It worked, too, she totally found her recent boo from it and is now contentedly well-banged.

I think it’s also important to use this term during times in which your critically underbanged status has more to to with your own choosiness than any lack of interest. I am not going to settle or have sex with people who I am ambivalent about. It’s nice in periods of critical underbangedness to have such a colorful turn of phrase to use.

The second, courtesy of Glenn Marla, Tranny Superstar and oft-contributor to FemmeCast.

Tragic. It’s an alternative to the term depression, since being depressed is such a sad word that means inaction. When you’re depressed you’re sitting around like a lump, but tragic is an action word. So next time someone asks you how you’re doing, instead of saying “depressed” you should say you’re “tragic”. I find it’s a great way to spur me to action and making art out of my sad feelings. (In fact, Mr. Marla, together with Silas Howard and Heather Acs, put together an amazing piece of theater called “Tragic Magic” which was all about taking really horrible things in their lives and turning them into beautiful art. It’s moving and wonderful and when they go on tour through the Pac Northwest, CA, etc… this summer you need to bring your friends. Fan them on the Book.)

Of course, sometimes you give into the depression for a little while and listen to some hardcore Tracy Chapman (Smoke and Ashes anyone?) and play Bejeweled Blitz over and over again.

Trampage. Brought to you courtesy of Ms. Cherry Poppins, head whatever of the Femme Mafia ATX.

Trampage is a great word to describe sleeping your way through a town. For example, “My recent trip to Austin was a total trampage, I hooked up in a boxcar, a gay bar, an abandoned theater, my friend’s couch and in a van.” That was not my trip, I’m just using it as an example. But if anyone wants to invite a Femme to ATX sometime for some abandoned theater action, I might be up for it.

Femme Date. This one is totally just so obvious it can’t be attributed. It’s awesome to ask someone out on a Femme Date. In this context I mean it as a platonic event that is ultimately constructed as a romantic date is, but without the bumbling, attraction questions or all of the other baggage of a regular date. It’s specifically designed for Femme bonding time.

I had a lovely Femme Date with Zoe last night, because I wanted some one on one time with her to find out about her recent Toronto trip to see her sweetie and try out a new restaurant in my neighborhood. It was marvelous. And tonight I had a wonderful Femme friend of mine ask me on a Femme Date because we’d never hung out one on one. It was wonderful, we went to a wine bar nearby and had a couple of glasses and some cheese and great conversation. She was very chivalrous and ordered for me and it was quite lovely.

If you’re somewhere and know a Femme you want to get to know better, I highly recommend asking her on a Femme Date. Or if you’re just hitting a dearth of romantic action, being romanced by a friend (or romancing a friend) in this kind of sweetly platonic way, is really a wonderful way to feel special intimacy. Also, when you are having lots of romantic regular kind of dates, you should still have Femme Dates to build community and have those wonderful special bonding moments that Femmes have together.

It’s a great way to have an adventure and do those fun things you do on creative dates (pull out a guide book for your home city and find something fun you’ve never done! explore a new restaurant! split a bottle of wine and hang out in your backyard!) with the addition of a Femme bonding focus. I also suggest Butches, Genderqueers and the Trans do it, too! More buddy time!

In other news, if you’re in and around NYC for Pride (Sunday, June 28, 2009) you should march with the Femme Family!! Meet at noon at 54th Street between 5th & 6th Aves. Look for our van! RSVP and keep track of updated info at our Facebook invite! All femmes and allies invited!

2009-06-10

Femme Pride Week Recap!!

Oh my lord! What a week! Together with the other Madams of the Femme Family, we pulled off New York’s first ever Femme Pride week!

I feel so honored to be in a place and time where Femme is an identity to be celebrated and honored, and the breadth of Femme presentation is acknowledged and illustrated. I hope more and more as we do NYC Femme events that self-identified Femmes of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, fashion inclinations, backgrounds, sizes, etc… feel welcomed and want to be part of seeing the power of autonomous Femmes coming together.

Speaking of Femme was so full of light, love, power and intensity! Femme identified readers from throughout New York City and our special guest, Mira Bellweather, from Michigan, threw down once again at NYC’s feminist bookstore, Bluestockings.

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Mira’s piece on superqueeroes and superhero identities was so great I am going to record it for FemmeCast, so stay tuned.

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Felicia Luna Lemus was incredible, and you can pick up her books (that are so great!) at her website.

I did a piece I wrote about my deadbeat dad and will probably release on the podcast. I got one of the best compliments, from an artist whose work I respect and draw inspiration from, who said it was simultaneously funny and poignant and worked on both personal and broader levels. As I write more for stage, I’m trying to develop a style. Sort of a sarcastic Carrie Bradshaw with teeth and politics. I think Speaking of Femme works so well because clearly there are people who are hungry for the words and performance of Femmes as they explore their own gender/sexuality identity politics and also because Femme artists need a place where we can workshop our materials in a safe environment with other queer artists.*

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My outfit for Speaking of Femme is my favorite summer halter dress (from Re/Dress) and a bouffant/ponytail inspired by Jacqueline from the Real Housewives of NJ. And Zoe, whose dress is from Re/Dress as well.

We had some in between events that celebrated Queer identity and Fat identity, to round out Femme Pride week, which I’ll separately blog.

The other Femme Family produced event was our coming out party. We were very intentional about the elements of the evening meeting with the mission of our organization. We wanted to have it facilitate conversation and community building, so we kept the dance music at house party level instead of “Omigod I can’t hear you” bar level. We wanted to preserve our current Femme history and show the breadth and depth of Femme presentation & Femme allies present, so we had a photobooth with a professional photographer and fabulous lighting. And we wanted to have a cabaret with Femme identified performers doing work that called into the room the incredible history and legacy of the transwarriors and Femmes that came before us.

We did the show at the Historic Stonewall Inn, where the Rebellion happened 40 years ago. If you see the neighborhood now, you know how much the West Village is losing the queer rebellious element. It was nice to bring in some of the queer flash that seems to have started segregating in Brooklyn.

I put together this slideshow that includes a lot of shots from the night and some video from the performance. Since Flickr is a bit picky about longer videos, there are two more videos of different performances from the Cabaret apart from the slideshow. I have to say, I was impressed at the big turnout** and the amazing hotness of the crowd. It illustrated that Femme comes in all kinds of packaging, and I look forward to proving that again and again and again.

Be sure to watch the videos… if only I had video editing software!

The photobooth was such a fun aspect of the night. I’m pasting a couple of my favorites here, but soon they’ll all be at our website.

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Almost all of the Madams.

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Almost all of the rest of the Madams. (And we want more! Wanna organize? Jump right in! Rachel did and she was our stage manager!)

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Me and Jesse, one of the most well-dressed men I know. I interviewed him for Episode 10 of FemmeCast on courtship and butch fashion.

So if you are near NYC there is a vibrant Femme community happening right here! Community is fostered on the internet but it exists in real life!! If there’s something you want to see happen in NYC, join the Madams! If you want to have Femme community, come out!

And you can always start your own Queer Femme organization in your hometown! The Atlanta Femme Mafia exists to be the big sister chapter to help smaller chapters start! New chapters were just approved in Melbourne, Austin and someplace in the midwest!

*I’d love to create a queer femme writer’s group to workshop groups with, but you know. I do a lot of organizing and not as much working on stuff.
**The proceeds go to help the Femme Family have a “Love Your Body” themed entry into the NYC Pride Parade–so gaystream and bodyhating, generally.

2009-06-01

Femme Pride Week 2009!

femmeprideweek
Damien called this photo the perfect greeting card for Happy Pride Month*! We took it outside the fabulous queer Brooklyn dance party “That’s My Jam” (same name as that FemmeCast episode) last weekend. The glorious part of my new apartment is that it is walking distance to this magic.

If you are anywhere near NYC this weekend, you NEED to make a trip! The Femme Family has been working really hard to prepare our first ever FEMME PRIDE WEEK! As the denmother of the queerscouts I’ve put together a little itinerary to make your week super fabulous and well-organized (I am a Capricorn).

It all starts on June 3! With our second Speaking of Femme event. The first one was amazing, powerful and inspirational. We’ve got an even bigger line-up and we’re really excited!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 * New York City, NY
Speaking of Femme II

7-9PM* $5 suggested donation
Bluestockings: 172 Allen St.

Featured readers:
> Felicia Luna Lemus
> Leslie Freeman
> Heather Acs
> Judy Yu
> Najva Sol
> Mira Bellwether
> Amanda Krupman

Femmeceed by Co-Head Madams
Bevin Branlandingham [http://queerfatfemme.com]
and Damien Luxe
[http://www.axondluxe.com]

speaking_of_femme_2

Friday, June 5th there are two amazing events worthy of your attention and party hopping.

First is a reading/book party for the launch of the new book Lessons from the Fatosphere.

It’s at Re/Dress, 109 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY.
6:30-8pm shopping, mingling + book buying/signing.
8pm reading
Post reading dance party! (There are fat go-go dancers.)
Free!

At 10PM I am moving on to the going away party/benefit for Slow Jams, a former vegan current ethical butcher (!) moving to Portland and the event is produced by his girlfriend, a queer femme from the Femme Family, and Axon D’Luxe is performing (my co-head madam of the Femme Family) as well as djed by a queer femme and there are bound to be lots of hotties dancing. It’s going to be a great event with great music.

solongslowjams

Saturday, June 6, 2009 * New York City, NY
Femme Family Coming Out Party!
doors at 9:30p, show at 10p, dancing and mingling ’til 2a! $5-$10 sliding scale
The Historic Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St.

Pride kick off & coming out party for NYC’s newest queer femme + allies organization.

We’re reclaiming the space of the Stonewall Riots to celebrate and honor our Femme foremothers & transwarriors who fought for pride, justice and our right to be fabulous.

Fabulous cabaret performance, great music at a house party level perfect for dancing AND mingling (we’re being really intentional about making community & fun all at once). Signature cocktail: Glittertini! Dress: Footloose & fancy free!

www.femmefamily.com

Performers include:
Miasia, world class belly dancer! [http://www.miasia.org/]
Liza Deception, burlesque
Glenn Marla, Tranny Superstar [http://www.myspace.com/smulyan]
Heather Acs, Performance Art Wildflower
Axon D’Luxe, mixed media electrotext wordsmith [http://www.axondluxe.com/]
Bevin Branlandingham, Femmecee & Host of FemmeCast [http://queerfatfemme.com]
Maggie Crowley, The Femme Show [http://www.thefemmeshow.com]

AfroTitty & the Fierce Force go-go squad

MORE TBA!

DJ:
Shomi Noise

INTERACTIVE FEMME HISTORY PROJECT:

Bring a homemade poster and some copies providing a visual and textual history of your femme heroes to display & give away!

Sunday, June 7, 2009 * New York City, NY

Go have brunch at my newfound discovery, Cheryl’s Global Soul. Chris and I don’t know for sure if she’s “family” but she is nice to look at from a brunch table.

*I am always a really big fan of June in NYC. With the killer combo of the weather warming up, perpetual students finishing their finals and the flurry of pride festivals beginning, there’s never a dull weekend. I’m a girl who loves to travel but I rarely dream of leaving NYC during June.

2009-05-26

What’s the Fattest thing you’ve done today?

Right now I’m on Gaycation with my Bestie Rachael (The founder of Femme Mafia International and FemmeCast’s Sexpert), which basically means I get a cheap flight to Atlanta and come live down here for a few days, going to parties and living life cheaper than in the Big Apple. Plus I love the South with a great passion.

One of the nicest things about Atlanta is that socializing is fundamentally different. I find in NYC we’re all so busy and it takes so long to get from one part of one borough to another that we tend to meet one another at events and restaurants instead of loafing around in our apartments being casual and relaxed. Plus our apartments are pretty small. In Atlanta they have big houses that cost less to rent per month than my 2 bedroom apartment.

IMG_9255
Me, Rachael and our friend Angela during a dirty south bar crawl (through all the dirtiest gay bars in Atlanta).

Since I don’t have TV at my house, I binge on BS tv when I’m gaycationing with Rachael, cozied up in her king size bed. Last time I was here she introduced me to the Real Housewives of Atlanta*. This time I discovered the magic of the BBC documentary Should I Smoke Dope? It is hysterical watching this reporter get high for thirty days and try to record it for posterity. “I don’t want to eat the crisps but then I wake up and I’ve had four bags and a chocolate cake!”

Part of the joy of not watching TV regularly is not being exposed to commercials, and especially diet commercials. I have now seen this new Weight Watchers ad campaign** about Hunger as a cute fuzzy monster plush doll. It’s as though Hunger is a Muppet. He even tap dances like he’s on a vaudeville stage.

The concept of the commercials is that these women (and only women) ignore/defeat their Hunger, despite the fact that he’s hella cute and chilling in the vending machine at work. However, I think Hunger is totally awesome and I want to take him with me everywhere and make sure he gets chorizo when he needs it.

weight-watchers-commercial

I introduced the concept of the fattest thing you did all day in FemmeCast episode 3.5. In brief, last summer Glenn Marla came up with the brilliant idea that fat people (and fat allies) should start cataloging the fattest thing they do every day***. It’s a great way to train yourself to relearn fat as a good, positive and fun thing instead of the mean, crappy word it usually is. I also like to use humor to gain some power/control over oppression and it’s fun to joke about oppression with your other fat and fat ally friends.

The fattest thing I did today was try to go into a Weight Watchers (clinic? meeting space? storefront? what are they called in strip malls?) so that I could see if they had Hunger plush dolls. They did, but they weren’t open, sadly. I totally want to have one to bring with me to restaurants and take photos with, doing lots of creative things with Hunger. And also maybe have one with a squeaker inside for Macy, my Shih Tzu, to play with.

Not that I’m saying hunger is a good thing, I’m just much more likely to want to have fun with it in order to make fun of the diet industry. I think instead of trying to fight hunger, you should try listening to your body and what kind of information your hunger is giving you. And let it give you a good show when it is tap dancing.

*My favorite quote from that series is “Have you ever seen such beautiful feet on a man? I am fifty years old, have you EVER seen such beautiful feet on a man??” That series is delightful.

**I also really like the F-Word write-up about the Hunger campaign and Janeane Garafalo’s schilling WW.

***This also works with other identities. To celebrate queer femme identity, I like to have all of the Femme Family Madams do a go around before each meeting answering the question “What’s the Femmest thing you’ve done today?” Today Madam of Southern Glam, Amanda, tweeted “femmest thing i did today: use a power sander on my newly purchased antique makeup vanity.” That’s my favorite answer so far.

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