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

2013-04-19

My Time With the Heels on Wheels Glitter Road Show

Early in March I had the opportunity to attend two gigs with Heels on Wheels at a couple of colleges in the Northeast. I have known about HOW since its inception, mostly because two of my besties (Heather Acs and Damien Luxe) conceived it. Much like the Sister Spit tour, I always wonder what it would be like to “get in the van” and bring my work around. I’m lucky that part of my income comes from going to colleges to do workshops and performances, so I get a bit of that, but never in the big group. Getting to do those two gigs was a little taste of the road-trip-meets-art-adventure without ever having to forsake a shower because there were too many people and too few showers available in too little time (the greatest road show complaint I hear from everyone who goes on any tour).

Ever relentlessly documenting my life, I made a little photo essay of our trip to Hampshire College to present a workshop on confidence (Femmepowerment–from the stage to the street) and perform as the evening entertainment for the Five Colleges Queer Conference. I had a really great time and it was an honor to be in such extraordinary company for our 16 hour adventure.

We got in the van. All nine of us, Femmes, in some way or another.
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There was the HOW Production team, Heather and Damien. The HOW touring artists, DJ Shomi Noise and Lixznn Disaster. The folks on the East Coast leg of the tour (me and Kirya Traber). The photographer for the day, Nicole, and the amazing Cristy Road, catching a ride with Heels on Wheels to go to her own workshops/readings.

I'm on tour for one day. #howroadshow Cristy Road, @shominoise @kiryat Damien Luxe not pictured heather acs Nicole and Lixznn.

Our fearless driver & navigator. Lixznn disaster & Nicole ayla mules. #howroadshow

I learned early on that Lizxnn drives the van like a boss. Seriously, not at all intimidated by the size and power of that huge van, as we rolled over curbs as needed and got where we needed to go (Northampton, MA) safely.

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The van was a pretty amazing experience. Imagine how wonderful, inspirational and loud it is to be surrounded by chatty Femmes. It is the most at home I ever feel. When my too much is exactly as much as everyone else’s. We learned that all of us had been raised with working class single moms. We had a spontaneous performance art moment where those of us who had no dad were told by those who had bad dads all the things we wished we’d heard growing up.

For example:
“You’re so pretty exactly as you are.”

“Here, let me show you how to build a bookshelf.”

“I support you growing up to be a working artist.”

“I love you unconditionally, no matter what.”

(As an aside, it’s really powerful work to reparent yourself as an adult when you learn what unconditional love can look like.)

We decided we were going to perform that at “Fuck You Dad,” Damien’s annual father’s day/birthday party performance show.

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Shomi did some casual community organizing from her wifi hot spot on her phone.

As a former drag king troupe producer, I am familiar with traveling with a group of folks and creating itineraries. We were given explicit timing instructions of when we would leave and could expect to return. We knew it would be a long day. Our lunch stop ended up being a dunkin donuts in the middle of who-knows-where Massachusetts because of timing.

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They were pretty amused with us flowing in and out, getting breakfast sandwiches and using the bathrooms in turn. There was a delightful little flier on the counter.

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We also went through the workshop we were going to give that day, confirming who would do what. It was great to get to create with those amazing minds. It was also just so incredible to roll up to the various pit stops we made with this group of Femmes nine deep. Being a weirdo out in the world is pretty usual for me, but being a weirdo with other weirdos is a spectacle is empowering beyond words. That’s Femme visibility.

This is a laminated copy of the hanky code I got from an ex lover that I gave to Damien for her van warming party in 2010 and now hangs in the van. The ex lover was a Butch Virgo, if that explains the lamination and lengthiness of the code.

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There was considerably less gear than we would have had if the tour was for more than a 16 hour trip with no overnight.

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We stopped at this crazy natural foods store in Northampton (?) that had more fruit and Easter candy than I expected to see.

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After snacks we got into the conference and set up for our workshop.

I always like to give folks the option to follow us on the internet, so I created this intensely detailed situation on the white board during our workshop.

#howroadshow

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(Photo by Nicole Myles.)

At the beginning of the workshop we each told a two minute story of our journey to self confidence. I like to begin my workshops and performances at colleges telling people how glad and grateful I am to do this work. I explain that when I was in college if I had access to seeing a queer fat femme teach me about self-confidence (or, let’s be honest, just seeing a queer fat femme) it would have changed my entire life.

Accidental selfie. #howroadshow

After the workshop we made our way over to this barn where there would be the Heels on Wheels performance and a QUEER PROM.

We spent some time backstage eating dinner and getting ready. Heather and I did some yoga stretching where the financial aid office is. No doubt, where a lot of stressed out students line up every semester like I once did. I tried to invoke some healing and patience energy to those students.

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Being a performer means that the term “backstage” is a loose idea that includes kitchens, storage rooms, alleys behind bars, bathrooms, a sheet tacked up to the ceiling bisecting a part of the room that is the performance space and many, many other weird permutations.

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The merch mall. Buying merch at shows is a fabulous way to support touring artists. I’m super stoked to wear my new purple v-neck Heels on Wheels shirt.

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(I still have those Rebel Cupcake hankies, $8, and hair flowers, $5. If you want them, email me queerfatfemme at gmail.)

It’s impossible to summarize the work presented by the HOW artists that night, but here’s my attempt to give you the diaspora. Heather did her performance “This is What We Have,” about adventures, freedom, longing and stardust. Damien did her piece “Exorcise” a comedic act about a process for embodiment from trauma. It’s very empowering. Shomi did some singing and storytelling about immigrant adolescence and coming out. And Kirya did this incredible piece using Beyonce moves about growing up, gender and body hair. My piece is about what it is like to spend 34 years in a body bigger than what society deems “average,” and I think it’s a good piece for college shows because it’s very body oppression 101, personal and empowering.

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Photo by Nicole Myles.

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Photo by Nicole Myles.

After the show we hung out listening to DJ Shomi Noise DJing. We went out to the van for a brief hang out and imagined that we were sailing through the air in the van with Cristy Road’s image of the night sky floating by us.

Matteo made this bling himself! I was so excited about it.

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We arrived home at 5:30 in the morning. Getting a little lost in some giant state park and only had to stop once so someone could pee behind a car.

After our adventure to Hampshire and New Paltz, the part of the tour that was going to the West Coast (Heather, Damien, Shomi and Lizxnn) went from LA up to Vancouver and back down again. Sorry to anyone who saw me on the posters and thought I was going to be out there! I got a lot of emails from people thinking I was in town. It made me seriously consider my own tour of the West Coast. I’m happy to do it if anyone wants to help me book a couple of college gigs!

The Heels on Wheels had a rough time out there, to say the least. Read here about the trauma they experienced while in Olympia.

I can’t tell you how much love I have in my heart for all of the artists involved with Heels on Wheels. They mean so much to me personally and as a queer femme in the world.

Heels on Wheels is an amazing organization that is working-class lead, feminist and femme empowering. HOW is fundraising through Indigogo to create sustainability for the organization and to support future work by the organization. You can give for the next eight days through this link. You can also get a bunch of really sweet prizes, but contributing to Femme magic, like the road trip I just described above, is also prize enough.

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You can get this ultra-rad carabiner mug for only a $20 donation! I’m totally stoked about my forthcoming mug that can easily clip to my purse.

Here are a bunch of artists from the Brooklyn homecoming show. It’s such an honor to perform with HOW.

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Photo by Chaska Sophia.

2012-12-19

How to Stuff a Femme’s Stocking

I only intend the title of this post to be a slight double entendre. It’s not Gay Sex Week, so this post is mostly just about last-minute shopping for Femmes who have a stocking you’re either creating or participating in. I was inspired by a conversation this weekend with a friend who is stuffing a Femme stocking for the first time (first time seriously dating a Femme who celebrates Christmas/Gaywitchmas). I was spilling my guts about what it is delightful to find in that stocking and I thought it would be helpful to share with you, dear readers. And if you’re the person who wants to receive these treats, Femme or otherwise, you could always print this out and leave it lying around.

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Important and perpetual disclaimer–I subscribed to the umbrella term for self-identified Femmes. All Femmes are different and there are a million ways to be a Femme and receive gifts as Femmes. So look through this list and see what strikes your fancy about the Femme in your life. Pay attention to what they like and you won’t go very wrong.

Okay, so I think a stocking should be delightful and diverse. A hearty mix of useful, whimsical, practical and shiny things.

Make-up

I have always loved treats from Sephora. You can usually get them from the end caps near the check-out line. They have lots of great things.*

A favorite of mine is the Philosophy lip gloss. (That link is to a set but I know they sell loosies at Sephora for about $6/$8.) It tastes amazing and it’s extremely shiny. Probably if you’re kissing the Femme you’re stocking stuffing, you might want to purchase a flavor that works for you. Other flavored lip glosses work well, too, but I am a devout believer in the Philosophy ones.

Nail polish is always a winner, and totally something you can grab at the drug store when you’re scrambling last-minute. The Femme folks I know who use nail polish tend to have quite a stash and it’s always fun to add to it. You can get the NYC brand nail polishes at Target for like $3. Glitter polish is always a charmer and I would be impressed if someone dropped the $9 for an OPI Shatter. Or if you know the Femme is hella into nail art, get her a nail art set! SHANY Nail Art Set is $25.

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A cute compact mirror is also a rad neutral stocking stuffer. If you don’t know what a compact mirror is, they look like this. Sephora has them. Get the Femme a design that seems to speak to their personality. All of the compacts I’ve ever had came as gifts and I really appreciate them.

Any other tiny sample of something fabulous and chichi is nice, too. I got a great sample of mascara once from my ex-GF that I loved (also from Sephora).

Fun Jewelry

Maybe the Femme in your life is a big fan of glamping and partying in the woods. Put in the stocking some glow in the dark earrings or a battery operated light-up necklace! Both bring the party to where you are.

A cute pair of earrings or a big bracelet (make sure it will fit their arm) also make a great stocking stuffer!

Bath Products and Pampering

LUSH is where I send anyone to get things for me and I know they won’t go wrong. All of their products are handmade, not tested on animals, natural, and they smell phenomenal.

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If the Femme is a bath taker (and you’ll probably know if they are or not) Bath bombs are amazing. I’ve gotten them with glitter, confetti, fragrance, soap flowers in them. You just pop them in the bath tub and they do their magic fizzy thing and create an incredible experience. The Sex Bomb is my favorite.

(I generally steer clear of those bath sets from the drug store. Most of those products aren’t great for the skin and could be toxic to the delicate flora of the vagina if this Femme has one of those. Just some Femme real talk for you.)

Massage bars (from LUSH or elsewhere) are great! They melt right on the skin since they’re mostly cocoa butter or something similar to that.

Massage oils are also rad! My mom just gave me a couple of bottles of arnica massage oil she got when she was in Spain last Spring and it’s actually really great. I mean, it’s nice to have someone to give you a massage, but even for the Femme without that, I used it on my heel when I hurt it during a work-out, since arnica helps sore muscles. But any massage oil with some good essential oils would be rad. Mall staple The Body Shop has some, too.

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I made this ornament myself in honor of my friends’ first Christmakkuh together.

Practical Gifts

I highly suggest you tread lightly in this arena. Part of stuffing a stocking is not filling it with useless junk that your recipient is never going to use. So I know a bunch of folks who all agreed that some practical stuff is really helpful. My friend’s mom always gives her a pack of razors, deodorant, other drugstore type purchases which would save her money over the year.

As a Capricorn I appreciate a dose of practical in the context of something larger (as long as there’s still plenty of whimsy involved). If you snoop in this Femme’s medicine chest or bathroom and find out the exact moisturizer they use (I’m talking exact, take a photo of the bottle and compare at the drug store) or the exact lotion, that could be rad. Why stuff a stocking with “filler” when it can be rad and useful?

Sexy Gifts

Are you doing it with this Femme? Do you have an open sexual kind of friend relationship? Lots of sexy stocking stuffers available to you!

Panties! A lacy thing is really nice to find in the stocking. One year a partner bought me lingerie that was too small but we ended up using it for ripping off. But do try to get the sizing right. A quick peek in a lingerie drawer can answer all the questions you might have.

Cute small sex accessories! Swing by your local small feminist sex toy store, like Self Serve Toys in Albuquerque, NM and ask them for stocking stuffer ideas! A magic bullet vibrator or a butt plug might make it a really happy holiday for both of you.

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My friend Leo took off her bowtie at a Christmakkuh party this weekend and several Femmes made audible noises. It was like watching Magic Mike in person, only Leo had no idea. This is why it is good to learn how to come correct and tie a bow tie proper!

Kitchen Stuff

If the Femme you’re shopping for is kitchen-identified, a couple of clever kitchen accessories are a greast way to go. I love this owl kitchen timer from my friend Mackenzi’s store in Queens. And this Vespa Pizza Cutter!

Big Fillers

If the Femme in your life is a crafter, you could stuff the stocking with fabric samples, like big swatches of tulle or even a poofy crinoline skirt. For those of you who don’t speak Femme, this is a crinoline skirt.

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Photo by Randi. This is me and Victoria, showing our pal Clare where baby tutus come from.

You can get tulle at a fabric store. I have a stockpile of it for various craft needs at my home. Also, as a knitter, I love yarn but you should be sure you’re getting the right kind of yarn (something soft and natural fibery is a good choice) and stop by your local yarn shop or craft store to get it.

Also, body glitter or a big pile of craft glitter is never a bad idea, either.

And for whimsy, why not a coloring book with a set of crayons? Last year my BFF Brian and his BF Arnulfo got me the Cunt coloring book. It was hours of fun!

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Arnie colored that himself.

Feet Warmers

Socks (like these moustache socks!) and slippers are classic stocking stuffers! You can easily grab slippers at a small local gift shop or Target. Another great idea is a pair of tights! Tights are vaguely sized and at Target there are only like 3 sizes and you can probably guess which size the Femme falls in. I find the 1X/2X Target tights fit my 5’7″ 24W bottoms well.

I also love Avenue tights and personally don’t feel I can ever have enough textured tights in my life. But this is another lesson in paying attention which is the kind of thing that makes one a great date or good at courtship. Does the Femme wear tights in the first place? What kind do they usually wear?

And if you’re in a situation where you’re providing the stocking, you can get them at lots of places, like Target, any drug store, etc… I suggest pinning a brooch or a letter to the stocking for a personalized touch!

*My ex fiance hit the jackpot in my stocking the last Christmas we spent together when he just showed up at Sephora and said “I need stocking stuffers” and the shop girls really helped him out and everything he bought me was a winner. That was the last time I got a stocking but this year I got the cutest stocking-style Femme care package that really made me feel all glowy inside.

2012-03-15

Glitter on the Gravestone: Grief in the Age of the Internet/Remembering CallOutQueen

Last year I knew five people who passed away. A close friend of the family, friends and members of communities I was involved in. There was a lot of pain and loss for me, mitigated somewhat by a well-timed deepened spirituality that has helped me come to a place of peace from each loss much easier than my life prior to spiritual practice.

I am struggling today because someone I “knew” on the internet took their life. Mark Aguhar, who I knew as “CallOutQueen.”* How did I “know” them? I cruised their blog. I appreciated their incisive wit. I appreciated their vanity and glitter. I loved their art. The juxtaposition of “Be ugly/Know Beauty” (this is a genius meditation, if you do that sort of thing). The swish of hair back and forth. Looking dressed when wearing nothing at all. Owning a brown, fat, genderqueer, femme, fag body. Absolute Femme realness at all times. Vulnerability. Stark honesty. Cutting honesty.

CallOutQueen

I mean, I know she died, right? Like, because everyone says so. But when it happens on Tumblr, unlike on Facebook there’s no real clarifying post that says “This is what happened.” Sometimes on Facebook there’s a news article tagged with their name that pops up on a profile. Even when my ex-lover passed away I only sorta knew what happened because her best friend was dating one of my besties, it was never clear, from Facebook. With Luscious there wasn’t a news article. Just a heart broken community of queers putting it together.

So that’s what we have here with CallOutQueen. She’s gone. I was hunting through the tumblz Tuesday panning for a gleam of what happened. PrettyQueer.com and a few other outlets indicated she took her life. I mean. Who knows? I’m not even certain of the pronouns (thinking they with a leaning toward she/her, but when you only know someone through their writing in the first person you don’t always know).

I know what I feel is real sadness. For a lot of things. But so grateful she put her art out there. Expressed herself. Told her stories. Was a presence on the internet for so long before she was no longer a presence. A lot of people depart and haven’t told their stories.

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It feels weird to have this connection to someone from the internet. In this day and age, sometimes the internet is a really important place to connect. Sometimes our friends are in the computer and our community is in the tumblr or livejournal or wherever. Some of my best friends I met on blogging platforms (hey diaryland).

It reminds me about the importance of cherishing every moment and enjoying it. It reminds me that I am a presence on the internet. I was recognized on the street on my way to work Tuesday, before I found out. That’s always both weird and awesome. It made me think. what happens when I leave? What legacy do I leave?

A lot of my friends have had illnesses, knew they were leaving, and had time to get some last words out to the world. Tell us to have compassion, as was the case with V, or to take care of our health, as was the case with Heather. Some had life partners who could say things like “This is what so and so would want.” I think a lot about mortality and how fleeting life is. Treasuring every moment. Sucking the marrow of the bones of what we have, every single moment.

And here I am. I don’t have a life partner or anything. Trust that my BFF Brian has the password to my blog and will come make an update if something (Goddess forbid) happens. I want those folks out there to know what happened. Who knew me from the internet.

Also, I want you to know, if anything happens I want you to love yourself as much as possible and remember self-love is a life-long process. Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with each other.

What does Mark want us to know? How can we know? How lucky that they left so much of themselves on the internet.

One of my spiritual beliefs is that I think we are all on this earth to do a certain amount of work and we’re done when our work is done. I also believe that we recur and keep working on our higher selves. And we have souls we come back and work with. It brings me some solace to know I was affected by Mark. The swish of pretty hair. The soulful videos of full make-up and emotion. Existing as Femme and solidly as she did in a world that told her she was wrong and ugly at every turn.

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This world is temporal and cruel. This world is beautiful and possible.

I don’t have anything more profound to say except that I’m feeling it and expressing it and those are really important to me on my journey.

Rest in Power, CallOutQueen.

Here is a link to the fund to help Mark’s family with funeral expenses.

Here is a link to an article from The Qu about Mark.

*I’m certainly not the only person who calls people by their screen names in their head, even when I know their real name. I wonder how many folks who read this blog, follow my twitter or tumblr who only think of me as QueerFatFemme not Bevin?

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2012-01-24

Everyday Glitter: Everything is Coming Up Babelandingham

Oh, sweet readers, it has been a bit since I updated and my very good reason is that I have had so much intense change in this giant tidal wave of awesome. With change often comes a whole mess of work to do, but the other side of this mess of work is a big fat glittery rainbow. Also sometimes the everyday glitter is really really big pieces of sparkling confetti.

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Serpentina from the Coney Island Sideshow at the Beyond Visibility: Illuminating and Aligning Femmes in NYC Cabaret.

Glitter The First: I believe being open to possibilities means being truly open, trying new things you thought you would never do. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, that line of thinking. So, in embarking on a job hunt I was truly open to a lot of possibilities and careers. And then the sort of unbelievable happened–I was offered a job working at a boutique firm specializing in LGBT legal issues.

This was basically my dream job in law school and I never thought I would actually find a golden corral full of gay magic but I did. And I’ve been there a week and really love it. I learn new stuff every day. I am also working with some amazing folks and for a senior partner I really admire personally.

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Anyway, this is a BIG WIN for Babelandingham. I am very excited for this development in my professional life. Also the office dress code is “dapper” and I’m having some serious sartorial satisfaction in this environment.

Glitter the Second: I had spent New Year’s Day saying to my friends at this wonderful birthday party for Heather how happy and peaceful I felt even though I didn’t have a job and there was so much uncertainty in my life (this was before I got the job offer). Then the next morning, as though a joke by the Goddess, I got a call from my landlords saying they wanted to terminate our lease and we had thirty days to move out.

Now, I know my rights and they didn’t give me proper notice, so I had more than thirty days from that phone call. But I also knew I had a finite period of time to take action. I flipped out a bit, since my savings would be entirely extinguished by the cost of putting a deposit, first and last months’ rent on a new place. Not to mention the hassle of finding a new place with three (adorable and well-behaved) pets in New York City.

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And then things sorted themselves out. My friend Sarah Jenny was moving out of her place where she lived with my good friend Damien. I am able to take SJ’s room in a home I already feel very connected to and have loved so much already. SJ gave me her boxes from her move and together with boxes from Mackenzi’s store the logistics of the move have worked out pretty well. Other than the agita of packing my entire life up in an unexpected hurry, it is a really good change.

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SJ’s boxes are a great guide for what to pack next, since the contents are already on the side.

I haven’t been very good at asking for help with this process (I realized the last time I moved I had a lot more help because I was asking for it), so that’s a practice I need to get into for the unpacking and painting process.

But what an opportunity to practice leaning into change and embracing it! When I was life coaching with Lynnee Breedlove he used to tell me that the best way to deal with change was to lean into it. I could be whining about what a pain in the ass it is that my landlords are terminating our lease or whatever, but I’m able to turn this into an opportunity for a huge energy shift in my life. That’s amazing!

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It’s the apartment where I made all of my birthday wishes!

Also, as I embark on full-time office work once more, maintaining space in my life for my art is really important to me. Damien has long been a personal hub in my life for art and activism and I am really excited to make a home with her, a home which I hope fosters my creativity and helps me keep moving forward with my art. Plus the time structure of having a 9 to 5 hustle is good for my writing practice and I’m really hoping to get the first draft of my memoir finished by the end of the summer.

But in the meantime my new 60 hours a week at the office plus packing means I’m basically MIA from my social life. Soon to remedy!

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Me and my future roommate, Damien!

Glitter the Third: Rebel Cupcake was a critic’s pick in Time Out New York! We had a huge turn out on January 12th. I never believed when I was a fat, depressed and suicidal teenager that I would someday be out, proud, and an event producer hovering above the Gay and Lesbian section of a New York magazine holding a cupcake. I always thought getting skinny was going to make my dreams come true. Turns out it was embarking on the life-long process of learning to love myself that was what brought my wildest dreams to me.

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February 9th: Dance Music Sex Romance is a Prince Tribute show and on the bill is Ben Lehrman (Prince on the ukelele!), LeRoi Prince and an almost confirmed fat burlesque act I’m really excited about.

March 8th: New Wave Rebel Cupcake! With a 20 minute feature set of The World Famous *BOB* and Princess Tiny & The Meats’ homecoming show! This is going to be an incredible show!

And check out this really fun promo video for Rebel Cupcake by the awesome Laura Delarato!!

Glitter the Fourth: I’m presenting a workshop “Love For EveryBODY” at Ivy Q, a conference at Brown, on February 18th. If you’re there please stop by to say hi! Once I have more information I am going to put it all on my calendar page.

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Glitter the Fifth: I am a poster girl in the Stand 4 Kids Campaign! It’s geared to stand in solidarity with fat kids and in opposition to hate speech masquerading as health initiatives that unfairly target fat kids instead of promoting health for every kid.

Stand 4 Kids Campaign

Glitter the Sixth: At the recent Rebel Cupcake Damien surprised us with a live recording of Shit Femmes Say! An internet meme right on stage! Here’s a video of it!

So my life is crazy busy but crazy awesome. And this doesn’t even begin to encompass all the awesome happening right now. I hope your 2012 / Year of the Dragon is starting out on a winning note.

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Blog benefactor Domino Dollhouse is back for another month of blog benefacting! Tracy, the babe behind the Dollhouse, just launched a line of vintage style lingerie that I think folks who like plus size lingerie are going to drool over.

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The High Waisted Vintage Style Garter Panty is so hot! And a bargain at $39.99. I wear this style of garter belt and I find it considerably less fiddly.

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The Sweetheart Overbust Corset is something I am personally lusting over, as I totally need a new red corset as mine sadly broke. (“Need.”) $99

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Domino Dollhouse is now carrying bra and panties sets! For $14.99!

Don’t forget she also stocks tons of cute clothes and accessories!

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AND she has partnered with one of my favorite designers, Sweetooth Couture, carrying the Gumdrop Empire Waist coat in an exclusive colorway–purple! So foxy
and goes up to a 6X. $179.99 and your purchase supports two incredible independent plus size designers working to make fashion more accessible for fat folks.

The special coupon code for QueerFatFemme.com readers is still available for another month! Enter “QFF15″ (case sensitive) at check out to get 15% off your Domino Dollhouse order!

Thanks for supporting the blog, Domino Dollhouse!!

2011-05-30

Video Post: Lesbolesque!

Filed under: Events and Announcements,Video — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 9:21 pm

Darlings, if one were to name this period in my artist’s incubation (and I do feel as though this gorgeous queer Brooklyn artist community I live in is an incubator of sorts), I think this is the “Throw some glitter, make it rain” period. Thanks Ke$ha for that choice lyric. Also why are Ke$ha’s songs so embarrassing? I feel a secret shame for enjoying them.

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Throw some glitter, make it rain. Photo by Amos Mac for Rebel Cupcake.

A couple of weeks ago, in the span of two days, I performed two acts that incorporated glitter rain. They were quite spectacular, actually. Glitter rain really does add that certain something that just reading a piece to an audience or just taking off your clothes to classic lesbian hits misses.*

Anyway, I’ve been talking about my Lesbolesque act here on the blog for the last year or so, I thought I would get up a video of it. This is from the anniversary Rebel Cupcake party.

At the beginning of the video I talk about the June 1st Trans Women Belong Here benefit I’m throwing. All the info is on the calendar page. There are actually two of them, a Wednesday night dance party a cocktail party (with mocktails for those that aren’t drinking) at that really gorgeous
space I blogged about in this entry. If you’re in town come support!

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Throw some glitter, make it rain. Photo by Amos Mac for Rebel Cupcake.

*I’ve offered to go-go dance for my pals who run the Hey Queen dance party. I proposed me, glitter cannons and “whatever happens naturally.”

2011-05-12

Queer Book Worm Parties

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

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Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein.

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

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

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

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

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

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Ivan!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2011-04-23

Everyday Glitter

Growing up in California’s Bay Area I never appreciated the way Spring opens up the world again the way I do now, at 32, living in a place with real seasons. I feel like every piece of Spring’s evidence is a little bit of glitter added to the world. A magnolia tree in bloom. Cherry blossom trees.* Birds chirping like laughter, the smell of a freshly tilled garden. There is so much! Let’s talk some everyday glitter…

ITEM THE FIRST

My (genderflexible) Butch Ironworker Roommate brought home a piglet from her boyfriend’s farm in upstate New York. The first thing I said as I was cuddling with Penelope was “I can’t believe she’s going to become bacon!” BIR responded “Oh no! She’s a pet! She’ll live a long and healthy life, not for eating.”

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The first part of that life is going to be spent in Brooklyn with us until she’s too big to go back and forth.

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I am thrilled about this. Pigs are awesome. I learned a lot about them when I was a Girl Scout camp counselor as we had a petting zoo with two Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs. I also learned a lot about pigs from this amazing comic at The Oatmeal. I have always wanted a pig as a pet and now I get to borrow one without having to truly add to my menagerie of muppets. (My friend Kelli Dunham calls sleeping on my couch “Trying to take a nap in the cantina bar in Star Wars.”)

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Things I have already done with Penelope: Dressed her up in Macy’s puppy clothes, filmed a forthcoming episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket, cuddled with her while watching a Mandy Moore movie.

Things I intend to do with Penelope: Read her Charlotte’s Web, watch Babe: Pig in the City (so she starts to understand what happens when her momma takes her out on a leash), take glamorous photos of me all dressed up holding a piglet.

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My daily glitter increases at least 50% when a piglet is involved.


Macy meeting Penelope.

ITEM THE SECOND

Every day I go on a twenty minute walk. This is an essential practice for my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Sometimes it’s with my dog Macy, sometimes it’s on a break from work. Recently I’ve been looking for new neighborhoods to explore within the twenty minute radius of Re/Dress and found this playground. In flagrant disregard of that New York City municipal law that you have to be accompanied by a child in order to go into a playground (it was empty, anyway), I went on the swings. I had so much fun, my favorite silver boots in the air swishing back and forth.

Being Downtown Brooklyn, there was a spectacular view. I could see skyscrapers in the financial district of Manhattan and Jersey City.

I highly recommend a five minute stop a swing set when you need a little pick-up.

ITEM THE THIRD

It has been a super dreary Spring so far, lots and lots of April Showers. In those in between times though, I am just soaking it up. The sun had just started peaking out late one afternoon as I was driving past the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I stopped spontaneously and went in for a couple of hours. And since I’ve been lamenting extra hard lately that I don’t have a garden to till and luxuriate in, I bought a membership. It’s like a season pass so I can go all the time and has some great benefits like later hours on Wednesdays and private picnic times (you aren’t allowed to bring food into the BBG).

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Getting a membership felt like honoring the intention of “I want a backyard,” and I can’t wait to just stop in and enjoy the canopy of cherry blossoms or the koi lake or any of the other incredible nooks and crannies whenever I want.

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Also the organic cotton tote bag I got with my membership made me feel like a grown-up liberal in her thirties.

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I spent the late afternoon enjoying the latest Oprah magazine and gazing into the sky.

ITEM THE FOURTH

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Glenn Marla spent the better part of a couple of work days decoupaging the bathroom at Re/Dress with copies of Hilda prints. I love Hilda, she’s one of my favorite pin-ups. She was the work of Duane Bryer for many years. I love that she’s a pin-up who is being herself, really goofy and doesn’t really care about the viewer. Most other pin-ups are clearly aware of their audience, Hilda’s just being Hilda.

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That’s the kind of Femme I like to be. Goofy, unselfconscious, genuine.

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I’ve always wanted to recreate a bunch of Hilda portraits with a photographer. I already have a little white dog!

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ITEM THE FIFTH
On National Grilled Cheese Day I made this tasty sandwich of sourdough, gruyere, bacon, tomatoes, spring mix, deli mustard.

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ITEM THE SIXTH
I got stuck in traffic for over an hour one day on the FDR drive in Manhattan. I was coming home from this crazy Petsmart/Target complex in Harlem I discovered as an alternative to suburban trips to Petsmart. (Petsmart definitely has the best prices on fancy cat and dog food as well as cat litter, believe me I’ve researched this like crazy.)

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The complex was huge and space-age looking and had a great view.

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The traffic jam was awful, sort of like the Everybody Hurts video where all the LA drivers get out of their cars and have soulful Michael Stipe moments. People were doing that! I stayed put (that kind of stuff makes me super nervous–what if the traffic starts moving!) and just took some pictures. If you gotta be stuck in traffic you might as well have an incredible view!!

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Whether it’s chock full of plans or you’re taking it easy, I hope you’re having a glittery weekend!

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ALF on my new aubergine bedspread.

*I am very cherry blossom identified.

2011-04-04

Everyday Glitter

My yoga teacher says at the end of each class “The light in me bows down to the light and the teacher in all of you.” I definitely feel that teaching is a two way process. I get just as much out of mentoring people, teaching workshops and writing this blog as people tell me they get out of those classes or this website. I treasure each compliment and appreciate them more than you know. But even more so, doing the art I do, blogging, writing, performing, producing, helps me to keep going on this journey, this lifetime journey, to loving myself. Teaching the gems I’ve mined about learning to love yourself and your body helps me mine even more gems.

At my workshop at Swarthmore I compared and contrasted the mainstream standards of beauty with what an alternative standard of beauty would look like. The gist of the mainstream standard is that it is virtually impossible to achieve and creates insecurity. An alternative standard is fluid. I said to the attendees, “You are all beautiful right this minute. The thing we need to learn is how to see ourselves as beautiful.”

I’ve talked about celebrating the fact that we are glitter identified people on the blog before. But I’d like to get deeper and start thinking about what are we doing every day that is putting together our amazing glittery lives? How are our lives beautiful right this minute? Where is our “too much” coming from, piece by piece?

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Sometimes my glitter literally comes in fistfuls from gay boys at dance parties. Hey Queen, July 2010.

Sometimes I find reading other people’s shines* really inspirational so hopefully you will find mine inspirational, too.

1. Spring! It’s still hovering in the 40s but today we got a couple of moments where it was downright near 60. I took my hoodie off for a precious brisk walk from the car to the grocery store. And not to be deterred, the birds are back chirping up a storm in the morning and some of the more dedicated early bloomers are thrusting forth.

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I spend a lot of time with my face toward the sky inspecting the trees for budding leaves. You can just barely make out silhouettes of buds here. All photos taken today in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

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2. The perfect color of aubergine. For months I’ve wanted these deep purple sheets I saw on a reality show. Today at an impromptu trip to Ikea with Mackenzi I found a bedspread in that exact shade of aubergine, perfectly slippery so as to repel cat hair.

We went to scope out entertainment center options for my great living room redecoration project. Might as well start with a fast and easy fix to revolutionize my bedroom and acknowledge the continued need for comforters. I feel like the reverse of the Princess and the Pea. Instead of adding mattresses for comfort I am adding comforters for warmth!

3. The ridiculousness of an ornate cat food bowl. I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting for my cats to eat from, and a nod to old school Fancy Feast branding. (Note I feed them Nutro Indoor Senior food, not Fancy Feast.)

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They have to eat atop a chair so Macy can’t get into their food. I think it needs some sort of silver tray.

4. Mackenzi shouts to me, “Sugar Free Bacon Vinaigrette!” from across the aisle in the grocery store. I yell back “What has you speaking my love language?”

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It’s this miracle my lovelies. I can’t wait to try it out. It’s made with real bacon and comes from some maple farm.**

5. New gays moved into the loftiminiums across the street from my apartment!

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6. Trading coffees with Heather! Bedford Hill, the new coffee shop on my corner is awesome. They have a board where you can buy your friend a coffee and chalk it up for them to find. I bought Heather a coffee to help her with planning her tour (hey midwest! go see the Heels on Wheels Road Show!) and she reciprocated! I went down there and worked on my memoir today.

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Also the staff is really nice and cute. Their egg, avocado, cheese bagel sandwich will change your life.

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Heather and Damien are going to put on an amazing tour as soon as they finish reading this book about unicorns at a house party!

7. Brunch with friends! I am on this aggressively pursuing brunch on Sundays kick. I have worked retail so many weekends it kills it for me trying to do muggle brunch timing. But I miss my friends and I want to share cheap eats with them!

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I hope you are all putting your glitter out there this week!

*Shines and whines were something my college Resident Advisor staff used to do at staff meetings and I love them. It’s a way to communicate your highs and lows.
**Recall how much of a maple chaser I am.

2011-03-16

Ways to Tell a Queer Femme is Queer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jessie Dress tagged herself as a Glitter Femme.

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

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

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

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Source.

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

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

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

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

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

2011-02-12

Glitterpositive Valentine Sentiments

Happy Validation Day everyone!

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Chalk art from Re/Dress NYC by Erin Bunny Burrows.

This time of year life is inundated with prix-fixe Valentine’s Day specials at restaurants and single-phobic, glitter-phobic rhetoric. (“Don’t be different! Do everything the same! Don’t be a wild pony! Find one person to love and do it in this totally heteronormative way!”) I find it gleefully ironic that these messages are sometimes sent using glitter*, when glitter to me represents people who shine really bright and really differently without regard for trying to quiet down or dim their shine in order to woo a mate.

I am a big fan of doing good things for yourself on Valentine’s Day, partnered or not. I’ve written about calling it Validation Day before and celebrating the joy of your life on Valentine’s Day. I’m into buying yourself something frivolous, delving into the cheesiness of hearts and confetti** just because it’s fun, or getting together with friends to make lasagna, drink red wine and revel in each others’ fabulousness.

I did the last thing one year with a whole bunch of boys. I was 22, being a fag hag and hiding out from the scary world of actually risking rejection by dating queer women. If I went out with a group of gay boys to a chorus of how fabulous I was*** it became much easier than the bizarre rejection I felt in a sea of lesbians who didn’t acknowledge me out at the queer girl events. I didn’t realize then that most people are just shy and socially awkward in big group scenes, my own awkwardness exponentially increasing the discomfort.

I don’t regret those days at all. I really needed to develop a sense of comfort with the woman I was turning out to be and it was like I was in a special baby Femme incubator. I also really loved Dolce and Gabbana cologne, watching old episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and going out dancing and so did they.

I thought I would do a round-up of glitter-positive, fat positive things that have caught my eye lately and share with you so that you, my queer/gender-fabulous/glittertastic lovelies out there can revel in some glitter-positivity out there. Shake off some of that mainstream-media Valentine’s Day hype.

Queerness, for me, is my choice. I am an active agent in choosing who I want to sleep with, who I want to have relationships with, and how I politicize my life.

Glitterpolitic is one of my favorite new blog projects. How is Ashley so hot and so smart? With the addition of her roommate/blog partner Erin their tumblr is unstoppable.

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Ashley at the Femme Conference, with Queer Fat Hungry. Photo by me.

I’m fat positive because I’m a feminist, and I refuse to acknowledge in the magical thinking that if you’re small enough, quiet enough, compliant enough and saccharine enough, you will somehow be enough.

Great article called “Why I’m Fat Positive” by You’re Welcome.

Co-dependent love is constantly represented as the ideal. ‘I can’t sleep/think/ live/function without you, romantic partner’ leads to the inevitable crash of despair when things don’t work out because you’ve set up someone else to meet the impossible expectation of completing you. ‘Forsaking all others’ doesn’t just imply sexual partners but in a nuclear model of family, seems to also speak to friendships and extended family.

Amazing article from Crunk Feminist Collective called Living Single.

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Erin from Glitterpolitic. So much hot in one blog!!

Shame doesn’t work. Diets don’t work. Shame is a tool of oppression, not change. Fat people already are ashamed. It’s taken care of. No further manpower needed on the shame front, thx…You know what’s shameful? A complete lack of empathy.

From “Hello, I’m Fat” by Lindy West.

Go forth, live and love radically!

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Source.

*I love a good post-Valentine’s day craft store sale.
**My Butch Ironworker roommate is making heart-shaped mini cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day and I am very inspired.
***I have always adored nightlife fags as they are liberal with compliments.

2011-01-16

2011… Sparkle Hard

When we were reunited after the holiday shuffle released her from her day job, my friend Heather declared to me “My theme for 2011 is ‘2011… Fuck it.’ 2010 was supposed to be 20WIN and nothing ever came of it. So 2011 I’m just saying ‘Fuck it.’” Heather is the kind of person who says to Pollyanna optimists like me “You call it thinking positive, I call it denial.” And though I have not abandoned my Pollyanna ways, I think her logic is sound.

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Me and Heather performing a staged reading of Steel Magnolias at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Jeep Wheat.

Now, in no uncertain terms, 20Femme for me was not bad. I had a lot of crazy shit go down and it certainly didn’t turn out at all how I expected it to. The lessons and growing I had from my antics in 2010 are among the most pivotal of my life so far. I also had a pretty good time for some of it, existential angst and heartbreak aside. But, let’s be real, growing like I had to is not for sissies and sometimes it downright sucked.

When contemplating my year, I was thinking about the things I wanted to leave behind and the things I wanted to womanifest in the new year. I really want to focus on continuing to grow but just having a good time. Learning how to let go of expectations, keep asking for what I want, and squeezing the juiciest things I possibly can from every moment.

I think a lot of my lessons came to fruition during a Prince concert I went to the week before New Year’s Eve. I have a friend who has a ticket hook-up and is always trying to give me sporting event tickets that I politely turn down. He asked around my birthday and I said “What about Prince at Madison Square Garden?” Since Heather’s birthday is a week after mine I asked her to be my date and we went.

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This is Stuart. He’s responsible for carefully creating the purple rain above Prince’s purple piano during his medley of many great songs, including “How Come U Don’t Call Me?” one of my favorites.

I didn’t know this ahead of time but the tickets were floor seats. Right in front of the stage. For some reason, hardly anyone in the floor seats was dancing in the ample room around the end of the Prince symbol arrow. As soon as his first song was over me, Heather and about six other people were dancing around to many of our favorite Prince songs. It was incredible. I was wearing a gold sequin dress and I think if you’re on the floor at Madison Square Garden dancing you should just sparkle as hard as you can.

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After the show, up on the deck to get a view of the Prince symbol stage.

A lot of 2010 was spent on a collision course between myself as I am now and who I used to be before I gained self-confidence. I would never have worn a tight sequin dress, let alone a gold one, would never have thought to wear something interesting to a concert in the first place and would have spent the entire time at the concert feeling sad that, as good as it was, it was going to eventually end. I also wouldn’t have had the chutzpah to try to go dance away from my seat and even closer to the stage.

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Purple rain on the floor. And my sparkly Christmas purse.

Growing up fat and flamboyant, I learned early on to suppress my glittery tendencies and try to hide my plus size self as best as I could. I always second-guessed how I wanted to look and really took to heart terrible fashion advice. Such gems as “Don’t wear horizontal stripes” and “When you leave the house always remove one accessory.” I say fuck that. Watching Heather get ready is like watching a really cute hen walking around picking up one sparkly thing after another and I think it is probably one of the most fun things in the world to witness.

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Heather always looks as a good as a pin-up.

Having friends as flamboyant and supportive as Heather and the giant network of amazing artists I hold close helped me get and sustain the courage to be as outrageously Bevin as I possibly want to be on any given day. The last decade has been pretty transformative and I am so grateful every day for the unflinching courage to be myself.

Last year I started meditating and focusing on living in the moment. I have some big dreams but the way they are going to come about is by working hard and making my current moments as memorable and fabulous as possible. I can’t possibly recommend meditation more to help alleviate anxiety and increase happiness.

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The Prince concert helps to increase happiness, too.

I want to spend 2011 experiencing every moment, even the mundane inbetweens. I’ve been finding some really amazing stuff on my walks with my dog because I’m using my time and attention to notice. As my life coach said after I mentioned noticing a glittering piece of cellophane in a pile of leaves after our discussion about paying attention to each moment, “Attention makes garbage gorgeous.”

So in the spirit of “2011… fuck it” I’m just going to sparkle as hard as I can every moment. I feel pretty great about it.

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2010-07-08

A Self-Love Moment

At the Femme Family meeting on Tuesday, in the middle of a terrible heat wave hitting NYC, our go-around topic was “Describe your inner body temperature.” Mine was the rage of a Disney villain. A fat one. (In the words of Dave End*, “Never fuck with a witch who puts on lipstick with a shrimp.”) I get heat sick pretty easily and almost fainted during yoga on Monday, so by day 3 of the heat storm I was so grumpy. So grumpy that I barely put on clothes. I picked out the thing that felt the least like wearing clothes that I could.

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This is an old photo from an old queeraoke night, but this is what I wore. It’s a stretchy H&M large cotton tank dress (I want more but never seem to find them), which is slutty fat girl size. I was singing “Everything She Wants” by Wham!

How can a meeting with such empowering Femmes not raise my spirits? On my way home I realized how grateful I was to have done so much work over the last 11 years to unlearn the body shame that would have, otherwise, kept me hot and miserable and covered up in layers upon layers of clothes trying to hide my body. Feeling good about my body and sexuality is so much more comfortable, both literally and figuratively.

So this goes out to all of the amazing people in my life, who taught me early on the joy and value of loving yourself and moving in your body in ways that make you feel good.

Further, I’m still getting comments and emails about my post In Solidarity With Those Who Have Been Called Too Much. “Too much” to one person is another person’s “SO much”. Remember that and keep the faith.

To that end, happy birthday to Rachel Schiff, a protege of mine. She is a beautiful ray of light in this world and I am so happy she is in my life! At 22 years old she’s already a kick starter and a rabble-rouser for social justice and good times. San Francisco is lucky to have her.

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I lifted this quote from her Facebook page from one of my favorite books by Dorothy Allison. Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. Perfect quote in the vein of “too much” and self love.

She kissed me gentle, kissed me slow, kissed me like Grace Kelly, a porcelain princess, a lace curtain lesbian. I told her, Don’t touch me that way. Don’t come at me with that sour-cream smile. Come at me as if I were worth your life—the life we make together. Take me like a turtle whose shell must be cracked, whose heart is ice, who needs your heat. Love me like a warrior, sweat up to your earlobes and all your hope between your teeth. Love me so I know I am at least as important as anything you have ever wanted.

I am the woman who… has to love herself or die. if you are not as strong as I am, what will we make together? I am all muscle and wounded desire, and I need to know how strong we both can be.

Two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is how long it takes to learn to love yourself, how long it took me, how much love I need now.

— Dorothy Allison

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Remember that time Dorothy Allison complimented my cleavage on my podcast?

*The long-anticipated debut of FABULOUS ARTISTIC GUYS GET OVERTLY TRAUMATIZED SOMETIMES: THE MUSICAL (FAGGOTS: The Musical) is July 16 in NYC.

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