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

2011-05-04

NYC May 12th! Queer Performance Night and Dance Party! Rebel Cupcake!

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I just realized that I haven’t produced a new podcast in a whole year and my performance night/dance party is celebrating it’s one year anniversary. These are totally related–it takes a lot of work to produce nightlife and it was that production energy that I lost when my drag troupe disbanded that had fueled FemmeCast*. I still envision a time when my work time isn’t in such demand and I can focus on it, but in the meantime I love Rebel Cupcake like a child.

This month I’m excited because three super star pals of mine are participating in the magic of Rebel Cupcake.

Cristy Road is an amazing illustrator, graphic novelist, legendary punk zine producer, and lead singer of the punk band THE HOMEWRECKERS. At Rebel Cupcake she’s bringing a projector and reading from her forthcoming graphic novel about coming out in seventh grade and Green Day.

She also really loves persian cats. I had her over this weekend to hang with my boys.

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ALF and Cristy are giving such good face!

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Look! Cristy’s art is so awesome. She also did the artwork for the cover of the new book co-edited by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Go buy it! The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities

Silas Howard is a filmmaker (if you haven’t seen By Hook or By Crook, it is essential queer cinema and I implore you to buy a copy), writer, and was the guitar player for Tribe8. I mean, he’s a bunch of other stuff, too. He’ll be doing a couple of musical acts with special guests at Rebel Cupcake.

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He played Darry Curtis in our queer re-telling of the Outsiders at March’s Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Our regular photographer is recovering from top surgery (get better soon Nogga!) and I am really excited to have invited Amos Mac to fill in this month. You’ll recognize his work from Original Plumbing Magazine, Translady Fanzine and from just being a spectacular photographer.

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Me photographed by Amos Mac!

To be honest, I’ve been slow creeping the Stay Gold dance party** in San Francisco for awhile and he was their long-time party photographer. I love his style and was excited to get my picture taken while visiting San Francisco on our Plus Size Party Girl gaycation.

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I count at least five people who used to live in New York City and currently live in the Bay in this picture. Photo by Amos Mac.

I can’t wait to see how Amos captures the Rebel Cupcakes!

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It also doesn’t hurt that Amos is positively dreamy. Photo by Peter Ash Lee.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! A couple of friends suggested a friendly cupcake bake-off. So, I am offering a prize basket full of over $60 worth of cook’s goodies donated by SITE NYC to the winner of our bake-off. If you’re interested get in touch with me! It’s all friendly, winner chosen by ballot of Rebel Cupcake attendees.

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Mackenzi and I spent an afternoon selecting the best nightlife cupcake bake-off gifties. Donut water bottle, whip whisk, cupcake bandages, kitsch ‘n’ glam oven mitt, fancy black tote bag.

The bar offers a $6 beer/shot combo all night. All the info on the party is at the Rebel Cupcake page. And if you’re planning a trip to Brooklyn this summer I’ll be hosting one on June 9 and again on July 14th, taking off in August.

*Minus two years in between when I was in love jail a/k/a cotton candy pink sugar pussy brain a/k/a engaged and devoted all my artistic energy to my relationship and playing the Sims 2. He cheated on me and left and I deleted the Sims off my computer and threw myself back into my art. It’s good to be living my truth again.
**When Heather and I were putting together Queer Outsiders we realized Stay Gold was for the line “Stay gold Pony Boy” at the end of the book which just makes me crush a little harder on that party.

2011-03-15

Magical Smoothies

{Also, stuff I’ve been up to lately}

I have given up on caffeine and refined sugar again (after a happy Fall/early winter free of both and physically feeling great) and other than being ever so tired I’m doing okay. I’m sleeping a lot right now. Curse the late winter blah blah blahs and the traitor daylight savings sun that makes it seem like it should be a lot warmer than it really is!

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My BFF Rachael came to visit from the sunny Southland of Hotlanta. We ate pizza and I met her fabulous and charming beau at long last.

Smoothies are really helping this time, the natural sugar pep is waking me up and ever so tasty. To this end I’ve started concocting smoothies from basic ingredients around. I just made this one up and was super happy about it.

1 banana
handful of frozen peach slices
handful of frozen mango cubes
handful of spinach borrowed from roommate
Enough Trader Joe’s reduced calorie pink lemonade to cover 2/3 of the stuff in the blender
Just a touch of cream
1 packet of lemon-lime emergen-c

It is tart, sweet and smooth. Emergen-C is also helping me to get some energy and not feel so run down and caffeine desperate.

When I went to California, I squealed at the plethora of Jamba Juices. I grew up in the Bay Area, smoothies were always a thing but they started really catching on when I was an undergrad at UC Davis. I was seriously bummed when I moved to Philly and they weren’t as easy to find.

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I attended Mackenzi’s “Come As You Were” 90s party and two of the other party goers were dressed like women I’ve slept with.

A decade later Jamba has joined me out here but they’re all in Manhattan and I rarely leave Brooklyn. Nearly daily on my mid-Winter trip to California I availed myself of the joy of the convenient locations and quick pick-me-ups that made my epic social plans possible.

I decided I was going to start using my awesome blender (leftover from previous tenants, specifically designed for margaritas) to make smoothies and cast about for recommendations for “boosts” like those freebies you get from the Jamba. I’ve had a few suggestions. I’m considering Greens+, a generic whey protein powder, or spirulina. But before I drop a bunch of cash on supplements I want to research more and talk to my doctor.

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I produced an all queer 20 minute retelling of the Outsiders. I also narrated it with Heather who was the director.

The one drawback of being all smoothiecore in the dead of Winter is that it lowers my body temperature. I drank one at work one day and wondered why my teeth were suddenly chattering and it took awhile and a hot tea chaser to feel normal again. I run pretty cold.

That said I am excited to learn all of these new smoothie recipes out there. Soaking cashews overnight is my next adventure.

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I also worked on my taxes for my accountant. Do you have self-employment income? Do you have assets of any kind? Get an accountant.* I’ve been with mine for longer than any other relationship I’ve had, more than hair dressers, pets, or girlfriends. He’s awesome and totally worth the trip back to Philly. Instead of a photo of me stressing out over spreadsheets and drinking tons of hot chocolate last week, here’s another hipster photo of the queer Outsiders. Promise better photos as soon as Nogga posts them!

*I suggest getting one via recommendation from a friend.

2011-02-26

Valentine’s Day Weekend Non-Stop Queer Style

This year’s Valentine’s Day weekend was glamorous and non-stop. There was an intense agenda of queer happenings and what better way to get my feet back into the Brooklyn swing of things after my extended sojourn in San Francisco* than to try to do everything? It began with Rebel Cupcake 10: Erotic City on Thursday, February 10th.

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My friend Trent who is one half of That’s My Jam.

The theme selections for Rebel Cupcake are a truly scientific process.**
It goes like this: I thought Valentine’s day is four days later… fuck Valentine’s day, let’s get dirty. Erotic stuff…. Erotic City! I love Prince.

The cupcakes were vegan this time, orange/chocolate and cappuccino flavor, made by Rebel Cupcake fan Mannie.

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It was a wild show that involved an impromptu punching demo by traveling Portland punching Booth Wyatt Riot, the drag Prince stylings of fresh face LeRoi Prince and capped off by the incredible performance of Epiphany. She sang a couple of songs and her version of Fuck You brought down the house.

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LeRoi Prince.

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Epiphany.

After truly getting down to a Prince-heavy dance party (the floor was still packed at 2:45 AM, definitely the latest I’ve seen the dance floor at Rebel Cupcake thrive at that level), my weekend kept rolling.

Friday night was the closing party/ritual for Into the Neon, a group collaborative show between many queer artists I know and some I don’t. The exhibits were incredible. I was especially moved by Daniel Lang/Levitsky’s piece about the murder of a gay man in a park in Newark. I loved Amy Agony’s reading nook with a zine library to pore through. I was honored to be included so many times in Quito Ziegler’s exhibit, she pointed out to me that me and my posse were especially prevalent on her row themed “tenderness.”

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Daniel’s piece was a hand-cranked movie with a soundtrack you listened to. It was very haunting.

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Quito’s exhibit.

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Drag station.

There was a tree in the middle of the room surrounded by foam and blankets, which was the best place for me to enjoy the evening considering my long Thursday night dancing and nine and a half hour Shop Girl day.

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With Marcy and Natalie.

Glenn Marla decided to have an all day open house for his birthday party, where I rolled in at 9:30 (another nine and a half hour Shop Girl day). My thoughts are in this episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket. I went home to get ready for Hey Queen, my favorite dance party that isn’t Rebel Cupcake. I decided to change because Wyatt Riot and Jessika Fancy were planning to wear spandex and I knew I needed to up my fashion game. I did pretty well considering I dressed in 5 minutes.

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With my friend LJ. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

I chatted with Justin Vivian Bond a bit about Femme fashion and wearing two pairs of tights on the brutal party nights (it has been an especially horrible winter in NYC). V performed a three song set at 1:30 that was just glorious.

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I love Justin Vivian’s storytelling. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

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Accompanied by Nath Ann. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

The next day was another Shop Girl day that found me sharing a leftover cunt cupcake from Glenn’s birthday party (made by Damien Luxe) with plus size super model Tara Lynn. She’s really nice and fun and was shopping the vintage racks at Re/Dress. Even a work day can be glamorous!

Sunday night was a work night, where I met up with my neighbor and co-creator Heather. She is directing and I am producing an all queer 10 minute staged reading of the Outsiders at Rebel Cupcake on March 10. We needed to watch the movie and prepare for the auditions.*** My BFF Brian just moved in around the corner from both of us and we used his big tv and our friend Michael made us chicken parm. It was perfect.

Monday was Valentine’s Day/Validation Day. I was asked to be a celebrity judge for a Nerd-Off competition at Nerd Off Production’s Nerd Love event. Since my current relationship status is Window Shopping**** I thought it would be fun to ask one of the other celebrity judges to be my Valentine.

Molly Equality Dykeman
is a piece of work. She’s a poet, butchlesque performer, a security guard, a lady chaser. I thought it would be fun shtick to banter about while we were judging nerds. Having a celebrity date was pretty awesome.*****


Maybe everything you need to know about Molly is in this video?

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Photo courtesy Molly.

I required Molly to wear her finest butch accessories (in this instance a Love tie from the dollar store) and bring me a flower from the dollar store or a bodega. After exchanging gifts we took photos with Syd London for Time Out New York. She gave me a box of chocolates, a card that complimented my boobs and the flower.

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Photo courtesy Molly.

I brought for her scratch-off lottery tickets, a diet coke and a cookie decorated with haiku by Kazi, a poet who works inside a Lotto stand on 53rd and Lexington.

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Photo by my BFF Brian.

The nerdiness of the Nerd Off was ridiculous. It was hosted by Kelli Dunham and Cheryl B. I had to ask a lot of nerd to English clarifying questions. It was a joy to be part of and award prizes with the other celebrity judge, Diana Cage, for such talents as “Best Use of Math Teacher Blog to Perform Erotica.”

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Photo courtesy Molly.

Check out more photos from the event on the Time Out New York website.

Some of you might be wondering how I can maintain this stamina. The key is that I don’t drink much (one or two well-timed drinks max) and I wear flat shoes when I intend to dance a lot. At the end of this whirlwind weekend my feet were actually quite sore, but I felt deliriously happy and incubated in this amazing community of artists and friends that make Brooklyn my home. A community kind of love, really.

*I have been in the Mission so much in the last 9 months that Yahoo news (benignly) falsely reported that I live there.
**April’s theme is I Love Lucy (an old school show biz style line-up) because I scored a great vintage dress that is very Lucy. I just have to work on the hair style.
***Watching that movie is sort of like watching porn. It’s so hot and bromantic!
****Window Shopping is my current approach to dating given the amount of emotional work I’m doing on myself. After being totally off the market for several months, I am approaching dating again with extreme caution. I’m not going into any stores, I’m not asking how much something costs. But if something pretty catches my eye and the shop keeper comes outside I might ask about it. If the shop keeper is willing to transact right there on the sidewalk, okay. Basically, I’m not doing any pursuing and I’m letting things happen if they happen but not concerned one way or another.
*****I’m still open to a date for March 14th’s Steak and Blow Job day.

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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2010-12-24

Hard Candy Christmas

This Fall I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and my art and doing a lot of growing. I have also been spending a lot of time video chatting with one of my BFFs, Spunky, who lives in California. I took time off from my retail job (Re/Dress, one of the three prongs of my current career spiral path) thinking I would somehow by the grace of the universe be able to afford to go out there for Christmas. See my mom, see my friends and heart family and mellow out in some warmer weather.

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World Famous *BOB*, me, Glenn Marla at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

Things have been tight financially for the last couple of months. My main source of my three-pronged career path income has been really slow for lots of reasons, mostly the market and climate. Thus, around Thanksgiving I realized it was going to be toast to any plans to vacation for the holidays. Self-employment/entrepreneurial realness.

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I got written up as one of the 45 Hot Entrepreneurs in Go Magazine in November, though. I think it’s an awesome stamp in my celesbian passport. I have yet to get laid from it. I like to call this photo a Clark Kent/Superman juxtaposition. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

But then I realized that I was having trouble digging into my memoir, my friend Damien has been having great luck working during DIY artist retreats. I could afford to drive to Philly, I have heart family that lives there and needed a cat sitter. It worked out very serendipitously. So, I’ll be going away, doing no work other than art and self-care for several days.

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Damien, watching art. She’s doing so well on her push-up-a-thon! Photo by Quito Ziegler.

And, yeah, it’s sort of sad and isolating sometimes to be single at the holidays and not with your family or whatever. But then I remember my very saddest Christmas ever, when my ex-fiance and I had just broken up the month before, I was going to California to see my family without him on a trip we had booked together. I remember waking up on Christmas day with this ache in my chest, knowing he was with his new girlfriend and her family I couldn’t even begin to think about what to think about through all of that sad. It was so crushing.

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World Famous *BOB* has a tissue for you and for me. November Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Lauren Golfer.

What really got me through that time was Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” I had just bought her autobiography on cassette tape and was really digging into my passion for her. It’s such a good song from one of my favorite movies (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas).

This year I’ve been hearing about everyone’s hard candy. Having a family or not having a family is hard. Both are hard. There’s either the pain and isolation/liberation and joy of not having obligations on the holidays. Or there’s the expectations upon expectations upon performance upon pleasing everyone upon love upon celebration of being with family. I think hard candy is part of life and it can bring you sweetness or toothaches. It’s just how you saddle up for the ride.

I have had a lot of blessings and amazing things going on in my life this year. I’m so grateful for this magical unicorn life I get to lead, the costumes I get to wear without even thinking about it, the lives I get to change just by making the art I feel compelled to make. Just this year I can count on both hands all of the new incredible artists and friends who have come into my life and are changing it. I have so much. And even as my birthday and Christmas plans have fallen through because I got the flu for Christmas I feel really lucky I didn’t make elaborate travel plans so it was easy to just sit here under the covers and rest. And now I have some presents to open up while I try not to move too far from the couch.

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Also grateful to have reached a doctor so soon before Christmas. She said “Have you been taking it easy?” I said I’ve been “taking it normal.” Photo by Quito Ziegler from a lesbolesque performance I did before I got the flu.

I got woken up from a nap today by the UPS man delivering a package for my birthday from my far away BFF in California, who I’ll luckily get to see at the end of January. I’ve been able to book a trip to get Rebel Cupcake on the road to Oakland (more info on that soon). So it all works out!!

As a Happy Holidays from me to you, I present this touching video from Rebel Cupcake 7: We <3 Dolly, burlesque legend of our time World Famous *BOB* performing Hard Candy Christmas.

I hope wherever you are you are safe, happy and full of love.

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Me and Sophie at Rebel Cupcake 8: Holidays on Fire. Sophie stopped by my sick bed today to bring me a care package of birthday candles, mac n cheese and feminist literature. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-10-28

I’ll Just Say Fare Thee Well: The Myth of “Getting Closure”

I was at the Miss LEZ pageant, at the last intermission prior to the winner being announced, passing out fliers for Rebel Cupcake and generally being proud of how well Miss Rebel Cupcake was doing in the pageant. In this euphoric, flask of bourbon in my handbag sort of state, I ran into a couple of friends. One of them said, “Last week you wrote on your twitter ‘I’m going to need to create my own closure.’ I have a friend who has been struggling with a break-up for over a year and I repeated that to her and it really helped.” That comment made me so happy I almost cried.

Me at Rebel Cupcake: Halloween Heartbreak with the winner of Miss LEZ, repping Rebel Cupcake, Drae Campbell and Becca Blackwell who was a contestant with me in Miss LEZ last year. Dress: Re/Dress. Shoes, 3 1/2″ leather peep toes by Fitzwell via Zappos. Necklace & earring set: gift from a dear friend.

You might have noticed a little blog silence going on for a while. I find it really hard to write sometimes when I’m going through a lot of emotional upheaval. I like to write from a place of having a grasp on things and there’s nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you to make you feel like you don’t have a grasp on anything. That’s what happened five weeks ago, the details of which are still a little too fresh and muddled to explain. So, you know, I throw myself into my other work that doesn’t require me to feel like I have a grasp or whatever.

If there’s anything to come out of this pain I’m glad it’s helping people. I like living out loud in that way and my art is often my expression of the experience of living and loving as a queer fat femme/party promoter/shop girl/lawyer/performer/aspiring talk show host in this world. Lately expressing in soundbites like twitter and tumblr is what I’ve been able to do.

I believe the idea of “getting closure” is a myth. I think we idealize “getting closure” where you meet your ex at a neutral coffee shop and share lattes like you’re in an early 90s episode of Friends and you talk about your relationship and get all of those answers you are really missing that will help you tidy everything up like you fold your sweaters and put them away for the summer.

Emotions are messy and crazy. You have no control over the other person and what they’re going to say to you. Sometimes they won’t “give” you anything (as I’m experiencing now) or they’ll just do or say the same unsatisfying shit that lead to your break-up in the first place. Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide says (the gist of) “Try not to worry about how or why, try accepting that it is.” Learn your new normal. But, I think, unless you’re in the best possible break-up working in out in couples therapy or something, you won’t be able to just walk away and say “that was all neatly packaged, it feels closed.”

I mean, maybe there are couples out there who communicate SO WELL that they’re able to actually have closure and a satisfying break-up and to them I say kudos. But my twitter comment about creating my own closure had as much to do with what I’m going through now as it is poring over my previous break-ups (as I tend to do while heartbroken).

I had an ex-lover pass away this summer–there is no further closure I’m ever going to get from her. I really had always fantasized that at some point we’d be across the aisle from each other at our best friends’ wedding and we’d salvage a tender friendship out of our brief courtship. Any closure I get from my relationship with Luscious is going to be from working through my process, as it actually cannot come from her.

I think there are certain aspects of relationships that can see some tangible closure. One time I had an ex who owed me a bunch of money and I didn’t let it go. For years I watched friends walk away from top surgery loans and laptop loans of thousands of dollars to scoundrel exes or just plain sad exes. They did this because they just wanted a clean break and to not worry about it. For me it was important to close that element of my relationship. Plus, my electricity got shut off because he left this huge debt on our electric bill and the company rolled it over onto my new account and I had to come up with the money on my own, which was really hard at the time.

Self-advocacy is really difficult to do for yourself, especially when emotions are involved. But I kept at it, with letters and copies of joint bills and the bitter recollection of that week of living with candles for lights and no internet. And then I finally got checks every other week until it was paid off. I settled for slightly less than what I thought his debt was, but it was worth it to get it all done.

So I had financial closure but it still took months and even years to work through the emotions of our break-up and the closure I needed. I’ve got three years of perspective now and I still can only guess why or how. The damage of being cheated on, being broken up with in an email with no face to face conversation and all of that took a lot of work on my own terms.

Some closure won’t come until you start dating again. I wondered if I could ever love again as hard as I loved him. And it turns out I did and I can.


Me & my friend Berlin saying hi to his GF/my friend Ally who was in Portland. Berlin is the Ethical Butcher. Go to his classes & dinners!

Sometimes it helps me to write letters. I don’t like cutting people out of my life who did something horrible to me without explaining in plain language just exactly why I won’t ever speak to them again. Once someone lied to me so much I wrote her a letter detailing the 21 lies I had caught her in. I gave it to her and I’m certain that she managed to distort her reality around the contents to make it feel okay for her. But that letter helped me to create the peace I needed in order for me to walk away. The key is in sending it with no expectation as to the response.

One time I actually received great closure from an ex. A year after we broke up we ran into each other on campus and I smiled at her. She sent me an email with great accountability and apologies. At the time I couldn’t see it as the great closure it was, but three years later I re-read it and I was like “Wow, that was really great accountability.” But it wasn’t closure for me at the time because I wasn’t in a place to see it as closure.

Wanting closure is really hard. But the thing is, you have the power to make it happen for yourself in the way that works best for you. Break-ups are a selfish time period, where you stop looking at the us, mourn the pretty picture of the us you were creating and work on yourself. There’s so much possibility in your own closure.

Sometimes you’re not going to “get” closure at all because parts of our emotional histories are sagas and can’t be wrapped up like winter sweaters. My heartbreak feels like part of a bigger saga right now, so I’m not even working on closure. What I’m trying to do instead is turn my pain into the opportunity to create the solid base inside myself where an emotional event as jarring as what I just went through doesn’t make me feel like I don’t have a grasp on anything. I’m developing the tools to stay peaceful and strong as other things blow around me.


Like one of those inflatable bop bags from the 80s that you punch and they float right back up to upright.

Things are going to get better and most of the time I believe it. And those times I don’t believe it I have the tools to call a BFF and ask them to tell me everything is going to get better. And I have art to express what I’m going through. And I have you, my sweet and wonderful readers, reminding me that expressing my pain is helping you, too. And 2,000 hits a week reminding me you’re still out there wanting to know what I’ve got going on!


9021-homo from Rebel Cupcake! All photos from RC by Nogga Schwartz.

2010-10-23

Miss LEZ! Sunday, October 24th! Buy Tickets in Advance!

Recall the time that I competed for the title of Miss LEZ. I can’t believe it was a year ago already. Murray Hill is bringing it back again, better than ever!

Check out the hot contestants! (Not pictured, N–The Only Letter in Burlesque.)

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MISS LESBIAN LOVE OCTAGON // VICKY SIN, a lipstick wearing, ballad belting, glitter loving Burlesque babe

MISS REBEL CUPCAKE // DRAE CAMPBELL, a performer, filmmaker, choreographer, comedic gender bending butchy with an adoration for bow ties

MISS CHOICE CUNTS // GOLDIE PEACOCK, a Bed-Stuy based genderblender, movement artist, go-go dancer and muse

MISS HEY QUEEN // ARIEL SPEEDWAGON, a performer, a dancer, a dandy, and a romancer whose work has been seen on Broadway, Lafayette, Chrystie, and other fine streets and avenues in New York City

MISS RE/DRESS // AFRO TITTY, a Power (For not Over) Bitch Femme Shark with fierce politics and a bangin’ rack/shimmy/shake

MISS WILDCARD // N, The ONLY Letter In Burlesque, is a kitty loving, graphic designing, burlesque dancing, drag queening, singing sensation! The show is going to be incredible. I’ve performed with every contestant within the last six months and I can tell you that no matter who wins it is going to be a fabulous journey.

My friend Drae (teeth bared in the photo) is representing my party as Miss Rebel Cupcake! I’m so excited that Rebel Cupcake is only 6 months old and already we’re presenting someone to become the queen of Lez nightlife. The little party that could. We got four of the contestants at the last Rebel Cupcake on stage (photos forthcoming) and it was a really fun to present them to the audience.

As part of Drae’s prep for the pageant I’ve been grilling her with potential judge’s interview questions. Apparently I’m a bit of a pageant mom. “No, that’s wrong. Always say this. No, no, do this.” Mostly I just hope Drae shows the audience and judges how weird she is, because I think her wit and weirdness are her strengths going into the competition.

Buy tickets in advance! The show sells out every year! And stay tuned here for a recap!

More info on the Miss LEZ Pageant here!

***

Other fun New York City things to take note of:

Justin Bond’s new play starring QFF.com favorites Glenn Marla and Heather Acs. More info on Justin Bond and the House of Whimsy: Re:Galli Blonde (A Sissy Fix) through the link. The play is running this weekend and next weekend only!

The Lesbian Love Octagon musical runs for one weekend only, November 4-7. It’s an incredible show and I can’t wait to see its current incarnation. The brainchild of Kimberlea Kressal, she’s been working on it for 11 years. I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished and the cast is extremely talented. Buy tickets in advance!

2010-06-11

Delivering Happiness Book Review and Giveaway!

One of the things that held me back from the pursuit of my joy and my true purpose in life is that the things I wanted didn’t come with a defined path. I spent so much of my teens and twenties looking for things with an “If you do x, y, z then you will achieve your desired result.” This made the decision to get my JD at 20 years old really seductive. I was licensed to practice in two states by 24 years old and stayed in my 9-6 (or 8 or 9 somedays) job for five years because I liked the security and couldn’t figure out how to achieve my other dreams.

That security was a myth. Just like being engaged to someone I thought was my forever didn’t actually mean forever, staying with a job for five years didn’t protect me from the first round of layoffs when the real estate market crashed. Turns out, both of those were the best things to happen to me in years.

My career goal is to have a talk show. Of course, there’s more than that, I would love to create a Femmepire: have a magazine, an animated series and books and all manner of media related to the topic of learning to love yourself and living your joy. It is incredibly frustrating at times because it’s not like there is a curriculum in higher ed to become the Queer Oprah.

Damien Luxe spent two years working on an MFA in DIY. At first I thought she was actually in a program that let her use DIY as a specialty, but in fact she just created a curriculum for an MFA and self-studied. Sure she doesn’t have a “degree” per se but she finished her one-woman show, almost a whole book and learned a lot! She presented the curriculum at Heather’s Artist’s Salon and it was incredibly well-rounded.

Nearly two years on this path of diversifying my income and careers to enable me to get to my talk show and live the mission of my life, I started thinking that an MBA would be far more useful to me than my JD. What would it look like to create my own MBA curriculum? How would it benefit the work and art that I am creating to know how to market, strategize and create success?

The thought of reading business books makes me yawn, but it just so happens that I have been presented with an advanced reading copy of one of the most lively and interesting books about an entrepreneur that I have ever read.

Delivering Happiness

Written by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.Com, Delivering Happiness is part memoir part retrospective road map to creating the kind of corporate culture and success that encourages staff to create coffee machine robots for the lobby. He specifically establishes the purpose of the book to be how he found happiness in business and in life.

I am a slow reader* but finished the book in the time of a cross-country flight. In the introduction Tony sets the tone for the book and lays out the expectation that he’s not a writer and purposefully wrote the book in his own voice and without always the best uses of grammar. As a grammar appreciator, I cringed when I read that but actually it was a fantastically chatty read, like a blog but with better editing. I found the whole book incredibly inspirational and practical. Sometimes what you need is someone you can relate to telling you how they got to where they are.

I related to Tony quite a bit–a smart kid who didn’t like to do any extra work when he didn’t have to, he got into a lot of mischief and schemes (to no externally hurtful end) growing up. He also explained how he walked away from 20 million dollars during his dot com “vest in peace” period because he realized he wasn’t happy. That is the kind of chutzpah I know, love and admire.

Making decisions about your own pleasure or happiness over security is something that is shamed in our culture and, if you can master being in touch with yourself enough to know what will make you happy I think you owe it to yourself to risk the happiness. For me, learning to love the uncertainty (and brokeness) that comes with being in the relentless pursuit of my joy and my mission in life has been infinitely spiritually rewarding.

Tony’s discussion of the Zappos Core Values is also relevant not just in business, but in real life. I have highlighted a lot of lines in that section to go back and reflect on, but this was my favorite:

Under the core value “Embrace and Drive Change” Tony says “Ask yourself: How do you plan and prepare for change? Do you view new challenges optimistically? Do you encourage and drive change? How do you encourage more change to be driven from the bottom up? Are you empowering your direct reports to drive change?”

And this, too, from the core value Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded:

“We want everyone to not be afraid to take risks and to not be afraid to make mistakes, because if people aren’t making mistakes then that means they’re not taking enough risks.”

As a bonus to all of the good life and business coaching in the book, I also got to learn about one of the sexiest corporations I can think of. An entire website full of shoe porn, including amazingly multi-faceted shots of Fluevogs. I mean, really.

After reading this book I am definitely ready to continue my MBA in DIY curriculum and keep developing my Femmepire creation strategy.

If you want to get a copy of Delivering Happiness, using this link gives my site a tiny referral credit and with my referral fees I’m going to slowly amass my business book entourage. Next up is Suze Orman’s Young Broke and Fabulous (I’m reading Women and Money right now).

Further, I have a giveaway! Tony sent me an extra copy of the book as a giveaway on my blog. If you comment by midnight Eastern time on June 15 about your dream job (whether it is in a corporation or your own enterprise), you will be entered to win. I’ll pick the winner at random. Good luck!

*Slow readers represent!

2010-05-12

In Solidarity With Those Who Have Been Called “Too Much”

I have a bestie who lives far away. When we used to visit only once a year and not keep up with each other regularly, as soon as she would pick me up from the airport I would ask for the current love life run-down. She is polyamorous and it was (and still is) always an interesting mix of folks.

One time, the list included a girl she was particularly fond of and things were going quite well, except that the girl’s other love interest was quite the opposite of my bestie. “I don’t know how to describe her except that she’s just… very beige.”

What made the situation, and Beige herself, so vexing was that the love interest was starting to spurn my bestie for Beige. “I just don’t know what she sees in Beige. She’s the exact opposite of me.”

This love push and pull between my bestie, that girl, and Beige would go on for years, with the girl bouncing back from monogamy with Beige to my bestie and back again.

I have incorporated the descriptor “Beige” in my love vocabulary now. It’s hard to describe what Beige even means, as a personal trait. Maybe it’s just the absence of bold color? I just know it’s pretty much the opposite of glitter. I identify as glitter, which to me is a color.

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Vagina Jenkins has been told that she is “too much”. Also check out her kickstarter so she can bring her too much to your town!

Glenn Marla has a performance piece in Tragic Magic where he talks about people who have been called “too much”. I’ve been called too much my entire life–too fat, too loud, too feminine, too “lipstick” when I first came out, too expressive, too blah blah blah blah blah.

I hate it. I love big and I always express myself. When I am excited about something I get louder, and I really like to be excited. I am effusive in my praise of people, and when I’m with someone in a romantic context I can make them feel like the only person in the room. I’ve been told this by multiple partners, which is why I tend to date Leos. I have also been told that I am a lot different than people expect by a lot of lovers.

I LOVE romance. I really enjoy giving and receiving special attention and courtship. I am so not the kind of girl who can play aloof–I just don’t have time or inclination to pretend to be something I am not. If I can “take it or leave it” I’ll just leave it.

I was told by someone I went on a couple of dates with that I was “a lot to get used to.” It brought up a lot for me–I had so much rage around being told that and it took me a few weeks to unpack. It felt like being told I was too much, even though I know that wasn’t the intention. I guess this post is my way of turning that unexpected rage into productivity.

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Heather has been told she is “too much”. Me, too. That’s why I got big hair, to go along with my big personality.

Heather and I were talking about being too much and how people get so scared and run to the easy, non-threatening beige. “It’s so unfortunate because they could have something so good and so easy, but instead they run away like a coward and don’t want to deal. If I wanted to date people who didn’t want to communicate and were douchebags I’d just go back to straight dudes.”*

We’ve both been left for people who didn’t hold a candle to us. It sucks! I don’t even know how to tell you how to deal with that except just to let it show you who that person really is. If someone prefers beige to glitter than it tells you that they don’t have it in them to date you and they don’t deserve you.

I go out with people and I see they have all of this potential and then all of a sudden they’re dumping you in a picture text message from the Gossip Girl set.** It can take a minute to realize that they really just showed you all you needed to know about them from their bad behavior.

I don’t know what it is like to be left for someone who is fabulous. I’ll let you know if it happens. I don’t usually get left for someone else, though, I get left because people aren’t emotionally ready to deal with anything, not even the conversation where we come to some agreement about what our casual romance, Romance, or ROMANCE could look like.*** I mean, everything is negotiable. And if it isn’t then at least you know it isn’t and that in and of itself is some sort of answer. I just think it’s worse being left in the dust holding nothing and wondering what the hell happened.

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My BFF Rachael, the Donna of Femme Mafia International, has been told that she is “too much”. Hey Atlanta, check out her new monthly Friday Femme Centered party starting THIS Friday, Friends With Benefits. Info here.

My friend Taueret has a tattoo that says “I love harder than expected.” I think that’s true for a lot of Ferocious Femmes and other flamboyant queers. I think it scares people. I mean, it’s true, some of the most scoundrely scoundrels I have dealt with let loose the “I love yous” within a week of starting to date me, which I ate up. I like to think that I am learning how to temper it a bit and be a little bit more skeptical about professions of forever(!!), and of course not profess love too early. But I do believe in showing people affection. And when you’re enthusiastic about people, actually saying “You’re awesome!” instead of hiding who you are and how you feel.

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Taueret. Frankly I just don’t understand how there can be too much of her love.

My bestie Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha told me once on the heels of another fizzled romance that she feels like this agent who incites change–that she tends to somehow be that catalyst for the people she dates to suddenly start working on their issues, and then they are sadly no longer emotionally available to date. It feels very frustrating when this happens over and over again.

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I feel like if Leah is an agent who incites change, it is somehow made less threatening and more appealing by her propensity for wearing hot miniskirts. I’m just saying.

There’s no great answer to this. I want to tell you all there is absolutely someone out there for you and that suddenly your Prince(ss) charming will show up and tell you that you are SO much instead of TOO much. I do firmly believe that there is someone out there for everyone. I just also know from personal, current experience that it takes empyreal patience to find someone who is in it for the full flamboyance, nurturing, love, whatever you have to give.

It took so much work to become the confident, courageous, colorful and caring person that I am. I won’t quiet it and I won’t be shushed just to make someone like me back. The right romantic interest, friends and community would want me to be my most vibrant self.

Being a risk-taker in love is going to pay off. I will always have experiences worth writing about, good and bad, I will always have things to learn from. I will always keep changing and keep growing. I am the kind of person who needs an adventurous risk-taker to come along for the ride. I encourage everyone to take risks, big and small, in love and in life as much as you can. It is what makes life so much more interesting than beige.

I had a great date with a really hot, fat, tattooed older butch who said they didn’t like make-out parties because “I’m a specialty food. The people who are attracted to me are really into me. But there are lots of people who aren’t.”

I have found a lot of empowerment from this statement. Being a specialty food is something special. It makes me a lot more interesting–going through the work I have had to go through to unlearn self-hatred and myriad of other things has made me a really fun and fascinating person. It makes the days I feel good really fucking shine, for no reason in particular. It means the work I do as a Queer Fat Femme performer, writer and activist is to create visibility. I hope my visibility helps all of the young Queer Fat Femmes out there have an easier time with dating when they’re 31. Maybe in 10 years Queer Fat Femmes won’t be such a speciality food (but will still be special!).

There’s no magic formula to making someone not intimidated by you. There’s no magic formula to helping people get over a lifetime of hatred to love themselves enough to want to date someone who is nice to them. It’s true for any marginalized identity, fat folks, dis/abled folks, people of color, trans folks, survivors, queers, etc…

I can give you this answer: There is only patience and confidence that as a community, if we love each other enough and work to help one another heal, we’ll create queers who are confident enough to love out loud and give glitter (and orange, purple, and paisley) a chance.

*I want to say there are plenty of straight dudes who are not douchebags.
**True story. “Thought of you. Also let’s not see each other anymore.”
***This is why Unicorn Dick is described as that fantastic head, heart, lust, timing combination–timing is often a bitch. Um, also, I hate this trend amongst queers where it feels like we can’t talk about “WHAT IT IS THAT WE’RE DOING” because it’s so threatening to have words for it. Come up with something creative but don’t avoid talking about it because it’ll scare someone away. It just leaves you left with no ending because there was no real beginning. Dangling participles are sucky in grammar and suckier still when they hurt your heart!

2010-05-07

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Identifying Your Emotions Edition

A couple of months ago I had a little miscommunication with someone around me stating that I was feeling jealous about something. She saw it as a red flag whereas I meant it as information, and actually, ultimately a compliment.

Jealousy is such a loaded word and it really doesn’t need to be. I’m an only child, I get jealous about lots of ridiculous things–friends, success, clothes, lovers, access to cable television. I have learned how to manage my jealousy internally and rarely feel it more than fleetingly. I have also learned that jealousy is a great information gathering tool for myself in terms of checking in with my emotions.

When it comes down to it, if I don’t care about someone enough to feel some jealousy, I probably don’t want to be friends or lovers with them. But me being jealous is not that deep.

Enter Glenn Marla, with a new term for the queer lexicography.

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JELLO. JELLO is a shorthanded way of saying jealous. “I am feeling a little JELLO about that” sounds much less threatening to yourself and the person you are expressing it to than jealous. Jealousy has such a bad rap, but if you can use the shorthand of “Having some JELLO” it feels easier to deal with. No weight watchers points, single serving. Try it, it’s fun.

“Hey baby, I just needed to tell you I am feeling JELLO about your date on Monday, so if you could make some time for me on Sunday to hold hands and watch a re-run of Glee, it would take the edge of my JELLO.”

This is a derivative of the term “J.Lo” which was brought to us via Damien Luxe via some generous queers in Philly.

Battleshipping. You know when you meet up with a friend, bring your laptops and do work together but separately, which somehow keeps you more accountable to the work product and slightly encourages you not to look up Jersey Shore news on Gawker? If you ever think about what it looks like with two people and their laptops back to back, it’s just like the rad board game Battleship. Heather came up with the term and was throwing it around about Silas and Damien and for awhile I really thought she meant they were playing board games.*

“Hey Zoe, want to meet up for Battleship next week? I really need to haul ass on the production of my book. Kate Bornstein wants to see one out of me soon.”**

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Me, Kate and Carmelita Tropicana at the reading for King Kong Theory, published by the Feminist Press.

Maple Chaser. I have thrown this term around on this blog before, but basically it is someone who has an affinity for Canadians. Like a chubby chaser or other such semi-creepster terms. I heard about it for the first time on FetLife. I like it for the double entendre of Canadian people and also maple as a food/concept. I think Canadians are hot and really love to visit Canada.*** And I love maple syrup, maple flavored anything, and especially maple donuts. They are very uncommon in New York, but very common in my home state of California. I have them at least twice a visit when I go to Canada.

“I find that tattooed butch from Toronto a triple threat in the lust department–I am a Maple Chaser.”

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Me. In Toronto. I am due for a trip. Book me for a gig!

The Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs. I use this term to describe that beginning courtship phase when people do sweet things to woo you. It is in reference to an actual girl who wooed me by making me amazing meals involving both of those things. Several weeks later, she stopped the wooing without explanation. I kept hanging on, waiting for The Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs to resume. What I didn’t realize was that she was showing me another aspect of her personality, though I was having a hard time adjusting to this new version of her when I liked the TDOFC&DE version so much more than the one that was ignoring me.

It is my belief that the Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs should never cease–a relationship needs to involve a certain amount of continuous courtship. Courtship does not require a great deal of energy, just a little thoughtfulness. (Check out the FemmeCast episode on courtship for some great ideas and guidance.)

“It is really difficult to do, but I need to move on. Now that The Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs have ended I am not being treated very well, and I deserve to be cherished. My feelings for her are strong, but my feelings for me are stronger.”

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Enjoying Fried Chicken with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Our friend courtship continues, as we approach our 2 year friendaversary at the 2010 Femme Conference.

*Both highly productive people in my life, I wondered why they were having game night and not inviting me. I felt a little Jello about it until I realized it was a work/production date. Ha ha!
**Real quote! Nothing kicks you in the ass like meeting and performing with one of your heroes and having them tweet that at you!
***Seriously, Toronto has these incredible hot dog carts with all different kinds of hot dogs, tofu, turkey, regular, sausage and then tons of great toppings to put on them! And lots of hot queers, fun things to do, good beer, cheap ferry rides, amazing restaurants…

2009-11-08

The Lily’s Revenge

Friday morning I awoke from a really intense nightmare. An ex lover of mine had revealed herself to be a serial killer and was in the process of herding together me and a group of girls to slaughter, aided by a celebrity I follow on Twitter. I don’t have creepy violent dreams very often, but mornings like those I am totally grateful to wake into the groggy paws of Macy.

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In sharp and magical contrast, I spent the latter portion of my day watching Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge. If I could choose a perpetual dreamscape to have every night, it would be this play.

The Lily’s Revenge is part Noh play, part verse play, part vaudevillian theatric, part installation, part puppet theatre, and part dance, in a site-specific extravaganza. Using flowers as a metaphor for queer (meaning different, not specifically gay) communities, Taylor Mac, with six collaborating directors and an ensemble of more than 40 performers and musicians, tells the tale of a flower’s quest to become a manin order to wed its beloved bride. As the flower’s journey unfolds, it finds itself at the center of a revolution of flowers intent on destroying their oppressor, The God of Nostalgia. A radical experiment in “genre-squishing,” The Lily’s Revenge is a multidisciplinary pastiche exploring themes of homogenization of city, culture, and community, marriage and gay marriage agendas, and the role of theatre as a catalyst for action.

From NY Theatre.com*

I had been hearing about it for months since my friend Glenn Marla plays a Poppy flower. I was hesitant to go because, you know, 5 hour theater commitment, $35 price tag. But that’s only $7 an hour and I knew it would be an experience if nothing else.

And it was! About 20 minutes into the first act I decided even if the play began to drag I would be entertained by the costumes alone. Designed by Machine Dazzle, almost every character was coated in glitter, shiny fabric and tulle, the stuff of my wildest drag costume imagination. The make-up, too, was mesmerizing and glitterific. I told World Famous *BOB* that I wanted to live inside her wig (a giant pink orb full of pink lilies and butterflies), she said there was a guest apartment in there just for me.

The point of this blog piece is to get you to go see the show if you are in New York City in the next two weeks, (and therefore the costumes and make-up should be left a delightful surprise) but in case you aren’t, check out this amazing gallery. Everything on that stage is stunning.

While the show is technically 5 hours, there are three recesses, where they encourage you not to use your cell phones and be present. There is so much to do and so much interaction! I loved this video monologue (performed by many actors dressed like Radical Faeries crossed with Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and sea creatures) that told Taylor’s story and gave a good background for the inception of the epic show.

There was a Discussion Disco in one of the cast’s dressing rooms where you could dance it out, chat with fellow audience members, get your make-up done, write your hopes and dreams on cocktail napkins. You could go into this place called Context Corner that had all of the source materials for the show, as well as a computer hooked up with the wiki for Lily’s Revenge**. That was my favorite, as I fell more and more in love with the show with each act, I wanted to find out how Taylor came up with it.

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Photos from the real time slide show in one of the interactive intermission experiences. The bottom one is Glenn and Heather.

The story is endearing and romantic. It’s the kind of thing that has gelled for me all of the notions of romance and dating that have been floating through my consciousness for the last couple of years, how important it is to love the self first, how necessary it is to not allow yourself to be boxed into the standard narrative–in the play, bride and groom. It hasn’t undone for me what the last 20 years of romantic comedies have created in my tender psyche, but it arms me with ideas of how to combat those notions of success being finding a mate.

It is also a powerful reminder about the joy and truth in staying present. Probably one of the things that is important in living a full life is creating a fulfilling “here and now”. Getting to know yourself well enough that you can figure out what makes you happy and having the guts to do it is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

I cried real tears several times, especially during the opening of the second act, when Taylor Mac sings a beautiful song on a ukulele. I hope one day there is a soundtrack.

Taylor Mac is beyond charismatic. I want to see everything he does on stage. There is an incredible boylesque number by James Tigger! Ferguson. And I had an immediate and enduring admiration and lust for Miss Bianca Leigh.

It gave me so much to think about as an event producer, performer and community organizer. I walked away with so much inspiration about what my shows can be and how I can interact with my audience and make my messages tangible. I am not a “theater” person by any means, but the friend who accompanied me is a playwright and said Taylor Mac broke every convention in the New York theater world. I was molested by a Sunflower.

You can buy tickets here. Experiencing this show is something I won’t soon forget.

*The entire review is worth reading, it tells the story of the experience of The Lily’s Revenge much better than I can.
**Also, if you are unable to go to this show, read through the wiki.

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2009-09-18

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Ages and Dating and PR

There’s been a trend amongst my friends lately to date ten years up or ten years down. My friend Heather told me once, her voice dramatically raspy like an aged actress, holding a drink and wobbling a little bit with the truthiness of alcohol, “You gotta get ’em before or after they’re in the thick of their shit. 29 year olds are weighted down with issues.”

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I have to say I’ve found some seduction in that idea. When my fiance and I broke up I was a little obsessed with finding a 39 year old butch divorcee. My theory was that it took the end of at least one significant adult forever releationship to season someone enough that they could do it better the second time. Also, I had a couple of friends at the time who were dating 39 year olds and they seemed like breaths of fresh air compared to the crop of 28 year old scoundrels I had been dealing with.

Of course, it’s not that simple. A year later it turned out at least one of those 39 year olds was a super powered douchebag and I never should have looked to her for any sort of relationship idealizing.

However, I will say age and experience are an important factor in how compatible someone is with you and what kind of match you’re looking for. But now there’s a new crop of Queer Lexicography to explain the big giant age difference!

A Tiny is someone who is in their barely twenties.* Tinies can be great. They are someone you can be really tender with because of their stark vulnerability in contrast to your older jadedness. They can be really fun to corrupt. They can also help you not take things so seriously. Tinies sometimes have more active sex drives. They can make you feel really old when they don’t understand your Jem and the Holograms references.

Because they are tiny they are fresh faced and full of energy, and you can train them to suit. Basically it’s like you want to enjoy them and be the hot older woman who teaches them things. When a tiny doesn’t act right you have to understand that this is your opportunity to not only help the tiny but also help the community. Pay it forward, if you will. I’ve had a few lovers who definitely benefitted from prior experience with someone much older. I got to reap those benefits, too!

Someone who is in their barely twenties is probably much less likely to be the marriage and kids kind of forever dater the way same age people are. That’s a nice relief and a lot less pressure. More emphasis on dating for the fun of it and less on the dating with expectations.

Of course, like with all relationships, you have to be careful with your Tiny. You don’t want to ruin them and make them jaded like you are.

Being someone’s Tiny is great. Instead of dating someone else in their barely twenties where you’re just sort of fumbling through things with a soundtrack of Sarah McLachlin and don’t know any better between the two of you, someone shows you the ropes of how to be in and communicate in and have fun in the queer community.

Being someone’s Decade Down, is sort of like a Tiny, except you’re not in your barely twenties and have some life experience, have done the Saturn Return and thus have a lowered tolerance for bullshit. You can be the young one in their friend crowd, who is fun and full of energy and wants to go out dancing more than once a month. Your Decade Up is your connection to a certain part of queer history that you didn’t live but maybe read about in Michelle Tea novels. They can teach you more tricks in the sack because hopefully they’re more experienced. They are over being the wandering panty chaser and want to settle down a little bit. Maybe.

Experience always trumps age. But unless you’re a crazy overachiever or chronically unable to learn from your mistakes, age makes a difference in how you relate to people and life. I’ve also learned that just because someone is older it doesn’t mean they are automatically good in bed, but that is true more often than it is not.

You shouldn’t mess up a good thing by getting bogged down with age stuff. Heather likes to say “Who fucking cares? Shut up you’re ruining everything.”

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In other words, age, like other relationship differences, is sexy and fun to play with when appropriate. Like zodiac signs. But there’s no way to say just because someone is a Scorpio they are definitely going to fuck you over, though it’s quite possible.**

I got another addition emailed to me by Mira Bellwether the other day that I’ve already rolled into my Queer Lexicography.

Pussy Response: PR

This is a term my friends and I have been using for a while now, frequently or usually abbreviated to PR, especially in polite company, and for the sake of coding (and abbreves.) The appeal of Pussy Response to me is that it describes an active process/state of being that belongs to the person who expresses it, rather than a passive state of being or one that is done to someone (“she makes me wet.”) The latter is sometimes accurate, but I like having a term that puts things in terms of my desire rather than what someone else is up to. PR also doesn’t necessarily rely on wetness to gauge sexual response or arousal, but it can be part of the whole pussy response experience. We also talk about PR campaigns, and PR can be an exclamation like “Hot!” that focuses on what the speaker’s body is doing rather than stating something about the object of desire.

Examples:

“The bartender at that place gives me total PR!”

“Did you see her arms? PR!”

“I have such PR for that boy.”

“You look amazing tonight, you’re sending me on a PR campaign!”
“Oh really? Well, you’re going to feel my PR all over your face as soon as I get you home.”

I’ve also heard tell of at least one butch using the modified “CR” for cock response, but the association with consciousness-raising makes me slightly uneasy.

I, on the other hand, love consciousness raising, so CR will work around me. Thanks for the addition Mira!! The deviled egg hair fascinator you made me is creating a PR campaign in the queer fat femme community.

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*Sugar plums, let’s keep it 18 and over, always.
**That’s a shout out to my good friend who shall remain nameless. USE YOUR WORDS to break up with people, not the ignore button on your iphone!!

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