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

2013-09-20

The Return of Rebel Cupcake on Friday September 27th and Upcoming Queer Dance Parties

Rebel Cupcake has been on hiatus since May. I decided to put it on the shelf for a bit because I needed a venue/night change. I was hearing a lot that the Thursday night aspect was hard for folks. I got the opportunity to use our original venue, Sugarland, again at an earlier time on a Friday night and I’m thrilled to bring it back periodically for new adventures!

The event is from 8-10, with a little bit longer show at 8:30. Still free gourmet cupcakes, a great DJ and a photo booth by Kelsey Dickey!

This month we’re celebrating The Craft! The 90s teen witch dramedy about peer pressure, fitting in and wiccan mischief.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Here’s the info:

Check out these incredible performers!

From Washington, DC, my old friend MIASIA is performing! She’s basically an international belly dance legend and truly the most unforgettable belly dancer I’ve ever seen.

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On a break from international touring is Kit Yan, who always brings the most tender and magical, powerful and uplifting spoken word to the Rebel Cupcake stage. I can’t wait to have him back!

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Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Fancy Feast began her burlesque career as the resident stage kitten for Rebel Cupcake and is now making huge strides in the NYC burlesque scene and beyond.

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Photo by Courtney Trouble.

Chris Tyler is a Brooklyn-based pop satirist performance artist who does brilliant work that always surprises me. Here’s a photo of Chris performing as Taylor Swift performing as Dolly Parton serving the Paula Deen donut burger at Rebel Cupcake.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Miss Mary Wanna is one of the witchiest burlesque performers I know and she calls Rebel Cupcake a home stage even though she lives in Philly. I am really stoked for what she has planned!!!

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At Rebel Cupcake in January, Miss Mary Wanna felatted two sticks of butter while dressed like Paula Deen. What will she prepare next? Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Our DJ is NEON MUSIC, from the amazing band Youthquake! Playing Riot Grrrl, 90s R&B and lots of 90s dramatic witchy tracks like Kate Bush and Tori Amos on the dancey side of them.

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Cupcakes by guest cupcake baker, Winter Laike at Mixtape Cupcakes!

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Drae Campbell is running the door!

The event is over at 10pm but SWOON takes over until 4am, David John Sokolowski’s monthly blacklight party that is a wild magic pile of homosexual magic. You’ll love it if you want to stay on and keep dancing.

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Photo by Think Theater Queer Photography at Swoon last month.

This show is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to have you all back at Rebel Cupcake. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I began plotting this one!

Full moon tarot reading, witchy stuff. Listening to mellow, nostalgic music, thinking of loves come and gone, moving life forward, curiosity.
Witch witch you’re a witch!

***
Other events on the horizon: Wham Bam, our afternoon hang out party, is September 29th at Huckleberry Bar. More info here!

The long awaited return of Yes Ma’am, the queer body positive party I throw with DJ Average Jo and Nicky Cutler. October 5th at the mansion! Mark your calendar!

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I’m fundraising to sustain QueerFatFemme.com and my art projects! Please consider supporting with a gift subscription (and getting some great prizes) if you have been touched by this site!

2012-12-27

Bringing Woo to Nightlife: Group Solstice Ritual

My friend Mackenzi told me once “You really bring the woo to nightlife.” She is totally right. I think if you have humor and sincere intention you can easily create something very meaningful in nightlife. It may seem counterintuitive, nightlife is often perceived as very shallow, looks-oriented and perception of people without depth. (And, honestly, how deep can you go when you can’t really talk to people over the deep thumpathumpa of the music?) I pride myself on creating events that help people connect, together with my spirituality and deep lez inclinations, every so often woo finds its way into my productions.

I like queer dance parties because it’s a place where the community comes together to celebrate life. I think dancing is a really spiritual act, especially to pop icons like Nicky Minaj (“Moment for Life” anyone?). There’s also a lot of Goddess iconography in pop, as pointed out by my bestie Rachael.

There was a great article about the Mayan calendar ending on Solstice 2012 from the perspective of actual Mayan elders and I really appreciated the following quote.

Go to the sacred places of the Earth to pray for peace , and have respect for the Earth which gives us our food, clothing and shelter. We need to reactivate the energy of the sacred places. This is our work.

Rebel Cupcake is certainly one of my sacred places. One of the best compliments I’ve gotten about it is that the person felt like this was the place they felt they could most be themselves in queer nightlife. The December 20, 2012 show being the night before the Winter Solstice I wanted to make it extra special. I put together six acts–four more than I usually book–at the intersections of the theme of Muppets, the end of the world (as we know it) and the darkness transforming to light that the solstice represents. I also adapted a group solstice ritual for use on the stage. The following is what happened.

All photos by resident Rebel Cupcake photographer, Kelsey Dickey.

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The cupcakes were Mexican Hot Chocolate flavored (with dark chocolate and tequila) by Cupcake Princess Morgan, who said if it was the end of the world that’s what she’d want to drink.

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Our first act was Miss Poison Ivory, with a fallen angel burlesque act to Alanis Morrissette’s “Uninvited.” It was really moving and beautiful. (It also made me recall Alanis Morrissette’s role as God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma.)

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Our second act was the first public musical instrument act by spoken word phenom, Kit Yan. It was so tender! He began with a poem about Kermit and Miss Piggy that involved a lot of Muppet voices and then a really sweet, soft and tender version of Rainbow Connection that invited audience participation. It was so heartfelt!

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Next up was a burlesque act by Rebel Cupcake virgin Abby Fantastic, who was top of her class in burlesque school. It was to Rihanna’s “S&M” with an underlying Mad Max and the Thunderdome theme. The crowd went wild!

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Damien Luxe brought the next act. A performance art piece as an argonaut who had just landed in her pink spaceship with a message from the future. Her message was about the qualities we will need during the apocalypse. It was hilarious. I need to learn how to build a log cabin.

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I did an interlude with a Solstice ritual I had prepared to be shared by the entire audience. Fancy Feast, our wonderful Stage Kitten, was my Spirituality Bottom. I had her walk through the audience in a circle with burning sage to cleanse the energy, because the first part of the ritual was a cleansing. Part of the power of Solstice is the letting go of the darkness and moving toward light, which is also what the prediction for the Mayan Calendar ending, a changing of the world towards a more humane civilization.

I based the ritual on a group releasing ceremony on this website that I had done with some friends around a bonfire last Solstice.

Ritualizing release is a way to “bind the medicine” of moving beyond the past, the pain, the obstacles, the resistance, the old traps, the excuses.

The premise is that we release those things that no longer serve us by writing them on a piece of paper, binding the list with string, and burning it to transform them into light and then ash.

I knew that as a group we could do something together with our energy. So I had everyone focus their energy with the things they wanted to “write” to leave behind in the darkness of 2012 onto a piece of cupcake stationary. I took the paper and rolled it up, gave it to Fancy to hold, and tied string around it.

I set it aflame from my candle and burned it in a bowl. Fancy then took a dream weed and burned it in a circle around the room to encourage us to have clarifying dreams about our future and what we want to manifest for the new, humane world order.

I really like this ritual for groups as well as individuals. It also doesn’t only have to be during Solstice, I think anytime you have something you want to let go of, writing and burning is really good for an energy cleanse.

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Bikini Thrill brought a burlesque act to “Revelations” by Yoko Ono and Cat Power. She stripped out of a cloak and handed out stars to the audience. It was so touching and felt as though Bikini Thrill was performing more with her energy than with dance or stripping. It was incredible.

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Now, our last act was the third annual holiday act by Ariel Speedwagon. She asked me if she could bring a band of unicorns to do a dance and present a Solstice ritual to the Rebel Cupcake crowd. There were flashlights, silver capes, horns, and passing out candles and lighting them throughout the audience.

It was a really wonderful way to end a very moving show. I am so grateful to all of the artists for bringing their acts and energy, the crowd for being such a great audience–they were rapt! Fancy Feast for always being willing to be an all-purpose bottom for whatever performance creativity need I have. For DJ Bryan Black who was on fire all night and celebrated his last Rebel Cupcake after two years of being our resident DJ. For Morgan and the insanely delicious cupcakes that happen every night. For Kelsey Dickey and all the amazing photographs she takes. Hana for running the door, Nicky for holding down the coats, Laura Delarato, our incredible videographer who also celebrated her last Rebel Cupcake.

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I hope everyone is having a great Solstice/Christmas/Gaywitchmas/New Year and you are able to release those things that no longer serve you and welcome in new and exciting ideas.

2012-12-05

Brooklyn! Two Great Parties This Month AND An Incredible New Year’s Eve Bash!

Dear Readers, I’m back from California and have THREE really fun events in the month of December!

Yes Ma’am, Saturday, December 8th

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Me, DJ Average Jo, and Vicky Sin, our go go for the first Yes Ma’am.

The first Yes Ma’am was a wild success! It was so fun. The chatio was filled with folks meeting and mingling, the dance floor was popping.

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Our bar staff setting up.

At the end of the night everyone started chanting “One more song! One more song!” DJ Average Jo was on FIRE. The bar sold a steady stream of the Yes Ma’am punch and I am experimenting with some new concoctions for next month to try to ease the hangover. I’m 33, these things matter to me.

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The chatio. Full of queers! My heart burst.

We had the New York Toy Collective tabling and this woman who was cleaning up from the event before Yes Ma’am said to me, “So, really, what kind of party is this exactly?” I assured her it was a dance party and for queers sex toy tables are really no big deal and not neccessarily indicative of some kind of orgy happening at any second. I mean, sure, sometimes but not always.

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The New York Toy Collective pack n plays are so soft, and each is handmade by queers in NYC! Way softer than Vixskin.

Here are the details for this weekend! I hope to see you!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham, Nicky Cutler and DJ Average Jo Present
Yes Ma’am
10PM-2AM Dancing * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
CASH BAR
886 Pacific Street @ Washington, Brooklyn, NY
Prospect Heights (2 blocks from Clinton/Washington C train, 5 blocks from 2/3 to Bergen)

More info and accessibility notes on Facebook.

Also, we’re doing a Yes Ma’am New Year’s Eve party on 12/31/12 (obvs) and the tickets will be $15, with a champagne toast and lots of swanky additions to the Yes Ma’am roster. Stay tuned here for information, but it promises to be swanky, unpretentious, fun and just licentious enough to be epic.

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Rebel Cupcake, Thursday, December 20th

This month’s installment, being so close to my birthday, is encouraging folks to bring their Muppet flamboyance hard. It’s also on the last day of the Mayan calendar, when it is predicted that we will shift to a more humane civilization. I think Rebel Cupcake is the best way to celebrate that!

On the (expanded because I’m feeling indulgent) performance roster this month:

Kit Yan
Kit Yan, playing Rainbow Connection on the ukelele.

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Ariel Speedwagon, in her third holiday season Rebel Cupcake, with a tribe of holiday unicorns. (Ariel is pictured in the center of the photo next to me, with the Menorah bling.) Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

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Damien Luxe, performing the end of the world alphabet. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

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Abby Fantastic, fresh burlesque bottom to the Rebel Cupcake stage. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

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Miss Poison Ivory, back to the stage, bringing a fallen angel act. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

All this and gourmet cupcakes!! All the info is as follows (and on Facebook for pre-cruising):

Thursday, December 20th, 2012 * Brooklyn, NY
Bevin Branlandingham Presents
Rebel Cupcake 32: Muppets @ The End of the World
10PM-2AM Dancing; show 11ish * $7
($2 off admission if you are on our texty texty list)
Late night dancing til 4a
Sugarland: 221 N 9th St @ Roebling, Brooklyn, NY
(3 blocks from the Bedford L subway stop)

*Sugarland DJ Bryan Black spins slow jams & riot grrrl favs to get you going, dance beats all night to keep you moving at a house party level–perfect for dancing and mingling!

*Kelsey Dickey is our photographer and excited to decorate your facebook page with antics from our wild photo booth! The photos are up on our group page–join!
http://www.facebook.com/groups/110847398949000/

*Check out Rebel Cupcake TV by Arsenal E., the Rebel Cupcake Videographer! http://www.youtube.com/user/rebelcupcakevideos

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

*Stage Kittening this month: Fancy Feast.

Suggested dress: Muppet chic, Miss Piggy, Fozzie the Bear, Beaker, Kermit. Remember, Rebel Cupcake is the place to wear that outfit you have no other occasion to wear. Bring it. It’s the end of the world as we know it (as predicted by the Mayan Calendar).

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

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

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

2011-10-17

GAY SEX WEEK: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Finding People to Have Gay Sex With You

Hi friends and welcome to NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK, where each day this week I am going to talk about GAY SEX to increase LGBT presence in the media. I thought that the first thing I would address about was how to find other people to have gay sex with you.

Conveniently, this solicited advice question landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago. I offer some solid tips to you, dear readers, and some direct advice to someone who has a specific desire.

Dear Bevin,

I’m not sure who else to come to with this and you seem like the kind of person who doesn’t mind listening- so here’s my problem, I don’t know where to meet femmes that are into other femmes. I’m a cisgendered female and I present in a very feminine way and that also happens to be what I’m attracted to, but ever since I came out, I’ve dated butch identified women because that’s what I thought I had to do. I don’t want to do that anymore, I’m twenty five now and I want to be with someone that I’m actually attracted to.

My problem is finding them. All the femmes I meet either say really offensive things right off the bat (a big red flag for me is women who say, “if I wanted to date someone that looked like a man, I would just date a man”) or prefer to be with non femme identified people. Where are all the femmes that are into other femmes (and are also not racist/sexist/homophobic/mean and are body positive feminists)? They must be out there, right? Where do I meet them? Should I lower my standards?

I realize you’re not an advice column, so thank you for listening. Your blog is wonderful, it’s guided me through some serious issues and I will forever appreciate your willingness to be a voice in the dark.

Thanks,

NO FOFA FOR ME

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Femme on Femme! Miss Mary Wanna gropes Fancy Feast. Both will be performing on November 10th at Rebel Cupcake’s Cat Party! All photos by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Dear NO FOFA FOR ME:

Thank you for the compliment about my blog! I love being a voice in the dark for folks. Or a voice in the glitter for other folks. I have every confidence you are going to get laid. Sometimes it really seems like you are a Femme wandering the desert wanting a glass of water to drink with nothing but mirages on the horizon but just like that (imagine a swishy gay snap) everything will change for you.

GETTING LAID TIP THE FIRST: Do It Yourself
This is a little bit of a trick answer, because before you do anything about finding a sex partner it really helps to be having an enriching solo sex life. Light candles, take yourself out on dates, take a bath, woo yourself. Be physically experimental. I’ll admit to often defaulting to being a lazy masturbator, but I think nothing attracts someone to you like the glowy glowy aura of having good orgasms on your own. During my “walking through the desert” times anytime I go out if I’m doing myself right I have more fun in the world and get more flirts.

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GETTING LAID TIP THE SECOND: Name Your Desire
You are already doing something right, which is you’ve found and named a desire. There is nothing in the GAY SEX handbook that says you only get to have sex with certain other kinds of gays. Femmes don’t have to just have sex with Butches, just like the sports dykes don’t have to just stay isolated to their own kind and lesbians who look like Justin Bieber don’t just have to have sex with pop star lookalikes. The queer umbrella is pretty magical in that way, folks who run in my circles have sex with all kinds of different gender presentations and preferred gender pronouns, cisborn or not.*

I know this is not true of all gay circles, what with gender and sex policing. Gender and sex policing makes it harder for other folks to get laid! That makes me sad. When it comes to sex I think the more the merrier. I want all of my fellow gay comrades to be getting as laid as possible.

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That said, I think the climate for how accepted Femme on Femme Action (FOFA) is changes from queer group to group. I believe really firmly in being the change you want to see in your community. Be really vocal about your desire, tell your friends you like Femmes. Most people want to help you get laid. I have a really specific kind of pairing I like to partake in (Femme/Fag**), I articulated it to a bunch of folks while I was walking through that desert, listened to that Stevie Nicks song “Leather and Lace” a lot and then it sort of happened for me. I didn’t do these things specifically to get laid but just to honor my desire (see below), and I think it happened for me because I articulated my desire and then let go of the results.

GETTING LAID TIP THE THIRD: Honor Your Desires
Another thing I want to make clear is you should never lower your standards. Being a picky identified person myself, I know that not lowering my standards means a lot of sex-free months between sweethearts, walking through that desert longer than usual. My mind is my erogenous zone and when I don’t like someone that much personally/politically I just lose my wood for them entirely. But it also means I am never spending time with folks just for the sake of getting laid. (Hence the importance of item one above.)

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Katie (center) wrote on PrettyQueer.com about how she is not that into sex. I think everyone should get as laid as they want, not everyone likes to have sex and I believe the right 10 minute person is out there for her who will do it to her while she watches Real Housewives.

GETTING LAID TIP THE FOURTH: Get Your Friends to Help
I think it is good karma to help other people get laid. It’s like this feedback loop of if everyone is getting laid I’m going to get laid, too, eventually. I am a natural matchmaker and keep my eyes and ears peeled for folks I know who are single. So tell all your friends what you’re looking for and eventually someone will know someone.

It is also super important to let folks know your relationship status! I always ask people’s friends if they are available. Lots of people are in open relationship situations. I think that if you have a Free Ass Pass or are Monogamish or PolyOneWay the onus is on you to let your friends know so they can help you get laid and help their other available friends zero in on you.

I also believe in starting your own community groups to create affinity. I am sure there are lots of other body positive, anti-racist queer folks near you hankering just as much as you are to find community and get dates. Whether you want to sleep with them is variable, but I find if you make friends with someone with politics that match up with yours they likely have friends who have similar politics and can introduce you. Community organizing is a great way to meet folks. I wrote up a blog post about starting a community organizing group.

I mean, do community organizing because you’re passionate about something not because you want to get dates (we’re not living in a sitcom–I can easily imagine Neil Patrick Harris’ character on How I Met Your Mother doing this) but if you’re genuinely pursuing your paths and your desires you will meet folks and have more dates.

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GETTING LAID TIP THE FIFTH: Rejection is Expected
Rejection is a practice. Nobody ever died of awkward. Anytime you are pursuing getting dates or laid it is going to involve rejection. The more you get rejected the easier it becomes and besides, why waste your time coveting someone who is not able to see how awesome and succulent you are?

GETTING LAID TIP THE SIXTH: Turn Getting Laid Into a Hobby
In the spirit of getting your friends to help, I asked a friend of mine who is getting very laid right now to send me some tips about how to get laid. They told me that getting laid was their main hobby, which is why they were so successful.

A) To improve your odds, go where the action is. Find out where like minded people who share your interest will be and show up.*** If you want sexual connection, go to a sex positive environment like a sex/play party or sex education event. Once there, talk to folks about what you are interested in and be open to learning if this is a new experience for you.

B) Persistence pays off so be prepared to show up more than once. Any kind of connection with folks is a combination of repeated presence over time and community requires participation. Find the groups or events that you feel drawn to and become a regular so people can get to know you and what you have to offer and vice versa. For the biggest bang for your buck, volunteer!

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Kit Yan!

C) Be open minded about your own desires. There’s a fine line between knowing what you want and going after it, and being too focused on a specific thing that might not exist exactly the way you envision it. Your best bet is to be curious about meeting people where they are and seeing how that resonates with you. Be open to being surprised so you can see what is actually being offered even if it doesn’t perfectly match your expectations.

D) Practice safer sex. Protect yourself and your community with pride. Know your boundaries of what is safe for you and learn how to communicate that to potential partners. This includes being able to say no to people who might be using substances that would impair their judgement. You want a hot and joyful connection that both (or all!) of you will remember with no regrets.

Sex is part of your lifelong journey of self expression. Since it’s the part with orgasms, it can be worth a little effort to step outside of your comfort zone and into something new and exciting. Enjoy the ride!

I hope this list helps you all find folks to have lots of GAY SEX with in celebration of NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK!

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*My favorite PGP is Majestic’s “gutteral moan.”

**I’m attracted to lots of different folks, including Femmes, but Femme/Fag (no matter the gender looks and acts like a Fag) tends to be my most common pairing and is oddly specific. Also, lots of folks say “[That person] is a Fag” to me a lot as though that should discourage me from pursuing it. But lots of queer folks do it a lot of different kinds of queer folks, including Muppet Femmes like me.

***Also, no matter your attempts to get laid, it is really important to show up for causes and parties and local businesses that are important to you. Your participation is important, your dollars matter and your community will shrivel up without your support. Don’t stop going to parties assuming they will always be there, keep shopping at your local store that caters to you and supports your community first.

2011-09-25

I Lust 80s Rock Vests

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Photo by Amos Mac.

My darlings I have a current style obsession. It all started at the beginning of the summer when one of the style blogs I cruise on Tumblr, Miss Amelia Butter (dear lord she’s a babe) started posting about 80s rock vests. She just kept talking rock vest and I was listening.

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Favorite outfit of Summer 2011, this sun dress and my rock vest. Pictured with Leslie!

What is a rock vest? Well, it’s a vest that goes over any outfit and makes it more bad ass. The basic rock vest is denim and endlessly customizable. I like to wear them about 2-3 sizes too small to give my cleavage its rightful center stage.

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Luckily one popped into Re/Dress and my obsession only grew. I wore it immediately and my co-workers were there in accidental solidarity–three of us wore rock vests and sun dresses on the same day.

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Chavon has many rock vests. Here she pairs it with tight skirt and vintage undergarments and rock gloves.

Denim rock vests are amazing. However, I love when a rock vest comes in leather or fur. Re/Dress had this incredible White Snake video stylin’ blue tie dye leather studded situation I lamented was a bit too small for me. Whoever bought that rock vest I salute you.

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Glenn Marla has been wearing rock vests for about the entire 8 years I have known him. I love this one he scored during the early years of Re/Dress. Photo by Amos Mac for Original Plumbing Magazine.

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Giving the crazy eye, wearing the grey rock vest, paired with feather earrings and pussy necklace. Together with Mr. Transman 2010 Kit Yan and Miss Heather.

Rock vests are a punk staple. I know a million people who never stopped wearing them. I think Chicago probably has about 68 layers of bling on his rock vests.

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Chicago (a/k/a Princess Tiny and the Meats) to the left in the light denim rock vest. AR Punk as lead singer in the amazing black rock vest. I didn’t get a shot but his rock vest says on the back, over a rainbow flag “These Colors Don’t Run.”

I never thought I was bad ass enough to actually dress bad ass. Is that weird? I mean, objectively I am a bad ass, but I was really interested in appearing to be a “good girl” on the outside growing up and sometimes, even though I can dress pretty slutty, I still forget and think of myself as not bad ass enough to pull something off. So, here I am, wearing rock vests and making pretty much anything I have on (including darling purple maxi dresses) look that much more bad ass.

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Or if not bad ass at least a little bit edgier and dressed down for a jaunt through Central Park.

Next stop is the design element. I’m going to add the Rebel Cupcake logo to one of mine, and I think Gumdrop the Fat Unicorn is going to make an appearance to my grey denim rock vest. Rock vests are a crafter’s dream layer. I wonder if there was ever a Quacker Factory rock vest?

Currently I am rocking various pins based on my mood. “Cause dyke drama,” “Cancer sucks,” “I heart Fat Femmes.” I still have a bunch of old pins with my picture on them from when I was 24. I haven’t felt vain enough to rock my own photo or especially one from 8 years (and many hairstyles) ago but maybe one day it’ll make sense.

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Victoria models Gumdrop the Fat Unicorn bandannas.

On my rock vest wish list: a red rock vest, a black rock vest, and the perfect rock vest fur collar trim to add to one of them. Some sort of not ridiculously awful air brush artist who will actually service my rock vest enhancement needs unlike the jerk at South Beach Fashion in Rehoboth Beach who said, after making me wait 15 minutes, that he wasn’t going to do any custom work.

Oh well, whatever. I am super into rock vests now and thank Amelia for invigorating this addition to my wardrobe!

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P.S. The BABE CITY, BC, CANADA team from Glitterpolitic. To the right is Majestic rocking a leather rock vest from all ends of the gender spectrum and into the stars. I am using this photo as a vague segue to encourage all of you to go read (on the left) Ashley Aron’s amazing post about people assuming she’s pregnant. They are both incredibly bad ass.

2011-08-21

News Items and Mr. Transman Pageant 2011, Sunday, August 28th in Brooklyn

Hi friends! I’m back from the woods and resuming normal life. As best as I can, of course, since it’s hot and it feels like everyone is still out of town.

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Actually, neither life is “normal”. Photo by Miss M from the Femme Parade.

A few housekeeping items and then a showbiz announcement.

*The story of Cougar, Bevin and the Atlantic City Homophobe was published on Autostraddle. Thanks to everyone who commented or talked to me about it. I even had a close friend who was holding hands with a new beau and instructed in his own neighborhood “Just because you people can get married now doesn’t mean you have to flaunt it.” Oh, we’ve got a long way to go.

*Turns out fat people can be healthy! Thanks CBS news!

*Also, the fatosphere is helping people get healthy! That’s awesome!

*I’m super excited about the Fall Season of Rebel Cupcake and put a call out for performers. If you’re interested it’s over on my Tumblr. If you’re planning a trip to NYC, Rebel Cupcake is the second Thursday of the month at Sugarland in Williamsburg.

*New York Queers! Get excited, next weekend, August 28, at 8PM is the Mr. Transman Pageant at the Brooklyn Knitting Factory! Brought to you by Murray Hill, NYC Showbiz Icon, and my pal Trent Brooks!

The pre-show line-up is fabulous, which alone is be enough to drop $15 and devote your Sunday night.

The dreamy Princess Tiny & The Meats. (Did you know that’s fag slang for tiny penis?)
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His words and sweet sweet guitar will melt you. Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

The awesome Schmekel, a band with a great sound and AMAZING lyrics. (Did you know schmekel is yiddish for tiny penis?)

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Sometimes they pass out guides to the yiddish terms they use in their songs at their college gigs.

Kit Yan, the winner of Mr. Transman 2010. I met Kit through last year’s pageant and he’s now a favorite at Rebel Cupcake and a friend. He’s an incredible slam poet. I can’t wait to see him perform and pass the crown to his successor.

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Kit Yan with Miss Mary Wanna in the Rebel Cupcake photo booth. Photo by Nogga Schwartz (of Schmekel) for Rebel Cupcake.

And speaking of successors! Recall from my bid for Miss LEZ in 2009 that there are many categories in Murray’s pageants:

PLATFORM (I hope they are thinking of catchy ones)
SWIMSUIT (this is nerve wracking–fellas if you get nervous be sure to have a schtick)
INTERVIEW (I hope the judges are thinking of interesting questions)
TALENT (we want to see genuine talent)
EVENING WEAR (I suggest something that glitters)

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Contestant #2 Topher, from his photo on the cover of GO Magazine. Check out the rest of the contestants on this write-up in Velvet Park.

Y’all, this pageant WILL sell out. Buy your tickets now!

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2011-07-26

Hey Brooklyn! August 11th Rebel Cupcake Sad Songs Say So Much!

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I really love sad songs. It’s fun and indulgent to listen to a tragic torch song. I’m a super glass half-full Pollyanna optimist, but I do acknowledge that sometimes queers get so caught up in the “We have to show how happy we are all the time” act and sometimes it’s just plain hard to live a marginalized identity. It’s really lonely sometimes. Especially for those of us who maybe don’t have families around the holidays or who date emotionally absent folks.

With this in mind I curated a sad songs Rebel Cupcake. I’m not afraid to go there at a dance party cabaret. I tapped my pal Kit Yan, amazing slam poet, who is about to give up his crown to the successor Mr. Transman on August 28th at Murray Hill’s pageant. Kit knows how to write a heartbreaker of a poem. He’s also doing a kickstarter pre-sale of his new album, check him out and support queer art!

The infamous Taylor Black is a really talented singer and guitar player and knows the plight of the tragic homosexual.

And to top it all off, Miss Mary Wanna returns with a sad burlesque number. I just told her “Work it out onstage, girl.” I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

After the show we’ll dance to songs about heartbreak!

I’ll be back from my sojourn in the woods and I might sing an off-key version of Vision of Love if the mood feels right. More info on the show here!

Remember to get on the texty texty list to get in for $5!

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.”

2011-01-18

Art and Soul Tomorrow/Cupcake Cabaret on Friday (as part of Quorum Forum)

Art & Soul on Wednesday!

Hey everyone!

Tomorrow night Glenn Marla and Princess Tiny & The Meats are featured in the artist’s salon at Art & Soul.

CultureFIX is an earnest, comfortable art gallery with a beer/wine bar and really good food. The party has a casual vibe and is great for chatting and meeting new people. If you introduce yourself to me and want to meet new interesting queers I will happily introduce you around.

The salon is from 8:30-9, we listen and dance to soul music, look at art on the wall and have fun until midnight.

See you there!!

P.S. It’s happening again next month on Feb 23, featured artists include World Famous *BOB*.

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Cupcake Cabaret at Quorum Forum on Friday, Jan 21!

I am really excited to be producing this celebration of self-love at this amazing free, community festival of queer magic in the middle of Winter. I’m calling Quorum Forum the Queer Winter Olympics. And thrilled to bring together this awesome line-up of performers. I hope you can make it! If anyone can video tape it please let me know!

Friday, January 21, 2011 * Brooklyn, NY
Quorum Forum & Bevin Branlandingham Present
Cupcake Cabaret
9PM-11PM * FREE (Part of the Quorum Forum Festival of Queer Magic)
Manifesta Loft, 315 Seigel St. (Bushwick) Brooklyn
(L to Morgan Ave.)

Bevin Branlandingham curates a free performance of Cupcake Cabaret, her self-love performance variety show that has been performed in NYC and San Francisco. Cupcake Cabaret celebrates the strength we get from what marks us different in this world. Size, gender, sexuality, class, race, dis/ability, age, religion and all numbers of identities bring the artists in the series a sense of power and esteem. Cupcake Cabaret features comedy, drag, burlesque, spoken word, film, performance art and all manner of genres celebrating the radical act of self-love.

QuORUM FORUM is a ten-day extravaganza of knowledge, skills, and talents for the purpose of creating and supporting sustainable community projects. It includes workshops, discussions, skillshares, performances, and parties. All events are FREE.

Detailed event schedule and descriptions can be found at http://quorumnyc.org/.

Performers include:

Kay Ulanday Barrett
Kay Ulanday Barrett
A CAMPUS PRIDE 2009 Hot List artist, Kay Ulanday Barrett is a poet, performer, educator, and martial artist navigating life as a pin@y-amerikan trans/queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. Currently based in NY/NJ, with roots in Chicago, K’s work is the perfect mix of gritty city flex and Midwest open sky grounded in homeland soil. In Mango Tribe and in solo work, K. has featured in colleges and stages nationally and internationally; from the NJ Performing Arts Center to Chicago’s Hot House, The Brooklyn Museum to The Loft in Minneapolis, K’s bold work continues to excite and challenge audiences. Honors include: Chicago’s LGBTQ 30 under 30 awards, Finalist for The Gwendolyn Brooks Open-Mic Award, Windy City Times Pride Literary Poetry Prize 2009, and recently, a contribution in the anthology “Kicked Out” released by Homofactus Press in 2009. K. turns art into action, as a dedicated activist who works with LGBTQ youth and adores remixing recipes.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B
Cheryl B. is an award-winning writer, poet and performer. Her work appears in dozens of print and online publications, including; Ping Pong, Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution and BLOOM, among many others. As a performer she has appeared at numerous New York City literary evenings and toured the U.S. and the U.K. She is the co-curator/co-host of the monthly NYC reading series Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival, serious literature for ridiculous times. Her website is cherylb.com and she blogs at wtfcancerdiaries.com.

Kit Yan
Kit Yan

Recently Featured in the HBO Documentary Asians Aloud, Kit Yan tell stories through slam poetry from the lens of a transgender Asian American from Hawaii now lost in the big city of New York.

Kit’s work has been taught at universities coast to coast, from San Francisco State to Harvard. He spoke to over 200,000 from the stage of the 2009 National Equality March alongside Lady Gaga and Cynthia Nixon, performed on the San Francisco Pride main stage, Creating Change, and is a nationally ranking slam poet. Kit Yan is first ever and reigning Mr. Transman 2010.

“The eloquence of Kit’s spoken-word delivery lies in the anti-racist, anti-homophobic, gender-inclusive, language that ties his lyrics together.”- Bitch Magazine

Miss Mary Wanna
Miss Mary Wanna
This sassy southern creature of the night has been knocking over trash cans, causing hiiiigh-jinx along the east coast, and has once again found her way to the magical streets of New York City. She currently builds her den in Philadelphia, bumpin and grindin in the name of brotherly and sisterly love with other DIY queens and kings alike. Whether she’s peeling away fur or feathers, Miss Mary Wanna is certain to blow your mind and get you high!

Drae Campbell
Drae Campbell
Drae Campbell is a multi-genre performance artist who is as hysterical as she is handsome. The reigning Miss LEZ 2010, Campbell won the title with a performance combining her funny, poignant storytelling and legendary breakdancing. She starred in the short film “You Move Me,” which is touring the world winning awards and teaching life lessons about oranges and relationships.

Femmecee Bevin Branlandingham
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Bevin Branlandingham is “an ultra-rad warrior for self-acceptance.” [Autostraddle.com] She is the Host and Producer of FemmeCast: The Queer Fat Femme Podcast Guide to Life. She is a flamboyant femmecee, writer, drag king, burlesque and comedy performer. She is Co-Head Madam of the Femme Family, the New York Chapter of the Femme Mafia, on the steering committee for the Fat and Queer conference and the media committee for the Femme Conference. In 2008 Bevin received a Commendation from the Mayor of Jersey City for her work with the LGBT community. Her writing has been published in numerous periodicals and she has performed throughout North America. Her mission is to make the world a safe place for people to love themselves, regardless of their marginalizations. Her website (including blog, calendar of events and workshops) is found at QueerFatFemme.Com.

2010-10-30

My Intention Behind Art & Soul

A few weeks ago the director of fun at CultureFIX, this new art gallery/bar/store space approached me about producing a low-key queer night. A friend of hers had been to Rebel Cupcake and suggested my name.

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I went to visit the space and it seemed like a great spot. It’s well-lit like a coffee shop and there is cool art on the wall. The exhibit will change every month. The bar itself has a really cozy vibe and the gallery has couches, chairs, tables with flexible arrangements which makes it perfect as an event space. The bar serves beer, wine and has a menu of nice food. I immediately thought, “This is the kind of place I want to hang out with my friends.”

Rebel Cupcake has been wonderful and I am going to keep putting it on, but it is still very nightclub and harder to meet new people unless you’re comfortable doing the bar scene meeting new people thing. Art and Soul is definitely going to have a different vibe. I’m hoping late 90s inclusive feminist bookstore coffee shop.

And to bring it a little feminist bookstore coffee shop realness, I’m doing a short queer artists’ salon at 8:30 where some of my favorite writers, singers, poets, whoever happens to be in town will be presenting works in progress. For the inaugural party here’s the line-up:
*Glenn Marla, downtown tranny superstar “Girl you couldn’t mess up my pronouns if you tried.”
[http://www.glennmarla.com]
*Kit Yan, the reigning Mr. Transman 2010, sweetheart and incredible slam poet.
[http://www.myspace.com/kityanpoetry]
*Bevin Branlandingham reading from her memoir in progress on coming out into size acceptance, queerness and love found and lost.
[That’s me. It helps me to have benchmarks when I’m doing a big project like a memoir.]

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I love that Kit Yan always dresses in theme.

As for the music, I was high off the fumes of the recently amazing Hard French NYC party. This incredible SF based afternoon party thrown by a group of amazing queers including my BFF-in-Law Devon Devine decided to go on the road and bring their magic to Brooklyn. And they brought it hard, I haven’t had that much fun getting day drunk in a long time. (Called “the country’s best gay party”.)
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Me and Devon at Hard French NYC. They promise to come back in the Spring.

Hard French is all soul music (which I LOVE to dance to) so I decided to hire SF DJs Carnita & Brown Amy to make the playlist for Art & Soul. (The one draw back to the space is that the dj booth is not so dj booth.) Plus, playing vintage music means y’all can wear vintage outfits if you want. People really brought the vintage gorgeousness to Hard French NYC.

If you’re in town I would love to see you at Art & Soul! Tell your friends!

Oh yeah, I totally named the party after this amazing 80s song.

2010-06-28

Help Me Get a Talk Show! Also, Rebel Cupcake!

I am involved in a really exciting contest! Sometimes my friends call me the Queer Oprah, because within five minutes of meeting someone I’ll get their life story. And my career goal to have a talk show. Well, Oprah herself is having a contest to pick the next talk show star for her new network, OWN.

It took a lot of work, but I submitted my entry and am on a mission to get 100,000 votes by Saturday, when the voting ends.

VOTE HERE! CLICKIE!

Here’s the description of my talk show. There’s also a video of me (bonus to you if you can figure out what my hair bling is) on the voting page.

Bevin Branlandingham is a warrior for self-acceptance and wants to create a show built around the lifelong journey to self love. Her show includes four major components: Health at Every Size (physical and emotional/mental health), Style at Every Size, Sharing Stories, and a Variety Show Aspect including the network of artists Bevin works with that celebrate the radical act of self love. Bevin has an open-minded and soothing spirit that will inspire viewers of all backgrounds to get to loving themselves.

Thanks in advance for your voting (I have no idea if there’s a limit on how many times you can vote), telling your friends and whoever else you think would be into supporting my dream to have a talk show about self love!

****

Life never ceases to be anything but a roller coaster. I had some incredibly great news and some incredibly sad news, within hours of one another. My California tour was really fun and amazing, I met some inspirational people, filmed a section for the Fierce Fat Femmes documentary with the insanely gorgeous Kelli Jean Drinkwater, performed, produced and then took some time off in Southern California. I came back to Brooklyn in the heat of Femme Pride Week, followed immediately by LGBTQ Pride Week. Now things are set to wind down for a moment.

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Happy Pride! Photo by Nogga Schwartz from the last Rebel Cupcake: Queer Root. More photos here.

I’m super excited for the next Rebel Cupcake, July 8th. One of my besties, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is in town from Oakland. Along with her is Kit Yan (reigning Mr. Transman and brilliant slam poet), BUTCHLESQUE by Grrls Who Run with Foxes (who promise no sawdust and glitter in the audience) and Burlesque by Bambi Galore.

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If you’re a plan in advance person, the August Rebel Cupcake is on August 26. The theme is Steel Magnolias!

And remember to vote for my talk show! Voting ends Saturday!

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