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

2011-01-24

Oakland! Rebel Cupcake Meets Hot Box Friday, January 28th at 9:30!

I am super excited to bring the magic of Rebel Cupcake all the way out to Oakland! Tell your friends, this one of a kind performance and dance night is going to be even better because there are so many amazing party producers teaming up to make it happen.

PLUS a costume contest! I wish I could offer that at the NYC Rebel Cupcake! Make $100 just by looking fly in 80s gear!

Friday, January 28, 2011 * Oakland, CA
Bevin Branlandingham & Movement Productions & BoiBlue Events Present
Rebel Cupcake: Oakland
9PM Show / Dancing until after hours * FREE until 10PM (so come early to enjoy the show and the wonderful party!) $10 after, $15 after 1am
510 17th Street, Oakland
9pm until After Hours

The team at Hot Box in the Bay has joined forces with Bevin Branlandingham to produce a Rebel Cupcake for the West Coast! Bringing for the first time on the road the magic of the Brooklyn-based “Flamboyant queer dance party for all shapes and flavors” that AfterEllen.com calls “Unrestrained fabulousness!”

Performers include:
Vixen Noir, multidisciplinary performance artist (actress, dancer, burlesque artist, poetess, singer)
[http://www.myspace.com/vixen_noir]
Ms. Ginger Snapz, Seattle’s Premier Black Burlesque Starlet
Titland, burlesque tap dance featuring Kentucky Fried Woman and Starr69
Lynn Breedlove (Lambda award winning author, Tribe8 alum)
[http://www.lynnbreedlove.com]
Femmecee Bevin Branlandingham, “An ultra-rad warrior for self-acceptance.”–Autstraddle.com
[http://queerfatfemme.com]

More info on Hot Box in the Bay right here!
RSVP on Facebook.

RebelCupcakeOakland

HOTBOXFRONT80POSTER.jpg

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.

154111_1586396592124_1602070801_31356906_549001_n
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.

164817_492110893748_524523748_5977724_658907_n
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.

166831_492111198748_524523748_5977733_5105262_n
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.

168332_492111388748_524523748_5977738_5951841_n
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.

168676_492111618748_524523748_5977744_6258775_n
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.

164888_491830808748_524523748_5972226_1697940_n
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.

34817_492110743748_524523748_5977720_935307_n

2010-10-06

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation Book Review

Oh friends, I’ve been gone so long and yet not gone anywhere but inside my big, sweet heart and head. I’m doing The Artist’s Way and life coaching and as Lynnee Breedlove, my coach, says “Filling the well. Putting gas in the tank.” I’m still brewing some interesting mind blowing blog topics, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I have a book to recommend to keep you company! It’s Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. Just released on Seal Press it is extremely accessible and interesting.

GenderOutlaws_cover_web.jpg

The term “anthology” makes me think of things that are stuffy or academic. However, this reads more like an extremely well-edited and organized zine, which I believe is to its credit. Transgressing the anthology format, as the editors and authors transgress gender and sexuality. Some of the contributions are only a couple of pages and pack just as much punch as their lengthier counterparts. I love having something to read that can fit well between subway stops, which is where most of my reading takes place.

60983_431872654385_512354385_4744894_4285395_n.jpg
Kate, reading at Rebel Cupcake: Sci Fi Cupcakes.

The editors use an AOL Instant Messenger format (old school!) for the introduction, intermission and conclusion of the book. They also discuss the topic of the next genderation, usage of the controversial terms “tranny” and “cisgender” and the reactions to both Kate and Bear when they came out as transgender during different genderations. I love that they’re not afraid to say what they think in this conversation and they really go there.

61989_431872494385_512354385_4744885_4968092_n.jpg
Me, giving Kate an umbrella sheathed like sword with a sword handle from SITE Design at Rebel Cupcake.

I also loved the organization of the anthology. I love systems of creative organization and this just tickled me.
Part One: Do I look like an outlaw to you?
Part Two: Being reconfigured is not the same as being reimagined.
Part Three: …which is why I’m as cute as I happen to be.
Part Four: It might not be a picnic but there’s a great buffet.
Part Five: And still we rise.

BergmanSBear_web.jpg
S. Bear Bergman hasn’t performed at Rebel Cupcake (yet!).

Several of the contributions resonated with me, including a touching account of “The Manly Art of Pregnancy” by J Wallace, which did a lot to counter the version of the “Pregnant Man” propagated in the media a couple of years ago.

I really loved the comic Transcension by Katie Diamond and Johnny Blazes. I love words and their application of language theory to finding a place within and without identity labels was extremely well-illustrated, both in text and pictures.

Scott Turner Schofield’s intense and powerful “The Wrong Body” has been swimming around in my head for weeks. It’s such a stunning and succinct narrative of why, as a fetus, he chose to be born a baby girl. “I saw that I would have time to appreciate my journey, with the head to understand it as a gift and the heart to achieve my whole self through all the trials it takes.”

And there are contributions to this anthology by trans allies as well. The piece that had me crying on the subway was Fran Varian’s “Daddy Gets the Big Piece of Chicken.” She weaves a gorgeous comparison to preparations for a date with her gender-variant lover and her working class family’s gender roles.

She shows the beautiful nuance of the unspoken dance between gendered energy and the ways in which we care for each other in our gender queer (and queer in other ways) relationships. “You walk on the outside, closest to the street. You do this because we are moving targets, even in San Francisco. You do this because you have been attacked for the masculinity you have constructed and because I am precious to you.” How lucky to have someone tell you how precious you are to them; luckier still to have someone show you how precious you are.

While I always want you, precious reader, to shop at a local feminist bookstore, if you buy Gender Outlaws: TNG on the internet and clickie through my link I get a tiny referral fee and it goes to buy me books and other delights.

NYC Readers! There is a reading at Bluestockings by some of the authors of Gender Outlaws: TNG (including Kate!) on October 8!

Rebel Cupcake photos by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

2010-09-20

Heartbreak MFA: Additions to the Break Up Survival Guide

One of the most amazing things about being an artist is that people tell me all the time how art I’ve created or produced has been really important to them in times of trouble and strife. Many times I hear “I have been going through a really terrible break-up and Episode 2 of your podcast really helped me out.” I’ve also heard more than a few times about how Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide has been passed around like a water cooler article to friends in need.

I’m so glad these resources exist, especially in light of the huge break-up they came out of for me.

Having (yet another) friend need this list this weekend prompted me to add a few updates. I share them with you below.

1. You already have all the tools you need to get through this.

It’s true, Dorothy.

Dorothy

Remind yourself of this every moment you feel desperate. Nowadays I can use the benchmark of “my fiance cheated on me for 8 months” or “I got laid off after 5 years with the same firm” as a way in which to gain the perspective I need to keep moving. I survived those things, I know I can survive whatever else comes my way.

As queers, fat people, people of color, women, gender non-conforming folks, etc… we have been put through the paces so much by society, our familes and ourselves, we are already survivors. Hell, the fact that I made it through my teens without succeeding at suicide is a testament to an inherent survival instinct that I attribute to being very blessed and watched over.

I will say that knowing that I have the tools to deal with heartbreak is sometimes cold comfort. At this point, almost three years since my ended engagement and having dated some women who have fucked with my heart big time, I feel like I have a Master’s Degree in Heartbreak. I’ve been through this, I know I’ll get through this again and live to love again. My heart doesn’t always know that, though. Having the gentle reminder from my brain is helpful.

2. Get co-defriendant with someone.

In the first few weeks of my big break-up I really needed help knowing what to do because the terrible echo of pain so consumed me. It was nice having a friend I could call on a moment’s notice and bring my shih tzu and an overnight bag and have somewhere to be that wasn’t my empty house, or have plans to go out or whatever I felt up to at the moment. When you designate a Captain Distraction, it’s especially nice because you will likely feel so different from moment to moment it’s hard to keep yourself abreast with your feelings, let alone your myriad friends. So if you have someone who has a lot of emotional and time availability see if they’re up to be your life raft for a little while.

3. Create community around your break-up.

When I was going through my big break-up I made a special filter on the blog community I was in of other people who were dealing with big break-ups around the same time. It was really comforting to know I wasn’t alone in the pain, to hear their process and to exchange mix cds. It was also interesting to notice our different benchmarks, how rebounding affected people and how their recovery was so varied. Maybe now you might do a twitter feed or facebook filter or just have a group email list.

I also threw a big New Year’s Eve party/ritual that year for me and 10 friends where we burned letters to our exes. It was nice to get to do that as a community.

4. Take lots of hot pictures of yourself.

If you have the cash, I suggest seeking out a queer photographer home girl like Molly at Fat Bottom Boudoir or Sophie of Shameless Photography. They know how to shoot you looking your best (in any body) and will help you reclaim your body and sexuality.

Bevin8.jpg

If you don’t have the cash, get a bestie, go to the MAC counter, get a free makeover. Then go to the Torrid dressing rooms or some other place full of hot fat girl clothes and try things on that are impossibly sexy with shoes that are ridiculously tall and take photos of each other.*

Use these hot pictures as new profile photos on Facebook. Looking hot is great revenge. It’s like a photo affirmation.

Advice Column

5. Throw yourself into a big art project.

My mom gave me this advice when I was crying on the phone to her during Thanksgiving. Thus, FemmeCast was born. It was a huge project (and continues to be, anyone know a good audio editor?) but being able to do something productive with my pain was totally helpful. It gave me something else to talk about and something else to think about during my worst moments.

Do you have something percolating you’ve always wanted to do? Just start.

6. Rebounding is a terrible idea.

Zoe told me when I was having my rebound that you end up having to “deal with that shit PLUS interest.” She’s totally right, too. Rebounding feels great. Why feel the heartbreak when you can focus on the joy of new love and not see any of the other red flags about how bad of an idea it is to date that person? I used to be queen rebound and I can attest it just makes things harder in the long run. Your gunk gets all jammed up and it takes a lot longer to sort through it. It also puts a lot more pressure on the new relationship to be the big savior for the heartbreak that came before.

There is no ibuprophin for heartache. It’s just through it. Rebounding is like creating a migraine out of a bad headache.

7. QVC.

I used to turn on QVC in the background whenever I was home alone to make me feel less lonely. A few months later I got a roommate, which definitely helped more. But if you’re walking around a newly empty house, QVC is nonstop enthusiastic chatter and it helps to drown out the terribles.

8. Heartbreak is an opportunity to learn about yourself.

I got a great email from my friend Genne after the disastrous rebound from my big break-up ended that began with the sentence “I don’t want to say that your picker is broken but…” and included some really great thoughtful questions to ask myself and work through in my recovery. Now, at the time I was a little taken aback at the idea that I was responsible for bringing in the inappropriate people in my life but I did see what she was saying.

My artist’s life coach Lynnee Breedlove said something similar to me during our last session. There is a reason you bring the people into your life when you do. If you can work through the reasons they’re in your life and what you can learn from the experience, it only makes you a more attuned to how to pick the next time around. And just like taking a hot photo for your facebook or creating some amazing art, it’s all about taking the time you need to create something beautiful out of your pain.

***

I hope these nuggets are helpful to some of y’all out there. Comment with your favorite heartbreak tip below and one random commenter will get a copy of a break-up cd mixed by me. I’ll pick at midnight EST on September 27, 2010.

And while we’re on theme, the next Rebel Cupcake is heartbreak themed. Lots of danceable heartbreak songs and halloween costumes!

*Always be kind to your shop girls and if they ask you to stop taking pictures be nice about it. For $10 an hour no one wants to have to tell you about store policies, so they’re doing it because they have to. Also always hang up your clothes neatly and right side out on the hangers.

Powered by WordPress