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

2015-11-13

One Night at MIX Festival

Every year I struggle with how to describe MIX Festival and it’s magic and wonder when I plug the event on my blog and social media. People fly in from all over the world to gather for this experimental film festival/queer community gathering/installation art. After my epic Wednesday night in the MIX Factory I thought I would just give it a good Bevin narrative, maybe that’ll tell you what’s up with MIX.

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I arrived right on time for my appointment with the XFR Collective. It was early for MIX, 5PM, and the house lights were still on. The XFR Collective is a media preservation organization that works to provide low cost preservation services for obsolete media to non-profits and artists. I had a couple of VHS tapes I wanted preserved for my art. When I looked into doing it myself locally it cost $125 and I put it in the “I will get to this someday” pile and having the opportunity to do it for free was a high priority for me!

lazermixLazer, visiting from out of town and sporting these holographic wedges!

The first tape was a collection of Feminist Films from my Feminist Film and Video class in 1999 at UC Davis. It was my first foray into body liberation activism even though I didn’t know it! My friend Dianna and I did a five minute video talking about plus size shopping and how marginalizing it is. The soundtrack includes Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco. (I come by my Deep Lez tendencies honestly and earnestly.) The other video was my dad and step-mom’s wedding video, which I am going to use for a performance piece about her affect on my life I’m developing. (Liz died of a heart attack when I was 19 after having taken Phen Fen. Dad never joined the class action.)

anothermixselfie It’s a big part of why I do the work I do in the world to help fat folks feel valued in their bodies as they are rather than pathologized, and the first part of that was to learn to love myself.

The tape transfer process was not smooth because I was the first person of the day and there were technical challenges, so I just hung out with the volunteers. All three of them were librarians or archivists (shout out to my librarian babes!) and they were sweet and charming. A couple of them were even wearing vintage media themed outfits, like a sweater with folks in 3D glasses emblazoned on it! By 6 they hadn’t resolved things, and said I was free to wander instead of waiting for my tapes. Jacqueline thought it was funny when she arrived that they were archiving a wedding tape and didn’t realize it was my tape! “Deep 80s fashion” she mused. It was Merced, CA in 1990.

mixfamilyEntering the MIX Factory.

I mentioned in my last blog post I find the schedule hard to navigate on their website (I really just need a trailer for the festival) so I like to let the Goddess guide things. And here was the opportunity! I ran into my friend L.A. Teodosio who was screening a film I had heard about at that very moment but didn’t realize was at MIX.

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I bought a ticket and slid into the screening with my roommate Damien (who is on the MIX Board) and a bunch of our pals. It’s called Peace of Mind and is about Teo’s partner Flo McGarrell, an artist who was killed in the Haiti earthquake. The movie is perfect for MIX because it’s a bit documentary, a bit art film, a bit fiction. The soundtrack is sumptuous and sweet, the scenery is beautiful, as Haiti is so gorgeous. It was shot both in Port Au Prince and the seaside town of Jacmel and there was a marked difference between the two places, though the lack of resources were consistent between the two. Flo made an interesting comment in one of the archival pieces, that when he was in Haiti cooking food was so difficult and food was much harder to come by, so he would lose weight. When he would go back to the states he would gain it all back. Flo worked with local artists as part of a project that taught artists and curated work and many of the artists were interviewed in the documentary.

catbuttThis is a cat butt.

Also in the film was a subfilm, a part of the movie KATHY GOES TO HAITI, based on the book of the same name by Kathy Acker, that Flo was working on with the director Cary Cronenwett (who directed the documentary, along with Teo). Zachary Drucker played Kathy Acker and it was interesting to see it, though from what I understood from the documentary the book itself sounds White feminist colonialist. We only saw a part of the book as they had only shot the last chapter, with the intention to shop it around for funding. Due to that and that it was in a larger narrative that addressed a lot of what it was like for LGBTQ people in Haiti, I thought it was redemptive of the source material and appropriately critical of her perspective on Haiti. Check out the trailer for Peace of Mind and if the movie tours in your area I highly recommend seeing it.

creepynestthingNest installation.

Because it’s MIX, filmmakers come to screenings and there are often talk backs, so the awesome Haitian editor of the film (and collaborator of Flo’s) Zaka, was there as well as Teo, discussing the film.

There’s a thing at MIX called “MIXoclock” where they say stuff happens at a certain time but that’s kind of an idea and isn’t really something to count on. Again, with MIX, best to just let the Goddess guide you. So I noticed on my phone that by the time the talk back of this one ended it was already a half hour later than the next screening (I had bought tickets for online). There’s only one screening room so I guessed I had a bit of self care time between the films to go buy some water, check my coat as the coat check was finally open and the house lights were down and everything was doused in purple lights and blacklights. Sitting in a theater for three and a half hours straight is a lot but I was glad for it! ART!

photobydraemixtriangePhoto by Drae Campbell.

The next screening (the one I prioritized and planned my whole night around) was curated by Queer Rebels, a duo made up of Celeste Chan and KB Tuffy Boyce, both Bay Area artists who I’ve performed with and love their work. Their curation of Queer People of Color made films is always spot on. A mix of lengths, narratives and stories, each is on a theme. This one was on Home and my highlights were a short music video about queers of color in the Bay vs tech gentrification and a short film about a gender non-conforming person coming home to their mother who does not accept them and is awash in grief. Another highlight was Orient, a film about the tension between Black folks and Asian Americans and internalized colonialism. Queer Rebels is incredible and the talk back afterward was also great.

celestemix2014Celeste’s galactic jumpsuit from last year’s MIX Queer Rebel’s screening.

After all of that art I stumbled dazed back into the MIX Factory thinking I’d visit with some folks and then head home. It was already 10, I had been there for five hours! Jacqueline and I went out on the smoking deck, I was aggressively hit on by a person who self-identified as “transexual satan” who I then referred to a different friend of mine. Kind of like, “You’re not for me but I have someone else in mind for you,” which is something I have done before and, listen, I roll with babes. It was a successful match in the end and I’ll save the rest of the dirt for Snapchat.

mejacquelinedraeMe, Jacqueline and Drae.

I rolled through the space here and there, looking at installations. You can go into a cat lounge area through its butt. You can sit inside a triangle. You can wander and look at all the outfits. Even the bathrooms are installations this year! I saw people who don’t live here anymore visiting, hung hard with some local friends and had a lot of fun. I was really tired and every time I felt my energy flagging somehow the space would fulfill my need. The best thing that helped me wake up a bit was a decaf iced coffee from Dunkin that Victoria brought me when she arrived at 11PM. I get a zip from decaf that can really turn around an evening and it worked.

victoriamixLike a psychadelic Goddess bearing decaf coffee.

Dinner was served at 11:30PM, it was a pasta with a side of root veggies and salad. Delicious! And free with entry/going to one of the films.

damienpowersuitDamien’s look for MIX that night (as photographed from my desk chair when I screamed “OMG Frye Boots with a vintage power suit!” as she checked herself out in our wall mirror). Here is her on video talking about MIX in her capacity as a Board member!

Victoria and I peeled off from our friends and laid down in a nest of pillows in a small side room where we watched a forest scene with a man “hatching” from a plastic bag. Again and again. The more I watched the more the art came alive. Also, resting laying down was really helpful. When can you do that in social spaces?

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photobydraehatchedmixSecond photo by Drae Campbell.

I was about to leave at midnight and then DJ Average Jo, Holly and Topher arrived so I ended up hanging with them. I was under no intoxicants yet was a bit high on socializing. Full disclosure, I did take a tiny bit of adderall to try to wake up around 9PM and that had zero effect. All told, I was there chatting and admiring outfits (two of my favorite things) until 1:30AM. By then DJ Battyjack was spinning, there was a band playing and other people were still arriving. MIX! It’s magic!

mehollymixPhoto by Jacqueline Mary, who said I looked like Muppet Baby Miss Piggy while snuggling Holly. High compliment!

I have a conference this weekend that starts painfully early in the morning but I’m still going to try to go tonight and tomorrow! If you’re curious and you’re in town, go! I coaxed Drae Campbell to come last year for her first time and this year she was there on Wednesday fully in the mix and emceeing!

photbydraemejacquelinedevonMe, Jacqueline and Devin. Photo by Drae Campbell.

2015-11-11

Call for Couple’s Finances Stories! / Mix Festival is This Week

Hey friends! My incredible roommate Damien Luxe has developed an amazing financial empowerment workshop series (more on that in a later post). I am doing a presentation at the Cross Class Relationships Workshop on November 22nd here in Brooklyn, where I will talk a lot about what I know professionally–prenups, buying real estate, creating agreements–and I will talk about what I know personally having been in cross class relationships. I would like to create a handout resource of personal narratives from folks who have come up with creative financial solutions to finances. Here is the call below:

medamienbedstuyMe and Damien a couple of Springs ago!

Couples’ Finances! Especially *Cross-class couples* or *Couples with Creative Financial Situations* or *Couples who are more than two people*:

I am looking for one or two paragraphs max about struggles you’ve had and creative solutions. This can be about:
*Budgeting together
*Setting and following through with financial goals (like buying property and having kids)
*How you value domestic labor vs paid outside the home labor
*How you work it out when one of you is more resourced
*How you work it out when one of you has higher income
*How you retain independence while comingling finances
*How you pay bills while NOT comingling finances
*Particularly helpful apps or websites for you
… or more things I haven’t thought of!

Email it to queerfatfemme at gmail. Please let me know if you are okay with me including your first name(s) and ages. This handout will likely be archived/available on my blog as a resource for other people! Need these no later than November 20th!

medamiencookiesMe and Damien at our holigay cookie party last year! Going through all of these old photos made me SO SAD to be moving out! It’s been so amazing living with such a kick-ass Femme powerhouse!

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This week in NYC is the 28th Annual Mix Festival. It’s a really fun installation art factory for five days only and opened last night. I just got a press release for it with the schedule and it looks dense and hard to figure out what to do. What I usually do with Mix is find out when my friends are screening films or performing, go to those and then just show up (it’s free to hang in the installations) the rest of the time and let the Goddess guide me. Honestly, there will always be something awesome happening at Mix and great folks to meet. Here’s the website, it’s on through Sunday. I cannot underscore how epic and life changing and cute Mix is.

One year there was a uhaul exhibit honoring the legacy of a gay cruising culture in the late 70s and 80s involving truck fucks where they would pop into unlocked trucks in the meat packing district and do it. I haven’t been to the factory yet this year (going tonight for Queer Rebels curated short films) but I am hoping for something as epic.

The week includes:

128 short films! And 15 short-film programs
Four Features!
13 Artist-built installations!
Six original performances!
Four late-night parties (Wed. – Sat.)
35 of the filmmakers themselves live and in person and stoked to answer questions and talk filmcraft!

I’m super excited about the digital archive project happening–I have a few videos I need to get digitized for performance art and for archiving and this is the perfect time to coincide with my move. It also got me to go through my tapes and dvds! You need to make an appointment to do the digital archive. If you want to see some of my feminist films from 1999 swing by tonight!

22010538922_02dfb4b9d8_zWatching the amazing MIZZ JUNE perform last year at Mix. Photo by Tinker Coalescing.

2013-11-14

Mix Festival in NYC Now through November 17th

You know how sometimes you ask the Universe to make your life magical beyond your wildest dreams and you have an evening that is clearly the answer to that?

You know how sometimes the most incredibly transformative things are, by their very nature, completely temporary?

Last night I found myself awash in unexpected magic when I headed to the Mix Festival. I went to a panel discussion about Race and the Colonial Impulse (which was also amazing) and Mix was the official after party so I figured I’d head there and get free admission. I never realized Mix was free if you didn’t go to the screenings! You can just wander in an experience the Mix Factory and all of its glory.

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Me, Avory Agony, Cristy Road being photographed by Tinker Coalescing of The Think Theater Queer Photography.

Mix is in its 26th year! I kept sending up prayers of thanks to my queer ancestors for making this whole shebang possible and wonder how it has stayed so underground?

I walked into the venue and it was so enormous–it looks like nothing on the outside and inside there are countless huge art installations. My friend Rachael Shannon’s amazing Brestival Vestibules are there, a huge dinosaur bone looking thing, several lounges full of pillows, and rooms and rooms of interactive, light-filled, video incorporating work so vast that in four hours I barely scratched the surface.

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I called this exhibit the “Erin Markey Room.”

The screening room is off to the side and is minor compared to the elaborate, mystical experience of immersion in art. It’s also teeming with so many of my favorite people. I got to catch-up with a lot of friends in an environment much more conducive to real conversation than a nightclub. In a white carpeted, textiled room with a projection of an old movie playing overhead I was in a circle with Avory Agony, Cristy Road, DJ Sissy Slap, Caitlin Q and a bunch of other new to me queers and I wished I could take a photo of it and send it to myself in middle school just to let her know that it was all going to be okay and the people who bullied me would never know the kind of deep connection and magic that was in store for me.

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In a lounge with my friend Sabina, an amazing punk queer from Sweden from Crush & Create Zine.

Two main highlights for me (but there were about a million):

A room filled with what look like mirrors upon which are several different projections of an artist dressed in different costumes. Each mirror (there are six) has a distinct frame and visual and I realized that everyone is drawn to different ones and I think it might have to do with that person’s gender! Like a Myer’s Briggs for gender test or something. I was drawn primarily to the one that looked like the artist was inside Valentine’s Day–reds, pinks, glitter, doilies and the one that was all gold, gold glitter, what looked like coins, very regal. I thought it looked like a casino advertisement for another planet. Avory was drawn to the green pony and the ice queen. I could have stood inside that room forever.

The Meat Truck–an installation in a U-Haul truck that harkens back to the cruising days of the 70s and 80s where men would find opened trucks to fuck in just wherever. The hanging photos of men cruising are so lifelike and I genuinely hope someone does something, um, performative in the “Mom’s Attic” part of that uUaul.

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The Meat Truck was so mystical, sexual, queer historical and hilarious that I was convinced (and told everyone within ear shot) I was going to meet my future wife in that truck.

There’s also dancing and DJs throughout the night. Last night DJ Precolumbian was on fire!!

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I have tickets to the closing night screening of Valencia: The Movies (hello, the NYC premier of my favorite book turned into a series of short films made by many of my favorite people including Courtney Trouble and Silas Howard). I really hope I get to go back a bunch of times before it closes. I’m so grateful to be in the present moment with all of this and appreciating what I have while it’s here.

If you think you want to go to the Mix Festival do not hesitate to go!!!

If you miss Mix Festival it happens every year around the same time and I can say after last night it is absolutely worth putting on your NYC travel bucket list.

Information from the press release:

DATES: November 12-17, 2013
LOCATION: 521 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
(between 12th & 13th Streets, in Gowanus)

SUBWAY: F,G, R to 4th Ave-9th Street

Complete program information and schedule available online at www.mixnyc.org

● $13 for regular film screenings

● $20 for opening & closing night events

● Free admission to films for youth (21 and under) and PWAs

Free public admission to all installations & performances

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