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

2015-01-23

Movies I’ve Seen: Selma, Spare Parts, Into the Woods, Inherent Vice, Wild

When planning to go to the movies recently I literally said to myself, “If I can’t live somewhere warm at least I can go see a movie about a warm place.” Ugh Winter. I’m never quiet about my attempts to pull myself out of Seasonal Depression. In the past two weeks movies have been a big part of it. Here’s a rundown of what I’ve seen and what I thought.

Selma Movie (2)

SELMA: Go see this movie! It’s so important! The story of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leading the march from Selma to Montgomery. I was glad I read the January issue of Oprah Magazine first so I was refreshed on the history and could watch the story and the actors a little closer. You can probably get a good refresher from the Selma website.

I thought Selma was brilliant in so many ways. Foremost for me is not thinking of people who are heroes as having to be perfect in order to be heroes. For me, it doesn’t diminish MLK Jr.’s work in the world because he wasn’t a perfect husband. They tell a real story about a marriage of a civil rights leader that was flawed. MLK Jr. had infidelities and that was a struggle. I think a lot of biographers and filmmakers about legends shy away from talking about ways in which they weren’t perfect and I think it loses humanity.

There is a lot of depth to stories that you don’t hear from dry history lessons and I really appreciated how much we got to know several of the activists involved and the politics of civil rights movements that we are still struggling with today. There was also a lot to cry about in the movie, again and again, especially the amount of police brutality that juxtaposed with today is heartbreaking. But still uplifting in a way because at least while you’re watching it you know that the Voting Rights Act passed and they got what they were working towards.

It’s impeccably acted and I also loved all of the attention to vintage detail. I also noticed a way of personifying the women who were feeding and tending to the needs of the activists while they were strategizing. I thought it was nice to not just have that be a mystery but to show that there were people working behind the scenes to make it possible for the activists on the forefront to do the work they were doing. Also also, there are a lot of activists’ stories told, including many women, which is often overlooked in historical films where there is a main male hero.

Listen to the new song Glory by John Legend and Common, which plays over the credits in the movie and rightfully brings Ferguson into the room. You can hear the song on the website, iTunes or Spotify.

selma-7

Bonus: Oprah, playing her third film role where she punches a man.
Bonus: Woman of color directed

Spare Parts: I had planned to go see another movie but it was sold out. We did a quick scan of what was playing and saw the trailer on my smartphone. I hadn’t even heard of it! I’m so glad we saw it, though, because it was heartwarming, funny and inspirational.

spare-parts-screen

George Lopez stars as a default because of no work as an engineer with a PHD substitute teacher and reluctant advisor to the robotics club. The club is assembled of a group of high school kids, all of whom are undocumented immigrants. I think it’s rare to see a strong plotline of undocumented folks in mainstream movies at all, let alone funny movies.

It’s a true story of a high school underwater robotics team that built a robot with not a lot of money to compete against MIT, Cornell and other fancy universities. The storytelling is a bit formulaic, like I could kind of see how they were writing the story, creating conflict and moving the plot along, but I also really liked it for the content. The acting was phenomenal. George Lopez was more understated clever funny, which worked great for the character. Esai Morales as the father of two sons, one of whom is documented and one who isn’t, was a total stand-out.

I’m not sure how much longer it will be in theaters (it opened last weekend) and I always think it’s important to see movies in the theater to tell the movie industry people want to see movies with strong characters of color.

Bonus: Dara cried real tears because it was so heartwarming.
Bonus: Jamie Lee Curtis as the hilarious principal of a school with no money. Many of the other characters are very dramatic. She’s just goofy.

Into the Woods: I’m a little dubious about movie musicals but this one was actually really well done. It’s based on a musical that weaves Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and a few other fairytales into one story. It was magical, mesmerizing, well-acted and fun to watch. A great escape from reality movie. I also enjoyed the way the typical fairytale endings were upended and revised. Dara said that the actual musical was much darker than the movie version, so if you’ve seen the musical expect that. Also, Meryl Streep’s hair is epic and I found myself wondering how they made blue hair look so great.

meryl

I did go on a rant after seeing the movie about why they didn’t cast at least a few of the main characters as people of color. I thought it was sorely lacking in racial diversity that could have fit in with the plot pretty seamlessly.

I saw it in a theater that had no heat, so even though it was a cute movie I was cranky afterwards.

Bonus: Johnny Depp as the wolf is a total babe, and so is the endearing chubby baker.

Inherent Vice: I saw this last night–after the movie I wanted my two and a half hours back. Here’s the thing, I love Joaquin Phoenix (aka River Phoenix’s brother, may he rest in peace) and I love Reese Witherspoon so I thought an adventurous mystery movie set in LA would be a great way to forget about how cold it is right now. I was sold by the trailer!

inherentvice

Joaquin Phoenix stars as a private detective searching for something. I could never really figure out what he was after. Was he after the real estate tycoon his ex girlfriend was boning who disappeared? Was he just being given mysteries to solve by seemingly random potential clients? If I had read the book maybe I would have followed the movie better. Maybe if I knew more about drug culture in 1970 I would have understood more of it.

The most noteworthy part of Joaquin’s character is that he is a hippie who smokes a lot of pot and does whatever other drugs come his way and he gets into mischief as a result. And then maybe I thought, if I were stoned would this make more sense? Would I follow the plot more? And the answer is probably not at all.

If I was at home I probably would have given up on it about a third through the movie but because I paid money for it I stuck it out. Dara didn’t like it either and this movie has prompted us to create a code word for, “I’m okay to leave if you want to.”

There was this one scene with the ex-girlfriend that might be hot or kinky if it wasn’t in the middle of such a terrible movie. But by then I was annoyed enough that I was just like, this movie is some kind of white guy film school fantasy sequence. But, it’s a mainstream movie that’s pretty sex positive so maybe that’s a plus? I don’t know. The hair was awesome. And the vintage sets and cars were really great. And a lot of people liked the movie on Rotten Tomatoes so maybe there’s some sort of redemption in this flick I’m not seeing.

Wild: I saw this a long time ago but it’s still playing and it’s worth a high five. As stated, I love Reese Witherspoon. You should also enjoy her if you go see this movie as she is basically the main thing you’ll see in every scene. I read the memoir Wild that the movie is based on and was super worried that it was going to not do the book justice. It’s not as good as the book. But it is a really beautiful adaptation of the book.

wild

The story is a woman who decides, with little to no experience or training, to backpack 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. I was excited to see the movie just for the scenery, that’s a gorgeous hike. And it was poignant and beautiful and fleshes out Cheryl Strayed’s relationship with her mother in a way that pays homage to the deep relationship in the book. The acting is great, and so is watching someone go camping in a way that has a real plot and conflict. Because it’s hard to make a movie about camping interesting. And yet, it totally is.

Bonus: Cheryl Strayed is in the movie and drops Reese off at the trailhead.
Bonus: A few unexpectedly hot sex scenes. They weren’t that hot in the book.

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.

Untitled
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.

Untitled
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.

Untitled
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.

Untitled

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!!

Untitled

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

Untitled

2012-07-23

Summer Update and Magic Mike

When I embarked on the journey to write a memoir this summer, stepping out in faith with no book deal lined up or anything, I swore I wouldn’t end up like so many of my favorite bloggers who sort of disappear when they are writing a book. And then I did it! I disappeared. When you pour yourself into something 1,000 words at a time and it’s a lot of hard stuff you don’t necessarily want to look at or think about it gets really difficult. So it’s all, write, self-care, write, live a new adventure over here.

Me, serving Aerosmith groupie @ Rebel Cupcake 27: Classic Rock Cupcake. Photo by @morganirene our Cupcake Princess.
Me, serving Aerosmith groupie @ Rebel Cupcake 27: Classic Rock Cupcake. Photo by Morgan our Cupcake Princess.

It was also a bunch of preparation for all the events I’m doing this July. The Sarah McLachlan Fumbling Towards Ecstasy tribute show was incredible–the acts were so vulnerable, tender, funny and profound. We believe we called forth the spirit of Sarah Mc’s stalker as the microphone spontaneously started moving around after the band Hellmouth sprinked a circle of salt around the lead singer during a Buffy fanfiction reading/performance over “Circle.”

Backstage at Fumbling w/ @jessicahalem
Backstage with Jessica Halem.

Rebel Cupcake was also electric. Truly a gift to hear the haunting black mass of Coven by Nath Ann Carerra with Elizabeth Koke. And I met a bunch of blog readers! One from Portland! Next month is August 16th, if you find yourself in town.

During my writing days I’ve been doing what I can to take good care of the well from which I draw my creativity. This means morning pages and artist dates, tools I picked up doing The Artist’s Way (I highly recommend doing the book with a group or a life coach, as I did with rockstar and writer Lynnee Breedlove from Tribe8.)

One of my favorite artist’s dates to go on is going to the movies by myself. And the other day I found myself during matinee times passing a theater where Magic Mike happened to be playing.

magic-mike-02.jpeg
Masculinity!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a Kinsey 5.5 and I live a life that puts Femmes at the forefront. I don’t have a lot of masculinity in my life and I feel pretty great about it. I love the masculine of center folks that are in my community and in my life, but considering I live in the Haus of Femmespiration, work for myself and collaborate with Femmes and limp wristed fellas, I just don’t really do a lot of masculine studying. I don’t think about it that much, so it takes a special moment for me to focus my attention on that kind of spectacle.

And Magic Mike is nothing if not a celebration of masculinity.

magic-mike10.jpeg

I will be honest, I really love Matthew Mcconaughey. He is one of my favorite fictional lawyers and I enjoy his soft Texas accent. He’s why I went to go see the movie. I also really loved Channing Tatum in The Vow, so he was a win. And I didn’t realize Alseed from True Blood was in Magic Mike and was pleasantly surprised.

59e43979ad9b302b2d6c8ae1ac070db4.jpg

The movie is essentially conceived of an all male revue of super buff dudes gyrating on stage for throngs of excited women. The dance acts are great, pretty well-choreographed and conceived. In fact, as a former drag king performer who studied the way men walk and talk and wear facial hair, etc… I think this movie is a great study tool. Each performance was basically the same as an apolitical drag act I’d seen once or twice before. Or, in the case of “Pony” by Ginuwine, three times before. It is always hot when performed well. (Channing Tatum can dance. Who knew?)

MAGIC-MIKE-REDBAND-02_320.jpg

The plot is loosely structured around a new kid in town and the more successful thirty-year-old stripper showing him the ropes. Maybe a little bit Coyote Ugly mixed with Showgirls. The plot is barely there, clearly not well-developed and hard to follow. The main love interest is boring and has one expression on her face the whole time. But it doesn’t matter how terrible the plot is, the male revue is so fun to watch! Let’s go back to the club while there are dollar bills being thrown around!

magic-mike-122.jpeg

If I had a Women and Gender Studies paper to write for undergrad I could really rip this movie up and sideways. I had an emphasis on cultural representations of gender while in undergrad and I was great at movie deconstruction. But I have a memoir to write! So if you’re taking a WGS class this Fall, go see this movie and take lots of notes.

a-magic-mike-8.jpeg

Anyway, I highly recommend it as complete eye candy. Especially if you enjoy or are attracted to masculinity or are or were a drag king performer. Just watch some of the gifs on tumblr. You’ll know what I’m talking about.


Patriotism would be a whole section of my paper. I could get 10 pages easily.

I’m 25,000 words deep into my memoir (my goal is 50,000 by the end of the summer, when I will start taking the taffy draft I have and choreographing the sentences better) and have lots more to blog about as things keep surfacing. Why is it that I hear more often than not that folks “just aren’t interested in Femmes” and how can I learn to let the love in? So much to think about.

2012-06-28

United in Anger: A History of ACT UP at a Theater Near You!

Filed under: Events and Announcements — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 5:48 pm

United in Anger-Poster-24x36-w_credits.jpg

I was invited to a press screening of United in Anger: A History of ACT UP last week.

I highly recommend it. The 90 minute movie is a beautiful summary of the organization in great detail and so tangible. The movie is full of archival footage of radical, inventive, creative and well-organized protest actions by the coalition of folks who were in the thick of the AIDS crisis. The story is told in the words of the folks who were doing it, meeting every Monday at the LGBT Center, making media and strategizing. The press information from the movie says the archival footage “puts the audience on the ground” with protestors and that is incredibly accurate.

United_in_Anger_3.jpg

The film progresses through a dozen or so of the most infamous of the ACT UP actions and it was incredibly moving. I found myself chanting along by the end and cried during an action where ashes were spread on the White House lawn. It was so moving to see how folks were using their intense grief to also channel that into activism.

I also enjoyed that it addressed what it was like to be in the movement. I think it’s nice to know what folks did but it’s great to hear the dirt. There was a lot of personal impetus to be part of the movement–everyone’s friends were dying. And also, I liked that folks were honest about how they didn’t go cruising in bars, they joined this activist movement so they could cruise and also do something important with their time. I don’t know, it was an important thread of realness that definitely made this documentary feel like a homegrown history rather than a documentary from an outsiders’ perspective.

United_in_Anger_5.jpg
This is still true. Also, I cheered out loud when this was raised during an action.

It is also so important for us to absorb the strategy. So often in queer generations we’re reinventing the wheel. ACT UP already did so much of that strategizing and organizing! We can learn so much from it.

United in Anger is touring film festivals. It opens at Quad Cinemas in NYC on July 6 for a week. Check out their screening schedule!

2009-02-18

Keeping the Crazy Between Us since 1998

Spunky is my best straight friend. We’ve known each other since we were counselors together at Scout camp at the tender age of 19 and have watched one another grow up. I remember when we thought 30 was old. And when we both marched together into 30 still unmarried (contrary to many of our well-laid out plans), we embraced it together.


This is us at my mom’s gay wedding in October. We were celebrating our 10 year friendaversary.

The best way to describe Spunky is that she and I are like sisters. We are so similar in so many ways emotionally, but we’re put together completely differently. She’s a cheerleader looking choir geek, while I’m a flamboyant fat femme life of the party. She’s totally straight and I’m… queer. She had to wrap her head around transmen when I started dating them. I remember once she said “Can’t you just have a gender neutral pronoun so I don’t fuck up when I talk about who you’re dating?” I explained, actually, that the queers already have that stuff, it’s just sorta fumbly sometimes.

She and I are both in the throws of new dating situations right now. I thought I would highlight two good experiences she’s had, which is fairly unusual considering how bad first dates can go. One guy met her on a set-up group date and emailed her right when he got home. He said, “I didn’t want you to be wondering if I liked you; I wanted you to know right away I wanted to date you.”

Dating him reminded her she was a rockstar, but also reminded her how important her space and solitude is to her. Sometimes people don’t get that to an independent woman being alone does not equate to “lonely”.

In some ways that was totally awesome because her last relationship left her with a deep cavern of endless conjecture and he broke up with her in a car on the way home from the airport. It’s nice to not have the guessing games, but at the same time there’s a level of being realistic about how fast things should be moving.

She broke things off after four weeks because it wasn’t going to work. Now there’s a new guy she’s had some correspondence with (introduced by a friend who knew them both to love Jesus and beer) and instead of bringing flowers on their first date he gave her an envelope. On it was a stick figure boy giving flowers to a stick figure girl. Inside was a card that said that instead of buying her flowers, he gave money to her college alumni association in her name. Anyone who pays any attention to Spunky knows this is the perfect thing to do for her. He wins points for years.

In addition to being involved with one anothers’ personal growth (which has been leagues in 10 years because we’re too interesting to be static) we’re also the kind of friends who can pore over the details of every relationship with one another. We emote identically–so when I don’t know how to react to something because I’m all clouded with But I like her so much and I’m so attracted to her she will totally turn the mirror on me and say, “Look, the way she’s acting is not the way you act when you want someone to stick around. You’re worth more than that.”

We’re also the kind of friends who can say “I’m not ready for that advice right now! Right now we’re canoeing up the river DeNile and you’re bringing the Girl Scout Cookies!!”

Spunky and I can spin a metaphor for hours and like to use a lot of great catch phrases, like “Romantic comedies–part of the problem, part of the solution.” This came into sharp relief for me this week when I saw He’s just not that into you.*

I don’t know what it is about who I am attracted to, but I often find myself dating people I don’t understand.

Dating people you don’t understand can involve long, drawn out conversations with your besties along the lines of “What did she mean when she said this?” “What does it mean when he does that?”

When I’m not dating someone, this is easy, I will totally straight up ask someone, What’s the deal? Or, really it doesn’t matter because I’m not trying to get in their pants and it’s not that deep. But when my feelings are involved, it is that deep. I want to know I’m doing what I can to not fuck it up.

He’s just not that into you could have been a really crappy movie. All star cast, romantic comedy, based on a Sex and the City book. Easily could have been shitty and people still would have seen it. I was surprised when I heard it was great. And it was! It was hysterical, moving and made me so glad I didn’t see it with a date. I don’t want them to know the level of analysis my besties play in my romantic dealings. There’s a scene where one girl says to another girl, “OMG he likes you! Let’s go online and plan your destination wedding!!” An extreme example, but seriously.

Spunky and I like to call this “Keeping the crazy between us.” Because we can be crazy, and say all the overanalytical stuff to one another and then go back to our love interests and be completely cool and normal. So the fact that we keep the crazy between us… and now everyone who watches that movie was a little intense.

I called her right after the film let out to tell her to go see it. That night when we caught up not only had she seen it, she intended to get it on DVD for future reference material. And she had harsh advice for me. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but at the same time, Spunky has been in my life for over a decade and knows when I’m making excuses for people. I know what I’m worth and sometimes I need a little nudging to stand up for it.

Anyway, it remains to be seen what will happen with my love life. But for now, Spunky and I invite you to share in the crazy and go watch He’s Just Not That Into You, but see it with a friend who understands.

*Tara and I saw it together, and because of the deep personal relevance I was feeling we spent most of the time holding hands and we had to cuddle afterwards.

Powered by WordPress