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

2011-12-23

Christmas is Coming Look Busy

When I settle into it and pay attention I really really really love the holiday season. I love having lots of social plans. I love the colors. I love the music. I love the fact that folks coat their houses in glitter and lights just for the joy of sharing festiveness. My friend Silas pointed out tonight that it is awesome that other people do lights, buy them, put them up, figure out how you maintain security in your home and provide a power source from a 100+ year old brownstone. Dust them off after snowstorms and pack them up when Christmas is over. And we get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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Being single and child-free around the holidays can be really hard. I mean, I totally admit to having some holiday blues here and there. My life has lots of reasons to have the blues, I am unemployed and also the whole Seasonal Depression thing. (There is no light! I am a plant I need to rotate toward the sun!)

However, in the last few days I have felt my life perk up noticeably and I think it was because I let myself settle into the joy of the season. On my own terms and not because a TV show or commercial told me to.

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Christmas sweaters for everyone.

First, I recognized that I was putting too much pressure on Christmas THE DAY. There is so much in this season that is worthy of celebrating that it’s sort of like living your Senior year of high school for Prom only and forgetting about all the other amazing stuff you get to do like graduate, sneak around behind your parent(s)’ back, pick colleges if that’s your thing, get a letter in badminton or choir or whatever. There’s a lot to the holiday season that have nothing to do with one day and just about a generally agreed “We are going to be festive this time of year, OKAY.”

Second thing that helped me get into the holiday groove was seeing community care taking. In our queer misfit community more often than not we’re looking to each other for our joy and wonder in this season. Families are super hard to rely on and I have really enjoyed seeing the ways in which my queer community (especially nearby) is really there for each other this time of year.

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Macy in candy cane jammies is so cute it hurts to look at her.

I still have a relationship with my family of origin but they are 3,000 miles away from me, geographically and financially out of reach most holidays.

Thirdly, I just LET GO. More often than not, I have had some giant bummer during Christmas. I feel like twice I had huge partnership break-ups that lead up to me going home for Christmas only to be sort of miserable anyway because I missed my ex. Focusing on Christmas THE DAY means there is so much pressure on it being good and I just needed/wanted to be bummed the fuck out.

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I mean, CANDY CANE JAMMIES. Thanks for the prezzie, Miss Mary Wanna!

It’s extra hard for me sometimes to get into the holiday groove and create plans for Christmas because my birthday is Christmas Eve. I don’t like being the extra sheep at someone else’s family because I want to celebrate my birthday. And sometimes I get so bogged down in “How can I make my birthday perfect” that I don’t just let the wonder of casual plans happen. It is also hard to transition from “This is how we celebrated your birthday as a kid” to “This is how we celebrate your birthday as an adult” when your birthday is on a holiday.

This year I just really let go. I didn’t make any plans happen for Christmas, I just let everything I was putting into the holidays be Rebel Cupcake: Holidazzle on December 10th and after that allowed the month to roll out as it did. And it rolled out really well.

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My look for Rebel Cupcake: Holidazzle was “Fat Red Head Amy Winehouse Christmas Tree Topper.” With Leslie and Mackenzi.

I made cookies for a cookie party in Philly. I love that every year I get to see my niece Etta around Christmas time.

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I stayed in Philly an extra day and was able to go to my friend Miss Mary Wanna’s cervical pink apartment for a tree trimming party the next day in Philly. Four dogs ended up being there!

For a holiday potluck I signed up to bring music and joy. I made a boss holiday mix to play over ipod speakers and wore a christmas sweater set from Quacker Factory and a bright gold skirt.

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I accompanied my pal Lissa to a Murray Little Christmas, Murray Hill’s annual Christmas show. It was so hysterical and heartwarming.

We got queso afterward and it was exactly what I was craving. And apple cider.

I met my pal Leslie out at the Bryant Park holiday market and hung out chatting about our forthcoming monthly shopping event Double Chin Win watching the ice skaters circle the rink. Posed by the tree.

I didn’t have money to buy gifts this year but I did a lot of personal shopping for people. (For last minute gift ideas see my tumblr post–if anyone goes with the My Cherie Amour serenade please let me know.)

It’s weird how there is this societal pressure to Have Something To Do on December 24th and 25th. My darling friend Heather made a proclamation: “Henceforth, I do Declare Dec 25, a Day of Eating Nachos & Doin Whatever the Fuck You Want.”

I loved the invitation to come by her apartment (happily around the corner from me).
“Please rsvp w/ nacho supplies & other snacks & friends!
This is what we have.
We will have everything we need.
Me. You. Us.”

On Christmas afternoon my BFF Brian (neighbors with Heather) will be making Christmas ham and I am bringing the main dish for the lone vegan attending. Green chili. Garnished with a red tomato.

Mackenzi popped the birthday question by asking me if she could take me to a Chinese/Jewish fusion Christmas party on my birthday called Woks and Lox (I love New York). Of course I said yes.

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Silas and Macy at Solstice.

I started creating an intentional spiritual practice about 15 months ago and this is the first time I felt drawn to honor the solstice. I got a last-minute invite to a queer solstice party and did a small letting go ritual around a bonfire. It was so lovely. I spent the late evening cleaning the objects on my altar and smudging my house–the solstice is for letting go of things and it felt like the cleansing of energy was exactly what I needed. And I feel lighter now.

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Next week there’s a really fun last night of Hannukah party to attend. And Sarah Jenny is making me a birthday cake for her Christmas Eve for Jews and other Misfits potluck.

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Sure, there are things I miss about the holidays with a partner. I like having the person I love most in the world close at hand and upon whom I am able to shower attention and love. In a different life path I had kids by now and I’d be doing what my friends Christie and Becky do by being Santa for Etta. But that’s not the path I’m on and that’s okay. And by letting go of control of the path, and the direction of December, I was able to have a really amazing month absolutely chock full of the holiday spirit (and cookies, I’m actually sick of cookies).

So, here’s to celebrating the spirit of joy in our darkest times with chosen family, calling family of origin so my mom can wish me a happy birthday eve (she loves doing that, and I really love that she does that) and making some incredible Christmas nachos. Red and green, of course.

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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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2010-10-23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info on the Miss LEZ Pageant here!

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Other fun New York City things to take note of:

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

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

2009-12-07

No Bacon Left Behind

On October 11, 2009, I competed for the title of Miss Lez 2009. The pageant, founded by the legendary Murray Hill, is “a wildly provocative, insane, jaw-dropping alternative beauty pageant for queer womyn that blows the lid off of ‘gender representation’ and shines the spotlight on New York’s underground queer scene.” It was an honor to represent my favorite clothing store as Miss Re/Dress NYC. It was also really fun to use my art and my extensive wardrobe (I didn’t buy a single new outfit for the pageant) to express myself in this unusual performance art format.

Since the contest I have received numerous accolades for my performance and requests for the written version of my pageant platform. I don’t like to disappoint, and thus I present unto you, gentle readers, my pageant entry.

PLATFORM:

Each contestant was asked to come out on stage and deliver a short platform after showing off their outfit to the audience. My platform was well-rehearsed and proceeded as follows:

“My name is Bevin Branlandingham. My platform is No Bacon Left Behind. Bacon, like queers, comes in a myriad of forms. You have your standard pork bacon, middle of the road turkey bacon, and bacon from that magical Vegan paradise known as Morningstar Farms. Bacon is the symbol of our national queer meal, which is brunch, where we come together to nurse our hangovers as a community. If selected as Miss Lez 2009, I will ensure that No Bacon is Left Behind.”

It was my intention to be campy and to express my value for creating inclusive community.

I wore a satin Marilyn Monroe Dress with a bacon applique and a small bacon hair bling.

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(Last photo by Syd London)

SWIMSUIT

Swimsuit was the most nerve wracking part of the competition for me and Contestant #2 (we discussed this backstage), Becca Blackwell. I was coached by World Famous *BOB*, who gave me her official endorsement for Miss Lez. Having a schtick made it much easier to be on stage in a bathing suit.

I came out in a red cover up with sparkly eyelash fur that looks great under stage lights. During the first pass I took it off to reveal my swimsuit, a black with white polka dots one piece halter with red piping.
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First photo by Syd London

*BOB* said I should make sure I have matching cunty heels and purse. I chose a black patent leather clutch with black and white polka dot lip detailing from the Beth Ditto collection. I rolled deep in the Queer Fat Femme culture for my entry as Miss Re/Dress.

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As a seasoned burlesque performer, *BOB* told me that she believes that every woman on stage in a swimsuit should eat something. To tie everything into my platform, I reached into my clutch and pulled out a piece of very crispy (and very tasty) bacon, and ate it on stage. The crowd went wild.

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INTERVIEW

Backstage before the pageant I was practicing questions with my team of pageant moms, the Baconettes. I began every answer with “I’m glad you asked me that question, [insert name here]”. I learned a lot of good pageant tricks from watching Toddlers & Tiaras and Drop Dead Gorgeous. I changed again, this time into a red cotton wrap dress. I figured if I flubbed my question at least my cleavage would be a distraction.

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Photo by Syd London

Linda Simpson was the judge who gave me my question. She asked me if selected Miss Lez, if I would pose nude. I was genuinely glad she asked me that question!

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I answered that I was already planning to pose nude for Fat Bottom Boudoir and that I was using those images for my forthcoming Fat and Queer Erotica Anthology. The working title is “Better than Cupcakes: Queer Fat Femmes Kiss and Tell” and that the idea was born because I was tired of not seeing any genuine body or gender diversity on the covers of all of the standard Lesbian erotica anthologies.

I’ll also have you know that I have completed my promise and posed nude for the very first time in front of Molly’s camera. Whether I’ll publish the finished work will be determined when I see the proofs.

TALENT

I had an interesting time determining what my talent should be. I do a lot of performance, comedy, humorious essays, burlesque, drag kinging… However, I am most excited about Femmeceeing. So I did a short game show on stage. I narrated it by telling the audience that I was multi-talented, and my first talent was Femmeceeing. I then introduced my Baconettes.

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Photo by Syd London

My outfit was a red wiggle dress and my very favorite boots in the whole world, red patent leather with white leather gussets. (I had them custom made from a pair of boots I got on ebay, total cost was about $60 for the shoemaker and the boots together.)

I then told the audience that a talent of mine was being surrounded by hot femmes, which is true.

The Baconettes were Black Amethyst, Lola Dean and AfroTitty. All fresh bottoms on the burlesque scene. I really couldn’t have held it together as well as I did backstage without their femmetourage support!

Each held a box with a number on it. I had a bacon spinner in my hands made by my drag dad Johnny Kingpin, who also made the bacon pieces worn in my hair, on my clothes and on each of the Baconettes.

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I invited up an audience member to spin the wheel to tell their fortune.

It landed on Box 2 and the corresponding Baconette (Lola Dean) approached with the box. She opened it to reveal to the audience a box full of red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I made those from scratch (another talent).

I then took one of the cupcakes and put it in my cleavage for Anne (I mean, my totally random audience member) to eat. The crowd went wild!

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Photo by Syd London

I sent Anne back into the audience with a box of cupcakes for her to share with her section of the crowd.

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Photo by Syd London

Murray Hill had told us before the pageant that there were no rules and we were allowed to bribe the judges. I sent the remaining two Baconettes over to give them some cupcakes and cleavage.

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I also bribed Murray with a polyester tie (one of his passions) from Re/Dress.
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EVENING WEAR

The last section was evening wear. I went with another red dress, this one a floor length lingerie dress with a sheer back for the reveal aspect. I also upgraded my bacon hair bling to a bigger hairpiece.

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Photo by Syd London

The majority of my evening was spent backstage. It is a really fast paced show and we had 5 outfit changes. Since I was contestant #1, I never got to go outside the stage door to see what the other contestants did, but I hear everyone was absolutely fabulous. It was really fun to get to know the other performers and hang out backstage.
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Fw:The lineup
L-R: Miss Butch Mamas: KS Stevens, Miss This is Burlesque: Helen Pontani, Miss Choice Cunts: Sarah Jenny, Mx. That’s My Jam: Becca Blackwell, and me, Miss Re/Dress: Bevin Branlandingham.

After a long intermission, the judges’ results were announced.
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I was second runner up. That means if Miss Lez (Miss Butch Mamas) or the first runner up are unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties as Miss Lez, I will totally step in. My goal for competing was not to win, though, it was to be unforgettable. Considering all of the press for the show mentioned my platform, I think I did just that.

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Photo by Syd London

I was consoled by the fact that everyone performed really well, and apparently all of the contestants’ scores were apart by just one point.

Brian, my interview coach and Gay Boy BFF has charged me with becoming the Clay Aiken of Miss Lez.

My whole No Bacon Left Behind platform is really all about inclusivity and creating space in the queer community for the myriad of forms that queer comes in–just like bacon manifests in all different forms on our brunch tables. Undeterred by my loss, I will carry on my mission as Miss Re/Dress NYC. I styled a photo booth at a Brooklyn queer dance party (That’s My Jam), encouraging people to get flamboyant and do a little hipster cross-dressing. And this week I am producing Maxi Craft, a free community craft fair, giving many queer vendors the opportunity to sell their stuff. I’ll continue to do more community building using the title of Miss Re/Dress, and expressing my love for bacon every chance I get.

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In the That’s My Jam Photobooth by Bloodhound Photography

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