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

2015-04-15

Fun Home The Musical is Totally Awesome

I was offered press tickets to see a preview of Fun Home, the new Broadway musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home. Alison Bechdel is famous (to me and to every lesbian from the 90s, as the author of the famed comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.
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I knew a bunch of people who saw the first version of the musical when it played at The Public Theater, and also I know the dog walker of the woman who adapted the graphic memoir as a musical. It’s a tiny queer world. (Her dog is REALLY sweet.)

I have very few feelings of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as someone who lives in New York City, developing FOMO resistance is a survival strategy. Yes, somewhere at this very moment there are a ton of parties going down and I’m not missing anything. I feel this way about books and TV shows sometimes, trusting that one day I’ll get to it if it’s that good. This is why I didn’t read Fun Home when it first came out and I was too broke to see it at the Public.

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Ugh, I wish I had read Fun Home when it came out! It was so good!

The setting of the story is Alison’s family’s obsessively restored house not unlike the Addam’s Family’s period mansion. Additionally, the family’s funeral home business (the “fun home”), time traveling to college when Alison came out, and in the musical there is time traveling to present day while Alison is working on the graphic memoir and trying to understand her father.

Her dad is volatile, moody, obsessive, difficult, secretly gay and it isn’t certain but probably he committed suicide, just four months after Alison came out to her parents.

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Due to the literary references and analogies in the book I kind of found myself wishing I had read Henry James, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald and more heavy hitters in American and European literature so I could better understand Alison Bechdel’s when I was reading the graphic memoir (imagine a cartoon doing that), but then I remembered that my brain is full of the entire works of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Dorothy Allison and I’m not missing any of the old white dude set.

In reviewing the photos from a family (minus her mother) trip to the shore with one of their young male baby sitters, with new eyes, she draws connections to literary hard hitters.

“In one of Proust’s sweeping metaphors, the two directions in which the narrator’s family can opt for a walk–Swann’s way and the Guermantes way–are initially presented as diametrically opposed. Bourgeois vs aristocratic, homo vs hetero, city vs country, eros vs art, private vs public. But at the end of the novel the two ways are revealed to converge–to have always converged–through a vast ‘network of transversals.'”

This is all written over a drawing of the family’s station wagon in the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s the kind of book that you can glaze over the stuff you don’t understand because of the pictures, but if you’re a word whore like me you’re looking up the two words per page you don’t know.

I went to see the musical on Broadway fresh from reading the book and so curious how that sweet elderly poodle’s mom had adapted it to the stage. Here’s Alison Bechdel’s comic in video form about the transition from book to Broadway.

I thought the musical was great. It was super tender and distilled the important parts of the book for me. It was brilliantly staged in the round, with furniture moving up from the floor and around through holes in the stage. It struggled to flesh out the mother’s character, who I thought had a bigger part in the book.

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Dara thought Bruce Bechdel (Alison’s closeted gay dad) could have had a bigger emotional payoff, but I also wish I had been listening to the soundtrack ahead of time so I could really hear what he was singing in the last couple of songs, which is I think where the payoff was. Also, it’s so heartbreaking to watch the story of a person, especially a queer person or otherwise non-societally conforming, who lived their whole life in a 1.5 mile diameter circle.

The part that I felt was most different in the musical was the part played by Joan, who in the book is kind of a background character, but the dimension she gets in the musical makes her so charming and also the actress has some great swagger.

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It’s also really freaking cool to see a masculine of center Lesbian as the star of a Broadway musical, as the narrator character is present-day Alison Bechdel (not the real Alison, an actress) in all her tee shirt, jeans, converse, short hair, bespectacled glory.

The book is a quick read, and I think my having read it made a huge difference in how I was able to experience the musical.

It was also so great to learn soon after the show that there is a sequel to the book! Are You My Mother.

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Everyone I’ve talked to about the book says they love the scene where young Alison sees a butch for the first time. Here’s the you tube video of the song from the musical. It’s so amazing when you see a butch for the first time and you’re not used to seeing gender non-conforming people who you identify with!

Tickets are Broadway pricey at $75-$150, but this one is worth it. It’s on Broadway through September 13th, so grab them fast! And if you can’t make it to NYC to see it, read the book and then get the soundtrack. Both are really fantastic! (Ugh, especially the cute coming out dialogue “Thanks for the Care Package.”)

2014-12-17

Introducing Hell’s Bells, Handbell Butt Choir

One of the things I am most grateful for about my living situation is that my roommate is one of my favorite artists. The things that this femme creates are incredible. Like, stick in your head remember for a bunch of years incredible.

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Last month Damien started getting a bunch of packages and I was wondering what they were. She casually said, Ariel [Speedwagon] and I were thinking of creating a handbell butt choir. I responded, “Oh, really?” But didn’t get to all of my questions about it. Which were many. How are you going to get the handbells to stay in the butt? Do you know how to play the handbells? (Damien has churchy origins so I figured some time in a youth handbell choir was likely.)

Then the night came when Ariel was over (and Lizxnn) and the handbells were opened and I could hear them in my bedroom… clear as a bell. And this was clearly a thing that happened.

So much work went into this choir. Figuring out the mechanics of making butt plugs out of handbell handles. Casting the bell ringers–finding people who were okay with Christmas stuff, playing a handbell with their butt, and at lease slightly musically inclined, plus the more difficult aspect, whether their schedule permitted both performance dates and a couple of rehearsals. Artists in NYC are busy, especially during the holidays!

1907875_734849713259779_1475339536878244670_nPhoto by Zachary Wager Scholl for Heels on Wheels Roadshow.

They had to select the songs to play out of the thousands of holiday songs out there. They had to rewrite the music for the songs in some sort of music software Damien learned, and arrange it for handbells in the correct key. And learn what a key was. And decide which four notes were the best for the butts…

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I was impressed during this entire endeavor as it unfolded at my house and excitedly went to both performances. The finished product is in the below video. (You can see my little head cackling away with Heather, I’m in the bow in the front row doing backup videography for the first performance.) TOTALLY worth a watch this holiday season!

Not safe for work (unless your work is butt friendly). It’s really funny and heartwarming. Hell’s Bells Handbell Choir!

(Also I was definitely already calling the handbell player second from the left “Jingle Bells” because of their important role in that song… but then after you see the video you know why that name will be seared for life!)

For further holiday related video wonderfulness, allow me to remind all about the amazing Leo Christmas Hammer video from last year. It still makes me cry. Miss you Leo!!

2014-10-04

How Dolly Parton Taught Me to Have Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

I have been a Dolly fan my entire life. The more I’ve gotten to know her personality, her charity work and her life philosophy she’s just endeared to me even more. I consider Dolly Parton a business and professional role model as well as a spiritual guru.

My favorite way to get folks to really get to know Dolly is to encourage them to listen to her audiobook version of My Life and Other Unfinished Business, her 1994 memoir. I’ve listened to it over a dozen times and it’s the reason I still own a cassette player because that’s how it was published. I love to put it on while I’m cleaning the house.

My favorite quote from her book is this, “All my life … I have been driven by three things; three mysteries I wanted to know more about; three passions. They are God, music and sex. I would like to say that I have listed them in the order of their importance to me, but their pecking order is subject to change without warning.” As quoted from this great 2000 Salon.com article about Dolly.

I think it’s pretty amazing that one of my favorite celebrities has her own theme park and I wanted to make the pilgrimage someday. It’s hard as a working artist to be able to carve out money and time to do a trip for fun like that. In fact, I’d planned about eight trips with friends that had all fallen through, including going to Knoxville for business just an hour away from Pigeon Forge but not having time to go to Dollywood.

My dear friend Jess is also a deep Dolly Parton fan, and had free tickets to Dollywood good for this past Spring. She invited me and Dara to come along, knowing we were going through chemo as patient and caregiver. Dara ended up declining because a theme park would be too taxing for her low energy level and being immune compromised around little kids is a dicey proposition. She encouraged me to go anyway, so I said YES to Jess’s generous offer of her airline miles to get me down there.

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Because I’d had so many Dollywood trips fall through it took until the week before the trip, once the flight was really booked, that I believed it. Once I believed it, I started listening to nothing but Dolly Parton and took another turn through her memoir.

On the first audiocassette of the book Dolly talks about having faith the size of a mustard seed. She’s not super Bible focused when she speaks about God, mostly she’s into the generally benevolent higher power version of God, but this instance she talked about how one only needs to have faith in the tiniest amount, but really believe in it, in order for the faith to be effective.

Jess was flying in from San Francisco and we met late on Thursday night at the Knoxville airport and drove to our Dollywood Cabin.

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Friday morning we stopped for breakfast in Pigeon Forge on the way to Dollywood at Reagan’s Pancake House. We noticed all along the main drag in Pigeon Forge that folks had set out camp chairs as though for a parade, but no one was there. First of all, we noted that no one in a big city would be able to leave anything anywhere and expect to find it again. It was super quaint and country, we were totally delighted by those trusting chairs.

When our server sat us he asked if Jess and I were visiting from Michigan. That was odd but, we felt, the Goddess giving us a high five—since Jess is originally from Michigan and that’s where we met.

We asked him what was going on and he said, “A parade.” We asked if we would like it and he answered with an apathetic shrug, “I guess, if you like Dolly Parton.” We were shocked!

First of all, I was wearing a “What Would Dolly Do?” tee shirt, and we were visiting the Smokey Mountains from really far away, chances are high we like Dolly Parton. Second of all, pretty much all fans are primed from the beginning that it’s rare to see Dolly at Dollywood. She’s a busy celebrity doing her celebrity things all over the world (this summer, in fact, at 68 years old she started another world tour).

14111684103_79592f3cd8_oMy What Would Dolly Do tee shirt is a handmedown from my friend Bridget. This is me and Jess on Dolly’s tour bus at Dollywood. I’m holding her tea set, which is glued to the counter.

We quickly smartphoned all the information about the parade and the weekend. We had stumbled upon Dolly’s homecoming weekend! We knew we’d be able to see her in a parade at Dollywood that afternoon and again at the parade in Downtown Pigeon Forge, where all the chairs were waiting, at 6PM. We decided this was the Goddess bringing us to Dollywood on this specific weekend and were delighted at this turn of events!

We got some advice from park workers about the best strategy to see Dolly’s parade in the park and then get downtown for the big parade (by making sure we went towards the exit of the park to see the tail end of the park parade, to get us ahead of the crowd). I got pretty good at sensing the fan energy and started noticing when folks would congregate in weird spots, those were the folks to go ask about Dolly goings-on. We learned about dollymania.net, the premier Dolly Parton fan website, that had a whole list of Homecoming Weekend activities.

Dollywood has tons of shows, which I think makes it a great all-ages kind of place that’s not just about thrill rides. I noticed that there was a show called “My People” premiering the next morning that had a bunch of Dolly’s family in it. I told Jess, “I bet Dolly is going to be there.” Nothing published on fan sites or in the Dollywood schedule confirmed my suspicion, but I just knew. Dolly is so family-oriented, if she was in town for the premier, of course she’d be there!

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We saw both parades and they were awesome. We even go to walk the parade route through Dollywood on our way to strategically be near the exit and it was really cool to have the Dolly perspective on the parade route, all the eager fans lined up waiting to wave at her. It was so magical and a little overwhelming. Though, I’m sure if you had been a celebrity for 50 years like Dolly has, you might get used to it.

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This was the first time I’d ever seen her in person and she was so cute! In person she looked a lot like my Grandmother, another blonde femme icon of mine, who is a glamorous woman with a big smile and lots of lip gloss.

After the parade, we left the park and I had a hunch Dolly would be getting off her little wagon thing just inside the parking lot and I was right, catching a quick photo of her getting into her Dolly van, that matches the Dolly tour bus we had gone through that morning in the park.

14106260314_06f3203455_zI try to be a super respectful fan and keep my distance. If she hadn’t just been doing a public appearance I wouldn’t have tried to snap a photo.

At dinner that night, after seeing Dolly again in an outfit change at the downtown parade, we tried to figure out how to get to the 10:30AM premier of the My People show as early as possible. The park opened at 10, so we figured we could get into the parking lot at 9. Nothing confirmed any of this, but we had a hunch and just kept following our intuition. Following our intuition kept aligning us with things that were totally delightful.

13919219119_92e5c91e95_zThe Downtown parade was very Southern, small town and a great way to sample all of the dinner shows and entertainment available outside of Dollywood–Pigeon Forge is a big tourist town.

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13919227430_8cf7c81127_zJust after Dolly went by us there was a rainbow that came out of nowhere just above us. Another high five from the Goddess.

We were prepared to stand in line at the gate to the park for a long time, but though we got in line at 9:15 or so, they started letting us in right away. I didn’t exactly RUN to the theater where the My People show was playing, but I walked really fast. And by the time we got there, the line was already incredibly long.

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In front of us was a Southern family. The matriarch’s aesthetic was totally delightful—she had a gorgeous white Southern hairdo, right from Steel Magnolias and a matching seafoam green pantsuit that was likely from QVC. I love that kind of style, and I told her how much I liked her outfit.

The family in front of us kept talking about how we “definitely” weren’t going to get in to the show. I mean, it was 9:30AM and we were already in line for it, but because there were VIPs at the show people were filing into a special side entrance to the theater. The more VIPs that came, the less likely it was that we, the general public, would get seats.

A park employee told the dad from the family in front of us that there was “no way” we were getting in. I just kept telling Jess, pointedly, that Dolly Parton says to have faith the size of a mustard seed, and that we were going to have faith that this was our time to see Dolly. Jess kept supporting me by saying, “Whatever you want to do, I’m following you.”

I was surprised that the family in front of us even stayed in line, given how Doubting Thomas they were about our chances of getting seats. They could have just gone on to enjoy their day in the park. I saw the line behind us thickening and the VIP line streaming folks, including several obvious Parton family members. (Dolly is one of twelve siblings—that’s a big brood.)

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Once our line started moving I got a little nervous for the moment of truth. We wound our way to the entrance of the theater and stopped about ten people from the front. A theater personnel in a Dollywood smock poked her head out and said, “Sorry, no more seats.” Many of the people behind us left, but me and Jess and the folks ahead of us stayed put.

The theater person poked her head out again and said, “We’re not going to be able to seat you.” A couple folks ahead of us in long denim skirts abandoned the line. I turned to Jess, “Well, if I were Dolly Parton I’d point out that she didn’t say anything about standing room.” I had my faith set on seeing Dolly that morning.

She came out a third time and tried to shoo us away but we would not be moved, even the Doubting Thomas family stayed put. I figured maybe they were doubting in words but not in action. I kept repeating that we were having faith the size of a mustard seed to Jess.

Then, moments after the last naysay, the door opened and we were let into the theater. We streamed in, quietly and quickly shuffling through to a huge section in the center of the theater, a bunch of seats marked “reserved.” We were fifth row center!

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And just after we sat down, out of the corner of my eye I saw a rhinestone costume through the curtains and followed the costume up to see Dolly Rebecca Parton eyeballing the crowd! I gasped and pointed Jess towards it.

My heart was so full at that moment I started to cry. It’s so rare that you get the visceral experience of having faith in something that required triumphing over doubts, adversity and people saying “No.” Most of the time these things play out over months of years, rarely does it all happen within an hour with a very satisfying crescendo. It was a lot of emotion! And I felt so vindicated following my faith and intuition.

Dolly came out and took a seat about two rows and a few seats to the right of us, right off the aisle.

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She watched the show with us, which involved her family members and a band playing music live along with a video screen of Dolly performing from above them. It was very surreal to watch Dolly perform on a TV while she was sitting just to our right.

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15243325217_69093e255b_zHer super hot niece, Heidi Lou, performing in the show.

15243328327_1abec55f9e_zDolly on stage with her sister, brother, niece and some other relation.

If I had given up when it seemed hard, impossible or a waste of my vacation day to wait in line for the chance to see her, I wouldn’t have had that experience. During a year in my life that proved to be the most difficult, with one crisis following another, it was the perfect time to be reminded of the power of faith. As much as I’ve admired Dolly for so many reasons, she is a model to me for perseverance and believing in yourself, in spite of all of the Doubting Thomases in the world.

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2014-08-23

(Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have) Feelings–New Music Video from GAYmous!

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I adore the duo behind GAYmous, PizzaCupcake and FxBoi. They are incredible, talented and super rad people. And when I first watched their new video for “(Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have) Feelings” I couldn’t help but smile. Watching fun queers dancing around, many of whom you’ll recognize from my blog in years past and my travels to San Francisco, and listening to the incredibly catchy tune. It was morning when we watched it and my girlfriend was singing it in the shower a few minutes later.

(Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have) Feelings from GAYmous on Vimeo.

It also features some notable cameos by Memphis the Pup! And the Collective Tarot! And LHB–which stands for Long Haired Butch, of which FxBoi is a prime example!

Like GAYmous on Facebook!
Watch the video a trillion times on Vimeo!
Order the digital download of their upcoming dance EP and simultaneously contribute to the funding of creation of the dance EP! Or just throw tons of dollar bills their way because they are amazing!!

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PizzaCupcake’s hot unitard is by Size Queen, the best of all spandex creators.

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Photo by Arkansassy.

2014-04-23

New Body Love Video by Mary Lambert

This has been an amazing few days of body love video work on the web!

Mary Lambert, the hot tattooed queer singer brought to the stage of the Grammy’s by singing the hook on Macklemore’s “Same Love,” song has released a new video about Body Love!

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It’s a gorgeous piece of spoken word about loving your body and finding your value within and I was super stoked to see lots of different types of bodies in it, including a trans*gentleman lovingly stroking top surgery scars.

Mary did a whole social media body love campaign to support the release of the video that I lament I didn’t find out about until today when I was cruising her facebook fan page.

Also, a great post-script to the very earnest Mary Lambert video, which is all about how it doesn’t matter if people find you fuckable if you love yourself on the inside, is this super weird but awesomely irreverent video from Ilana Glazer. Ilana is one half of the duo behind Broad City, a tv show on Comedy Central that you can find on Hulu. Broad City is what Girls and Two Broke Girls tries to be but fails. It’s hilarious hijinks of two Jewish girls (one of them is queer) living in Brooklyn. I laughed for a very long time at a subtle Trader Joe’s joke.

Ilana makes the very important point that you, yes you, are completely fuckable and tons of people want to fuck you. And then it kind of devolves into a very “happy 420” place which I suppose is hilarious and makes a lot of sense if you are high, which I was not when I watched it so I’ll find out from friends.

2013-09-24

New Lovers Album ‘A Friend in the World’ out Today!

Filed under: The Whole Shack Shimmies — Tags: , , , , , , — Bevin @ 3:40 pm

Lovers are a band out of Portland and they are awesome. Their new cd “A Friend in the World” was released today by Badman Recording Co. If you’re familiar with the band you can just cut to the chase because you probably already love them the link to buy the album is right here, $14.99 on cd or $8.99 mp3.

Their PR company sent me a copy to review for my blog and I know words cannot do this band justice but I will try.

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Photo by Alecia Ruscin

It’s hard to describe Lovers’ sound, but I would say kind of electronica sweetness with a steady groove. What I’ve always loved so hard about them is that Carolyn Berk, the lead singer, kind of plays her emotions like an instrument. Like I go on a real emotional roller coaster with Carolyn. My collection of Lovers albums is one of my go-tos for those moments of emotional cutting when I want to just really FEEL something, you know? It’s really gorgeous to watch Carolyn perform live because she just closes her eyes and looks like she’s right back in the corner of that empty house weeping and gnashing teeth over that lost love. I mean, that’s what I imagine it to be and art that gives me such a visceral reaction and colorful imaginings.

Kerby Ferris and Emily Kingan round out the band with this amazing synth sound and the album is extremely beautifully produced. My emotions go on roller coasters along with the music, too.

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Photo by Alecia Ruscin

“No more heartbreaks for awhile, ok babe. No more heartbreaks.” From Girl in the Grass. If you need to take a break from someone who keeps riding their bike over your heart this is a great song.

The lyrics of all of their songs are incredible and A Friend in the World doesn’t disappoint. Check them out here. That might sell it to you even before you listen to the album!

“Have I loved you beautifully? Have I loved you carefully, at last?”–James Baldwin and The Diagonal Trance. This track is really great if you are super into beautiful electronic melodies with a little bit of a faster tempo.

Since it helps to be all Amazon.com about it (If you like _____ you’ll like _______) Lovers are similarish to Mazzy Star, MEN, early Portishead, Mirah, The Blow, Camera Obscura.

It’s music for a peaceful drive on a road trip, for lying in the park with your friends, to pop on the stereo when you need to do some hand holding and processing, or if you want to do some sexing to a mellow and sweet vibe but maybe Portishead is too cliche.

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You can get the new album now! If you are new to Lovers, I also suggest the album Darklight.

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2013-02-22

FAT SEX WEEK: Sex Playlists and Fat Appreciation

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work but there is sexual language on one of them.)

Hey friends! First of all, check out this AMAZING revisioning of the famous “Your heart is a muscle” woodcut my roommate, the talented and amazing Damien Luxe made!

Valentine by Damien Luxe

Click this link to learn about the image, the history and intention behind the piece (and to share on Tumblr if that’s your venue!!)

She showed this to me in the middle of the night the other day when I was having insomnia. It’s really gratifying to live with such a genius. Love you Damien! Thank you for all you do to make the world a more wonderful place for femmes and freaks!

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Damien! Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

I love listening to music, especially in the bedroom, and I don’t think any FAT SEX WEEK would be complete without some mood music!

Once upon a time I posted about my 90s R&B Automatic Make-Out playlist. I know for a fact several folks have enjoyed getting make outs from the mood it provides.

All of my playlists are made for moods and specific timing (because I tend to lose track of time easily in the bedroom). Till My Fake Eyelashes Fall Off is the most classic sex mix I have. The origin of the name is Kyla The Great saying “Can I just get a Femme to fuck me till my fake eyelashes fall off?”

For a fun quickie I use I Stand With Antoine. I also use my 90s R&B Automatic Make-Out Mix for times when a cheesy make-out is in order (and it lasts a long time and the rhythm is good, it’s also great for a party). Take Your Boots Off and Humble Me With a Fierce Heart ended up being one of the most heart-opening connected slow down sexy time mixes I’ve used.

I’m also really into cruising Spotify to find my friends’ sex mixes even if they don’t label them as such. My pal Danny posted this one under the unassuming name of a date in April and it is a great sex mix.

I have a couple of playlists on my itunes for use in certain circumstances that have classic rock on them. Classic rock is great for BDSM. (Good rhythm, sexy songs.)

Speaking of classic rock, have you ever made a whole fat positive playlist? There’s a CD for that. Here’s a link to Whole Lotta Love: An All-Star Salute To Fat Chicks.

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Abby Fantastic at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Shifting gears to talking about folks who like fat chicks…

A friend of mine asked me the other day what identity she could use to describe that she likes fat girls almost exclusively. It’s really an interesting question because sometimes having a name to identify something is really helpful. I know finding queer, fat and femme as identity labels that didn’t box me in but gave me tethers to other people like me was crucial to me developing a sense of self appreciation and love in a homophobic, fatphobic, misogynist world. What about folks who are attracted to people that our society deems unattractive?

[I think it’s also important for me to mention here that my primary sexual attraction is to fat folks, and specifically includes fat femmes.]

There’s a lot of self-loathing that can come out of people who internalize fat oppression who are attracted to fat people and date fat folks anyway. The self-loathing from being attracted to fat folks results in fucked up and controlling behaviors, and I know I can get an amen from other fatties who have gotten out of those relationships.

It is empowering to have an identity. It’s empowering to read about other folks who date fat people in spite of what society tells them is sexy or attractive. It is empowering to recognize that society tells you to be attracted to one thing and to swing your authentic preferences another way and work towards body empowerment.

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Me and my darling, amazing, friend Victoria. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

What I find hard about it is that “chubby chaser” and “fat admirer” are current labels that, to me, seem to be fetishes and not appreciation. I don’t want someone to find me attractive because I’m fat or in spite of being fat. I want someone who is attracted to me because of how being fat is part of who I am and also because I’m a babe. Not because it’s a deviant sexuality to like fat girls.

I love fetishes and open sexuality but since most American women are above a size 14 doesn’t that make us not that unusual?

I’ll be real, I do the recon work before I will pursue someone to find out if they specifically like fat femmes, whatever I can find out about their relationship status and/or polyamory situation. Because, in queer masculine-privileging community lots of folks don’t date femmes OR fats and I like to do some research. This is why it is always good to keep your pals updated as to what’s going on with you romantically. And having a term for being attracted to fat folks is helpful in these terms.

What about Fat Appreciator as a term? I’ve heard other friends of mine say, “I like big girls” or “I like fat femmes” as a way of just putting it out there without an identity, but both express an appreciation for fat people (well, certain gender expressions of fat people). I actually really appreciate when whole social groups are very vocal of appreciation for fat bodies.

It’s also important that labels for fat appreciation are also sensitive to the fact that all people have bodies and it’s not about privileging one type of body over another, but it is a way of giving some love and attention to a type of body that is not privileged in our fatphobic society.

So, now that FAT SEX WEEK is winding down, dear readers, I’d love to find out what you think. Should we stick to just euphamizing adoration of the rubenesque form or should there be a word that reclaims the adoration of fat bodies from a fetish context? Add a comment below and let me know what you think!

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Me and Fancy Feast being fat witches at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

2012-06-28

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! The Gossip at Terminal 5 Redux!

So I went to the Gossip concert at Terminal 5 in New York City where Beth Ditto et al were celebrating the release of their new album A Joyful Noise on May 22nd.

My friend Bridget wanted to get together to gossip about the Gossip and re-watch the episode of Watch What Happens Live where Andy Cohen gives Beth Ditto a corn dog bouquet a few times (I still have this saved on my DVR). Bridge and I decided to film our gossip sesh as an episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! We rate a Rooibus Mint iced tea by Rishi and have some cinnamon rolls, too.

We rehash good Gossip memories from their early punk days, discuss Femme jealousy, talk extensively of Beth’s outfit and Hannah’s seriousness and Bridget’s foibles at the afterparty when she met Hannah. Grab a corn dog and an iced tea and enjoy!!

2011-08-22

Music Monday: Lovers!

Filed under: The Whole Shack Shimmies — Tags: , , , — Bevin @ 2:23 pm

I spent part of my afternoon at the coffee shop on the corner. I know the barista because she’s a musician who has toured and recorded with some of my pals and I complimented the music playing. She said “I listen to it for the bass.”

People listen to entirely different aspects of music–some are in it for the beat, some for instrumentation. I feel that music is a language and I’m always in it for good lyrics and an emotional journey. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens, I want to feel ALL the feelings in the music. Sometimes I want it to hurt so good.

You know who will give these feelings in a way that my fellow musical emotional cutters will totally appreciate? Lovers will give it to you in the hurty way–hard and with a tortured look in their eyes.

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Photo from LoversAreLovers.com


“What a drag not to know how you are, or which of us got the raw deal. I was a dagger but in whose heart? I was the dirt beneath whose wheel?”

I’ve loved Lovers, this magical queer outfit from Portland, OR, for years. I first learned of them from a mixed mp3 dump from an old friend of music I needed to listen to during my catastrophic break-up in 2007. On it was a pre-released copy that was labeled only “Track One”, “Track Two” etc… so it was just words and private emotion. So special, but totally eclipsed by the genius of their latest release, Dark Light.

I saw Lovers live for the first time at Michfest a couple of weeks ago and have renewed my love for them from a firey and passionate place in my heart reserved for the most poetic and heart-breaking music.* You know how some music can take you on an emotional journey and relies on the instruments? The way Carolyn Berk sings you can tell she’s feeling every moment.

Some of the songs, like “Don’t You Want It”, are so heartwrenching you see Carolyn singing and it’s like she’s saying all the things you needed to say when you were broken on the kitchen floor wracked with sobs and she is sobbing right there with you.

Just watch her do it, here in this video.

Even if you never listen to a Lovers song, read the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean.

I think if you like The Blow, Rilo Kiley, The xx, Camera Obscura, you’ll definitely like Lovers. Though I like Lovers best of all of these bands, so there you go.


(There is a link from this video to this indie rock playlist that includes a free download of Barnacle.)

The new album is supreme, but if you want to dally in some of Lovers’ earlier incarnations I’ve loved the songs “Let’s Stay Lost” and “Where Are You Tonight?”

But, really, you just want to go spend $8.99 at Amazon and buy yourself Dark Light, turn off all the lights and enjoy your time with Lovers. Or if you’re in the UK prepare for their upcoming tour your way this Fall.

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They are so tender and so good looking. Photo also from LoversAreLovers.com

*I wore a big sunhat and sunglasses to the show so no one would see when I openly cried during the show which I totally did.

2011-05-06

Buying Bras from a Queer Perspective, A Radio Play and Sad Songs at the Bar

Three posts in one!

Happy International No Diet Day!

The nice folks at Autostraddle asked me to contribute to their mega article about buying bras for queer bodies. It’s really cool and funny and I think you’ll like my Queer Fat Femme perspective. The Lane Bryant plunge bra really did change my life. Go read it.

The Bra Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes and Gender Expressions

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Here’s me wearing a bra. Photo by Shameless Photography.

In unrelated news, I was in a radio play! It’s about a small town gay bar written by my friend Taylor who is from a small town in the South but really this bar and these characters could be anyone. I see a lot of my family in Memaw and Missy and some of the hateful Femmes I’ve known in my time could easily be the Femme in this. I play both the Butch main character and the Femme in this play. Grab a cold drink and give it a listen!

Missy’s Big Chance from Tom on Vimeo.

A Radioplay by Taylor Black
Edited by Tom Leger
with Bevin Branlandingham as Missy and The Femme, Julie Blair as The Bartender
Recorded at Collect Pond in April 2011

Taylor and I have been spending a lot of time together lately. We share an affinity for queer nightlife, lesbianism, Lucinda Williams and other related music so often we pre-party while watching an Indigo Girls DVD (with Taylor in the audience as a baby gay) and drinking champagne or reading aloud from lesbian magazines.

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One random Thursday Taylor texted me asking what I was up to. I had been at a press cocktail party exploring a new space I might use to book some parties in the West Village and was feeling just mischievous enough to get into some trouble. And since hitting lesbian bars with a gay boy is totally my 2001 I figured for nostalgia’s sake we had a plan.

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Great drink menu and make-out ambiance at 116 but no backstage… So I am thinking more of a swanky cocktail night.

I had him meet me at RF Lounge–formerly known as Rubyfruit Lounge. I don’t know why they changed it–most of the queers I know around my age have a copy of Rubyfruit Jungle. I love that book. It made me fall in love with New York City long before I ever visited. Also, as an aside, while I enjoy our queer nightlife parties, I intentionally throw mine at a gay bar and try to patronize queer bars and queer-owned bars as much as possible. There’s a reason there are only three lesbian bars left in New York City, we have to keep going to them in order for them to stay open!

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116’s flattering lighting.

We ventured in for RF’s $5 martini night and Taylor made a beeline for the jukebox. They have a killer one–the kind that plays mp3s and lets you search for artists so you aren’t shackled to one genre. And Taylor really hit my sweet spots with his selections, both by our dear Lucinda.

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The strawberry capirinhas at 116 were killer.

RF Lounge also has a video game machine that plays Erotic Video Hunt, which is one of my favorite bar games. During those two songs, I was enjoying a $5 cosmo, playing a fun game and listening to sweet sad songs–happy as a clam. The other bar patrons were sitting belly-up to the bar, not a soul was dancing. It was so magical in its simplicity.

We settled in, got more drinks and played more random bar games. And as Taylor headed to the jukebox and put in his $10 bill, the bartender shouted “No more slow songs!!” Now, first of all, Lucinda may play sad songs but they are certainly not all slow. And they also matched the tenor of the crowd in the bar far better than the vintage remixed Britney that was otherwise playing.

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The bartender at 116 didn’t try to control the music He was quite sweet.

Not one to be yelled at by a non-relation, Taylor abandoned his 20 credits in the jukebox and returned to my post at the video game machine. We had thought we were in for a nice sad sack takeover of the bar but not so. We finished our drinks and I returned to the jukebox to use Taylor’s credits. I played some Prince and Pointer Sisters (much better dance music than was being piped in) and some Sheryl Crow just to be contrary. Of course, I ended the set with Buttercup, my favorite fast song from the new Lucinda album.

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116 has a photo booth with a mirror to check yourself first! I didn’t have four singles so I didn’t use it but I intend to go back for it.

We left shortly into the playlist and headed to Cowgirl Hall of Fame for a late dinner (New Yorkers eat dinner really late, this is a thing) and then to Kamp in Park Slope. This is a weekly gay bar event that is really low key and fun, sweet bartenders, great dj (played Prince right after we got there) and even had a bull dog chilling under a bar stool. I was the only girl. Keep the 2001 hits coming.

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From the outside one would have no idea the moodiness and sexiness of 116.

After this experience Taylor and I decided we’re going to start a sad mob and do little takeovers of bars with good jukeboxes and drink specials and play good sad music. A bad remix of the 2005 hit “Hollaback Girl” might drive me to drink but a dose of Lucinda’s “Metal Firecracker” will keep me drinking and toasting to better times ahead.

2011-04-20

I Made This Playlist For You

Hi friends. Sometimes I am doing something fun and I think “I should blog this!” And then I remember halfway through a post that it takes me a long time to finish posts. I’m brewing several good ones, including a swimsuit round-up I think you’ll enjoy. Soon.

In the meantime I often think to myself “I want to make a mix tape for my readers.” I love making mixes for people, as anyone who has ever been courted by me can attest.* I don’t have any serious romantic crush objects right now, which is unusual, and instead I have all these other crushes on stuff and things. Like this platonic blog crush on a blogger I have almost nothing in common with but love her outlook on life, photography and way with words. I keep talking about her at work and the Shop Girls are all “You have a platonic blog crush!” She has a playlist that autoplays on her blog and I thought it was cool. Like she made a mix tape for her blog readers.

So I made you one. Just some songs. To get you through the fact that it’s still snowing in April in some parts. I thought about adding the Prince song about April snow but it was more of a bummer than I wanted. So here it is. Maybe you’ll be like me with Kelle’s blog and sometimes go put on the playlist even when you’re not reading my blog? Or maybe you’ll dive into the Queer Fat Femme Guide To Life archives listening to my all over the place taste in music. (I lament the new MEN album is totally unsearchable on the playlist site and a lot of intensely indie stuff I like is missing, too.)

Maybe if this were real life I would decoupage a cover with a lot of glitter and cut out words and also a hand-written track listing in my terrible handwriting and you could barely tell what the songs were but it would mean so much to you.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Also tonight I met up with my friend Silas Howard who is awesome sauce. He is doing this rad book about 90s Queer/punk activist types in San Francisco and he needs an intern (likely NYC based but he’ll consider out of towners) to help him transcribe interviews with people like Kathleen Hanna and Justin Vivian Bond. We battleshipped at the Hill Country BBQ and wrote the meat of his internship ad over some brisket. The final ad is here, if you’re interested.

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*Unless they were snobby about my music taste.

2010-12-08

Blog Contest: Lesbian Love Jams

The latest episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket is a pretty rare event caught on film. My friend Elisabeth did not set out to do this but I believe she out gayed me for approximately 7 minutes. Not that being gay is a contest, since being gay is truly the greatest team sport of them all. However, I am told by many people quite often that I am the gayest person they know and I cannot wait to show them how Elisabeth is even gayer.

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Typically my gayness is expressed through lesbian cultural references. A subtle Ani DiFranco quote cast into the wind to see if someone might pick up on it or let it fly. The warbling of an Indigo Girls song at just the right moment. My purchase of a labrys necklace that is actually sharp just this past summer at the age of 31 and not as a relic from my queer youth. (Though I did just locate my pride rings from college and just as soon as I polish up the chain I’m going to wear them someplace to horrify some been-there-done-that-over-the-rainbow gays.)

Elisabeth delights me to no end because she does this even better than I do. In fact, at the very same party we filmed this at the slightest hint of something related she busted out her journal from college and began reciting a passage about her ex-girlfriend. So Lez!

During the same party we were wondering what the queer youth of today are listening to to bond them as a queer community. By this I mean that I learned that in the 70s and 80s at Girl Scout Camp, when one person wanted to know if another person was a Lez, they would ask them if they listened to Cris Williamson. Girl Scout Camp is where I first learned about Indigo Girls during a joy ride in a friend’s mom’s borrowed mini van. When I was coming out in the late 90s Ani DiFranco was the tie that bound. It certainly factored in the “I see you, you see me” silent acknowledgment of sexuality between me and my first girlfriend (because I was still almost entirely closeted at that time).

So who is the artist now that the closeted gay youth can use to out themselves to each other? My investigation continues.

As a group of early thirties queermos we were also talking about the ultimate lesbian primer cd. If you could only include one Dar Williams song, one Ani song, one Melissa Etheridge song, one Sleater-Kinney song, etc… which would you choose? This is clearly a Solomon’s choice since you don’t actually have to exclude the remainder of our herstorical lineage, now that we have ipods, but it is an interesting conundrum to think about.

So here we have the aforementioned Episode. The blog contest is this, comment with your list of Deep Lez references from the video and the person who has the most the earliest (so if there’s a tie the person who comments first gets it) before December 20 at midnight Eastern time wins a cd of lesbian hits made by yours truly. The winner will be verified by Elisabeth herself.

Also in this episode we experiment with those magic fruit tablets that change your taste buds.

P.S. Lesbian Love Jams v. 4 is the name of an actual cd that Elisabeth and friends made for my boss at Re/Dress as a thank you for a gift certificate donated to the Lesbian Love Octagon.

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