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

2015-11-19

Four Great Queer Art Presales and Kickstarters Happening Now! (A Couple Ending Soon!)

There are FOUR amazing queer artists doing crowd funding to develop capital to finish their amazing projects! A couple are ending in just a few days so act soon!

I believe that supporting queer art is vital to survival. In a world where we don’t see ourselves represented in mainstream culture, where even if we do see an LGBT person probably they aren’t fat, a person of color, disabled, older and/or working class. And speaking of class, it can be really hard to fund your projects as an artist with limited means and without parents or relatives who can patron, or the skills and resources to write grants.

It is also important to remember that art isn’t just creation, it’s also all the business stuff, preparing things for print, layout, interfacing with printing vendors/distribution/post office trips. Endless biz. When you’re trying to do this with limited artist resources it is hard!

When queers have spending power to put behind projects that we believe in, that speak to us and that uplift images of different queers, it is radical, beautiful and something we can do to nudge the world. This is why I love crowd funds.

Okay, pitch over, lez get to it!

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1. Next World Tarot by Cristy Road

Cristy Road’s HOTLY anticipated tarot deck has been in the works for a couple of years. The whole deck is modeled by queers. She’s even got ME slated to model for one of the cards (I don’t know which card yet). It is truly one of my favorite parts of being an artist is the honor of getting to be in my friends’ art. I cannot wait to see the gorgeous results. Cristy’s work is floaty, gritty, magical, whimsical and are detailed wonderscapes. Next World Tarot will make a vibrant and beautiful tarot deck unlike any other I’ve ever seen. (Check out my review of Spit an Passion for more of Cristy’s great work.)

From Cristy: My stories are about smashing systematic oppression, owning our truths, being accountable to the people and places that support us, and taking back a connection to your body that may have been lost through trauma or societal brainwashing. The NEXT WORLD TAROT is a visual spectacle of both the battle cry and the reconnection, between outcasts and their criminalized identities.

You can pre-order your tarot deck for $45 or get a postcard or some other amazing Cristy Road work for your home and heart.

Kickstarter!

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2. Queers in Nature Book by Shoog McDaniel–Crowd fund Ends on Sunday!!!!

Shoog McDaniel is the photographer behind one of my favorite Instagrams. Queer babes, nature, sweetness, adventures, an airstream trailer. All wonderfully captured by this mega talented photographer. When they announced their crowd funding campaign I immediately grabbed a presale of the book because their art is so beautiful. The dreamy Florida naturescape in their photos inspired my trip to the Florida Keys last Spring. I would love to see Shoog sell out of this book and get enough funding to publish their next book Rad Queer Spaces.

The book is only $30 shipped, and I already treasure mine even though I haven’t received it yet!

In Shoog’s words: My name is Shoog McDaniel and I am a fat, genderqueer artist and photographer living in Gainesville, Florida. It has long been my dream to produce a tangible book of my photography, because I feel that it is important to have visual representations of the beauty and strength that queers hold. This book brings together the natural flora and fauna of Florida and the magic of southern queers, and I am so excited to be able to finally share it!

Indigogo link

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3. visions: a crystal oracle deck by Jessika Fancy

An oracle deck is kind of hard to explain.

In the words of Jessika Fancy: An oracle deck can be used much like a tarot deck as a source of guidance and inspiration when life presents us with its many challenges. It is meant to be an intuitive tool for anyone that chooses to use it, as there is no right or wrong way to do so.

This is the latest of Jessika’s gorgeous, powerful witchy products and I think it is going to be a really great tool! Each deck and booklet comes in a hand dyed pouch!

The pre-order of the deck is $45 and should arrive by early/mid December!

The Go Fund Me

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4. OCCULT GENERATION – A hardboiled sci-fi graphic novel series

I just received this from my friend Sophie Spinelle, the pin-up portrait artist behind Shameless Photography the body positive feminist pin-up photography studio I mention a lot on my blog.

In Sophie’s words: Occult Generation is pulp graphic novel set in 1920s New York City featuring the paranormal, queer culture, and a secret society in Harlem fighting to stop the remnants of the confederacy.

It’s going to be a smart, politically incisive, and visually gorgeous book. Its heroes will be people of color, queer folks, people of size, and people with disabilities. I’m going to be playing a villian, and Kearstin is one of the good guys.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project. I can’t wait for you to see it and read it, and see some of yourself represented in its pages.

Maybe you love sci fi and graphic novels and this is up your alley? They are only halfway to their goal and six days to go!

Kickstarter

2015-09-21

Femme on Femme, Art and Inspiration: A conversation with GAYmous!

I wrote about the awesomeness that is GAYmous a year ago, when they released their first video (Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have) Feelings. Since then, they’ve released a new self-titled EP and we’re blessed with their newest video, Femme on Femme!

FOF_Bed-1-jpgPizza Cupcake (left) and FX Boi (right).

If poppy new wave and contemporary radically inclusive queer politics had twin babies and they came out as a spandex clad fat genderqueer femme and an LHB (stands for Long Hair Butch), that’s GAYmous. GAYmous‘ sound is reminiscent of all of the magic I loved in the 80s. Do you like You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive? Or What Have I Done to Deserve This by Pet Shop Boys? Or Venus by Bananarama? You should give GAYmous a try!

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Femme on Femme is important fat, queer art that gives us representations of fat queer femmes, including femmes of lots of gender presentations including genderqueerdo femmes, femmes of different abilities and racial diversity that is missing in a lot of media representations of queers. Its also full of crystals, glitter, bondage, great outfits (shout out to Size Queen Clothing), pizza tattoos, a queer porn star I recognized from Trouble Films, lingerie, garters, witchcraft, and the Collective Tarot. And an LHB on keyboards and servicing with popcorn and standing to the side while a femme coven does a cake bondage ritual.

I’ve written extensively about Femme on Femme action before and am super excited to see it come alive on screen in this fun and beautiful way!


Queer synth pop duo GAYmous takes you to the magical femme disco witch sex coven of your dreams as singer Pizza Cupcake seduces a sexy new witch recruit with spells, choreographed dances, and kinky rituals.

I took the opportunity to interview the genius duo about art, values and fat queer utopia.

What are your values as a band/queer artists?

Pizza Cupcake: GAYmous values unabashed queerness. We also want to create music and visuals where (gender) queer and fat people can feel seen and celebrated. We also worship at the altar of the synthesizer.

FX Boi: We want to make music that is political, sexy, and embodying. Something that opens up a dance floor. That makes people feel good, feel heard, feel sexy, and music that is very specifically queer.

What inspires you to make art?

Pizza Cupcake: I studied classical music for most of my life and even went to undergrad for vocal performance. I loved the drama of operatic singing but something was missing. I felt like I couldn’t be myself and there wasn’t space for a gender weird fat kinky queer femme in classical music. Starting GAYmous was a happy accident and I will be forever grateful to FX Boi for getting me out of my choir boy shell. It was so liberating collaborating to write original songs instead of singing German Lieder by an old dead white guy.

These days I am inspired by my friends, lovers, and community. I love taking an inside joke and turning it into a kinky queer vocabulary lesson for the masses. I was certainly inspired by your Queer Lexicon posts on your blog. I think I’m always creating art for younger me, a fat, closeted, suburban homo who was hungry for any representation.

FX Boi: I’ve been writing songs since I was 12. To me, it’s just a part of my life, always has been. It’s actually a bit of a compulsion. When I was a young rural queer, it was definitely my lifeline. I felt really isolated and would spend hours behind closed doors writing songs and attempting to create a multitrack recorder with two tape decks because I wanted to write many parts, not just vocals and guitar. Let me tell you, some of these songs were downright terrible, but they were all exercises and therapy for me. I’ve been in bands and done solo music all my life – indie rock bands, metal bands, math rock, punk bands, and now electronic music for the past decade or so after I fell in love with synthesizers and realized my palette could expand from a 5-piece rock band to an infinite number of sounds, shapes, textures and moods.

In reference to GAYmous, it’s about creating queer-specific pop music, by queers, for queers and creating spaces at shows that are specifically for queer people and queerdos. In my own solo project, Sapphic Lasers, I write songs about all sorts of things – alternative masculinities, radical butch-femme love songs, kink, celestial bodies, interrogating whiteness, being a small town country boi and jaded romantic at heart, etc.

gaymousfanartFan art from the GAYmous Facebook Page by Anna Archie Bongiovanni!

How do you carve out time to make art?

Pizza Cupcake: I’m a Gemini so I naturally get super excited about projects and then leave them all half done in tiny piles. I’ve been trying to curb this tendency my whole life and GAYmous has helped me figure out time management like a boss. I’m constantly jotting down ideas in a journal, leaving voice memos on my phone, and humming to myself. A lot of these ideas get crystallized together so I make band practice after my day job a priority. I’m also a big fan of those artist way type activities like morning pages to get all my ideas out.

FX Boi: I’m an Aries, which means I have a lot of gusto and energy. I’m very busy and time-challenged, but I make sure to make “art dates” with myself where I will work on editing, songwriting, creating. I also have found that I don’t feel balanced or healthy without carving out this time. Sometimes I squeeze in an hour or so of songwriting in between things (which often makes me late) or I dedicate a whole night or afternoon to working on things. A lot of songwriting actually happens in my head. Melodies or ideas will come to me and I’ll record them walking down the street into my phone and often get weird looks. My ridiculously talented friend, Nomy Lamm, and I actually compared voice notes on our phone once – it turns out she does the same thing! We thought it might be fun to trade phones and finish writing each other’s songs or do a compilation of these funny, fragmented voice notes. Writing GAYmous songs is usually pretty fun and seamless and collaborative with Pizza Cupcake. Whereas I often get more stuck on songs I’m writing for myself. Sometimes I just chew on a song I’m working on in my mind for a while and take it in different directions.

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What would be your idea of utopia?

Pizza Cupcake: No one ever says the phrase “good fatty” and the only trolls live under bridges. Touring internationally is cheap and easy. All the gym bros have gone missing. Dating scarcity feels doesn’t exist. Everything good feels abundant. Breakfast tacos are found everywhere not just in Texas. Femmes reign supreme. All plus size clothing is cute.

FX Boi: Capitalism, white supremacy, ableism, patriarchy, queerphobia, transphobia, fatphobia, classism, etc. comes crashing down; we destroy all clocks and use their remains to make art projects and have tons of “leisure” time to work on our passions, grow things, cook things, eat things, love people, fuck, lounge, swim, explore, feel sun on our cheeks, lay in grass, try new things, read, sleep, make things, collaborate. It’s like one, big long, eternal queer potluck/skillshare/sex and pool party. And everyone brings stuff like mac n cheese and cookies instead of kale salad. Oh and utopia has no bosses. Except #femmebosses.

gaymousepPlease throw dollars at this amazing queer band and buy their EP!!

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.”)

2013-11-14

Mix Festival in NYC Now through November 17th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I called this exhibit the “Erin Markey Room.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information from the press release:

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

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

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

● $13 for regular film screenings

● $20 for opening & closing night events

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

Free public admission to all installations & performances

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2012-10-09

Queer Artists Make Great Queer Gifts

I have had the privilege of some Blog Benefacting lately and I want to share with you these gems from queer artists, either to gift to someone or to treat yo’ self!

Elisha Lim’s New Calendar and Portraits

Elisha Lim, the dapper illustrator and author of 100 Butches, has been making these incredible queer calendars for a few years now and this year’s creation is highlighted in the following tender you tube video that actually made me cry.

“I call it the Comfort of Queer Family Wisdom and it’s for anyone who could use a little tender love and history because we are not alone.”

We can all use tender love! The calendar is beautiful and full of queer faces.

“This is all-out, gloves off, direct action TLC. These are the voices and role models that I sought out for comfort and strength. This is the calendar that I’d wished I’d had: full of family trees and loving words to remind you that you belong. A lot of the advice is also for facing racism.”

The 2013 calendar is only $20 and is available now in Elisha’s Etsy Shop!

Also, Elisha is offering custom portraits for only $100! What a great gift for yourself or someone else. Elisha has been promising to draw a portrait of me for years and here it is!

Artwork by Elisha Lim

When you hire Elisha you get your portrait in black and white, a choice of colours (because Elisha’s Canadian, your colours get an extra u for free), and jpegs that you can print, multiply and use anywhere you like. And up to 3 changes!

I love supporting queer artists and this is a great, very personal gift!

Brownstargirl Tarot: snarky, compassionate intuitive reading, by a brown, queer, disabled babe

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Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a good friend of mine and an incredible Tarot reader. She has given me a few readings over the last four years and it always helps me to understand my life a lot or a little bit better. A reading once predicted my girlfriend was about to dump me! True story!

Leah can read tarot from anywhere. “Video Skype has broadly expanded things for me, and I have read for clients in Germany, Toronto, New York and more- so anybody, anywhere, can get a phone or Skype reading. And folks in Oakland can still come see my in person in my gorgeous North Oakland home.”

Leah charges sliding scale rates, $40-$100. She also does Numerology! She uses the Collective Tarot which is my favorite deck ever, it includes lots of people of color, fat folks, dis/abled folks, people of all walks of life and the cards were reconceived by a Collective of folks interested in taking the patriarchal and oppressive elements from the Tarot.

Late night tarot reading for myself with new deck. Fleshed out some but mostly what I had intuited. Going through a dark time right now that turns fabulous.
The Collective Tarot cards are so beautiful! I totally used them to help me decide to go to the Bay for Thanksgiving.

I don’t do readings where I tell you, “You’re going to meet someone with red hair at 7-11 next Tuesday who’s going to change your life.” Instead,what I offer is an intuitive reading that can clarify what’s going on in your life, how your past history, legacies and choices are affecting your current decisions, and what your sources of strength and options are as you move into your future. If you have questions about lovers, healing, money, moving, destiny, work, school, depression, big or little life decisions- or if all hell is breaking loose in your life – tarot can help you figure out what is going on. For me, the idea that the future is unwritten, that we write it with our choices every day, and that we have personal and collective power while still living within systemic oppression, are important political beliefs that infuse my work.

Get a tarot reading from Leah! You can email brownstargirl at gmail dot com to inquire and read more information and testimonials at her tarot webpage.

Feminist Playing Cards

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My pal Mamone from Riot Grrrl Ink gave me a copy of the Feminist Playing Cards to review. A production of Homoground, they are super rad! 56 feminist musicians drawn by 14 artists! Including the incredible Cristy C. Road!

The illustrations are gorgeous and include the following bad ass artists: Patti Smith, Beth Ditto, Poly Styrene, Nina Simone, Kathleen Hanna, Robyn, Brontez Purnell, Liz Phair, Yoko Ono, Loretta Lynn.

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I love playing cards and it can be really hard to use “novelty” cards because often they change the suits (I tried playing a game called “Swish” with my friends with my A Bug’s Life cards and was vetoed because the suits were acorns). But these are totally traditional suits (with the addition of women’s symbols) and are super easy to work with.

So much work, collaboration and love went into this project and it is clear when you take a gander at the spread.

Each deck is $25 and totally gorgeous and worth it. What a wonderful gift for the musicians, feminists, or poker afficianados in your life! Buy them here!

If you’re interested in becoming a blog benefactor on QueerFatFemme.com, which helps me run the site, let me know! QueerFatFemme at gmail dot com

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