Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy


Loving Her Was Like Driving a New Maserati Down a Dead End Street

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:04 am

Taylor Swift re-recording her legendary Red album has me all in the nostalgia of nearly ten years ago. 

The song Red sends me right back to a 2012 romance that is every bit driving a brand new Maserati down a dead end street.

I produced a monthly body positive queer dance party called Rebel Cupcake on second Thursdays for several years. For some reason August was a big month and the party was popping when I laid eyes on Dylan* for the first time.

My jaw might have dropped. I remember seeing her because she was very tall and easy to spot over the cluster of friends she was chatting with. I didn’t even consider my shyness (y’all I’m an ambivert, strangers can be hard for me) and walked to the group of friends and introduced myself. 

That was a fun night! Dylan is not in this photo. Photo by Kelsey Dickey. Hiring a photographer was always my best investment in those parties!

The first few things I learned about Dylan were kind of unbelievable. Not that I thought she was lying but that the Goddess brought her to my party.

Let’s start with aesthetic! Preppy, tall, fat butch with glasses. A fav of mine and fully my “type” at the time. 

She was super smart, had recently relocated from my hometown of choice (Atlanta) and she produced a talk show as a career job. My career goal at the time was to become a talk show host; meanwhile I was a lawyer with a nightlife side hustle. 

When telling my friends about her I called her “The future Mrs. Branlandingham” since I was still using a last name back then and also she was a great candidate for a future with me.

I couldn’t believe she even existed and immediately texted Rachael asking for her info. (Queers in Atlanta know each other like that.)

Cute shot of me and Rachael in 2018! I think this blog is really the love story between me and Rach. I love you to the moon and back beloved!!!

Nothing happened that night but I did get Dylan’s Facebook and sent her a message inviting her to hang out with me at a party I was hosting in a couple of days.

It didn’t occur to me that she thought I was just inviting her as a party promoter and not trying to spend intentional time with her in an alcohol experience while I looked cute. 

She showed up with another girl (a chubby red head—I was still mostly a redhead at the time) and made out with her in front of me. 

Not quite devastating, more disappointing. It inspired me to take a month off of dating because as I told my friend Leo about this experience I could hear it echoing the previous two girls I heavy flirtation with who chose to date someone else instead. Three times in a month is a pattern and the best way to break a pattern is to change your behavior.

Me and beloved Femme Bryn at Buffet! the party Dylan attended with that other chubby redhead. I had a great time anyway.

My month off dating was great, actually. I released all desire to date anyone and focused on self care and spending intentional time with friends. No regrets. I still made out with someone visiting from San Francisco at a party—I had declared to the Goddess if it was her will for me to connect with someone she should drop it in my lap. She did.

2012 was quite a banner year especially compared with my quiet pandemic forest life today.

I watched Dylan’s Facebook and saw her go upstate with that chubby redhead and break up shortly thereafter. 

A couple weeks later she texted to ask if I was going to Hey Queen, my friends’ party and a place I frequented. I said I would see her there. I remember nothing else about that night except all of our chemistry.

One of the promoters said watching us was like watching time stand still. We danced with friends til we were just dancing alone. I was counting the heartbeats til we might kiss.

My friend DJ Meduusa was playing the late night shift. We had recently lost our friend DJ Sirlinda, and he used to play Automatic by the Pointer Sisters for me frequently. Meduusa didn’t know that we had that connection but played it plus a Stand Back by Stevie Nicks. Perfect playlist for a perfect first kiss.

I remember leaving that night setting a first date for the following Friday. Just six days! And the night before was Rebel Cupcake and she was going to try to make it!

It was October, I had been planning my outfit and the theme for months. 90210 Peach Pit After Dark theme! Kind of a diner aesthetic meets all your fav 90210 characters.

My friend Nicky did perfect Brandon hair for working the coat check. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

My beloved first sweetheart who is still in my life and cheering me on is a giant 90210 fan and wrote me a trivia game for the party. Learn how to receive the love people are able to give you and your relationships can evolve really beautifully.

I took a train to Philadelphia that week to pick up my costume—a giant cheeseburger! My drag dad Johnny KingPin had made it for our cheeseburger obsessed friend Jess and I was borrowing it. It was cumbersome, heavy and ridiculous. I could not believe I was going through with this outrageous costume knowing my massive crush Dylan** might be there!

I’m a pretty committed person by nature and if a suitor cannot handle my flamboyance early on there’s not a lot of hope. The show must always go on even if I look goofy when I just wanna be sexy.

Dylan and I texted during that whole train ride to Philadelphia and all week long.

So she totally showed up! And I was dressed like a giant cheeseburger and I didn’t die! (I took it off after the show and just wore my cute red dress.)

Doing 90210 trivia right! With Sabina on stage. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Dylan wanted to take pictures in the photo booth together with our faces touching! And when my party host responsibilities were complete we made out in the grotto at Sugarland for forever! 

We parted ways with promises to see one another the very next night for our date!

I met her at a fancy farm to table restaurant in Williamsburg. Candle light! She ordered oysters as an appetizer and I don’t eat fish but I’ll try a fancy shellfish. 

We were there for a long time. Talking like catching up on a lifetime. SO much in common. I found her fascinating! We made plans for the very next day to have brunch. A second date within 12 hours of the original is very lesbian timing.

She walked me to the bus stop and we made out across the street from Peter Luger’s for a long time! I still haven’t eaten there in this lifetime but that make out under the yellow streetlights is what I think about whenever I consider Peter Luger’s. You can see it from the L train when you go over the Williamsburg bridge.

Beloved Femme Morgan made amazing cupcakes for Rebel Cupcake Peach Pit 90210. Photo by Kelsey Dickey and omg her fried egg hair accessory!

The next morning I was prepping my home for brunch and she texted because she forgot that she made plans with a friend, could we reschedule. 

I was gracious (ALWAYS STAY GRACIOUS) and figured we’d get something else on the books before she left for DC for work. 

She got sick. We didn’t see each other. We kept texting. But then there was Hurricane Sandy and everything was topsy turvy. She didn’t text as much. 

She posted those pictures of us touching faces from Rebel Cupcake on her timeline! Caption was something simple like “Bevin!”

My heart was so confused! I know now that mixed signals are a NO. Don’t try to read into anything to find a yes. The right people are a YES!

It was Autumn and I remember walking all over Brooklyn listening to Red on repeat. Dylan was my Maserati! Why can’t we just get out on the highway? I still think of her when I hear that whole album. Our slope was treacherous and I was walking around in Park Slope thinking of her.

This was the same time I was meeting Dara. Dara was not my type in any way and I didn’t even realize our first date was a date. I genuinely thought she was just “picking my brain” in exchange for taking me out for drinks. 

We ended up making out but I didn’t let her go home with me. Partly because I wasn’t prepared for a visitor, I was trying not to be so much of a first date girl and I was confused and heartsick about Dylan. I remember thinking about Dylan during that make out and feeling bad that I was wasting a present moment joy by indulging my heartbreak. I still had so much to learn about grieving.

Finding Dara a cab home was nearly impossible but we did it (post Sandy Brooklyn was no gas for about three weeks and closed subway stations; chaos).

I was starting a new party the Saturday after Dylan got back from her DC business trip. I thought she’d show up to support and to see me. She texted that she might. 

But she didn’t. Instead Dara showed up. This was information.

Yes, I threw a party at an art gallery with a go-go dancer on a ledge!
The photos that night are not the best but this one of DJ Meduusa getting it and our go-go dancer Gretchen (whose web series These/Thems is fantastic) encapsulates the spirit of Yes Ma’am!

Dylan stopped texting me entirely after she didn’t show up to the party.

I got a psychic reading that week (one of my first). She told me that Dylan and I had many lifetimes together including the lost city of Atlantis. She was resistant to doing the work with me in this lifetime. 

She said my next relationship would be a “dress rehearsal” for the real thing. She didn’t give me clear advice about Dylan vs Dara.

I decided to follow Rachael’s advice to “focus on the person who is focused on you” and gave Dara a shot. Our second date was really nice and she prayed before she ate which was something I wanted to start doing and she’s so smart that again the talking thing. 

I think if I were to describe my sexuality queer works but truly I’m Sapiosexual–it has nothing to do with body parts and everything to do with brain.

A couple days after that date with Dara I ended up going to a show at Sara Lawrence college with a friend who texted right before “Oh yeah Dylan is coming!”

It’s a good thing nobody ever died of awkward because sitting in a backseat with the person you thought you might marry and still have so much sexual tension with…

It was clear she wasn’t trying to flirt with me anymore and I did my best to bravely be the cool girl in the friend zone. Still so confused.

Our connection was so good! Like a hot fast car you can’t take anywhere. I read recently that we become whole and complete ourselves but there’s work we can only do on ourselves in relation to someone else. I think I felt a lot of grief about the work we were going to do together? 

I had dreams about her for months. Even as I started getting hot and heavy (but not exclusive) with Dara. In one of those dreams one of my other soulmates showed up as a Spirit Guide and there was some kind of closure in it. I knew at that point Dylan was gone forever.

I kept her in my observation for awhile. She dated a bunch of different people who I noticed frequently ended after the first getaway together. I wish her the best. I never felt anything bad towards her. Mostly, just confusion.

The kind of ironic thing that happened was that LONG after we didn’t date I found out she had slept with Ria, my forever crush. So two hot butches I didn’t get a chance to sleep with had sex with each other. 

First of all, hot. Second of all, this was my favorite lesbian love octagon I’ve ever been part of. Third of all, I did hit on Dylan at Ria’s funeral because Ria definitely wanted people to have sex because of her. Dylan turned me down so I went home with my bestie Rachael and ate delicious food. A win.

I was an emotional mess but I was still cute at Ria’s funeral. One must shoot their shot.

That first round dating Dara also ended poetically, with her saying I love you for the first time as she broke up with me. (I hear that lyric in the ten minute version of All Too Well.) 

After we got back together I thought the psychic had been predicting Dara round one was dress rehearsal for Dara round two. But now that Dara and I have been broken up from round two: engaygement for two and a half years and I’ve done so much studying on what makes a good marriage and strong communication I think that whole six years was a dress rehearsal for whoever is my real future Mr/Mx/Mrs Bevin. 

*This is a pseudonym

**Dylan didn’t really look like Dylan McKay more like a kind football player on 90210 but it was a good gender neutral pseudonym. 

Also in looking back through Fall 2012 pictures I was in a performance art tribute to Taylor Swift in October 2012 at an art gallery. I did a piece about my first engagement to the song Speak Now. Since at the time Taylor was using a sharpie on her body to write lyrics before each of her shows we all wrote lines from the Riot Grrrl manifesto by Bikini Kill on our arms. That was an amazing show!

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Remembering Ria Pell

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Bevin @ 12:05 am

I always thought I was going to sleep with Ria Pell. 

When she died at 45 years old this was not my first thought. (Was I even thinking? I was out of my mind with grief when I heard that news.) But eventually I settled on, “Huh, I never thought it would go down like that.”

Photo of Ria by Robin Henson

Over the course of a few years we went on a handful of dates together. Always really great dinner—she was a chef, and delighted in delicious food. Fantastic conversation, my favorite kind of foreplay. 

We got to make out in a classic truck, on dance floors, in dimly lit bars. A lot of cute sexual tension sitting near each other at a party. But never all the way. 

I’m continuing to develop my patience muscle but back in my early thirties it was a tremendous growth area for me. Ria Pell was worth the wait and I was patient, truly believing we would have sex eventually. I always had so much fun with her but was left with a see you next time.

She was the person who got me to realize that if someone tells you they are polyamorous more than twice you might want to listen to the tone in their voice when they tell you a third time.

I’m an obsessive photographer archiving my life. It was very uncharacteristic of me to leave blank corners undocumented, but I was always so intimidated by Ria I hardly ever took photos of her or with her! Going back through my Atlanta trips and photos and I’ll have photos of food she cooked and parties she was at but not her or us together.

My favorite phrase for this kind of long game is “We’re going to be queer for a really long time.” That can apply to straight people but it’s a fun little saying to inspire patience. Life is long and desires of the flesh not met the moment you feel them are not the end of the world. In fact, it’s especially delicious when you can pick them up later in life. 

Anyway, we had all these cute dates but it started as a long distance crush. I was visiting Atlanta for the very first time. January, 2005. I met my bestie Rachael on the internet in 2002 thanks to early blogging! She hired me to Femmecee the first Femme Mafia ATL masquerade ball.

Ria made a lasting impression.

Ria was the DJ. (Yes, she was a chef and a DJ! SWOON! Good taste in food and music are a really nice life!) She was an imposing presence in many ways, you just knew she was in the room even if she wasn’t holding court. 

But then again when was she not holding court? People were drawn to her. I’ve been studying Jerry Garcia, who was reluctant about leadership but he was like a default leader because of what he created. I sense that in Ria, too. She didn’t want to deal with the bullshit of community organizing and still did it in order to create things. Shows, parties, it’s where folks gather and Ria connected so many kinds of people!

Day before my 31st birthday party (December 23) Ria came through this party. I didn’t take a pic with her but I did take a pic with these two strangers! Why did I let myself get so nervous around Ria that I would chicken out about asking for a pic?

I have missed her so hard in the last couple years dealing with impossible situations I could have used her counsel about.

Ria caught my attention by being hot and having great taste in music, but it was eating at her world famous brunch restaurant The Bluebird that won me over. 

I ate there twice in one weekend it was that good. If someone tells me they are going to Atlanta I tell about The Bluebird, which is still open and you can still eat their biscuits.* And the brisket. Get the pancakes with bananas on top as an appetizer for the table.

You will wait for a table and you’ll like it.

Rachael and I have been besties now for 19 years. Her home in Atlanta is always my gaycation home. A place I can go, reset, party, eat great food and relax. Rachael is a Taurus and excels at all of those things. For a time Rach was engaged to one of Ria’s besties and I took that proximity as a giant moment to step out of my comfort zone and text something flirty to Ria. 

Omigoddess Rachael put up with relentless Ria chatter from me. That crush brewed for years. This is us waiting for a table at The Bluebird. Always worth the wait,

I think Nobody Ever Died of Awkward is one of my best blog posts and when you read it I’m talking about texting my Big Crush Ria. 

Ria did all kinds of sweet things for me in our time as friends/crush/long game. Nothing major but she had a way of connecting dots with thoughtfulness. 

We talked about our dreams a lot at our dinners and one of hers was to open a supper club kinda restaurant. Hearing about this for a couple years and then getting to witness her pursue the dream was so rad. I LOVE getting to witness people I love unfold their dreams.

At the Christmas Eve soft opening of Ria’s restaurant Sauced! I’m glad at the time I was still drinking–those cocktails were incredible!! Also lots of pics of food no pics of Ria! I want to say I was always kinda mesmerized talking to her so maybe I was just “in the moment.”

My Head Cheerleader heart loves to celebrate my people taking steps towards their dreams. 

She had opened the Bluebird in a punk rock DIY make it happen ask for forgiveness kinda way but now opening a new restaurant it required permits and bureaucracy which she hated. 

Bureaucracy is the opposite of punk rock. 

Exploring menus before the opening of Sauced she visited NYC and took me out to dinner. 

I’ll never forget when she picked me up for that date from my work at a Brooklyn fat queer resale clothing store. She was wearing overalls. I remember her laughing in the store and I just loved her laugh.

In my old Los Angeles kitchen I had a pic of Ria and my step mom Liz, two ghosts I love to cook with.

I think I was probably the only gal in NYC that night going to dinner with a Southern babe in overalls and I was really twitterpated about it.

Dinner was delicious, we had bacon peanut brittle as an appetizer.

Ria’s soft opening of her new supper club Sauced was on my birthday, Christmas Eve. I spent my birthday/Christmas with Rach that year and we had a night out celebrating my pre-birthday. Christmas Eve Eve. Ria came through to wish me happy early birthday and mentioned she was going to go back to Sauced to baste short ribs.

I felt honored (still feel honored) that in the stress of a restaurant opening she took an hour to come connect. I think of her every time I make short ribs now. Labor of love with a delicious result.

Ria’s truck. She was thrilled when she bought this, it involved a long trip many states away to pick it up.

On my birthday we went to the soft opening and she walked over to our booth and handed me, wordlessly, her version of the bacon peanut brittle. Way better than the one in NYC.

Looking through pictures for this post I found a thoughtful cherry shot she had made after I mentioned liking them two days before. Little thoughtful acts of service.

Ria looked like a tough guy but she was ultra-tender. In this culture it’s easy to forget that “tough guys” have feelings, too, and we all do. She was a Pisces, she cared about stuff in a way I think folks who stopped at a surface level with her might not understand. Pisces = FEELINGS. Pisces are also great at communicating without words.

We went out for lunch the day after she filmed Top Chef in NYC. She didn’t tell me whether she won and it didn’t matter but was delightful to learn that she did win. Not long after that she sold Sauced. I never got to connect with her about it but I was genuinely bummed about not getting to eat those short ribs again. 

One year when I was in ATL visiting with my new sweetheart I mentioned “Ria might hit on you. Choose your own adventure.” Ria was polyamorous and liked masculine folks more than Femmes and I knew chances were good she would hit on her. 

She didn’t hit on that sweetheart, but when I found out she had sex with another one of my dates that I never slept with I felt like it was some kind of frustrating but delightful joke. Ria was slutty and charming. 

Rachael and me at Ria’s funeral. In a classic truck. What an emotionally chaotic time and what a beautiful experience. I promise if I go to your funeral I will look this good.

Ria was the Mayor of Queer Atlanta, she knew everyone. Her funeral was epic. I’m so so so grateful I got to go, ride in a long line of classic cars celebrating her life and be at the graveside service. Thousands of people in a big march to the graveside. Unforgettable, just like her.

Someone played “My Way” at the graveside and I vowed I’d live a life that deserved that song at the end.

I still eat at the Bluebird every time I visit Atlanta. I still think about her all the time. 

I take a pic with this logo every time I go visit. What a blessing to get to remember her with a good brunch experience–the greatest meal.

Recently, my photo with the Bluebird logo was featured in an article about Atlanta brunch with a nice memorial to Ria. It’s wild to think she’s been gone nearly eight years. I’m glad folks are still talking about her. Thanks for reading my memories.

It still feels profoundly unfair that someone so magical doesn’t get to be here anymore. May her memory remain a blessing. And omg I’m now so much closer to how old she was when she went to be with the Goddess–it’s WILD how she was only 45.

She was born in New Jersey. My obsession with New Jersey has only grown since she passed. My first joint in recreationally legal cannabis New Jersey (a pandemic development) will be in her honor.

I know now that what’s most important in love are experiences with loved ones. And Ria gave me such great experiences. I’m so grateful.

Her obituary was really incredible read it here. There is just so much more to know about Ria, and you can definitely still have experiences of people learning about them after the fact. Chopped Season 13 Episode 10.

*If anyone has her recipe for biscuits or anything else please email it to me! Fatkiddanceparty at gmail

If you find value in this blog or in my work in the world, please consider supporting!
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Cash App (totally inspired by Ria): $BevinBoss
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I have no photo credit–if you know it please send it my way. Ria’s email was Boss @ bluebird or whatever the url was. I really liked that and have intentionally adopted her boss spirit in some ways. I think our loved ones like when we connect with something we admired about them and as a memorial try to be more like that. Anyway, thanks for reading this.


Life Intentions

Last week I found out a friend of mine passed away. It was unexpected and she was only 45. A couple weeks before that I found out a beloved of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer–we were already having long conversations about mortality when I got word that Ria passed. And two night ago I found out another friend of mine unexpectedly passed away at 33.

Me and Ria. I love this photo of her mid-laugh. Her laugh was amazing.

This is kind of bananas.

I’m leaning in a lot on my spirituality through all of this. I do know that the Goddess never gives me more than I can handle. I’m also seeing a lot of the gifts that you can get through grief and difficulty and paring my life down to the important things.

I wrote this piece in my journal the other night while reflecting on Ria’s passing and what a huge influence she was on my life personally and on her community (over 1,000 folks attended her funeral). I have more words to say about her at a later time, but I felt compelled to post these on my blog for now.

This is my friend Michael (left)

I want to live a deliberate life and I want to be effective and have a lot of fun and great adventures. I want to be unafraid of “no” and keep asking for what I want no matter all the “nos” I get. I don’t want to doubt myself. I don’t want to be held back by self doubt that seeps in. I want to be compassionate, loving, big hearted, generous, abundant, but always put my self care first. I want to live with integrity, make a lot of art. Keep bettering myself so I can better the world. I want to see my life as full and rich and abundant just as it is and not lacking even as there are other things I’m visioning and believing for. I want to trust the Goddess’ plan and be a vessel for her work here on Earth. I want to appreciate God’s gifts and beauty and all of the splendor this Earth has to offer. I want to make meaningful connections with people and sustain the ones that continue to sustain me and let go with love those that no longer do. I want to trust the process and I want to love ferociously, honestly and gratefully. I want to work hard and feel like it’s fun.


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