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

2015-10-15

Full House the Musical is Awesome

I already gave away my review in the title, there I go again. But knew I was going to love Full House the Musical before I even saw it because it was written by Bob and Tobly McSmith. They are the duo behind the musical parody of Saved By the Bell (Bayside the Musical) and Showgirls (Showgirls the Musical). Tobly and Bob know how to tease out and highlight the most ridiculous elements of their characters, string together a plot featuring the greatest hits of the show and write jaunty tunes revealing the innermost turmoil of the cast. The 90s is full of material just waiting for their treatment.

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Full House, for those not familiar, is the iconic show where dad Danny Tanner (played in the original by Bob Saget and here by Perez Hilton–yes that Perez Hilton), is suddenly widowed (widowered?) and left alone to raise three daughters. Enter brother-in-law Uncle Jesse (played by John Stamos and here by John Duff) and best friend Uncle Joey (played by this Canadian actor who once dated Alanis Morisette, and here by Seth Blum) to help out and provide hijinks only three single guys together raising three girls can have. Full House is the reason that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are famous and why whenever you see Bob Saget in anything on TV or movies he’s swearing up a storm to prove how edgy he is. (See Entourage, Season 2.)

The musical is full of 90s nostalgia. From the playlist of 90s singalong songs that plays while you wait for the show to start, to the opening jingle of TGIF (anyone who watched Full House on TV knows it), to the Alanis Morissette references peppered throughout, it’s a group cultural experience touching back on 20 year old things you forgot you remembered. That alone makes it an amazing group theater outing–I know lots of folks go to the Bob and Tobly shows as Bachelorette parties, because 30 somethings these days are going to a lot of weddings and 90s nostalgia makes for a fun, raucous night out. Also there’s a bar attached to the historic theater and they encourage booze to support the arts.

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One of the most brilliant songs was “There’s No Gays in San Francisco (As Demonstrated by this TV Show).” Because, in a town as culturally diverse as San Francisco the cast is completely white and there is no reference to homosexuality in San Francisco even once in almost 200 episodes. Full House is a shining example of how mainstream media ignores anything that’s not convenient for them. I’m glad the musical addressed the lack of any reference to San Francisco as a center of Gay Liberation.

The actually most brilliant song in the show is “Kimmy Gibbler Don’t Give a F*ck.” It really encapsulates the essence of Kimmy Gibbler, the wacky and pesty next door neighbor. There’s a queef solo.

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John Duff is the babe that played gay Slater in Bayside the Musical and I was so excited to see him as Uncle Jesse. He shined in his musical solos and necessary Uncle Jesse Elvis impersonations. He was discovered by Bob and Tobly on a subway car heading home from auditions for Bayside the Musical! And now he’s getting songs written for him. New York City dreams do come true, you guys!

Seth Blum is the kind of actor who truly lets everything go on stage. His physical comedy is full force and in Bayside as his roles of Mr. Belding/Torey the Bad Girl/Anyone Else they needed I was stunned at how quickly he was able to change backstage and the same is true here in his role as Uncle Joey “and others.” He is brilliant, I’d go see whatever shows he’s in.

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Perez Hilton is working on changing his image. You know him as the gossip website maven who shot to fame by talking shit about famous people. He’s got two kids now and is making a conscious change to be less of a person who is famous for tearing people down and instead resting on his own talents. I was curious if he would be any good, and I was impressed. The first few notes he sang you could catch a whiff of the Uma Thurman character in Smash, where it’s clear he’s not a musical theater native, but the rest of the show he blended well musically with the other actors. His acting range was very impressive, given the character arc of Danny Tanner in the musical, which goes from Dad speeches to the more nasty and raunchy elements of Bob Sagat’s public persona. I thought the range showed acting talent and I’m excited to see what Perez does next!

The women playing the girls of Full House were also really talented (and somehow are heighted exactly right in descending order to match the show). The show had to be pretty offensive (it’s the Bob and Tobly McSmith way) and it relies heavily on the clumsy way in which Full House addressed the burgeoning sexuality of the two older daughters. There’s a very realistic cum dumpster prop that is used in one of the later scenes.

BOBANDTOBLYBob and Tobly, photo by Allison Michael Orenstein who also took the photo of me in my shark dress that is the deader for my blog. Small queer arts world overlap.

Full House the Musical is worth a trip. Off-Broadway shows like this are my favorite in NYC. The smaller theaters are more intimate, you can see the actors and often I find them more fun with better storytelling. (I saw the Anna Nicole opera and I definitely thought Tobly and Bob do better at celebrity parody. There, I said it.) Plus I like to support hard working artists I know from the LGBT community!

You can get tickets through their website. Use code “Olsen” for 25% off! And be sure to sign up for their email list for future discounts and announcements. I saw Screech in Bayside the Musical, who knows, maybe Candace Cameron will give up her fundamentalist lifestyle to come visit the set?

P.S. Have you seen John Stamos in Grandfathered? It’s a cute show!

2015-05-04

How Castro Valley is Not the Castro

Among my army of incredible friends and community, we have a few aesthetic tropes that are common–tattoos chief among them. When I was younger and still shedding muggle ideas of normalcy I remember being sort of shocked when someone would just get a tattoo on a whim. You didn’t plot this for years and meticulously scour for the right artist? You got it off the wall?

Not everyone thinks like a Capricorn with a Virgo rising. I’m an Earth sign. Permanency is a big decision. Some people tattoo on whims and some people tattoo with great plans and down payments and sessions. Most folks blend a bit of both.

That’s not the tattoo point I wanted to make. There’s a pattern in my tattooed friends’ bodies. They get home state nostalgia tattoos. They come in lots of types, an esoteric homage, a sign, but most common is a map outline with optional home city starred.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

17184687429_3ff3439afa_zHeart where the hometown is. Photo courtesy Amanda Arkansassy. You can check out the livefeed of the show she is co-curating on June 13th, Y’all Come Back Now: Queer Stories of Southern Migration.

17368951392_f4c6b7bee4_zHere’s one of just the region–Southern Illinois. Photo of Matthew Baccus.

17184687499_f1bbe5117f_zMatt and his best friend Meade have matching soil tattoos to indicate Southern Illinois. A home town tattoo is a great mile marker to get when you leave someplace.

This tattoo trope is so common that, when crowd sourcing for an image to use I got enough offers to start a whole USA collage art piece. And Victoria said her tattoo artist told her she would cross over into hipster in a forever way when she got her Minnesota outline.

It’s a Thing.

But it’s not really a Thing I can get behind for myself. I’ve thought about it a bunch, as an ex-patriate Californian of Bay Area origins. I moved to the East Coast in early August 2000. I needed a good dose of time and space from where I grew up and it’s not all healed yet. I created survival tips for returning to my home town. I don’t want a tattoo of my home town.

I do love and appreciate California, especially anywhere but my hometown. The redwoods, San Francisco, Yosemite, Santa Cruz… I even developed a deep appreciation for Southern California, which was a steep climb considering the regional disdain for our So Cal neighbors that Northern Californians instill. (Not all folks feel this way but it is an attitude you’d notice.) I kind of love LA now. I adore Palm Springs, where my beloved Grandmother lives.

When we were driving to Northern CA for my partner to have a work meeting in San Francisco during our post-chemo road trip last Fall, she made the mistake of confusing my hometown of Castro Valley, CA with the famous district of The Castro in San Francisco. The two places are only a 30 minute drive apart, but could not be further from one another in many ways.

I wasn’t so excited to show Dara my hometown, but it was very important for me to dispel any confusing thoughts she had about the two places. I share below some of the highlights.

Castro Valley is known by most folks who live or have lived in the Bay as a place on interstate 580. Coming in from the Central Valley, it’s just past Pleasanton/Dublin, just before Hayward/San Lorenzo. This is what it looks like to enter Castro Valley.
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In contrast, The Castro, is known the world over as a hive for gay liberation and historically was a haven for queer folks who needed a place to be accepted. Now it’s a lot more expensive to live there, but is still a destination for LGBT tourists. This is what you see when you drive into The Castro. Very different from Castro Valley.
15818102011_b0dcdda220_zNote the mega giant Pride flag on the right, the legendary Castro theater ahead to the left.

In Castro Valley, I had Dara drive down the main drag, Castro Valley Boulevard. “The Boulevard” as it is known. Here’s one of my favorite spots from when I was a teen. The Starbucks. (Back in 1995/1996 Starbucks was not yet ubiquitous.)
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In the Castro, we strolled across the street from yet another cute new indie coffee shop in The Castro.
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Things in Castro Valley are pretty regular and suburban looking. Because it’s the suburbs. 15634168219_7eaba6c0e2_z

Things in The Castro look like a vibrant neighborhood in a major metropolitan city, because it’s the city. “The City” is what we would call San Francisco in Castro Valley.
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When I was a teenager my best friends and I would hang out at this McDonald’s a lot. Hanging out at fast food places and Lyon’s were kind of the thing to do. There’s not even a mall in Castro Valley, we would have to go to Pleasanton or Hayward for that.
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When I was a teenager I didn’t find any girls to make out with in The Castro, but we could have smooched here. I don’t think we would have even been able to hold hands safely in Castro Valley.
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The most significant landmark in Castro Valley is the three crosses leaping up from the hill at Three Crosses church, one of the two (maybe more now) mega Christian churches in town.
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The Castro, as seen from Twin Peaks, has a very different significant landmark.
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On my visit to The Castro I was sad to note that the place I bought my first Pride rings is closed… But that was almost twenty years ago so it had a good run.
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In Castro Valley, the streets are just streets.
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In The Castro, the streets are actually paved with rainbows.
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Anyway, now you know why The Castro and Castro Valley are not the same thing. And this is only just a whisper of why I’m not leaping to get a Castro Valley hometown nostalgia tattoo. My mom’s house is cute, but when she talks about selling it to downsize for her and her wife’s retirement… I’m okay to let it go.

I see my friends who have so much pride in and love for the places they come from inked on their bodies. And I’m sure they also feel some complexity, too. Hopefully this is a piece of solidarity for those folks who feel really great to let their hometowns go, and hope to do healing work around it.

2014-11-20

Post Chemo California Road Trip Part One: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the East Bay and I-5

Our post-chemo trip was postponed a few months, but we made up for it in October during an epic ten day Southern and Northern California road trip exploring new places and visiting familiar stomping grounds for this California native. I chronicle the trip in these blog posts. Check out the post chemo road trip tag for all of the posts!

When Dara was ending chemo we were supposed to celebrate with a family vacation to Southern California in June. It happened that her family was going to be staying in the same Southern California town that my family immigrated to from Canada in 1962 (how random/fated that they picked Oxnard for their trip, though technically my family is in Camarillo, too) and we were going to maybe get them to meet. We had enough airline miles to make the trip free. All the plans were set and we were traveling just as soon as we possibly could after Dara’s last chemo treatment.

Except that post-chemo trip got canceled because Dara’s father passed away very suddenly and we went to Las Vegas instead. The miles tickets were able to be postponed, but we couldn’t change the destination. We had a trip via LAX to take within the next year, and decided that in the Fall we would finally take that post-chemo trip, only by now Dara would have hair and we wouldn’t need to obsessively clean the airplane seats and tray tables with antibacterial wipes. (Chemo would make her immune-compromised for at least a month following her last infusion.)

14806615819_1c38c0932b_oSo many pro con lists were incorporated in figuring out exactly how to plan this epic journey.

When we conceived the new incarnation of this trip we decided that Dara would buy a cheap ticket to Las Vegas a couple of days before I left in order to get her dad’s car so we could save on a rental car. Mercury was retrograde, so our trip was really difficult to pin down. We adjusted dates of where we were going to be a few different times as curve balls came at us and hoped we didn’t annoy our friends too much with furtive texts like, “Oh shit, our cabin trip got changed to Big Bear so now we’re moving things forward two days.” Camping became cabin, destinations were shifted, etc…

The thing about being from California and knowing lots of people from my adult life in California, is that anytime I am there I can see about 2% of the amount of people I want to see. And if I’m there for a holiday, which I usually am, it’s even more difficult to see friends since they tend to be out of town or busy. I try to trust my gut about who is on my mind and hope everyone understands.

Dara had a few work meetings (she’s a consultant in education research, action planning and grant writing) we had to schedule around, and I wanted to make sure we squeezed in as much adventure and relaxation as possible. We’re never going to have a post-chemo road trip again and I wanted it to be fun and meaningful.

15796314336_2223a44853_zDara in her work meeting outfit during our drive up I-5. She’s so cute dressed up for work!

Our first stop after my 11PM arrival to LAX was to Lebec, CA—we were driving up to San Francisco for Dara to have a work meeting early the next evening so we needed to get out of the way of LA traffic. We stayed in a kind of crappy Motel 6 with weird tasting water and had a Denny’s kind of breakfast. A true road trip meal.

I deeply wanted to stop at Harris Ranch for steak but there wasn’t time. I love that place and recall fondly many trips with my mom driving down I-5 to visit my Southern CA family and stopping at Harris Ranch for her to get steak and eggs. (I never liked steak until my late twenties.)

15200027324_724da6cec1_zSidewalk colors in San Francisco.

This time around Dara and I also postponed a trip to the Madonna Inn, which I used to stare at longingly when mom and I would take the 101. I didn’t even know what that gorgeous, huge, white building was on the inside until I was an adult. Staying at one of Madonna Inn‘s gorgeous theme rooms is on my bucket list and I was really sad when timing meant we had to drop it from the itinerary.

Making very swift trips from Southern to Northern CA was a trade-off for how much fun we had in both places. We drove through the East Bay from I-5. We were in a rush, but since Dara got confused by my mention of my home town, Castro Valley, and the neighborhood we were staying in San Francisco, The Castro, I decided she needed to have a trip down the main drag. I’ll save the distinctions for another blog post, but trust me. Castro Valley is not The Castro.

20141015_170248I made this bouquet at a place in the Richmond district of SF called Intention Flowers, which is just woo enough to be perfect. I love arranging flowers.

We were in San Francisco for a day and a half and hit up some of my favorite haunts and explored a few new spots.

While Dara was at her work meeting, I went to Burma Superstar with my friend Sophie Spinelle of Shameless Photography. Shamless just turned five years old! My shoot was one of her first. I adore her and really appreciate friendships where not seeing one another for months or years you still pick back up where you left off.

15371294390_1487444fb6_oI saw Sophie’s adorable apartment and she has a real working land line! So retro!

Burma Superstar has incredible food. Their Tea Leaf Salad is so savory and delicious–it won an award in Sunset Magazine which says a lot. I also had the Basil Chili Pork Belly at the recommendation of the super helpful waiter. FYI they will absolutely lie to you about the wait, though. When they said 20 minutes they should have said an hour or more. But the extra time with Sophie was so wonderful.

The next morning I headed out solo to meet up with my friend Megan Beene at Tartine, my favorite bakery in the whole world. Their croissants are magnificent and totally worth the stomach ache for this gluten intolerant fat femme. Megan got stuck in Bay Bridge traffic so we had fifteen minutes to catch-up before work but the hug was worth it! The Tartine line is always out the door because it is no secret to tourists.

15837592472_49d3c4c004_zWith Jess and California gas prices in The Castro.

I met back up with Jess and Dara (we were staying with Jess and Claire in the Mistro, the area above Dolores Park that is both the Mission and Castro) and we went exploring. I fell so in love with Best in Show a newish pet store with a very well curated selection of dog outfits and accessories. Macy would love this owl sweater.

20141016_223822I also fell in love with Wilbur Milli, their adorable rescue pup who is blind and bumps into a lot of things with his nose. This could also be the trip called other people’s puppies as we hung out with lots of dogs everywhere we went.

Jess introduced us to her favorite store, Local Take. What a treasure trove! Another well-curated store of local artists’ wares, from home goods to clothing. Dara bought a wooden tie that has received much acclaim. I checked in on Yelp and scored us a free stainless steel water bottle which we take everywhere now.

15796337576_f0fbe8b5a6_zDara’s wooden tie!

15634592188_e01d373689_zWe made it a game to take the cutest/cheesiest couple photos during our whole trip. I loved this one in the dressing room at Local Take.

We had lunch at Orphan Andy’s, a charming super gay diner where I tried a pork belly omelette. It was pretty good pork belly, but kind of a weird flavor combination within the omelette.

That afternoon Dara and I took off solo to Twin Peaks to catch the view. I love it up there. Another place that is tourist-central for a reason. So many good photo opportunities.

15820017925_376b5facc3_zStandard Twin Peaks stunning view.

15200576703_e9e5aa5207_zStandard Twin Peaks “I can hold Market Street with my hand” photo.

15634609388_7c9e79de15_zI wanted to sit in the dirt on the cliff to look at the view for a bit. Even a few steps away from the tour busses was more peaceful.

We stopped at Bi-Rite Creamery for ice cream and since it was a cold cold day in San Francisco it was deserted and we got to try many of their flavors without the pressure of the typical line behind us.

That night I stayed in to play Settlers of Catan with Jess and Claire while Dara had another work meeting.

15812384366_1565142e34_zCute Castro Kiss.

We hit the road pretty early the next day to have lunch with my mom and see her classroom (she is a high school teacher and changed schools within the last couple of years) on the way to another of Dara’s work connections in Santa Cruz. Mom took us to the best Mexican place ever, La Piñata in Hayward near the San Lorenzo border. If you’re ever in the East Bay I highly recommend it.

I basically never eat Mexican on the East Coast because the food at La Piñata is what I think of when I think of Mexican and nothing holds a candle to the delicious soupy refried beans covered in cheese and perfect enchiladas I remember from my youth. If any ex-Californians have restaurants they recommend in NYC for Mexican, let me know.

15635185790_3e1e34b821_zOne of our cute couple photo attempts from Twin Peaks.

Dara was meeting my mom for the first time, which meant I picked her outfit. I needn’t have feared, though, since Mom and Dara basically talked education policy the whole time and got along famously.

In Santa Cruz, Dara had an afternoon meeting with a former work colleague and I was going to meet up with a friend of mine at the beach. We could have taken 280 but I am definitely a backroads kind of girl and knew I had to defy google’s directions to sit in traffic on a boring suburban freeway and head through the mountains and to the Pacific Coast Highway. Basically, when in doubt, I take the scenic route and it makes life infinitely better.

15804445536_4986450a6f_zThis is way cuter on the side of the highway than a cement wall and strip malls.

15829649952_3ecedee57b_zTaking a five minute let’s look at the view on the side of the road break.

I met up with Jen Hollywood at Rio Del Mar State Beach. We spent forever trying to find each other because we each went to different spots but it was a wonderful hour long catch-up. We even saw a seal pop its head out of the water! California magic!

20141017_162917Jen Hollywood and dogs!

15642269619_1e17757198_zI did not catch the seal head but that’s where it was, right in the water under the pier! If I lived in Aptos I’d drive the 5 minutes to the beach every day for the sunset.

That evening we stayed with Dara’s lovely former boss and her husband and had an amazing conversation. Their house is gorgeous and basically straight out of a renovation photo from Sunset Magazine, my favorite CA travel and lifestyle magazine. As someone who aspires to be a late in life minimalist, I had to resist the urge to take a ton of photos to put in my vision book. (I try not to scare people I’ve just met by introducing them to my tendency to relentlessly document everything.) Imagine having enough kitchen cabinets that everything goes away and you just have acres of counter space? I am a total city dweller that dreams of pantry space and walk-in closets. Also there is a backyard writer’s house. Dream home!

When I was a teenager I had a couple of friends who lived in Santa Cruz and I have always adored staying there… this just made me even more set on coming back. The forest and the ocean meet-up in this beautiful, peaceful, hippie, woo, place full of birds, hybrid cars and great coffee.

I’ll continue our journey in another blog post about our post-cancer cabin trip to Big Bear!

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2012-12-12

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket–High Tea at the Palace Hotel

When I was out in San Francisco my mom thought it would be awesome to take me, my Grandmother, her BFF and my BFF out to High Tea at the Palace Hotel. It was really fun and I did my best to record it with the video feature of my camera so maybe the sound quality isn’t great but my hair is awesome.

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You should know I call her Spunky and she calls me Groovy and that’s because we met as Girl Scout camp counselors when we were 19.

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Me, my mom and Grandmother.

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Mom and Linda.

In sum, the Palace Hotel High Tea relies heavily on ambience and bells and whistles and their tea is good but it isn’t all that. Their teas could be better served and blended, but the whole menu and concept is pretty great. They should hire a tea snob like me to come in and shape them up. It’s not cheap at $45 a pop, but it was a really great experience and I say if you’re visiting from out of town or you have a crowd of family in from out of town it would be really worth it.

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The menu. I agonized over what to choose and ultimately went with things I knew I wouldn’t be able to get other places, because the blends seemed vague enough to be proprietary or at least specific to the Palace Hotel. I had the Palace Blend (a black tea blend]* and the Equilibrium tea (a chamomile and “magical herbs” blend]. Both were okay but could have been better.

The video includes lots of great shots of the Palace Hotel atrium. It also inspired me to invest in a good vintage tea pot and start collecting vintage tea cups and saucers. I’d love to have a set that’s very hodge podge and beautiful. My roommate has a bunch but it makes me nervous to use her tea stuff because it’s all vintage and I don’t want to break it.

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It was really special to get to do this with my mom and that she was able to do this for us. Growing up poor and working class you don’t really think you’re going to get to be fancy or affluent enough to do something like high tea at the Palace Hotel. And it’s not something I take for granted now, getting to get dressed up and do high tea. I also had to do a lot of work on myself to feel worthy of opportunities like this, but that’s like a whole book topic and not for a tiny post introducing tiny sandwiches.

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Tiny sandwiches!

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THANKS MOM!

*Please excuse the weird close parenthesis. My Macbook key board is starting to fail and the shift key is being wonky and some keys just don’t work. Getting a new usb keyboard soon.

2012-09-21

Lesbian Jack Kerouac Gay American Road Trip Part 7: Layover in Bay Area, CA and Tips to Survive Returning to Your Hometown

Dubbed the Lesbian Jack Kerouac by my BFF Brian for my propensity for long distance romance, “A girl in every port and on the road with a broken heart,” he describes me, I set out on a life-changing adventure in November of 2011. This is my tale of deep heart exfoliation via asphalt. Check out all the tales in this series at the Gay American Road Trip 2011 tag.


Castro Valley, CA and Berkeley, CA

[Hey so I stopped blogging my road trip redux after I crossed into the CA border arriving at my mom’s place in the Bay Area and I’ve been wanting to get back to memorializing the amazing epic journey. It doesn’t take a degree in psych to know that I stopped at California because suddenly it got emotionally difficult! My home state had a lot of baggage for me to unpack, but the trip was really healing on so many fronts so anyway, here the journey continues…]

In planning my trip I had budgeted the day after Thanksgiving to hang out with my mom and Grandmother and soak up a little bit of the Bay Area. I was ready to stop driving so intensely and excited to have a “destination” for more than a couple of hours.

It’s worth noting that I was miserable growing up and thus unable to appreciate or notice much of the beauty around me. I really love visiting the Bay now. Part of the impetus for this trip was to get to spend some time in California.

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View from Dolores Park in San Francisco. Why I only went to DP once in my entire time living in California I’ll never know.

Thanksgiving dinner was great, even if consumed late, and Mom was visibly overjoyed to wake up to find me, Grandmother and Macy in the guest bed (which comes down as a Murphy Bed on the wall of her quilting room which is also known as the “cat library”*). Mom adopted Bella, a rescue who literally walked into her classroom one day, inspired by Macy’s cuteness and charm. Macy truly is an ambassador for her breed and muppet dogs everywhere. Bella and Macy sort of got along, though it was clear that Bella was used to being the Queen of the Mountain and Macy was a charming interloper.

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A family portrait with Bella and Macy featured. Macy LOVES Grandmother.

Spunky came by and the four of us went to a local breakfast place. She and I have been friends for almost 14 years and she knows my family better than any of my friends. It’s nice to have that. Spunky’s straight and suburban-dwelling. Grandmother asked later “How are you and Spunky such good friends?” Spunky’s the sister I never had and we make up in emotional similarities what we lack in basic life commonalities. We’ve known each other through so much.

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Me and Spunky.

We went to Doug’s Place, a well-known omelet destination in Castro Valley. Their pancakes are great. I randomly saw someone I recognized from high school at the restaurant but I didn’t say hi. He and I were very close when we were sixteen/seventeen and had the weirdest falling out. We lost touch while we were still in high school. So how weird is it to awkwardly catch-up this much later? This is totally the kind of thing that happens when you are the prodigal daughter returning to your smallish suburban hometown.

I’m not one of those people who has a lot of lingering friends from that time in my life. I’m in touch with about 5 people out of my graduating class of 400 and I feel really great about it. I sincerely love Facebook for the opportunity to peep in on and chat with folks about their awesome kids or whatever.

I really struggled with whether or not to say hello to this high school dude. If I had been alone or circumstances were different I might have gone up to him–nobody ever died of awkward. But I was also trying to focus on my precious few hours with my mom and Spunky (I was slated to visit Grandmother again a couple days later when she returned to Palm Springs).

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Spunky with Bella.

Even though high school dude and I didn’t acknowledge each other, it was kind of cool to see this person, that they had a family (a really cute kid) and were in town for Thanksgiving, too. It was enough to see one another from across a restaurant. Why chat and make vague promises of facebook reconnect? Anyway, my hair and features are pretty different than they were in high school but probably he still recognized me.

Oh, home town discomfort you are so real. Being in Castro Valley was itchy like a scab! Where you grow up is loaded, especially if you didn’t have a great or happy adolescence. After Spunky left to go home, I was riding in the backseat of the car with my mom and Grandmother and seeing the Castro Valley suburban streets from the backseat was super triggering. Like I was a grumpy middle/high schooler again and I just needed a dose of my own present reality to snap out of it.

But see, I love my family and I want to see them! And I also love myself and I want to take exceptionally wonderful care of myself! So how do I go home and not get into a crazy spiral triggered by a really rotten adolescence?

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Self-care tips from the wall of Jonah.

I’ve learned through trial and error in my twelve years living on the East Coast a lot of coping mechanisms about how to have a good time going back to the Bay Area. I start with myself, I bring the version of myself that is most authentic and don’t get bogged down in acting like I’m still 16 like I used to do when I came home. I have a lot of things that help me stay connected with who I am now, like staying in touch with friends through my phone, journaling and reading. I also rarely sleep in Castro Valley, opting instead to stay with friends in Oakland or San Francisco. That helps the most, really.

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San Francisco view from my Prius.

A year and a half ago I was going through some serious emotional work and I actually made an important boundary to not go to Castro Valley at all and instead met my mom for yoga and dinner in the city a couple of times. It was great to see her on neutral ground and avoid the hometown land mine altogether.

Another thing I do is I don’t engage in diet talk. I’m far more practiced now, but my family (like many others) loves to talk about their bodies from a not Health at Every Size/All Bodies are Good Bodies perspective and it can be really hard for me to hear. It used to be so hard for me to work around that. I have a lot of compassion for it now and I am pretty good at detaching from it and not engaging. When people talk about their bodies it isn’t about me and I don’t let it be about me. I also don’t let people talk about my body on anything other than my terms. And I will say my family is really understanding about my politics and my mom is definitely much more embracing of the HAES approach than she ever was, which makes the diet talk stuff much less of an issue for me than it ever used to be.

I also find it a lot easier when I can bring a pal home with me but that’s not always possible. Going into this trip I set myself up for success by scheduling a 2 hour catch-up over tea with my dear friend Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, both because I wanted to hang out with her and also because I knew the break would be good.

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LLPS is such a hardcore babe!!!

No sooner was I having uncomfortable flash-backs to my youth in the back of my mom’s car then I was able to slip into my own Prius and go visit Leah. She met me on the street of her Berkeley neighborhood wearing a slutty apron. I met a bunch of her neighbors and housemates and we went over to her friend Jonah’s room to watch them make candles. Yes, Jonah is a chandler.

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It was incredibly soothing! Jonah makes anti-zionist candles for Jewish rituals. At the time (just after Thanksgiving) they were making candles to fulfill orders, many were tiny collections of menorah candles for Hanukkah. I got to ask Jonah a lot of questions about the process and being in their environment with the warm smell of wax and all of the nettles drying along the wall was like being in a fairytale.

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Nettles drying above us! Reason #203 why the Bay is awesome is being able to harvest Nettles and make your own tea. I love Nettles tea.

LLPS and I got to have one of our power catch-ups on the bed while watching the candles happen. She took me to her house and showed me her tiny magical garden shack in the backyard, which was so much more incredible than I ever imagined from her descriptions over the phone.

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We hugged goodbye and I got back into the Prius and headed back to my mom’s house.

Mom’s BFF was over and we got to watch photos from her summer and some photos of her husband’s memorial service. I couldn’t afford to fly out to attend and was so grateful to get to see pictures from it and spend some time with Linda having grief community.

One of the things that sucks about living across the country from my family is that I rarely can take my family’s hand-me-down furniture. I wanted my mom’s clear glass dining table so bad! But mom saw an opportunity to give me the Kitchen Aid mixer that she rarely used and I gleefully accepted it!

Growing-up my ex-step-dad was notoriously selfish. Like, remarkably, irrationally selfish. Picture a 50-something year old man acting like a 4 year old. Mom and I weren’t allowed to use the Kitchen Aid and I’ve always wanted one. Mom got one not long after they divorced and she knew I would appreciate it like no one else could. So the Kitchen Aid (which, by the way, I totally use at least once a week) got nestled safely into my trunk. I always thought I’d have to wait until I got married or something to get a Kitchen Aid.

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Grandmother had to wear mom’s sweatshirts because it was “so cold” in the Bay Area. Which, compared to Palm Springs, it totally was.

I also raided my mom’s Lesbian Tea Basket** for a sampler of teas for the road, including a lovely hibiscus and some mint.

In the morning I said my goodbyes to Grandmother, Mom and her wife. I was leaving Macy in their care while I headed into San Francisco to go to a meeting I had scheduled into my trip right between visiting my mom and my dad. (I’m in a 12 step program for family and friends of alcoholics, which I joined as a result of an alcoholic boo but has helped me heal a lot of family stuff I didn’t expect.) I loved the idea of going into the city even for a couple of hours and was bummed I wouldn’t see my friends but didn’t have time on the road trip.

I went to my meeting, walked briefly through the Castro and took a quick detour in the Mission to grab a burrito before I left town. I also stopped at Multi-Kulti for a pair of sunglasses and some cheap fake eyelashes. My pal Alix Izen saw my twitter check-in and texted me to meet me for my quick burrito, which was a fortuitous and awesome catch-up.

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I got back on the road, crossed the Bay Bridge and headed to my dad’s house in Merced.

Next up! I visit Merced, CA for the first time in a decade and drive through some crazy fog!

*Let us not forget that my mom is also a Lesbian.
**I’m sure I mentioned this on my webseries before, but my mom putting all of her teas in a basket on top of the fridge was the original Lesbian Tea Basket and the namesake for my own LTB and starting the LTB web series.

2011-06-08

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket!

Filed under: Lesbian Tea Basket,Video — Tags: , , , , , — Bevin @ 9:59 pm

When I was in San Francisco in January I filmed an episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket about iced tea! This really awesome iced tea from this amazing place in the Castro! The gentleman behind the counter totally sold me on Hippie Blend. I was ready for it to be a disappointment with a name like that. But Hippie Blend is a good thing in San Francisco, I guess.

I hope you enjoy it!!

You can check out all of the past Lesbian Tea Baskets here! There are more in the pipeline to come!

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Me and Mackenzi on our trip to SF!

2011-05-04

NYC May 12th! Queer Performance Night and Dance Party! Rebel Cupcake!

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I just realized that I haven’t produced a new podcast in a whole year and my performance night/dance party is celebrating it’s one year anniversary. These are totally related–it takes a lot of work to produce nightlife and it was that production energy that I lost when my drag troupe disbanded that had fueled FemmeCast*. I still envision a time when my work time isn’t in such demand and I can focus on it, but in the meantime I love Rebel Cupcake like a child.

This month I’m excited because three super star pals of mine are participating in the magic of Rebel Cupcake.

Cristy Road is an amazing illustrator, graphic novelist, legendary punk zine producer, and lead singer of the punk band THE HOMEWRECKERS. At Rebel Cupcake she’s bringing a projector and reading from her forthcoming graphic novel about coming out in seventh grade and Green Day.

She also really loves persian cats. I had her over this weekend to hang with my boys.

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ALF and Cristy are giving such good face!

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Look! Cristy’s art is so awesome. She also did the artwork for the cover of the new book co-edited by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Go buy it! The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities

Silas Howard is a filmmaker (if you haven’t seen By Hook or By Crook, it is essential queer cinema and I implore you to buy a copy), writer, and was the guitar player for Tribe8. I mean, he’s a bunch of other stuff, too. He’ll be doing a couple of musical acts with special guests at Rebel Cupcake.

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He played Darry Curtis in our queer re-telling of the Outsiders at March’s Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Nogga Schwartz for Rebel Cupcake.

Our regular photographer is recovering from top surgery (get better soon Nogga!) and I am really excited to have invited Amos Mac to fill in this month. You’ll recognize his work from Original Plumbing Magazine, Translady Fanzine and from just being a spectacular photographer.

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Me photographed by Amos Mac!

To be honest, I’ve been slow creeping the Stay Gold dance party** in San Francisco for awhile and he was their long-time party photographer. I love his style and was excited to get my picture taken while visiting San Francisco on our Plus Size Party Girl gaycation.

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I count at least five people who used to live in New York City and currently live in the Bay in this picture. Photo by Amos Mac.

I can’t wait to see how Amos captures the Rebel Cupcakes!

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It also doesn’t hurt that Amos is positively dreamy. Photo by Peter Ash Lee.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! A couple of friends suggested a friendly cupcake bake-off. So, I am offering a prize basket full of over $60 worth of cook’s goodies donated by SITE NYC to the winner of our bake-off. If you’re interested get in touch with me! It’s all friendly, winner chosen by ballot of Rebel Cupcake attendees.

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Mackenzi and I spent an afternoon selecting the best nightlife cupcake bake-off gifties. Donut water bottle, whip whisk, cupcake bandages, kitsch ‘n’ glam oven mitt, fancy black tote bag.

The bar offers a $6 beer/shot combo all night. All the info on the party is at the Rebel Cupcake page. And if you’re planning a trip to Brooklyn this summer I’ll be hosting one on June 9 and again on July 14th, taking off in August.

*Minus two years in between when I was in love jail a/k/a cotton candy pink sugar pussy brain a/k/a engaged and devoted all my artistic energy to my relationship and playing the Sims 2. He cheated on me and left and I deleted the Sims off my computer and threw myself back into my art. It’s good to be living my truth again.
**When Heather and I were putting together Queer Outsiders we realized Stay Gold was for the line “Stay gold Pony Boy” at the end of the book which just makes me crush a little harder on that party.

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