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

2017-03-27

Why Feud: Bette and Joan is One of the Most Fabulous Shows on TV Right Now

Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee and American Horror Story, is back with a new series on FX. Feud: Bette and Joan follows the story of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford while they film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, a horror movie released in 1962. Starring Jessica Lange as Joan and Susan Sarandon as Bette, Feud confronts and explores ageism and sexism in a way I have never seen on TV before and I am LIVING for it. We can learn so much about the effects of body currency by watching this show.

Joan Crawford is obsessed with preventing aging in scene after scene. In the first episode her in-home aesthetician is hustling hard at softening and tightening the skin on her neck while telling Joan there’s nothing to be done about the neck, really. Joan is often staring in the mirror with disappointment, rushing out of the dailies for Baby Jane because she hates how the lighting reflects her visual age. Joan famously said, as is repeated in the show, that twin hazards of fame were alcoholism and loneliness and her alcoholism is very well featured on the show.

Bette Davis is not immune to the sexism and ageism in Hollywood, either. Much like Joan, acting roles were drying up for her because Hollywood studios weren’t producing movies for women their age. This is explained in back story how the two women who were famously feuding came to work on this film together. In the first episode Joan hunts through library books for a story that could be a script with a strong character for her.

OUTFITS. I’m getting so many ideas for my fatshion bucket list for vintage looks to recreate from this show. Especially that dressing gown Joan wears on the set of Baby Jane. This show is my gender.

Joan Crawford’s grief at the aging process is made so much worse by her investment in a system of body currency. This term was coined by Jes Baker of The Militant Baker, and it describes the value placed on certain bodies based on oppressions and privileges. In our society, body size, ability, age, gender presentation, race and a whole slew of other variables receive a certain value. This is why a lot of fat hatred is rooted in fear—if people give up their body currency they will lose some sort of access to privilege, or they are constantly in fear themselves of getting fat and losing their privilege. But we can choose whether we are invested in this system or not, relieving ourselves from that constant source of terror. It’s helpful to remember that the system of body currency is something we are taught to keep us supporting the billion dollar diet and cosmetic industries who exploit the fear they create.

Joan is in agony over her age and her shifting career. I absolutely love that this show is on TV because it shows so beautifully the true cost of investment in this system in the long run and especially later in life (hello, we are all getting older).

I’m obsessed with the set used for Joan Crawford’s house and love the sumptuous colors and saturated pastels and amazing wallpaper and draperies. This is the second aesthetician we see in her in home spa and I wonder if this is to indicate the first woman was fired because she said things Joan didn’t want to hear about the visual affects of aging?

I think a lot about the effects of sexism and ageism on the women I admire. This includes my beloved Grandmother and my idol Dolly Parton. Grandmother cared very deeply about her looks. She was pretty broke in the earlier part of her life, especially as a single mother in the sixties. In those times her beauty was great currency.

She eventually found success as a real estate agent in Beverly Hills, where it’s all image all the time. Aging was hard on her. So was trusting other women. Especially given how many women accused her of sleeping with their husbands before she remarried, simply because she was beautiful and single–“This is what it was like in the sixties, Dear,” as she would say.

I look at Dolly Parton and how she hides more and more of her body, especially her hands. You’ll never see her without something over them. I like to think of it as the “more is more” approach to accessorizing that I prefer, but I always wonder if it is to hide the effects of aging on her hands.

All of Hedda Hopper’s outfits in the show are more is more. I would be such a good mom to that feathery hat.

The men stirring the pot in the feud between Joan and Bette are relying on scarcity and body currency to create the tension between them. It works. Joan and Bette feel like they are fighting over the same few scraps: scripts featuring any roles for older women (few and far between), attention from men, money.

If Joan and Bette divested from body currency, they might be able to be bouyed by one another’s fabulousness. Whenever I’m around other babes who are babing to the max, I feel like more of a babe. I don’t feel overshadowed because I know there’s actually enough light to go around. But Joan and Bette certainly didn’t live like that.

I love that in the telling of the story for the TV show Ryan Murphy uses Olivia de Havilland and Joan Blondell, other actresses of their generation, in documentary interviews about the feud, creating a chorus of women who articulate the experience we see Bette and Joan going through. They talk about how there’s only one “it girl” at a time and how lonely it gets when the roles and attention dry up.

Because Joan Crawford is so invested in the system of body currency she is experiencing multiple, devastating losses. When you divest from the system of body currency, you do not lose when you age. You simply get older and enjoy life more, which ironically, has a pretty amazing effect on you at a cellular level. From what I have learned, the fountain of youth is to not give any fucks about aging.

Ryan Murphy is openly gay so it doesn’t surprise that there’s a great gay subplot.

But you can’t ignore the foundation the patriarchy laid for this feud and there was and still is an actual scarcity of roles for older women actresses. This is where Ryan Murphy is not only doing great social justice work by confronting sexism and ageism in his new series—he is actively interrupting the sexism and ageism by writing a great script for some phenomenal actresses to shine bright. The whole series is sumptuous in its great writing, gorgeous sixties sets, outrageously beautiful clothing and fabulous women actresses. There is even an openly gay character showing what it’s like for gay actors pre-Stonewall.

I lament there is a complete lack of roles for people of color in the series and I definitely think he can do better in that regard. He picks up where Mad Men left off in many ways with the opening credits an homage to the Mad Men opener, attention to vintage detail and casting Kiernan Shipka in the role of B.D. Sherry (Bette’s daughter), whose presence makes you feel like it’s just the next chapter of Sally Draper’s life. In some ways he is using the neural pathways folks already have for Mad Men and other heavy attention to detail vintage series but I wish that more directors working with historical content were willing to use racially revisionist casting reflecting current values the way we see with Hamilton.

So looks like it is a page ripped from Mad Men in the best ways. I miss that show!

Nonetheless, Ryan Murphy’s storytelling is fabulous. Even if you know most of the backstory for the show, the way he tells the story is the real delight. When you get to the end of Episode Four (which aired last night), just note the way he sets up the scene where Joan finds out about the Oscar nominations. It’s absolutely perfect.

Catch-up with Feud on demand as well as online with a cable subscriber login.

2016-06-10

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Adagio Teas Spring Haul

Hey everybody! I’m back with a new episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! I haven’t done one since I left New York City and it’s high time I inaugurated my tea porch with some reviews of tea.

adagioteahaulBoth of those mugs are from Dollywood. The iced tea pitcher is from David’s Tea. The plant is in a pot from my mom and cuttings from her citronella. Praying that the cuttings take, I’ve never planted plants from cuttings before.

My last episode talked about my Christmas Adagio tea haul and I’m excited to have been offered the opportunity to spend a gift card at Adagio teas to review more tea! Thanks Adagio for supporting the biggest fan of your decaf black! (Am I the biggest fan? Probably.)

Here’s the episode shot just this morning on my porch! You can’t see my gardening mishaps of the hanging basket variety (may that hanging basket rest in peace I’m so bummed about it), and you also can’t see the giant pile of garden accessories I just got from my mom’s retiring and selling her house please take all my garden stuff trip to the Bay Area on Memorial Day weekend.

Here are the teas I shout out:

Coconut Iced Tea

Coconut Black Tea
Valentines
Green Rooibos Key West
Honeybush Vanilla
Decaf Earl Grey
Decaf Raspberry
Decaf Tropics

To get $5 off your first order at Adagio, use this coupon code: 3189993374 (I get social media credit for it so I can buy MORE tea and have more reviews of tea!)

I didn’t mention in the video how much I LOVE the Adagio website and how they have created the tea buying experience. Number one, I love that you can buy samples for $2! No big risk there when you only have $2 on the line! Number two, I love that they incentivize tea customers by offering points for reviews so there are many perspectives on each tea. Number three, I love points (ask me about my Dunkin Donuts Perks card) and you can get points by sharing your favorites on social media, reviews and when you check out they give you another free sample by tweeting or Facebooking about your order!

Not related to the website, I love that their packets of tea are exactly right for preserving tea–they keep out light, moisture and air and keep the tea maximally fresh. Don’t store your tea in clear plastic bags! That’s not protecting the leaves!

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This is an adorable Lesbian Tea Basket I picked up while thrifting!

Enjoy the video and I look forward to sharing more about tea from my lovely California home!

If you’d like to watch more episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket check out this playlist–I started this web series in 2010! SO much has changed since then and I have reviewed a lot of tea!

bevindaraeverybodydance

Me and Dara last weekend at the EveryBody Dance fundraiser for the low income scholarship program for the new body and gender positive gym opening up in Northeast LA! The glittery dress was a hand me down from Nora of Nora’s Novity! Goddess bless Femmes purging their closets!

2013-05-03

Plus Size Vintage Clothing, Dresses, Jumpsuits, Blazers for Sale sizes L-4X

Hey readership! I have a giant stash of vintage (mostly) I collected around the country thinking I was going to do more pop-up shops than I ended up doing. I have it all neatly photographed in an album right here, but I’d love to highlight some of the gems for Spring for you below. Each photo on flickr shows the measurements, which is the best way to shop. It all ranges in price from ten bucks to forty, most around $25 or $30.

This one is not vintage, it’s from Torrid. I bought it off a babe but the bust is a little too small to work for me. Best for a size 24/26 babe who has a smaller chest. (Pinned behind the size 1X/2X model to show shape.) $25
2X/3X Torrid Garden Party Dress $25 (#20)

This vintage purple jumpsuit is a dream! The bust is up to 44″ with up to 38″ waist. $40. Magical.
XL/1X Vintage Purple Jumpsuit $40 (#34)

I made my friend Elisabeth try this on and it looks great and would be the perfect wedding guest dress! Size 1X/2X. $38
1X/2X Vintage Teal Sheer Sleeved Dress $38 (#9)

This sweet Springtime pastel wrap dress is going to make someone’s garden dreams come true. The rare wrap dress that covers up the yabbos. 1X/2X. $32
1X/2X Cotton Pastel Vintage Wrap Dress $32 (#35)

Who is the gender queerdo who wants to layer with this bizarre sweater situation? It’s roomy, bust and waist stretch all the way up to 60″ and would look great both with many things under it (think dress shirt, bowtie, hoodie, sparkly tube top, flannel shirt, or freeballin,’ as some of my genderfluid friends call that time you don’t wear a bra or anything. $20
2X-5X FREE WHEELING VEST purple $25 #29

Plum surplice dress so great for Spring! XL/1X (up to 42″ bust). $25
XL/1X Plum Surplice Dress $25 (#12)

This mod 80s blazer is foxy and 4X (pinned behind model to show shape of garment but it’s big)! $25
4X Mod 80s Blazer $30 (#23)

There are a whole bunch of pieces in the album! Take a look and email me with the number(s) you’re interested in. $5 shipping in US, free shipping for 2 or more items!

2012-12-17

Freelancer Realness and Vintage Clothing for Sale! Sizes Large through 4X!

As a blog reader myself, I know sometimes the question of “What does this blogger do for money” is mysteriously there. For me, finding a career out of a mix of activities is scary and helpful both at once because I’m able to take on big projects like writing a book and also have the flexibility to travel and have adventures to write about. To answer that question about me, I’m a part time lawyer with my own firm, I get a little revenue from blog sponsorships, I teach workshops at colleges and elsewhere, and party promoting is really something I do for the love of my community but it usually works out to about $6 an hour of work for each Rebel Cupcake and it’s too early to tell about Yes Ma’am.

Being a freelancer also means that when I have financial emergencies like my cat getting sick and costing me about $1,000 unexpectedly in October and then the hurricane killing real estate deals for awhile and the standard December/January transactional lawyer slowdown it can result in a shit storm of brokeness. Not having my part time job at Re/Dress, the fabulous vintage and resale store I worked at for three years (may she rest in power and in our hearts) means that these slow-downs are scarier than they ever were before.

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ALF has kidney failure and gets subcutaneous fluids every other day, a cheap pill for his hypertension and way fancy prescription kidney food. I genuinely never believed I would be the kind of cat mom who sticks her baby with a needle but it’s meant to keep him comfortable and not to artificially prolong his life so I’m doing it. Being a single mom is hard! It involves a little bit of wrestling and bribing and making really hard decisions on your own.

I learned a lot by being the kid of a poor/working class single mom in the 80s and 90s. One of those things was how to live on the edge and it does get easier the more practice I get at it as an adult trying to shift career paths towards what I really love to do, which is write books and have adventures and make the world safe for people to love themselves.

And, as a sidebar, if you’re a freelancer in Brooklyn and want a place to go work on Wednesdays, Liz of Rhino Girl Media has coordinated this awesome Queer Co-Working lunch from 11-4 on Wednesdays. I’ve been going for a couple of months and have gotten a date and a new client from it (not the same person). Plus it’s lots of fun.

I’m writing all this both because I think it’s important to talk about money so it is less mysterious and scary, and also to explain why it is that I am selling a ton of vintage pieces on the internet. I’ve amassed a great collection of vintage and resale plus size clothes since Re/Dress closed, mostly because I was going to start a pop-up shop with a friend of mine so we could keep access to this resource going. But, since I’m having a holiday money shit storm, I’ve instead decided to sell it all online. I wish I could have you all here to my home or a store to try on these lovelies and teach you how to style them ferociously, but sadly I cannot. Instead, I hope if any of these strikes your fancy you’ll buy them from me!

The whole set is through this link. The set is organized roughly in size order from largest to smallest (4X-Large). The prices widely vary, from $10 items that are damaged but too fabulous not to sell, to a $50 vintage brown coat with fur collar and cuffs. Most of the vintage dresses are about $30 and the tops are about $20.

1X/2X Light Blue Zip Front Poly Dress $40 (#16)
1X/2X Zip Front Poly $40

XL/1X/2X Blue peplum dress $30 (#7)
XL/1X/2X Blue peplum dress $30

2X/3X Leopard Silk Bomber Jacket $30 #32
2X/3X Leopard Silk Bomber Jacket $30

SEE ALL THE REST HERE!

All items for sale! Email queerfatfemme at gmail dot com with the item number you wish to purchase and I will send you an invoice via paypal.

Shipping is $5 per item, but if you buy 2 items or more I’ll ship them for free!

Each item is described in the first photo (each additional photo is for detail) and, unless otherwise noted in good used condition. All sales are final, please feel free to ask any questions!

1X/2X Vintage Brown Fur Collar & Cuffs Coat $50 (#10)
$50

Please check them out and if you have any questions, email me!

2010-10-30

My Intention Behind Art & Soul

A few weeks ago the director of fun at CultureFIX, this new art gallery/bar/store space approached me about producing a low-key queer night. A friend of hers had been to Rebel Cupcake and suggested my name.

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I went to visit the space and it seemed like a great spot. It’s well-lit like a coffee shop and there is cool art on the wall. The exhibit will change every month. The bar itself has a really cozy vibe and the gallery has couches, chairs, tables with flexible arrangements which makes it perfect as an event space. The bar serves beer, wine and has a menu of nice food. I immediately thought, “This is the kind of place I want to hang out with my friends.”

Rebel Cupcake has been wonderful and I am going to keep putting it on, but it is still very nightclub and harder to meet new people unless you’re comfortable doing the bar scene meeting new people thing. Art and Soul is definitely going to have a different vibe. I’m hoping late 90s inclusive feminist bookstore coffee shop.

And to bring it a little feminist bookstore coffee shop realness, I’m doing a short queer artists’ salon at 8:30 where some of my favorite writers, singers, poets, whoever happens to be in town will be presenting works in progress. For the inaugural party here’s the line-up:
*Glenn Marla, downtown tranny superstar “Girl you couldn’t mess up my pronouns if you tried.”
[http://www.glennmarla.com]
*Kit Yan, the reigning Mr. Transman 2010, sweetheart and incredible slam poet.
[http://www.myspace.com/kityanpoetry]
*Bevin Branlandingham reading from her memoir in progress on coming out into size acceptance, queerness and love found and lost.
[That’s me. It helps me to have benchmarks when I’m doing a big project like a memoir.]

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I love that Kit Yan always dresses in theme.

As for the music, I was high off the fumes of the recently amazing Hard French NYC party. This incredible SF based afternoon party thrown by a group of amazing queers including my BFF-in-Law Devon Devine decided to go on the road and bring their magic to Brooklyn. And they brought it hard, I haven’t had that much fun getting day drunk in a long time. (Called “the country’s best gay party”.)
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Me and Devon at Hard French NYC. They promise to come back in the Spring.

Hard French is all soul music (which I LOVE to dance to) so I decided to hire SF DJs Carnita & Brown Amy to make the playlist for Art & Soul. (The one draw back to the space is that the dj booth is not so dj booth.) Plus, playing vintage music means y’all can wear vintage outfits if you want. People really brought the vintage gorgeousness to Hard French NYC.

If you’re in town I would love to see you at Art & Soul! Tell your friends!

Oh yeah, I totally named the party after this amazing 80s song.

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