Archives for category: queer

hey all – here’s to being visible!  without further ado, i show myself. Christa Faust is hosting a video contest to find the face of her (awesome, sexy) hardboiled lesbian detective novels – Butch Fatale: Dyke Dick. 

My contribution:

when the contest is ready, vote for me, or make your own entry!

read more about Christa, the books, and the contest here:

http://faustfatale.livejournal.com/272072.html

The short version of my week is that I went over to Las Vegas to visit my folks a week ago, and then this past weekend was LA Pride. The long version is that I went out to Las Vegas to continue to feel like a failure as a daughter and adult, and subsequently to lose money (and a bit of hope), and then wait over six hours for my 45-minute flight.  Clearly, awesome.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, my mom insisted on buying me a new girl bra, even though I patiently explained again that I rarely wear those kinds of bras, but she insisted I needed at least one, which required a FITTING by an old Las Vegas lady who was clearly a former exotic dancer and gave a huge effort towards not looking me in the eye. I chose to believe she was convinced I had put money in her g-string at some point in the very distant past. It made the experience bearable.  I felt like a hog being trussed.

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Part of what I love about the online butch blogging community (of which I am still a very new and small part) is the acceptance of the spectrum of butchness.

One of the (very tiny) downsides of seeing my awesome trans friend T this past month was the realization that we once were sitting very close to each other on the very butchest end of the rainbow, and now, 10 years later, we’re each at totally different points.  T went on to join a whole other spectrum. I envy his facial hair.  I moved ostensibly back towards a more feminine center. He appreciates my dedication to a career that forces me to be 100% visible.

Admittedly, I freaked out a little about how “girly” I was in comparison to him. I mean, sure, I still wear almost all men’s clothing, keep my hair cropped, and do all sorts of butch things like build stuff and swig bottled craft beer on a daily basis. But there’s other stuff that has creeped in due to my profession – like I keep my eyebrows groomed impeccably. Days when I have auditions,  I wear some under-eye concealer. The man bag I carry is often mistaken for for tomboy purse. I only wear plaid shirts with excellently paired solid ties and vests.

In the middle of this freak out, my gf just looked at me and giggled. “Look at all the other people in this (hip, vegan, queer-filled) restaurant,” she said. “You are WAY more butch than any of them. Sure, you and T have moved in different directions, but you’re still on the same end of the spectrum.” She held her fingers up, an inch apart. “This is the distance between you and T. These other women, even the queer ones, they’re WAY the fuck over there.”

She also pointed out what I chose to title my blog. My whole identity is wrapped up in this dichotomy. How pretty can you be before you’re no longer butch? And vice versa? And according to whom? It’s such a weird line to walk on, since I’m balancing my art and my profession and my weight and my shyness and everything, and at any moment I may tip the scales in a different direction.  Some days I think I must be nuts, and I wish I could go off and move to Portland and hide away as a web designer, lounging my days away in a craft beer haus, wearing the shabbiest, manliest shirt I can find.  (My gf thinks this is a sexy idea.) But we need to be seen. So first, I need to be brave enough to keep walking.

 

I was fortunate enough to see my amazing trans friend T and his lovely partner C this past week, and it was one of those evenings that was almost too good to come to an end. The conversation carried us from my front patio to the delicious vegan restaurant (T and C’s preferred cuisine – I certainly would have gone for BBQ) and then back to the street outside of our house over the course of five hours. We would each take one step away – my gf and I up the front steps, T and C towards their gigantic rental car, which would immediately propel one of us into another amazing and hilarious story guaranteed to magnetize us right back to our places. In one of the final of these multitude of exchanges, we somehow got onto T’s guilty pleasure of terrible movies where women dress in drag (aren’t they almost all terrible?).  He mentioned that he believes his “root” lies in this pleasure – from an evening during his elementary school years where he caught the end of Just One of the Guys on tv. Having missed the premise entirely, T’s eyes still lit up as he explained feeling enrapt, watching the antics of Joyce Hyser parading around her highschool, disguised as a boy. His genuine delight registered as “I know you’re a girl, but you’re dressed like a boy, and everyone else thinks you’re a boy. I want that. ”

This got me thinking about my own root, which is tangled in the fact that I’m the youngest, by far, of three girls and spent most of my young, introverted life trying only to be whoever it was my sisters wanted me to be.

But my root may be clear – my earliest memory goes something like this: I am three years old. I am sitting under the kitchen table, wearing my everyday uniform of light blue Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, black denim shorts, and red suspenders. Oh, and also my ratty green Peter Pan hat with my given (girl) name embroidered on it in yellow thread. I am squeezing my eyes tight shut, praying in whatever words I understood, that when I opened my eyes, God would make me a boy. Every time I opened my eyes I was sad.

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I realized I never wrote about directing my  friend’s transgender-vagina-monologues-style play- “The Naked I: Monologues from Beyond the Binary” at a local college this past weekend.

I had said before that I wished I weren’t involved – and let me tell you I griped about it right up until I walked into the room with the actors on Friday. It was only a two-day commitment – one rehearsal, and then the reading itself. The cast consisted of three 18 and 19 year old cis-female actors and a 29-yr old actor friend of mine who was free and interested. We rehearsed for about one hour, tops. We didn’t even read the entire cut of the piece through.

But it was incredible. The hall was filled with interested, engaged college kids – male, female, queer, possibly trans – which alone was awesome since this campus is a fairly conservative private school. The audience was incredibly enthusiastic, and loving, even when there were glitches and missed lines. Afterwards folks said they wished this play was performed every year there. It might be, and all the better.

I was reminded of the importance of telling these stories. That there IS an audience for what we queer and trans and butch and other folks have to say, and that only by speaking up to we even hear each other. I was reminded of how I, at 19, was too scared to perform in the original cast of this piece and how now, at 30, I would do it anytime – yes, even in light of all my griping. If I can stop focusing on myself for one moment I might actually get out of my own way. 🙂

And it was amazing to see Toby again. He has become a good, lovely man – he brings all the best qualities of a man to the table, and his talkback was a highlight of the event.  We looked at each other with interest after our ten-year absence, and noted that we’re still living some alternate dimension of each other’s lives. He has his lovely old New England house and partner and dog and job at the Prestigious Women’s College, his church and his soon-to-be graduate degree, and his queer and trans activism changing the world for the better. I have my rented room, my partner, my odd jobs and artistic crises, my constant struggle with putting myself and my queerness out there, my commitment to performing in lieu of security, which has so strongly affected my own queer and butch identity. But we shared our support for each other in these transformations, the weird paths that lives take. It was like an extended hug.

I really needed that.

 

Hi there folks –

I went away this past week to teach a bit a the physical theater school I went to about four years ago. It’s the only place I’ve ever felt like I had friends, so I’ve worked hard to maintain a connection there, no matter how strenuous it is to keep up with such a fickle long-distance relationship.  The school is a twelve hour drive north of LA in the thick of the redwood forest on the Northern California coast. It is narcissistic, insulated, secular, flagrantly liberal, and producing some of the most exhilirating, and – on off nights, the most puke-worthy – live physical performance in the world. It is also a place which routinely embraces pretty girls stripping down and jumping naked into the river at midnight, which is not to be underestimated on my list of reasons to visit. 🙂

Now I’m back in la-la-land, and trying to cope with a rush of feelings that hitched a twelve hour ride in my car on the way home.

I’ve lived here a little over two years, and I keep wondering where the community is. Sure, I have friends here – friends I’ve made from shows I’ve done, friends who moved here because I did – but really what I need these days are some queer friends. Some butch friends.

Not that I’ve ever had more than two butch friends, neither of whom have lived near me for over six years, but still. A person can wish.

I just want to go out and drink beer after beer. And talk about girls. And sex. And ties. Fuck, I even want to go talk about gender theory and the straight hegemony, or some crap like that. Something that cute girls talk about in San Francisco, or Portland, or Chicago, or Northampton. Places where there are communities of girls like me. Girls who are not necessarily entirely girls.

I’ve been having all kinds of weird emotions lately, and not the least because aunt flo is here for the first time in a while (I don’t bleed so much these days). I would love to talk to someone who knows the frustration of bleeding on your boxer briefs because you stayed at the bar too long trying to chat up that one pretty straight girl who thought you were really funny.  Because those are the kind of things I do when I’m up in the Woods, and coming back to my real life is always a bit of a letdown.

Also, I’m working this week on the genderqueer/trans monologue play, and honestly – I wish I weren’t. I feel totally exhausted, and like I want to crawl into a hole and feel and feel until I can feel myself into a better place.

At least I have a good haircut right now. Grasping at the silver lining.