Archive for November, 2010

Cheryl’s New Project: WTF Cancer Diaries

November 30, 2010  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

If you attended the last Sideshow: Queer Literary Carnival, you were there when my co-host, co-producer, and very good friend Cheryl B. announced that she was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma just recently, in the last month.

So of course, she started a blog: WTF Cancer Diaries.

From her description: “This blog will chronicle my journey of being overeducated, underemployed, with a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in my chest. WTF.”

Kristen and I were over at Cheryl’s place this past Sunday to take part in an “old fashioned lesbian head-shaving ritual,” where Diana Cage wielded the clippers and Syd London took photos, except it wasn’t so much for the “down with the patriarchy!” reasons as it was the whole cancer thing. Though that doesn’t stop Cheryl and and her partner Kelli from spontaneously breaking into faux-slam-poetry: “The man / the man / the man / gave me can / cer / and I say I can / sir …”

That’s just how they roll.

It’s been a scary month, from the diagnosis to the beginnings of chemotherapy. I’ve been scared and concerned for my friend. I don’t know much about cancer, but from what I’ve gathered this type of lymphoma is actually very treatable and most of the time responds quite well to a standardized treatment regimen. I guess of all kinds of cancer to get, this would be one of them. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s one of the reasons Cheryl and I are seeking interns for Sideshow. We’re booking 2011 now (interested? Contact us) and are very excited to keep bringing you some fabulous queer stories, poems, and performances. I have LOVED working with Cheryl this past year on this reading series, it’s brought us closer together, she’s been easy and wonderful to work with and I look forward to continuing the series for a while. It might be a tough six months or so as she goes through treatment, but

The December 14th show is Family Traditions featuring Alysia Angel, Silas Howard, Whitney Porter, Elizabeth Whitney, Heather Gold, & Lea Robinson, and I’m really looking forward to it. That’s a lotta talent in one place. So come—stop by, support Cheryl, see her new shaved head and wig, and read her new site, subscribe, keep up with what’s going on in her cancer saga. And send her prayers, well-wishes, and healing vibes. It can’t hurt.

Butches with Cute Animals

November 30, 2010  |  journal entries  |  1 Comment

Kristen started it.

Submit photos or videos of yourself, your lover, or your friends along with cute animals … though please make sure you have their permission to post their image online first.

People have asked about the “butch” part … it doesn’t matter to her if you identify as butch or not, she is not on this side of the computer assessing the photos about whether or not that person is “butch enough.” Mostly, it’s a self-selection thing: if you’re willing to have your image on there, she’s willing to put it up! You can (as others have) write in the comments that you don’t identify as butch, if you’d like to specify that.

It’s been going nuts! She’s already had more than 100 submissions of photos with hottie masculine-of-center folks and cutie animals. This is the kind of thing I was intending to do with Queer Eye Candy, which, by the way, has pretty much expired at this point. I put that together just before Tumblr really took off, and now that that’s around, the image-submission sites are so different. In fact, I run fuckyeahbutches.tumblr.com, and am always looking for submissions if you’d like to contribute.

But meanwhile, check out butchesholdinganimals.tumblr.com if you need a little pick-me-up, or something to make you go “awww!” in the middle of your day, or a little bit of swooning, or if you need some good fashion tips. There are lots of many good shots on there already. You might even recognize some queer celebrities!

PS: While I’m pimping Kristen out (no, not in that way), take a look at her interview on AfterEllen about her new baking business, Kitchentop Catering.

Wednesday Dec 1: Twitter Porn Party featuring Crash Pad Series

November 29, 2010  |  reviews  |  28 Comments

Don’t forget, Garnet Joyce & I are hosting a Twitter Porn Party on Wednesday, December 1st at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. Log on to twitter and follow us through the hashtag #pornparty if you’d like to see what we think of recent Crash Pad Series episodes (check out some still photos and descriptions of the scenes we’re going to watch).

Pink & White sent this out today:

“Wednesday, December 1st, bloggers Sinclair Sexsmith and Garnet Joyce will host an online porn viewing party on Twitter.com. They?ll be using the hashtag #pornparty so log in and follow @mrsexsmith & @garnetjoyce. They will be watching and commenting on four episodes from Season 12: Episodes 81 (CinnamonChocolate Chip, and 9), 82 (Drew Deveaux and Dylan Ryan), 83 (Tina Horn and Roger Wood), and 84 (Arabelle Raphael and Billy Castro).”

If you haven’t seen the Crash Pad Series, you’re missing out. Seriously. I know there’s that old adage that there’s no good lesbian/dyke/queer porn out there, but that is just not true anymore. Shine Louise Houston is an artful director and has been leading the way in the queer porn headway during the 2000s. If you think porn is too harsh, not tender enough, too much bang-bang-banging, not enough talking, not enough real people—I bet you’ll be surprised by the Crash Pad. With nearly 100 episodes, I bet you’ll find more than a few you really, really like, too.

Join us on Wednesday night! Use Coupon Code 14E for 10% off any level of membership. (Recommend level 2 – video streaming; level 3 – downloads and behind the scenes). Offer Expires December 1st.

I’m giving away a membership today! So hopefully the winner can join us on Twitter Wednesday night. Leave a comment in this thread and I’ll pick a winner at random tomorrow (Tuesday) evening to receive a one month level 2 membership. Comment on this post with your favorite sexy way to get woken up or what you did this morning or something else entirely and you’ll be entered. Must have a valid email address!

Review: Foxy Bombshell Panties

November 26, 2010  |  reviews  |  1 Comment

(Actually, Babeland’s website calls this a Foxy Bombshell Panty, but shouldn’t it be plural? Kind of like “pants,” right: you don’t wear “a pant,” you wear pants.)

Babeland recently started carrying Booty Parlor products, and I picked up the Foxy Bombshell Panties as a gift for Kristen. The design is cute and flirty and fun, so I figured we’d try ‘em out.

They come in very broad sizes—small (23″-38″ hip) or large (27″-42″ hip), which means that while they fit Kristen quite well, it was a little bit of a gamble and I wasn’t certain they’d be very flattering if they were cut to accommodate a 15″ range of hip sizes. Hard to tell, too, when you order things off the Internet. But it worked out—they are quite lovely, and I love the bow at the back (I kind of have a thing for ribbons). They are made of Poly silk (whatever that is) and Lycra. They should be hand-washed in cold water.

I like the look of the Peepshow Princess Panty too, I might try to get my hands on those next.

The Foxy Bombshell Panties were sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

The Kids Are All Right is Now On DVD

November 26, 2010  |  reviews  |  No Comments

the-kids-are-all-rightI’ve been waiting for The Kids Are All Right to come out on DVD since I saw it this summer. I was ready to see it again, even right after I saw it the first time. I debated and deconstructed and philosophized and puzzled over the plot for a good solid week before I had various lightbulb moments and felt like I “got it,” like I understood what director Lisa Cholodenko was going for. (My thoughts on it culminated in this post on AfterEllen, The “Lesbian Sleeps With A Man” Trope in The Kids Are All Right.)

I’ve referenced this film many times since I saw it. Not just the characters or lines or this particular plot, but the affect Cholodenko has had on this trope, the way this film has gotten into our collective social consciousness, and the result—that the man is totally left out, that he has not spent years building a family, but that he was, in fact, practically irrelevant to the building of their family—will effect any future film that attempts to use this trope to invalidate lesbian identity. I think Cholodenko took that stereotype and ran with it so far and hard that it is kind of, well, over. I think it changed the landscape.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with me about that, it’s a beautiful film. It really is. If you’ve seen either of Cholodenko’s other films, like High Art or Laurel Canyon, you know her style of cinematography is stunning and unique. She’s a mainstream queer female director—on the masculine-of-center side of gender, I would argue—and this film depicts a lesbian relationship, women in love with each other, sincere emotions and care for the building of a family, overcoming hardship, all of those wonderful things that are so rarely depicted responsibly or artfully in a mainstream film.

It came out on November 16th. I can’t wait to see it again.

Here’s a nice clip from the bonus features on the DVD, where you can see many of the beautifully framed shots from the film as director Cholodenko discusses her relationship to the concept of “family:”

Here’s the blurb from the film, in case you were somehow under a rock all summer and missed the hours and days of discussion when it came out:

The Kids Are All Right stars Academy Award® nominees Annette Bening (American Beauty) and Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights). Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are a suburban couple raising their two teens, Joni (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson, Journey to the Center of the Earth), in Southern California. But when the kids track down their “donor dad” Paul (Mark Ruffalo, Shutter Island), an unexpected new chapter begins for everyone as family ties are defined, re-defined and then re-re-defined.

The Kids Are All Right is on DVD and Blu-ray November 16th

It is really worth seeing. Annette Bening in particular is phenomenal, and I’m pretty excited to see her as Nic on screen again. I wish we could just crack a bottle of wine and sit up on the Hollywood sign and talk about girls until the bottle’s empty.

  

(Yes, clearly, I’m a sucker for glasses.)

Pick up The Kids Are All Right from Wolfe Video, the largest exclusive distributor of gay and lesbian films, or, if you must, from Amazon.

The Last Sideshow of 2010: December 14th, Family Traditions

November 24, 2010  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival, the reading series that I host and produce with Cheryl B., has had an amazing year. December will make our 9th show, and each one has been more amazing than the last. Our audience continues to grow, and our readers continue to be amazing. I’m really excited about the line-up we have coming for 2011 (to be announced soon), and hope you’ll continue to join us in New York City for some fantastic literary queer stories!

Next up: Family Traditions on December 14th.

This month’s theme is FAMILY/TRADITIONS, starring:
Alysia Angel (what I do when you’re not looking)
Heather Gold (Tummelvision.tv)
Silas Howard (By Hook or By Crook)
Whitney Porter (Ping Pong Literary Journal)
Lea Robinson (Butch Mamas) and Elizabeth Whitney (The Secretaries)

Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, December 14th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
www.queerliterarycarnival.com
@sideshowseries

About the Readers … Read More

The Next Porn Party: Crash Pad Series

November 20, 2010  |  reviews  |  1 Comment

Garnet Joyce & I are hosting (or, “hosting”) another queer porn party on Twitter next week Wednesday, December 1, at 6pm PST / 9pm EST.

If you don’t know Crash Pad … well, you should! I think Shine Louise Houston is making pretty much hands down the best porn out there right now, and it happens to be queer and gender-inclusive and kinky as hell and hot hot hot. It started out as a single DVD film, but has expanded in recent years to a web-based series of episodes divided up by “season.” Memberships range from $20 a month for level 1 (photos only) membership to $35 a month for a level 3 (photos, video, behind the scenes, and downloads).

But! We have a special deal for Porn Party viewers: Use Coupon Code 14E for 10% off any level of membership. (Recommend level 2 – video streaming; level 3 – downloads and behind the scenes). Offer Expires December 1st!

I’m also giving away a one-month membership! Hopefully the winner can join us on Twitter on December 1st to tell us what they think of the episodes. Details of the giveaway announced next week.

If you haven’t seen any of the Crash Pad episodes yet, now’s the chance to do it! Regardless of what your kink or interest is, there’s got to be something in there you’ll enjoy—there are nearly 100 episodes up!

I used to try to keep up with them all, but there are so many! So Garnet and I decided it’d be fun to choose a few and watch ‘em on Twitter with whomever wants to watch. We’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #pornparty as we narrate what we think of the scenes.

We decided to watch season 12, episodes 81, 82, 83, and 84, so I picked some photos to show you the people who are in the scenes. Here’s the details (behind the cut to attempt to keep this site slightly more readable at work) … Read More

Friday Reads: Sex, Gender, & Erotica By Cleis Press

November 19, 2010  |  reviews  |  No Comments

October and November have kind of gotten away from me, with three conferences and four college gigs and an erotic retreat and travel to three states and a new workshop, and oh yeah that whole new butch project thing. So I haven’t really been keeping up with the “Friday Reads” series I was trying to start, but I’ll just pick up where I left off, how about that.

Good timing, too, because Cleis Press, one of my favorite publishers, is having a winter holiday special: 20% off everything in stock!

We would like to extend a special invitation to Cleis Press & Viva Editions friends, family and colleagues to take advantage of our 2010 Gratitude and Giving holiday special. This is our way of saying we’re incredibly grateful for your enthusiasm, talent and support! From now until December 31st, we offer you and your network (your friends, family, coworkers, colleagues and neighbors) a 20% discount on all titles. Enter special offer code GG on your web order to receive your discount.

Here’s the fine print: Order as many or as few books as you like. Order as many times as you like. Offer good on any book in stock at time of ordering. Order through our web sites to receive discount. Must enter special offer code GG to receive discount. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

So hey, I have some recommendations for books you can pick up, if you don’t already have ‘em. And who knows, maybe somebody on your holiday gift list would like some books too, hmm?

Books Which Include My Work:

Many of these aren’t explicitly queer, but the sex is delicious and sensuous and sweet and brilliant, the power dynamics are amazing, the writing is impeccable. So file these under Classics You Should Read:

And last but not least, here’s some notable Queer Titles that I’m not in, but that I’ve read and are excellent:

I know you could probably just order all of these on Amazon, but the publisher and authors benefit greatly when you get ‘em from the source. All of these I highly recommend belong in your personal library.

Head over to Cleis Press’s website and browse through their dozens of other titles. If you like reading about sex and gender, chances are you’ll find a book or two you’ve been coveting over there.

Update on the New Butch Project

November 16, 2010  |  on butches  |  3 Comments

Okay, so. It’s the 16th, and it’s probably obvious, but the new butch project, the relaunch of the Top Hot Butches from last year, hasn’t launched yet.

I’m behind. I’ve been working on it a lot in the past two months, but I’ve also had workshops and columns to write and deadlines and other websites I’ve been building and it isn’t ready. On top of all of my other demands (the ones that, you know, actually pay me some money), I have received dozens of emails and comments with nominations for butches to add, many of whom I have little knowledge, some of whom I already have on my radar.

I’m still looking for interns to help me with this project. If you have some time to help compile the database of butches (meaning, research website URLs and save and sometimes edit photographs from a name that I have), I’d love some help. It’ll get this project up and running much faster.

The “nominations” I’ve been seeking are rolling; they have no deadline, they are ongoing. I am not limiting this database to 100, there will be any and as many as I can find to include. Look at this post for details about who I’m looking to include, and what I hope you’ll send on if you’d like to include someone. You can absolutely nominate yourself, that’s fine.

I’m bracing myself a little bit for some backlash from this project; I guess I can’t help it, it became a whirlwind so fast last year. And doing anything based on identity, especially gender identity, gets tricky and problematic before the idea even forms in one’s head, so I’m not surprised that already I’ve had some questions and skepticism about this new project. Here’s a few things I want to state, clearly.

This project is not comparing anyone on the basis of hotness, it is not a hot 100 list anymore, it’s not even really a list so much as a database. It is not so much about the eye candy anymore (though there will still be eye candy, I promise) as it is about the community, social, and individual construction of butch identity.

I am including cis and trans men in this project, because butch identity can and has been constructed on any sexed body, but I will not be comparing butch women’s hotness to cis men’s hotness so there will be no danger of any butch “losing” and being less hot than a man.

I am not intending to externally impose any gender identity upon anyone else, despite my compiling of androgynous, genderqueer, and gender-non-conforming famous (and semi-famous) women who may or may not actually identify as “butch.” I know there are problems with this. One of my basic gender tenets is that no one can label you, that you label yourself. And by including someone on a list I don’t intend to state that they are butch and that I know oh so much better than they do about their identity, but rather that they have been visibly not feminine in the world, and for a woman to go about their life in such a gender expression is both difficult and inspiring to those of us who relate to it. It’s more of a “butch inspiration” list than anything else, so I am thinking I might rename it such—inspiration, instead of Top Hot Butches. I’m a little wedded to that phrase, since the original list from last year was called that, but what good is using a digital medium if it can’t be completely changeable?

Um what else.

Because I’m behind the launch date, I’m still accepting submissions for the Symposium #1. I have about half a dozen right now and I’d gladly add more. See this post for details, but basically it is this: you write a post on your blog writing about the prompt (this time, it is “What is butch? How do you define butch? What do you love about it? What does it mean to you?”) and send me the link. Then I’ll do the round-up of all the posts, and you can reprint the roundup (that would be kind) and promote the links of others, and comment on the other posts, keeping the discussion open and going.

I think that’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I know what my real launch date will be, I promise! I have a couple more events in New York this week, and a few more deadlines, but then I’ll be back to working on this full time. By which I mean, obsessively, until it’s birthed launched. Really looking forward to sharing this with you all, and thanks for being a part of it, in whatever way you are.