Archive for May, 2012

Review: Aslan Leather Pleasure Harness (Customized) & Jaguar G

May 30, 2012  |  reviews  |  No Comments

I’ve been searching for The Perfect Harness for a long time.

I think at a certain point I gave up, and gave in to the fact that there’s no one singular perfect harness, and that I’ll just have different ones for different things or for different cocks. I haven’t been reviewing harnesses as much lately (though I do still try to keep up with what’s new out there).

Recently, though, my beloved Jaguar G harness reached its last days, and I replaced it with two other harnesses from Aslan Leather. I know some folks really don’t like leather because it is an animal product, and as a former vegan I understand that, but as someone obsessed with the best possible materials I can find, I just haven’t found anything better—or even comparable. There are quite a few vegan options for Aslan harnesses, for the record, and I do really like the Slick G.

And while I love Outlaw Leather and many of the other companies who make great harnesses, I think Aslan is the best, hands down. Their leather is buttery and feels already broken in, and so easily becomes a second skin, conforming to the heat of my body and wrapping me in it so I can barely tell I’m wearing anything at all.


The Jaguar G

The Jaguar is one of their most popular harnesses, and I would say is one of the most popular harnesses period, based on the dozens of Cock Confidence workshops I’ve conducted and based on a totally informal survey of everyone I meet who partakes in strap-on sex. It comes in various colors—like white, black, and cherry.

I prefer the Jaguar G, the g-string one-strap version (because of the way the one strap hits my clit while I’m fucking). But there are many variations to the Jaguar, and I bet you can find one that is perfect for you.

I frequently go back to my Leather Pleasure Harness, which I also frequently recommend to folks who are starting out with strap-on play because it easily converts from a one-strap to a two-strap and back, so you can experiment with both and see which one you prefer, and because it’s relatively affordable, much cheaper than a lot of the other fancier leather harnesses anyway.


The Leather Pleasure Harness

I’m not sure how many of these harnesses I have basically worn through in the last five years or so. Three, four, maybe? Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to take good enough care of my leather—but I clean it with saddle soap, have experimented with mink oil, and nothing I do can quite make it waterproof enough that eventually, it doesn’t end up soaking into the leather and unable to come clean. I’m the kind of person who will use a thing until it is pretty much unusable, I wasn’t exactly raised middle class, maybe more like upper-working-class or lower-middle-class or with middle class aspirations, so it sometimes pains me to retire one of these harnesses, but I care a little bit more that my sex toys are attractive and safe to share, and after a certain point, my leather harnesses are neither.

So this time, when I asked Aslan to send me a new Jaguar G, I also asked for a new Leather Pleasure Harness, but this time with the leg straps in rubber instead of leather. Because that’s the piece that gets all … beautifully juiced up, anyway, that’s the piece that becomes uncleanable after a while.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love this new harness, and it is so much easier to keep clean. I’ve reviewed the Leather Pleasure Harness before, so check that out if you want more details about the harness specs.

Between the Jaguar G and the Leather Pleasure Harness, I think my search for The Perfect Harness might be over. If nothing else, any other harness definitely has a lot to live up to. Thank you, Aslan!

Aslan Leather sent me the Leather Pleasure Harness and Jaguar G for review. Pick it up over on Aslan’s site, or at your local independent feminist queer sex toy store.

Protected: Love Letter #21

May 30, 2012  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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Kristen & Sinclair Answer Your Questions – Episode 1: “I Want To Be Taken”

May 29, 2012  |  advice  |  14 Comments

So Kristen and I have a new experiment …

I’m no longer writing an advice column for acompanythatshallremainnameless, so I have this spreadsheet full of questions (65 of them at the moment) and nowhere to really put the answers. Sometimes I run them by Kristen before I write about them, or just to spark casual conversation, and we have fun bantering about the advice that we’d give. So at one point we thought, hey, what if we do a little video recording of these?

In this episode: Emma asks, “I’ve just started dating someone new, and at the same time I am figuring out that I might be submissive. How do I let her know that I want to be, well, taken? Thanks.”

References from the video:

Mollena Williams
The Topping Book & The Bottoming Book (weren’t actually mentioned but I meant to suggest them)
Savage Love

PS: Isn’t Kristen pretty?

PPS: Bonus photo outtake:

Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years in NYC Next Week

May 29, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Since I haven’t been able to get a calendar update up on Sugarbutch the last two months in a row (!), I’m throwing up this event info individually instead so you can know what I’m up to.

Much of my college workshop traveling is done, but I’ll still be traveling a bit this summer, attending a few different leather gatherings and heading to Atlanta and hopefully Chicago to do readings for Say Please.

There are some great events in New York City that I’m taking part in, too! Hope to see you there.

Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years
Friday June 8th, 8 PM
Queers for Economic Justice
147 W. 24th St., 4th Floor,
New York, NY 10011
5-10 bucks no one turned away
RSVP/More info/Updates on facebook

Queer Memoir: New York’s award-winning LGBT storytelling series is breaking their usual “no shows in the summer” tradition in order to produce this special event. We’ll be hearing stories from butch/stud identified people of different queer generations, including a special reading from West Coast’s Jeanne Cordova and her award-winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws.

With
JEANNE CORDOVA
LEA ROBINSON
SINCLAIR SEXSMITH
RYANN MAKENZI HOLMES
JAY TOOLE
HOSTED BY KELLI DUNHAM

Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary

May 29, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Do you remember the Impossible Couture series, where Najva Sol took portraits and Molly Crabapple added embellishments? Najva did another series of portraits, this time genderqueer (mostly) nudes, and Molly did another series of drawings over them.

The result is Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary, and I’m one of the models in the show. I might have gotten naked on my rooftop in Brooklyn. Maybe. Just sayin’.

The show opens next week, Thursday June 7th, from 6-9pm in New York and San Francisco Lomography stores.

Swiped from Najva’s blog:

Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary
by Molly Crabapple and Najva Sol
Transmogrify, Verb: To transform, esp. in a surprising or magical manner

From poets to porn-stars, computer nerds to community gardeners, artists to activists: these portraits capture some of the real gender warriors today. They are trans, genderqueer, or just gender-fabulous, and they deserve their own magical realm.

Each portrait was shot by Najva Sol with a lomo camera, then embellished by Molly Crabapple. Show sponsored by Lomography.

Show Opens At Lomography stores in New York AND San Francisco
June 7th, 6-9pm

New York Lomography Store
41 West 8th Street
Manhattan, NY 10011
212-529-4351

San Fran Lomography Store
309 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-248-0096

I’m going to do my best to at least stop by the New York show, though it does make me a little nervous to see myself (naked!) on a wall. But the shots I’ve seen so far are stunning, I love that one above. Can’t wait to see them all.

Protected: Love Letter #20

May 23, 2012  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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Happy 29th Birthday, Kristen

May 22, 2012  |  journal entries  |  6 Comments

Kristen turned 29 years old yesterday.

We both attended a Body Electric workshop over the weekend—I’m completely wiped and Kristen is energized and tender, so we kept it pretty low-key. We had a very small gathering of a few folks over for cupcakes and champagne and fancy cheese, Kristen received a few sweet gifts, and generally enjoyed ourselves and each other’s company.

There’s a love letter coming, but meanwhile, I want to say happy birthday to my amazing girlfriend. I love that we get to explore and experiment together, and I feel so lucky to have found someone so willing to love well, work well, and grow well with me.

I love you Kristen, thank you for sharing these beautiful years of your life with me. I wish you big dreams and explosions and fireworks in your 30th year around the sun, and I’m so excited that I get to be there with you, here and beyond.

Protected: Love Letter #19

May 15, 2012  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Butch Edition in LA, Friday May 25

May 11, 2012  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

Sugarbutch & Raquefella Present:
DIRTY QUEER SEX TOUR: BUTCH EDITION IN LA

For the release of SAY PLEASE: LESBIAN BDSM EROTICA, come join us in LA for dirty readings from dirty butches, including Jeanne Cordova, D’Lo, Ian Harvie, [rife], Claudia Rodriguez, Sinclair Sexsmith, AJ Stacy, and MC Angie Evans.

ABOUT SAY PLEASE

In Say Please, Sinclair Sexsmith presents a cornucopia of queer kink—tantalizing tales rich in variety and saucy details of girls put in their place—and held there firmly. Whether readers dream of surrendering to a lover or of taking control, Say Please offers plenty of erotic inspiration and gives readers exactly what they want! Come hear authors from the book read their stories and celebrate the release of this kinky queer collection.

ABOUT SINCLAIR SEXSMITH

Sinclair Sexsmith runs the award-winning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies and websites, including Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, she is the guest editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, and her first full-length erotica anthology, Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, was published by Cleis Press in April 2012. Mr. Sexsmith writes, teaches, and performs focusing on the subjects of sex, gender, and relationships. More information on her at mrsexsmith.com.

The event will be Friday, May 25, 2012, 7-9pm
at The Pleasure Chest
7733 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
http://www.thepleasurechest.com/losangeleshours.htm
Light refreshments will be provided

ABOUT THE READERS

Check out the hot sex scenes in rebel activist JEANNE CORDOVA’s latest memoir, When We Were Outlaws, on sale now at amazon.com. Other sex writing include essays in award-winning anthologies like: “Conversation With A Gentleman Butch” in Dagger: On Butch Women, “Cheap Gold, a Seduction” in Hot & Bothered 2, “The Mantra of Orgasm” in Viva Arts Quarterly’, “The New Politics of Butch” in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, and “Butches, Lies & Feminism” in Persistent Desire: A Femme Butch Reader.

D’LO has performed and/or facilitated performance and writing workshops extensively (US, Canada, UK, Germany, Sri Lanka and India). D’Lo is also the creator of the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series which have taken place with South Asian and/or Immigrant Queer Organizations nationally (LA, NY and SF). D’Lo’s work has been published in various anthologies and academic journals, most recently: Desi Rap: Hip Hop and South Asia America and Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic (co-edited by Sharon Bridgforth). D’Lo holds a BA from UCLA in Ethnomusicology and is a graduate of New York’s School of Audio Engineering (SAE).

Equal parts candor and deadpan humor, IAN HARVIE’s distinctive matter-of-fact delivery and almost surreal anecdotes about the intricacies of his exceptional life are so full of humanity that they become universal. Ian’s observations about gender-specific societal codes, privilege, coming out twice, and learning new bathroom etiquette, will have you peeing your pants and wanting to check your neighbor’s pants to see what’s inside. He’s the world’s first FTM transgender comic, put in context; make his anecdotes about his own phobia of public restrooms all the more side-splitting. Ian’s performance makes you think and wonder, but most importantly, it makes you laugh. Ian just filmed his first one-hour standup comedy film for cable television and was Executive Produced by iconic queer Comic and friend, Margaret Cho. He’s also been seen on ABC’s Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen and LOGO’s One Night Standup. Follow his ramblings on Twitter @ianharvie or check out his tour schedule at www.ianharvie.com

[rife] is a genderqueer leatherboy from Texas. They work as the lead artist for the GENDER book project, which is a visual primer on all things gender. When he isn’t doing that, he can be found doodling, pulling prints, welding, walking in the woods, or getting flogged by some butch hottie. Mel has a BA in studio arts from Rice University and even though he’s a recent transplant to Oakland, he will always be a cowboi at heart. Follow his work at www.thegenderbook.com or see more of rife’s art at www.rowdyferret.com.

CLAUDIA RODRIGUEZ, writer, organizer, performance artists and AIDS activist is from Compton, CA. She received her MFA in creative writing from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Claudia’s play “Cosa Rara” was a semi-finalist in both the Asuncion Playwrights Project national competition out of Teatro Pregones in Bronx New York and the Sherwood Award sponsored by the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles. Most recently Claudia’s work has appeared in Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of New Queer Girl Writing edited by Michelle Tea. Claudia received the Emerging Lesbian Writer award from the Astraea Foundation in 2001. She is also a founding member of Butchlalis de Panochtitlan, a Los Angeles-based multimedia performance ensemble renders cartographies of desire, identity, and localized histories on the bodies they walk in as they perform themselves, each other, imagined characters and caricatures.

Help Syd London Get A New Camera

May 9, 2012  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

If you’ve been lurking around Sugarbutch for a while, you know who Syd London is.

Syd has taken many of the most significant photos of me and my events in the last few years. She is an incredible photographer, hard-working and frequently nearly invisible at events, sneaking in to get just the right shots without interrupting the performers or the vibe of what’s going on (which is not true of all event photographers, just sayin’).

The first shoot that Syd and I did was a solo shoot of me, in slightly industrial Brooklyn, so early in the morning that I look kind of tired in some of the shots. But you probably recognize at least this one:

… because that’s the shot I used as a headshot for a few years. More from that photo shoot are on Syd’s flickr streamI especially like this one.

Then Syd shot me and Cheryl the night that we started Sideshow.

You’ve seen many of these shots, too, because I used them as promo images for the series while it ran for a year and a half. There are many, many more shots of us from that night, together and separately, and the colors are amazing, and Cheryl looks so serious and dark and her usual self, and then sometimes one of us made her laugh and we got this rare shot of her smile. I’m so glad we have some photos of us together. Syd took hundreds of shots that night, and made us both look incredible.

She also snapped a few quick shots of me and Kristen, including this one, which is one of my favorite photographs of us together that we yet have:

And just, wow. I love that photograph.

Syd went on to photograph Sideshow for Time Out New York a couple different times throughout the series. How else would I have these amazing shots, capturing what it was like to be there for the first time? I was so nervous. Cheryl was buzzing around but kept a completely cool head, as she did. Kristen was beautiful and welcoming and warm, as she is.

And Syd captured it all.

Syd went on to photograph the Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference, for which I was on the steering committee, and snapped more shots of me, the conference in general, and Kristen and Cheryl as part of the volunteer committee that baked for the butches.

Syd also got shots of the Sideshow/Queer Memoir Butch Voices Mashup and the Speed Friending/Speed Dating opening night social. I’m on the Butch Voices national board now, have I mentioned that yet? I should make a formal announcement about that, I (we, the board) haven’t yet.

… And then Cheryl was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Syd took the photos of Cheryl’s old fashioned lesbian head shaving ritual, and one of the photos made it into the New York Times “Lives They Lived” series and was featured in the NYT Magazine.

Syd’s shot became Cheryl’s icon on WTF Cancer Diaries.

Kelli & Cheryl had their own shoot before we did the head shaving, so these are some of the last shots of Cheryl with all of her hair.

I love the love in these photographs. They were so good together, and loved each other so well.

Syd went on to photograph Nerd Love, the Valentine’s show that Kelli and Cheryl did together with some friends, as well as Fuck Your Health and Butch Burlesque and Butch It Up and dozens more community events.

And then Cheryl died. And Syd photographed the last Sideshow, just like she’d photographed the first one, except without Cheryl. And Kristen and I tried not to cry all night, and I put Sideshow on hold.

And a month or so later, Syd photographed Cheryl’s memorial.

… and I don’t even know what to say about that. It was a beautiful, important night, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

So basically, Syd London’s photography tells many the stories of my life for the past two years, from formal headshot photoshoots to community events to private rituals to memories that I am so blessed to cherish in images. I didn’t really realize that I’d be doing an overview of my successes and lows and family, but well, that’s what I’m doing.

The point is, Syd London needs a camera.

She’s been doing all this work borrowing camera equipment, and needs her own in order to continue capturing the community events that she’s been doing for many years, not just the last few that I’ve been working with her. She’s touched many, many lives of artists and activists in this community.

Here’s the video version of this request:

And here’s what Syd has to say about this campaign:

My name is Syd London; I’m a Brooklyn based, self taught, professional photographer and photojournalist. Until photography I struggled since the age of 9 with my soul question; how can I use my life as a tool? Baring witness, documenting and story telling through my photography while working to get those stories out there have become my answer. However, the professional grade tools which enable me to do this work are extremely expensive. I haven’t had my own digital camera since August 2010, when my camera was broken beyond repair. Since then I’ve been working on borrowed and rented equipment. Skyrocketing rental costs make it extremely difficult to continue and impossible to save for the needed equipment. I don’t want to wear my welcome out from relying on the incredible generosity of friends for camera loans. I never know what I’m going to work with or how/if I’m going to get a camera for the next gig. I’m especially concerned about the continuity of my work dedicated to social justice; licenses to these photos are frequently donated to organizations doing social justice work at a grass roots level such as Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Audre Lorde Project and Queers for Economic Justice. A professional grade camera rig of my own would enable me to continue my ongoing documentary about the LGBT community in NYC “Taking Back the Streets” (started in 2007), to continue to donate to magnificent organizations and artists as well as enable me push my work to the next level, something I’m starved for.

If you’ve got any extra money and you’re capable of giving a donation to her campaign, I urge you to do so. For selfish reasons, I want to keep working with Syd, and I want her photographs to keep being amazing. And for more community reasons, I know Syd’s work makes a huge difference, and I know how important it is to have not only a record of our communities, but a way to show us off in the mainstream that is accessible, beautiful, and moving.

Thank you, Syd, for all the incredible work you’ve done. I hope it’ll continue for a long time.