Achilles’ Heel at Sideshow, February 8th

Join us at Sideshow on February 8th with readers Melissa Gira Grant, Rohin Guha, Aimee Herman, and Christa Orth.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival – Achilles’ Heel
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, February 8th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
Find out more about the readers!

Porn Party with QueerPorn.TV

The next porn party is coming up on January 19th (6pm PST / 9pm EST), and we’re watching QueerPorn.TV, a beautiful new queer porn site (what, like the name didn’t give it away?) by Courtney Trouble and Tina Horn.

What is a “porn party”, you ask? Well, it’s a little virtual gathering on Twitter where we watch porn and comment on it, “live-tweeting” the event. We’ll tag our posts with the hashtag #pornparty. (I recommend tuning in the day of on Tweetchat, since it’s a bit easier to follow hashtags there than on Twitter.)

How do you join us? Easy! All you need is a Twitter account and a membership to QueerPorn.TV.

1. Make sure you’ve got a membership to QueerPorn.TV. Dig up your password and have it on hand so you don’t have to scramble for it later.

2. Log on to Twitter and follow the hashtag #pornparty. You can also do this through TweetChat, which is a great way to follow conversations happening on Twitter.

3. At the specified time, in your time zone (6pm PST / 9pm EST), Wednesday January 19th, start up Courtney Trouble & Scout’s episode on QueerPorn.TV, and start up Twitter. Watch the scene, and post your thoughts. You can follow what we’re chatting about even without having a Twitter account, but it’d be more fun if you post your thoughts too (and include the hastag #pornparty so we see it!).

4. Bonus: follow @mrsexsmith and @garnetjoyce, the hosts of this Twitter Porn Party, and follow @queerporntv, @courtneytrouble, and @tinahornsass who are the geniuses behind QueerPorn.TV, follow @billycastroxxx, @thedylanryan, @judyminx, @ignacio_rivera, and @jizlee, who are some of the stars we’ll be watching!

You can always surf around QTube while we countdown to the porn party, if you need something to keep you busy.

Here’s the scenes we’ll be enjoying:

When Courtney Trouble cast Toronto native Scout in a porn scene, she never guessed that Scout – a youthful, creative, genderqueer creature – would follow her all the way back to San Francisco just to fuck the director. But that’s what happened, and with the windows open for all of downtown to see, this switchy pair, shall we say, hit it off. In fact, they had already started by the time I showed up to their hotel room; I followed them around with my camera for hours while they completely ignored me, engrossed in rough passionate queer sex. Scout is a tireless top, but also a masochist, and Trouble slaps them around even as she chokes on their sparkly unicorn cock. Scout strap-on fucks Trouble doggy style, piledrives her, and gives head to an NJoy Eleven in Trouble’s cunt. Trouble, a vicious and vivacious little tart, bosses Scout around and cums over and over again. Trouble loves to get her ass spanked and pussy punched and luckily Scout loves to follow orders! Run Time: 25.19

Blurring the line between classic nude art and raunchy queer porn, genderqueer legends Jiz Lee and Papi Coxxx pose for Suzanne Forbes‘ pen. It’s only a matter of time, of course, before they can’t hold their pose any longer. Sweet nipple teasing dissolves into passionate fucking and buckets of cum; it’s all Forbes can do to keep up! Jiz and Papi both love to switch, and they each penetrate the other with their realistic strap-on cocks and skilled hands. These two performers, who are known for ejaculating, deliver gushing orgasms that will take your breath away. Run Time: 14.35

Dylan Ryan was ravenous for a truly submissive pain slut like Tina Horn. In her super-cool masculine persona Butch Friday she gives Tina a taste of what it would be like to be her total slave. In full masochistic faggot mode (complete with superhero panties) Tina soaks up a prolonged heavy spanking, flogging, verbal degradation, dominant-submissive play, deep-throating, fisting, and deep strap on plowing in a leather sling – all to earn the right to worship Butch/Dylan’s magnificent cock. This gender-fucking BDSM scene between two cisgendered ladies who enjoy playing with their male personas is intensely kinky, highly verbal, and disarmingly sweet. Run Time: 26.38

This scene involves a fantasy of non-consensual acts that was designed and negotiated by all three performers. The World’s Next FTM Porn Star Billy Castro and porn newbie, the insatiably hot and smart intersexed Johnny Mission, gang up on sweet “sleeping” little Judy Minx, restraining her with a belt, humiliating her and forcing her to beg for sex, then for harder, and then for more. They double-team their willing victim, slapping her around, invading her pussy with their huge cocks and her mouth with their inexhaustible hands, making her come long and hard. Inspired by a real-life hot and heavy flirtation between the three stars, this spur-of-the-moment shoot of a home invasion fantasy fuck is quite possibly QPTV’s most realistically raw scene yet. Run Time: 14.56

Descriptions from QueerPorn.TV, thanks!

Events in January

Yes, I’m still on retreat. But there are a few important announcements that I have to tell you, events that are worth attending and projects worth helping.

1. Don’t forget about Sideshow! Next week, 1/11/11 in New York City. You know the drill.

Ring in the New Year with a blank slate as the performers, storytellers, and writers of Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival tell you all about Tabula Rasa.

Featured in January are Regie Cabico, Casey Plett, Shawn Stewart Ruff, and Najva Sol.

Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, January 11th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)

2. Butch It Up For QEJ! Party, Fundraiser, and Butch Clothing Drive for Queers for Economic Justice. January 16 at Ginger’s Bar in Brooklyn, from 4 pm onward, with performances starting at 6:30 pm

Dykes on Bike-Cycles (DOBC) is getting it in gear in the New Year, and our first event of 2011 is a party-fundraiser in support of Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ). Ginger’s Bar in Park Slope will host this very special fundraiser, featuring an amazing lineup of poets, comics, and musicians. We’ll have the BBQ going out back, with hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie options, as well as other foods for sale, baked and cooked by Shane, Ginger’s bartender. So come out and help us support QEJ and the great work they are doing for the LGBTQ community in the shelters in our city.

As part of this event, DOBC will be sponsoring a Butch Clothing Drive, so start sorting through you closet for those old ties you never wear or that pair of trousers or collared shirt that don’t really fit you anymore, and donate them to a butch sister in need. Any clothing donations are welcome, but warm coats, sweaters, and anything fitting the “masculine of center” category are especially appreciated.

Performers include: Arianne Benford, Sassafras Lowrey, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Kelli Dunham and Cheryl B., Melissa Li and the Barely Theirs, Andrea Alton performing as Molly “Equality” Dykeman. The raffle will include prizes from Babeland, a $20 bar tab at Ginger’s, DOBC t-shirts, and much more! No cover charge, but donations are always welcome.

RSVP on Facebook.

3. Pariah (pariahthemovie.com) is a new film trying to make their way to Sundance. Described as “a Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression,” here’s the full synopsis:

At the club, the music thumps, go-go dancers twirl, shorties gyrate on the dance floor while studs play it cool, and adorably naive 17-year-old Alike takes in the scene with her jaw dropped in amazement. Meanwhile, her buddy Laura, in between macking the ladies and flexing her butch bravado, is trying to help Alike get her cherry popped. This is Alike’s first world. Her second world is calling on her cell to remind her of her curfew. On the bus ride home to Brooklyn, Alike sheds her baseball cap and polo shirt, puts her earrings back in, and tries to look like the feminine, obedient girl her conservative family expects. With a spectacular sense of atmosphere and authenticity, Pariah takes us deep and strong into the world of an intelligent butch teenager trying to find her way into her own. Debut director Dee Rees leads a splendid cast and crafts a pitch-perfect portrait that stands unparalleled in American cinema.

I thought that’d get your attention. They still need some funding. Head over to Kickstarter to help out. (Thanks for the tip, Lesbian Dad.)

4. Juxtaposition is a new project by Jessica Halem & Kelli Dunham: a show that brings those communities together…laughing. Future shows will juxtapose… A gay nerd & a lesbian separatist; A vegan massage therapist & a pflag mom; A queer academic & a bisexual jock. Monday, January 10th at 6.30 PM at Stonewall Inn 53 Christopher Street, 5-10 BUCKS SLIDING SCALE. PLEASE BE ON TIME, THIS IS A TIGHT 90 MINUTE SHOW! More information on Juxtaposition.

Fantasy: Titillating and Taboo Workshop at the Lesbian Sex Mafia

I’ve been helping out with some of the programming for the Lesbian Sex Mafia based here in New York City, and our first workshop in January was just announced, featuring one of my favorite femme sexuality educators: Megan Andelloux.

So if you’re nearby, join us.

Lesbian Sex Mafia presents:
“Fantasy: Titillating and Taboo: What Gets You Off and How to Get It”
with Megan Andelloux

Does dirty talk turn you on? Want to be punished? Want to force someone to do naughty things? Really want to make those wicked thoughts a reality? This workshop will cover some common desires, like restraints, impact play, and dirty talk, as well as how to communicate your desires, confront personal shame/discomfort around fantasies, and maneuver such desires into your sex and play. Through small group discussion, interactive and reflection activities you’ll explore expressing your deepest fantasies and how to get what you really want.

Date: Fri, January 21, 2011; 8pm – 10pm
Location: The LGBT Center, 208 W 13th St, NY (Google Maps). Get directions using Hopstop.
Cost: LSM member: $5; Non-members $10 (Members – renew now and continue to get all the benefits of an LSM membership!)

About Megan Andelloux

Megan Andelloux is a nationally certified Sexuality Educator through A.A.S.E.C.T and a board certified Sexologist through A.C.S. She is the Founder and Director of the non-profit Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, located in Pawtucket, RI.

Ms. Andelloux lectures internationally at colleges, universities, medical schools, and sexuality institutions on issues surrounding sexual politics, pleasure, sexual health, and erotic justice. To date, she has taught at over three dozen higher educational institutions, including medical schools and Ivy league universities such as Brown, Yale, and Harvard.

She is an author in the books, We Got Issues A Feminist Response to Cultural Attitudes On Feminism and Sex and Society, a comprehensive guide to current knowledge and expert analysis of sex and sexuality.

Ms. Andelloux was named “Vagina Warrior of the Year” from the Vagina Monologues for her work regarding sexual communication and fear reduction. She has been labeled as “The Princess of Pleasure” and more recently, “The Sex Ed Warrior Queen”.

She is listed on Wikipedia as an American Feminist, Writer and Sex Educator and on the Erotic Heritage Museum’s Hall of Heros, which showcases icons of sexual revolution.

Year In Review On Sugarbutch: 2010

Another year is coming to a close, and aside from reflecting on my life personally, I’m reflecting on the accomplishments. I did a Year In Review On Sugarbutch for 2009 and I like it, it feels like a nice wrap-up of some of the accomplishments of that year, so I’m going to try to do this again.

To get started, here are the most popular posts on Sugarbutch during 2010:

  1. Desperation & Dominance
  2. Lipstick Blow Job
  3. Waking Up
  4. Nominations Needed for Top Hot Butches
  5. Sweat & Summer
  6. Gabrielle, Guest Star
  7. Best Anal Scenes in Queer Porn
  8. On Making Sex Last: Cheerleading & Open Relationships
  9. Occasional Effects of D/s
  10. The Relaunch of Top Hot Butches

Clearly most of these are smut stories, ya pervs. Two of the posts are about the relaunch of the Top Hot Butches project, which is now Butch Lab. And then there are a few random others, the anal sex scenes post is a nice representation of that anal week (that turned into anal month) exploration I did in early 2010.

Remember when I used to do monthly roundups? I still kind of miss that, but I can’t seem to make time for it. It was a really nice look back at the last month and what has happened here, which also told me what else I should focus on in the coming month. It made it easier to do these year-end roundups, too. So I’ve been going back through and making some notes about the year.

So, what happened.

I dated Kristen the whole year. She moved in with me in September, and we celebrated our second anniversary in December. We did manage to have a couple threesomes this year, one of which I wrote about in Gabrielle, Guest Star.

At the end of 2009, Kristen and I started exploring heavier D/s, and we still are, though I haven’t been writing about it as much. My public appearances have picked up tremendously (more about that later) and it’s been harder to put all of this in public. So I wrote a lot more password protected posts this year, and 2010 kicked off with three big ones in January: Occasional Effects of D/s, then a piece about D/s “homework” and why I was taking a break with it, and a piece about articulating what I need when I need it, which, though it sounds simple, is probably one of those life skills we all have to learn and re-learn and re-learn, something that hopefully gets easier but is never easy.

The good news is, late in 2010 I finally got the password/mailing list working, so I don’t have to do that manually anymore. If you want the password, I’ll trade you for adding your email address to my mailing list, where I (try to) send out updates on my work once a month.

Events:

February kicked off my year of travel, and boy, did I travel. After I got a booking company, PhinLi, last year, I have been doing more and more public events. I went to KinkForAll Providence in Rhode Island, Brown University in Providence, SXSW in Austin, Texas, Drew University in New Jersey, Tuscon Arizona for a strap-on workshop, Portland Oregon for a Strap-On workshop and a second time for the Butch Voices regional conference, Seattle for the Sex 2.0 Conference, Seattle and Southeast Alaska for Kristen to visit where I grew up, Albuquerque for an erotic energy retreat, The 2nd Annual CSPH Conference in Pawtucket, RI, and Northampton MA to visit Smith University. Am I missing any? I think that was it. Aside from that, I also did quite a few workshops in New York City, including at the Lesbian Sex Mafia, cunnilingus class at Purple Passion, Conversio Virium, Columbia University’s BDSM student group, and NYU for Trans Week.

The national Femme Conference was held in 2010, as well as regional Butch Voices Conferences in Portland, LA, and New York City. I was on the committee for the Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference which happened in September, which was a huge success. Some of the pieces I wrote up were: What’s going on at the BV NYC Conference?, the conference starts today!, BV NYC is over … … but BV Portland is this weekend. Syd London took photos. I did a countdown to the national Femme Conference that happened this year in August in Oakland, too, by mentioning and reviewing some of my favorite books about femme identity.

I started hosting regular porn parties on Twitter, starting with Fluid. We also watched Tight Places: A Drop Of Color (which was so good) and four episodes of the Crash Pad Series. I also hosted Butch Brunch a few different times, mostly in leading up to the Butch Voices Conference in New York City, but I’m interested to do a bit more of that. It’s fun to get together and talk about gender (go figure).

I launched Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival in April, a reading series I am co-producing and co-hosting with my good friend Cheryl B. Syd London took some amazing promotional shots of me & Cheryl for Sideshow’s materials, and we launched queerliterarycarnival.com after running it for a few months. We even have an intern, as of December! (More on him soon.)

Cheryl launched her own new project in 2010, WTF Cancer Diaries, after being diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma. And perhaps as a nice counter, if you need a pick-me-up, my girlfriend Kristen started a Butches With Cute Animals tumblr. Submit your photo!

Perhaps the biggest project of my year was the relaunch of the Top Hot Butches project, which is now Butch Lab. I also put a call out for nominations and the “list” is now more of an unordered, unnumbered database, and the site is more community-based and includes a blog and a monthly writing prompt carnival called Symposium. I wrote a piece about being butch enough.

Publications:

Early in February 2010 I started a weekly column with SexIs Magazine called Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend. I kept writing columns for CarnalNation.com until they closed in the fall. I’d love to find another place to house my Radical Masculinity column, but haven’t yet. I’ve written there basically weekly since then, with a few weeks off. I’ve also written pieces for AfterEllen and the Lambda Literary Foundation this year, and I am writing a quarterly roundup of lesbian erotica on LambdaLiterary.org, two of which were published in 2010, in the fall and in the winter.

If you’d like to follow the pieces I write elsewhere, you can follow to the blog over on mrsexsmith.com online or by RSS.

In books, I have pieces in Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica and Best Lesbian Erotica 2011. Stories of mine were accepted to Gotta Have It: 60 Stories of Sudden Sex and Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, but I haven’t seen copies of either of those yet. Persistence is due out in the spring or summer of 2011, I’m not sure exactly when.

The big news for publications, though, is the BDSM lesbian erotica anthology I am editing for Cleis Press! Deadline for submissions is January 1st 2011, and it is due out in the fall. I’ve had some amazing submissions so far, but there are still a few more days and I haven’t read everything. I’m really excited to be editing an anthology, and I’ve had some fantastic submissions so far.

Reviews & Affiliates:

I wrote a ton of reviews in 2010. In fact, in looking back over the archives, sometimes the reviews were completely dominating any other types of posts. I’m sure you can understand it is really fun to get sex toys in the mail. And it’s hard to turn them down when they are so generously offered. But … I have an overflowing toy box. I have most of the toys I’ve wanted, and I’m being a lot more discerning about what I review and what I take into my (not so spacious) apartment. I haven’t completely stopped doing reviews, though I hope you’ve noticed that there are significantly fewer posts about products than there used to be.

I’m trying to review more books than I used to, so I introduced Friday Reads. I’m trying to feature a queer or gender or sexy book on Fridays, though it doesn’t seem to be every Friday so far. So it goes! But one of my own personal goals is to read more books, so this is a good way to do that.

I added quite a few affiliates in 2010, including my own store at the Stockroom, Early 2 Bed in Chicago, and Cocksexual (because everyone can have fun with cocks), as well as affiliations with the new sites Heavenly Spire and QueerPorn.TV.

Awards:

You all voted Sugarbutch as the Best Sex/Short Story/Erotica site for the Lezzy Awards for the second year in a row! And I was included on the Best Sex Bloggers list at #27.

Last but not least, after that roundup, here’s some of my favorite pieces from the year that weren’t top viewers but are worth reading, and told the story of what was going on for me.

There is still two more days to December, so perhaps I’ll get something else written and up. But if I don’t, then I hope this will keep you occupied while I take my break and write like mad in January.

Happy New Year, all.

January’s Leave of Absence

You know how sometimes, something happens, like an explosion, an emotional evening where you end up yelling and crying and rushing out of the house in the middle of the night for some fresh air, and beating yourself up for being in the same patterns … and how sometimes, when that happens, your brain makes a sudden leap forward, and BING a light goes on, and you kind of “get it” in a new way? And then you know how sometimes when that happens, you create this whole new system for yourself, A New Way Of Being Or Operating, and you gear up to implement that in your life?

Yeah, so that happened last week.

And I decided I’m going to take January off of writing here, to remove all the tasks that are not essential (which leaves me with writing my SexIs column weekly, and promotion for Sideshow, LSM, and Body Electric), and devote the whole month to a larger project I’ve been dreaming of the last two months.

So I’ve been letting this idea percolate as I’ve been preparing to go on a self-imposed writing retreat, and this week I decided I would get up early on Monday morning and head out to the writer’s office space that I rent near my apartment.

But yesterday, the snow showed up, and this morning, the subways around my house were down. The MTA advised we should stay inside.

The winds are up to 50mph and I hear the wind chill is 6 degrees. But out my window, the South Brooklyn rooftops look beautiful.

You know how sometimes you make a decision, and you think, “Okay, this is it, it’s going to be different this time, this is gonna work, this is how I’m going to move forward,” and then something conspires against you? So weird. I guess this is just the world telling me to prove it: Prove how much I want to make this really happen, for reals, not just something my head intends to do but I don’t actually follow through with.

So I’ve been working at home today, and one of my tasks is to write a blog post. I’m going to try to write through some of the posts I’ve been intending to get to in this next week, to clear my to-do list and be prepared for this month-long retreat in January. I’ve got some word count aims, some daily aims, some weekly aims. At the end of the month, I’m going to head upstate for a week and write there, isolate myself a little more for the final push.

This is a new experiment, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m going to have to ramp up my discipline and structure and really go for it. It kind of seems like it corresponds with the whole New Year’s resolution things, and in some ways I guess it does, since I tend to get pretty reflective in the dark time of year, but in other ways it’s just what is next for me.

Who knows if this will work, and take me to where I want to go—but it’s a start, and it’s an experiment, to see what happens. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t.

I have plenty of emails to catch up on, Butch Lab to work on, the next Symposium to plan, articles to write, Sideshow … no shortage of projects and fascinating things to think about. So I’ll be writing a few more things this week, and then I’ll see you in February.

But now, I’m going to take a walk in the snow, and get back to work after the sun sets.

Femmes Needed for PhD Study

UPDATE: Matt has more than enough interviews for his study, thank you for helping!

Why hello femmes, I have a request:

One of my most favorite people, Matt, a buddy of mine from Seattle who now lives in the Bay Area, is doing his PhD research on femmes who are currently partnered with a trans man. He’s coming Eastward in early January and is looking for subjects to interview in New York City and possibly Northampton as well. I think he prefers to do these interviews in person, but he is willing to do them by Skype, too.

Here’s the flyer for the study, which describes who he’s looking for and what he’s seeking:

Study Recruitment of Femmes

Are you a femme identified woman over the age of 18? Are you currently coupled with a FTM identified person who has begun medical transition? If so, you may be eligible to participate in a study regarding the nature of a range of feelings and attitudes about body image. Study participants will be asked to participate in a 1-1.5 hour recorded, confidential interview. This study is part of a dissertation, a requirement for completion of a PsyD at the Wright Institute. If you are interested in participating, please contact the researcher, Matt Goldenberg, M.A Thank you very much for your interest.

Contact him directly if this describes you, and you’re interested in participating. I’m including his Letter Of Introduction here in this post after the jump; read on if you’re interested. And please do pass this on.

Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology: Submissions Due January 1st

Reminder! I’m editing my very first anthology for Cleis Press of lesbian BDSM erotica to be published in fall 2011, and submissions are due January 1st.

I’m especially interested in some play stories, with impact toys, floggings, knife play, bondage, leather gear, whips and chains, play parties, saint andrew’s crosses, role play—things like that.

If you haven’t submitted yet, or written a story for this anthology yet, there’s still time and I’d love to read what your dirty minds can come up with.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology
[Title Forthcoming] To be published by Cleis Press in fall 2011

Editor Sinclair Sexsmith is looking for hot, sexy, well-written stories about kinky sex between queer women, from bondage scenarios to power play to role play to sadism and masochism to sensation play for a new anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica. Looking for characters with a range of age, race, sexual experience, gender identity and gender expression: butch, femme, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, dapper, and others will all be considered. Cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community are welcome. Stories should have strong literary voice, characters, tension, and rising action. All characters must be over 18, prose only will be considered. For examples of what I am looking for, see Tristan Taormino’s collection Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica.

Payment: USD $50 and two copies of the book upon publication.
Deadline: January 1, 2011
Unpublished stories preferred.

How to submit: Send your story in a Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 1,500 to 5,000 words to [email protected] Double space the document and indent the first line of each paragraph. US grammar required. If you are using a pseudonym, provide your real name and be clear under which you would like to be published. Include your mailing address and a 50 words or less bio in the third person. Publisher has final approval over the manuscript.

About the editor: Sinclair Sexsmith runs the award-winning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica, and Visible: A Femmethology volume 2, Mr. Sexsmith also writes columns for online publications and facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships. Find her full portfolio and schedule at www.mrsexsmith.com.

It’s Official: ButchLab.com Has Launched!

This is the new butch project I’ve been cryptically describing for the last few months: www.butchlab.com.

Here’s what’s over there right now: the Inspiration list, which is the new Top Hot Butches database of folks; the Symposium, which is the blog carnival link round-up (the first of which will be posted later today!); and the Butch Lab blog, which you can subscribe to for updates on the project, interviews, announcements, and all sorts of other things.

I have so much to say about it, so many things to describe and explain. HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the interns who have made this possible: Kyle, Lauren, Sarah, Roxanne, and Yvette, I am so grateful for your help in compiling the Inspiration list and for helping me knock around ideas.

We do have an official press release out, if you’d like a copy here’s the PDF. You can also follow @butchlab on Twitter if you’d like to be notified of updates and publications.

Please forward the URL widely, comment, share, and keep up with the new project. I really hope you enjoy it.

The “Butch Buddy” Movie

Did you ever see the film By Hook Or By Crook? When I saw it at a little indy theater in Seattle, with my then-girlfriend, I heard it called the “butch buddy” movie. (It’s too bad it didn’t click for me then that because the film reminded me of our relationship, that the relationship probably wasn’t going to last. But that’s another story.)

Apparently Lesbian News called it “The top butch buddy movie of all time!” … Are there other butch buddy movies that I don’t know about? Is there a whole butch buddy genre? Where are they hiding?!

Anyway here’s the trailer.

And the description of the film:

This innovative Sundance hit spins a tremendously entertaining adventure story about two butch/trans buddies on the streets of San Francisco in search of love and money. Starring LA performer/artist Harriet “Harry” Dodge (Cecil B. Demented, The Joy of Life) and former Tribe 8 dyke punk rocker Silas Howard, By Hook or By Crook remains one of the most popular queer cult movies of all time.

Shy (Howard) is a small-town loner who dumps a diner job and thumbs to San Francisco to pursue a life of petty crime. Along the way, Shy stumbles into the off-kilter Valentine (Dodge). An unexpected and magical friendship sparks, as they steal and grift their way towards understanding themselves and the crazy world around them. Co-starring performance artiste’ Stanya Kahn and super sexy San Francisco dyke poet Carina Gia.

Why am I telling you this? Well, two reasons. One, it’s on Netflix Instant Watch, and if, like me, that service has pretty much replaced your television, you might want to curl up one of these wintery nights and watch it.

Second, Silas Howard is reading at Sideshow in December! Come join us for the last Sideshow of the year and hear some great stories. Along with Silas, comic Heather Gold, one of my favorite buddies Whitney Porter, and hot queer all-star couple Elizabeth Whitney & Lea Robinson will be sharing their work also.

This month’s theme is FAMILY/TRADITIONS, starring:
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)

“The Complexity of Butch and Femme”

Perhaps you remember: about two summers ago Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., who is a Professor of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, was conducting an extensive survey about butch and femme identities, both independently and in relation to each other.

I put the call up here and she let me know that many of the participants interviewed were from having announced it here.

The article is finalized and now out, published in Psychology of Sexualities Review, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Dr. Rothblum sent me a PDF copy and said it was fine to reproduce here, so in case you’d like to read it, here it is: The complexity of Butch and Femme among sexual minority women in the 21st century.

The Sugarbutch 2010 Holiday Gift Guide

The last few years, I’ve done a holiday gift guide of sorts, ideas for gifts. Last year I focused on non-gendered gifts, gifts that could be for anyone. In 2008, I specifically listed things of masculine-of-center or dapper interest. When I started this in 2007, I had a butch/femme guide which included some typical girly girl gifts as well. Because I’ve got a gender fetish, I like gift giving excuses, and I like to give gifts that are highly gendered (well, when I know the person who is receiving it would like that kind of thing, of course) and gifts that are a little decadent, maybe classic and a little uncommon, things that we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves but that add that little extra pizazz to our outfits, our gender presentations, our fashion.

This year I’m focusing on my own personal wishlist: things butch-related that I’ve always kinda wanted in my arsenal, but don’t yet have. If you’d like to buy one of these things for me, well gosh, thanks in advance, I’m flattered, and if you email me we can perhaps figure that out. (You can also make a donation to Sugarbutch by using the Paypal button over there at the bottom of the sidebar. This site is an expensive endeavor, and is a labor of love, and any financial support is greatly appreciated, and will probably go toward the new bed that Kristen and I need.) But that’s not the purpose of this list so much as to share some inspirations and ideas for the holidays.

One more note—if you are an Amazon shopper, consider clicking through my Amazon links before your final check out, will you? If you start here before you check out, you’ll give me a tiny amount of kickback, a few bucks here and there that I can put toward the cost of this site. And hey, if you’re going to be shopping there anyway, why not help me out? I’d appreciate it.

These gifts could be for girls or boys or grrrls or bois or your mom or your lover or whomever, and is not intended to be restricted to one type of gender. It’s just things that I am currently coveting, and would love to receive this year. On to the ideas!

Monogrammed handkerchiefs seem so classy. I have definitely picked up the habit of carrying one around, though usually it’s one of the hunter greens that Kristen has given to me. Sometimes I need to wear something a little more classic and upscale, though, and something a little more delicate and monogrammed would feel special. I know it seems a little indulgent, but isn’t that partially the point? To get someone something they wouldn’t necessarily get on their own, to encourage a dapper or polished expression that makes us just a little extra sparkly.

It seems silly to pay a lot for a gym bag, I mean just any bag will do. I have a cheap canvas bag from the national scuba diving association because my sister is a member and ended up with two bags from them, so she let me use one. It is, sadly, on its last legs and the zipper just broke, but it’s still pretty much functional, and I can’t quite find the perfect bag to replace it. What I really want is the Fred Perry Gym Bag, but it looks like I missed that window and it’s no longer available. But that style! The retro two-toned barrel bag is exactly what I want. Wish I could find one with a similar look! Any leads?

While I’m talking about gym bags … I already have one actually, but a personalized dopp kit might be a great gift. A “dopp kit” is another word for a toiletries bag for travel, basically. Not sure where that came from but it’s a kind of sophisticated word for a (in my mind) necessary accessory. Etsy has quite a few, I like this traveler bag in navy seersucker. I always keep one packed for quick & easy traveling, and I take one to the gym also. Makes it easy to have everything all in one place, I don’t go around searching for things when I need to pack for a trip. Makes it much easier. There are ones that hang, too, and ones that have lots of little pockets … just depends on what you’re looking for. I like these, probably because it reminds me of the one my dad had when I was growing up.

I can’t justify the cost of a Bookbook Macbook cover when I just don’t have the disposable income these days, but oh my gosh I love them. I see they have iPad covers too. Oh, I suppose I can add an iPad to this wishlist, while I’m at it. For all the traveling I’ve been doing these days I think it’d be really useful to be able to carry around books in one device, since often a third of my carry-on is filled with books. Because they’re necessary! What if I get to Portland or Northampton or Providence or Tuscon and I need to reference something and I don’t have it on me?

I’ve been a little obsessed with shawl-collar sweaters this season, and of course they’re $200+. American Eagle has a nice one, though, for only about $60. I’m not crazy about the color navy but I bet I’d wear it regardless. I keep seeing guys in this kind of sweater everywhere, and I love the look of the shawl collar. I’m not usually one up on fashion trends, but this seems like a new thing for me. I’ve looked at other stores in my price range (like Old Navy and H&M) but it doesn’t look like they have these kinds of sweaters … doesn’t it just look like the kind of thing you’d wear while skiing the French Alps, or sipping hot chocolate by a fireplace while going over an important document on your iPad, or getting out of the car with bundles of holiday packages in tow to greet family? Seems so classic and boyish and adult.

I’ve had my eye on a valet stand for a long time. If I was still working at a daily office job, I would definitely pick one up—I’m never quite awake enough in the morning to make smart decisions about my clothes, so it’d be better if I set ’em all out the night before and had them all ready for me. Seems like there are lots of valet stands available online, ranging from about $75 to $250 plus. I wouldn’t need anything too fancy, just somewhere crisp and easy to lay out my next day’s clothes.

Anything by Kenneth Cole. Seriously, anything. Even if I already have that shirt or those pants or that leather bag, I would not mind another one. I will probably wear through it eventually, may as well have a backup. I mean how great is that raspberry scarf with the grey vest and black tie and jacket in that photo? I love it. If I had to pick one store that was the only place I’d get my clothes from, it’d probably be that one. Okay, that and Etsy. I know that’s kind of cheating, but the accessories at Etsy are essential—belt buckles and cuff links and ties, oh yes. I even requested an Etsy gift certificate on my wish list to family.

That’s all for this year! Hope this is useful in your gift-giving in the next month or so. I’ve been making the slow transition to celebrating solstice instead of christmas, so I think this year the gift exchange will be done on the 21st.

I’m curious, though: what are you most wishing to receive this year?

Oh, and … got any good gift ideas for Kristen, or for femmes in general?

PS: Fist Me This Christmas by the Wet Spots has been stuck in my head for the last week.

UPDATE: A couple more ideas, and some more links.

  • Holiday Wish List Made by Femmes from the Fuck Yeah Femmes tumblr. Support femme artists! Such as these aprons by Radical Muffin!
  • Feminist Gifts for Teen Girls from Bitch Magazine, in case you have a teen girl in your life
  • Other gift ideas that I didn’t mention and are great ideas: wooden hangers. Might seem a little anti-climatic, but they really upgrade a closet. And also, giant ice cube trays for my whiskey. Apparently, regular ice “bruises” the whiskey by melting and watering it down, but giant ice cubes don’t melt as fast and keep the whiskey more pure.

Welcome to Butch Lab!

I’m so thrilled you’ve stopped by! I’m your host, Sinclair Sexsmith. I run the online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles, and I study gender and sexuality. I identify as butch myself, and a huge part of my journeys in recent years of coming to myself has been about my gender identity.

I’ve been working on Butch Lab for most of the fall of 2010, and I’m really excited to share the space with you.

I want to thank Kyle, Lauren, Yvette, Roxanne, and Sarah, who have been helping me set up this space and research hot inspirational folks who are featured on this site.

And I want to thank my lovely partner Kristen, who has been holding my hand since the beginning of this project, urging me onward and listening to my complaints throughout the process. I so appreciate the love and support.

Here’s some of the background about this project:

THE MISSION OF THE BUTCH LAB PROJECT

The mission of the Butch Lab Project is to promote a greater understanding of masculine of center gender identities, expressions, and presentations, through encouraging: 1. visibility, because we feel alone; 2. solidarity, because there are many of us out there, but we don’t always communicate with each other; and 3. an elevation of the discussion, because we have a long history and lineage to explore and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

THE HISTORY OF THIS PROJECT

BUTCH LAB is the 2010 relaunch of Sinclair Sexsmith’s 2009 Top Hot Butches project, which was a list of the 100 “top hottest” butch, stud, AG, androgynous, genderqueer, and trans folks. What began as a visibility project, intended for fun and amusement and to encourage eye candy objectification, has evolved into a community-focused site discussing butch identity in its many manifestations.

Borrowing from the recent Butch Voices conferences, Butch Lab is a place for a myriad of masculine of center* identities, including, but not limited to, stud, macha, boi, andro, and genderqueer.

We are Butch Voices: We are woman-identified Butches. We are trans-masculine Studs. We are faggot-identified Aggressives. We are noun Butches, adjective Studs and pronoun-shunning Aggressives. We are she, he, hy, ze, zie and hir. We are you, and we are me. The point is, we don’t decide who is Butch, Stud or Aggressive. You get to decide for yourself. (From ButchVoices.com

Cis and trans women who are masculine of center or not feminine presenting in some way are included. Trans men are welcome and included, as are cis men, gay or straight, who identify with butch or intentional, radical, responsible masculinities.

THE BUTCH LAB WANTS YOU! TO CONTRIBUTE!

Butch Lab is seeking submissions! Here’s what you can do to contribute:

  • Comment! Talk to each other, engage in the disucssions about these identities.
  • Submit an image, video, or other media to the Fuck Yeah Butches tumblr site. It can be a depiction of yourself, someone who identifies as butch, someone who represents butch identity for you, or someone who serves as butch inspiration.
  • Submit to the monthly Butch Lab Symposium. It’s a cross between a blog carnival and a link round-up. Monthly, there is a question posed on the Butch Lab blog, and blogs which write on the question are featured on Butch Lab the following month in a carnival-style roundup. In exchange for participation, please repost the Symposium; see the full guidelines here.)
  • Submit an article to the Butch Lab blog. It can be reprinted from elsewhere. We can’t afford to pay you (yet), but we will provide you a byline. We are seeking writings on topics such as, but not limited to: why I don’t call myself butch; dapper fashion on a dime; bridging butch and trans; being better in bed; navigating the health system’s gender discrimination; haircuts, grooming, and the best products; radical masculinity; and more.
  • Participate in the Butch Lab Interview series. Email butchlabproject (at) gmail.com if you’d like to participate.

Please, have a look around!

Crash Pad Membership Winner—Join us for the Porn Party Tonight

And the winner of the one month level 2 Crash Pad Series membership is … AfroDisiac! Will email you directly with more information. And I hope you can join Garnet Joyce & I for the Porn Party tonight!

Didn’t win this time? Aw, sorry. Next time maybe. But you can still join us for the Porn Party—use coupon code 14E for 10% off any level of membership! Check out some of the beautiful stills from the scenes we’re going to watch.

A few folks have said things like, “Boy, that sounds fun! Too bad you live so far away!” But guess what? It doesn’t matter where you are, you can take part in the Porn Party—it happens at your place, and on Twitter!

Maybe I haven’t explained it quite well enough. Here’s what you do:

1. Make sure you’ve got a membership to the Crash Pad Series! Level 2 or 3 recommended (for streaming video—level 1 is photos only). Use coupon code 14E if you don’t have one yet, that’ll getcha 10% off. Dig up your password and have it on hand so you don’t have to scramble for it later.

2. Log on to Twitter and follow the hashtag #pornparty. You can also do this through TweetChat, which is a great way to follow conversations happening on Twitter.

3. At the specified time, in your time zone (6pm PST / 9pm EST) tonight, Wednesday December 1st, start up episode 81 of Crash Pad Series, and start up Twitter, watch, and post your thoughts. You can follow what we’re chatting about even without having a Twitter account, but it’d be more fun if you post your thoughts too (and include the hastag #pornparty so we see it!).

4. Bonus: follow @mrsexsmith and @garnetjoyce, the hosts of this Twitter Porn Party, and follow @crashpadseries and @pinkwhite and @shinelouise who are the makers of the Crash Pad Series, and follow @cinnamax, @tinahornsass, @billycastroxxx, @arabelleraphael, @thedylanryan, and @drewdeveaux who are some of the stars we’ll be watching in the scenes tonight! (Did I miss anybody?)

Get it? I hope you’ll join us!

Cheryl’s New Project: WTF Cancer Diaries

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.

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

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 …

Update on the New Butch Project

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.

Kristen’s Burlesque Debut

Remember the Butch Burlesque that happened at Dixon Place a few months back? Well, the instructor from that series did a series for the more feminine-id

entified folks, goddess burlesque, and Kristen decided to take part. Take her clothes off? In public? And have people admire her sexiness? Sure why not!

So she’s making her debut this weekend, Saturday November 20th at 9:30pm here in New York City, as Lavender Menace (look it up if you don’t get the reference). Come!

Crones, Ducks & Babes
Presented by Dixon Place & Victoria Libertore

Saturday, November 20th at 9:30 p.m.
Dixon Place
161 Chrystie Street (btn Rivington & Delancey)
$15/$12 (students & seniors)
GET TIX HERE

An evening of variety, merriment & surprise hosted by Howling Vic (as her alter ego Liza). Enjoy music, burlesque, clowns and free gifts! And the topper is five of Howling Vic’s students are making their burlesque debut! Audiences have said their faces hurt from laughing so hard!

Performers: Jessy Carolina & The Hot Mess 6 piece Old Time Jazz Band, James & JF: Emily James & Ishah Janssen-Faith and making their debut: Aqua Vulva, Crystal Balls, Lavender Menace, Sunshine Bloomfade and Priestess Moon Feather.

Manipulated by Victoria Libertore

Sugarbutch Star Chapbooks Are Almost Sold Out—Want One?

Three summers ago, I started a project called the Sugarbutch Star. Maybe you remember: I asked folks for submissions for story ideas, outlines of erotic encounters with characters, plot, and setting, and then I would write up the story.

There were a couple reasons I did this. I wanted to deepen my writing, I wanted to continue writing erotic fiction, and I found that I could write variations on a theme that someone else gave me much easier than I could come up with my own scenarios. I was figuring out that that’s the kind of top I was, too—that when someone asked me to do a couple things, like, say, finger them and kiss them for a while, take their clothes off, throw them on the bed and fuck them until they came, that it was no problem for me to follow their requests, with variations and detail, in a way that was toppy and dominant. It was harder for me when I’d sleep with girls (or write characters, even) where anything was an option and I could do whatever I wanted. Sometimes I would freeze up. Not because I didn’t want to do anything, but because there were so many options, where do I even start?

I didn’t expect it, but these stories helped with that so much. Because the story content was someone else’s fantasy, because it was not from my own brain, even if it lined up with my desires, I didn’t feel guilty or shy about going for it all the way and really bringing all I had to that person’s idea for the erotic scene.

I didn’t even realize that I did feel shy or guilty about my desires up until doing this project, and once I realized that, it was much easier to notice and breathe through and decide whether I was going to let the guilt or shyness stop me, or not. It changed the way I top. It changed the way I write erotic stories.

And there were so many good scenarios that I decided to write up five “honorable mention” stories as short-shorts, which was great practice for me, too, because I noticed sometimes that my long stories took so long to finish. In addition, I wrote up five “finalists.” Then, once all ten stories were written and published here on Sugarbutch, I asked readers to vote for their favorite, and the person who submitted that scenario was henceforth known as a Sugarbutch Star.

So, these are the stories from the first year:

And I made them into a chapbook. I did two printings of this chapbook, each editions of 100, and I’m not planning to do another printing. I have about a dozen left, and I’m selling them for $10 each which includes shipping anywhere in the US (if you’re outside the US, I may ask you to send a couple more bucks to cover shipping, depending on the cost, but I’m glad to send it to you).

Want one? Email me, and if you’re in the first 12, I will reserve a copy for you and send you further details (the easiest way for me is to accept payment via Paypal).

I did the Sugarbutch Star project for a second year, too, and I decided I would only pick five stories as finalists, no matter how good all the submissions were. These were what I finished for the second year:

I started the fifth story, but never finished it. I still think I might, but maybe it’s time to let that go. (It’s just such a good story! Or it would be, if I could ever finish it.)

So here it is folks … last call for the Sugarbutch Star Chapbooks.

What’s Happening in November

I have a whole bunch of events coming up in November! So many, in fact, that I haven’t even had time to post about them yet. I try to keep them updated over at my mrsexsmith.com/appearances page, even when I don’t post about them here.

Strap-On 101 Workshop
Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Fascinations, Tuscon, AZ

Cock Confidence & Strapping It On
Monday, November 15th, 2010, 9pm
Conversio Virium, BDSM Student Group
302 Hamilton
Columbia University
New York City

Radical & Responsible Gender
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
Smith College
Northampton, MA
7:30-9pm

Radical & Responsible Gender
Thursday, November 18th, 2010
6 – 8 pm
Kimmel Center, 9th floor, room 905
60 Washington Square South
NYU, New York City

All of these are open to the public, as far as I know. See you there, perhaps.

Don’t Forget! Big Sideshow Next Week in NYC


November’s Dangerous Mammals Tour
at Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
with S. Bear Bergman, Ivan E. Coyote, Jessica Halem, and Tania Katan
Find out more about the readers!
Tuesday, November 9th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
East Village, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook!

Nominations Needed for Top Hot Butches

With the relaunch of the Top Hot Butches project, I am including different people than last year, in a totally different way.

I think this is some of the confusion about including cis men. The Top Hot list is not a top 100 butches list like it was last year. I’m not that interested in hierarchizing everyone based on hotness. Hotness is all relative, anyway.

What I am interested in is community, and bringing people together who experience similar gender identities. I’m also interested in the word “butch” itself, and how it scares many people, how many of us have such a strong reaction to it, like it’s a slur, as it has been used against many of us for lifetimes. And how it becomes a strong, defining word for others, a major hook on which we hang ourselves and by which we define ourselves. Many different kinds of people use this word to talk about who they are, and I’m curious about that.

The new site is more community-focused, with a whole blog component, Tumblr site, and Symposium, as I mentioned the other day. And there is still a Top Hot section. It’ll be more like a database of people you can go browse through and find their work and be inspired by, not a numbered list. Just people, doing good work, going about their lives, with a butch or masculine of center gender.

I’m much more inclined to include women than men, and it will be harder to find men to include, since I am restricting the men included to being butch-identified (more about that below).

I am especially looking for trans women who identify or present as butch, men (cis or trans) who self-identify as butch, and people of color along the masculine spectrum. It’s been easier to find the white butch dykes than anyone else, but I know there are a lot of other folks out there!

Check last year’s list to see who was on it before you nominate somebody. Everyone from the list last year, unless requested otherwise, will be included in the new project.

Rules for nominations:

ALL nominees:

  • Must be active in the public sphere of some sort, or a leader, and well known, in their field. Performers, writers, and activists are particularly easy to point to, but anyone notable in any field is applicable. Yes, this means your girlfriend/boifriend/boyfriend might not qualify. No, having a blog is not necessarily qualification enough.
  • Must have been doing work at some point in the last decade. There are plenty of people we can dig up who are no longer alive, or who were notably butch or visibly masculine women from decades past, but this project is about what’s going on now. Perhaps at some point in the future we’ll tackle Top Hot Butches pre-Stonewall, but for now, let’s focus on who is around now.
  • Can be of any age, though generally we’re talking about folks who are post-puberty, and even more frequently folks who are post-Saturn return, as it sometimes takes quite a bit of time to really know oneself enough to come to an alternative gender identity and expression like these. Age doesn’t matter.
  • Can be of any race, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. That probably goes without saying, but I’ll make it clear anyway.

Inclusions of women, cis or trans:

  • It would be GREAT if they self-identify as some some of masculine of center identity: butch, macha, stud, ag, tomboi, genderqueer, etc.
  • If they do not self-identify this way (or they have a level of fame where they wouldn’t reply to an email asking if they do or not), they will be considered for inclusion based on these things: 1. rejection of traditional femininity, including but not limited to dress, style, and hair; tendency to shop in the men’s department and display a masculine gender expression most of the time; 3. swagger, meaning some sort of masculine energy in their movements; and 4. are out as queer. Some exceptions will be made to the requirement that they are out as queer, such as in the case of Katherine Moennig, where she is very clearly queer but has not made official statements regarding such.

Inclusions of men, cis or trans:

  • Must self-identify as butch. Either you know that they identify as butch, because they’re your friend or you’re aware of their work, or they have made some sort of public statement that says they identify as butch.

Inclusions of genderqueer folks that identify as outside of the binary:

  • Should self-identify as some of masculine of center identity: butch, macha, stud, ag, tomboi, etc., and be interested in being included in a database of butches.

How to nominate:

Email me, or comment on this post, with the following:

  • Name of the person you’re nominating
  • What they do (writer, performer, activist, lawyer, whatever)
  • Link to or attached recent photograph, at least 640×480 (landscape) and better yet, cropped to 700×400
  • Link to their website, Myspace, Twitter, or other web presence for more information about their work

Aside from Top Hot Butches, I am also compiling a list of butch-identified bloggers. If you are a butch-identified blogger, or if you read a blog by someone butch-identified who you like, will you please leave a link to them here and I’ll add them to my list. I have quite a few that I know of, of course, but I’m sure I don’t know you all! Even if you think I probably have yours, leave it anyway just to make sure?

And a huge thank you for your help with this project! It is coming together, and I’m really excited to show it to everyone.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology

As if the project (re)launch of Top Hot Butches wasn’t enough, I’ve got some other exciting news: I’m going to be editing an anthology for Cleis Press focusing on lesbian BDSM erotica!

I adore Cleis, I’ve been following their catalogues for years and I frequently jump at their new titles. They’ve published many of my short stories in other anthologies, and I am thrilled to be working with them as an editor. It’s a new venture for me! And I hope it goes well.

There is definitely a lack of the dirty stuff out there—so many of the erotica anthologies I pick up lately have lacked kink. And hoo boy I’ve been reading a lot of erotica lately. Did you know I am now the lesbian erotica editor for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s recently relaunched website? True story. I’m doing a quarterly roundup of the current lesbian erotica, so I’ve been getting all sorts of fun packages in the mail, but unfortunately most of them are just awful and I really hope the authors intended the book to be a joke. But if I can’t tell, then it wasn’t exactly a successful joke.

I can’t wait to turn up the dirty stuff and stick it all out there in a book with actual pages that you can wank off to—that’ll be a nice change from cuddling up to your laptop in bed, or wanking off at your desk, hmm?

A note about the word “lesbian” … it is pretty much necessary to use that word in the publishing world. So it was kind of not negotiable. I don’t feel great about it, and while I don’t not identify as a lesbian, it certainly wouldn’t be my first sexual identity label of choice (I tend to call myself queer).

Ultimately, though, it is an anthology focused on female characters, but any and all gender expressions are welcome (and encouraged!) to be represented in this anthology—cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community. I will absolutely consider stories with trans men in them, assuming they identify with the lesbian communities, but know that the publisher has the final say over the manuscript and I’m not too certain how they would treat that.

If you’re a writer, please do submit a story. You don’t have to be a published writer, you don’t have to have any credentials, what matters is the quality of your story. You’ve got a few months to come up with an awesome scenario and send it in to me … really looking forward to reading all the submissions.

Please forward this call widely.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology [Title TBA] To be published by Cleis Press in fall 2011

Editor Sinclair Sexsmith is looking for hot, sexy, well-written stories about kinky sex between queer women, from bondage scenarios to power play to role play to sadism and masochism to sensation play for a new anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica. Looking for characters with a range of age, race, sexual experience, gender identity and gender expression: butch, femme, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, dapper, and others will all be considered. Cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community are welcome. Stories should have strong literary voice, characters, tension, and rising action. All characters must be over 18. Prose only will be considered, no comics, graphic stories, or poetry. For examples of what I am looking for, see Tristan Taormino’s collection Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica.

Payment: USD $50 and two copies of the book upon publication.
Deadline: January 1, 2011
Unpublished stories preferred.

How to submit: Send your story in a Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 1,500 to 5,000 words to [email protected] Double space the document and indent the first line of each paragraph. US grammar required. If you are using a pseudonym, provide your real name and be clear under which you would like to be published. Include your mailing address and a 50 words or less bio in the third person. Publisher has final approval over the manuscript.

About the editor: Sinclair Sexsmith runs the award-winning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica, and Visible: A Femmethology volume 2, Mr. Sexsmith also writes columns for online publications and facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships. Find her full portfolio and schedule at www.mrsexsmith.com.

elust #21 includes my “Gabrielle, Guest Star”

I submitted my recent story Gabrielle, Guest Star to the elust sex blog roundup, since I write smut so infrequently these days I thought it’d be good to give that one an extra boost, have it make the rounds. Unfortunately, Lilly didn’t quite have enough judges this week, so there are just a few featured posts, not the usual top three. But hey, you can still go read my story!

And if you want another place to write or submit for, check out my recent call for submissions for my upcoming butch Symposium project. Submissions are due by November 10th.

Welcome to e[lust] – Your source for sexual intelligence and inspirations of lust from the smartest & sexiest bloggers! Whether you’re looking for hot steamy smut, thought-provoking opinions or expert information, you’re going to find it here. Want to be included in e[lust] #22? Start with the rules, check out the schedule and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

Important e[lust] update: e[lust] will be going on hiatus for the holidays. The editions for November and December would both occur around the holidays and I know I’ll be short on both submissions and judges as well as personal time. e[lust] #22 will return in January, with ample advance warning, so please make sure you’re subscribed for updates!

  • Featured Post (Lilly’s Pick): D/s Without the D/s?This is one of those situations in a real time D/s relationship where much of the “fun” aspects of the D/s needs to be stuffed in the closet for a bit. And for us, it’s not a great time to be either a masochist or a sadist. We can deal with that.
  • e[lust] Editress: Yes, Jelly Sex Toys Can be DangerousEven if a jelly rubber toy says “phthalate-free”, it still can contain toxic chemicals that can cause skin reactions in some people. These toys are still non-porous and can harbor dirt and bacteria because they cannot be sanitized.
  • This Week’s Top Three Posts: Unfortunately, this edition has no Top Three picks as I didn’t have enough volunteer judges. If you’d like to volunteer to help, visit this page to find out more info and ensure that the Top Three picks continue.
  • See also: Pleasurists #101 and #100 for all your sex toy review needs.

The Relaunch of Top Hot Butches

So you may have seen me Tweeting about the relaunch of the Top Hot Butches project, which I’ve been working on for the past few months. I’m getting set to launch it in mid-November, I’m aiming for November 15th.

And it’s time to start asking for your help.

But first.

Addressing the Controversy

A friend of mine asked this week what I was going to do to address all the controversy around the original list. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’m ready to open up the project, to take it to new levels, so I am approaching it differently.

The controversy was around including trans men on a butch list. There are many reasons this is problematic, but the main one is that trans men are men and a butch identity is usually a female masculinity, and aligning trans men with female masculinity is demeaning to their identity. However, there are many trans men who do have an allegiance with the butch identity, and I still feel it’s important to include them in this project.

Dykes and queers and trans men are not the only ones who use the word “butch.” When I spoke with Buck Angel about his inclusion on the list, aside from saying he doesn’t care, he also said he associates “butch” with the gay male communities much more than with dykes. It has a long history of being used for guys, and indeed if you do searches for “butch” you come up with it as a nickname for cis men more often than anything else, it takes some time to dig for the queer women’s angle on it.

So I am including cis men in the new project as well, queer or straight. Don’t worry—this will not take away from the focus of the site, which is the exploration of butch identity, which is still primarily a female masculine identity.

Of course, that begs the question: what makes cis men butch? What makes anybody butch, really?

I’m still not really sure. Nearly ten years into this butch identity and I still don’t have a good definition. So for now, I’m going with: self-identification. I don’t decide for you whether or not you’re butch, you get to decide for yourself.

There is still a Top Hot Butches-style list on this new project, however, and I don’t want to uninclude folks like Joan Jett or Samantha Ronson because they don’t self-identify as butch (or, hell, maybe they do, but I can’t seem to get ahold of them, wonder why). I still will be including androgynous, genderqueer, and other masculine of center women who are in the visible public realms who have an obvious rejection of feminine style and who have some swagger.

So what is this project?

I’m keeping the name of it secret, for a little longer. But don’t worry, it will be all over soon enough. The mission of the new project is:

to promote a greater understanding of masculine of center gender identities, expressions, and presentations, through encouraging: 1. visibility, because we feel alone; 2. solidarity, because there are many of us out there, but we don’t always communicate with each other; and 3. an elevation of the discussion, because we have a long history and lineage to explore and we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

The site will include: a revised Top Hot Butches section, with photos and short profiles of people in the public eye who are butch-identified or who present a dapper, radical masculinity; a tumblr blog for butch media submissions and perusal; a blog with interviews, articles, and announcements about butch-related information by multiple authors; and a monthly symposium, a cross between a blog carnival and a link round-up with monthly writing prompts.

Speaking of the symposium …

Call for submissions for bloggers & writers: The first Symposium

I am planning to launch the new project’s monthly Symposium with the site’s launch on November 15th, and I need your help. I’m looking for writers who have something to say about butch identity, who are wiling to post their thoughts on their own blog (or email them in, if they don’t have a blog) and link back to the Symposium in exchange for the promotion within this project. Here’s the topic for the first Symposium:

Symposium #1, November 2010: What is butch? How do you define butch? What do you love about it? What does it mean to you?

Prepare a post for publication on November 15th, and I’ll be gathering all the links and putting forth a round-up of all participants.

This new project needs more help than just writers, however. I’m also looking for interns.

Interns

The new project is seeking interns. I am looking for people interested in learning how to moderate an online community, engaging in a digital environment; learning the ins and outs of blogging, including search engine optimization, WordPress coding and template modification, and basic photo editing. Email me with a statement about why you’d like to be involved and your relevant experience before November 1st, please.

I will also be seeking out writers for the site. If you’re interested in that, the best place to start is by participating in the Symposium. More information will be available on other calls for submissions to this project soon.

Okay I think that covers it! I’m really excited about this, I hope it will be as good and solid and successful as my vision for it.

Coyote Grace in Brooklyn

Remember Coyote Grace, the band made up of trans guy guitar player Joe Stephens (and Top Hot Butch #96, with his permission, as he is butch-identified) and femme bass player Ingrid Elizabeth? I’ve featured their beautiful song Guy Named Joe here before.

They’re playing a gig in Brooklyn! They so rarely come through New York, I’m so excited they’re going to be here … and so sad that I’ll be missing it, because I’ll be coordinating that residential retreat that I’ve mentioned a few times in recent months.

Sigh. Can’t do it all, I have to remind myself.

So, since I’ve featured Guy Named Joe before, and since I’ve been in a particularly romantic mood lately, here’s another of their songs that I adore. Maybe it’ll inspire you to go to their gig.

Coyote Grace
Sunday, November 7th, 2010
at the Jalopy Theater
315 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, NY
Showtime: 9:30pm Cover: $10 All Ages

Show ’em a really warm Brooklyn reception for me, okay? So they’ll want to come back!

The Rest of Syd London’s Butch Voices NYC Photos

The rest of the Butch Voices photos taken by our official photographer Syd London are up! Take a look at the Speed Friending event that kicked off the conference, or visit Syd’s flickr to see them all together.

Here’s the shots from the conference, including my workshop “Cock Confidence,” and the community-building ritual keynote:

And here’s the Sideshow/Queer Memoir Mashup reading at Bluestockings:

Check out Syd’s recent work on Time Out NY, the PFAG Awards Gala, Mad Men Season Finale at the Bell House, the Grand Central Die-In, NY Burlesque Festival, and the Marriage Equality March. There’s also the Remembering Youth Vigil up on Go Magazine’s website.

Thanks, Syd! Prints or digital copies are available to purchase, contact Syd directly for more information about that. “Like” her on Facebook to follow her work!

You Won’t Believe Who’s Performing At Sideshow in November …


November’s Dangerous Mammals Tour
at Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
with S. Bear Bergman, Ivan E. Coyote, Jessica Halem, and Tania Katan
Find out more about the readers!
Tuesday, November 9th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
East Village, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook!

Butch Voices Speed Friending Photos by Syd London

Syd London, the official photographer of Butch Voices NYC, has posted the first of the Butch Voices photos!

Here’s the Speed Friending event from Anti-Diva at Dixon Place on Friday, September 24th, 2010. I love how these shots turned out.

You might recognize me & Kristen in those shots. Or you might find a shot of Kristen flirting with the bartender. Maybe.

photo by Syd London, www.sydlondon.com

Thanks, Syd, for all your hard work! Can’t wait to see more of ’em.

The Scarleteen 2011 Fund Raiser and Blog Carnival

I’m taking part in the Scarleteen 2011 Fund Raiser and Blog Carnival! Thanks to Scarleteen and best price cialis ukblog.com/2010/10/12/the-scarleteen-2011-fund-raiser-and-blog-carnival/”>AAG for organizing this, it’s a great idea.

My day is November 15th, the last day of the carnival. They are expecting multiple authors every day, so you can still sign up and be part of the carnival. Tess kicked off the carnival today with a piece about talking to her daughter about sex.

I have long followed Heather Corinna’s work, and Scarleteen has been an invaluable resource to me for more than ten years now. I love that site and I want to support it in many ways. Wish I could toss ’em hundreds of dollars, but that’s just not possible for me right now. Don’t know Scarleteen yet? Time to get to know ’em.

Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998, and has the longest tenure of any sex education resource for young people online. We have consistently provided free, inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and one-on-one support to millions, and have never shied away from discussing sexuality as more than merely posing potential risks, but as posing potential benefits, something rarely seen in young adult sex education. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have never stopped working hard to sustain, refine and expand it.

Hope you’ll participate in some way, be it writing about Scarleteen, sex education, or sending some money over their way. Watch for my post about it coming in November.

New Yorkers Know How to Do Brunch

Two brunch events coming up! Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Butch Brunch

Cafe Orlin, 41 St Mark’s Place in the East Village of New York, NY
Saturday, October 16 · 11:00am – 12:30pm
Please make sure to RSVP on Facebook (or email me) so I know how many to tell the Cafe to expect

Join us for an informal hang-out and socializing following the Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference.

Who can come? Anybody! It’s intended to be a space for butch-identified folks of various identities: butches, studs, ags, anyone masculine-of-center. If folks who are not butch identified would like to attend, that’s fine too, but do realize that we’ll be talking personally about our own identities as we get to know each other. It is not necessary to be butch-identified to attend this brunch, but it is encouraged.

Butch Brunch is co-sponsored by Butch Voices NYC and Sugarbutch, so we are adapting Butch Voices opinions about what butch means. From ButchVoices.com: “We are woman-identified Butches. We are trans-masculine Studs. We are faggot-identified Aggressives. We are noun Butches, adjective Studs and pronoun-shunning Aggressives. We are she, he, hy, ze, zie and hir. We are you, and we are me. The point is, we don’t decide who is Butch, Stud or Aggressive. You get to decide for yourself.”

And secondly …

Bad Habit Brunch

Saturday, October 23rd, 12:00pm noon
LGBT Center, 308 West 13th Street, West Village of New York, NY

Queer Comic Kelli Dunham (aka Sister Mercy) was not a very good nun. She had what the sisters called “insufficient docility” and “too much self esteem.” Because of this, Kelli was held back in pre-aspirancy for a year and a half. This is the convent equivalent of failing preschool 18 times. On Saturday, October 23rd, her 15th anniversary of leading the convent (down to the day, the Feast of the Assumption) Kelli will share the story of what a nice queer like her was doing in a convent like that.

With food by Kitchentop Catering.
Menu:
Spinach and cheese quiche
Cranberry scones w orange and honey butter
Butternut squash and chickpea salad
Fall green salad
Pumpkin swirl brownies
(yup, all made from scratch)

Buy your tickets ahead of time! Tickets are 15 bucks in advance (includes brunch and the show and some very um, special surprises) and 18 bucks at the door IF they are available.

Presale tickets
More info: sistermercy.com

e[lust] #20: “On Making Sex Last” is in the Top Three!

Welcome to e[lust] – Your source for sexual intelligence and inspirations of lust from the smartest & sexiest bloggers! Whether you’re looking for hot steamy smut, thought-provoking opinions or expert information, you’re going to find it here. Want to be included in e[lust] #21? Start with the rules, check out the schedule and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

This Week’s Top Three Posts

On Making Sex Last: Cheerleading & Open Relationships – as long as the possession stuff can be fun and consensual, and not interfering with each other’s sovereignty, I think the two—cheerleading and possession—aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

Owned – I had almost forgotten that while here, with him, I was HIS plaything. I was OWNED by him. We had discussed this. I knew the rules. I must not forget again.

The sheer indecency of what we are doing – Is he looking for what I’m looking for? Surely so—all men want that, don’t they? A flaming succubus that comes only in the dark to bring unworldly pleasures and leave behind strange lingering dreams that spice their dutiful daytime lives.

Featured Post (Lilly’s Pick)

Stop Hating on Campus Sex Education – Clearly, there is a need for this education, because if it doesn’t come from sexuality educators, it comes from word of mouth (which can often provide incorrect information), or from the internet, or from trial and error.

e[lust] Editress

Is it Really “Strange” Sex?

See also: Pleasurists #96 and #97 for all your sex toy review needs.

Masks at October’s Sideshow

Hey guess what! Sideshow is just around the corner.

Next week, Tuesday October 12th, Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival will feature six readers on the subject of MASKS—what we wear, why, and how that changes throughout our lives or throughout our different identities.

We’ll be doing a special raffle for everyone and anyone who attends, with prizes like Rachel Kramer Bussel’s recent book Orgasmic, a cock from Vixen Creations, another cock from Tantus, and Ivan E. Coyote’s new book, Missed Her, and spoken word CD.

What’s that? Didn’t you hear that Ivan E. Coyote and S. Bear Bergman are reading at the November 9th Sideshow, along with Jessica Halem, on their 2010 Dangerous Mammals tour?

I’m practically beside myself! I’ve admired Ivan and Bear’s work for a long time, and though I’ve met Ivan, it was years ago, and I can’t wait to meet Bear. It’s going to be a great night.

There aren’t very many more Sideshow readings left in 2010, but we’ve had an incredible lineup so far and we’re gearing up to bring you all sorts of new and exciting folks in 2011. Mark the dates on your calendar—second Tuesday of every month!

See you in October?

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, October 12th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook!

This month’s theme is MASKS, starring:
Broch Bender (Seattle Spit)
Kelli Dunham (Queer Memoir)
Natalie Illum (Mothertongue)
Mardi Jaskot (Queer Conventions)
Maymay (KinkonTap)
Sarah Schulman (Ties That Bind)

Check out reader bios and photos.

… But Butch Voices Portland is This Weekend!

Hot on the heels of the Butch Voices NYC Regional conference, Portland is hosting their own Butch Voices this coming weekend, October 1-3. And I’ll be there!

I debated attending Portland’s conference—after all, these conferences are regional, so why attend in a region so far from where I live? But I adore the West coast, if you’ve been following Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend you know the love affair I have every time I go visit a city on the I-5 corridor. It’s where I grew up, it’s the culture I know and feel most at home in, it’s what I crave and miss, and, eventually, I think it’s where I’ll end up. (Not sure when, exactly, but it seems right to be headed back that way, eventually.) So it feels important to me to attend.

I’ll be there Friday for the SWeLL performance, and then at the conference on Saturday, and reading my new butch poem, “Unsolicited Advice To A New Butch,” at the spoken word event on Sunday. Here’s the details:

Butch Voices Portland
9:30AM-10:45AM
Telling Our Stories: Writing Workshop with Sinclair Sexsmith

Everyone is the expert of their own life. Everyone knows themselves, their stories, their triumphs, their heartaches, better than anyone else. We all come from somewhere. We all have had struggles, heartaches, successes, breakthroughs, knockdowns, sideswipes, joy, that have brought us from the people we used to be to the person that we are today, and we butches have our own unique and similar stories. The rewards of starting to tell these stories, to write them down, to have others witness our stories, can be massive. The power of words to name what has happened in your lifetime can be spiritually and psychologically healing, can bring together communities of like-minded people, and can even write our selves into existence and change the world. Join writer, blogger, and activist Sinclair Sexsmith in a personal writing workshop about bringing out own inner stories out, finding the stories of our lives that are begging to be told, trusting the wisdom of our own inner voices, and finding the courage to share our stories with others. We will discuss blogging, places to read your work, editing, basic craft, and other inspirational butch writers. Bring paper and something to write with, there will be writing prompts.

Gender/Queer
Sunday, October 3rd, 2pm to 5pm
at In Other Words, 8 NE Killingsworth, PDX
Free and open to the public!

Gender/Queer is a spoken word/poetry event, that will happen on Sunday, October 3rd at In Other Words. Start time is 2:00pm and we’ll burn a fire under your feet till 5:00. The event will feature an open mic, as well as several featured performances. This event will be emceed by our PDX favorite MC Sossity Chiricuzio, notorious for her fabulous work with Portland’s one and only Dirty Queer.

The goal of this event is to offer a stage for the voices of butch identified women, transmasculine studs, aggressives, and any other individuals that find their identity on the gender queer continuum. We are also welcoming all allies to participate in this event. Gender/Queer offers an opportunity to shout out our stories through art and poetry and encourage a community oriented activism that demands social and economic justice as well as equal rights. It is a stage where artists can freely express their work on queer identities, sexualities, wants, desires, politics, you name it.

ASL interpretation provided by DHOR

I won’t be making it to the LA Conference, though I’d love to. Next time, maybe.

See you in Portland!

What happened at the BUTCH Voices NYC Conference

So BUTCH Voices NYC is over …

And it was fantastic.

I want to tell you all about it, and I barely know where to start. It was thrilling to work on a committee which was so invested in working, and whose skill-sets were all so complimentary. Primarily, I worked with promotion, copy, images, and event planning & promotion, as well as hosting some of the events over the conference weekend too. Which tend to be the things I’m good at, and the things I most like to do, in terms of putting on an event. There were a lot of logistical details that I was less concerned with, personally, but the rest of the Core Committee was so on top of it, I didn’t have to worry about it—I could just do the parts I was particularly good at.

It’s the first time I’ve been such a key organizer for a regional conference, and I had a wonderful time. I learned a lot about organizing and producing big events. I think I might go into a little bit of withdraw after working so closely with the other organizers—Kelli, Kawana, Lea, Paris, Emma, Emilie—I’m hoping we can organize a post-event gathering to debrief and talk about what’s next. (There’s already some discussion about another New York regional conference in 2012.)

But: what happened at the actual conference?

The Friday Night Social Event

Friday night kicked off the conference with Speed Friending at Anti-Diva. I was surprised and impressed at how many masculine-of-center folks came out for that. It was great to have a kick-off event where everyone came with the assumption that they would meet other people, everyone was more open and talkative than usual. We planned on having Melissa Li perform an acoustic set, but there were some technical difficulties and Melissa never did go on. But oh the rest of us did … on and on, talking to each other and about the conference the next day and about the other events that were planned for the weekend. Many folks were in from out of town, and not everyone who came planned on attending the entire conference, but was interested in meeting butches (for various reasons).

Just about as I was ready to retire, a text came in from Kelli, conference “chair,” if we had one of those, to both myself and to Emilie, along with a photograph of the conference space: we had a wall! A genius contractor had saved our asses at the very last minute by coming in to help us divide up the very large QEJ Performance & Conference space into three separate spaces where we could hold two workshops, registration, and the hospitality suite. Not only did it look amazing, it ended up being constructed out of cardboard, twine, and tarps. It was more than I would have expected—when I arrived on Saturday morning—and it was perfect. Em and I were so thrilled, we actually high-fived—a move I do not usually participate in, but it was apt.

And then the conference started …

After getting things up from the car and helping to open up registration, the first thing I did was to attend a workshop with Corey Alexander called Doing Relationships with Emotional Armor: For Stones and Our Partners. I’ve flirted with stone identity, and definitely have some emotional armor, so it was interesting and intense to bring those things to light and discuss them openly. It was a difficult subject to begin the conference, but set the tone for the depth and personal level of discussion throughout the day.

I took a brief break to prepare for the Cock Confidence workshop I was leading in the third workshop block, and then joined the impromptu discussion. Conference organizers intentionally left some physical space empty such that active discussions could happen, either folks could bring up new topics they felt weren’t being addressed or could continue discussions started in the workshops if they felt inspired to do so. So a few people decided to lead an open discussion on responsible masculinity, which was very fruitful and touched on many topics and conundrums of masculinity that I frequently contemplate. It was great to hear other perspectives on these things that often really get to me, that I spend days thinking about, or talking about, or writing about. The question of “What is responsible masculinity?” was posed, and much discussion of misogyny and feminism commenced. One of the major points made was the ways that expectations can be oppressive, and that though our identities may appear to be something someone knows and can identify, and therefore draws all sorts of conclusions about (e.g., masculine of center -> butch -> top -> dominant -> dates femmes), that one has to actually ask and observe that particular individual to see if any of those things are true for them—and they may not be!

We also discussed butch competition and policing, and how to build more butch community. Someone said, “The only way to eliminate butch competition and enhance butch camaraderie is to acknowledge each other.” Which, I think, was beautifully put and I wholeheartedly agree. We spend a lot of time circling each other silently, and it is a thin line, if at all, between that and competing.

Cock Confidence

Next, I ran downstairs to Cock Confidence & Strapping It On, which is a workshop I’m doing many times this fall (already at Purple Passion and Conversio Virium in New York and Good Vibrations in Boston). I was greated by a packed room, and people just kept streaming in—it didn’t hurt that I had two Aslan Leather harnesses, three Vixen Creations cocks, and one Tantus cock to give away, I’m sure!

I started in on my workshop contents about confidence and communication when there were a few questions and comments, rapidly, from attendees. I’m paraphrasing here, but basically what was said was, “What about butches who bottom, and the ways that can be seen as emasculating?” and then, “What about women who are survivors of sexual assault, and for whom penetration is difficult or traumatizing?”

Whoa. Big, huge topics.

Which I will gladly write about here, I have plenty to say about them (watch for future/soon essays), but on which I was not prepared to speak, or lead a discussion. I had a lot of (prepared) material to get through, so I explained that, and said, those are both way important questions and I would love to have a discussion about them, that I was not prepared to hold the space for that discussion now. But, I proposed, I will do some talking about toys, do the raffle, then adjourn early and folks can go off and explore another workshop, or stay here for Q&A and we can discuss those things. I also said: Thank you, for bringing that up. I am used to doing this workshop at sex toy stores (mostly with an audience of hetero couples) so those questions are definitely Cock Confidence 301 instead of 101, and I love that the Butch Voices NYC crowd really raised the caliber of the discussion.

Thank you for that, all of you who were there.

I think the room understood my point, so I kept moving on. I talked about toys, my favorite and the most popular harnesses and cocks, answered some questions, and pulled names out of the bucket to see who would take home some new toys. I’m going to work on a Cock Confidence Product Guide and let everyone know the things that I recommended and where I recommend getting them.

The conversation, when it continued, was a much smaller group and we ended up more CR-style, discussing our personal challenges and experiences.

It was definitely the best Cock Confidence workshop I’ve ever facilitated, and it was so much fun. Wish I could give away toys every time I do that workshop! To be clear—I give away these toys, and I work with these companies as a sponsor (of sorts) of Sugarbutch because I adore their toys so much, not the other way around (I don’t adore their toys because they’re a sponsor). I’m pretty picky about the toys I give away, and while I have tried out all sorts of products, even if I suspected they would be awful, I won’t give away things I think are awful.

Butch Representation in Media

Off I rushed to the Media Panel, where I moderated a discussion about butch visibility, mainstream media, working in the media, and how we use the media to further authentic images of ourselves. It was a great discussion with Madison, Grace, Mamone, and Dasha, and the attendees had many questions and comments about race, participation, othering, and success. I didn’t feel like we had a point that we really hammered home in this workshop, but then again, we didn’t really have a point that we set up to make when we formed this panel, so that was okay.

At the end of the panel, we went around the room and everyone there introduced themselves and did their thirty-second elevator pitch about what they do. It was fascinating to see the caliber of talent we had in that room, all together.

The Community-Building Keynote

The keynote at Butch Voices NYC was non-traditional in that we didn’t want to have one singular person speak for all aspects of masculine of center communities, and since it was a one-day conference we didn’t have time—or money—for multiple keynote addresses. So Kelli and I planned a community building keynote ceremony that was a commitment to our butch voices, and it turned out beautifully. It was incredibly moving, from start to finish.

It all started with a pebble, a river stone—everyone received one at registration. I took them from my own rock collection (remember my this I believe poem? “rocks in my pockets”?) I counted out 180, which didn’t even make a dent in my collection, to make sure we had enough for everyone, then added a few handfuls more for good measure. I have collected rocks over the years from just about any place I have visited, from Bournemouth in England to Ocean Shores in Oregon to Washington state to Southeast Alaska, where most of the rocks are from. The pebble beaches are the best up there. It’s become a bit of a collection, that therefore I subsequently have no idea what to do with. It doesn’t make sense to display them, not really, not beyond a few rock stack formations here and there, so they’ve been in a box for years. Seriously. A box of rocks. Useless and taking up valuable New York City apartment space. I’d be glad to donate them to a garden or beach, but most green spaces around New York are so manicured it doesn’t make sense to leave them there.

But a ritual—it was a perfect use for (some of) them. I was so pleased to pass them on in that way.

Before we started the ritual, we spent a moment with the Memory Wall we had constructed to add names to, people who are no longer with us but who came before us and whom we want to remember. And right away, the room got heavier, we focused, I felt immediately moved.

We all got a rock when we checked in at registration. The seven of us organizers stood up to explain about the ritual, what we were going to do and why, each taking turns. We explained that the rock had absorbed our personal experiences of the day, our individual voice and perspective, and that we were going to add that rock to the collective pile of our community’s experiences, similar and related, yet different and varied. We invited anyone who felt moved to participate—allies too, but whom were also invited to witness if they felt so inclined, as we need witness to our statements, commitments, and very existence—to come up to our make-shift alter, one at a time, and speak aloud the sentence, “My commitment to my butch voice is,” or “my commitment to butch voices is.” Folks were invited to substitute whatever words they wanted to for “butch,” if that wasn’t their identity word of choice, such as queer or genderqueer or stud or aggressive.

I wasn’t prepared for how moving it would be. I wrote the majority of the script that we read (which only dawned on me about halfway through the ritual, I wrote the keynote), and the whole time I was just crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t be cheesy, but would be honored and respected and come across the way I wanted it to. It did—and it went beyond my expectations, like much of the conference did, above and beyond. It was moving, enlivening, big. Many of us teared up. Many of us said hard things that would not have been easier to say in other places, but which felt safe to reveal. Many of us murmured or clapped or responded as each person who felt moved came up to place their rocks in the wooden bowl on the make-shift alter.

Paris closed the ritual by having everyone repeat a line that Kelli and I came up with, based on the Core Initiatives of the Butch Voices conference: “Our commitment is to stand together, to take care of each other, and to make the world a more just place.”

And with that, everyone could take a rock home with them, if they felt so inclined, and we adjourned.

What a day.

I’m still reeling from it all.

And yet … right after the keynote, Kristen and I rushed downtown to get to Bluestockings Bookstore for the Butch Voices Speak Queer Memoir/Sideshow mash-up reading/performance. I posted photos and a wrap-up of it over on the Sideshow blog today, but expect more photos from Syd London (official Butch Voices NYC photographer!) as those get processed.

And more articles, more thoughts, more things from me, too, as that all gets processed.

I feel so much gratitude toward the folks who came and were involved. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.

The Butch Voices NYC Conference Starts Today!

The Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference is almost here!

The conference itself is tomorrow, Saturday the 25th, with registration opening up at 9am and workshops beginning at 10am. I’m doing a Cock Confidence workshop at 1:30pm tomorrow, and I have two Aslan Leather harnesses, three Vixen Creations cocks, and another Tantus cock to give away. I’ll also be showing off the brand new hot-off-the-presses VIP Super Soft pack-and-play cock that is barely even released.

I’m also modering a panel called “In the Public Eye: Visibility in Media” with some fabulous folks: Denise Madison from GirlzParty, Grace Moon from Velvet Park Media, Gina Mamone from Riot Grrrl Ink, and Dasha Snyder of The D Word fame who writes at Digital Goddess.

But aside from my own involvement in the panel, there are many more things going on! Tonight is a social event to meet & greet conference attendees at Speed Friending/Dating at Dixon Place, tomorrow is a special Queer Memoir/Sideshow Reading Series Mash-Up at Bluestockings Bookstore, and there’s a special Butch Voices Submit play party in Brooklyn late tomorrow night.

I don’t know if I’ll make it out to play, but I’m really looking forward to meeting people, hanging out, and talking about butch things all weekend. Kristen is baking her “face off,” as she is prone to saying, making her famous rosemary sea salt chocolate chip cookies, savory corn and cheddar muffins, and a special treat for someone’s birthday tomorrow.

If you miss these events, there’s another Butch Brunch on Saturday, October 16th which will be a nice follow up to the conference for those who miss the company of other butches.

To tie up this nice countdown, I’m featuring a recent novel from 2004 called Crybaby Butch by Judith Frank, published by Firebrand Books. It won the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Debut Fiction in 2005. My (lesbian) book group read it about a year and a half ago, and we all liked it quite a bit—which is hard, usually novels especially are hotly contested. I remember there being some disapproval of how the femme partners were depicted (as controlling, fairly stereotypical “women”, perhaps with not enough depth) but we liked the butches.

Here’s the premise, from the publisher’s website:

Drawing on her experience as an adult literacy tutor, Judith Frank’s first novel traces the difficult and sometimes hilarious connection between two butches of different generations – a middle-class, thirty-something adult literacy teacher and her older, working-class student. With a disparate group of adult learners as the backdrop, Frank examines, with warmth and wit, the relationship between education and gender, class, and racial identity. Judith Frank is a winner of the Astraea Foundation’s Emerging Lesbian Writer’s Fund prize in fiction. A professor of English at Amherst College, she lives and writes in western Massachusetts.

There are not very many books out there with “butch” in the title, and even fewer of them published in the last ten years. It’s a good read that is complex and interesting, engaging and emotionally enthralling. A few folks mentioned Crybaby Butch in the comments when I featured Stone Butch Blues two weeks ago, all of them with praise for the book.

Buy it directly from Firebrand Books, from your local independent bookstore, or, if you must, from Amazon.

So now that I’ve gone through some of the major butch books, tell me, which ones did I leave out? Are there others I should have featured?

Learn Tongue Exercises (Yes, That Kind)

So I know all I’ve been talking about is the Butch! Voices! Regional! NYC! Conference!, but I do actually have other things going on aside from that. Like tomorrow, at Purple Passion, I’m teaching a cunnilingus workshop!

A Dyke’s Secrets of Cunnilingus
with Sinclair Sexsmith
Thursday September 23rd, 2010 from 7pm – 9pm
at Purple Passion
211 West 20th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues in NYC
All attendees get 15% store discount before and after the workshop.
Cost: $20- class size is limited so prepaying is advised.

Among other things, we’re going to be using some techniques from The Low Down on Going Down to strengthen our tongues and mouths so we can have more precision and stamina. One of the ways we’re going to do that is using some Cheerios to help us with our tongue placement.

Now doesn’t that sound like fun? Come on out (for something OTHER than gender discussions) and have a good time. Purple Passion is a great store full of many inspiring things you don’t yet have in your collection, I promise.

What’s Going On at the Butch Voices NYC Conference?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked.

We have three major co-sponsored events outside of the Butch Voices day-long conference. You all know the conference details already, right?

Butch Voices Regional Conference in New York City
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Queers for Economic Justice Performance and Conference Space
147 West 24th Street, New York City, NY

The day-long conference will include workshops, panels, a butch hospitality lounge as well as a very special keynote celebration of our history and community of butches. Plan out your day by looking at the workshops offered and the schedule.

But what else is going on, outside of the day-long event?

First, Friday night kicks off the conference with a social event designed for us to all meet each other, make friends, or possibly hook up.

Speed Dating and Friending with Butch Voices
Friday, September 24th from 8-10pm
At Anti-Diva, Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, NYC

Join us for queer speed meet and greet socializing brought to you from Velvetpark, hosted by Diana Cage and Grace Moon at Anti-Diva! Also featuring an acoustic performance with musical guest Melissa Li whose music has been featured in Curve and Bitch magazines, and has been nominated for an OUTMusic Award. Check out her current band Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs at www.melissali.com.

Cost: $10-$15
FREE for folks who have pre-registered for the BUTCH Voices NYC Regional Conference
Fundraiser proceeds will go to BUTCH Voices NYC Regional Conference

And if you found a date or a new friend or a good buddy or just didn’t have enough time at Dixon Place to get your groove on, come on over to Brooklyn after that for a dance party:

Que(e)ry II Dance Party
9pm-4am
$5-10 sliding scale
2 for 1 admission for Butch Voices attendees with secret code (sent to those who have pre-registered)
Blackout Bar, 916 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint

A celebration of queer librarians and those who love them. You don’t have to be a queer librarian; you just have to dance with one! DJ CP * DJ EMOTICON * DJ ADAM E. MILKSOP * DJ SHOMI NOISE * Queer-Lit Drink Specials * Shushed Raffle * Hot GoGos * Real-Live Reference Librarians! Proceeds benefit: The Leather Archive & Museum (CHI) & The LGBT Community Center Library & Archives (NYC)

Then, Saturday after the conference, we’re going to hightail it down to Bluestockings Bookstore for a very special Queer Memoir/Sideshow: Queer Literary Carnival Mashup reading series:

BUTCH Voices NYC 2010 Queer Memoir/Sideshow Mash-Up
Saturday September 25th at 7pm
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St, New York, NY
$5 suggested donation

The first ever regional gathering of BUTCH Voices in NYC will bring together self identified Butches, Studs, Aggressives and other folks who identity as masculine as center as well as many allies for conversation, workshops, entertainment, and good ol’ fashioned butch bonding. The Butch Voices Queer Memoir/Sideshow Mash-Up will bring together writers and storytellers to share in this celebration.

QUEER MEMOIR is an NYC based storytelling series that works to give voice to our collective queer experiences, and preserve and document our complex queer history. Queer Memoir is curated and hosted by Genne Murphy and Kelli Dunham. SIDESHOW: The Queer Literary Carnival is a reading of serious literature for ridiculous times, curated and hosted by Cheryl B and Sinclair Sexsmith.

With Queer Memoir storytellers:

Ryann Makenzi Holmes, 26, Bed Stuy, Bk, NY — entrepreneur, student, biker, skater, DJ boi — was born in Washington, DC and raised primarily in Largo, Maryland. She currently attends Baruch College in New York, working tirelessly towards the “coveted” MBA. She resides in Brooklyn, where she attributes the inspiration for her first entrepreneurial endeavor, bklyn boihood, a community organization dedicated to the empowerment and visibility of masculine presenting queer and trans folks of color.

Morgan Mann Willis is an east-coast/uptown original; a homolicious, AGstudboi; a writer, teacher, student, woman-lover, cat-lover, bus-taker, part-time poet, full-time love machine who spends her days and nights spanking New York City’s sexy ass. Sometimes she teaches in prison, sometimes in jail, sometimes on street corners, but most of the time she’s being schooled by life or is busy dreaming up schemes to become several different varieties of amazing.

Emma Crandall recently moved to Brooklyn from Atlanta and teaches writing at Temple in Philadelphia. When not in transit, Emma writes about gay culture in her own precious scribblings, as contributing editor at Velvetpark, and, formerly, as co-creator of the blog Breeders Digest: Helping Straight People Help Themselves. She prefers life in melodrama, outfits on the complicated side, and Stevie Nicks on the rocks, with shawls.

And Sideshow performers:

Philadelphia, PA native Renair Amin is no stranger to the arts. As an author, she has written for various print and on-line publications. Her work also appears in the Nghosi Books anthology, Longing, Lust & Loving. As a spoken word artist, Renair has graced national stages, including New York City, where she hosts Speak Your Myne, a monthly open mic showcase of her creation. In 2006, Renair formed Pmyner, Ltd., a literary entertainment company for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender performance arts community. In 2010, Renair Amin was named one of the Top 5 Lesbian Entrepreneurs by LezNation Magazine.

Kestryl Cael is a dandy trans butch performance artist with too many stories to tell. Hir one-queer-show, XY(T), has toured across the country, delighting and discomfiting college students and soccer moms. Ze was a member of “The Language of Paradox,” a performance ensemble founded and directed by Kate Bornstein. Cael’s writing appears in anthologies such as Kicked Out, and ze is half of the performance duo, PoMo Freakshow. Ze is currently developing ‘348,’ a solo performance piece about the troubled teen industry, torture, and a hot pink sweatshirt.

But wait! That’s not all! If you’re still itching to go out after that, there will be a special Brooklyn-based sex and play party for women & trans folks late on Saturday night:

SUBMIT: A Special Collaboration with Butch Voices!

The city’s hottest sex and SM party for the women and trans community will feed your appetite, whether you’re a voyeur, experienced player, novice, or just curious, you’re sure to find something to satisfy! Come use our huge collection of equipment including slings, bondage equipment, spanking bench, plenty of private cubbies, shower, tub, live sex, and and hot porn! New boot black station! Wanna drink? We’ll keep yours cold! SPECIAL GUEST: DJ Mistress Roxxxy!! Wondering how to meet people? Wear an action wristband! ~ Lots of private spaces ~ women/trans only please be sure to check our gender policy.

Doors open at 10pm, bring your Butch Voices conference ticket for $5 off
Featuring a very special Deep Throat demonstration with Leah at 1AM

FOR MORE INFORMATION, questions, or the location call 718-789-4053 or email [email protected]

And if that isn’t enough, well, there will be another Butch Brunch following the conference in October, on Saturday the 16th. All of these events are open to the public, to masculine of center folks or our allies, and you don’t have to be attending the conference to come to these events (though you do get in free, if you have your conference registration proof). See you there!

Butch Brunch in NYC Tomorrow

September’s Butch Brunch is coming up tomorrow, September 18th, at 11am in the East Village of New York City, at Cafe Orlin at 41 St. Mark’s Place. Want to come? Please make sure to RSVP to me—either by email or by Facebook—so I will know how big of a table to get.

I’m sorry to say, it’s Yom Kippur, so the folks are fasting or observing might not be able to attend. I am sorry about that—it was the only Saturday available in September for me to host it, so it was the only option. There will be one more, after the Butch Voices NYC Conference is over, on October 16th, so hopefully if you are observing tomorrow you can still attend that one. Or, of course, perhaps I’ll see you at the Butch Voices NYC Conference!

Check out the photos from the Butch Brunch in August, it was a great time. We chatted about our relationship to the word and identity butch, how we identified, what we thought about the evolution of this identity. It was a great casual conversation.

Butch Brunch is co-sponsored by Butch Voices NYC and Sugarbutch, so we are adapting Butch Voices opinions about what butch means. From ButchVoices.com: “We are woman-identified Butches. We are trans-masculine Studs. We are faggot-identified Aggressives. We are noun Butches, adjective Studs and pronoun-shunning Aggressives. We are she, he, hy, ze, zie and hir. We are you, and we are me. The point is, we don’t decide who is Butch, Stud or Aggressive. You get to decide for yourself.”

Cafe Orlin i a pretty big place and they’ve got a $6 plate of eggs & potatoes & toast, and it doesn’t get cheaper than that in Manhattan. Please RSVP on Facebook or email me to let me know you’re coming so we can get a head count. They don’t take reservations on the weekends, so I plan on being there early to get a big table. See you there?

Talking About the Taboo at the CSPH

I’ll be participating in the CSPH’s 2nd Annual Conference, Talking About the Taboo, on October 10th from 1:00-5:00pm in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. If you haven’t seen Megan’s beautiful, fun, and flirty space yet, now’s your chance to see the place—take a day trip, if you live nearby, it’s going to be worth it.

More information is available on the CSPH’s website.

This year’s conference brings us some of the most noteworthy participants in the realm of sexuality. Be sure to stick around for what is sure to be an informative and lively panel addressing current issues surrounding sexuality. Our guest panelists will include: Dr. Charlie Glickman, Princess Kali, Audacia Ray, Sinclair Sexsmith, Dr. Logan Levkoff and Anita Hoffner!

Special Bonus: Providence Pin Up will be present taking photos of individuals who are interested in vamping it up in front of the camera.

And While I’m Mentioning Back To School … Sideshow!

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival, hosted by myself and Cheryl B., is coming up in just one short week. It’s Cheryl’s birthday this month, so we might be doing a little somethin’ somethin’ in celebration of her awesomeness.

Tuesday, September 14th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)

This month’s theme is BACK TO SCHOOL: SECOND ADOLESCENCE, starring:
Melissa Febos (Whip Smart), Theadora Fisher, Loren Krywanczyk, Tanya Paperny (LitDrift), and Rachel Simon (Theory of Orange) … Find out more about the readers, or RSVP on Facebook.

The Phoenix bar, who hosts Sideshow monthly, just got their own website and are now on Twitter @phoenixbarnyc.

Schoolgirl or schoolboy costumes or skirts or ties or vests are definitely encouraged!

Back To School: College Workshops This Fall

So it’s that time of year again …

I’m going to be doing some traveling around to different colleges in the next few months before winter break, doing the exciting workshop built just for smarty-pants college students interested in sex and gender, “Fucking With Gender: An interactive workshop on gender expression, identities, labels, transcending the mutually exclusive binaries, queer culture, and hot sweaty sex,” “Gendering Power: An interactive workshop on putting basic gender tenets into action, playing with gender in the bedroom through role play and power play, with a discussion of how gender identity can grow and change through intentional intimate sex play,” and a new workshop, “Relationship Skills Kindergarten: Things We Should Have Been Taught.”

I also do custom workshops, if there’s a particular thing that a college or student group is interested in, I will work with you to make something specific and special.

More information about me and my workshops are available over at my booking company, PhinLi.

Right now, I’m already planning trips to Portland, Oregon, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Tuscon, Arizona:

Butch Voices: Portland
Friday through Sunday, October 1-3
Portland, OR
more on ButchVoices.com

Talking About the Taboo
2nd Annual Conference at The Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health (CSPH)
Sunday, October 10th
Pawtucket, RI
thecsph.org

Strap-On 101 Workshop
Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Fascinations
Tuscon, AZ
More details TBA

Are you a college student heading back to school this fall? Are you interested in bringing me to speak or do a workshop or performance on your campus? Are you in one of these cities and could possibly help me do another workshop while I’m visiting? I would love to talk to you. You can email me directly, , or contact my booking company.

Tight Places: A Drop of Color Twitter Porn Party & Giveaway

Garnet Joyce & I are hosting another Porn Party over on Twitter next week, September 8th, Wednesday, at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. Join us as we watch Tight Places: A Drop of Color and comment on it with the hashtag #pornparty.

If you’ll be watching along with us, let me (@mrsexsmith) or @garnetjoyce know, or use the hashtag, and we’ll be sure to mention you!

Here’s the description for the film, Tight Places: A Drop of Color, directed by Nenna:

Incite your senses with this hot and diverse new offering from Reel Queer Productions! Featuring the creative styling of new director Nenna and a luscious all people of color cast. Tight Places showcases true chemistry, solos to foursomes, unconventional sex, authentic female orgasms, female ejaculation, and even a few outdoor scenes! Lots of great extras, including commentary and interviews. 2010, 90 minutes.

What’s that? You don’t have a copy of this flick yet? Well you’re in luck: Good Vibrations is giving away two $30 gift cards that you can use to buy the DVD, video on demand minutes, or anything else you’d like from their store.

If you want to enter, leave a comment with a valid email address mentioning how you might use that thirty bucks, or some other comment entirely, and I’ll pick one winner at random on Wednesday morning, September 8th.

And stay tuned for more goodies the day of the party!

If you don’t win this one, don’t worry—Garnet is going to give away another $30 gift card during the porn party itself, so keep an eye on Twitter and the #pornparty hashtag next Wednesday night.

What’s Happening in September

Events! Oh there are many. I’m busy in September. I’m going to try a new format and give you a monthly overview of my appearances, readings, and events at the beginning of the month.

Twitter Porn Party: Tight Places
September 8, 9pm EST 6pm PST
Hashtag is #pornparty
Log on and watch the hashtag for discussion of the new Good Releasing film Tight Places: A Drop of Color with @mrsexsmith and @garnetjoyce

SIDESHOW: Queer Literary Carnival
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
Produced & Hosted by Cheryl B. and Sinclair Sexsmith
The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A in NYC
doors at 7:30pm, show at 8pm
queerliterarycarnival.com

Butch Brunch
Saturday, September 18th
Cafe Orlin, East Village, New York City
RSVP on Facebook

A Dyke’s Secrets of Cunnilingus
Thursday, September 23rd, 7pm
Purple Passion
211 West 20th Street, New York, NY
I’ll be bringing some things to help us do some tongue-strengthening exercises. It will be a good time.

Butch Voices: New York City
Friday through Sunday, September 24-26
New York City
more on ButchVoices.com

Butch Voices Speak: A Sideshow/Queer Memoir Mashup
Saturday, September 25, 7pm
Bluestockings Bookstore
Lower East Side, New York City

Boxers Off! An Evening of Butch Burlesque in NYC

I’m going to be out of town … so you all better go for me!

Photo by Syd London, www.sydlondon.com, from the last Butch Burlesque night at Dixon Place, August 2010

Boxers Off! An Evening of Butch Burlesque
a fundraiser for BUTCH Voices
With your emcee Lea Robinson

Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St.)
Saturday, August 28th, 2010, 7pm
$10-$15 Sliding Scale

BUTCH Voices is proud to present Boxers Off! An Evening of Butch Burlesque. Join us and explore the representation of butch identity in a bold, new, sexy way. Lea Robinson emcees this evening of hot and campy burlesque from some of New York City’s finest performers, including Becca Blackwell, Dapper Q, Glenn Marla, Luscious von Dykester, Natt Nightly, Kelli Dunham, Drae Campbell & Kimberlea Kressal appearing as SirMamSir and the Missus, Molly Equality Dykeman, Paris, Dom Juan, Daddy T.Y.E, and of course your host Cocoa Chaps!

All funds raised will go towards the BUTCH Voices NYC Regional Conference on September 25th.

RSVP for this event on Facebook. Have a great time! And if you go, report back on how it was, so I can know how it went? I’m sad to miss it (but then I think of the hot springs, and I don’t feel so bad).

Oh Yeah! Butch Voices Conference in NYC

So I’ve mentioned that the Butch Voices conferences are coming up, but I haven’t actually officially done a post and announced it to y’all! So just in case you want to take the day off (I’m looking at you, Ali), mark it on your calendars and work it out.

It’s not a butch-only conference—partners, allies, femmes, genderqueer, and non-identifying folks of all kinds are welcome to attend. Assuming that you have respect for and see value in discussing and paying attention to butch identity, of course, since that’s the focus of there conference.

Here’s the mission statement, and the description about what “butch” means, from ButchVoices.com:

The mission of BUTCH Voices is to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of self-identified Masculine of Center* people by providing activities and programs that build community and empower individuals to advocate for their whole selves inclusive of and beyond their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Who we are: We are Butch Voices. We are woman-identified Butches. We are trans-masculine Studs. We are faggot-identified Aggressives. We are noun Butches, adjective Studs and pronoun-shunning Aggressives. We are she, he, hy, ze, zie and hir. We are you, and we are me. The point is, we don’t decide who is Butch, Stud or Aggressive. You get to decide for yourself.

* Masculine of center (MOC) is a term, coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project, that recognizes the breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer/ womyn who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender scale and includes a wide range of identities such as butch, stud, aggressive/AG, dom, macha, tomboi, trans-masculine etc.

So there are four regional conferences in 2010, after the national conference in 2009. There are plans to have another national conference in 2011, every other year and on opposite years from the femme conference. The first regional Butch Voices conference was in Dallas in June, and I hear it was a great success.

Next up is the regional conference in New York City. It will be held Saturday, September 25th, 2010 at the Queers for Economic Justice Performance and Conference Space, at 147 West 24th Street, in New York City. On site Registration will be on the 4th floor.

The day-long BUTCH Voices NYC Regional Conference will include workshops, panels, a butch hospitality lounge as well as a very special keynote celebration of our history and community of butches.

Evening events will also include: Butch Voices NYC 2010 Queer Memoir/Sideshow Mash-Up at Bluestockings Bookstore and Cafe as well as a later Butch Voices Cabaret at a Brooklyn club.

If you’re coming from out of town, please email Kelli Dunham directly at kellidunham(at)gmail.com so we can assist you with any hospitality needs.

I’m thrilled to be helping with media for this conference. I’ve never planned a conference before, actually, so it’s good experience, and the other folks on the steering committee are so experienced and organized and hard-working, it’s been a delight so far. I’m working on putting together the conference program (or I will be, when I get back from vacation) so if you have ideas for queer and/or genderqueer organizations who might want to give us money advertise in the program or sponsor an aspect of the conference, please do get in touch.

I recommend registering for the New York City conference as soon as possible, if you’re planning to come! We have limited space, and we expect it to be full.

After the day-long conference, we’ll adjourn to an evening of entertainment, including a very special Queer Memoir/Sideshow mashup “Butch Voices Speak” performance at 7pm at Bluestockings, and then a later Butch Cabaret in Brooklyn. More details about those as I get them!

The weekend after the New York City regional conference is the regional conference in Portland on Saturday October 2nd , then the weekend after that is the regional conference in LA over the weekend of October 8-10. I really hope to make it out to Portland, but I’m trying to figure out how to fund my trip. (Anybody out there in Portland looking for a speaker to visit your college over the first week of October?) I might do a fundraiser of sorts.

If you run a blog or website, perhaps you’d like to put up a sidebar image to help promote the conference? Or write a post on it, telling your readers about it? Mention it on the message boards you frequent? Tweet about it? Put it on Facebook? Send an email to all the people you’ve ever met? Seriously, every little bit helps. This is happening mostly through grassroots effort and word of mouth.

At New York City’s conference, I’ll be moderating a panel on Butches in the Media (mostly, creating our own media and self-promotion) and doing a workshop on Cock Confidence. And of course, I’ll be co-hosting the Butch Voices NYC 2010 Queer Memoir/Sideshow Mash-Up. I’ll let you know what, if anything, I’ll be doing in Portland.

So? Will I see you there, perhaps?

I’m Off to the Desert

For the second year in a row, I’m heading out to the Southwest to do a week-long erotic energy retreat through the school I’ve been studying with for nearly ten years and two of my favorite teachers.

Photo taken by me last year

This year, it’s different because I’ve been the one who is actually coordinating the workshop, doing a lot of marketing and outreach to get participants, then answering any sorts of logistical questions that I can while attendees are planning their travels. It’s been a bit stressful, but I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m so looking forward to being done with all the coordinating and start in on the relaxing and exploring and erotic energy depths.

I always learn so much on these retreats, about myself especially but also about energy and erotics. Remember last year, I came back with a whole new theory about yin and yang and masculinity? It’s a very different workshop this year, but I’m sure there will be something that will toss my brain inside out for a minute and help me see things anew. Or, if nothing else, to hang and share space and time and erotics with some very fantastic people.

I’m coordinating another workshop in November in New York, this one is for beginner practitioners who are interested in deepening their own connection to erotic energy. It’s a women-identified only residential weekend workshop at a gay retreat center (with a sauna, hot tub, pool, and hiking trails). The workshop itself, which I’ve done many times over the ten years I’ve been working with this school, is very powerful, sometimes life-changing, and now that I’m coordinating I’m trying to encourage lots of genderqueer and queer folks to come and take it. If you want more information about that, email me.

I’ve got a couple things scheduled to pop up while I’m gone, but know that if you contact me I likely won’t get it until I get back to work on September 1st.

Have a wonderful week, y’all, and will chat with you when I get back.

Butch Brunch in Photos

Butch Brunch on Saturday was a blast! Thanks to all who came. Mark the next one on your calendars: September 18th, Cafe Orlin on St Mark’s in the East Village. It was pretty loud in there, if we can find a better venue it will change, but right now that’s the best we’ve got.

I’ve got much more to say about it, but I’m running around today, so here’s a great shot of the butches who brunched. Thanks to the lovely femme who took this photo.

     

Queer Memoir/Sideshow Mashup for Butch Voices NYC

Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference
in collaboration with
Queer Memoir
and
Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
present

Butch Voices Speak: A Queer Memoir/Sideshow Reading Series Mashup

7pm Saturday, September 25th
Bluestockings Bookstore, Lower East Side, New York City

Hosted by Kelli Dunham, Sinclair Sexsmith, Cheryl B., and Genne Murphy

www.queerliterarycarnival.com | www.queermemoir.com
www.butchvoices.com

Call for performers: Butch Voices Speak: A Queer Memoir/Sideshow Reading Series Mashup

Butch Voices New York City regional conference is happening on Sunday, September 25th, and Queer Memoir and Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival have teamed up to bring you an evening of stories, performance, and readings from queer butch voices.

Are you interested in participating? Butch Voices Speak is currently in search of people willing to stand up and tell your quick 6 minute story. You need not have performance or writing expertise, just an interest in telling your story.

QUEER MEMOIR IS an opportunity to give voice to our collective queer experiences, and preserve and document our complex queer history for writers, performers, and anyone with a queer story to tell.

SIDESHOW IS serious literature for ridiculous times, hosting established writers, performers, comics, and storytellers who have literary experience.

Q: Should I submit to Queer Memoir or Sideshow?
A: Is this a personal story written by you about something happened to you? Submit to Queer Memoir. Is it more literary, or are you a seasoned performer or writer? Send it to Sideshow.

To be considered, email [email protected] or [email protected] before September 1, 2010, with your name, website, brief bio, and a brief 1-3 sentence proposal of what you’d like to read.