Posts Tagged ‘butch’
Artist Shelley Stefan sent on this video from her art show in Harlem in New York City in 2010.Read More
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)
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.
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.
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.
It’s happening right now! Well not quite right now, since it’s earlier in New York City than it is over in Oakland, on the other coast where the sun sets over the water just like it’s supposed to.
The hashtag for the conference is #femme2010 if you’d like to follow along on Twitter.
How do you like that collective noun, by the way? An extravagance of femmes? Not bad really. There’s a fascinating collective noun site connected to Twitter so that when you tweet your suggestion for the collective noun with the hashtag #collectivenoun it gets automatically updated and counted on the site. Plus, you can “like” other people’s suggestions (which also goes to Twitter). So what say you—what’s the best collective noun for femmes? Tweet it, or leave it in the comments. And check them out as they come in.
Okay, enough of that. You’re dying to know what the femme book is for today, right? Since we’ve got the Butch Voices regional conferences to count down to now, in NYC (September 25), Portland OR (October 1-3), and LA (October 8-10), I figured I’d do a butch/femme joint anthology.
- Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity edited by
Chloe Brushwood Rose & Anna Camilleri (Arsenal Pulp Press; 2003)
- Femme: Feminists, Lesbians and Bad Girls by Laura Harris and Elizabeth Crocker (Routledge; 1997)
- The Femme’s Guide to the Universe by Shar Rednour (Alyson Books; 2000) (And did you see? Shar has launched a blog How Great Sex Made Me a Good Mom and is now on Twitter as @SharRednour)
And there’s Glamour Girls: Femme/femme Erotica by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Harrington Park Press; 2006) and With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly if you’re into erotica. Which, you know, you might be.
So now that I’ve recited pretty much every femme book that I know of and think are worth knowing, let’s get back to today’s feature. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle, published by Alyson Books in 1992. It looks like it’s out of print, but you can probably still get it used in various places, like Powell’s online or, of course, Amazon (but only if you have to. Don’t you want independent bookstores to stay in business?).
The description of The Persistent Desire from Library Journal is as follows:
This anthology of stories, poems, and nonfiction accounts pays homage to a host of femme and butch lesbian relationships that have flourished over four decades. The narrators recount their experiences, describing how they met, how they took care of one another, and how they tried–or defiantly tried not–to fit in. The selections themselves bubble with passion and pain. Some dive beneath the surface to explore the varied meanings of gender roles, but most describe highly ritualistic manners of dress, hairstyle, and gesture that at times left the protagonist open to ridicule. In collecting these pieces into one volume, Nestle has made sure that the integrity and diversity of femme-butch relationships will not be lost. She has included narratives from women of many backgrounds and ethnic groups and from outside the United States.
This book was for me, as it was for many people, eye-opening, validating, breathtaking. I found it while I was still trying to articulate my own butch identity, and come into my orientation of dating femmes, and it blew past most of my doubts as if doing 80 on a motorcycle. I wanted to be part of that, I felt so connected to it. It changed the way I thought about myself and the way I thought about femmes.
It’s dated now. It was published almost two decades ago, and it reflects a different era of thought about gender identity and alignment assumptions. And while the trans movements were alive by then, much has happened on that front in the past 18 years since it was published and much transgender theory has affected gender theory deeply in wonderfully deliciously complicated ways.
We’re really due for an update.
And how about that, one is just on the horizon! Partners and butch/femme couple Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman have been working on an anthology titled Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (see the connection to the first anthology’s title? Smart!) that is due out from Arsenal Pulp Press soon. Not sure what the exact date of publication is yet, but you can be certain I’ll be mentioning it here again. It looks like Ivan just picked up the postcards for the book from her publisher the other day, so it must be coming fairly soon! I will report back as I know.
There are more books, especially more butch/femme books, and more books just on butch identity by itself (look for more of those featured on the upcoming Fridays as we countdown to the Butch Voices NYC conference). I’ve made a new section in my Amazon Store exclusively for butch and femme books, so if you’re curious what else is out there, that’s a good place to start. And if you’ve got suggestions for what I missed, I’m glad to hear ‘em!
UPDATE! Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme has a webpage on Arsenal Pulp Press, a description, and is due out in the spring of 2011. Isn’t that cover great? It’s done by Elisha Lim, who also has a book of her own newly out from Alyson, 100 Butches, Volume 1.
If you see Zena at the Femme Conference, she supposedly has postcards for Persistence, so that’ll give you an excuse to say hi. She’s aka “The Silver Fox” because (guess) of her hair, so that should narrow it down for ya.
(Don’t you just love the Internet? I do. Thanks, Arsenal, for answering those questions.)
“‘Cowboy’ is a calling, a vocation, not a gender,” starts the book Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures by Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia, published by Cleis Press. And the first review of it I saw online (which now of course I can’t find) said, “This book has nothing to do with gender.”
But of course, I have to disagree. It has everything to do with gender.
I know what they both mean, though—they mean men and women, they mean cowboy does not necessarily mean a cisgender man. But this collection of erotica is full of genderqueer cowboys, dykes, crossdressers, even possibly a trans guy, though the characters in these stories never identify themselves as such, partly because some of the stories are period and set in a time when this language didn’t exist. Possibly also because the authors, or even the characters themselves, do not have this kind of language.
None of the stories came across as particularly smart about gender theory or politics or identity, but all of them have specific life experience of what it’s like to be different, masculine and a “woman” in a man’s world and a man’s profession, or feminine and a woman in a man’s profession. There are femmes and butches, women who pass and those who don’t want to, women who feel the need to prove themselves capable despite their gender, trans male characters who go by he and him as his chosen pronoun, even a leather “phallus” strap-on in a scene in a brothel.
I am quite fond of “The Hired Hand” by Delilah Devlin, which is sexy and tense, about a woman who comes looking for work at a ranch and proves she is just as capable as any man would be. In many of the stories, I like the tough American accents, vaguely southern but also just western, I like the descriptions of the landscapes and rodeo circuits, the mountains and connection to the land.
It’s a lovely collection, and if you like gender play (and butches or masculine women) in general, there aren’t a lot of lesbian erotica collections exploring those dynamics, and this is definitely one of them.
And, as an exciting side note, this collection won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award in the Lesbian Erotica category!
Buck Angel is known widely as “the man with a pussy” and is a hugely popular trans porn star. I remember hearing Buck on episode 124 of the Savage Love Podcast a while back, and I was really impressed by how eloquently he spoke about trans issues, gender, and sexuality. He’s also recently launched a more explicit educational component to his work, including Buck Angel Entertainment and his videos answering questions about sexuality and gender, Bucking the System (also displayed over at Buck’s pages on sexgenderbody.com).
He’s also listed as #62 of the Top Hot Butches, with his own consent. In fact, he told a mutual friend that he associates the term ‘butch’ more with gay men’s culture than lesbian, and is happy to be identified as such. (I’m paraphrasing through a game of telephone, forgive me if I’m misquoting, but I think the meaning was clear.)
Though I’ve been aware of him and his work for quite a while, I never actually saw any of his porn flicks.
I watched Even More Bang for Your Buck 2 over on VOD.sugarbutch.net, the Hot Movies 4 Her video-on-demand site specifically containing porn flicks I choose and think you might like to see. Damn, it was raunchy. It’s content is very gay, and to be honest porn depicting gay men is not my personal favorite, so I was watching it more for, um, the articles, than to get off to, but I admit, Buck really is hot. Muscley and sexy. And I love how guys in porn are just so unapologetic about lust, ya know?
More details: Even More Bang for Your Buck 2 is produced, directed, and starring Buck Angel. Music for this film is by Katastrophe, a very talented musician and FTM rapper (and, I believe, Michelle Tea’s partner).
Here’s the description from Hot Movies 4 Her:
2009 AVN Award Nominee for Best Transsexual Release
2009 GAYVN Award Nominee for Best Alternative Release.
Buck Angel fans are in for another treat from everyone’s favorite man with a pussy. Buck directs, produces, and stars in the latest release from Buck Angel Entertainment.
The first scene is with Brad S, a hot Latino with a big hard cock who wants to play hard with me. He does not have a hard time keeping that piece of meat ready for action. This is set in a construction site. Great pussy eating and fucking action.
The second scene is with a very shy but horny Mexican guy that I found on the net. He starts out a bit shy but as his cock gets hard from me sucking on it he starts to become really aggresive and the sex just gets hotter and hotter. I let him take control at one point and just ram my throat with his bulging cock. So much that I gag. This scene is one of my all time favorites. Wait till you see how I swallow that big cock!
The third scene is with FTM Boi fallen, a very cure FTM boy. I love dominating him in this scene. This is really my first scene with just me another transman. I love this scene because it has real hardcore action and we have great sexual energy together. If you have ever wanted to see me fuck another FTM this is your chance.
The fourth scene is filmed in London with a HOT skinhead. I meet him on the street and take him back to my place where we get right down to business. He loves to be my fuck toy and lets me do whatever I want. I love these kind of guys. The sex gets pretty nasty as he realizes I have a pussy and that makes him even more excited. he is into some heavey breath play as well. All these scenes end with great cum shots!
The film has music by FTM Rapper Katastrophe which adds to the the raunchy hardcoreness of this film.
I guess that’s about all I’ve got to say about that! Give it a try. Heck, it’s a new year – perhaps it’s time to expand your porn horizons. Maybe you’ll find that it’s totally your ‘thing’! You never know until you try.
Two of my favorite butches on the planet – and the fabulous addition of femme Anna Camilleri – have collaborated in a queer performance collective. This clip from earlier this year is fucking rad.
SweLL featuring Anna Camilleri, Ivan E Coyote, & Lyndell Montgomery
SWELL—the new incarnation of Taste This, notorious Vancouver-based queer performance collective. In 1994, four young East Vancouver artists—Ivan E. Coyote, Anna Camilleri, Lyndell Montgomery, and Zoë T. Eakle—came together to conduct an experiment. All four had been performing solo on small stages, and they wanted more than a ten-minute spot sandwiched between the fire breather and the sound poet. They founded queer performance troupe Taste This, and premiered their first full-length project at the Edison Electric Gallery. 100+ people were turned away at the door. Artistically emboldened by the response, they took the show on the road to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, and then continued to create and tour a total of four stage works in Canada and the US, until disbanding in 2000. Notably, Taste This released Boys Like Her: Transfictions (Press Gang Publishers, 1998) to critical and public acclaim, including a 1999 Book of the Year Award from Forward Magazine, an American Library of Congress Award nomination, a Community Service Award for Achievement in the Arts by Xtra West, and in 2008, Boys Like Her was included in the Queer Canadian Literature Collection at the University of Toronto. With over a decade of artistic experience to their individual credit, Camilleri, Coyote, and Montgomery recently started talking about resurrecting the kind of magical collaboration that Taste This was. A lot has changed, but the issues that the early collective inhabited are still relevant in the contemporary artistic and political landscape. Questions of gender, class, sexuality, rural versus city life, and family dynamics continue to attract the attentions of the three artists. For the premiere of “So The Story Goes”—an original, full-length inter-discipline performance work—they’ll be joined by acclaimed artist Leslie Peters.
- Swiped from myspace.com/swetlltastethis