Feel into your own blooming: Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women in NYC

I’m the national coordinator for the Body Electric School‘s women and queer programs, and I’ve been working hard on their growth in the recent months. We’ve got some exciting programming in 2013, and I’m excited to invite you to another Celebrating the Body Erotic for women workshop in New York City May 17-19, 2013.

Here’s the Spring 2013 BE Newsletter that just went out:

It’s spring! Can you feel the growth buzzing in the air? My friend Kat told me once that she believes another way to say “god” is to say “the force that makes a seed grow,” and I think of that frequently when I see the new baby-green color popping open on the trees. Amazing, how nature grows and heals and sleeps and blooms again. Sometimes those buds that are just so tight and ready to pop make me feel like I am looking directly at creation itself.

2013 is bringing some new growth in the Body Electric women’s programs. We have new coordinators in Atlanta, Austin, Toronto, and Seattle, we have the fifth anniversary of the annual advanced Pulse retreat in July, and we have decided to make our workshops inclusive of all women.

This is our new blurb about gender:

This workshop is open to all women (be they born women or have come to know themselves as such later in their life) who are interested in exploring erotic energy in their own bodies, in supporting other women on that same exploration, and in doing so within the context of a community of women. By doing this work in community we break down isolation, dissipate shame, mirror for each other, and expand our self-definition of what it is to be a woman.

Thanks to Amy Butcher, the Bay Area coordinator, for the wordsmithing, and the faculty for pioneering new erotic energy territory and changing Body Electric’s gender essentialism.

There is a Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) workshop for women coming up May 17-19 in New York City. Perhaps you’ve done a CBE workshop before, but perhaps it is time to do it again. I find that I am so different every couple of years that I seek tapping into that inner wisdom of my body to tell me new things and remind me where I am now, and that a CBE is a wonderful tool to bring me back to myself.

Young Woman Meditating on the Floor

CELEBRATING THE BODY EROTIC FOR WOMEN

Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women on the BE School’s site
CBE for Women on Facebook

May 17-19, New York City, with Lizz Randall
May 31 – June 1, Atlanta, GA with Alex Jade

In a safe, serious and playful space that respects boundaries, embrace pleasure and experience your body as powerful, expressive and sacred. The class expands awareness and sensation through a process of breath, movement and touch. Each woman’s choices and rhythms are honored and celebrated. This workshop is for women of all sexual orientations and ages who are ready to learn about their own power to illuminate and enjoy sexuality and sensuality within a community of women.

During the program of carefully designed embodiment practices women will:

  • explore the innate wisdom of the body
  • expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each woman’s choices and rhythms are honored
  • learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit: to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
  • learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
  • learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities

Celebrating the Body Erotic starts Friday evening 6:30-10 and runs all day Saturday and Sunday (9am-7pm) in a studio in Chelsea. The nearest subways are the 1 to 28th street, the N/R to 28th street.

PREREQUISITE: None

WORKSHOP FEE: $495
SPECIAL OFFERS:
• $50 off if PAID IN FULL 4 WEEKS prior, by April 19th.
• $50 off if REPEATING THE WORKSHOP within a year (use code REPEAT50)
• $100 off for the YOUTH PROGRAM for those under 30 (use code YOUTH100)

OFFERS CANNOT BE COMBINED

If you are in need of special assistance, please discuss your situation with the workshop coordinator. There are limited stipends available to offset the cost.

GENDER: CBE for Women is open to all women—trans, genderqueer, cis—who are interested in exploring erotic energy in their own bodies, in supporting other women on that same exploration, and in doing so within the context of a community of women.

ACCESS: The New York City space is located in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, close to the subway and bus lines. The space is in an elevator building with no steps. The workshop can be adopted to your particular body needs, be that with chairs, pillows, or other accommodations.


I am in love with this work. Lately I’ve been describing it as “erotic energetic embodied experiential education,” and while that’s a mouthful, I think it’s also the most accurate description I have. I continue doing this work, seeking out attendance of these workshops and putting on these workshops not because it is a good job, but because I want to see this work continue. It’s so important to me that these opportunities are offered. I cannot express the profound healing I’ve experienced within these weekends, and I know it has the potential to offer healing and peace for others, too.

Happy spring, happy new growth, and happy brave baby-green to all of you.

Events This Week in NYC: Smut Reading, Trans Photography Show, Butch Reading

Tonight!

Come see D. L. King and Friends at Bluestockings in NYC
Wednesday, June 6! 7pm
Details on Facebook

D. L. King, Sinclair Sexsmith, and Rachel Kramer Bussel will read some of their hottest works to date, all from The Harder She Comes: Butch Femme Erotica.

They will be joined by Sacchi Green and writers Cha Cha White, Jennifer Baker and Dena Hankins reading from Girl Fever: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex for Lesbians.

In the immortal words of Sinclair Sexsmith, “Is it getting hot in here?”

I’ll be reading my story in the book, “Good Girl, Bad Girl,” which you can read an excerpt from here on Sugarbutch.

Tomorrow night:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Friday …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic in New York City May 18-20

Though it seems like all I’m doing right now is touring and releasing a book, I’m actually doing a lot of other things, including coordination for the Body Electric School, an erotic energy retreat organization with which I’ve been working for about twelve years. So much of what I know about sex, consent, embodiment, being in my body, being in touch with my gender, asking for what I want, sadism, masochism, my shadow side, breathing, and millions of other things comes from my experiences with these teachers and within the container of exploration that is these workshops.

I cannot recommend them highly enough, and I’m so thrilled that the organization is starting to open up and move beyond the ‘men’ and ‘women’ workshops into some genderqueer and trans focused territory. The new director of the school, Tom, even recognized the team of teachers and staff I’ve been involved with in creating and supporting this new Boxes workshop at the staff retreat in December.

We’re breaking some serious new ground here, and if you have any interest in being more in touch with your body, exploring your own desires, getting what you want, and doing it in a queer environment, this is an amazing opportunity.

I am so in love with this work, and I’m thrilled to be bringing it deeper into my community.

Want to come? It’s time to register. I’m glad to chat with you more (gchat, email, on the phone, skype) and tell you more about my experiences with these workshops, what it’s like, what to expect, and answer any questions you might have.

OUTSIDE THE BOXES: CELEBRATING THE QUEER BODY EROTIC
May 18-20, 2012, in New York City

Your gender. Your body. Your energy. Your beautiful self. How often has the world tried to force you into the gender binary, asked you to assure it that your pronouns matched what it saw rather than what you felt, required that your genitals conform to expectations, demanded that you deny the complexity of all that is you?

What if you could come into a community in which all expressions were possible? Where gender, sexuality and expression were aligned according to your truth? Where no one assumed what parts would go where? Welcome to Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic!

Come explore your erotic potential through the mind, the body and the heart using conscious breath, movement, process work and massage. Awaken the erotic energy that lies within all of us. Through a queer tantra lens, explore archetypal masculine and feminine energies and the myriad ways they can be expressed. Break down silos of gender and sexuality.

This workshop focuses on the entire body and is conducted in a container that is playful, safe and reverential. Using carefully designed experiential embodiment practices participants will:

  • explore the innate wisdom of your body
  • expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each person’s choices and rhythms are honored
  • learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit
  • to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
  • learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
  • learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities

Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic is a 2 1/2 day workshop (Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday), often clothing-optional, for those who are ready to vigorously explore new levels of feeling and aliveness, both within themselves and within a community of queers.

NOTE: Couples are welcome to attend Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic and have the option of working together or with the other participants.

Tuition: $150-495

Full tuition is due two weeks before start of workshop.

Say Please Release Party in NYC This Friday

There’s a release party for Say Please this Friday … this week is super busy, I know, but I’m really thrilled to be showing off this collection and I’m excited to read with all these fabulous folks. Vie La Guerre is coming all the way from Chicago and I haven’t ever met Elizabeth! I don’t think Miss Kitchentop will have any time to bake anything delicious, but I will probably pick up something awesome for us to nosh on while we are squirming in our seats.

Thank you Cleis, thank you Bluestockings, thank you contributors for helping to make this happen. Now all we need is the audience!

Dirty Queer Sex Tour: New York City
at Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, Lower East Side
New York City
7pm on Friday, April 13th
RSVP on Fetlife
RSVP on Facebook

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

Featuring Dusty Horn, DL King, Vie La Guerre, Sassafras Lowrey, Miriam Zoila Pérez, Elizabeth Thorne, and Xan West, hosted by Sinclair Sexsmith, writer of the Sugarbutch Chronicles and editor of Say Please & Best Lesbian Erotica 2012.

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

ABOUT THE READERS:

Dusty Horn’s erotica has been published by Cleis in Orgasmic and Best Bondage 2011, her sex culture reportage on CarnalNation.com, and her critical theory of sex work in AORTA magazine. A BDSM professional, queer pornographer, kink educator, social worker, and rocknroll exhibitionist slut, Dusty is (in)famous for her spanking booths.

Editor of Carnal Machines, Spank, The Sweetest Kiss, and Where the Girls Are, D.L. King has contributed short stories to Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, Girl Crazy, and Broadly Bound, among others. She’s published two novels and edits the erotica review site Erotica Revealed. Find her at www.dlkingerotica.com.

Vie La Guerre is a femme wordsmith who lives in Chicago with her kittens, Foxy Brown and Zora.

Sassafras Lowrey (www.PoMoFreakshow.com) is an international award–winning storyteller, author, artist, and educator. Sassafras is the editor of the Kicked Out anthology, which brought together the voices of current and former homeless LGBTQ youth. Her prose has been included in numerous anthologies and she regularly teaches LGBTQ storytelling workshops at colleges and conferences across the country. Sassafras lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.

Miriam Zoila Pérez (www.miriamzperez.com) is a Cuban-American writer, blogger, and reproductive justice activist. She is the founder of RadicalDoula.com and an editor at Feministing.com. Her essays have been included in various anthologies, including Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme. Pérez lives in Brooklyn.

Elizabeth Thorne began writing erotic stories when she was working in a place known as The Sex Lab. It was an act of desperation since, ironically enough, studying sex kept her too busy to meet anyone larger than a mouse… and unlike Cinderella she doesn’t actually swing that way. These days, Elizabeth spends her time sitting around in her PJs writing popular science during the day and erotic romance at night. She has contributed to more than a dozen anthologies of erotica and erotic romance and is proud to be the author of “The Gingerbread Dungeon,” a collection of pansexual BDSM fairy tales. You can find her online at withbatedbeth.com.

Xan West is the pseudonym of an NYC BDSM/sex educator. Xan’s “First Time Since” won honorable mention for the 2008 NLA John Preston Short Fiction Award. Xan has appeared in many anthologies, including Best SM Erotica 2 & 3, Best Women’s Erotica 2008 & 2009, and Best Lesbian Erotica 2011.

Recent Sexual Assaults in My Neighborhood

Unless you’re up on the sexual assault news from random neighborhoods in the New York City area, you probably don’t know about this, but there have been more than a dozen sexual assaults and attempted assaults in my neighborhood and nearby in the past few months. Safe Slope.org has some info about what’s going on—I don’t know a ton of the details without looking them up again, though they have been covered on many of the big blogs, like Brokelyn and Gothamist.

I first heard about it not through the media or through word of mouth, but by seeing signs up at stores around my apartment, with things like, “WARNING! Sexual Assaults Are Happening In This Neighborhood. Protect Yourself.” And then messy things started happening, like the police told women who were walking in those neighborhoods in short skirts that they shouldn’t wear things like that.

I know. I know. I don’t even know what to say about that. And I probably don’t have to, because you probably know just what is wrong about it. I do too, it’s just that my anger and frustration bubbles up and makes me go “ARGH!” instead of having articulate things to say.

Slut Walk NYC happened shortly after that, and there were some speak outs in my neighborhood, but none of which I ended up attending, mostly because of timing and not because of my lack of interest. (I can’t do it all.) I hope this was spoken of frequently at those events.

Lately, more “Protect Yourself From Sexual Assault” posters have been showing up in this neighborhood as businesses, self-defense classes, and community organizers start creating protection and help around these assaults.

While I understand that these “Protect Yourself!” tactics are because we, the majority of us, feel helpless when faced with stories of assault, and what we can do is attempt to defend ourselves, since we have no control over what the perpetrators do—I still think things like that perpetuate rape culture. They teach us that we, the potential victims, need to be the ones who are on guard. We don’t do that with other types of crime, and sexual assault is about more than sex, it’s about power, and there is so much sexism, slut-shaming, and control of women’s bodies wrapped up in this one thing. It’s hard to even begin to untangle it all.

I walked past one outside of my gym a few days ago and had the urge to create a counter-poster, one that says something like this:

Ten rape prevention tips:

1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to rape her.

4. If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t rape her.

5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not rape her.

6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or rape her.

7. Remember, people go to the laundry room to do their laundry. Do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

8. Use the Buddy System! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from raping women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.

9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.

10. Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be raping her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

That’s reprinted from the blog Can You Relate … I’m not sure this is the original source of these, since this post is from May of this year and I’m pretty sure I saw a list just like this make the rounds a few years back, but it seems to be frequently referenced.

I know it’s not the answer. But I’m not sure what else I can create time to contribute to this current issue that is happening in my neighborhood, that scares me and my girlfriend when we walk home after dark (and it is getting darker earlier and earlier). Kristen and I keep talking about it, and often our conclusion is, we just have to put this out of our minds, because if we thought about it, we’d go nuts with worry. And that is a lousy way to live.

There are various groups doing good things, organizing bike escorts, safe walks home, dog patrols. Thank you, all of you who are doing that. I’m not doing much, but at least I can throw a post up here, tell you that I’ve been thinking about it, and ponder my own place in the healing of this huge cultural and societal wound.

For Cheryl

There are a few things coming up for Cheryl.

The Last Sideshow, Tuesday, July 12th, at the usual time and place (8pm, The Phoenix, East Village, NYC). Lineup TBA.

A Memorial for Cheryl B (Is For Beautiful): A Celebration of Her Life, Because This Death Stuff Sucks. Saturday, July 23rd, 3pm at Dixon Place, NYC

I still don’t know what to say.

Here are a couple videos of Cheryl reading her work. I have some clips of her from an event of mine a few years back that I want to convert and put on YouTube too, haven’t done that yet. Maybe this weekend.

Hope you can make it to Sideshow or the memorial.

April 12 is Sideshow’s One Year Anniversary!

Can you believe it’s been a year since Sideshow started?

Cheryl & I have done quite a lot in that year, including having some incredibly well-known authors come through our little stage at the Phoenix, and Cheryl being diagnosed with hodgkin’s lymphoma and her first reading with a shaved head, and the announcement of my first anthology. We have video from one month, October, and we hope to do more of that in this next year. We’ve still got some fantastic line-ups coming your way this summer and fall!

Since it’s my birthday show, there will probably be some other goodies there also, some giveaways or some baked goods or both. Still cooking up those plans, you’ll have to wait and see.

Come on out for the anniversary show on April 12th where we’ll be exploring the theme of “siblings,” chosen or from your family of origin, featuring writers Anne-E. Wood, Katie Liederman, and Kay Ulanday Barrett.

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

About the Readers:

A CAMPUS PRIDE 2009 Hot List artist, Kay Ulanday Barrett is a poet, performer, educator, and martial artist navigating life as a [email protected] trans/queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter.  Based in NY/NJ, with roots in Chicago, K’s work is the mix of gritty city flex and Midwest open sky grounded in homeland soil. In Mango Tribe and in solo work, K. has featured on stages nationally and internationally; from the NJ Performing Arts Center to the Chicago Historical Museum, Brooklyn Museum to Dublin’s Lesbian Arts Festival, K’s bold work continues to excite and challenge audiences. Honors include: LGBTQ 30 under 30 awards,  Finalist for The Gwendolyn Brooks Open-Mic Award, and Windy City Times Pride Literary Poetry Prize. K. turns art into action, as a dedicated activist who works with LGBTQ communities and was recently showcased at Res Artis as an international panelist/performer in Montreal, Quebec. kaybarrrett.net

Katie Liederman has written for Nerve, GO, Curve, Rap-Up, Velvetpark, Penthouse Forum, V, V Man, Lumina, Looserecord.com, The Archive, The New Gay, and was a resident blogger on Showtime’s Ourchart.com. She received a Bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Anne-E. Wood’s stories have appeared in Tin House, Agni, New Letters, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Other Voices, and Gargoyle among others. She has an MFA in Fiction from San Francisco State and she teaches writing at Rutgers University and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn and is at work on a novel.

Tomcat’s Barber Shop

It’s been a long time coming, this ode to my favorite barber shop in New York City. It took a while to find it, but now that I have I don’t go anywhere else.

When I moved to New York City, I went to the barber shop around the corner, which happened to be on 2nd avenue and 3rd street. It was a reasonable place, the guy who owned it, I think, he was always there cutting hair and was nice enough. I never witnessed any overt homophobia or weirdness about me being in that space, though it was clear it was a dude’s space, with Maxim and Playboy and other kinds of girly magazines on the tables near the waiting chairs and with an eventual upgrade to big-screen TVs that were always playing exploitive (or so it seemed to me, anyway) music videos or sports events. Sometimes the guys in there, who were obviously the barber’s friends, carried on elaborate conversations I would have rather not overheard. Most of the time there weren’t any mentions of queer folks, but very frequently they were talking about women in ways that I didn’t like.

It was affordable, and convenient, and reliable—he would almost always give me a good haircut. Maybe not amazing, but good, and that’s important.

Later I saw a shot from Sophia Wallace‘s “Bois & Dykes” series (which I can’t find online anymore, someone point me to the link if you’ve got it) (which fimgfound on the GAQ, thank you!) of someone getting her hair cut in that same barber shop, with that same barber, which I thought was pretty cool. I’m glad they are known, at least a little, to be cool and warm toward queers.

But then I moved to Brooklyn, and it became a huge challenge to find a place to get my hair cut. Maintaining this kind of short hair takes a cut about once a month, so I had plenty of time to try out places, (sometimes) get horrible cuts, and try out somewhere else.

I knew I needed some hip, reliable place to go, but couldn’t find it.

So I started asking around. I decided that when I saw someone with the kind of hair I wanted, I would ask them where they got their hair cut.

The first time that happened, I was on the subway on the way to Brooklyn. He had a pompadour of some sort, slicked back and poufy in the right spots. That, I thought. That’s what I want.

He got up from his seat to get off at the next stop, and I swallowed, told myself it was now or never. I don’t like talking to strangers. “Excuse me,” I said, “Sorry to bug you, I’m just wondering if you’d mind sharing where you get your hair cut? Love it.”

Tomcat’s Barber Shop,” he answered easily, and exited the train.

I looked it up. It is in Greenpoint, near Williamsburg, known as The Hipster Neighborhood. Hm. Not sure that’s where I want to go. I continued to go to other barbers, even made a special trip down to the East Village to go to my old barber because he was reliable enough. But the cut wasn’t great. A little too quick, a little too short, not quite styled enough, just average. It was fine when I was getting faux hawks and all-short-with-a-little-bit-flippy-in-the-front, but now that I wanted something more retro and stylish and grown up, it wasn’t quite right.

Then I saw a guy in a big department store one weekend. Also with a pompadour of some sort, this time with tattoos and a motorcycle jacket. Okay, maybe it was time to step up my rockabilly look. Maybe it was time to push my style.

I kept catching glances of him at the ends of aisles, or passing each other, but not quite near enough to ask him a question. Then, magically, we both got in the same elevator to get down to the street level after we’d checked out.

“I have to ask—your hair is amazing,” I said to him. “Where do you get it done?”

“This retro barber shop called Tomcat’s,” he answered.

Another vote for Tomcats. Clearly I had to try it out.

So I did. And I’ve been going there ever since, for more than two years now.

Actually, I’m not sure when I started going there. I’m sure it was before Kristen and I got together, but not sure how long before. Maybe a year? So maybe it’s been more than three years I’ve been going there.

I have never had a bad cut from Tomcat’s. I’ve had cuts that weren’t exactly what I asked for, but they were still awesome. I’ve had cuts from Katja (though she doesn’t work there anymore), Joey, and Derek. Erin and Chris are great, too. I always ask for Joey, but I would recommend anyone on staff.

The cuts are $20 and they will do a wash and razor shave on your neck if you want (you might have to ask, I rarely get a wash, but they will do it). You’ll also get a beer while you’re waiting, if you want that.

This is how they describe themselves:

Tomcat’s Barber Shop specializes in Classic cuts (pompadours, 50’s biker cuts, Blade cuts for the Psychobillys, Mods, Glamrockers, Punks etc) military cuts, and shaves, and any of the modern cuts. Tomcats is known in NY as the premier Rock ‘n’ Roll barbershop.

They moved around Halloween last year, but just across the street, and the new venue is gorgeous. I’ve taken various shots the last times I’ve been there and I’d love to do a photo shoot there, eventually. I love the feel.

A few months ago, when I went in, Joey, the owner, who seems to like to talk while he’s cutting hair, was talking about his clients and how he’s still hiring barbers for the new place. “I have all kinds of barbers working here,” he said to me. “But what I don’t have is a girl with a flat top and tattoos.”

(If you know of a queer barber looking for a chair, this might be a place for them to try out!)

So he’s keeping an eye out for more queer clientele to come in, and I told him I’d tell my story and tell y’all to go check them out. I know plenty of you have regular places you already attend, but I am telling you, this place is an experience.

If you’re visiting New York from elsewhere, think about stopping here on your first day—then you’ll have a killer coif in all your vacation photos. They have all the (affordable!) products you need to keep it waxed and pomped and defying gravity, and the cuts are only $20.

I’m overdue for a cut myself, but I’m trying to grow it out for the Gay Ol’ OpryDapperQ requested I pomp my hair up for it so I’m letting it grow. I’ll get it done later this week, probably before I leave on the birthday weekend trip, so it’ll be all set for the event on the 7th.

I have fifteen more stories to tell you about barber shops and hair and my gender and masculine spaces where I feel safe and product, but perhaps I’ll leave those for other times. Tell me, folks, where do you go get your hair cut? Is it an important event for you? Do you cut your hair yourself? What’s your barber/salon like? Is it queer (friendly)? What have you witnessed there?

(Perhaps this would be a good Butch Lab Symposium topic.)

Oh, and if you stop by, tell Joey I sent you.

Review: Taormino’s Rough Sex 2 & 3 (Release Party Tonight!)

It occurred to me while I was thinking about the Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind party that is happening in New York City tonight that I still haven’t commented on Rough Sex 2. So hey, let’s do that.
I never wrote up Rough Sex 1 with Sasha Grey and Derrick Pierce (as well as others, but they stood out), but I remember it well. Especially Derrick’s scene, though the premise of the whole film series by feminist queer pornographer Tristan Taormino is also awesome, and I love the way it unfolds on screen.

The scenes are based on the female performer’s fantasies, where they get to choose what they do and who they do it with. The interviews and descriptions about what the porn stars want to do, how they establish trust, and why they like to play rough are interspersed with some clips from their scenes before you watch the whole thing. It’s great—what an intentional, articulate way to not just explore but also record this kind of rough play.

Here’s the description about the series from Tristan’s website:

The scenes are based entirely on the real fantasies of female performers, which run the gamut from dominance to submission. Through deeply personal interviews, you’ll discover their definitions of rough sex, why they love it, how they establish trust with their partners, and what they need to feel safe to play on the edge. With scenes that are part documentary and part erotic vignette, Rough Sex dares to challenge conventional wisdom about the fantasy lives of women.

They create the scenes. They choose their partners. They control what happens. Each woman shares her most intimate desires, tests her own boundaries, and rides the seductive line between pleasure and pain. Witness female sexuality at its most extreme: raw, rough, and real.

Rough Sex 2 is directed by Tristan Taormino, starring Claire Adams, Chayse Evans, April Flores, Sinnamon Love, Adrianna Nicole, Dylan Ryan, Bobbi Starr, Madison Young, Mark Davis, James Deen, Shane Diesel, Richard Mann, Nathan Menace, and Orpheus Black. The scenes are described as: Mistress Claire takes her pet April on an unforgettable ride. Bobbi tastes total submission at the back of her throat. Ponygirl Madison gets trained. Chayse and Mark double team slave Adrianna. Madison bakes a cake for her Mistress with interesting results. Sinnamon serves her Master (and his friends) at a poker game.

Two of those really stand out: Madison Young’s pony play scene, and Sinnamon’s poker game. I don’t have any interest in pony play, myself, but watching that scene was fascinating, in part precisely because I don’t have much interest in it, and because Madison Young is such an amazing performer that we can actually watch the desire grow and build in her facial expressions and in her body, which gave me a different understanding about why that kind of play would be intriguing. See some shots from that scene on Tristan’s tumblr if you are intrigued. Sinnamon’s poker game was intense, and I can clearly tell why she chose that dom. He was precise and deliberate, and so obviously experienced. Here’s some shots from it on Tristan’s tumblr, where she also says, “There is so little black on black BDSM in mainstream porn that I am especially proud of this scene for its groundbreaking representation.”

Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind I haven’t seen yet, but I have been following Tristan’s tumblr as she’s posted many shots from the scenes: Adrianna Nicole & Jiz Lee, “Cash” starring Adrianna Nicole & Ramon Nomarxxx, Adrianna Nicole & Jada Fire, and “Jock” Nat Turnher, Danny Wylde, Keni Styles & Evan Stone give Adrianna Nicole a workout.

The release party is tonight in New York City and features free hard cider from 7-8pm, gift bags, a raffle when you buy a copy of the DVD, and more. Stop by if you’re around. It’s FREE tonight, Tuesday, March 22, 7-10 pm at Fontana’s, 105 Eldridge Street (between Grand & Broome) in NYC. No RSVP Required.

What’s Happening in March

It’s March! And it’s almost spring! I’m hoping with that will come increasingly easy months of light and play, and less struggle and coldness, which the winter has been full of.

Here’s what’s happening this month.

Events with Mr. Sexsmith

Tuesday, March 8th, 8pmSideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival: Spring Fever with Arianne Benford, Beth Greenfield, Genne Murphy, and LOVE the Poetat The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street at Avenue A in New York City

Wednesday, March 23rd, 6pm PST / 9pm ESTPorn Party on Twitter featuring Artcore—for free! Click for more detailson Twitter

Saturday, March 22nd, 11am-5pm (1:15pm)Rainbow Book Fair. I will be reading at 1:15 as part of the reading series. Description: “This is the largest LGBT book event in America, and it is free and open to the public. Be a part of the most exciting lgbt book event in the U.S. Join authors, poets, publishers, university presses, and the entire reading and writing community in this diverse spectacular of words, images, and talent. With the Center’s dramatic large 3rd floor exhibition space, additional rooms for panels, poetry readings, and author events, free books and hourly book giveaways, mingling, and meeting authors and readers like yourself.”at The LGBT Center, 208 W 13th St, New York City

I’ll update this if any other events get added. I’m not doing a lot in March, but I have more things in progress and quite a few coming up in April and May. I’m hoping to get to Santa Cruz, California in May, and to Minneapolis, Minnesota in early April, and possibly Seattle in late April. If you are nearby one of these places, it might be possible for me to pop over and do a workshop for you, too. Or if you don’t live nearby, there’s still time to book one of my workshops about sex and gender in the coming year.

I’ve updated my 2011 workshop offerings in a PDF so it is easy to download. I incorporated many of the ideas you all suggested when I asked what workshops you’d like to see me teach, thank you for the feedback! (You can also download my one sheet PDF or high res photos in my press kit). Get in touch if you’re interested in booking me, you can contact me directly—mrsexsmith(at)gmail—or my booking company, PhinLi, at bookings(at)phinli.com.

Other Exciting Community Events


Monday, March 14th, 6:30pmJuxtaposition: A Humorous Happy Hourat Stonewall, New York City

Friday, March 18th, 8pmLesbian Sex Mafia presents: Hands-On Rope Body Harness Workshop with Midori. Body harnesses are fantastic for creating beautiful, effective, and sexy bondage for all types of bodies and many different sorts of scenes. You can use a harness for very secure rigging. Or you can make a pretty rope outfit. Create intense harnesses for pain sluts. How about sensual breast bondage? Well go through at least three different harnesses with plenty of time to practice. LSM member: $5; Non-members $10at The LGBT Center, 208 W 13th St, New York City

That’s it for now; new events will be added as dates are announced. Hope to see you out & about in the queer, trans, and literary world in New York.

What A Lovely Way to Burn: Spring Fever at Sideshow

It isn’t quite spring here yet, but it’s getting close. The light is changing. The snow has been mostly washed away by the recent rains. I’m hoping by next week the light will be even higher in the sky and full-on spring fever will have sprung, just in time for this month’s Sideshow theme.

The sad news is that Fran Varian can’t make it up from Durham this time, but rest assured! She will be here to perform her kickass work another time. Meanwhile, you can learn more about Lyme disease and help heal Fran over at her website, and you can buy some of her books if you were dying to hear her work (and I know you were).

While Fran is a fan of the Peggy Lee version, I am really into Elvis lately, so here’s a little something to get you in the mood …

Join us at Sideshow on March 8th with readers Arianne Benford, Beth Greenfield, Genne Murphy, and LOVE the Poet.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival – Spring Fever
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, March 8th @ 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
See the bios for the readers.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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?

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!

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?

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.

A Brief Period of Sobriety

I decided not to drink in August. I’ve done a few periodic breaks from alcohol over the last few years, but I haven’t done that recently, so it was about time to try it again.

I like to practice not drinking, not necessarily because I think I have a problem with alcohol, but because at times I can lean too heavily on it to curb the anxiety I sometimes struggle with. It does seem to work, but I’m not sure that’s the best way to deal with it. Well, I know it isn’t the best way to deal with it, but it’s an easy way, and pretty effective.

A quick whiskey on the rocks and I am good to go. That tightness in my chest, the clutch around my heart, the panic, the cloudy mind, all lighten and start disappearing.

Someone told me once that I should be medicated if New York causes me so much anxiety and stress. I snapped back that if it got to that point, it clearly wasn’t healthy for me to be here, and I would leave. And as much as I hate to ever think that she could have possibly had a point, I have to wonder if that might be true. Of course there are things one can do before one medicates. I can change my lifestyle, change my nutrition, change my daily habits, exercise more. I think I’ve been overcompensating with alcohol, trying to avoid the realities of the stress of this city and the lifestyle here.

I remember talking to my therapist about this at some point, wondering if I was drinking too much. I wondered if drinking every single night—not to the point of drunkenness, just to the point of subduing the panic—was something I should look at, be curious about. She said she was more interested in my lack of restful sleep.

Well, now I sleep restfully. Now I don’t have to get up at 7:30 am to commute to a corporate job, and I get enough sleep. The nightmares are less. The insomnia is less, usually. My mind quiets and calms at night, usually.

But I still drink.

Aside from detoxing, aside from possibly dealing more directly with my anxiety, I want to cut down on the calories I take in. You’ve probably seen Kristen’s Twitter stream, she bakes constantly, and cooks delicious food, and while that makes me very happy, it has not been wonderful to my waistline. I’m struggling to squeeze into my old jeans. I’m also 31 now, and I think something happens to the metabolism in the late twenties-ish time, and my body just doesn’t process like it used to. Plus, though I’m no longer sitting at a desk at a corporate job all day every day, that also means I’m not making time on my lunch breaks for a trip to the gym, and I think some of my habits have changed. I need some new ones. I joined a gym, I’m back to jogging and lifting weights, I’m trying to get a regular schedule going.

One of my favorite writing and life mentors, Tara Hardy, has a poem talking about her sobriety, and says “Ask yourself, what would it mean if we all got collectively un-numb? In touch with possibility daily? That’s what I’m asking. Put nothing between you and your disappointment, and your grief, and your rage, and what they want us to believe is dangerous: hope. Desire. Need. Meet your need naked.” I’m thinking about this as I’m nearing the end of week two of this cleanse, this voluntary brief temporary period of sobriety, and as I keep thinking how easy it would be to pop open that beer that’s in the fridge.

I’m experimenting with a more focused and deliberate Buddhist path, too, and one of the Five Precepts is to abstain from escaping from consciousness—traditionally, this stated as abstaining from alcohol, but it can be many things that we use to turn our brains off, from a video game to a joint to whiskey to working out to mindless tv to surfing the Internet. The sangha I attend most often has a very contemporary interpretation of the precepts, seeing them as not so much as rigid guidelines as much as attempting to see their essence, to get at what the rule was getting at, and to apply consciousness to the practice. So it’s not so much about abstaining from alcohol as it is being mindful of the reasons why we are drinking, often the same reasons why I watch episode after episode of 30 Rock, or surf around on tumblr for hours.

I know I use alcohol to escape my mind, my suffering, my emotions.

What would happen if I did that less? What would happen if I had to sit with it more directly? To sit quietly with that pain and suffering, with the dukkha?

So I guess this brief stint of sobriety is attempting to experiment with that, too.

I’m also doing a sacred intimacy/tantra workshop in the end of August, a similar one that I did last year, only this year I am coordinating the workshop and attending as a staff member. I’m thrilled about that, one of my intentions for this year was to deepen my tantra practice, and my involvement with the tantra school with which I’ve been studying for almost ten years now took a leap. Every time I do one of these workshops, they recommend doing a little bit of detox and not ingesting substances like drugs or alcohol for the few days around the workshop, and I often do about a week of sobriety leading up to one of them. This time, I figured I would extend the time to an entire month, as an experiment, and see what happens.

It’s easy to drink. It’s harder not to, it’s harder to sit with what I’m going through and harder to order club soda and lime at a bar, harder to breathe through the social anxiety or excitement or turn down a nice glass of wine at dinner with friends. But it’s temporary. And perhaps I’ll learn something.

I Have Things To Tell You!

… because I don’t have a better title for some randomness that I need for you to know.

First! Sideshow’s Erotica Night was epic!

Do I say that after every Sideshow? I might. But what can I say, the Queer Literary Carnival is beautifully coming together and I love it every month. This time was a fantastic lineup, and the audience was so into it, and all the pieces were great. I’ve got a big ol’ write-up of it over at queerliterarycarnival.com.

Second! Butch Brunch has a venue!

The first 2010 Butch Brunch in New York City has a venue! We’re going to try out Cafe Orlin at 41 St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. It’s 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. The only catch is that I can’t quite tell by their website if they serve alcohol, but I know I’ve had a glass of wine there at other times.

Please RSVP on Facebook or comment 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 try to get our name on the waiting list for a big table. I expect about ten people so far, and not everyone who has said they’re coming identifies as butch.

Third! I don’t remember what was third, but I swear there was a third thing. Oy. I’ve been running around all day and haven’t had time to sit down and WRITE in the last week or maybe two … I’ve been working on promotion and events, Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference and the tantra retreat I’m heading to in a little less than two weeks, and Sideshow, and columns for other sites … but I’ve got a big list of essays that I want to work on, lots of ideas brewing and bubbling in my head, lots of things going on as usual. It feels good to have this freelance patchwork career coming together.

The other bad news is that my beloved MacBook is kind of down for the count … it was my own damn fault, I spilled some, uh, hard cider onto the keyboard. Which is so not like me! I am so not careless around electronics, or things of major value! But I have not only cracked my iPhone screen while I was on vacation, I also seem to have fried the battery (or magstrip, or something) in my MacBook. Thankfully, I have superhero willing to help, @rexicon, and if you feel like following her on Twitter I promise she’s funny and way cute in real life. Wish her happy birthday in Florida … and I’ll be quietly being patient and hoping for her speedy return. After she’s all rested and played-out and in a computer-problem-solving mood. It feels so good to know I have somebody to turn to for help with this!

Let’s just hope it gets fixed soon, and I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled Sugarbutch Chronicles.

Want to Hear Some Erotica Tonight? Come to Sideshow!

TONIGHT, August 10th, over in the East Village of New York City, come see some very fine readers as we talk about the more fun version of a heat wave: erotica. Yum.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
August 10 @ The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
East Village, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm Reading, 8pm
Free! But we’ll pass the hat for the readers
@sideshowseries

August’s theme is HEAT WAVE EROTICA, starring:
Tamiko Beyer (Drunken Boat)
Rachel Kramer Bussel (In The Flesh)
Mildred Dred Gerestant (OUTMusic Spirit Award)
Kit Yan (Mr. Transman 2010)

RSVP on Facebook!

Butch Brunch in New York City

It’s official! I’m doing a couple different Butch Brunch dates in New York City in the two months leading up to the Butch Voices regional conference on September 25th. Want to join me? Here’s the details.

The first Butch Brunch is coming up on Saturday, August 14th, and you can RSVP on Facebook.

I organized about half a dozen some butch brunches in the past few years, mostly in Brooklyn, mostly just for friends, but we often had fantastic interesting conversations about butch identity and where we came from, and really good turnouts. I’m looking forward to chatting with folks informally, not in the context of planning the Butch Voices conference but instead just socializing, hanging out, theorizing, getting to know each other.

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.”

We don’t have a venue yet—I’d like to keep it pretty centralized in New York City, so any of us coming from any borough can easily get to it. Perhaps somewhere near Union Square? Problem is, brunch places are packed on the weekends.

Anybody have suggestions? I’ll be glad to check them out. But we need to get going! Who’s in?

We’ve got a venue! We’re going to try out Cafe Orlin at 41 St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. It’s 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. The only catch is that I can’t quite tell by their website if they serve alcohol, but I know I’ve had a glass of wine there at other times.

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 try to get our name on the waiting list for a big table. I expect about ten people so far.

August is Heat Wave / Erotica at Sideshow

Don’t forget! Just one week from today, Sideshow in New York City will feature a lovely erotica night.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
August 10 @ The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
East Village, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm.
Free! But we’ll pass the hat for donations to the readers
@sideshowseries
RSVP on Facebook!

August’s theme is HEAT WAVE EROTICA, starring:
Tamiko Beyer (Drunken Boat)
Rachel Kramer Bussel (In The Flesh)
Mildred Dred Gerestant (OUTMusic Spirit Award)
Kit Yan (Mr. Transman 2010)
Read more about the readers.

Sideshow’s Erotica Show is August 10th

And it’s going to be delicious. I can tell already. Mark your calendars! And see the whole schedule over on queerliterarycarnival.com.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
August 10 @ The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
East Village, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm.
Free!
@sideshowseries

August’s theme is HEAT WAVE EROTICA, starring:
Tamiko Beyer (Drunken Boat)
Rachel Kramer Bussel (In The Flesh)
Mildred Dred Gerestant (OUTMusic Spirit Award)
Kit Yan (Mr. Transman 2010)

RSVP on Facebook!

About the performers …

Sober Stories at Queer Memoir 7/24

My Sideshow co-host and co-producer Cheryl B. is guest curating for another New York City queer literary reading series, Queer Memoir. Queer Memoir is a bit different than Sideshow (or In the Flesh or Red Umbrella Diaries or Drunken! Careening! Writers! or the Bluestockings Poetry Jam & Open Mic) as it features people who are not necessarily performers or professional storytellers sharing their lives and stories.

Cheryl’s guest theme is Sober, and it happens this Saturday, the 24th of July at the Queers for Economic Justice performance space in Manhattan. Come! I’m going to do my best to make it, and then likely go to Butch Burlesque at Dixon Place later that same night.

Guest curator and host Cheryl B. presents the sober-themed edition of NYC’s premier queer storysharing show, Queer Memoir, starring: Joshua Bastian Cole, Cora Leighton, Katie Liederman, Melissa Febos, Sophia Pazos, Terence, & Tina Goerlach

Queer Memoir: Sober
July 24, 8pm
QEJ Perormance Space
147 West 24th Street, 4th floor
$5 suggested donation (no one turned away)
http://queermemoir.com
Facebook Invite

About the storytellers … 

Snapshot: Sideshow’s Freak Flag

This week’s Sideshow: Queer Literary Carnival was the theme of Freak Flag, and the show was fantastic.

I’m not much of an event photographer (certainly not compared to last month’s beautiful shots by Syd London), but I got a few of the readers this time, and Kristen took some video that I’ll work on uploading also.

The rest of the shots are up over on the Sideshow blog, at the new domain queerliterarycarnival.com.

Tonight! Freak Flag at Sideshow

Now I just have to decide what I’m going to read. Oh, and what I’m going to wear!

See you there!

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
July 13 @ the Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm.
Free

This month’s theme is FREAK FLAG, starring:
Sassafras Lowrey (Kicked Out)
Kate McCabe (Famous Lesbian Comedy Roadshow)
Vittoria repetto (Not Just a Personal Ad)
Thad Rutkowski (Tetched)
Charlie Vazquez (Contraband)

“There’s a Man in the Woman’s Room NOT” by Kelli Dunham

I can’t resist posting this. Kelli Dunham, comic, former nun, friend of mine, and nerd extraordinaire, posed a question on her Facebook page about what genderqueer folks do when needing to pee at Penn Station: go into the woman’s room, and get yelled at? Or brave the men’s room’s grime and row of urinals?

In response, a friend of hers suggested she write a catchy song, and voila, she did. Here’s the whole explanation, and the song, in the video:

Check out more Kelli Dunham online at kellidunham.com and on Twitter at @kellidunham.

If you’d like to see her live, she’s got a show coming up with Cheryl B. (who you may know as my co-host from Sideshow), Katie McCabe, Elizabeth Whitney, and Lea Robinson, aka the Famous Lesbian Comedy Roadshow* (*famous lesbians not included) at Stonewall Inn this Tuesday, July 6th. It’s the DIRTY FILTHY RED HOT SUMMER SHOW, clearly not to be missed.

Wave Your Freak Flag at SIDESHOW! July 13th

Hey! Guess what! It’s that time again, folks: the July SIDESHOW is just around the corner.

This time, we’ve got an amazing selection of poets, performers, and writers, and we’re going to be flying our freak flags high in honor of the flag day that is the American independence day. This is our kind of national pride, I suppose: freaky and queer and feisty and loud-mouthed, and proud of it.

Come out for a great night of performers and readings in New York City!

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
July 13 @ the Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm.
Free

This month’s theme is FREAK FLAG, starring:
Sassafras Lowrey (Kicked Out)
Vittoria repetto (Not Just a Personal Ad)
Thad Rutkowski (Tetched)
Charlie Vazquez (Contraband)

Sassafras Lowrey is an international award winning author, artist and storyteller. Ze is a genderqueer identified high femme with a complicated gender history.  Sassafras is the editor of the ‘Kicked Out’ anthology which brought together the voices of current and former homeless LGBTQ youth, and hir stories have been published in numerous anthologies including: Visible: a Femmethology, Gendered Hearts, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generations.  Ze teaches storytelling workshops at colleges, conferences, and community centers across the country. You can learn more about Sassafras online at www.PoMoFreakshow.com

Vittoria repetto has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Mudfish, Voices in Italian Americana, Rattle, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, Italian Americana, Unsettling American: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, Identity Lessons: Learning American Style, The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food & Culture among others. In 1995, she published a chapbook entitled Head For the Van Wyck (Monkey Cat Press) and in 2006, Guernica Editions published her first full length poetry book, Not Just A Personal Ad; one of her reviewers noted “Poems of intense sensibility and gorgeous imagery are a rarity these days; but this book of verse by a distinctly working class, distinctly lesbian, and distinctly Italian American voice is a must for all readers of good poetry.” Vittoria repetto is the vice president of the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) and the editor of the monthly newsletter. She has been hosting the Women’s & Trans’ Poetry Jam at Bluestockings Bookstore since its opening in 1999.

Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of two innovative novels and has read his work widely–recently in Hong Kong, Paris and Budapest. He is a one-time winner of the Nuyorican Friday slam, the Poetry vs. Comedy slam, and the Syracuse slam. He teaches fiction writing at the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA and world literature at City University.

Charlie Vázquez is a radical writer of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. His fiction and essays have been published in anthologies such as Queer and Catholic (Taylor & Francis, 2007) and Best Gay Love Stories: NYC (Alyson, 2006). His writing has also appeared in print and online publications such as The Advocate, Chelsea Clinton News, New York Press, and Ganymede Journal. Charlie hosts a queer monthly reading series called PANIC! at Nowhere in the East Village, which focuses on original fiction and poetry. He’s a former contributor to the Village Voice’s Naked City blog and a retired experimental musician and photographer. His second novel Contraband was published by Rebel Satori Press in April 2010, and his third, Corazón, is wrapping up for future publication.

BDSM is Not Abuse

I recently went through the Orientation process for the Lesbian Sex Mafia, and we went over this list of The Difference Between SM and Abuse, which is also available on the Lesbian Sex Mafia’s website.

I am still surprised how often BDSM gets equated with abuse, and this list makes the distinctions so very clear, I like it. I have the feeling I’ll be referencing this quite a bit in various things. Hope the LSM doesn’t mind that I am reprinting it here!

The Difference Between SM and Abuse
A Statement from the Lesbian Sex Mafia

SM: An SM scene is a controlled situation.
ABUSE: Abuse is an out-of-control situation.

SM: Negotiation occurs before an SM scene to determine what will and will not happen in that scene.
ABUSE: One person determines what will happen.

SM: Knowledgeable consent is given to the scene by all parties.
ABUSE: No consent is asked for or given.

SM: The “bottom” has a safeword that allows them to stop the scene at any time should they need to for physical or emotional reasons.
ABUSE: The person being abused cannot stop what is happening.

SM: Everyone involved in an SM scene is concerned about the needs, desires and limits of others.
ABUSE: No concern is given to the needs, desires and limits of the abused person.

SM: The people in an SM scene are careful to be sure that they are not impaired by alcohol or drug use during the scene.
ABUSE: Alcohol or drugs are often used before an episode of abuse.

SM: After an SM scene, the people involved feel good.
ABUSE: After an episode of abuse, the people involved feel bad.

If you have further questions regarding domestic abuse, please call the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP). They are educated in the differences between BDSM and abuse.
AVP, the Anti-Violence Project
24 hour hotline: 212-714-1141
240 West 35th Street, Suite 200 New York, NY 10001