Posts Tagged ‘new york city’

Protected: Making Peace: in which I (attempt to) explain what happened over these last eighteen months

October 2, 2013  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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

April 15, 2013  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

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

June 6, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

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

May 29, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 14, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

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

April 11, 2012  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

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

October 26, 2011  |  essays  |  14 Comments

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

June 23, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

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!

April 5, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

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 pin@y-amerikan 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

March 28, 2011  |  on butches  |  9 Comments

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.