Posts Tagged ‘photographs’

The Femme Conference in Photos

August 21, 2012  |  essays, journal entries  |  7 Comments


Kristen’s Friday Femme Conference outfit


Jessica Halem hosts FemmeSpeak, the spoken word night


Fran Fucking Varian reads at FemmeSpeak


my outfit for Saturday


Kristen + Liz from Rhino Girl Media + B


Maggie (of the Femme Show) & Dora, both organizers with MadFemmePride in Boston


Shilo McCabe’s hanky flowers for flagging at the vendor room


flyers for Summer Camp at the femme conference play party, featuring artwork by rife


Bulldagger caucus, organized by Sasha T. Goldberg


butch butts after post-bulldagger meetup coffee


Kristen + Jessica Halem in lace at the FemmeWerq performance night


wait, how’d that photo get in here? our hotel bed was comfortable …

Happy 29th Birthday, Kristen

May 22, 2012  |  journal entries  |  6 Comments

Kristen turned 29 years old yesterday.

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

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

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

Help Syd London Get A New Camera

May 9, 2012  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And just, wow. I love that photograph.

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

And Syd captured it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The point is, Syd London needs a camera.

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

Here’s the video version of this request:

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

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

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

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

One Key Photograph From IMsL, Featuring Sara Vibes and KD Diamond

April 5, 2012  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

So I have really a lot to say about my experience at the International Ms. Leather contest in San Francisco last weekend—about how it was pretty phenomenal to be in a hotel space filled with leather women (and those who love them), about the BDSM & anal workshop that Tristan Taormino led, about the 10 rules for happy non-monogamy workshop that Andrea Zanin led, and the single tail workshop that had me inspired, and the “parade of colors” and the leather sashes that made me, from the audience, go, “oh my gosh this is such a thing,” the royalty that leather title holders have, the awesomeness that are our new titleholders: the butch from Texas is our new IMsL and the femme bootblack is the new IMsBB! I’m thrilled that they’re representing this community and I wish them so many amazing adventures and fun travels.

And I kind of don’t know where to start, with what to tell you. I am extremely crunched for time these days (turns out, the week that your book comes out is kind of busy, who knew) and I don’t want to just give you a play-by-play (though you might be interested in that, I know, ya pervs).

So instead, I just want to send lots of love to IMsL and IMsBB 2012, KD Diamond and Sara Vibes, with this shot of them I snapped while Sara was feeding KD peeps off of her knife.

And yeah, this is just the kind of thing that happened, right in front of me, when I didn’t even expect it, all weekend long. If you’re kinky and queer and into women, this is one of those gatherings you don’t want to miss. You bet your ass I’ll be there next year.

Protected: Love Letter #11

March 17, 2012  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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B is for Beautiful Photos by Syd London

February 2, 2012  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts folder for a week or so now, and I can’t figure out what to write to go along with Syd’s slideshow.

Syd’s collection of photos of Cheryl on Flickr

These are the photos from Cheryl’s memorial, B is for Beautiful, taken by Syd London, who is a dear friend of mine and who photographed me and Cheryl for Sideshow promotion, the first Sideshow, and the last Sideshow, as well as a few other significant shoots of Cheryl’s—like her lesbian headshaving ritual. So many, in fact, that Syd created an entire collection of Cheryl B. photo shoots on Flickr.

Emceeing the memorial was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I am so glad to have had some tantra and “holding space” training, because I totally cast a circle and grounded energy and did all of that. I wanted a container that could hold our grief, if even just for the afternoon. It was funny and fun and tragic and intense, just like Cheryl, and I think it was a really beautiful celebration of her life. Here’s what I read at the memorial.

Kelli submitted one of Syd’s shots to the New York Times “The Lives They Loved” series that is online and selectively printed in the NYT Magazine on Christmas annually, and submitted this shot of Cheryl, Kelli, Diana Cage, and me.

Kelli wrote:

When my partner Cheryl B was diagnosed with hodgkin’s disease last fall and was preparing for chemo that would cause her to lose her beautiful black hair, a friend suggested a “good ol’ fashioned lesbian headshaving ceremony.” We had friends over, made food, and shaved Cheryl’s head. There are many photos of Cheryl performing, engaged in political actions, organizing events. All these are important but I also want to remember her like this: loved, loving, happy, embracing the radical love of her chosen family and the queer (in a myriad of ways) community she had gathered around her.

If that’s not some radical infiltrating, I don’t know what is. And also, who else had photos of fishnets and cleavage? Amazing. Kelli tells the story about how she made the fact checker say “good ol’ fashioned lesbian headshaving ceremony” no less than four times:

Young fact checker dude: So, it says “when Cheryl became ill with hodgkins, her friends suggested a good old fashioned lesbian headshaving ceremony?”

Me: Oh I am sorry, my dog was barking, could you repeat that last part? (no dog had barked)

YFCD: Good old fashioned lesbian head shaving?

Me: Oh shit, you know how iPhones are, you cut out, could you repeat that again?

YFCD: Good old fashioned (sigh) lesbian head shaving.

Me: Oh I’m sorry, I still didn’t catch it.

YFCD: Good. Old. Fashioned. Lesbian. Head. Shaving.

Me: Oh yeah, of course. Yes.

I can see Cheryl rolling her eyes, too, so easily, at that she had to die in order to get into the New York Times—but I think she would’ve been very pleased about this little write-up. And I think she would like Syd’s collection of the beautiful photos of her, with her big love Kelli and with friends and fans and community, and I think she would have loved the memorial.

Miss you, Cheryl. Every day.

Photos from the Last Sideshow

November 16, 2011  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

After Cheryl died, the reading series she and I co-created took a hiatus. July 2011 was the last performance, and Syd London took amazing photographs.

Readers were Ellis Avery, Samantha Barrow, E Charles Crandall, Kestryl Cael Lowrey, Morgan W., Renair Amin, & Ashley Young.

I think it really captures the vibe of the series … diverse and wide-ranging, joyous and emotional, community building and hook-up space (did you see all those super hot people?!).

I miss doing that every month. I’m hoping to revive it in 2012, but I don’t have all the details worked out yet. Will of course let you all know and shout it from the rooftops when I do.

Thanks, Tomcats. I needed that haircut

September 13, 2011  |  miscellany  |  4 Comments

Gotta look snappy for Dark Odyssey! I thought I was going to head down to Baltimore tonight for that workshop at Sugar and head right to camp, but instead I’m going to stay in New York for two more nights and head in early on Thursday morning. I definitely want to be there for the first workshop (uh and I think I am teaching a workshop that hour, so I better be), and preferably for orientation at noon, so I’m going to aim for early. Earlier than I like to get up. As much as I would have liked to be at Sugar tonight, I’m glad to have two more nights here at home to prepare and get some more details for my workshops worked out.

Tomcats is still my favorite barber shop in New York. Joey is my favorite, but Olivia did a really amazing job with Kristen’s hair on Sunday—I’ll see if I can snap a good shot of her new haircut and show it off for y’all, it looks fierce and fun and serious. Plus, her hanky flower came last weekend, so I want to show y’all a photo of that anyway.

I see from my Facebook feed that a few friends of mine have started going to Tomcats regularly … I hope they’re treating you as well as they have me.

Some Butch Voices Photos from Cohn Frankel Photography

September 12, 2011  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Thanks to Lauren who was taking some shots at Butch Voices NYC and who snapped these of my Cock Confidence workshop at Feelmore 510, which is a beautiful toy shop and art gallery space in Oakland.

I think this one is my favorite.

Thanks, Lauren. www.cohnfrankelphotography.com

Review: I’ll Show You Mine (Book)

September 2, 2011  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

I’ll Show You Mine edited by Wrenna Robertson is a beautiful hardcover coffee table book that came out in February 2011 from Show Off Books. It features 120 photographs of 60 women’s genitals, and accompanying each woman’s photos is text written by the woman, detailing her challenges and/or successes as pertains to her relationship with her genitals. According to the website, there are two trans women included in the book (Ashley and Emily), and the book’s introduction says that the range of age is from 19 to 60. I notice a lot of piercings—more than I thought would be included—and that the majority of those photographed seem to be partially shaved or at least heavily trimmed, but there are some very full hairy bushes in there too.

It’s quite a beautiful book. I’m looking forward to bringing it to workshops and having it there for people to leaf through. Thank you, Show Off Books.