Posts Tagged ‘videos’
“Emotional landscapes / They puzzle me / Confuse …” Bjork sings in “Joga.” This has long been one of my favorite songs.
I am in love with the western United States, the pacific northwest in particular. If you followed my column on Eden Fantasys about my love affair with New York City, Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend, you may remember that I also wrote often about visiting Seattle or San Francisco or other cities and my ongoing draw to being out west.
There are amazing things about living in New York City, like the Public Square and the community and the lack of bullshit and the lack of people offering you sliding scale energy work when you’re crying on the subway, and in a hundred ways, New York has been the diamond I’ve cut and formed my adult self against. Not a lot of things have been hard enough for me to form against—Seattle certainly wasn’t. I wanted something more.
But the actual geographic land over here … has never quite been enough for me. I drive outside of New York City and into the Adirondacks or the Catskills—places people call mountains over here but that I tend to call “mountains” or, more accurately, hills—and into the rolling baby green hills of pastoral New England, and I can’t really separate the cliche picket fences and porches and quaint mailboxes with this puritanical moral ideal of the nuclear family, sexual shame, and policed gender roles.
The west, though … the Rockies … I have such a different relationship with the earth when I’m over there, when I’m looking at towering peaks on my morning commute, when I see the canyons and the deep green forests, the earth cut by water and carved out by glaciers. I feel so much more at home, so much more connected.
It’s in part because that is closer to my landscape of origin, that is closer to the drama of Southeast Alaska where I was literally created, birthed, and grew up.
But it’s partly something else, too. I think it’s partly because the grandeur, the sublimity of the west looks a lot more like my inner emotional landscape than the pastoral, serene east.
I talk about my “inner emotional world” or “emotional landscape” frequently. Lately, I’ve been talking about how many earthquakes it has endured, how much instability is in there now. Sometimes it helps to visualize the earth cracking apart, splitting, the magma of the earth spewing forth to destroy whatever structures I’ve put into place, like in that Joga video.
I like to talk about my emotional world in geographic metaphors. I’ve been deeply shaken this year. I’m still trying to clear the rubble and rebuild. A friend of mine recently said that she thinks the apocalypse—the impending end of the Mayan calendar, uh, tomorrow—actually is “all the hard stuff all at once” for everybody. It’s certainly true for me: the power dynamics in my life have dramatically shifted, my relationships have shifted, I woke up after a couple of months of being unconscious to find myself buried under a mountain of shit out of which I’m still trying to dig myself.
The sublime nature of the western United States matches my inner emotional landscape so much more than the east.
And if you’ll forgive the comparison, being out in the east feels incongruous almost in a transgender type of way—that my inner self does not match the outer surroundings, and I feel a serious disconnect. When the outer landscape matches my inner landscape, I feel integrated and whole in a much more comforting way.
Perhaps I should be aiming for more inner peace, inner calmness, such that the pastoral landscape surrounding me could be a goal, rather than a reflection. I don’t know about that. I’m a student of buddhism and tantra, and those lineages say that it’s not so much that I think our inner selves are peaceful, but that we separate our divine nature Self from the monkey mind self that is often chatter chatter chattering.
I don’t think a dramatic, sublime inner emotional landscape is bad. I think it’s real. I love being deeply in touch with emotions, experiences, divinity, the universe, energy, god, myself—whatever you want to label that. Lately, I have been incredibly reactive, moreso than I usually am, since my inner world has been such a disaster, but I usually have much more space between my reaction and my response, I usually have more control over my ability to respond, my response-aiblity if you will, and I am using all of my tools to lengthen the space between my reactions and my responses. (Meditation helps with that practice immensely.)
I’m getting better. Slowly waking up. Bringing myself back into alignment with these paths, my callings, my desires, following my goals, containing my time and energy and emotional landscapes. But I miss the west. I miss the mountains and valleys and deep lakes and rainforest. Sometimes I wish I was a better visual artist, that I could actually draw out an inner emotional landscape map, full of trails and paths and adventures, with maybe even a big X right over my heart to mark the treasure.
Following up Episode 1, “I Want to be Taken”, Kristen and I answered another question for y’all, this time about threesomes.
Raven asks, “Any advice for occasionally bringing in a third? While still maintaining full commitment to one another and with no one getting hurt?”
Hope it’s useful!
This week, my horoscope said: “You are likely to thrive to the degree that you precisely identify and vigorously harness your obsessions. Please note I’m not saying you should allow your obsessions to possess you like demons and toss you around like a rag doll. I’m not advising you to fall down in front of your obsessions and worship them like idols. Be wildly grateful for them; love them with your fiery heart fully unfurled; but keep them under the control of your fine mind.”
Some of my obsessions are books and music. I know that’s very broad, and I could say that more specifically, I am a bit obsessed with sexuality & gender books, with female singer-songwriters and queer artists, with people making art in this world that is “open and aware directly to the urges that motivate … Keep[ing] the channel open. … [A] queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive,” which is part of a Martha Graham quote I’ve had in my email signature most of this year.
In the spirit of being wildly greatful, of loving with my fiery heart fully unfurled and (at least somewhat) under the control of my find mind, here’s my favorite music from 2011 (books forthcoming!).
When my computer got kinda fucked up this past year and my buddy the genius fixed it for me, we spent a long time figuring out how to combine my external hard drives full of music and get it all onto a new internal hard drive, and one of the consequences was that, for a small period of time, I lost my play counts in iTunes. I use these constantly to gauge what tracks from an album are good, what I want to add to a mix, etc.
Thankfully, I love online services, like last.fm, which has been recording what I listen to since 2005, through three different laptops and three different itunes installations, and those stats are a bit more accurate than the makeshift restored best-possible-option version that I ended up with. So I went over my top artists of the year & top tracks of the year to figure out what I’ve been listening to in 2011.
Albums (somewhat in order):
Alexi Murdoch – Since Kristen & I watched the film “Away We Go,” I’ve been a little obsessed, and downloaded the soundtrack from 2009 and his album Time Without Consequences from 2006. Not a new release, but new to me.
Girlyman, Somewhere Different Now, the live recording, came out this year, which reintroduced me to Girlyman and I’ve been listening to their whole discography, really.
Melissa Ferrick, Still Right Here – Kristen wasn’t really a Ferrick fan, and my theory was that it was because she never saw her play live, and that her albums can’t quite capture her amazing performance ability. We went to see her this year, Kristen for the first time and me for the first time in more than six years, and my love for her music got a jolt. I looked up a few albums of hers I hadn’t heard yet and listened to them all. Freedom is still my favorite, but this new one has some great tracks.
Chris Pureka, How I Learned to See In the Dark – came out in 2010, but I listened to it a lot this year. I’ve never been a huge fan, though many people I know whose tastes are the same as mine in so many other respects love her, and I suspected it might be similar to Kristen’s Ferrick resistance—that I’ve never seen her live. So Kristen and I saw her perform in early 2011, and the show was okay. It did get me to spend much more time with her fine, fine guitar work, though, and to start looking up her lyrics more. She’s grown on me a lot.
Reid Jamieson, Staring Contest – I’m obsessed with his album of Elvis covers, the Presley Sessions, so I keep buying everything he comes out with, because his voice is so perfect.
Schuyler Fisk, Blue Ribbon Winner – I found her because of her duet with Joshua Radin, Paperweight, and this is her second solo album. It’s really beautiful.
Coyote Grace, Ear to the Ground – I love Joe’s voice and Ingrid’s bass. Saw them with Girlyman this year and that show was fantastic.
Wish “I’m On Fire” was on this new album. “I’m On Fire” is on their 2011 release Now Take Flight, which is apparently only available on CD Baby (not iTunes or Amazon yet), which is why I haven’t seen it. Downloaded today! (Thanks Ash, for telling me in a comment.)
Meshell Ndegeocello, Weather – I didn’t even know this existed until very recently, but I’ve been waiting for her to release another album like Bitter, and I think this is it. I’m pretty obsessed with Petite Mort—can you tell what she’s saying? “Who’s your daddy? You are. Who’s your daddy now?” Fucken love it.
kd lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Sing it Loud – I Confess was the first amazing thing, but then there was Sugar Buzz (and each time I type that my fingers automatically type “Sugarbutch,” that muscle memory, it’s weird, it can be ahead of my brain’s commands), and then there was kd live earlier this year, and I really love this album. If you haven’t heard “I Confess” yet, though you probably have because I’ve mentioned it here many times, she at one point sings, “I confess / I’ll be your Daddy” and I still. Just. Gahh.
Ellis, Right On Time – came out in 2010, and I downloaded it then, but I still can’t stop listening to it. It’s such a perfect album.
Tori Amos, Night of Hunters. I don’t really like to talk about how much I love Tori Amos. I make cryptic references to it on Sugarbutch sometimes, I put things on tumblr sometimes, but it’s funny, it feels too personal, too private, to write about here and expose. This is one of the most perfect albums I’ve ever heard, a return to her classical roots with a string quartet, and I saw her twice on the world tour, which was incredibly unique and featured many remakes with the quartet. I could say pages and pages more about this, but I’ll stop and be shy about it again now.
… Here’s a link to all of them in a playlist on YouTube if you’d like to put ‘em on in the background and keep reading or working or jacking off or whatever you’re doing.
Other notable albums, because I can’t not mention them, that I listened to over & over this year: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More, Adele – 21, Florence & the Machine – Ceremonials, Brett Dennen – Loverboy, Monsters of Folk, Wild Flag, Lucas Silveira – Mockingbird, Zoe Keating – Into the Trees, & Balmorhea – Constellations.
Did I miss your very favorite? I’d love to know what you are listening to that you think I might like. Always looking for more good music.
Kristen and I lucked out and got tickets to see k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang at Le Poisson Rouge last Thursday night. I love that venue, it’s small and classic; we saw Amy Ray play there a few months ago and that was my first time there, but I hope more queer folks come through there.
The concert was kind of last minute, and we already had a big week planned, with another concert on Saturday night (Coyote Grace & Girlyman!), a day-long workshop on Saturday, and of course full days of work during the week, but we couldn’t pass it up.
She ran down there and got in line early. I joined her just before they opened the doors and we hustled to the stage the moment we got inside, and stayed there. We were far right, isn’t that stage left?, in the very front, and I snapped some good photos.
Kristen and I ducked into the photo booth after the show. k.d. was SO CLOSE. The show was fantastic. Even The New York Times says so. I was a little giddy and high after, being so close and her amazing voice and awesome performance. I’ve seen her once before, but I was in the eighteenth balcony at Radio City Music Hall, and could barely see her, aside from the shape of her white suit and bare feet moving on stage. It was so different to be so up close. She looked even more familiar, like family, with her sweet and awkward and hot butch dancing and her shy smiles and flirty attention to the audience.
I’m still kind of obsessed over her newest album, Sing It Loud. I wrote about her evolving masculine style over at AfterEllen last week:
I have lots more to say about that, actually, but I haven’t had any time to organize my thoughts. And I’m about to leave for Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Madison tomorrow! I’ll update details on that “What’s Happening in April” page and on mrsexsmith.com when I have more of the exact details (I know the Madison workshop is still TBA—working on it!).
I’m loading up my ipod with k.d. tracks for the trip. I haven’t listened to Watershed in a while.
And while I got some pretty decent photos, I did notice quite a few folks around me taking video too, and lo and behold, the entire show is on YouTube. I remember these folks, with their phones and tiny cameras held up throughout the show—I was kind of hoping they would put them on YouTube, and kind of thinking they were being rude. At one point k.d. sang right into someone’s little device. I haven’t seen that one yet (maybe they were taking photos, not video?)—I don’t recall which song it was.
Almost all of the songs she did were from this new album, with the exception of “Constant Craving”, which sounded a bit different than it used to. I suggest listening to “I Confess,” “Constant Craving,” and “Sugar Buzz,” those three were especially amazing. But if you’ve got some time, and since I snagged the setlist from the electric guitarist’s station right in front of us, I know exactly the order she performed them all in, so you can watch it all, if you’d like, and pretend you were there with us. Read More
Who comes to mind when I say “queer porn expert”? For me, it’s Essin’ Em, aka Shanna Katz, queer femme and porn lover extraordinaire. Since I’ve known her, she’s worked at Hot Movies For Her, Eden Fantasys, and now Fascinations, and she’s traveled the country doing workshops—even recently one on feminist porn. She was glad to offer some suggestions for anal scenes in queer porn; here they are.
There is the Vai/Jiz Lee scene in CPS that I LOVE because it’s Vai’s first time giving anal play (especially strapping it on and fucking someone) to someone, and it’s just fabulously fun to watch her love it and experience it.
Then of course, there is that super hot queer gang bang in Roulette with Rozen DeBowe, who just takes it in all three holes (including using the Njoy Pure Wand) from three hot andro/butch/genderqueer studs, on a pool table, in the middle of the Mission. Hot hot hot (especially because I’ve now met half the cast AND been to there it was shot).
I LOVED the sceen in Couch Surfers: Trans Men in Action where Dex Hardlove DOUBLE anal fists two of his greedy pigs…with lube boy coming it, bandana on the face and all to add lube as needed. It inspired me so much that I re-enacted it, with vaginal fisting with two bottoms and my lube girl (bananda and all) during a fisting class in Denver last year.
I love Dylan Ryan and Madison Young’s “Spa Day Gone Horribly Wrong” type of scene on Everything Butt. Is it technically a queer porn producer? No, but Madison and Dylan made it hot and sexy queer porn regardless, and really queerifyed kink that day.
Of course, how can we forget the hot anal in the original Bend Over Boyfriend with Carol Queen? This often gets left out of queer line-ups, but to me, it’s some of the first, hot queer porn, and in this case, specifically anal. Pegging your lover’s ass really fucks with so many expectations and binaries, and Carol was doing it years before people were even talking about it.
Thanks, Essin’ Em! Whew—I’m almost done compiling my own list, I will have that to share with you all soon. I’ve got a few more things to watch first.
I really admire & adore Maymay.
He is one of the big minds behind both KinkForAll, which is an “unconference” of folks coming together to skill-share and discuss topics relating to kink and bdsm, and also Kink on Tap, which is a weekly internet video show where participants and special guests discuss the week in kink and what’s been going on in the media, as well as dozens of other things (tune in live at 8pm EST/5pm PST on Sunday nights at live.kinkontap.com and chat with other folks watching it in the chatroom!).
And like I mentioned, I attended KinkForAll Providence this past weekend. Kristen and I drove up from New York City for just the day, and we co-presented a workshop on Gendering Power (the short version—only twenty minutes—and I’ll be doing it full-length at the LSM here in New York City a few weeks!). And of course I saw many fantastic workshops—they are only twenty minutes long, in unconference style, very compact and specific, so you gotta really be precise about what you want to get across, and go for it.
Maymay’s was phenomenal. It’s called “On Dichotomies that (No Longer) Jail Me” and it kinda blew my brain. Now that I’ve re-watched it (and read along), I think it’s even more brilliant, and I highly urge you to set aside just twenty minutes, sometime today, and watch it.
The full text is available over at Maymay’s blog, which you should possibly follow along with in a side-by-side window situation when you finally watch this video of his presentation. There were so many parts that I loved, but in particular, this quote:
People speak of ’sexual morality,’ but that is a misleading expression. There is no special morality for sex. No matter what you do with yourself, whether you go to bed with girls or with boys, and no matter what it occurs to you to do with them or with yourself, no moral rule applies to that sphere of activity other than the principles that govern every aspect of life: honesty, courage, common humanity, consideration. —Jens Bjørnboe
[And then Maymay goes on to say:] What Jens understood that I think is so valuable is that people who dichotomize consensual sexual activity into obscene and decent acts also tend to approach morality as a dichotomy; they couple obscene with immoral and decent with moral. Indeed, Jens sees that the failure to recognize one false dichotomy actually blurs one’s view of which other dichotomies are true and which are not. On the other hand, when you begin to see the gradations between things you once simplistically believed were absolutes, you empower yourself to break out of all false dichotomies.
Now, before I go any further, it’s important to mention that false dichotomies are not inherently bad things; they can be useful, as I mentioned, and they can be a lot of fun. Case in point, I think dichotomies of power are really fucking sexy! Specifically, I have always loved (and still love) playing—but not being—powerless. That is, I enjoy being sexually submissive.
Trouble is, I’m a man. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: DUH! Thing is, the fact that I’m a man wasn’t always clear to me. In fact, thanks to this really strong tendency that false dichotomies, when we incorrectly believe they are true, have of reinforcing one another, for the longest time I thought I was actually a woman! Yeah! Let me tell you why.” —Read the full text over at Maymay’s blog!
Maymay goes on to explain what I’ve called identity alignment assumptions, though in a much more illustrative and specific way than I ever did in that post. Dichotomies can be so jailing, so harmful, so specific—but we also have an infinite number of tools we can use to break out of those and come into ourselves, fully.
Watch it. Seriously. This is really good stuff.
And because Maymay has been working probably non-stop since Saturday to get these videos working and live, here are a few more talks from KinkForAll Providence which were PHENOMENAL.
In this KinkForAll Providence presentation, Marty, Brown University Alumn (Class of 2008), reads from his impassioned graduate college application personal statement. “One reason I have chosen to out myself is to legitimize my identity and the identities of those I care about,” he says. By the end of obtaining his linguistics undergraduate degree at Brown University, Marty was already an accomplished sexuality freedom advocate. While in high school, he started a date-rape awareness theatre troupe, he helped found and run an ongoing male sexuality workshop at Brown University, and wrote a sex education and advice column for a local newspaper. Now, he works at Planned Parenthood in Boston and volunteers for Men Against Sexism.
I’m looking forward to talking to Marty more, especially about masculinity and his work as a sexuality freedom advocate. I think that might make for a great Radical Masculinity interview, don’t you?
If you were following my twitter stream over the weekend, you also know that Kristen and I got to spend some time hanging out with Megan Andelloux, and her two talks were fantastic. She recently opened The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, Rhode Island—and she showed us around! It is such a cool space, if I lived closer I would go hang out there all the time, read a book on the comfy couches or browse my RSS reader and chat with the visitors about what’s going on in the world of sex. If you’re anywhere nearby, I urge you to check it out.
But it wasn’t as easy as just “hey, I’m going to open a center, kthxbye!”—Megan was threatened and barricaded from opening for more than five months. In her second talk at KinkForAll, she explained what happened, and how she fought it—and won. Check it out:
When Megan Andelloux wanted to open the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, RI, “freaked out” residents barricaded her opening for 5 months and the local police threatened to arrest her. At KinkForAll Providence, 1 week after Megan’s education center opened, she gives a talk about the “sex panic” that swept the state and captured national headlines. Megan tells of a University of Rhode Island professor who waged a “war” to stop her from educating adults about sex, how locals demanded that “we should outlaw sex!” and how Megan fought for your sexual freedoms—and won! Learn more about Megan Andelloux at OhMegan.com and about the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health at TheCSPH.org
I hear there’s talk for a KinkForAll NYC3 sometime soon. And as always, find out more than you probably need to know on the KinkForAll wiki.
This has been played & overplayed on the blogs I read this week, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you must. I love the conviction in his voice, the passion, the drive. Bottle just a thumbnail of that and keep it wrapped in your chest when you need respite.
We can do this, we can get through this, we can fix this, we can change this.