Saturday, 23 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive September 03, 2008, 12:35:32 PM

stone femme shoes archive
September 03, 2008, 12:35:32 PM

Only a few more days before I fly to Serbia. :D

Im REALLY looking forward to seeing my friends, I miss them A LOT.
Im already nervous and dreading the volatile collective arguments…but as one of my friends said ‘best to accept that this will happen as a certainty and just know that…of course this always happens'. so yippee...more yelling.  ::)

Im still writing the scripts (or not writing as the case maybe) and im still short of a performer – but fuck it – I will do the bloody thing myself if I have to. dresses up in best 'gay man' drag

Slowly reaching that point where worry, stress, ....whatever....
– the craziness will take over and we will just be IN IT – DOING IT.

So much good stuff seems to be happening at the moment,
The Turkish group KAOS-GL publish a large article about us online this week with another version coming out in their hard copy magazine later this month.
…….maybe….just maybe...... we will take the ‘border fuckers’ cabaret to turkey!!!

For the festival itself im so happy with what we have put together,
Within our theme of ‘direct action’ we have our opening night cabaret, bands, parties…..but also a gathering of anti-fa groups from around the region with people attending from Russian, Belarus and turkey – its so fucking good to be able to invite people to come to the festival from places where Beograd looks luxurious and easy in comparison!

and host some closed “queers of colour’ meetings – one for Roma only, the other open to all queers of colour – its very good that we have an opportunity to provide space for this – issues of race are so often raised in queer spaces – yet so seldom really addressed.

Theres also the likelihood that there will be another small more ‘closed group’ talk for people wanting to come from wider Europe to explore surgery options for transition in Serbia.

In the four years we have been working together as a group we have come a LONG WAY.
I feel proud.


On the not so good side of things I got this information today


"darlings
yesterday m got a call from a journalist from the free daily newspaper, who was asking around about the festival.. and even though m explained that we do not communicate with media until after the festival, and that any articles could affect our own and participants safety, the stupid idiot published the text..
not only that - it was on the front page!

in short, the headline is: "The 5th clandestine gay festival from 18-21st September"
its not homophobic, but very much sensationalist and stupid.. they published our web site address and most of the info they took from the web site..
for now, we expect that tabloids also write about it in next days, so for now, we send emails to LGBT lists and individual activists not to respond to possible calls from media.

hopefully by next week it will be old news

does anyone have any more ideas on how to react on this?"


this is really the first time we have been 'outed' by the media - in the past we have worked very hard to keep things underground - to carefully choose our public moments so as not to set ourselves up for violence. its funny in a way because this year our confidence has grown so much that we are considering some more 'direct action' style public events.....
but where we get to plan properly in advance, organize so we come out on top.

so yeah...as ive said before the idea of fascists frightens me...but hell...thats life.

i guess i'd better pack practical shoes  ;)




Friday, 22 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive August 28, 2008, 09:41:29 PM

stone femme shoes archive
August 28, 2008, 09:41:29 PM

strangely........while spending a lot of time  working to have inclusive spaces, not nessecarily identifying with the label 'woman' and reading reading reading about 'post human' stuff i seem to have written a script that i can only describe as very 'second wave' ..uh weird

and theres the thing i have my roots in that sort of feminism, the eighties - yeah i was there - and women only spaces, the whole woman identified thing was pretty important to me at the time. altho it was also something that also sowed the roots of dissent for me. as much as i loved the feeling of safety i found in womens spaces i also found they excluded ME - because i was femme, because i had relationships with men, because i wasn't happy to live according to the sisterhood and all its very arbitrary rules. i dont want to live according to dogma.

when im in serbia i find i have even LESS visibility as a gender queer femme than i have in london. i spend loads of time outing myself to people and having to explain who i am just so i have some sort of context to live in. second wave is alive and kicking in that part of the world. many schisms have occured between our queer movement and the traditional feminists....but i have friends who i respect within that feminist movement and i want to maintain those links, not take part in a continual fragmenting of movements.

i value the work done by women who have that politics, the womens centres, the crisis lines, the shelters, the education programmes - so much pioneering work to be proud of!

the script i have just written is about womens stories during the war, (bosnia and kosovo) particularly the under stories of women exchanging information and building solidarity through the 'womens' practice of talking, maintaining communication. and my performer for this script is a women who works in the crisis centre that originally was so much a part of the anti war effort and worked to set up rape crisis centres in solidarity with bosnian women.

there are some points made about partriarchy and its part in wars.......

and always it is the difficulty of how to name real problems, real links between nationalism, patriarchy and militarism and how NOT to fall into the easy way of saying 'oh this is a mens issue'. because i also know that it is about a culture, a way of behaving, an indoctrination a nationalist war machine....that many people fought against.

so much of our focus as a collective in beograd is to build an open and inclusive space where we can ALL be together and have some NEW freedom to be ourselves.

how to acknowledge what exists, and yet to move forwards. most often it appears that in order to move forward we have to go back to the roots and pull all this mess apart, over and over again.

.....the other thing is i dont know how the hell to make this  funny, - yes i managed to make the story about the srebrenica massacre contain funny elements - but this - jesus - i just dont know. PHEW.........fucking politics aye. ::)


Thursday, 21 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive August 27, 2008, 02:02:23 PM

stone femme shoes archive
August 27, 2008, 02:02:23 PM

well this might all seem a little melodramatic - but what the fuck - its where im at.

eggshells......its only 2 weeks till i go to beograd and im starting to feel nervous...as if i am walking on eggshells

its always hard to tell what the situation will be in beograd but i am worried.
thats nothing new, the whole time ive been going there ive been scared, sometimes crazy scared - worried about walking in the streets - ruled by my own fears of 'what if'.
other times just scared in a more abstract sense, of what the fuck might be happening with the country and its politics this time.

so yeah the various worries i have had at one time or another: that some homophobe will beat me for being gay, that some homophobe will beat my lover for being gay, that we will fail to pass as a straight couple and be beaten for being gay, that tension between serbia and kosovo will spill over and another war will start, that anti western feeling will spill over and another war will start, that my friends will be hurt for any of those reasons, that my friends are stressed out for all of those reasons and i worry for their mental state, that my friends will be hurt because of the colour of their skin/nationality/accent...being different.

and i dont want to be a drama queen, yes there are worse places in the world, much more dangerous and risky situations - but this IS the one that i work in. i have chosen to be part of and keep working with 'queer beograd' collective in serbia. and as i said before - its so hard to tell what the situation will be.

believe me i LOVE the anti climax when there is NO violence...i have no problem with that aspect of a quiet life.

so for this particular festival one of the topics we approach is anti facism - following on from a bit of a falling out on an antifascist demo last year over the issue of homophobia - we have made it our focus to try and BUILD links with the antifascist movement, to strengthen that connection so we can stand together.

today a friend advised me that maybe we should not be publicising the topic 'antifascism' on our web site...as this might make us a target. this kind of stuff makes me feel sick - i want to carry on getting away with it, i DONT want to have a face to face confrontation with guys who are bigger than me, who want to beat me or destroy our gathering....that thought terrifies me.

i keep thinking of my friend who used to dream of fascists every night when the festival was happening. i dont want to be afraid, i dont know how not to be afraid.

and then on the other hand i have some other story going on - quite different, personal - but limiting in its own way. i have been having the hardest time motivating myself to write the shows for the opening night of our festival. procrastination - endless hours of NOT doing the thing that i love the most....
and as i look underneath this writers block i find my own self destruction - those horrible internal voices that tell me 'shut up you have nothing to say' or 'shut up everyone will hate what you have to say anyway' or 'dont bother, what you do means NOTHING'....and worst of all recognizing a part of myself that wants only my own destruction - the part of myself that cannot see that i have a right to be who i am, to carry on creating the person who i believe i am.

some how this external force and this internal force must balance and serve to work each other out. because surely i write and live the way i do as an act of survival, those fucking bastards/the haters who do not want my type of person to exist, in their own way serve to keep me alive...... because i am one of those people so self destructive that i need to fight an outside force to keep my feet on the planet.

so yes - just for today - i will win against fear......and i will carry on writing.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive August 19, 2008, 08:57:53 PM

stone femme shoes archive
August 19, 2008, 08:57:53 PM

hmmm....writing is not going very fast at the moment - well not the creative stuff anyway, tho yesterday i edited down a 8,000 word interveiw that tom cruise and i did for the turkish LGBT mag Kaos GL to just over 4,000 words so we can use it in the queer beograd book and picked the photos from transfab for the book. today i rewrote the intro for the section on trans stuff and also rewrote two short pieces describing the performances we do. *ahem* all of this while at 'the day job' YIKES ...no wonder i always look busy while at work.  :-\


and ive been thinking of the two particular people that refers to.....both of whom taught me so much about being a woman*.

that may seem strange but my family upbringing taught me a lot of weird things about being a girl...mostly stuff based on being dependent on some one else for income/safety/anything

.....so it wasnt until i met Crystal and Lucretia that i was introduced to the idea of behaving with FIERCE dignity, being unafraid and unashamed of my sexuality and getting out there and 'FLAUNTING IT GIRRRRL'

these girls were TOUGH, but in the way of having pride in who they were, carrying on being fabulous despite physical threats, verbal abuse, dirty looks, all the shit of being out in public in a small town....

Crystal especially always carried  herself like a queen - over 6' tall and at least 20 stone she was an imposing figure. i can still remember her oft repeated words 'honey, dont ever mess with a drag queen'  from her i learned to walk tall and if anyone had anything to say to me ...to turn and look them in the eye....

Lucretia was a slightly different kind of girl - i remember celebrating with her when late in life she decided to begin transition. sitting the kitchen table one day we were talking about learning to feel good about ourselves. of breaking the habit of low self esteem and not appreciating our own looks. i was talking about looking back at pictures of myself in my early 20's seeing that i was pretty! which was SO different from how i felt about myself at the time. she was talking about looking at pictures of herself as a young guy, thinking 'hmmm, not bad, i could fancy him' ...how we both never appreciated what we had at the time. from that point on i swore to always find some way to feel good about my looks....to stop listening to the mental shite that told me anything else.

i would sit with them as they sewed sequins and feathers onto elaborate costumes for hours at a time, we would do 'girly' stuff together, enjoying dressing up, being glam, from them i learned it was ok to be LOUDER and more full on....because growing up i had always been taught to tone it down.

we would talk about relationships, the pleasure and pain of romance....talking about men one time Lucretia said 'bloody hell sweets men.....to think i used to be one!'

one night when i was broken hearted after another disastrous romance i went to Lucretia for help.....and she did the greatest thing for me of all....she handed me a camera, a beautiful 6x4 meduim format SLR pentax. a talented photographer herself she knew that the best thing, the only thing she could really do for me was push me towards creating something for myself.

that night i went home and for the first time ever consciously dressed in drag...more make up that i would ever wear in public, an outfit that felt risque at the time, shiny gold shoes, my hair slicked down....the pictures were titled 'tonight i feel like a drag queen'.
thats when i began to be Femme.




*A term I have a complex relationship with.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive August 11, 2008, 08:11:58 PM

stone femme shoes archive
August 11, 2008, 08:11:58 PM

Today i booked my flight to Beograd....so in a few weeks i will be setting off again to Serbia for our little QueerBeograd festival.

in the meantime ive been starting work on a few of the things that need to be done -

every year we make a book that contains transcripts of the political discussions we hold as part of the festival. last year the panel discussion of sex work fell into a million confusing and horrible pieces midway through  :-\ it was one of those nightmare facilitation moments - i had stepped in at the last minute because the person supposed to be facilitating was ill.
i turned to the next speakers ....and through an interpreter asked 'so do you want to share your story' ....to which the person replied 'well actually we're not sex workers, perhaps there has been a mistake.

i have to say at that point the world kinda FROZE for me..... its the kind of fuck up that makes you want to just disappear through the floor but i had to think of something FAST just to get us through to the other side ...
it was very hard to tell what the situation was: perhaps the person who invited them to the panel had completely stuffed up, perhaps they had at the last minute decided they were not comfortable with being 'out' (the speaker prior to them had just been talking about how there are no sex workers speaking publically in serbia as advocates for workers rights because of issues with safety) perhaps we had been totally off the mark .......anyway it was BAD.

...some how in yet another disaster the sound technician didn't record the very fruitful - energetic - argumentative - debate that wound up the discussion....with some of the audience choosing to out themselves as sex workers and speaking very articulately on the political necessities and realities of sex worker rights.

and now im trying to stitch the whole debacle together into something readable that makes political sense! and doesn't make us look like complete and utter bastards.

*ponders, ponders some more* for the moment im drawing a blank on that one. ::)


im also starting to think about writing the shows/finding performers for our opening night.
im so happy that our berlin guy who came to transfabulous will join us in beograd and do his  show again. my friend in amsterdam will also come to beograd and and we are chatting about his long history as a no borders/human rights activist - tho i want to see him perform whatever we come up with in character as the handsome rockabilly gay boy he is.

i finally want to write a story that made a strong impression on me when i first went to beograd - of the cooperation between women in serbia and bosnia during the war.
while i was visiting the autonomous womens centre - a kind of crisis centre dealing with rape and domestic violence against women - one of the women there told me about how the first rape crisis centres were set up in bosnia with the help of  women in serbia. the women were only able to communicate over the phone. women in serbia  had been trained in workshops in amsterdam, and passed on their knowledge to the women in bosnia who were trying to deal with the many cases of rape resulting from the war. its such a beautiful and powerful story. and im pleased to have one of the women who works in the centre agree to perform the script...now i just have to write it.

funny how hard it is to start sometimes....i dont know what it is i wait for, im always a little tierd, anxious, afraid that the words wont do justice to the story, that it wont 'come'.
but yes how can i NOT tell such a story...its such a privilege.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive August 07, 2008

stone femme shoes archive
August 07, 2008



O.M.G.....

its happening, ive started to meet more gender queer femmes!!!!
i wrote in an earlier post about meeting some one and them saying 'before i met you i thought i was the only one' well now im meeting more and more people. its crazy cos it feels like we have all been having this similar experience of being who we are, kinda struggling with that, wondering if we are totally crazy but just doing it anyway...

and then oops - bump - 'hello! wow!...you're like me!!'.

it means so much to be able to say to another person 'yes i know what you are talking about' to recognize that look on another persons face when they talk about femme...the anticipation of pissed off or dismissive looks from other people.....except this time - its recognition, acceptance, interest and excitement!

PHEW

im still pinching myself wondering if this is real and ive made contact with something like a DOZEN femmes who are walking the wire, doing some pretty wild and different takes on gender ...this is like a dream...feels like the beggining of a very happy and FUCKED UP fairy story. YAY!!

Friday, 8 July 2016

stone femme shoes archive August 05, 2008

stone femme shoes archive
August 05, 2008

WOW......stockholm was AMAZING!!!!!

exhausting, crazy, emotional...but so much FUN. and part of what made it that way is because the gender queer playhouse crew are so good to each other - there doesn't seem to be much in the way of yelling, bitching or competition...unlike many back stages...on this tour everyone is polite, caring and supporting each other.

i like traveling with other people who know the way! it makes me less anxious about some how missing the flight/being abducted by aliens/being arrested for carrying an illegal quantities of hair products.

wednesday: so.......go into stockholm late afternoon after a hideous 5am start *shudder* went straight to a crew meeting to discuss the plan for the next few days - during which i mostly concentrated on staying in my chair and not toppling over sideways.
then went to rehearse for fridays show as miss dotty and i were trying out new material....which consisted of a lot of me saying 'so then i do this but with a LOT more energy...and i promise i will learn my lines by then'

thursday: morning crew meeting, then jog to our first talk...a short break in which i desperately try to learn my lines, then we jog to our next talk, then straight on to sound check. a short fight with the sound technician who suggests i am going to tape the radio mic to my face with a large piece of white sticking plaster - which makes me look like im posing for one of those gangster albums  ::) (well apart from the long blonde wig and the tonne of make up) -i refuse his suggestion......then totter off to hang around back stage (more desperate learning of lines) till its SHOW TIME.
i think we are all a bit nervous as to what the swedish audience will make of us, but they are fantastic - they laugh (in the right places), the applaud, they cheer.....and during the last show they cry!

friday: stagger painfully to the morning crew meeting, go and sit in on the first talk, jog to the next talk and do a quick dance rehearsal during sound check (the only dance rehearsal) - then adlib and bullshit our way through the show...which seems to go ok -
'sexual positions for a politically correct revolution' featuring indecency and violence ;D
some one mentions afterwards that they can feel the people next to them alternating between flinching and laughing.
then.....we run to sound check for the club night.........
where it seems our plans for the evening have gone a little awry as the club has a rule of 'no naked female nipples' (cue massive debate amoung the crew as to what constitutes a 'female' nipple) and no food to be eaten off skin. being the compliant, adult, non-rebellious people that we are we spend the rest of the sound check devising a short show that breaks these rules as many times and in as many different ways as possible!
so the whatever show is full of strap ons, bare flesh, NIPPLES of all genders taped and untaped, food substances on naked skin, whipped cream licked off of latex breasts.
..........goes down a storm with the crowd and i had a great time.

saturday its pride - and of course it pisses down with rain, still its nice to be part of such a big parade. then its the after party - just the crew and friends, im expecting a quiet one - but after so much tension, hard work and a lack of sleep everyone goes mad! after a particulary revolting story the entire room gets a fit of the gigles that has us all laughing and crying hysterically for about 15 minutes (no drugs involved) people keep walking into the room  - looking freaked out and leaving quickly, then there is the belly fight, people leaping bellies exposed across the room to collide mid jump and....fiercest of all...the femme arm wrestling competition - where the competitors have to arm wrestle and apply lipstick to their opponent at the same time.....i witnessed the co-chairs of FTM london in a terrible display of underhand fighting....the lowest move of all....smearing lipstick on your opponents glasses!

sunday....lots of bleak staggering around, buying emergency gifts at the airport, getting on a plane and staggering off the other side.

phew.....
so that was stockholm  ;D ;D ;D

im going to take a bit of time off this week, then its time to start writing and preparing to go to  beograd.  :P