Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Speedy Holiday Wishes

Photo by my wife Laura

I had planned something longer and more involved for this update but honestly (and I mean this in the best way possible) I had better things to do. It's our first Christmas in our own house and it's also the first Christmas where we haven't been running around to see either my or my wife's family. This is truly when we get to start setting the holiday traditions that we'll be keeping for years down the road, so I was not about to stop in the middle of this holiday revelry and say "give me an hour to make suggestions about what to give a tranny for Christmas." Maybe next year.

Anyways I want to be sure to wish anybody and everybody who actually reads this thing a Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Hanukkah and a Joyful Solstice. And if you don't celebrate any of those... well at least try to have yourself a Happy New Year. I'll be downing a whole bottle of champagne and with a little luck the rest of that night will be a blur of debauchery. See you next year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home Ownership and First Time in LA

Welcome to our home!

Well it's FINALLY over, Laura and I are now happily in debt for the next 30 years so that we can be home owners. Actually it's been official for a few weeks now, but we haven't had the chance to move into the house yet because there's renovation work that needs to be finished before we can live in it. However that should be finished enough for us to move in next weekend. Needless to say we're extremely excited. The process has been nothing short of a nightmare but it finally did have the desired outcome.

In other news, a friend's wedding in California afforded me my very first trip to Los Angeles. I've been to California a number of times in my life, much of my family lives up in the northern part of the state. However I'd never had occassion to venture down into southern California before now. I honestly wasn't sure that I was going to like it. Four years in New York kind of burned me out on cities in general for the time being and I had never really had much desire to go to LA before. Sure I'm a movie nut and there's that aspect to it but the city never really held any appeal to me as a visitor or tourist.

Well I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised. LA turned out to be a much more worthwhile place to visit than I would have thought. Since we only had a couple of days in LA itself before heading further south for the wedding we did the most generic tourist things. We drove on Mullholand Dr and saw houses that probably have minimum down payments that are more than our entire new house cost. We walked along Hollywood Blvd and Laura got to walk the same beat as Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" (from Fred Astaire to Ella Fitzgerald for those who don't know.) We went to Grauman's Chinese Theater and I found out I have the same size hands as Humphry Bogart (though I'm sure I look much better in a dress.) We went to Venice Beach and a few other places, having a pretty good time overall.

A few general thoughts about LA. I know I could never live there because I quickly found myself having love/hate issues with many aspects of the city. For example I think it is a city where you really look just about any way you want and get away with it. When we went to lunch at a restaurant we were seated by a guy with multiple facial piercings, hair that was bleach blond on one side and black on the other and had a green contact in one eye and a blue contact in the other. He was trying to hard obviously but the fact that he could get away with that is awesome. At the same time I think probably the fastest way to get an inferiority complex about how you look would be to move to LA. I thought it was bad in New York but the emphasis on body image over there is insane. It's all encompassing and yet somehow intangible, it's just a vibe the whole place has. The fact that anybody who wasn't shopping seemed to be jogging might have been part of it.

"California: bordering always on the Pacific and sometimes on the ridiculous." - George Carlin

Another odd mixed aspect to LA is it's general attitude towards the seedier sides of life. Take Hollywood Blvd, only a few blocks down from the major tourist traps (and right near most of the parking) are porn and fetish clothing stores. No secrets, right there for all to see. Sure New York had them too but they were more hidden away, kept to the less reputable streets. LA by contrast wears it's sleaze on it's arm, which I kind of admire. However this open acceptance of what some consider "daker" sides of humanity has a flip side. Namely I saw more obvious drug addicts in two days in LA than I saw in four years living in New York. In a way it felt worse that the problem was right there for all to see rather than being hidden away, especially since Los Angelinos are clearly so good at ignoring this particular problem.

All that said it was a fun place to visit and I do hope to get another chance to go there and maybe spend a little more time. Actually California in general is a place I'd like to spend more time in, and I probably would if flying wasn't both expensive and a big pain in the ass. Oh well, that's it for now. I'm not sure when I'll get another update since I'll be occupied with moving things and then the holidays, but we'll see.

Friday, November 26, 2010

One Foot in the Closet

Lately I've been finding myself with a slightly odd feeling... and I'm starting to realize that in some ways the life I'm leading now is the closest I've ever been to being in the closet. The annoying thing is that I know it's really just all in my own head and there's nothing being done to me by anybody to oppress or repress me. Yet the feeling lingers.
Mainly the issue just has to do with living in a small town. When we were in New York I could be safely be pretty out with who I am. Granted I avoided going out the front door in dress just due to our immediate neighborhood, but other than that I didn't really care who saw me or what they thought. However that mentality doesn't work in a small town, gossip spreads quickly. While in the big city you're likely to never see the same people again just walking around. In a smaller town you're going to keep running into the same people over and over... and they tend to remember that time you were wearing 4" heels.

Undercover Tranny! Photo by Millie Acosta

The feeling of being semi-closeted has been creeping in over the past few months. There's a couple of factors I feel. The first is how few people know about this side of my life. There's Laura of course, my mother... and that's pretty much it. Some of my long time friends know but not the ones who live around here (as they mostly fall into the "lost touch and maybe will reconnect" category of friend.) So when somebody who I either have only gotten to know since moving back or I just haven't been seen in a long and can't gauge a reaction asks me what I did in New York I'm forced to censor myself. There's a whole chunk of my life New York that I don't get to share because I can't be sure how people will take it. Whereas in New York if they didn't like it they could screw off, here there just aren't enough people to get away with that attitude (at least not until I'm more settled in.) And in truth a big part of getting people to accept this side of me is to make sure that they get to know me in a more general sense, so that the fact that I'm a drag queen doesn't become what defines me to them.
I still feel no shame at all for who I am but for the sake of making day to day life easier it just doesn't make sense to be as out as I was in New York. It's actually part of the overall Vermont mentality. In reality even if it gets around that I crossdress (and eventually it probably will) nobody is really going to care so long as I'm not walking down mainstreet. I live in a state which is populated by a fairly even mix of rednecks who've been here forever and the hippies who started coming up in the 1960s. The two generally don't get along in most settings but they do ok here by adopting a general attitude of "as long as it's in your own house I don't really give a damn who you do."

Photo by Millie Acosta

I'm not really living my life any differently. I still dress at home from time to time. I still get out to dress every now and then. Yes my location has changed but I really do think that I've developed a mental block that's making me feel more repressed than I actually am (which I'm really not repressed at all.) I think it'll help some when Laura and I finally close on this house and have a place that is truly our own. I'm so done with shared space.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It Gets Better

There's obviously been a great deal of attention in the news about the suicides of bullied teenagers. I wanted to contribute in my own way to the cause and share my own experiences. Because it does get better.

I debated myeslf for a while on whether or not I'd made a video like this. For a while I told myself that there were so many others making these videos that they didn't really need my story. But the more I thought about it it occured to me that perhaps my story might reach somebody who isn't connecting to the other videos out there. I think the reality is that I was just scared to open up and it was something I needed to get over and just do this. There's the chance this could really help somebody. And even if it doesn't another voice in the mix of people trying to help isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When it Rains it Pours... and You Get Struck by Lightning

I've been trying to do weekly updates on this thing and I've fallen a bit behind. While I don't normally like to make excuses, there has been plenty of reason for that. I told myself when I started this blog I wanted to avoid it me just relaying day to day crap. I feel very strongly that my daily life is dull as hell 90% of the time. That's not a complaint, it's just a fact. I go to work, I come home, I watch tv with my wife, I go to sleep. That's my day most of the time. I also prefer not to use this blog as a place to bitch and moan unless I feel I have a point to make. Well forgive me but this will be a bit of a bitch session, but at this point I need it.

Lately it just feels like an inordinant amount of shit has gone wrong. Not irrevocably wrong, all of it is manageable but all of it happening at once just hasn't been a fun few weeks. Followers of this blog might remember that my wife and I have been working on buying a house, well we're still trying to get it closed. That in and of itself has been an on going headache, seriously trying to get everything that's needed in place is like having a second job (well first job now, but more on that later.)

Photo by Laura

Part of the headache is that because we're buying a foreclosed house the company that owns it puts all kinds condensed timelines and potential penalties in place just because they can. The big one is that if we miss our closing date (which is in less than a week) they will charge us $100 a day. Obviously we've been working our asses off to get finished by the closing date, but there's been an odd delay because of our plumber. A little context: we're getting home improvement costs built into our loan so we have a contractor and a plumper lined up. The plumper was brought in seperate from the general contractor because he came recommended by our realtor. He gave us a quote and everything we needed, he just had to fax a copy of his plumbing liscense to the bank giving us the loan so they could validate him. Well he never did, which seemed odd but whatever so I called him and left him a message asking him to do that. And so did the realtor. And it didn't happen. It never happened. After a week of messages. Well with the deadline coming up we said screw it and got a plumper through our general contractor and now we think we know why he never called back. He underbid the job by about $2000, and probably panicked when he realized that. So now we're lined up with a new plumber through the general contractor and just hoping to have everything sorted out by closing. If we do end up incurring charges for missing the closing I plan to take the first plumper to court because the only reason we're running late is that we were waiting for him.

Yesterday at my job everybody was called into an unexpected meeting. We were told that the office was being closed down effective immediately, peace out and good luck. Maybe not those words but that was the gyst of it. There was a bit of crying in the office from many of the full time permanent employees. Now it makes sense that they were dragging their feet on transitioning me from temp to perm even after six months: permanent works get severance and temps just get sent back to their placement agencies. This one is more a nuasance than anything else, and thankfully not as derailing as job loss can be. Because our lending officer working on our home loan knew my job was still technically a temp position my income was never factored in when our loan terms were set up. So thankfully this doesn't affect the purchase of the house. It does put me back on umemployment and back on the job hunt. Work isn't exactly plentiful around here, and with the office shut down there's now 50 other people with similar qualifications and experience to me also looking for jobs.

And to round out the week I hit a deer coming back from the cast party with Laura on Sunday. I've never hit a deer before and when people say that at night they come out of nowhere it is not an exaggeration. While I'm very grateful that neither myself or Laura were hurt and the car sustained minimal damage it still shook me up rather badly. To see a deer bounce off the front fender of your car is frankly a little traumatic. And I use the word bounce literally, the deer flew off onto the side of the road in a way that was almost cartoonish... which somehow made it more horrifying.

I'm hoping that the rule of three applies and that this week will basically fill my bad shit quota for a while. Sorry this turned into a "poor me" mope-fest but sometimes you just have to get it out. Hopefully something a little more cheery next time around.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can LGBT Have Too Much Pride?

So elections are over (thank God!) and while I'm no longer living in New York I'm very grateful that Carl Paladino was crushed in the election. Now for anybody who wasn't following this, Paladino said more than a few not very nice things about gay and alternate life styles. The man is a bigot clearly, but some of the things he said also got me thinking. Now I have to be really careful with how I word this, because if I say it wrong I'm going to get my ass kicked. I might anyways actually but I think this needs to be said.

At this point I believe that the LGBT community is causing some of it's own problems in regards to how we are perceived by the public. It's a thought I've had in the past but it's been sparked again by Paladino. In his attempts to justify his decrying of gays he cited over and over again an experience his family had in Montreal. Apparently he was on vacation there with his family during that city's Gay Pride. To use his words they "went around a corner and there were all these guys in thongs grinding on each other." Now that man is a bigot, and regardless of what he saw or says it should be used to justify his bigotry. However at the same time I think it highlights a big problem, which is how the public perceives the LGBT community.

There is a very high percentage of people in this country who don't know (or at least aren't aware that they know) somebody who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. This means that their perception of the members of that community is dictated by news, entertainment and what we ourselves put out there. And if the dominant image of LGBT is gay men in thongs grinding on each other in public, is it really any wonder that so many people are afraid of us? Please understand, I'm not knocking pride. I think the feeling of pride and all of the Pride events that take place across the country are very important. The problem is that middle America does not understand that it's like our Halloween, or our Mardi Gras, or our Las Vegas. Basically it doesn't count: it's when we really go nuts because we can. But 99% of the time we're not in ass-less chaps groping each other on Main Street, and that's what people like Paladino need to be made to understand. Until they get that when we're not at Pride events that we're just like everybody else they're going to continue to fear us. Some people always will but there are those out there who only see these aggressive in -your-face antics and then is it any wonder that they start to think we're recruiting their children?

It feels to me like the LGBT community is in a similar place to where the black community was in the 1970s. It's true that there was certainly a rise in the appearance of blacks in film and on television but they were playing walking stereotypes. There couldn't just be a black character, they had to come from the ghetto and/or be a pimp with their own funk soundtrack. I feel like we're in the same place where there are more gay character in film and television than ever before. However they're there to just be stereotypically gay, basically it's gay-sploitation. What's more we're doing it ourselves. LOGO TV may be the worst offender with shows like The A-list just cashing in on the most shallow and stereotypical amongst us.

I realize it may sound like I'm picking on gay men. It's not my intention but it's clear that they are the most visible part of the LGBT community, which also is part of the problem. Lesbians are represented in pop culture primarily by The L Word (which as a premium show wasn't seen by that many people) and Ellen Degeneres. Bisexuals are undermined even within the community and in pop culture have had to make due with people like Tila Tequila, clearly a damaging image to have out there. Trangendered people are almost totally ignored in pop culture aside from the occassional cheap cross-dressing joke on a random sit-com. Drag queens are out there but in truth most of them fit more into the mold of gay man than truly transgendered. Actually backing up Ellen again I really feel that she is more of what is needed right now. She does not hide her sexuality however it is not needlessly flaunted either. She is a very funny person with a fun daytime show who happens to also be a lesbian. Being gay is not her defining characteristic, it's just one part of a whole person. That is the image that needs to get out there more, that our sexuality or gender identity is not what we use to define who we are.

I'm not saying there is no place for these more overtly "gay" shows or movies (I'm still a sucker for RuPaul's Drag Race) but the problem is that they are almost the only representation of the LGBT community that many Americans get. There was a time when the most important thing was just to make sure we were known. That was back when we were in the closet (and I do appreciate that some still are) and were suffering in silence. Now we're out, they know that we're here to stay and the need to be in your face about it just isn't there anymore. I think it's time that "We're Here, We're Queer, We're Not Going Anywhere" were adjusted to a less confrontational form. Perhaps "We're Here, We're Queer and We're Just Trying to Live in Peace." I know it doesn't chant as well but until it can be shown and understood that not all gay men are grinding on each other in front of families on vacation then we're going to keep getting people like Paladino on the ballot.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

If there's anything that comes close to a true cross-dresser's holiday it's Halloween. It's the one time of year you can dress basically however you want and it's perfectly ok. Granted if you're in the closet and dress as the opposite gender every year friends might start to wonder but aside from that all bets are off and all looks are welcome. I have to admit that before coming out I wasn't one to use Halloween as a cross-dress day but I know plenty of other dressers who did. For myself I use Halloween as an excuse to break out the costume items that just don't get much use. Let's be honest unless I have a performance number making use of it I don't have much opportunity for things like nurse outfits, maid uniforms, or saloon dancer dresses. Yet I own all of these things. So I have to wear them sometime!

Let's be honest, costumes are just fun! For me I've always been partial to the darker side of things. Not necessarily gory, just macabre. Dark colors, images of death, etc, etc. I guess it's when my inner goth comes out to play. I suppose that's why when I actually did do a Halloween number as a nurse it had to be horrific and twisted BDSM version of a nurse.

This year I went for something a bit more home-made. I ordered a new shirt and a "utility" belt of sorts" but the rest is all stuff I already had. The results: instant Vampire Slayer! It had been my original hope to make use of my chain-mail shirt (yes I own a real chain-mail shirt) but it made me look like a line-backer. Definitely not what I was going for. It did mean though that I got to make use of my weapon's collection which definitely deserves a bit more play that it gets.

Photo by Laura. More picture of this outfit can be seen here.

Hope everybody has a great Halloween and gets to dress up as something fun. Even if only for yourself.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Not About Sex

This is something that I feel the need to clarify. Everywhere I've made my presence known (myspace, facebook, flickr, and even in real life) there are men (and it's always men) who approach me like some piece of fuckable meat. I don't mind being flirted with, however I despise being hit on. Yes there is a difference, hitting on a girl is what guys who don't know how to flirt do. I've even been propositioned a few times, which is at first oddly flattering (especially when the offer is high) and then deeply insulting. I know for many dressers out there putting on the closes of the opposite gender is a deeply sexual and sensual experience, a fetish even. I pass no judgement on dressers like that, but it's not me.

Photo by Laura

To be clear I certainly can feel sexy when I'm dressed, and I usually do. I'm deeply narcissistic and I know that, I'd totally do me. That said I'm capable of feeling sexy as a man as well. I do have to admit that feeling sexy as a man and feeling sexy as a woman are distinctly different experiences. But feeling sexy about something doesn't automatically make it a sexual act. I don't dress for the purposes of getting off. And I certainly don't do it to try to get other people off.

I dress because there's a feminine side of my personality that is not properly expressed in my day to day life. I don't consider Vera to be my "true self" and I'm somehow repressing that. That's why I don't consider myself a transexual. I'm perfectly at home in both my male and female personas. I dress as a form of personal, even spiritual, release. I dress so I can take center stage and wow a crowd. I dress for pictures that I can look at later and feel a sense of pride that I can look that good. In short I dress for me. Not for horny men who think I'm some fetishistic ideal.

Photo by Laura

All of this is a rather long winded way of basically saying "No, I have no interest in your penis" to any and all men who send me countless crude messages. I'll take your admiration gladly, even your lust if you can be respectful about it. But keep your body parts and any mention of them to yourself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Take Me Back to Manhattan (Well.... Brooklyn Actually)

I had known that I'd get back to New York City at some point to see friends and maybe do a show, and this past weekend that's just what happened. Through a bit of serendipity a wedding in CT that Laura and I were going to was the same weekend as Switch N Play's Open Drag Night. As a former member of the group I was eager for the chance to not only perform but see them and some of the regulars again. It was a perfect opportunity that we couldn't pass up.

From left to right Melina Malice, myself, Max Satisfaction, Manny Mango and K. James. Photo by Laura.

Visiting New York City was a rather surreal experience. I suppose part of what made it weird is that Laura and I haven't really been gone all that long (though it feels like forever.) Driving through our old neighborhood almost nothing had changed... except the supermarket we used to shop at was gone and there was a new liquor story next door to our old apartment building. Guess we dodged a bullet on that one. Overall though driving through the city again was a bit like seeing an old friend... and realizing you never really liked them all that much.

Not to say it wasn't worth it, because it totally was. But that's because of the friends that we got to see again, and had nothing to do with the city itself. We got to have dinner with Syd London and catch up (damn that girl is busy as hell!) After that we had to get all done up to hit Outpost Lounge in Brooklyn for the show. I resurrected my take on Aretha Franklin's "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" that I'd done for VT Pride (seriously is there a song more custom made for cross-dressers?) Much more exciting though was a brand new number that I did with Laura's drag king persona Vaughn Amore. We'd done a number together before we left the city and it was great to come back and bring down the house again as a team.

Video by Melina Malice

As much fun as performing was the best thing without a doubt was seeing old friends. So to Syd, Bianca, Max, Manny, Kel, Melina, Lola, Minnie, Colin, Maria and everybody else who came out: I miss you guys! And don't worry, I'll be back as soon as the next opportunity arrises. Sadly that probably won't be until next year, what with all the house buying madness and then the holidays baring down. Fear not, I'll make it worth the wait!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stifling the Youth

When I went to work I came in on the tail end of a story that a co-worker was telling some of the other people in her office. She was telling them that she had asked her young son (I never did catch his exact age) what he wanted to be for halloween. He had said he wanted to be a witch. His father had asked if he wanted to be a warlock, which is basically a boy who can do magic. The boy apparently made it very clear that he wanted to be a witch, not a warlock, but a witch.

It was a cute story, but it also underlined a problem: paranoid parents. After she'd finished the story she had made it clear that she wasn't going to let him go out as a witch. She didn't say this harshly or even that she was genuinely frightened, but it was still clear from her tone that she was praying this didn't point to something deeper about her son. She laughed it off with her co-workers but I still could sense the apprehension. I'm sure that cross dressing isn't the only area this happens in. I'm sure there are parents that have similar reactions to boys who want to take up ballet or girls who want to take shop class. It's an understandable one really, and it's certainly not meant to cause any harm but it's the kind of reaction that can lead to greater confusion down the line.

Wow... look at that a well adjusted cross dresser with a loving spouse. See parents? It can be ok.

First off, not every little boy who puts on a dress is going to grow up to be a crossdresser. Part of the beauty of children is their innocence and part of what's funny about them is how fickle they are. They can have an interest in something that will die out within a month. To put it another way, all people who live in New York also live in America. But not all people who live in America live in New York. Same thing here: nearly all dressers start dressing young (there are pictures of me at about three years old in a tutu,) but not all children who cross dress at young age continue to do so into adulthood. It's called playing dress up, and it's not only harmless it's also healthy.

I'm sure she meant well as a parent but she's planting the early seeds of shame and embarassment. The notion that what her son wants to do is somehow wrong. Even if she never puts it in those words that's still the intention and it's something that will be instilled for life. It's very important to let kids, especially young ones, dabble freely without judging them. Now if her son still wants to dress as a witch for Halloween at the age of 13 then yes it's time for a talk to better understand him. But until them just let the kid be a damn witch.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Looking Down the Barrel of a Very Packed Month

One of the things that was appealing about moving to Vermont was the thought of being able to slow down after having spent the last six years in busy cities (Boston and then New York.) Both Laura and I were looking forward to settling down into a more easy going existance in the place where we want to spend the rest of our lives. Well it might be relaxing a bit later but October is shaping up to be one hell of a busy month, though thankfully it's mostly for good reasons.

First off an update on the house hunting. The house we had made an offer on at the time I wrote about this before went to somebody else who made a higher bid. Ultimately both Laura and I feel this was for the best because we found a house we like even more and our offer was just accepted on it. Now it's just a matter of the inspection to make sure it won't fall down in a month and then we just have to close on it. This is extremely exciting, and while it's not ours until after closing this is still a big step. Once the seller accepts our offer they really can't back out and sell to somebody else unless we change our minds (which we're allowed to do based on what the inspection turns up.) We had to jump through even more hoops than I mentioned in my previous rant but it looks like it'll finally all be worth it.

Dressed as a Saloon Gal (one of my three Halloween outfits from last year)

Next up Laura and I will be going to a friend's wedding in CT next weekend. This puts us close enough to New York to be able to make an appearance at the Switch N Play's Octorber 8th Open Drag Night. Switch N Play is a drag troupe out of Brooklyn of which I was a memember while I was living in NYC. I was the only drag queen in the line up as all the other members were drag kings, and I have to say I really miss those guys! So anybody who's in the NYC area can catch me tearing up the stage for old time's sake at the Outpost Lounge in Brooklyn. You know you want to see it! Stopping in Brooklyn also means that Laura and I get to see Syd which is always a great time, plus she'll be shooting the show so expect some hot pictures in the future.

And let's not forget Halloween! Always been a favorite holiday, just because I love to get all dressed up (but you knew that already.) I have a costume that I'm working on getting the last few pieces for, and I'm hesitant to say what it's going to be for fear of jinxing it and not being able to delivery on my plans. Aw hell with it: I'm assembling a Vampire Hunter custome. Not any specific vampire slayer (I'm not trying to be Buffy,) just a more general killer of blood-suckers. I've got most of what I need I just need to fine tune it and pick up some prop items. So fingers crossed that I'm able to pull this off.

Now that we're in October I had to break out this picture! Photo by Art-i-ficial Photography.

Finally to wrap it all up October is also the month of Laura's birthday and our wedding anniversary! Four years of wedded bliss and counting. It may not seem like much but since most divorces happen within the first three years we've already beaten the odds. Not that there was ever any question! Now I just need to figure out what to do for her birthday... which frankly I kind of suck at. Well not totally suck (I've at least gotten better in the gift department) but she's so awesome at planning places to go or things to do and just generally making the whole thing special. Basically she's so much better at birthdays than I am so I kind of suck by comparison. We'll see how I do this time around... wish me luck!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Influences and Inspriations

When I get strapped for ideas on this blog (which is rather often) I tend to default to answering questions that I'm sometimes asked. FYI if anybody has questions please feel free to ask them either in comments to e-mails, believe me it would help to have more specific things to respond to. Anyways, a question I think most performers get asked from time to time is who their influences and inspirations are. It's a question that I didn't really know how to answer for a while because I didn't latch on to particular influences (for instance I don't do impersonation acts... well except for that one Britney number.) However upon further examination I think I can naile down a couple of things that have helped shape my persona as both a performer and a dresser in general.

Photo by K. Walter

First let me be clear, I never had what I call the "Faye Wray" moment. Anybody who knows The Rocky Horry Picture Show might know what I'm talking about. There is a song in which the transvestite character Frank-n-furter (played brilliantly by Tim Curry) describes that he saw the beauty of classic actress Faye Wray and he wanted to be dressed just the same. I never had that, in fact my initial interest in dressing came in sort of sideways. But that's a story for another entry. My point is that I've never had a specific feminine ideal that I've been shooting for. There is no singer, actress or model that I was ever trying to directly emulate or wanted to be like.
That said there are sprinklings of different influences. Most of the women (real life or fictional) that I feel influenced me aren't the usual drag fare. I can appreciate Liza Minelli, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe but I have no desire to be like any of them. I take my influence from women of the more butt-kicking variety. Think Emma Peel, Angelina Jolie, and Princess Leia. I probably have my mother thank for this, she was always big on the women who can dish it out. However there is one influence that has become clear and I certainly can't ignore: Pink.

Video by Laura

I've always loved Pink's music, I've performed to songs by her more than any other artist. Yet I've never gone out of my way to directly emulate her, and I've certainly never done an impression of her in an act. Instead she embodied much of what would end up going into my feminine persona, both on-stage and off. The sense of independence yet the hints of a softer side. The full on kick-ass chick with attitude who still seems like she could just kick back and relax. That was the kind of persona that I've tried to have for myself. In all honesty I'm probably quite a bit girlier than Pink but I still can bring the attitude when I have to.

Now that's probably my biggest influence, as for inspiration... well I actually think I take inspiration mostly from my fellow performers. When I see another performer (drag or otherwise) do really amazing work it inspires and invigorates me to keep doing this and try to step my game up. I especially take inspiration from those younger than me. I'll admit that when I see a young performer who I feel is better than I am there is a part of me that is jealous (I'm looking at you Bianca Dagga!) However that quickly fades and I just get excited at what's being done in with burlesque and drag by the people who will still be doing it after I retire. Anybody with the balls (literal or figurative) to slap on a ludacris outfit and get their ass up on a stage is an inspiration to me, and always will be.

Honestly not sure who took the picture... it was taken with Laura's camera though.

I also have to mention my wife. Yeah, yeah, yeah I can hear the eyes rolling already (yes that's right, I can hear your eyes!) I can hear some readers thinking it's the obligatory wife/girlfriend thank you and I'm only doing this to get in good with her (yeah right, I'm not even sure she reads this thing.) I know it's a sappy cliche but my wife really is a huge influence and inspiration to me. I'm convinced a big reason that most straight dressers stay closeted is that they think they'll never meet a woman who will understand. And in truth many would not understand, however I was lucky enough to find one who not only understood, she supported. Hell she gave me make-up tips back in the early days of Boston and has helped me refine my look over the years. There are even times she'll come home with little surprises for me (thanks for the pink leopard tights baby!) I know how amazingly lucky I am to have a wife as supportive as Laura and I'm inspired by her every day, and for reasons far beyond her support of this side of myself. Yeah so it went a bit sappy there... suck it up, it's my damn blog!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pains of Cross Shopping

A question I sometimes get, usually from other dressers (especially those starting out) is "what's the most agrivating thing about cross dressing?" Oh there are a number of things that are up there on the list: body hair removal, lack of hips, maintaining wigs, etc. But probably the single biggest hurdle for the average cross dresser is clothes shopping. As an added twist for every picture I put up in this post I'll be saying where I bought what I'm wearing. As much fun as shopping can and should be there's a whole litany of reasons that most cross dressers dread it. The biggest problem for most dressers is simply one of fear, cross dresser are usually highly paranoid about being discovered. Even those who don't consider themselves to be closeted can be shaken at the thought of going into a store to buy women's clothes. The funny thing about fear in this situation I've learned is that it's almost totally unfounded. Unless a dresser actually does something to indicate otherwise virtually all sales-people will assume a man buying women's clothes is buying for a wife or girlfriend. Even if they have a slightest incling of the true nature of the shopping trip there's two things that dressers need to remember: 1) Odds of seeing these same sales people ever again is pretty slim in most cases and 2) As long as money is being spent the sales people really don't care who it's for.

Shoes from Steinmart, pants and shirt from Rainbow, hair from Ricky's NYC and Photo by Laura

The fear and annoyance of store shopping results in most dressers doing their shopping online. This only solves the problem of fear in a public setting, but it brings a whole list of other issues. The big one is the problem with all online shopping, especially for clothes: you can never be 100% certain of what you're getting. Pictures can be deceiving, lighting of a photograph can affect how a color looks on the computer, and sizes are even more guess work than usual. Finally returning something that was mailed can be even more of a pain than returning to a store. That said many of my favorite clothing items are online purchases. My beloved platform boots were one of my early online buys. Same goes for my saloon girl skirt, my silver one piece and my breasts. Yes that's right, my tits came by mail. Hand delivered with care. My most recent purchase made online was a t-shirt from Nic Buxom's online store. Sometimes there's just things you find online that can't be found locally. However I would highly advise against any dresser from ordering wigs online. More than any piece of clothing you can buy a wig can look completely different on different people, and you really need to try them on. If there is a wig shop in your area (or a costume store with a decent wig selection) I promise you they've already encountered dressers and will be understanding and respectful.

Shirt from Nic Buxom, corset from Amazon, hair and cuffs from Ricky's NYC, collar from Fetish Flea Market, garters from Tic Tac Toe, lahes from Old Gold and Photo by Laura

Even if or when a cross dresser gets over their shopping fear enough to actually buy a few things that starts a whole new area of issues: understanding the sizes. Men don't understand how good they have it when it comes to clothes sizing. Take pants for instance, men's pants have two measurements: waist and length. In men's pants I'm a 31"x32", that's my size and that's what I look for. It all makes perfect logical sense, and it doesn't change no matter what kind of pants I buy. Women's pants are assigned a completely arbitrary number that isn't even consistent from brand to brand. So in women's pants I'm anywhere from a size 10 to a size 14. Sadly trial and error is really the only way to get it right and even the most daring dresser probably won't take women's things into the changing room at the store. That means dressers have to take it home before they can find out if it fits or not. The one exception to this is in a costume store, where men interested in women's items for themselves doesn't really raise an eyebrow. However dressers who want a more casual look won't find what they want in stores like that.

If there's one thing a cross dresser likes more than a good buy it's free stuff! Dressers and queens love is a good give-away, such as the one Olivia Rouge is currently having. There's nothing better in the world that getting something pretty and sparkly for free! And of course for the timid the "it's for my girlfriend" ploy works even better in this situation, because what guy wouldn't try to get a great looking gift for free?

Shoes from Payless, shorts from Rainbow, shirt and necklace from Steinmart, bracelet from Clair's, hair from Ricky's NYC, Photo by Stacie Joy

In NYC I had gotten to the point where there were a few clothing stores I would make semi-regular stops at. Now being in Vermont I have to start over and honestly be a little more careful. In huge city like New York nobody cares and even if they do you won't see them again. In more rural areas there's a distinct possibility of running into that store clerk on the street or that you might know some of the same people. This means that from now on most of my in-store shopping is going to be done further from home. I'm always sure to stop into Old Gold when I'm in Burlington. I'd done a little shopping at the local Fashion Bug but they went out of business. I was also forutnate enough to have Laura come with me on those trips. Which brings up another thing for dressers. If you have a female friend you're out to bring them along when you shop, it should help get rid of that lingering fear because everybody will assume you're buying for her. I think that's about it for this little ramble. Hopefully folks have found it insightful/helpful/amusing or at least it killed a few minutes that you could have been doing work. I'm so bad for productivity.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Every Queen Needs a Castle

They say every queen needs a king... for some that may be true but I think what a queen really needs is a castle. Laura and I have been working for the last few weeks on claiming a castle for our very own, not by the traditional siege, sack and pillage method but rather the hard way: with a home loan. I just have one question... why doesn't anybody ever tell you how stupidly complicated it is to buy a house? I suppose maybe if more people knew what a convoluted headache it is they wouldn't even bother starting the process.

Photo by Laura

Well let me be the first to tell you this is insane! It's not like buying anything else. You may think you have an idea but you really don't. Even buying other things on credit or with a loan like a car isn't even close to this. Before you even start considering looking at houses you need to go to a bank and get a loan pre-approval to find out how much money you can actually get for a home loan. After filling out a small mountain of paperwork this can take about to week to even hear back about. Then you can start looking at houses, which is it's own kind of insanity. Houses can look great in pictures, and when you go there you find out that it was photographed from the one angle that looks good or that it ends up being much smaller than it looks. Others are on great pieces of land but the houses themselves are nothing you'd want to live in. And then there are the ones that are very nice but you come to realize they're not nice enough for the neighborhood that you'd be stuck in. A good thing to remember, if there's anything wrong with the house itself, that can be fixed. You can't fix where it is.

If you're lucky enough to find a house you like in a location you can live with that is in your price range that's when the REAL nightmare starts. Anybody who thinks they can do this alone needs to just check into a nut house right now. GET AN AGENT! Somebody who knows what the heck is going on and will hold your hand through the process is worth their weight in gold. So then comes the even bigger mountain of paperwork and the initial offer. Unless you're made of money you're going to offer less than the asking price. Then the negotiations happen to actually settle on a price the seller will agree to. Oh and as a fun little item to nag at your paranoia, at a time up to this point another buyer can swoop in with a better offer or cash in hand and snatch the house out from under you.

Photo by Laura

If the seller accepts your offer it's still not over. Next comes the inspection. Then possible re-negotiations based off what the home inspection reveals. Then the massive slog of closing which involves a small army of bankers, realtors and lawyers who wrap everything up in red tape. All so you can sink into the single biggest debt of your life. Why do we have to jump through all these hoops just to go into debt? Just take my money please! For the record Laura and I have made an initial offer and are waiting to hear back about that. That really is all the worst part. The waiting, the down time between each one of these steps really drives you crazy. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Joys of Googling Yourself

It's amazing the things you find when you randomly google yourself. My treat tonight was to come across a little 14 minute documentary about burlesque that I gave an interview for way back in November. I hadn't completely forgotten about it but I sort of gave up ever getting to see it as I had lost touch with the film students who did it. But then a random google search of "Vera Wylde" (because I was bored... and yes I'm a little conceited) turned up a video I hadn't seen before. And surprise! It came out pretty well altogether and I'd like to share it with all of you. Listen to me wax intellectual about taking my clothes off on stage!

For the impatient types I show up at the 7:15 mark. Also as fair warning I'm not in full drag for a good chunk of this so if seeing me in semi-boy mode ruins the illusion for you then maybe you should just move along. Also see my good friend Bianca Dagga performing at 6:10 (I'm always so proud of her!) Oh and stick around for a little outtake moment at the very end!

Dancing Burlesque from Joseph Turner on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just to Fill A Little Space

I'll be blunt... this entry is filler. I figure it's extremely important for me to make this blog a weekly thing (at the very least) otherwise it'll just end up fading away just like every other time that I've tried my hand at this. So what do you talk about when you nothing to talk about? Yeah well I kind of suck at that. I'm not a good blogger in general because I censor myself too much. Good blogging seems to be about just letting whatever's on your mind flow free. I don't think people have any interest in my idle thoughts so if there sin't much going on I dont' have much to say.

So with that in mind I thought I'd share a couple of images for the heck of it. Folks might have noticed that I usually say under the picture who the photographer is... and there's just blank space under these ones. Well that's because each is from my earlier days of modeling and performing when I wasn't keeping a great record of who was taking pictures of me. My only concern was that I got copies of the shots that were taken and after that I lost touch with many of the photographers. Having gotten a better appreciation of what photographers do I keep much better track of this stuff now, but there's still these old pictures that I like but can't give credit for.

If anybody is wondering the first image was taken in New York when I performed in a competition show called The Ultimate Drag Off. I performed there twice, I never won but I always had fun. The other was one of my first shoots in Boston, taken in the apartment I was living in at the time. It's funny because that sword rack is completely full now. There's also the deluxe rat cage on the ground where Nicodemus and Mrs. Robinson were living (not sure if they'd had the babies yet at that point.) Brings back memories. Anyways I think I'll leave it at that and wish you all a great week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

How'd a Girl Like You End Up in a Job Like This?

It occurred to me after my last (slightly ranty) post that not all of the readers of this blog might be familiar with my experiences as a performer and why I got into burlesque over more traditional drag shows. So I think this is as good a time as any to get into a little bit of background to give some context to what I do and why I do it (at least as far as performing goes, I may tackle the bigger "why do you dress as a woman at all?" question at a later date.)

Photo by Banafsheh Ehtemam

Without getting into an overly detailed history of how I ended up on stage in a dress in the first place, I started performing in drag shows when I was living in Boston. I actually had a rather easy time getting on stage because I happened to be working (in drag) at a gay bar called Machine that had a weekly drag night. I had an easy way into doing shows and the performers I met at the bar got me into Boston's only drag bar, Jacques Caberet. I did several very fun shows there but it wasn't long before Laura and I moved to New York City, which turned out to be a whole different beast.

Once in NYC I realized how easy I had it in Boston because I got to know people at the bar and that functioned as my foot getting in the door as far as performing went. In New York I didn't know anybody and I had switched from late night bar work to full time day job. The thing about New York is nobody really cares what you've done anywhere else, they only care if you've made it in NYC yet. And until you do "make it" getting any kind of venue to perform is quite a tricky proposition. That is unless you know somebody who'll vouche for you, and I didn't know any one. I got a few sporatic gigs such as the "Ultimate Drag Off" competition and a little modeling but these were very few and far between. Drag performance seemed doomed to slowly slip away from me in the big city.

Photo by Efrain Gonzalez

Then a revelation. I had a friend that I knew through MySpace who was graduating from a burlesque workshop, and the graduation was getting to perform on stage. To show support I went to my first ever burlesque show. Now aside from the teacher of the workshop (Dottie Lux) all the performers were amatures, and of varying levels of skill and talent. However what I saw there was eye opening. In that one night I realized that the type of performance that I did was much closer to burlesque than traditional drag. Most drag queens do one of two things: they either stand and lip sync in over the top hair and make-up and glamorous dresses (just not my thing,) or they are amazing dancers who happen to be men dressed as women (I dance alright but I'm not in this league.) What I did right from the start was try to tell stories with the pieces that I would do, which (along with a certain amount of clothing removal) is what is at the very heart of burlesque performance.

After seeing those amatures I started looking into burlesque shows and immediately found burlesque to be far more accessible and welcoming to newcomers than drag. In the drag world you need a connection, a friend or a drag mother who will get you in with the people who will book you for performances. That just isn't the case with burlesque. As unusual as I was (to date I've met some transgendered burlesque performers but not another drag burlesque performer) I was welcomed with open arms and open minds. The beauty of burlesque is that it really will take any and all comers, as long as they have an idea and the guts to get on the stage and show a little skin. Drag queens feel like they're always competing with each other, whereas I've always gotten more of a family vibe from fellow burlesque performers. There is a certain amount of backstage politics as with any performance art but they are nowhere near as cut throat as I've seen in other art forms. That is something I cherrish deeply.

Photo by Millie Acosta

And there you have it. That's I refined my particular approach to performance at burlesque shows and to burlesque audience. By the time I moved out of New York I hadn't done an actual traditional drag show in years and had been performing exclusively at burlesque shows or LBGT themed events. Thus I'm a drag queen with barely anything in my repertoire that is what most people think of when they imagine a drag queen. And I love it that way. I'd rather be unique and confuse people than fade into a sea of other people doing the same thing. But what continues to amaze me is how few people are confused and instead get what I'm doing. That is something I would not have expected but I'm grateful for it every day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Trailer for "Burlesque" Has Hit... and I Might Puke

Burlesque as a performance art is extremely close to my heart. Deep down I identify more as a burlesque performer than I do as a drag performer. Most shows that I performed at in New York were burlesque shows. Most of the people I felt I became friends with backstage were burlesque performers. When I was producing and hosting "Drags and Dolls" it was half drag and half burlesque. I adore the art form, both as a performer and an audience member. To say that I'm revolted by the trailer for the movie Burlesque, which is being released this November, is frankly an understatement. I want to shove a sequined pasty so far down the throat of whoever approved this that their crap is sparkly for a month.

Photo by K. Walter

For those of you who don't wish to be subjected to actually watching this trailer it breaks down like this. Christina Aguilera is the bright eyed girl just off the bus in LA. She starts working as a waitress at what Hollywood imagines as a burlesque club. She sees the girls on stage and wants to be like them. Club owner Cher reluctantly gives her a chance. Christina freezes on stage and when they're about to pull her off she starts singing and then a world opens up for her. So your basic generic small town girl goes big story (ala Coyote Ugly.) You know now that I look at that description on paper it doesn't seem that bad (not great but not bad) so maybe you should actually see this trailer to get a better sense of what pissed me off about it.
First problem: all the burlesque girls are skinny as hell. One of the true beauties of burlesque is that it truly is a "takes all kinds" art form. Many of my own favorite performers (The World Famous *BOB*, Jezebel Express, Agent N and JZ Bitch of HyperGender Burlesque, and Dottie Lux amongst others) are not as skinny as these girls and some would even be considered fat by Hollywood standards. But they are all brilliant performers. That's not to say there aren't some great thin burlesque performers as well but my point is that being skinny is not a requirement. In fact with so much emphasis being on hips, breasts and curves being too thin can really be a detriment. But not in Hollywood's version of burlesque.

Photo by Gothic Goddess Media

Second problem: PG-13 rating. I'm very sorry but while burlesque isn't usually X-rated it is most assuredly not PG-13. True that there is rarely full blown nudity in a burlesque act (most clubs won't allow it) a good act can still be extremely naughty in the story it tells. That's right, burlesque is about telling a story. It's not about stripping. Yes getting naked is always going to be a part of the story that the performer is telling but the stripping is not the point in and of itself. The removal of clothes it the vehicle for the character or story the performer is telling. That's what distinguishes burlesque dancers from strippers. Strippers take off clothes for money. Burlesque performers tell stories by removing their clothes, and are very lucky if they get to do it for money. Like most artists burlesque performers are generally not well paid and very few are able to make their living from this art. It's something that is done out of love, not to cash in. If a performer is paid at all it's unlikely that they'll actually turn much profit once you factor in what they spent on make-up, pasties and outfits.

Then there's the singing. Singing? Really? While there are some burlesque performers out there who can carry a tune this is not a vocal art form. I really feel like the problem is that this movie is built around burlesque as presented by the Pussycat Dolls. While the Dolls might have had their roots in burlesque it's at best a general flavor of what they do, not a representation of the art (for the record I'm not a fan but that's because I just think their music sucks.) Maybe my problem is that my experience with burlesque is on the East coast in New York City. Maybe burlesque in LA really is all skinny dancers prancing around in corsets. If that's true though I'll pass and stick to the NYC version I know and love.

Photo by Melina Malice

To be completely fair I'll admit that I'm judging this based only on a trailer, and they can be misleading. This movie could potentially be better than it looks based off what I saw. However I can't believe for a moment that my big issues (skinny performers, PG-13, singing) aren't still going to be there. In any case if I ever hear anything good about it maybe I'll rent it. When it hit theaters though I think I'll head down to New York and watch a real burlesque show as my own private form of protest.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Enjoying the Country

Sometimes the best way to appreciate where you're living is to have somebody visit who lives somewhere totally different. This weekend my best friend (and A-list photographer) Syd London came up to visit my wife and I for a three day weekend from New York City. Her total awe of the environment in which we were living made it me just appreciate being here all the more. And she pointed out things that I didn't even think of. She kept commenting on how big the sky is. In New York the sky is something glimpsed in narrow patches between buildings. Here it stretches on endlessly. The thing she was most excited about? Cows. Seeing and taking pictures of cows (because even on vacation you can't seperate a photographer from her camera.) How awesome is that.

Photo by Laura

It was a pretty laid back weekend really, which is what we all wanted. We took Syd to Burlington and of course made sure the got to see the scenery on the way there and back. Overall though it was just a chance to spend time with a good friend that we left behind when we moved. Laura and I don't play host all that often but it's something I'd love to do more with our friends from out of town.

Photo by Laura

Syd and I did do a little mini-photoshoot (I say mini but she took over 500 pictures.) I'm very excited about it and to be honest for me to mention it here is a bit of a tease. I won't have copies of the pictures for quite a while as Syd has a full plate of work waiting for her back in NYC and I would never expect her to put paying jobs on hold to edit our just for fun shoot. But I'll be sure to let everybody know when the pictures are ready and direct you to where they can be seen and fawned over.

Photo by Laura

Also there's something I had forgotten to mention in my Pride post. Coming back from performing at VT pride I was still all done up, the only thing I took off was my corset. Other than that I was still in complete drag. It was just easier to get changed at home then in the backstage tent. Well when I walked through the door my mother was fixing her dinner. Now my mother has never seen me in drag before. She's fully aware of this side of my life, she knows I perform and that I model. However she had never seen it, either in person or in photographs. So there I was, coming through the door in a mini-skirt, tank top, fishnet stockings, long brunette hair, full make-up and knee-high platform boots. The first words out of her mouth when she saw this was "You're really tall." I don't think I could have asked for a better reaction.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Settling on a Label

I hate labels... I really do. They box you in and try to define you within a narrow field. And of course anybody who is born male but dresses as a female is bombarded with a slew of labels: crossdresser, transvestite, transgendered, androgynous, drag queen, weirdo, etc. And those are just to cover the dressing issue, when it comes to sexual preference there's a whole new list: gay, straight, bisexual, trans-lesbian, sex fiend, and so on. So many tiny little subdivisions so as to assign me a bar code and file me away on a shelf. As much as they agrivate me I have to admit that there are times a label would help, it certainly saves having to give a full personal history everytime somebody asks a question about me. So what do I indentify as since I don't really properly fit into any of the categories as I understand them? Well I've finally found the answer: queer.

Photo by Laura

Of course to many out there "queer" just means gay, but I want to take back the traditional meaning. Odd, different, just ever so slightly off from the norm. The notion of this label and embracing it's real meaning was introduced to myself and my wife (yes I'm married to a woman, see what I mean about not fitting most labels?) by a friend of ours in New York. She had said just off-handedly that the two of us are "the quintessential queer couple." This really clicked because we both certainly are different yet we don't fit comfortably in the usual gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans categories. We're just a little different, both individually and as a couple. And that's ok. Hell it's better than ok, it's great.

Photo by K. Walter

I've never encountered another person quite like myself (or like my wife) and that's really the way I like it. We're a queer couple and have no shame in it. If you're going to label me at all (aside from "drag burlesque goddess" of course) then I'd prefer "queer." Nothing else feels quite as right.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pride, Lesbians and Corsets

Just because I moved up to remote corner of Vermont does not mean that I won't find a stage and get my ass up on it! Thank goodness for Pride! They let me do a pair of numbers for the festival yesterday. How did that happen? Well it's kind of surprising how far "I used to perform in New York" gets you once you're out of the city. So yeah... I basically wrote some of the folks who run the thing and said "Hey I'm local now, anything I can do for your Pride?" Having been in the big scary city gives you some hefty clout and I'm damn well going to use it! I'm certainly not above taking advantage of whatever breaks I can get.

Photo by Laura

I did two numbers, one brand new and one tried and true. First I did a brand spanking new number to the classic Aretha Franklin tune "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman.)" I got an amazing response to that number, and so many compliments. I finished up with Pink's "So What," which I've done a few times and have a ton of fun doing. I didn't get any video of the first number but I uploaded a full video of "So What" for those who care to see right here.

I known for a while but it really reaffirmed for me at this particular pride festival: lesbians LOVE me. Gay men like me well enough, though I suspect I'm not quite draggy enough for most of their tastes (i.e. over the top hair/makeup/gowns/glitter/etc.) But lesbians really dig what I do. I honestly am not entirely sure why, but I kind of love it. There were so many lesbians of all ages (though especially the younger ones) who made an effort to come up and say they liked my act. There were actually two really young girls (looked to me to be around 16 or 17) who found me backstage between numbers and asked if they could hug me. It was one of the most adorable things I'd ever seen and was probably the highlight for the day for me.

Photo by Laura

There was one sour note... I had it undeniably confirmed that I'm getting out of shape. I had to have Laura loosen my corset because it wasn't fitting anymore. I think I'd kind of known I was a little out of shape but was brushing it off... that kind of quantified it. I'm not letting myself get bummed out over it. It just means I need to start working out somewhat. Thinking of lugging the stationary bicycle out of the basement... we'll see if that actually happens or not.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finding the Time

I think the hardest thing I've had to adjust to since moving up to Vermont is that for the first time since I've come out with my dressing I have to make time for it. When I first started in Boston I was working at a bar and on the nights of the drag show I would work in drag (that was how I started going out regularly and started to refine my look.) Once I moved to New York I put more of an emphasis on performing and after an initial dry spell I was usually performing at least once every few weeks. Performing is wonderful in and of itself but it also satisfied my need to get all dolled up and look fabulous. As a result I rarely got dressed up if I wasn't going out to perform or model.

Photo by Laura

However up here it's a different story. The opportunities to perform are going to be few and far between (will finally have my first show since moving at VT Pride this Saturday.) As a result it's become important that I make the time to feel pretty, otherwise it just won't happen. How often I'll feel the need is hard to say but I was lucky enough to get all gorgeous (in new clothes no less) and Laura snapped a few pictures. It's a bit of an odd thing because I haven't had to go out of my way to find a reason to dress since college.

Photo by Laura

That said there are some things that are nice about not having as many excuses to get dressed up. It makes the times that I do it feel a little less of a chore. On occassions in New York when I would have a few shows in the same week I would honestly get burned out. The make-up, the hair, the clothes, the heels... it's all rather exhausting. So in some ways it's nice to have it be an option rather than an obligation. That's not to say I wouldn't kill for a chance to hit a stage on a regular basis, because I would!

Photo by Laura

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Why Am I Here?

I suck at blogging. Seriously I've tried it three times in the past and all are now defunct. I can't even really use twitter properly. The reason for this is clear and there's two reasons for it. First I lead a fairly uneventful life, events of note tend to be few and far between and frankly I rather like it that way. Secondly I'm not so high on myself that I believe that my idle thoughts are worth sharing. So there you have, don't have much to talk about in terms of events and I prefer to keep my mundane thoughts in my head (or between myself and my wife.) So why the heck am I doing another blog? For the worst reason of all: because it's there.

I created an account on here so that I could comment on a few blogs that I followed and have an image and user name get attached to those comments. Of course that means that I had all the means of doing my own blog just sitting here going to waste. So here we are. This was going to be a statement of purpose post but honestly there isn't really a good purpose for this thing to even exist. I have no idea what I will write here and how often I'll feel compelled to write it. In my head it was going to be about the trials and tribulations of a big city drag queen being transplanted to the countryside... but I doubt I'll ever be that consistant about it.

All the same I think I've decided on my biggest enemy (next to love handles) that's now emerged thanks to country living: the farmer's tan. Just in case anybody doesn't know it's when your arms get tan from the bicep down but your upper arm and torso stay pale. It's the tan you get from being outside in a t-shirt too much, I now have it from working in the garden (stupid f*%#ing weeds.) I'll be doing my first performance since leaving New York later this month at VT Pride and the last thing I need is a farmer's tan.

How to get rid of it is a bit of a quandry. The obvious solution is nude (or near nude but that's not as much fun) tanning but there's two problems there. I refuse to get into a tanning bed, they just freak the hell out of me. Anything that gives me a tan and isn't the sun is wrong. So that leaves the real thing and while I now do have a yard and a lawn it's not private and there's no fence up to shield the eyes of the neighbors. I may have to get really sneaky about it and lay in the sun as on the floor as it comes through the windows... which of course means I'll have to keep moving. Regardless it's no doubt going to be a big pain in my ghost white ass.

I think I'll end on that thought for the time being. Just to add a little flair to this thing I'll finish off with a picture where I frankly look DAMN fine.

Photo by Sasha Renee