The Sissy 2012 Wall Calendar

From artist Elisha Lim, who brought you The Illustrated Gentlemen calendar for 2011, the new 2012 calendar will be celebrating all things sissy: “every month brave and beautiful queers talk about sequins, glitter, femininity, insults, courage, happiness and femme pride.”

To help out with printing costs, I’m taking pre-orders. All pre-orders receive two free illustrated greeting cards (+ envelopes). This ends on October 10th, when the pre-orders will be mailed out.

Double the size! This year’s wall calendar is a full size 8×11″ wall calendar in bright glossy full-colour. This is also a Universal Calendar, so it doesn’t state weekdays and can be re-used to preserve special events every year.

This is about the international queer community, and models from London, Berlin, Montreal and Toronto each express their own identities, which I kept in their own words.

Get the new Sissy 2012 wall calendar on Etsy.

What’s Happening in September

I miss Sideshow.

Events with Mr. Sexsmith

Tuesday, September 13th, 6:30pm Steamy: How to Write About Sex workshop. To write about sex well you need the boldness to command and describe the dirty and oh so delicious acts we humans explore, and the basic writing skills of plot, setting, and character. In this pen-to-paper writing workshop we’ll look at some examples of extremely successful and unsuccessful erotica, steamy love letters for your sweetheart, how to step up your blog to the next level, where to submit your work for publication in the erotica world, and some quick basics for editing your work. Bring a paper and writing utensil, we will be doing writing exercises. Buy tickets in advance on BrownPaperTickets. Sugar 927 West 36th Street on the Avenue in Hampden Baltimore, MD

September 14-19, Wednesday through Sunday Dark Odyssey! I’m teaching four classes, including Advanced Cock Confidence, Steamy: How to Write About Sex, Queering Power Dynamics, and Talk Dirtier: How to Let Your Tongue Go, and I’ll be hosting a social event, Ties Required. I’m really excited to practice my BDSM skills and hang out with the many amazing folks who are in this year’s line-up. Near Washington, DC

Events in New York City You Shouldn’t Miss

Thursday, September 1 , 8pm Red Umbrella Diaries, Happy Ending, 302 Broome Street between Forsyth and Eldridge, Manhattan, NY

Saturday, September 10, 8pm Queer Memoir: Letters. Even as LGBT characters and “out” celebrities become more common in pop culture and mainstream media, the richness and complexity of real queer lives is still undervalued and often invisible. Queer Memoir attempts to provide an avenue to share queer lives and celebrate the ritual and community-building value of storytelling. Queer Memoir is so thrilled to be again partnering with one of our favorite organizations, Queers for Economic Justice. We ask for 5-10 bucks donation to cover costs, but no one turned away for lack of funds. QEJ, 147 W. 24th St, Manhattan, NY

Friday, September 16, 8pm Lesbian Sex Mafia: Play Piercing with Mistress Trish LGBT Center, Manhattan, NY

Thursday, September 22, 7:30pm Bad Feminist with Jessica Halem: Jessica Halem will bring her hot new comedic rant “Bad Feminist” to Dixon Place every month starting September 22nd. Join the discussion of sexual politics, queer identities and current events on September 22 in The Lounge at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002) at 7:30 pm. The price is $5 cash only at the door. Dixon Place, 161A Crystie St, Manhattan, NY

Saturday, September 24th, 10pm Submit Party,, a BDSM play party for women and trans folks only Brooklyn, NY. For exact location call 718.789.4053 or email [email protected]

Saturday, October 1, 7pm Why Is the Fat One Always Angry? Kelli Dunham’s Fuck You I’m 43 Birthday Comedy Show: Kelli Dunham is a genderqueer Brooklyn based ex-nun nerdcomic; a Wisconsin farmboi transplant who juxtaposes midwestern friendliness with New York attitude in a way that has been described as both “horrifying” and “hilarious.” In “Why Is The Fat One Always Angry” (her sixth one person show and her soon to be released third comedy CD) she continues on her quest to make comedy where slam poetry dares not tread. The show will address the important questions of our time, such as: Why were there so many failed tubal ligations the year Kelli was born? Is it okay to call your mom for the sole purpose of obtaining comedy material? How is the Bible like the DSM? What does being over 40 have to do with dead rabbits and the butch ego? How many library books can one person take on vacation anyway? Get advance tickets! Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St, NYC

I am now booking fall events for colleges and traveling nationally. My schedule is kept up on if you want to see if I’m coming your way.

If you’re interested in bringing me to your town or college, check out what S. Bear Bergman wrote: Bear’s Guide to Getting the Artists You Want. It’s got some great tips for how to fundraise and make an offer to bring the people you admire to come do some custom work just for you & your friends. (Hint, hint.)

Last but not least, here’s my 2011 workshop offerings in a PDF so it is easy to download, you can also download my one sheet PDF or high res photos in my press kit). Get in touch if you’re interested in booking me, you can contact me directly—mrsexsmith(at)gmail—or my booking company, PhinLi, at bookings(at)

Elisha Lim’s Queer Love Cards

Artist Elisha Lim is now also selling Queer Love Cards at their Etsy shop.

Says Elisha: “The cards are about a queer way of being in love, with things like butches saying “Hey Handsome,” transfags saying “Hey Beautiful,” and genderqueers saying “Hayy” and “I Like Your Cardigan.””

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! I’m sure I can think of a few people I could send these lovely cards to …

See also: Elisha Lim’s 2011 Illustrated Gentleman calendar and their Mini-Interview with Butch Lab.

They also sent along a couple images to show off here on Butch Lab! Enjoy:

Shelley Stefan: B is for Butch

Artist Shelley Stefan sent on this video from her art show in Harlem in New York City in 2010. I missed this entirely, unfortunately, but I really like the work.

Here’s a description from Shelley, from an interview with CherryGRRL:

“The series “B is for Butch” is an offshoot from the work and research I developed in two prior visual arts projects entitled: “Lesbian Family Heraldry: An Achievement of Arms” (2005-2006) and “The Lesbian Effigies” (2006). These bodies of work, comprising of paintings, drawings, bronzes, and belt buckles, appropriate the art and science of medieval heraldry in order to engage queer subcultural commentary on topics of power, alliance, and family signification, prioritizing what Theorist J. Halberstam cites as the construction of “queer (female) genealogies.”[i] In 2004, I directed my visual arts practice and research into the world of heraldry and armour as an emotive response to real-life experiences of familial trauma, where I felt what it was like to be a person, a family “under siege.” My wife and I lost custody of our happy and healthy daughter due to several breaches of justice and a bigoted and homophobic US legal system. The experience and the loss left me and my lesbian partner feeling broken and beaten. I did what many artists do amidst strife: I turned to my visual arts practice as a method of emancipation, activism, and poetic justice in a world where, unfortunately and sometimes, bad things can happen to good people. Heraldry and this world of armour seemed like a perfect conceptual and aesthetic palette for me to think about notions of power and security from the “underdog” or subculturally liminal perspective, and how traditional visual symbologies (such as heraldry) have a way of legitimizing through the mere history of their visual currency. In these bodies of work, I problematized heraldry’s armigerous exclusivity and its heterosexist male monopoly on the meaning of family, as well as appropriated the heraldic medieval aesthetic to take part in what Third World Feminist Theorist Chela Sandoval calls a “Technology of Crossing” – a method to “identify and describe emotional, psychic, and social technologies that embody and circumscribe identities necessary for recognizing power, and changing its conditions on behalf of equalizing power between socially and psychically differing subjects.”[ii] I began using the power of heraldry and medieval armour as a method to transpose power on behalf of queer liminal subjectivity.

“Through this research process, I encountered many, many images of armour. Some armour just seemed inherently queer-looking to me – very dykey, very butchy, and quite gender-bendy, all of which to me are very good attributes. Some armour also really seemed conceptually loaded for me on topics of security/insecurity and subcultural interiority. I began to think about the dual signification of the term “armour” – like, how armour signifies at once a sense of security and a sense of insecurity – a toughness and a vulnerability. To wear armour is to acknowledge in some way that you are vulnerable, but also and simultaneously that you aim to and claim to feel non-vulnerable, or protected. I started really thinking about subcultural interiority, what’s underneath the rock that’s underneath the rock. Near 2008, I began to imagine how different liminal subjectivities and minorities might relate to this notion of armour and how I might be able to manipulate these visualizations to open up conceptual doors. Butch subjectivity came to the forefront, partially because I live as a butch lesbian and my art is strongly tied to self-portraiture, but also because I like to do research in queer subcultural theory and this was a topic I was interested in investigating. So, I was inspired to create this collection of works entitled “B is for Butch.””

Here’s one example of a pieces from “B is for Butch:”

Shelley Stefan, Primary Cock, Oil, 2010

Shelley Stefan – B is for Butch from Roger Kisby on Vimeo.

The Illustrated Gentleman: 2011 Calendar

You can still pick up a copy of the 2011 calendar The Illustrated Gentleman by artist Elisha Lim.

“A 12 month calendar of handsome dandy queers from January to December. Full colour images and comics feature sartorial queer style, shopping anecdotes and strategies, and a celebration of walking proud in what you wear. The comics feature excerpts from “The Illustrated Gentleman” and “100 Butches” and contain a hand-drawn monthly schedule for each month. It is a quaint, trim 5.5″x7.5″ on glossy calendar stock.”

They sent Butch Lab a few images from the calendar to entice us:

Buy The Illustrated Gentleman on Etsy.

The Kids Are All Right is Now On DVD

the-kids-are-all-rightI’ve been waiting for The Kids Are All Right to come out on DVD since I saw it this summer. I was ready to see it again, even right after I saw it the first time. I debated and deconstructed and philosophized and puzzled over the plot for a good solid week before I had various lightbulb moments and felt like I “got it,” like I understood what director Lisa Cholodenko was going for. (My thoughts on it culminated in this post on AfterEllen, The “Lesbian Sleeps With A Man” Trope in The Kids Are All Right.)

I’ve referenced this film many times since I saw it. Not just the characters or lines or this particular plot, but the affect Cholodenko has had on this trope, the way this film has gotten into our collective social consciousness, and the result—that the man is totally left out, that he has not spent years building a family, but that he was, in fact, practically irrelevant to the building of their family—will effect any future film that attempts to use this trope to invalidate lesbian identity. I think Cholodenko took that stereotype and ran with it so far and hard that it is kind of, well, over. I think it changed the landscape.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with me about that, it’s a beautiful film. It really is. If you’ve seen either of Cholodenko’s other films, like High Art or Laurel Canyon, you know her style of cinematography is stunning and unique. She’s a mainstream queer female director—on the masculine-of-center side of gender, I would argue—and this film depicts a lesbian relationship, women in love with each other, sincere emotions and care for the building of a family, overcoming hardship, all of those wonderful things that are so rarely depicted responsibly or artfully in a mainstream film.

It came out on November 16th. I can’t wait to see it again.

Here’s a nice clip from the bonus features on the DVD, where you can see many of the beautifully framed shots from the film as director Cholodenko discusses her relationship to the concept of “family:”

Here’s the blurb from the film, in case you were somehow under a rock all summer and missed the hours and days of discussion when it came out:

The Kids Are All Right stars Academy Award® nominees Annette Bening (American Beauty) and Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights). Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are a suburban couple raising their two teens, Joni (Mia Wasikowska, Alice in Wonderland) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson, Journey to the Center of the Earth), in Southern California. But when the kids track down their “donor dad” Paul (Mark Ruffalo, Shutter Island), an unexpected new chapter begins for everyone as family ties are defined, re-defined and then re-re-defined.

The Kids Are All Right is on DVD and Blu-ray November 16th

It is really worth seeing. Annette Bening in particular is phenomenal, and I’m pretty excited to see her as Nic on screen again. I wish we could just crack a bottle of wine and sit up on the Hollywood sign and talk about girls until the bottle’s empty.


(Yes, clearly, I’m a sucker for glasses.)

Pick up The Kids Are All Right from Wolfe Video, the largest exclusive distributor of gay and lesbian films, or, if you must, from Amazon.

pink & bent: queer women art exhibit in nyc

The opening reception for Pink& Bent: Art of Queer Women is tomorrow night here in New York City. One of the contributing photographers, Sophia Wallce, sent me a few of the shots that will be in her show. I love them all, but this one might be my favorite – the colors in the background are so stunning.

I first saw Sophia’s work because of her project called Bois and Dykes, which has some beautiful photographs of female masculinity shot in New York City. It was fascinating to look through this project of hers; the photos are just so familiar. She even shot my weekly happy hour watering hole and the barber I see about twice a month.

Here’s the information about the exhibit.

Pink& Bent: Art of Queer Women
Curatated by Pilar Gallego & Cora Lambert

Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation presents
Pink & Bent, an exhibition of international artwork by queer women.
Exhibit runs May 21-June 28th

The Leslie/Lohman Gallery
26 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
(between Canal & Grand-closer to Grand)

Hours: 12-6pm, Tues-Sat, closed Sat-Sun
Tel. 212-431-2609

Opening reception: Tuesday, May 20, 6-8pm
Panel discussion: Thursday, May 29, 6:30-8pm
Women in the Arts Speak Out
$7 suggested donation at the door

modified eros: erotic body modification art show

The ever-amazing Audacia Ray has curated an erotic body modification art show here in New York City, and while I missed the opening night (insert kick-me sign here), I can’t wait to see it.

There is also a play piercing workshop on the 28th of November done by the fabulous Lolita Wolf. Times like this, I am so grateful to be living in this city.

From Dacia’s website:

On November 9, 2007 erotic art and body modification meet in “Modified Eros,” a photographic celebration of bodies modified with tattooing, piercing, corsetry, and scarification. The show is curated by Audacia Ray, features photography from, and runs through January 18, 2008 at Arena Studios, a non-traditional art venue, BDSM play space, and organizer of the Black & Blue Ball, located at 407 Broome Street, Suite 7A.

Some of the photographs in the show have previously appeared on Bella Vendetta’s eponymous website, where she showcases the erotic fantasies of people whose imaginations run on the taboo side. The pieces in the show represent not just the photographers’, but also the models’ predilections. “It’s hard to get a gallery to show images like this because they don’t see body modification as an art form and they don’t think of modified people’s bodies as beautiful,” says Ms. Vendetta.

Audacia Ray, who has curated $pread magazine’s “Sex Worker Visions” shows for the past two years, says, “The photographs I’ve selected for this show invite people to appreciate the erotic beauty of body modification, though some images, like photographs of suspension, blood play, and genital modifications, will make folks squirm a little too.”

During the run of the show, Arena Studios welcomes the public to view the art daily by making an appointment by phone at 212.889.1591 or via email: info[at]arenanyc[dot]com. Arena will also host an evening with Lolita Wolf, a BDSM player, educator, and TES Emeritus Board Member, who will present a hands-on workshop on play piercing in the gallery on Wednesday, November 28th from 7 to 9 pm. The workshop costs $25 to attend and will arm attendees with knowledge about tools, supplies, safety, technique, preparation and aftercare.

Inquiries about the art should be directed to Audacia Ray by email at dacia[at]wakingvixen[dot]com or phone at 718.554.1714.

Charcoal Portrait in the Art Studio

This is an honorable mention from the Sugarbutch Star contest, from Grey. Written from her perspective. I plan to post a few more honorable mentions as well – I am attempting to keep them short, little snippets of a scene rather than the entire build-up and tear-down that I usually include in my stories. I’m doing this to challenge myself and my writing, but it’s also because there were so many great submissions, but I don’t have time to write them all for the contest, unfortunately.

Charcoal Portrait in the Art Studio

There is only the light scratching of my charcoal on paper. Thick and cream, deckled edges on plyboard. Held in my lap. An indication of shadow here. Of hip, of thigh.

She’s posing for me, only a black tie around her neck, black leather harness around her hips, black strap-on eagerly poised. She’s draped on the white studio couch. She’s calm and steady. She’s watching me.

A flick of my wrist and a line for her jaw, her left breast. The angles of her come to life. I recreate her. She lets me.

I fill in details. Impressions of her, sultry, on paper, fall around me like winter is coming. I tear off another sheet and she is moving toward me, all eyes and hips, that cocky swagger.

I drop my charcoal. My fingers are blackened with it. Her lips are at my ear: “Which curves are you still missing?” She takes my hand, sets it on her hip. “This one?” On her stomach. “This?” On her thigh. “Here?”

I swallow the hesitation in my throat.

“Come on,” she says. “You can do better than that.” And I can.

She shows me. Her tongue sketches curves and I am recreated by her from the inside when she slides.

Her lips are charcoal, and my skin is perfect paper.