I was in New York City in November and met up with Bill Wadman, an amazing portrait photographer and friend of mine. As we were catching up we realized that he’s been photographing me for ten years, so I started thinking back on the experiences with him, the way things have changed over that time, and how portrait photographs can be a powerful tool of identity reflection.
My first shots with him were in 2007 for his 365 portrait series. Many of the folks I was in community with were part of it, and I threw my name out to him, too … I didn’t know what to expect, but I went over to his home studio with some ideas. He spent a lot of time with me, through multiple outfit changes and my nerves and even a performed poem at his old-school microphone. These shots weren’t the one he used for his project, but these are the ones I like best.
These were the first professional photos of myself, I think … aside from school portraits. Definitely my first “photo shoot.” I’d been an avid self-portraiture explorer since 2000 or so, but I was coming in to my butchness in new ways in 2005-6-7, and so I was seeing myself anew. Having someone else see me like this was gratifying … and kind of shocking. I remember staring at these photos a lot. Is that really how I look? Are you sure? It seemed magical.
I did three shoots with him in 2012. That was one of the hardest years of my life, and it was one of those years where I reached out to a lot of different photographers and did many shoots. The first one, with the red flogger against the brick wall, has been used many places since. While I’ve used some of the photos from the shoot later in the year, it was also a time when I was in deep depression, and the photos, while technically beautiful and very accurate in their capture of me, are really sad. My face is … surprising.
There’s actually one more shoot from 2012 that is missing. I’d had this vision of a photo of me in a white button-down, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, next to a clawfoot tub with a femme covered in bubbles, and me shaving her legs. Bill said, “If I find a clawfoot tub, will you and Kristen model?” and made it happen. It makes me sad to look at it. I’m not including it here, but I’ve seen it make the rounds on Tumblr, and it’s over on my Flickr.
There’s one — the middle one from 2015 — that I think is my favorite photo of myself ever taken. That whole shoot, though, are some of my favorites of all time. I’m not sure what it was, but I felt confident and so like myself, I’d just had top surgery, I was getting healthier in my body, and I was appreciating being back in New York for a small trip.
The 2017 photo shoot was for his second 365 portraits project. rife is also in this year’s portrait series, from the summer when Bill and his wife Heather were in San Francisco, but I waited until I was visiting New York to do a portrait with him. We met up at the gay boy bar Therapy because I remembered their all-gender bathroom as kinda epic, so we took some photos in there at the urinals. They show a different kind of me than the others, I think. More grown up. Maybe a little more wise. More playful. More … solid. More something.
Thank you, Bill. Here’s to another 10 years of friendship!
PS: I used to keep a lot of photos over on Flickr, and I still upload galleries from photoshoots there. You can browse through more of the photos from these shoots (and others) if you’d like.
I’ve already waxed poetic about the amazingness that is Indie Porn Revolution, so I won’t keep going into that here. So I’ll just put this here …
I know, it’s hard for me not to curate images that reflect my personal bias. I suppose I could’ve just taken ten images at random from the “Free Tour” page? But I wanted to look through ’em all and pick some of my very favorites for you. FOR YOU, you guyz. I looked at dozens and dozens of fucking hot sexy queer porn shots ALL FOR YOU.
Femmes, cocks, cleavage, tattoos, really nice legs, curves, more femmes, lingerie. I’m so predictable.
I really did try to grab a variety!
What I DO have is TWO Indie Porn Revolution trial memberships to give away. So riddle me this, folks, and I’ll be drawing two of you who at random and passing on your info to the inimitable Courtney Trouble so she can set you up an account.
I’m trying out a new experiment and using Rafflecopter to run this giveaway. You can enter one (or all!) of four ways.
Drawing will happen first thing Monday morning, April 28th, so you’ve got the weekend to tweet and share and look at the free preview images over and over again. Thanks Courtney & Indie Porn Revolution!
Photographer Bill Wadman has taken numerous shots of me in the last few years. Most recently and notably, he took the photo of me against the brick wall with the black and red flogger that I’ve been using as my avatar on most sites. He also took the shot of me shaving Kristen’s legs with a pink razor in the claw-foot bathtub with my sleeves rolled up.
He came over yesterday to take some more shots of me, partly for my upcoming fall and spring 2012-2013 travel promotions, and he wanted to take some Avedon-inspired shots up on my roof against a white backdrop. These are the best of the best results, and I think they are amazing. There are a few more of me in front of my gender/queer bookshelves; those will be in the PDFs that go out to colleges next week.
Thank you, Bill!
Kristen’s Friday Femme Conference outfit
Jessica Halem hosts FemmeSpeak, the spoken word night
Fran Fucking Varian reads at FemmeSpeak
my outfit for Saturday
Kristen + Liz from Rhino Girl Media + B
Maggie (of the Femme Show) & Dora, both organizers with MadFemmePride in Boston
Shilo McCabe’s hanky flowers for flagging at the vendor room
Bulldagger caucus, organized by Sasha T. Goldberg
butch butts after post-bulldagger meetup coffee
Kristen + Jessica Halem in lace at the FemmeWerq performance night
wait, how’d that photo get in here? our hotel bed was comfortable …
Kristen turned 29 years old yesterday.
We both attended a Body Electric workshop over the weekend—I’m completely wiped and Kristen is energized and tender, so we kept it pretty low-key. We had a very small gathering of a few folks over for cupcakes and champagne and fancy cheese, Kristen received a few sweet gifts, and generally enjoyed ourselves and each other’s company.
There’s a love letter coming, but meanwhile, I want to say happy birthday to my amazing girlfriend. I love that we get to explore and experiment together, and I feel so lucky to have found someone so willing to love well, work well, and grow well with me.
I love you Kristen, thank you for sharing these beautiful years of your life with me. I wish you big dreams and explosions and fireworks in your 30th year around the sun, and I’m so excited that I get to be there with you, here and beyond.
If you’ve been lurking around Sugarbutch for a while, you know who Syd London is.
Syd has taken many of the most significant photos of me and my events in the last few years. She is an incredible photographer, hard-working and frequently nearly invisible at events, sneaking in to get just the right shots without interrupting the performers or the vibe of what’s going on (which is not true of all event photographers, just sayin’).
The first shoot that Syd and I did was a solo shoot of me, in slightly industrial Brooklyn, so early in the morning that I look kind of tired in some of the shots. But you probably recognize at least this one:
… because that’s the shot I used as a headshot for a few years. More from that photo shoot are on Syd’s flickr stream … I especially like this one.
Then Syd shot me and Cheryl the night that we started Sideshow.
You’ve seen many of these shots, too, because I used them as promo images for the series while it ran for a year and a half. There are many, many more shots of us from that night, together and separately, and the colors are amazing, and Cheryl looks so serious and dark and her usual self, and then sometimes one of us made her laugh and we got this rare shot of her smile. I’m so glad we have some photos of us together. Syd took hundreds of shots that night, and made us both look incredible.
She also snapped a few quick shots of me and Kristen, including this one, which is one of my favorite photographs of us together that we yet have:
And just, wow. I love that photograph.
Syd went on to photograph Sideshow for Time Out New York a couple different times throughout the series. How else would I have these amazing shots, capturing what it was like to be there for the first time? I was so nervous. Cheryl was buzzing around but kept a completely cool head, as she did. Kristen was beautiful and welcoming and warm, as she is.
And Syd captured it all.
Syd went on to photograph the Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference, for which I was on the steering committee, and snapped more shots of me, the conference in general, and Kristen and Cheryl as part of the volunteer committee that baked for the butches.
Syd also got shots of the Sideshow/Queer Memoir Butch Voices Mashup and the Speed Friending/Speed Dating opening night social. I’m on the Butch Voices national board now, have I mentioned that yet? I should make a formal announcement about that, I (we, the board) haven’t yet.
… And then Cheryl was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Syd took the photos of Cheryl’s old fashioned lesbian head shaving ritual, and one of the photos made it into the New York Times “Lives They Lived” series and was featured in the NYT Magazine.
Kelli & Cheryl had their own shoot before we did the head shaving, so these are some of the last shots of Cheryl with all of her hair.
I love the love in these photographs. They were so good together, and loved each other so well.
Syd went on to photograph Nerd Love, the Valentine’s show that Kelli and Cheryl did together with some friends, as well as Fuck Your Health and Butch Burlesque and Butch It Up and dozens more community events.
And then Cheryl died. And Syd photographed the last Sideshow, just like she’d photographed the first one, except without Cheryl. And Kristen and I tried not to cry all night, and I put Sideshow on hold.
And a month or so later, Syd photographed Cheryl’s memorial.
… and I don’t even know what to say about that. It was a beautiful, important night, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
So basically, Syd London’s photography tells many the stories of my life for the past two years, from formal headshot photoshoots to community events to private rituals to memories that I am so blessed to cherish in images. I didn’t really realize that I’d be doing an overview of my successes and lows and family, but well, that’s what I’m doing.
The point is, Syd London needs a camera.
She’s been doing all this work borrowing camera equipment, and needs her own in order to continue capturing the community events that she’s been doing for many years, not just the last few that I’ve been working with her. She’s touched many, many lives of artists and activists in this community.
Here’s the video version of this request:
And here’s what Syd has to say about this campaign:
My name is Syd London; I’m a Brooklyn based, self taught, professional photographer and photojournalist. Until photography I struggled since the age of 9 with my soul question; how can I use my life as a tool? Baring witness, documenting and story telling through my photography while working to get those stories out there have become my answer. However, the professional grade tools which enable me to do this work are extremely expensive. I haven’t had my own digital camera since August 2010, when my camera was broken beyond repair. Since then I’ve been working on borrowed and rented equipment. Skyrocketing rental costs make it extremely difficult to continue and impossible to save for the needed equipment. I don’t want to wear my welcome out from relying on the incredible generosity of friends for camera loans. I never know what I’m going to work with or how/if I’m going to get a camera for the next gig. I’m especially concerned about the continuity of my work dedicated to social justice; licenses to these photos are frequently donated to organizations doing social justice work at a grass roots level such as Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Audre Lorde Project and Queers for Economic Justice. A professional grade camera rig of my own would enable me to continue my ongoing documentary about the LGBT community in NYC “Taking Back the Streets” (started in 2007), to continue to donate to magnificent organizations and artists as well as enable me push my work to the next level, something I’m starved for.
If you’ve got any extra money and you’re capable of giving a donation to her campaign, I urge you to do so. For selfish reasons, I want to keep working with Syd, and I want her photographs to keep being amazing. And for more community reasons, I know Syd’s work makes a huge difference, and I know how important it is to have not only a record of our communities, but a way to show us off in the mainstream that is accessible, beautiful, and moving.
Thank you, Syd, for all the incredible work you’ve done. I hope it’ll continue for a long time.
So I have really a lot to say about my experience at the International Ms. Leather contest in San Francisco last weekend—about how it was pretty phenomenal to be in a hotel space filled with leather women (and those who love them), about the BDSM & anal workshop that Tristan Taormino led, about the 10 rules for happy non-monogamy workshop that Andrea Zanin led, and the single tail workshop that had me inspired, and the “parade of colors” and the leather sashes that made me, from the audience, go, “oh my gosh this is such a thing,” the royalty that leather title holders have, the awesomeness that are our new titleholders: the butch from Texas is our new IMsL and the femme bootblack is the new IMsBB! I’m thrilled that they’re representing this community and I wish them so many amazing adventures and fun travels.
And I kind of don’t know where to start, with what to tell you. I am extremely crunched for time these days (turns out, the week that your book comes out is kind of busy, who knew) and I don’t want to just give you a play-by-play (though you might be interested in that, I know, ya pervs).
So instead, I just want to send lots of love to IMsL and IMsBB 2012, KD Diamond and Sara Vibes, with this shot of them I snapped while Sara was feeding KD peeps off of her knife.
And yeah, this is just the kind of thing that happened, right in front of me, when I didn’t even expect it, all weekend long. If you’re kinky and queer and into women, this is one of those gatherings you don’t want to miss. You bet your ass I’ll be there next year.
I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts folder for a week or so now, and I can’t figure out what to write to go along with Syd’s slideshow.
These are the photos from Cheryl’s memorial, B is for Beautiful, taken by Syd London, who is a dear friend of mine and who photographed me and Cheryl for Sideshow promotion, the first Sideshow, and the last Sideshow, as well as a few other significant shoots of Cheryl’s—like her lesbian headshaving ritual. So many, in fact, that Syd created an entire collection of Cheryl B. photo shoots on Flickr.
Emceeing the memorial was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I am so glad to have had some tantra and “holding space” training, because I totally cast a circle and grounded energy and did all of that. I wanted a container that could hold our grief, if even just for the afternoon. It was funny and fun and tragic and intense, just like Cheryl, and I think it was a really beautiful celebration of her life. Here’s what I read at the memorial.
Kelli submitted one of Syd’s shots to the New York Times “The Lives They Loved” series that is online and selectively printed in the NYT Magazine on Christmas annually, and submitted this shot of Cheryl, Kelli, Diana Cage, and me.
When my partner Cheryl B was diagnosed with hodgkin’s disease last fall and was preparing for chemo that would cause her to lose her beautiful black hair, a friend suggested a “good ol’ fashioned lesbian headshaving ceremony.” We had friends over, made food, and shaved Cheryl’s head. There are many photos of Cheryl performing, engaged in political actions, organizing events. All these are important but I also want to remember her like this: loved, loving, happy, embracing the radical love of her chosen family and the queer (in a myriad of ways) community she had gathered around her.
If that’s not some radical infiltrating, I don’t know what is. And also, who else had photos of fishnets and cleavage? Amazing. Kelli tells the story about how she made the fact checker say “good ol’ fashioned lesbian headshaving ceremony” no less than four times:
Young fact checker dude: So, it says “when Cheryl became ill with hodgkins, her friends suggested a good old fashioned lesbian headshaving ceremony?”
Me: Oh I am sorry, my dog was barking, could you repeat that last part? (no dog had barked)
YFCD: Good old fashioned lesbian head shaving?
Me: Oh shit, you know how iPhones are, you cut out, could you repeat that again?
YFCD: Good old fashioned (sigh) lesbian head shaving.
Me: Oh I’m sorry, I still didn’t catch it.
YFCD: Good. Old. Fashioned. Lesbian. Head. Shaving.
Me: Oh yeah, of course. Yes.
I can see Cheryl rolling her eyes, too, so easily, at that she had to die in order to get into the New York Times—but I think she would’ve been very pleased about this little write-up. And I think she would like Syd’s collection of the beautiful photos of her, with her big love Kelli and with friends and fans and community, and I think she would have loved the memorial.
Miss you, Cheryl. Every day.
After Cheryl died, the reading series she and I co-created took a hiatus. July 2011 was the last performance, and Syd London took amazing photographs.
Readers were Ellis Avery, Samantha Barrow, E Charles Crandall, Kestryl Cael Lowrey, Morgan W., Renair Amin, & Ashley Young.
I think it really captures the vibe of the series … diverse and wide-ranging, joyous and emotional, community building and hook-up space (did you see all those super hot people?!).
I miss doing that every month. I’m hoping to revive it in 2012, but I don’t have all the details worked out yet. Will of course let you all know and shout it from the rooftops when I do.
Gotta look snappy for Dark Odyssey! I thought I was going to head down to Baltimore tonight for that workshop at Sugar and head right to camp, but instead I’m going to stay in New York for two more nights and head in early on Thursday morning. I definitely want to be there for the first workshop (uh and I think I am teaching a workshop that hour, so I better be), and preferably for orientation at noon, so I’m going to aim for early. Earlier than I like to get up. As much as I would have liked to be at Sugar tonight, I’m glad to have two more nights here at home to prepare and get some more details for my workshops worked out.
Tomcats is still my favorite barber shop in New York. Joey is my favorite, but Olivia did a really amazing job with Kristen’s hair on Sunday—I’ll see if I can snap a good shot of her new haircut and show it off for y’all, it looks fierce and fun and serious. Plus, her hanky flower came last weekend, so I want to show y’all a photo of that anyway.
I see from my Facebook feed that a few friends of mine have started going to Tomcats regularly … I hope they’re treating you as well as they have me.
I’ll Show You Mine edited by Wrenna Robertson is a beautiful hardcover coffee table book that came out in February 2011 from Show Off Books. It features 120 photographs of 60 women’s genitals, and accompanying each woman’s photos is text written by the woman, detailing her challenges and/or successes as pertains to her relationship with her genitals. According to the website, there are two trans women included in the book (Ashley and Emily), and the book’s introduction says that the range of age is from 19 to 60. I notice a lot of piercings—more than I thought would be included—and that the majority of those photographed seem to be partially shaved or at least heavily trimmed, but there are some very full hairy bushes in there too.
It’s quite a beautiful book. I’m looking forward to bringing it to workshops and having it there for people to leaf through. Thank you, Show Off Books.
It’s a pleasure to live here while New York made gay marriage legal.
I don’t think gay marriage is the be-all end-all of the equality fight (uh, does anybody? Maybe I don’t have to clarify that here), but I do think it’s an important symbol.
I’ve actually been thinking a lot about marriage and weddings lately … blame Offbeat Bride for being awesome and Style Me Pretty for their one-in-100 amazing inspirations. And my couple’s therapist, who is starting to help me have a vision of how a relationship could really last. But, more about that another time.
Congratulations to all who are getting (legally) wed, and thanks, New York.
I saw this photo first on Twitter and think it is just stunning. I’m not really one for rainbow imagery, but I do love dramatic water.
Somehow in May I had two beautiful photographs of me, both taken by professional photographers, published. And in case you aren’t following me in the regular social media places, or by my RSS feed on mrsexsmith.com, I figured I’d share ’em here.
The first is by Bill Wadman who first took my photo for 365Portraits.com in 2007. (I wasn’t ‘out’ as Sinclair then so I kept it under my other name.) A few weeks ago, he tweeted that he was bored and wanted to take portraits, and I replied, how about me? And it was on. He came over and we chatted about what I was planning to do that weekend, which was to attend a BDSM erotic energy retreat. He paused a second: “You’re into that?” Me: “Yep. In fact, I have some good equipment if you’d like to see it …” and out came my flogger. After he saw my new (since his last shot of me, anyway) tattoo, the shot soon made itself.
Speaking of the tattoo: many people have asked me what it is. It’s a ruler, it measures 6″, and if you measure from the flat palm of my hand, it measures 8″. There are numerous meanings to it (as with all the best tattoos, don’t you think?): I’m a graphic designer, for one. I’ll always have 6″ with me (ha ha) and I can measure high heels a lot easier this way. I can now measure how far into you I can reach. I’ve been thinking about this tattoo for a while, since I saw a photo of someone who had one on Flickr years ago, but the thing that made me go and do it was taking the Buddhist Refuge Vow in spring 2010. During the meditations, it came to me that this path, the Buddhist path, is actually incredibly linear, and has been walked hundreds of thousands of times for thousands of years. Considering that so, so much of my life is about forging my own path, making my own direction, this felt so incredibly comforting and I knew it was time to get the tattoo.
This next shot was for the DapperQ He Said/We Said May edition, the shoot for which happened in April, with photos by Yi Ching Lin. I was there with four other models, all of whom were reinterpreting a current high-fashion men’s runway look in our own way. The photos turned out beautifully. Susan Herr, DapperQ hirself, has called this photo “the best butch photo of all time,” and I am very pleased with how it turned out.
There are others over at DapperQ.com from this shoot, and there’s a video of all 5 of us models talking about our fashion inspiration as well.
It’s Kristen’s 28th birthday tomorrow!
I am as ever grateful for her in my life. I’ve never been so in love, I’ve never been in a better relationship, and though we are in some rocky growth struggles, I am confident we’ll get through it and be better people because of it.
This is the third birthday I’ve been able to spend with her so far, and I love the ways that she is growing and blossoming and stepping into her power and doing amazing things in the world, and I know it’s just going to be more exciting to be with her as all her adventures continue.
Love you, darling. Happy birthday.
Hey folks! I’m here in beautiful (rainy, snowy) Milwaukee, had a great time at The Tool Shed last night. And did I mention the cheese plate I had for dinner? These folks know how to do cheese.
I’ll be at UW Madison tonight in Madison, Wisconsin, and since I didn’t ever post the info, here is it:
I don’t know which room exactly but I assume there will be signs. I’m looking forward to it! This is one of my favorite workshops to do.
Big day ahead of me, better get going—see you tonight!
The one on Twitter, and Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind release party. Director (and general badass hottie) Tristan Taormino posted some shots from it on her Tumblr and on Facebook, including this one of my firecracker fierce hot girlfriend.
Photo by Nate “Igor” Smith (drivenbyboredom.com)
(Regularly scheduled posts will return next week, I swear.)
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.
I find myself thinking about this quote often lately, the “queer, divine dissatisfaction” frequently bouncing around in my mind. There’s something up with me these last few months, something askew, something just not quite right that I can’t place.
Despite that my writing and freelance design (did you know I build websites professionally?) work is going quite well, despite the launch of Butch Lab last week after three months of work, despite having my very first erotica anthology in the works and the inbox filling up as the deadline approaches, something still feels unsatisfactory.
Unlike many folks, I actually enjoy the winter holidays, and I’m having a good time building a home out of my lovely apartment that I share with Kristen, especially since my former roommate left and we have the space to ourselves. It’s our first winter holiday season together—I haven’t been going back to where I grew up the past few years and Kristen decided not to go this year, so we are going through our families’ traditions and choosing our favorites, making up some new ones as we build our life together.
I feel better and better about New York City, I never would’ve guessed I’d be here this long and despite traveling to the West Coast four times this year, I had a dream a few months back that I had to move back to where I grew up, and I was all for it, excited to be returning, until I realized I would be leaving New York. No more Sideshow, no more readings at Happy Endings and the Bowery, no more D train across the Manhattan bridge and events at the Center, no more Lesbian Sex Mafia, no more Kelli and Cheryl and Dacia and Mamone and Anne and Em and Grace and Diana and IDP and Prospect Park. And I panicked, in the dream, and yelled NO I’m not ready! and I woke up realizing I really wasn’t. I’m not. My Brooklyn freelance life is great, the best way I’ve lived in New York so far. I’ve been in the same apartment for three-plus years, longer than I’ve lived in any single place since the house I grew up in. I’ve been in New York five and a half years, and I left Seattle after being there six and a half years, so I’m getting close to having lived here longer than anywhere else. And though I thought I’d be way ready to go after this long in this concrete jungle, that I’m staying and making a life here actually feels pretty good.
And hi, have you seen my very sexy, gorgeous, radiant girlfriend? Not to objectify her, except well, yes, to objectify her just a little, because she likes that and I generally have permission to do so here in my little online world, and because her sexy gorgeousness is just one part of her and one part of what I’m madly in love with about her, other things being: her adventurous baking experiments, her kitchen tenacity in general, her extraordinary ability to communicate emotionally, the way she can work a room at a party, the shade of blue her eyes sparkle when she’s excited, the shade of pink her skin flushes, her high high sex drive, her openness to playing, how determined she is to make a place for herself in the world, how incredibly thoughtful she is at making the people around her feel comfortable and safe and interesting, her sensitive big heart.
I could go on.
Not to brag, except well, yes, to brag just a little bit, out of an honoring of what I’m grateful for, and because I really thought I’d never find somebody this amazing, and I was starting to get really convinced that I’d have to settle, that I wouldn’t find someone this good for me.
I almost feel stable! I love what I’m doing, I love where I’m going and what plans I have in 2011, this last year has been probably my favorite time period my whole life, I’ve never been this happy or satisfied … so why am I feeling a little bit unhappy and unsatisfied? My logical brain can’t quite wrap my head around it, but there’s something kind of shadowy that I get a glimpse of every once in a while, lurking behind my lungs somewhere.
And … well, that’s about it. On the one hand, my beautiful life. On the other hand, this shadow. I don’t know what it is. Hello, shadow, what are you? Who are you? Where do you come from? I’m not that scared of you right now, more just … curious. Tell me what it is you came here for. Let me know what you’re hiding from me.
It seems to be so quiet, subtle. I’m not sure I can force a shadow to reveal itself, especially not if I go after it with a spotlight.
So I’ll try to wait, and make a space for it to show itself, and be ready to hear whatever is going on, when it is ready to reveal itself.
The rest of the Butch Voices photos taken by our official photographer Syd London are up! Take a look at the Speed Friending event that kicked off the conference, or visit Syd’s flickr to see them all together.
Here’s the shots from the conference, including my workshop “Cock Confidence,” and the community-building ritual keynote:
And here’s the Sideshow/Queer Memoir Mashup reading at Bluestockings:
Check out Syd’s recent work on Time Out NY, the PFAG Awards Gala, Mad Men Season Finale at the Bell House, the Grand Central Die-In, NY Burlesque Festival, and the Marriage Equality March. There’s also the Remembering Youth Vigil up on Go Magazine’s website.
Thanks, Syd! Prints or digital copies are available to purchase, contact Syd directly for more information about that. “Like” her on Facebook to follow her work!
Conference, featuring some important femme books that I highly recommend if you haven’t read them already. Femme is part of an ever-evolving, big, knowable lineage, and if you love this identity in any way—if it’s yours, or if it is the gender to whom you are oriented, or if you appreciate it—you should know where it comes from, where it’s been.
I met Ulrika Dahl at the Femme Conference in 2008, and was excited to get my hands on this lovely book when it came out. It features profiles and essays about femme identity, photographs of femmes with all sorts of varieties of presentation, and discussions of what femme is like in different contexts. It’s a beautiful book, almost a coffee table book, that you can flip through and stare at all the beautiful photographs of femmes. Or you can delve deeper into the text for complex depictions of queer gender identity.
From the synopsis:
What is femme? French for woman? A feminine lesbian? A queer girl who loves to dress up? Think again! Going beyond identity politics and the pleasures of plumage, “Femmes of Power” captures a diverse range of queerly feminine subjects whose powerful and intentional redress explodes the meaning of femme for the 21st century. “Femmes of Power” features both every-day heroines and many queer feminist icons, including Michelle Tea, Virginie Despentes, Amber Hollibaugh, Itziar Ziga, Lydia Lunch, Kate Bornstein and Valerie Mason-John. “Femmes of Power” unsettles the objectifying “male” gaze on femininity and presents femmes as speaking subjects and high heeled theorists.
The inimitable Syd London took some photographs of Cheryl B. and me to use for Sideshow promotion. We shot in the East Village, right around the Phoenix bar where Sideshow is held, on 13th & Avenue A. Some of the shots near the end are actually right in front of the Phoenix, that dark red brick wall with the wrought iron bars on the windows, kind of gothic-looking. And Kristen makes an appearance at the end, as she is the semi-official Sideshow Hostess.
These shots were taken the same night as the last Sideshow, the butch/femme themed Pride show on June 9th, which Syd also photographed for Time Out New York, and which are now up on the TONY blog. They’re gorgeous, check ’em out!
Syd put a whole bunch of the best shots up on Flickr, shown here in a slideshow.
We haven’t finished choosing the images for our official promotional images yet. I’d love some help in picking out the best ones—Which are your favorites?
But … I ran into these promotional shots (hat tip to Essin’ Em) from Dylan Ryan and Madison Young—both of whom did Quick Anal Interviews with me for Anal Week here on Sugarbutch!—who were in a recent shoot on kink.com’s site Everything Butt, and I’ve just got to share them.
It is Anal Week (for a few more days), after all. And what better place to explore some photos of ass play than in Everything Butt?
They’re explicit (and fucking hot)—consider yourself warned.
April 3rd is my birthday, I’m turning 31 tomorrow. I love being in my thirties (fuck those who-am-I finding-myself-bullshit twenties, I’m so ready to be solidly where I’m at). April is also Sugarbutch’s birthday month, I started this site 4 years ago on the 29th. Will have a giveaway or something exciting later this month for that.
Did you flip your 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar to my pinup photo with Audacia Ray yet? I bet there are still calendars to purchase, if you don’t have one yet. WORTH IT, if not only for the blogiversaries and birthdays of your favorite sex bloggers and the sexy photos, then for the discount codes to the best of the best online sex shops!
And those of you who have been following for a while will remember: in the past few years, I have requested for you to send in photos of your most fabulous shoes as a birthday card, if you feel so inspired. “Your most fabulous shoes” can mean anything, the ribbons-around-the-ankles are not required (though oh so hot, gahh). I am really quite partial to the ones that lace up and tie and wrap around, probably it’s a bondage related thing, I’m not quite sure why they are SO DAMN HOT but they just are. Strappy sandals are also awesome. The smaller and more delicate, the better. Mmmmmm.
J. from Toronto, one of my favorites from last year.
I’ll post my favorites, with your permission of course. (If you prefer I don’t post them, please let me know.) Send them to or post them on your own blog and leave a comment, so I can be sure to see them & link!
Kristen and I have some birthday plans this weekend, including New York City’s best bloody mary, swing dancing, some small birthday adventures, and drinks with friends. I did have daydreams of getting 30 blowjobs for my 30th birthday, last year, but that didn’t really happen. I should come up with something fun I can request from her this year, though I’m not quite sure what it will be (she does so much for me already!). Suggestions?
It arrived! My “Prom Is So Gay” tee shirt from Just Like Jesse James. I feel a little weird wearing it, I feel the need to explain the use of “gay” pejoratively around people I don’t know especially. But I did wear it to The Bulldyke Chronicles (and pimp it when I read a quick poem), and it seemed like the audience understood that it is a reference to Candace McMillan.
And while I’m taking photographs, here’s a shot that caught my new tattoo in it too. It’s a 6″ ruler, positioned 2″ from my palm which means I can measure things to 8″ when I place my palm flat against something. I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time (it even made an appearance in a poem from last year, which was one of three I read at Bulldyke Chronicles).
It’s actually a lot straighter than how it appears in this photo. One could even say it’s the straightest thing about me (ha ha). It is, as I’ve been calling it, an artist’s rendition of a ruler, so it’s not 100% accurate or straight, but it is damn close. Close enough for anything I’d need to measure, certainly. I don’t need to count the picas.
There are a lot of layers of meaning to this, not the least of which is that I’m a graphic designer. Any other guesses as to what it just possibly might symbolize?
The 2010 New York City Sex Blogger Calendar is well underway! If you don’t follow me on twitter (or follow the calendar itself on twitter) you may not know what amazing things are already going on behind the scenes.
First, SAVE THE DATE — November 6th 2009 is the official release party of the 2010 calendar here in New York City. Not sure of the venue or exact time, though you can bet I’ll let you know. Be there or be square, people!
The gorgeous and ever-proper Audacia Ray and I shot together this year, with the incredibly talented photographer Amanda Morgan. I first came across her work through my other site, Queer Eye Candy and suggested her to Tess and Diva as a potential photographer for the calendar, and to my great pleasure, she said yes. I so appreciate her time and participation in this project.
Dacia & I shot with Amanda at 7am in Times Square last week. We’re not revealing the final shot yet, but here are a few outtakes:
What really caught my eye, though, are these video outtakes from Elizabeth – professor and pinup behind Sex in the Public Square – doing her shoot on the “Frying Pan, an historic lightship.” You might recall that I am, ah, quite fond of Elizabeth (i.e., I think she’s damn hot), and these outtakes are well worth watching. See three more over at the SitPS blog.
The 2009 Calendar is officially fully sponsored – meaning, every month has a separate sponsorship, NOT meaning that we won’t accept more money if you don’t know what to do with those hundred dollar bills that are currently serving as your inadequate mousepad – and we sold every single day in the calendar, much thanks to Miss Calico and her extreme generosity (read: nudity and bribes).
Do you see how hot this calendar is, people? Do ya? I mean seriously. If those teasers alone aren’t enough to make you march over to Dacia’s place and toss in your twenty bucks right now, I don’t know what will. Maybe if I ask you real nice? But, oh wait, I don’t do that. I order. I command. I instruct. So: do it. Buy a calendar. Support Sex Work Awareness and the incredible work of the media trainings like Speak Up!
See you at the party!
Kristen, featured here with the spreader bar, Liberator Throe, leather ankle cuffs, and Spartacus leather paddle. You can’t see it in the photo, but her hands are tied together and to my headboard.
Though I know photographs are worth a thousand words, I have one thing to add about the spreader bar: because it does not have attached cuffs, you need hooks (shown here with carabiners) and cuffs (or rope) of your own in order to secure a person to the bar adequately. This also means that she’s not exactly held in place, there is a lot of room for her to move around and does not hold her securely in place. If I bought another spreader bar (which I might, I really do love the immobilization) I would purchase one with cuffs included, so there wasn’t as much wiggle room for the person being tied down.
But certainly that doesn’t mean that it’s not beautiful to feel her strain against the force of being spread open.
“Queer Eye Candy is the on-line family photo album for the queer community.” – Geek Porn Girl
“As a straight woman I do not expect to identify with pictures of lesbians right away, but I do, because love is love, laughter is laughter, and happiness is all the same. Thank you for helping me to see this in a new light.” – Kelly
“After being featured in Queer Eye Candy as a femme, and reading all the comments, it made me feel like it was OK to be feminine again.” – Em the Femme
Queer Eye Candy – www.queereyecandy.com – is a community website dedicated to showcasing visual representations of butches, femmes, and all sorts of other queers. We as genderqueers know what it’s like to be out in the world and treated strangely, questioned (“Mommy, is that a boy or a girl?” “What are you doing, this is the ladies room!” “Don’t you know it’s dyke night, honey?”), or constantly stared at as we navigate through our days. We know what it’s like to feel outcast because of the way we look. But what if more people were more used to seeing us, in the wide variety of representation? What if the thousands of ways that butch and femme are reclaimed and performed were collected, so we could see how much variety exists within these identities?
And so, our mission of visibility was born.
With weekly features such as Wednesday Butch Hump Day, Date Night Thursday, and Femme Friday, Queer Eye Candy showcases all sorts of representation of and from our communities.
But we can’t do it without your participation! Here’s the part where we ask you to send in fabulous photos of yourself, your lover(s), your friends, your family. You do not need to identify as butch or femme to participate, though the project does focus on butches and femmes.
Submit your high quality, work-safe photographs to [email protected] and go to http://www.queereyecandy.com/submit/ for further information about sending us your photograph. You can also submit photos through the Flickr group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/queereyecandy.
We hope to see your smilin’ face on the site.
Please reprint this call for images on your blog or message board or community or via your email list! And here are some new buttons you can use to link to Queer Eye Candy in any way you wish.
I’m a week late on this news (but what can I say, this isn’t a news blog): Cynthia Nixon announced last week at the New York City Action=Marriage Equality rally that she and her girlfriend, Christine Marinoni, are engaged.
After hearing this, I did some searching for some photos of the couple, because, well, they’re butch/femme! (At least in adjective, if not in identity.) And they are so fucking cute together! I get touched in a different way when I see dykes who have gender that is similar to mine … I just recognize them and it really makes me happy.
It got me thinking a little bit about the celebrity world, and why it isn’t a bigger deal that Cynthia Nixon is gay – she’s a major star of Sex & the City! The film only came out last year, it should still be relevant. Reminds me that the 2009 After Ellen Hot 100 list just came out, and I was frustrated that there aren’t more a) butches or genderqueer folks (I count 5), and b) women who are actually out and queer, instead of women whose characters are gay on tv. I know this is kind of another topic, and I’ll follow up on this later (eventually).
Congratulations on the engagement, I wish you two the best.
From both this weekend and last.
Isn’t she good for sending me photos this time?
I think she’ll be rewarded for that, later.
Being out of the country was a good excuse to send a (very) late birthday photo. And of course, the bare legs help make up for it, too. Mmmmmm.
“There’s something about hotel rooms that make even the sweetest pair of shoes seem just a bit naughty.” – Roxy
Stockings & heels from Polly
Sexy headboard & heels from Green-eyed Girl
Happy Birthday patent heels from Violet White
from Mina Meow