Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up


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All About R.

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Image source: IMDb.com

If you are a movie buff, or at least one who enjoys a story about behind-the-scenes drama, you probably know the film All About Eve.  Based on a 1946 short story by Mary Orr, the 1950 motion picture is regarded as one of the best films of all time, nominated for 14 Academy Awards and winning 6, the most prominent of the wins being Best Picture.

I’ve seen All About Eve only once.  Well, I should say I actually heard it, when the story was re-enacted for radio a decade ago.  I never saw the Bette Davis/Anne Baxter original, nor any other adaptation produced since then, including, obviously, the British stage adaptation put on earlier this year and whose poster you see to the right (more on why I included this particular poster in a moment).

For those who don’t know how All About Eve goes down, the gist is this (and, yes, ***SPOILERS ARE AHEAD***, thanks to the description on Wikipedia):  Margo Channing, grand dame of Broadway, is introduced to a besotted fan, Eve Harrington.  Impressed by her fawning fandom, Margo takes Eve into her home and hires her as an assistant.  But distrust in Eve begins to swell in Margo, especially after Eve becomes her stage understudy.  By then, the manipulative and ambitious Eve is well under the skin of both Margo and those around her.

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Drip… drip… drip…

This past Wednesday was a pretty eventful one for me.  It started out very first thing in the morning as I was getting ready for a job interview (the subject of my next post, I promise).  And it started as most of my mornings usually do:  Get up, tool around the computer for a while, head into the kitchen for breakfast.

But there was a twist in my routine:  I noticed that a leather footstool in my living room was wet.  I knew for a certainty that I hadn’t spilled anything the night before, so after wiping off the water with a towel, I looked straight up and saw a line of condensation beading up in the ceiling.  Yep, I had a leaky ceiling, which made its presence much more evident when I reached up to wipe off the beading… and a steady downward drip resulted.

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Some real Independence Day music

Time for an unofficial version of “Allison’s Jukebox,” unofficial in that someone else deserves credit for bringing to the world’s attention these songs on this day (I’ll credit him later).  Here in the United States, this day when I write this is Independence Day.  This is the day when, 243 years ago, the “thirteen original colonies” gave a big “screw you” to a certain royal monarch, declared their independence, and tried to live happily ever after.

Emphasis on “tried” in that last paragraph, of course, for the past 243 years have not been all peaches and cream for our fair country.  For one, there was a brutal civil war whose side effects we still can’t overcome over a century and a half later.  As well, if you haven’t been paying attention to the news the past two and a half years, we’re being led into darkness by a certain man wearing an ill-fitting suit, bad-looking toupee, and a petulant ego that makes him think he’s a royal monarch.

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A poem: “Staring Back At You”

Earlier this month, yours truly reviewed Queer Shorts: Spirit of Stonewall, which had its very last performance at the Bartell Theatre this afternoon.  In that review, I mentioned the backdrop Stage Q employed for this Queer Shorts edition.  It a basic setup of a black curtain bathed by projected lights from overhead.  The lights can change colors with the flip of a board switch, including the 6 colors of the LGBT rainbow.

More than the color of the curtain or the lights, there is something else about the backdrop that I found absolutely striking:  To match the “Spirit of Stonewall” theme of this last Queer Shorts, Stage Q included photos, mostly 8x10s, of various images from local and national LGBT history.  The photos were strung together in vertical arrays along the curtain, each pic about a foot apart.  You can see what I mean in the below image of the Queer Shorts cast Stage Q posted on Facebook prior to their second to last performance.

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Why we must keep going

By now, I hope you have read my previous two posts (found here and here) dedicated to the anniversary of a momentous event.  The Stonewall riots, which started 50 years ago this morning (June 28, 1969), were a significant milestone on the way toward respect and equality for those in the broad LGBT+ community.  For sure, today is a day to recognize where our community has come from, celebrate the rights we have earned, and remember the long and hard fight that connects then to now… and continues into the future.

I need to bring up that aspect because as you are fully aware of, our LGBT+ community are still facing threats, even with our well-earned victories.  For every person who waives a rainbow flag, there is another wanting to tear it from their hands.  For every pride parade ready to step off, there is a group wanting to block us or wish us out of existence.  For every same-sex couple making their relationship legal, there is a legislator (and an entire political party) seeking to deny them that right.  And for every trans person wanting to display their true colors, and desiring to show the world that they are real human beings, there are those who only see them as deviant and disgusting.

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What we have now (and wouldn’t have had without Stonewall)

One cannot… really, must not deny how significant the Stonewall riots really were.  For sure, it helped propel the broad LGBT+ civil rights movement.  But it wasn’t the first figurative match to be tossed.  Far from it, really, as there were many other actions of rebellion, large and small, against anti-LGBT bigotry that occurred before that hot night 50 years ago this morning.  (I touched on them in my previous post, which you should check out if you haven’t done so already.)

As well, one cannot go without appreciation toward all the men, women, and gender non-conforming who took stands for LGBT+ liberties before and after Stonewall.  Even if they weren’t even alive when the riots occurred, they have never been afraid to say, “We’re here, we’re queer, and we can’t suffocate in the closet!”

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Where we started

One night many years ago, in a major American city, a group of gay men and women, transgender people, and drag performers rioted at a public place.  The uprising was a reaction against police harassment toward those in the LGBT+ community, and it occurred at an establishment where those in said community frequented.  Of course, I’m talking about… an incident that occurred in May 1959 at the Cooper Do-nuts cafe on Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

Yeah, you thought I was going to talk about some other major event in our history, weren’t you?  Well, while we all know about the event that occurred in New York City 50 years ago this morning (the very early hours of June 28, 1969), events such as that which occurred at that doughnut shop should not be lost to history.  Despite the 10-year time difference between them, the backgrounds between the Stonewall and Cooper Do-Nuts uprisings are equal:  They were in an era when, by law and culture (and both, in most cases), LGBT people had to live in the shadows.  And when they dared to venture into the open as their true selves (trans people especially), very few businesses welcomed in.  Cooper’s wasn’t one such business that didn’t turn them away…

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One year after my “new worst day ever”

Whenever I’m logged into WordPress, there’s always an icon on the top right corner of my browser marked “Write.”  Naturally, it’s where I can start writing a new post, but it also lists some of the drafts I’ve started that will, eventually, become new entries to this site.  It’s pretty convenient, too; just click that number next to the icon, and up pops a rundown of drafts by title.

One of those drafts had been staring back at me quite a bit lately, and the longer I kept seeing it unfinished, the more I didn’t want to finish it.  Which made me think of a question I kept asking myself and what you’re probably asking me at this point:  Why did I start that entry in the first place?

Well, perhaps it’s for wanting a feeling of catharsis, or as close to catharsis as I can get, that I started to write that post… well, I guess I should now call it this post, as this deals with what is still a difficult personal anniversary for me…

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Trying to keep a “million dollar” look in place

As I’ve mentioned more than once on this blog, Ragstock has been one of my go-to stores to find clothing items that are unique, edgy, daring, retro-themed… and more than a few times all of those at once.  About that retro vein, Ragstock is known for stocking lots of vintage clothing, whether it would be current designs inspired by looks of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, or something that looks as if it came straight out of those decades.

At their State Street location here in Madison, Ragstock has a “seriously retro” (my term) section where they keep all of their metallic lycra/lamé clothing, along with vintage-style clothing and accessories that would go well with them.  For the most part, I think, Ragstock considers that section as a “costume” area, in that not everyone will go around every day looking like a Blues Brother or a disco queen or a prom queen.

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Queer Shorts rocks my world… one last time

Okay, now that you’ve seen how cute I looked last Friday night (June 14), let’s give some praise to the reason I went out in the first place…

Last Friday was a well-needed day off from my work assignment.  Having that day off would be serendipitous for me, as I put in a little bit of walking in the morning, a little bit of shopping at midday… and a little bit of theater in the evening.

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Poster art for Queer Shorts: Spirit of Stonewall (image source here)

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, or at least an aficionado of Madison’s theater community, you’re probably familiar with Stage Q, a theater group dedicated to advancing the creative voices and stories of LGBTQ+ people here in Madison.  For the past 14 years, Stage Q’s cornerstone event has been Queer Shorts, a collection of queer-oriented (naturally) one-act plays, each united by a certain theme every year (e.g. love, remembrance).

This year, the golden anniversary of the Stonewall riots are the inspiration for Queer Shorts: Spirit of Stonewall, which had its premiere staging last Friday and will run on weekends through the end of this month.  That closing weekend is serendipitous, in that it coincides with the actual anniversary of that fateful early morning of June 28, 1969.

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