Allison M.

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


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Silver and gold and… rainbows?

A couple of years ago, I had some fun (as did Saturday Night Live) at Hallmark Channel’s expense.  It’s December if you haven’t noticed, meaning that network is now two months into their Countdown to Christmas movie extravaganza.  And while the movie titles number in the several dozen (perhaps several hundred?), the whole block is the same old same-old:  Charming setting, festive decorations everywhere, handsome male lead makes cute with pretty female lead… and little to no LGBT+ representation.

But if for one brief, shining moment, the thought of a slight change in that Countdown to Christmas formula was raised:  Hallmark Channel CEO Bill Abbott, in a podcast talk with The Hollywood Reporter last month, indicated that the network was open to producing holiday movies with gay lead characters.  Abbott’s passing statement resulted from the podcast’s hosts/interviewers challenging Abbott over Hallmark’s prioritizing content for a broad audience ahead of those that reflect the unique aspects of American society.  Separately, Michelle Vicary, who heads the Hallmark-owned studio that produces these films for the network, indicated that they were “looking at pitches” for movies with LGBT+ characters.

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Christmas without the angel wings

This post and the one that will follow are in relation to a couple of holiday-related TV tidbits I’ve talked up in the past.  That next one will be about something that likely won’t leave the airwaves any time soon.  This one, however, is about one that has.

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Photo credit: Corey Tenold via Vogue

You probably recall this photo from a post I wrote at this time last year.  The image was from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which was first staged in the mid-1990s and used to be a prominent part of CBS’ holiday schedule.  Last year’s show, which aired on ABC, was marred by pre-air controversy thanks to a Vogue interview with Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of L Brands (Victoria’s Secret’s parent company), and Monica Mitro, VS’ executive VP of public relations.  Let’s just say that neither executive, Razek especially, made a good impression with their dismissive comments about plus-sized and trans models (they weren’t part of the “fantasy” VS was going for in the show).

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The day Allison exited a long, dark hallway

Before I talk up a little something I did back in October, I want to bring up a television show I’ve mentioned once or twice on this blog (especially on this post), Being Erica.  For the still uninitiated, the basic premise of that show was this:  Erica Strange, the show’s protagonist, is bright and well-educated yet living a dead-end life thanks to a series of regrets.  One day (okay, the pilot episode), a rather mysterious psychoanalyst offers Erica this opportunity:  Go over that list of regrets and, one by one, relive them and perhaps even change their outcomes.  Yes, it meant Erica literally going into her past to improve her present.

Why am I bringing up Being Erica once again here?  Well, what I did early last month (be patient, I’ll get to it) reminded me of a story line from the series’ final episode.  Please allow me to explain (and, oh yeah, for those who never saw the show and are piqued enough to find it on DVD or some streaming service, ***MAJOR SPOILERS ARE AHEAD***):

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My three Thanksgivings

It’s Thanksgiving Day morning 2019 as I write this.  This day finds me relaxing and recuperating from what’s been a busy week at my work assignment, not to mention what will be a busy month to come.  Without divulging any details of the company where I’m currently assigned (due to privacy and all), I’ll say that this company has clients from across the country, and that December is always their busiest time of year.  Hopefully for my sake, such a busy time will spill well into January, if not February.  If not, hopefully a new line of work, from a staffing agency or otherwise, will be lined up for me by the time I leave this assignment.

This Thanksgiving also finds me at home, just relaxing, perhaps doing some laundry, and not paying too much attention to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade unlike more recent years.  I have no plans to go anywhere, other than maybe a walk around the neighborhood to get in some much-needed exercise.  Speaking of which, I was tempted to participate in a 10K run that is staged in Madison every year on Thanksgiving, but it’s kind of hard to run in a heavy winter coat.  No, we don’t have snow here in Madison at the moment, but the chilly temperatures would dampen any enjoyable run.

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Comings and goings at West Towne

While my mind formulates a post about my recent night at Trans Monologues (it’s coming, I promise), I want to keep my writing juices flowing with a few things about the mall down the road from where I live, West Towne Mall.  Thankfully, none of what I want to talk about is about this incident (yikes!).  Rather, it’s about a couple of stores at West Towne, beginning with Forever 21.  As you may have heard, Forever 21 declared bankruptcy back at the end of September, and that the roster of locations the retailer plans to close includes the spot of West Towne they’ve rented out for the past 10 years or so.

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Five years into this blogging thing

It’s Sunday morning as I write this, and I’m thankful for the respite this day is giving me.  See, my past couple of days have been preoccupying and just a little bit eventful.

  • There’s the work week, of course; I’m trying to keep busy with work during my current work assignment and hoping it’ll last as long as I hope it will, if not a little bit longer.
  • Immediately after work on Friday night, I dolled myself up and attended a trans-oriented performance event (more on that in a subsequent post).
  • Earlier in the day on Friday, the management company that cares for my apartment told me they’d finally start work repairing the ginormous hole that’s been in my living room ceiling for 4 months(!).
  • And on Saturday afternoon, I played the part of dutiful son/brother/uncle and made the two-hour drive to my family’s Thanksgiving to-do.  Yes, our family’s gotten to the point where we do our own individual things on the actual Thanksgiving day.

In between all of that, I knew there was another significant day coming for me.  I knew, too, that it didn’t have to do with work or family or even dressing up.  I just didn’t know, or more precisely didn’t remember, exactly which date it would occur.  But a check of the dates on my past blog posts indicates that this very day, November 17, is the 5-year anniversary of my launching this very blog.

You’re wondering why I’m celebrating this anniversary by leading off with all those personal bullet points.  Well, in our respective pursuits of what gives us personal joy, accomplishment, or whatever, sometimes life tends to intrude.  So it has been with me not just this week but in the past 18 months:  Losing one job.  Serving in a temporary work assignment.  Fulfilling another assignment.  Car troubles.  Apartment troubles.  Commitments to friends, family, and my personal care.  Writer’s block.

So while Real Life may intrude, at least I have a personal goal of hitting “Publish” on at least one post per week on here.  Reaching that challenge, as basic as it may be sometimes, gives me as much immense personal satisfaction as posing for the camera and presenting myself to the real world.  Mind you, synthesizing these stories and thoughts have not been easy; I still don’t consider myself a master in the art of communication.  Still, however, when you read my thoughts, poems, reports, or whatever, know that I’m putting forward the best words I can.

What also gives me satisfaction about writing this blog is that it allows you to see me as more than just a pretty face in feminine clothing.  Just as you’re more than how the rest of the world identifies you, I’m more than just a crossdresser.  Yes, I’m a son, brother, uncle, dutiful worker, and proud member and defender of the LGBT+ community in general and the trans community in particular.  Here’s hoping you appreciate the words I share just as much as you adore how I can rock a certain outfit or hair style.

So, what does the future hold for this little blog of mine?  Obviously, I can’t exactly say what will come on here the next few days, let alone the next 12 months or 5 years.  But it’s for sure I’ll continue to share my stories, poems, thoughts on this world, and whatever else may come to my mind.  And, yes, photos; I know I just said I’m more than a pretty face, but sometimes some visual accompaniment is necessary.  And when I mark this blog’s 6-year anniversary, I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy the person I am and the words I speak.  Thanks for reading.


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Where a superpower could come in handy

A long time ago on this blog — on this post, in fact — I talked about what kind of a superpower I would like to have.  That was an easy choice for me:  Ahead of flying or being invisible or altering space and time, the power I would like to have would be to easily change from male to female in a snap.  A natural for me, what with my being a crossdresser and all.

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A poem: “Live Your Light”

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Image source here

As recounted in this post, Madison will be losing a prominent spot for the LGBT+ community.  The dance club Prism, located at 924 Williamson Street, will have a “Last Call” party this evening, complete with a happy hour, performances, dancing, and lots of pulsating lights and music.  It’s a safe bet that it will be a big blowout of a party before the bar lights come up and the doors are shuttered for the final time at 2AM.

Unfortunately, I won’t be among the revelers that will be there to send Prism off to the great beyond.  It’s not just because I’ve never been a have-a-drink, dance-the-night-away, or party-until-the-wee-small-hours kind of girl.  Yes, I do have other matters this evening that I won’t divulge.  But I’m never one to deny any revelers a night of fun.

As noted by the above banner promoting Prism’s “Last Call” party, the club has used the tag line “Live Your Light” on social media and other promotions.  As Prism described it on their Facebook page, “We all seek out places that accept us and refracts the true colors of the inner light that permeates through us all.”

The phrase “Live Your Light” and the above description inspired me to write this quick bit of prose.  Here’s hoping that it’ll be one heck of a final party tonight, and that those who have spent even a little bit of time at Prism or its predecessor, Plan B, will cherish the memories they made there and never be afraid to, well…

Live Your Light

There’s a beacon emitting from 9-2-4
Inviting everyone to come on in
Be welcomed and comfortable
In your very own skin
It’s red and orange
Yellow and green
And blue and purple
Colors so very bright
It’s letting everyone know
Don’t worry
Be yourselves here
And live your light

Indeed, people are coming to 9-2-4
People who aren’t afraid
To party hearty
Drink and dance
And meet that someone new
They dare to be proud and free
And to their own selves be true
In red and orange
Yellow and green
And blue and purple
(And, yes, pink and turquoise)
They’re bathed in colors so very bright
They revel in an atmosphere
Of acceptance and respect
Unafraid to live their light

But there’s now darkness from 9-2-4
Not of hate or anger
Just a fading light
And a sign telling the world
“Sorry, we won’t be here any longer”
[*sigh*]

But wait…
There’s a coda from 9-2-4
It’s a Prism giving direction
And telling our community
Go on!  Go forward!
Live your lives with conviction!
Take the memories from this place
And the confidence you’ve gained
To be proud, free, and unafraid
Whether you’re red or orange
Yellow or green
Or blue or purple
(Or, yes, pink and turquoise)
Show the world your inner beauty
One that’s proud and bright
And to anyone afraid to do so
Tell them to have no fear
Be strong, be you
And live your light


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Random stuff (11/2/2019 edition)

Just thought I’d share with you a few photos I had already shared on social media but also want to share to you, dear blog readers.  And I must emphasize, what you’re about to see is indeed from this past week.10-31-2019 713-30amYes, nice and quaint, now isn’t it?  But it’s just a storage shed covered in snow.  That’s right, snow.  At the end of October.  You want more?  By all means, take it… because we had to drive through it.10-31-2019 711-02amBoth of these images were from Thursday morning, when Madison and Southern Wisconsin was hit with a way-too-early snowstorm.  And believe it or not, it wasn’t the first bit of snowfall we saw this week, as a not-so-nasty storm hit late Monday evening.

All in all, Madison received a reported 8.1 inches of snow between the two storms.  It also left us scratching our collective heads and wondering, “It’s way too early for snow.”  I mean, more than a few trees around here still have yellow leaves on them (don’t let the lack of leaves on the above pictures tell you otherwise).  But if we’ve learned anything from previous winters in Wisconsin, it’s that Mother Nature can disrupt things any time she pleases.  Yeah, Mother Nature is one cold, evil, scheming, calculating, uncaring, unsympathetic witch!

But amidst the treachery of this early winter, I spotted a bit of levity.  No, it didn’t involve footage of people frolicking in the snow, but something even better:11-1-2019 746-27amDuring my drive to work on Friday, I came across this sign in front of a dry cleaning establishment.  The intended message of the sign, of course, is to encourage people to bring their not-so-clean suits, gowns, etc. here and they’ll put them back into good use.  But to put it more succinctly, if you look good, you feel good.  In other words… look snappy, feel happy.

I got a kick out of the positive attitude of this sign’s message.  When you think of it, its words are also timely, as adverse weather, not unlike what we’ve seen this week, can prompt even the most hearty of crossdessers to stay inside.  But don’t be afraid to dress to the nines in your best outfit.  It doesn’t matter what season it is, whether you must bundle up first, or if your catwalk or red carpet is within the confines of your home.  Do so, and you’ll give Old Man Winter the fierce brushback [*insert diva finger snaps in a circle*] he clearly has coming to him.


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The light is fading from Prism

I’ve been busy the past couple weeks due to my current work assignment, my blog posts about the OutReach Awards Banquet (which you can read here and here), personal errands, and dealing with very loud neighbors who like to turn up their stereos’ volume to 22 (ugh!).  That’s not to say I haven’t kept up on other things going on.  This includes a significant news item that came about a week ago.

Image source: Prism via Our Lives Magazine (2019)

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall my posts earlier this year about an LGBT+ nightclub on Williamson Street that had been known for most of its history as Plan B.  Late in 2018, some drag performers raised a ruckus about being prevented from prepping for their show in a dressing room that was already less than ideal.  The subsequent reaction to that incident revealed lingering issues from Plan B’s customer base, concerns about not only the club’s direction but how its then-owners and staff (mis)treated the bar’s performers and clientele, especially female and black patrons.

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