I’ve been away from WordPress all week, and today I have a lot of housecleaning to do. But I have just enough time in my day to give a few quick updates from my end. This past week marked one month since I took on my new work assignment. There was a little bit of a false start, and the work volume has seen its peaks and valleys, but I seem to have picked up on the tasks quite well. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my share of questions to ask. Matter of fact, most everyone on the team I’m assigned to, newbies and veterans alike, have their fair share questions. So, twice every day our team gathers to ask and answer those questions. Guidance and collaboration are pretty cool things in the professional life.
As I’ve mentioned more than once on here, I’m one who loves to actually shop for clothes in person. That is, I actually like getting out of the house, going to the mall, perusing through the racks, and tell the clerk to [da-da-da duh da-daaah] “CHARGE IT!” when I find something that will have the right look and fit on me.
And for the longest time (well, at least the last decade), one of my favorite go-to stores has been here:
That is the West Towne Mall location of Forever 21. Founded as Fashion 21 in 1984, the chain has become in recent years one of the biggest names in the world of “fast fashion.” For those unfamiliar with that term, it applies to articles of clothing that are eye catching, perhaps resembling outfits seen only on the Paris catwalks, that a retailer will not only be priced reasonably but also be available for a limited time. In other words, create the product and generate the demand. Continue reading
There’s a little something I didn’t include in my summary of the OutReach Magic Festival, which occurred two weekends ago, but wanted to talk up in a separate post. Don’t be alarmed, for it was a relatively minor thing. Matter of fact, it’s something that felt peculiar to me initially, yet I find myself thinking about it quite a lot.
Last weekend was the third weekend of August, one in which Madison’s LGBT+ community celebrates and puts on a show. Normally, that would have included a parade up State Street and a rally around the Capitol Square. This year, however, thanks to city ordinances, police department demands, and organizational logistics, event organizers went back to the future, as it were…
I have just enough time this Sunday morning to let you in on a couple of personal matters. First off, I’ve put in a feeler on a potential new employment opportunity. It’s through a different staffing agency than the one where I found my current assignment. It’s also a temp-to-hire role. But it also appears to be an indefinite, long-term role. And it’s also in an industry where I spent a significant portion of my early professional life, meaning I need to move some of the industry’s terminology from the back to the front of my memory if I get this role.
But at the very least, if nothing pans out there or anyplace else, I do have my current assignment to fall back on. As much as I’m not happy there and have struggled sometimes, the managers I work under seem to be pleased with my work. Well, at least pleased enough to indicate they’d like to keep me on past September 1 and work some special projects. While that’s nice, and I’m grateful, I’m not sure if it will be a full-time role. And let’s just say that it’s not easy having just part-time employment while living in a city as expensive as Madison.
This afternoon, at least, I get to put all those work worries aside and get dressed up. And for good reason, as today is Madison’s LGBT+ celebration, OutReach Magic Festival. As I noted back in the spring, city regulations, logistics, and lingering resentment from last year prompted event organizers to eschew from having a parade downtown up State Street, and instead have a picnic/festival event at Warner Park on the northeast side of town. The setup is meant to help bring the various groups within the pride acronym together, something our community needs right now and will hopefully benefit from. The bad news, however, is that somebody has been praying for rain. As I write this, there’s a loud storm moving through town, and a chance of rain exists late during the event. Ugh!
Hopefully, everyone will stay dry at Magic Festival. Myself especially, as I will be lugging around a fancy camera while dodging raindrops. See, yours truly will be volunteering as Allison at the event. Little Ol’ Do-Gooder Me wanted to help out in any way. Despite my signing up relatively late (I did so after a volunteer orientation), spots were still available, and I added my femme name to the list as an event photographer. I’m planning to arrive early enough to not only drink in the event and get a lay of the land, but also to get the ground rules on photographing the event, one of which I’ve learned about already — get consent before taking someone’s picture. It will be a great thrill to not only lend a hand to what will hopefully be a great event, but to also help document it for posterity.
The way the calendar works, one’s birthday doesn’t always fall on the same day of the week every year. So it is with my birthday, which the past few years fell on a work day. Luckily, this year my 50th birthday fell on a Saturday. And when my family texted me yesterday to bid me their good wishes, they wondered what I would be doing during the day. A natural question, what with my 50th falling on a weekend. I told them I wouldn’t be doing anything big, just relaxing at home.
Oh, boy, was I lying like a dog.
That’s yours truly posing for the camera early Saturday evening at one of the more popular restaurants in the Madison area, The Great Dane. The dress is literally brand new, as well as a birthday present to myself. Earlier in the day, I made a quick bee line for errands and stopped off at Forever 21 in West Towne Mall to treat myself to not only a new stylish addition to my wardrobe, but also something that will fit me comfortably and not show a lot of leg (I didn’t have enough time for me to shave them, and I’ll explain why in a moment).
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.
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.
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!”