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.
Four years ago, I sung the praises of an advertisement that PFLAG Canada put out to promote and support legal marriage equality worldwide. The ad was titled “Nobody’s Memories,” and it depicted images of what could have been: Weddings of same-gender couples from the mid-20th century, shown as home movie footage from an “alternate universe” that gives the viewer chills with their authentic aged styles. If you want to learn what I’m talking about, check out this blog link to take a look at it yourself; I just watched it again myself and am still struck by how powerful and moving that ad still is.
This week, a news item in the showbiz world made me recall that “Nobody’s Memories” ad and its (*sigh*) imaginary depictions of couples who just happen to be of the same gender in real love. I’ll talk up that TV item in a bit, but while doing some research on it, I went further down the internet rabbit hole and came across this photo of an actual wedding memory that did happen:
The above photo, as confirmed in this 2014 Houston Chronicle article, is from a small ceremony that took place at Harmony Wedding Chapel in Houston in October 1972. The groom is Antonio Molina, a shipping clerk, former high school football star, and Navy veteran. The resplendent bride is William “Billie” Ert, a female impersonator (stage name: “Mr. Vicki Carr”) and former hairdresser. Yes, William Ert was a male, but he had a voter registration card that listed his gender as “female.”
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.
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.
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.
If you have a basic cable subscription or one of those relatively newfangled online TV accounts, perhaps you’ve seen this title card at least once… and if you have a keen ear, the high-heel clicks that accompany it.
Pose is a dramatic series whose first season ran a year ago on the FX network and debuts Season 2… holy freakin’ cow, this week?!
For the uninitiated, here’s a basic description of what Pose is all about: Set in New York City of the late 1980s, the series is centered primarily around the subculture of the LGBT+ community known as ball culture. In this environment can be found participants who are, more often than not, part of “houses.” No, not a physical house per se, but rather teams of participants who glam themselves up, walk the stage, vogue, and emulate other genders (especially the one they weren’t born as) and social categories in ball events. The object: Making a good impression on the event’s judges and audiences (“10’s across the board!”). The reward: A trophy, personal pride in knowing that you and your house are top dog for at least a night… and the thrill of venturing outside your drab and nowhere-near-glamorous social, economic, and health-related circumstances.
The other day, with a thunderstorm ruining my plans to venture out en femme, I decided instead to head down to my building’s basement. It’s obviously not the most glamorous locale in my building, let alone the world, but the pale color of the concrete walls that help keep our apartments upright are a nice background for a fashion shoot.
And just what am I wearing here? Well, let’s start off with the skirt. Back at Christmastime, I received a nice gift card from Kohl’s department stores. With the $40 on that card burning a big hole in my wallet by the time spring rolled around, I figured it would be a nice way to help build the summertime portion of my feminine wardrobe. Luckily, I found a perfect addition in this navy blue Apt. 9 maxi-skirt.
As promised, here’s the second post where I wanted to discuss Memorial Day. Again, this is a day meant to pay tribute to those who died in service of the United States Armed Forces. If you’ve paid your own tasteful tribute today, even if it’s as simple as offering condolences or planting an American flag on a military member’s grave, good for you… for you understand the gravity of this solemn day.
As I noted in my previous blog post, I’m skipping participating in the Crazylegs Classic today, mentally recuperating from a very grueling work week. However…
At least I did take the time to do a little something for me. Friday night, I got out of the house, hit the town, and considered a significant event that occurred way back in the past. June 28, 1969, to be exact.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the famous Stonewall riots in New York City. As they occurred during an era of social upheaval in the United States (the late 1960s), they are widely considered to be the catalyst of the gay liberation movement and the modern-day fight for LGBT rights and freedoms.
With the golden jubilee of Stonewall upon us, the Madison-based LGBT theater group Stage Q commissioned an original play that reenacts that important night in history. The result was RAID! Attack on Stonewall, which ends a 7-performances-over-2-weekends run at the Bartell Theatre this afternoon. Continue reading