Allison M.

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


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Having to say hello to a goodbye

By now, you’ve perhaps heard of the hopefully happy news in the world of retail shopping:  Sears is going to stick around a little longer.  A couple of weeks or so ago, a U.S. bankruptcy judge allowed a plan by the chairman and biggest shareholder of Sears’ and Kmart’s parent company to stay in business, beating back challenges by creditors of the company who wanted a liquidation.

So, the judge’s approval means that Sears’ 425 stores will stay open, and its 45,000 employees will remain on the job.  While that’s good news, naturally, it’s not all sunshine and lollypops at the moment:  Sears Holdings has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since October, and since that time has closed several of its stores, including its location at West Towne Mall, just down the road from where I live.  And it still has to find a way to attract those who left it behind for the likes of Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

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#TBT follow-up: From Plan B to…

12-30-2018 1205-30pmOne month ago, I wrote in this post about Plan B, the LGBT-oriented nightclub on Williamson Street that you see in the above photo, and how wound up in a very unflattering light.  To sum up:  Some drag performers had a cow in December when club staff forbid them from changing in their usual dressing room.  The queens called out the club on social media, with some of them severing ties with Plan B.  Several other performers and patrons said “I can top that story” and called out club ownership for how they ran the club, one owner in particular for his treatment of staff and customers, and one security staffer for an incident with a black patron.

When the dust settled, Plan B was sold, with founding owner Rico Sabatini returning to take ownership of the club.  It also led to some reflecting of what Plan B became under the previous ownership — that is, a club that was and still is widely popular but lost its original focus of being a safe and inviting haven for the LGBT+ community.

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A place that must “B” better

Time to get back on my high horse blogging-wise and share some news about a prominent LGBT-oriented venue here in Madison.  Well, at least it was originally established to be a positive part of our community.

12-30-2018 1205-30pm

The building you see above is at 924 Williamson Street.  Until a decade ago, it was the longtime home to Star Photo Service; look closely and you can make out a faded star that was Star Photo’s marquis sign on the front facade.  Then in August 2009, during Madison’s pride weekend, the ownership team of Rico Sabatini and Corey Gresen opened the nightclub Plan B on this site.  The club’s opening came after 2½ years of not just finding a location for the club but also remodeling it for suitability. (The name “Plan B” is a nod to the false starts and changes in plans that preceded its opening.)

Virtually from the get-go, Plan B became a very popular spot, one where Madison’s LGBT community could meet, converse, drink, dance, perform, and be themselves.  Speaking of performing, Plan B has been home to regular drag performances over the years, not only from national performers but those from here in Madison and Wisconsin.  Trixie Mattel (yes, that Trixie Mattel) was a part of Plan B’s drag cast before hitting it big not once but twice on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  And Plan B has not limited itself to the inside of the club either, as it’s used its parking lot and the street in front of it to stage its Fruit Fest block party every June. Continue reading


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Happy Holigays!

Happy Holigays (2017)

Back in September 2017, I posed for a professional photographer for the first time, doing so before the camera of Katie Berry at Smoketree Photography.  Three months later (December 2017), Katie, her partner, and their friends in the Everyday Gay Holiday art studio/collective on Atwood Avenue threw a holiday get-together for their friends in the LGBT+ community — a “HOLIgay” party.  While I’m not a party person, I jumped at the chance to doll myself up, snack on some food, and mingle with other LGBT+ people from the Madison community.

Happy Holigays (2017)

Being the photographer that she is, Katie set up a corner in the studio to let the partygoers use her fancy camera and snap a few free selfies in front of a festive “toyland/horse/holiday/winter wonderland” setting.  Not wanting to pass up a photo opportunity while looking fabulous, I took the remote and snapped a few photos.  There I was in red hair, soft sweater, and patent vinyl Forever 21 skirt, and Katie’s remote clicker in hand, smiling and being all beautiful for the camera. (Oh, the Santa hat was among the available props in the studio.)

Happy Holigays (2017)

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Some very happy returns

It’s been a few days since the 2018 general elections here in the United States.  As with every election season, the 2018 conclusion had some good, bad, and very best news:

  • The good news about that is that we no longer have to put up with awful campaign attack ads dirtying up the airwaves (at least until 2020 or *sigh* late 2019).
  • The bad news is that not every candidate with a forward-thinking viewpoint won their election (as the saying goes, you can’t win ’em all *sigh*).
  • But the very best news?  Well, let me get off this bullet point and tell you…

Okay, the very best news is the advancements of bright, shining, forward-minded political stars on Tuesday night, the biggest highlight being the biggest takeaway of the night, at least among many political pundits:  The Democratic Party gained the majority of seats the House of Representatives!  That means that America now has a little bit of a check and balance against You Know Who and his myopic, misogynistic, anti-everything administration.

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Was I recognized?

I want to share with you a little personal tidbit I left out during my recap of the OutReach Awards Banquet I attended last week Friday.  And I want to preface this by saying that I have never told anyone I’ve worked with or encountered in my professional career that I dress up as Allison, nor do I have any plans to do so.  And there have been only two people who have seen me present as both female and male, and both of them have seen me in male mode only once.

All that being said, there was someone I’ve encountered in my professional male-mode past who was literally inches from me at the OutReach banquet.

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Random stuff: Two deserving LGBT Chamber honorees

While I spend the weekend recuperating from a grueling work week, I want to highlight a Wisconsin-related, Madison-related, LGBT-related story I came across this morning.  The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is, yes, an organization of businesses that promote economic growth, business opportunities, and blah blah blah.  But note the inclusion of the acronym “LGBT” in their name.  Yes, in addition to all that stuff about promoting economic growth, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for and promoter of LGBT-owned or -allied businesses and professionals in Wisconsin.

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When going to the mall isn’t fun at all

I want to start this post by mentioning something that took place a year ago but did not get the chance to share until now.  Despite the delay, it perfectly dovetails to the theme of this post — stores closing in malls.

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Some post-Pride tidbits (2018 edition)

Okay, I promised some stuff I had left over from but didn’t have room in my last post about the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade & Rally that occurred last Sunday (August 19).  Unlike that previous post, I promise I won’t even bring up the controversy that surrounded the parade this year.  Nope, this will be all positive.  The first thing is that though some of the same socialists who despised the police being at pride also despised the presence of corporate sponsorship (no, I’m not gonna get any darker than that in this post), there was, without mistake, a sincere presence of businesses who wanted to show their support of the LGBT+ community.  Just as with the charities, non-profit organizations, and church and advocacy groups that also populated the parade, they made it known that they truly support our community and do not venture to discriminate against us.  That they also do so with their checkbooks and accountants through their sponsorship of Pride does not (and should not) hurt, no matter what your level of disdain of the corporate world.  And, yes, sometimes I do think this world has gotten all-corporate, if you know what I mean.  Still, I do understand the necessity of having a benevolent, philanthropic sponsor offering cash. Continue reading


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Allison carries the banner at the Pride Parade

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Image credit here

It’s been a full week, one that’s been somewhat busy and very wet, since the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally, but I’m finally ready to share with you some of my experience.  As I’ve mentioned here and here, this year’s parade and rally was held under an ugly shadow, not from any rain clouds but under the specter of controversy.  A loud contingent from Madison’s LGBT+ community raised a ruckus over the presence of the Madison Police Department at the parade, with some threatening to stage a counter-protest.  In the end, parade organizers withdrew the applications of LGBT+ employee resource groups from MPD and UW—Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff.  Members from those groups could (and did) march in the parade, but had to do so unarmed and out of uniform.  (Side note:  The Madison Fire Department decided to withdraw one of their engines from the parade in sympathy to the boys in blue; it was MFD’s decision.)  While OutReach’s move to formally eliminate the police entries upset some parade supporters and still likely upset some protesters (especially since the parade permit still required MPD to provide security), the parade and rally (**SPOILER ALERT**) went off without a hitch and without any rabble-rousers causing disruptions.

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