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…
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.”
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.
One 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: Back in December, some drag performers had a cow 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.
I haven’t been on here the past several days, what with trying to earn a living and fighting an achy cold since Thursday. But I’m back to share some lingering stuff related to my last post about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and more importantly comments by Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, expressing that the show has no place for “transsexuals” (his term) or plus-size models on the catwalk (“because the show is a fantasy,” he reasoned).
Well, any hope that Victoria’s Secret and ABC would generate great ratings for the 2018 edition of the fashion show turned out to be a bigger fantasy. Last Sunday’s (December 2) airing of the event registered an all-time low viewership number. And that’s coming off previous all-time lows for viewership in both 2017 and 2016, the last two years the event aired on CBS.
As I indicated in my previous post, one of my Thanksgiving Day traditions (if you could call it that) is to hate-watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York City. Well, that is if I’m not preoccupied with something else on Thanksgiving morning such as, say, traveling to see my family, typing my blog, or… I dunno, recuperating after a short but tiring work week.
Yeah, ever since at least my teen years, I’ve never taken too much of a keen interest in parades. And when I watched the Macy’s Day Parade (whoops, I keep calling it “Macy’s Day Parade”), it was because Mom either wanted me to help prepare our family’s Thanksgiving lunch, or she just didn’t want me cooped up in my bedroom. Usually it was both.
If I haven’t said so in specific terms before, you’ve likely gained the impression on here that it’s always a thrill for me to get dressed up and venture outside my house as Allison. And while I’m one who normally likes the intimacy of small groups, an awesome feeling always surfaces in me when en femme in a large congregation of people. Such was the case again last Friday evening:
OutReach, the LGBT+ support center here in Madison, staged its annual awards banquet last week. at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center. As the name implies, the event is a combination of a fine meal, friendly conversation, and awards to those who promote equality and quality of life for the LGBT+ community.
Thought I’d share with you a few things that are going on in and around my life. First off, I’m still on that temp-to-hire assignment. Am I happy about it? Well, I’m happy that I’m getting paid, if that’s what you’re wondering. I won’t bore you in this post with the details, but I will say it’s probably the most demanding work I’ve ever done in my career. There are lots of things to learn, and the boss is a very hard person to please. But at least they can’t say I’m not trustworthy: I do show up when my shift begins; I stay late if need be; and I do my best to at least try to learn and retain what I’m learning, and ask questions when necessary.
Despite that, I’m quite nervous about my long-term prospects at this company. The person who’s been training me is planning to depart by the end of this month, and most of the responsibilities of this position will fall to me. So, yeah, a lot will be demanded of me, and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for all of it. [*sound of my throat swallowing a big lump of nervousness*] But if it doesn’t work out… well, who know’s what will happen for me if it doesn’t? But I know I will at least take with me a better sense of what I can do, what I will need to improve on, and a bit of personal pride (as dinged as it might be) that I did my best in a difficult role. Continue reading