Allison M.

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

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Allison’s Jukebox: “Smile”

Even with a busy weekend ahead of me, I thought I’d keep my writing juices going by adding another tune I’ve been meaning to add to “Allison’s Jukebox.”  And it’s a relatively recent addition, I must admit.  The inspiration for this entry came from the podcast Crybabies, where guests talk about the things that make them cry.  The guests’ admissions about what activates their waterworks makes Crybabies a pretty candid show (and, yes, tissues are available in the studio during recording).

One episode of Crybabies from September of last year featured the actress Shannon Woodward, whose list of “crying cues” included a scene near the end of the film My Girl 2.  If you’ve seen that film, or at least read the plot synopsis at the link I just posted there, you’re probably familiar with the scene and the song that’s included.  “Smile” had its roots in another movie long before My Girl 2 or even the original My Girl was conceived:  Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 silent classic Modern Times.  That movie’s own final scene features Chaplin, in his tramp persona, sitting on the side of a highway alongside the film’s gamine, Ellen (played by Paulette Goddard).  The two are… well, rather than let me describe it to you, look and listen for yourself.  Listen especially.

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Random stuff: SNL’s “Handmaid’s” parody

Perhaps you’ve heard by now about a little series on Hulu called The Handmaid’s Tale.  The show, whose first season is being released episode-by-episode as of this writing and which has been renewed for a second season, is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel set in a dystopian future where religious autocrats have taken over what used to be the United States; have stripped away human rights in general and women’s rights in particular; and have subjugated fertile women into a life in which they’re nothing more than, uh, baby-making machines for the privileged (and barren) upper class.

So far, The Handmaid’s Tale has been critically well received, and has certainly gained notice from those like… uh, [sheepishly raises hand] me who do not have a Hulu subscription (note to self: buy it on DVD if and when it comes out) for what have been described as powerful and engrossing acting, writing, and visuals.  Of course, one other reason for that notice is how it seems to be an ominous warning.  Even though Season 1 went into production well before You Know Who was elected You Know What, the show seems to serve as an advisory for what may lie ahead for society while You Know Who’s cronies desire to take away rights and make America in their own misguided image.  It’s part of the reason one critic has labeled the show the most important of this spring.

With The Handmaid’s Tale having such a dark tone and provocative subject matter, one would think it would not be ripe for parody by a satirical outlet such as, say, Saturday Night Live.  Well… one would be wrong.

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#TBT: How I first heard of the word “crossdresser”

“Skip!  Skip!  Can you maybe make it next week?  I hate to miss Brian’s birthday; and Friday, the transvestites are back on Donahue.”
– the title character, speaking to one of his alien brethren in a 1986 episode of ALF

I want to start this post with the definition of “crossdressing,” as found here:  “the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society.”

Why do I use that word?  Well, I first started dressing in women’s clothing back when I was 11 years old going on 12.  Even back then, I knew that putting on women’s undergarments or anything else feminine was considered taboo and against societal (and more immediately, familial) norms.  But while I knew the definition at the time, I didn’t know of the word.  To me, it was nothing more than “putting on clothing that belonged to my mom or my sister or, before that, what was found in that spare bedroom where we lived.”

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My Christmas tree (and a confession)

This post is to promote a new video I added to my relatively spare but strangely bustling YouTube channel, and it’s about the Christmas tree set up in my apartment this season.  But there’s something I must confess (no, not that):  I haven’t really gotten into the Christmas spirit this year.

Now, you’ve probably taken a glance at that video’s title and thought, “Gee, Allison, you have a tree and decorations set up, so you must be in the holiday spirit.”  Well, I decorate my apartment each holiday season for two reasons:  To let the great decorations I have in storage out of the broom closet for several weeks at the end of each year (and I have some nice ornaments), and to try to perk myself up and get into the holiday spirit.

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Random stuff (11/14/2016 edition)

With the news of… well, you know what happened sinking in, there’s this real need of sticking up for those who are likely about to become marginalized when January rolls around.  The below list made some rounds on social media late last week.  I came across it, read it… and agree with every word and their necessary significance.  There are a lot of groups who felt marginalized in one away or another before, and they’ll need someone — anyone — to stand with them now.  (The last line and its simple request are so beautiful, by the way.)


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Promises I make today

So, show of hands, how many have freaked out non-stop the past few days?  Ah, a lot of you.  Yeah, [raises hand] me too.  Yeah, we are living in rough times right now, and I worry it’s only going to get worse, what with the deep divide and the loss of simple human decency that have clearly surfaced after and even well before the election of He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Which is why it was good to see the video added to YouTube this week by the actress Danielle Langlois.  If you saw this post I added on Thursday, you’re probably now familiar with Danielle’s video, in which she professes a set of promises out of a desire to help bridge the deep divides here in the U.S., from respecting others and their differences to having respectful discourse to having respect for Mother Earth.

Danielle Langlois’ video moved me, not so much by her list of promises but by her calm, stone cold solid line delivery.  And it got me to thinking… well, why is Danielle the only one making these promises?  And with that, I got up on Sunday, typed out a list of my own promises, slapped on a wig and makeup, got in front of the camera, and…

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Allison’s adventure with a parking lot ticket

So, are you sick and tired of American politics already?  Yeah, I am. [raises hand wearily]  That’s in part why I voted early.  Last month, in fact.  I went down to City Hall, filled out a ballot for my ward at the City Clerk’s office, got it all notarized and such, took an “I Voted” sticker and left.  (P.S.: I’m with her.)

But then there’s still weeks of campaigning to have to withstand, which is why I ventured out to the theater.  It feels good to take one’s mind off of which candidate shouted said what stance on which issue (or, more often than not in this particular election, didn’t).

But you’re only at the theater for a couple of hours, tops.  Venture back into the real world and you still have to withstand the campaign.  I mean, let’s face it, who hasn’t had an anxiety attack, several sleepless nights, and perhaps even had their stomach lining eaten away by this cruel, unsettling campaign?  And we’re only two days from Election Day.

So, to help ease your mind, and to tell an absolutely true story, I made this video yesterday (although I had hoped to do so earlier, since I’ve been so busy) about an adventure I had about a week after I voted.  Yeah, the show was good, but my problems with a ticket paying machine was memorable, in a way.  You’re asking why I made a video about this?  Well, I thought it would benefit from some visual embellishments.  And I hope it can take your mind off politics, if only for 5 minutes and change.  Let this video remind you to enjoy a live show, play it safe with magnets, and, most importantly to vote (even if the advisory about the latter is in a roundabout yet playful way).  Enjoy!

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Allison’s Jukebox: “New York Minute”

You may recall back in June that I wrote a post devoted to several songs that are not so obvious but are perfect representations for the LGBT community.  It was in that post that I informally challenged myself to add another recurring topic to this blog concerning interesting songs I’ve heard once or occasionally in the past.

And there are indeed quite a few worth writing about, so with that I launch a new recurring topic called [drum roll] “Allison’s Jukebox.”  Now, I must confess that I was wanting to start this topic with some epic wide-ranging dissertation on all the music I prefer now and grew up with, or at least a series of such.  But I’m so rip-roaring to get this started that the long essays will wait for another time.

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Allison eats candy to prove a point

Perhaps you saw it online this week.  Maybe you noticed your crazy uncle disseminate it.  Hopefully you saw the criticisms that followed it.  Yep, it was a certain meme promoted and forwarded by the son of a certain United States presidential candidate (you know, the candidate with the thin orange skin and bad toupee) that painted immigrants from a certain war-torn Middle Eastern country with a broad brush — a brush coated in the paint of fear and prejudicial (and outright unproven) assumptions.

Yeah, I saw it as well.  And rather than try to scrub it from my memory, I decided to respond to it… by turning the meme upside down in a somewhat whimsical way.  And I did it with a video!

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#TBT follow-up: Allison speaks!

The last day of 2015 is a Thursday, and with it comes the last of my #ThrowbackThursday follow-ups of posts I wrote during the year.  And not to sound too braggadocio, but this will be la crème de la crème:  You’re actually going to hear my voice!

If you recall, I made a couple of mentions on here (well, here and here actually) about a project on YouTube last spring called “Dear Me” (er, actually #DearMe), which featured women sending messages of encouragement and advice to their younger selves — and by extension, any young person who may be watching.

#DearMe really piqued my interest, so much so that I thought about adding my own contribution.  I mean, I have the backstory, and I have a YouTube account (underused as it may be).  So, on the final day of 2015, I got dressed, put my makeup on, clicked “record” on my laptop computer’s video camera, and, after several false starts, composed a video to my 12-year-old self — yes, the same kid who faced a lot of insecurity and lack of self-confidence, but also started to gain a whole new level of safety after discovering a stash of women’s lingerie and clothing in the spare bedroom of his family’s farm house.

Now, as you can tell when you watch this video, I am wearing my regular male mode glasses (I can’t see a thing without them).  You may also see my eyes darting back and forth; I wrote out all that I wanted to tell my younger self.

Of course, you’ll also hear my actual speaking voice.  Well, as close to a feminized speaking voice as I could get.  You can clearly notice my Wisconsin accent in this video; I wish I could shake that dialect.

But despite the glasses and the eyes and the accent (and the length; it’s 9 minutes long because I had a lot to say), I hope you get a sense of what I wanted to accomplish with this #DearMe video:  That even a kid as insecure as I was (and sometimes still am as an adult) can gain a positive feeling about themselves when hearing encouraging words from the person they turn out to be.

Please watch the video, and let me know your thoughts.  Thank you so much for watching.