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Diego Luna Owes Me New Panties: The List of Five, the Female Gaze, and the Politics of Desire

2 Nov

I recently read for the second time at Atlanta’s Bleux Stockings Society, which is a live lit series featuring female and nonbinary voices. This month’s theme was “attraction.” 

There is a concept in some monogamous relationships called the List of Five. The idea is that each of you have a list of five people, typically celebrities, that you are allowed to sleep with, guilt-free, should the opportunity arise. I don’t know where this idea originated or where I heard of it, but I this it’s a cute exercise and I’ve had one for ages. Since this a show about attraction, here it is.

Diego Luna

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I discovered Diego Luna in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. I’m not proud of that, necessarily, but I’m not ashamed either. Discovering Diego Luna in the Cuban-revolution-era sequel to Dirty Dancing is like meeting your significant other online prior to about 2005. Nowadays your grandma is on Tinder and Diego Luna was in Star Wars, but once upon a time we didn’t talk about where we met our partner, or where we first discovered Mexico’s most beautiful export.

I have a lot to say about this man but only 7 minutes, so let me just sum up: there is nowhere on earth I would not be willing to have sex with him. On a beach, in a hotel, under the sea, in an actual coffin, on the moon, in a stadium bathroom, I really don’t care, I would fuck him anywhere in the universe, Diego, do you hear me? Call me.

Diego Luna is the only person who has been on this list since its inception.

Tom Hardy

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Speaking of Inception, did you know that Tom Hardy is in Marie Antoinette? He totally is, and he looks just as good in 18th century French attire as he does in a suit or whatever he’s wearing in that movie where he’s a convict.

Tom Hardy recently bumped Joseph Gordon-Levit off this list, so if JGL wants to join, and they want to engage in a little Arthur/Eames roleplay, which I like to believe they do anyway, I’m totally into it.

Chris Evans

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Not only is he doing his level best to live up to Captain America’s mantle in his public life by calling out institutional -isms and vocally supporting good causes, his shoulder-hip ratio is the perfect demonstration of the inverted Dorito shape. I once saw him call President Trump a liar on Twitter, and it caused me to spontaneously ovulate.

Sebastian Stan

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I have watched a couple of truly embarrassing movies because this man is in them. In one of them he’s a witch! And another guy punches him, and Sebastian Stan looks up from the punch sort of smirking like [here I demonstrated my best attempt at a sexy smirk] and it’s just OH MY GOD.

Daveed Diggs

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Other than his ability to spit rhymes, I have little evidence to support my theory that he is great at dirty talk, but I believe in the scientific method and I would be willing to test my theory over and over and over again until the scientific community is as satisfied as I am.

Speaking of science, here’s a scientific fact: when Daveed Diggs smiles, the sun goes dim, realizing it has been tragically outclassed, yet the amount of light in the solar system remains the same.

The List of Five is ever-evolving. If you’d like to see some of the people taken off the list over the years, see me after the show.20181102_131646

[image reads:

  • Ryan Reynolds – plantation racially insensitive AT BEST + Deadpool sucked
  • Ryan Gosling – grew gross mustache for that movie I didn’t see
  • Kaidan Alenko from the Mass Effect video games – turns out he is not real :( 
  • Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galactica, Eomer from The Lord of the Rings, Tor from The Hero and the Crown – same problem
  • Steven Tyler – leftover crush from childhood. PROBLEMATIC AF
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson – still would, but ONLY in Quicksilver costume from Age of Ultron
  • Seal – I would be overwhelmed with feelings and cry the whole time
  • Keiffer Sutherland – it is no longer 1987; he no longer looks like he did in The Lost Boys
  • Jason Momoa – eyebrows are more expressive than mine and I cannot abide that
  • Former President Barack Obama – disrespectful to Michelle to even consider this
  • Taylor Hanson – still would]

In the interest of equality, my husband Chris also has a List of Five:

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[List reads:

  • Shakira
  • Shakira
  • Jennifer Anniston
  • Queen Elizabe II (“Power is sexy”)
  • Shakira]

I know this is a silly exercise. The idea that I’m ever going to have sex with Diego Luna is so far-fetched as to be ridiculous—and I probably wouldn’t even if I had the opportunity, list or no list, because I don’t like to share and I shouldn’t expect Chris to be OK with something I wouldn’t be if the situation was reversed. But fantasy is important, I think, especially for women, because so much of society is geared to the idea that women are to be objects of desire rather than subjects who desire. I can’t count the number of straight cis men who have told me, with great authority and confidence, that women should be objectified because women are just more attractive than men, as if the experience of straight cis men is not only more important than mine, but actively invalidates it. One time a routinely inappropriate coworker cornered me by the drink station just so he could tell me, “You have to admit, there’s nothing sexier than a woman when she comes.” Probably he was just trying to express to me how very concerned he was with female pleasure, as if that would magically make me stop being interested in my boyfriend of the time and be interested in him instead, but it sat wrong with me then and it sits wrong with me today. For one thing, hello, that’s wildly inappropriate work conversation. More to the point, though, my orgasm may be sexy for someone who’s attracted to me, but my partner’s enjoyment of my orgasm exists as a distant second to my enjoyment of my orgasm. Positing my pleasure as a creepy turn-on puts the onus on me to feel pleasure no matter how I feel or what my partner is doing, and to do so in the same performative way I am expected to do everything else in my life: for the consumption of men.

Are women beautiful? Yes, of course. So are men, so are enbies, so are agenders. Turns out the human body is a masterpiece of skin and muscle and fat and nerves and thoughts and feelings all bundled up into one incomprehensibly incredible package. And it turns out that sexual women are perfectly capable of feeling deep, overwhelming, stomach-churning, lip-biting, nipple-tightening, panty-soaking desire, despite modern US society declaring that we are “not visually stimulated” or “more invested in emotions” or whatever the fuck. Positioning cis men as the attracted and cis women as the attractive, with no room for deviation, not only invalidates trans and NB people altogether, it also places women as objects in our own lives, as passive vessels to be acted upon. And it creates a system in which, while women have lifetimes of beauty work to engage in and emotional baggage to carry around, cis men require so little effort to be seen as presentable, put-together, and attractive. Imagine that Chris and I put the same amount of effort into doing the same beauty routine. After washing our faces, brushing our teeth, dressing in khakis and a button-down shirt, and applying deodorant and a touch of scent, he is dressed in business fucking casual, whereas my low-maintenance ass is barely comfortable going to the mall. And DON’T get me started on prepping for a performance day. Now, is he attractive to me no matter how much effort he’s put in? Hell yes. Does he consider me attractive no matter how much effort I’ve put in? Yes. Does the rest of society consider us equally put-together given we spent the same amount of time on ourselves? No. Is that fucked up? Yes.

I’m not going to posit that wistfully fantasizing about the way Diego Luna bites his lip when he laughs is going to fix the gender gap, or stop sexism, or change the world. The Female Gaze is not an answer to institutional kyriarchy. I accept that. But I am going to posit this: reclaiming the right to feel attracted rather than just attractive, the right and ability to desire, is important. And it’s fun. And maybe it’s time more straight cis women started expecting straight cis men to put in a little more goddamned effort.

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Ze Zings I ‘Ave to Do for My Art

8 Jun

Watching/editing videos of myself got me like…

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The Faire is Over

15 Sep

I’m going on hiatus. This season of CRF will be my last faire season.

I don’t know how long this hiatus will go on. I’ve sworn to wait the entirety of 2016 before I make any decisions, and in the meantime I am trying to focus on the here and now and get healthy.

The last fiveish years have been really difficult. At some point in late 2013 I wrote “I am burned the fuck out” in a post I never finished, and that feeling never went away; it only got worse. I began seeing a therapist after finishing Scarborough this year, and I’ve been diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorder. I need a break from travel, stage fright, homesickness, post-show depression, worrying about money, being sick, and the physical and emotional demands of performance, the venue, and juggling two or three jobs. I’ve got a full time job that is enjoyable enough and pays well enough to keep at for the foreseeable future. mr. biscuit and I are working on getting our debt paid off, and I’m working on getting healthy.

I attended my first renaissance festival in the fall of 1992 or 1993. My friend’s family took me and my sister. The next 7 or 8 years my family went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival for a weekend every year. I loved it. I would cry when it was time to leave at the end of the day. In 2004, as a college sophomore, I auditioned for and got hired to be on the cast. It was a dream come true, and this is what I said about opening day (courtesy my livejournal):

“Ren Fest was the absolute shit, I’m tired beyond all reason, my poor breasts are sunburned, and I haven’t stopped smiling in about 3 hours.”

I spent six years on the cast of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, and for the most part they were excellent years. How many things happened there? I can’t even begin to tell you. I met mr. biscuit, and any number of my closest friends. I discovered within myself a talent and affinity for this very particular type of performance. I made a lot of people smile. And I had a shit load of fun. Leaving was one of the hardest decisions I had made up to that point, but I left to pursue other opportunities. When I told the entertainment director that I would not be returning for the coming season, I already had plans to go after the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I got in. And after years of trying, I got into the Carolina Renaissance Festival. And I did really well. I met more dear friends, and developed a funny, tight, high-energy, educational, empowering act that can be as intimate or broad as the situation warrants. And I made money, and I had the time of my life, and I learned how to sew.

Esperanza began as a Spanish pirate who was in England trying to track down King Henry VIII in revenge for the death of her mother. She evolved into a Recruitment Officer for the Spanish Army, building an army on English soil. This is how the costume looked my first year:

Esperanza v 1

And this is how the costume looks now:

Esperanza final version

Things that have not changed: my penchant for making ridiculous faces.

In between, we had this:

Esperanza v 2

And this:

esperanza v 3

And this:

Espera

And this:

Esper

And this:

Esperanza

And somewhere along the line I wore myself out.

I don’t know where I’m going from here. My goal is to get healthy—to manage my allergies/asthma, my IBS, my increasingly difficult periods, and my anxiety and depression to a better degree than I am currently managing. I just want to have more good days than bad days. We want to get to a better financial place, to pay off our credit card and student loans so that we can take care of our aging cats and get a new car when we need to and afford to move again when our lease is up, and rebuild our retirement savings after the huge hit they’ve taken in the last few years, and maybe save to buy a place. We want to continue the progress we’ve made towards making our living space pleasant, beautiful, and well-organized(ish). I want to celebrate Halloween and Easter in a way that doesn’t mean working.

This decision was mine and mine alone. I consulted my most trusted advisors over and over again, but ultimately the only person I have to thank/blame is myself. It’s hard to walk away from something I worked to get for years. In pursuit of this dream I spent years going all over the country on my own dime to try and convince entertainment directors to hire me. I cried and struggled and swore and panicked and learned to sew, and eventually I succeeded, and then…I stopped. I know I made the right decision—when I sent the emails to my entertainment directors, I felt a huge sense of relief. But if there is one thing that art students hear over and over again, it’s “don’t give up;” it’s hard to feel like I’m not giving up.

Then again, maybe I am. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this. I love this work, but the things that go with it—travel, shitty working conditions, illness, iffy income, anxiety, homesickness—are just so hard to manage. Maybe I’m just not cut out for those things. Maybe the joy of the work—and there is so much joy in it for me, so that I sometimes feel like I’m going to explode from it—is not enough to carry me through the attendant trials and tribulations. Maybe I’ll never do this again.

Then again, maybe it is, and maybe I will.

I don’t know.

And I’m ok with that.

now leaving spain

DragonCon wrap up. FINALLY.

10 Oct

DragonCon is over.

DragonCon was over like a month+ ago? I KNOW THAT. I was busy…I don’t know, doing something, probably. Working. Watching the BBC on DVD. Getting ready for the opening of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. I AM A BUSY PERSON, DON’T JUDGE ME.

Where do I even start with this wrap up? I guess with a quick review: our costumes went SUPER well.

seal

Glad you dig it, Mr. Seal

We did almost all of our costuming on Sunday, which made for an exhausting but exhilarating day, and also meant I had an excuse to shower twice.

It was AMAZEBALLS. Allow me to show you more…

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Dragon*Con: a progress report in pictures

17 Jul

Dragon*Con work has kicked into gear here in the biscasa*. stone biscuit, mr. biscuit, the bismates**–even the biskitties** are getting in on the action, though not in quite the way we hoped (i.e. they have not learned to stitch, glue, or pin, but instead continue to uselessly insinuate themselves into the laps of sewing persons).

There are  two major projects going on in these pictures: Rococopunk and the Post-Apocalyptic Avengers. Also, a great deal of drinking. We’re hitting all of these piece-meal, except the drinking, to which we’re all strongly committed. Behold, a small sample of our recent successes!

Obviously, not all of these were made by me. I can lay no claim to the Scarlet Witch headpiece (done in a satellite office), the medals, nor the enormously well drawn pattern piece.  My pattern pieces tend to look like they were done by a four year old.

We look forward to more progress, as well as more drinking. Always more drinking.

*a combination of “biscuit” and “casa”
**”biscuit” and “housemates”
***”biscuit” and “kitties”

Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: And the winner is…

9 Apr

It’s time, finally, to announce the Grand Champion of the Fabulous Movie Madness Tournament of Champions. I know that voting in the Championship Poll has been closed for several days, and I really should have announced the winner quite some time ago. Instead, I got my transmission replaced and drove to Texas in the middle of the night! And then the Scarborough Renaissance Festival opened, a friend came to visit me, we went to see Jurassic Park (which was just as awesome as it was 20 years ago)and also I was very sleepy and had to consume a lot of quiche. So basically, my bad, and I will announce the winner right now

…first, though, allow me to say a quick word of thanks for all your votes and attention. A little over a month ago, when we began this little tournament, I had no idea it would be so much fun, or that I would swear so much while I was running it, but it was and I did, and I regret nothing. I couldn’t have done it without you.

If you’ll recall, the Championship Poll found us choosing between The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Moulin Rouge! A tough contest to be sure, but as far as I’m concerned, almost all of these matchups have been tough. There can be only one winner, and that winner is…

with 69.57% of the vote…

The Lord of the Rings

trophy

lotr award

Congratulations, y’all!

 

I think it’s appropriate that a series such enormous care and attention to detail has come out on top of a tournament I basically slapped together. Wait, that wasn’t what I meant to say! What I meant to say was, I think it’s appropriate that a series with such enormous care and attention to detail has come out on top. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I were to say that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a cinematic masterpiece as well as the defining film event of my generation. I will never forget the first time I saw it in the theatre. I was 17. It was the last day of high school before Christmas break, and my new boyfriend, who was a big fan of the books, took me to see it for our first real date. I don’t remember much of the date, or the rest of our short relationship, but I will never forget how my heart soared the first time the camera zoomed down down down into the pits of Isengard (at this point I dropped my date’s hand and leaned forward in my chai to better absorb what I was seeing), or how it shattered into a thousand pieces as Aragorn strapped on Boromir’s gauntlets as his funeral boat glides down the Falls of Rauros. The next year, as a freshman in college, I met a group of girls who were also in love with the movie. We all gathered in my tiny dorm room to watch it on the tiny monitor of my brand new computer, and became best friends, calling ourselves the Brenau Fellowship. Eleven years later, they’re still among my best friends. The life-sized cardboard cutout of Legolas I got for my 18th birthday has been with me ever since. Watching the films with my most recent boyfriend, who was a big fan before we even met, became a ritual that deepened our affection for each other and continued after we married. To this day, when I’m in a hard place, I revisit the films or the books. The Lord of the Rings won dozens of awards, did a lot to legitimize fantasy as a movie genre, spawned a thousand copycats, made a jillion dollars, and basically changed cinematic history, but more importantly as far as I’m concerned, it changed my life.

And now, while I cry a little, pictures of the cast celebrating!

lotr hugStars of the Lord of the Rings leave Wellington, T lotr hug 3 lotr hug 2 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Premiere

 

Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: Voting Round One

14 Mar

Erg! I’m so sorry this is a day late. I spent most of yesterday wrestling with PollDaddy and WordPress, only to discover that the issue appears to be with Chrome. From my end, polls are displaying just fine in Firefox, so if you want to vote and can’t see anything, give Firefox a shot. I can only assume this is because Google is mad at me for not switching over from Facebook.

Anyway! Assuming you can see the polls, go forth, argue for your favorites in the comments, and vote vote vote!

Warning: this post is a monster, with tons of pictures and video. Future posts will be shorter as competitors are viciously annihilated upon the field of battle.

Voting will continue through midnight on 3/15. Enjoy!

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