Tag Archives: femme


This is one of my writes from last night’s workshop — the prompt was Sarah Vaughan’s rendition of “I feel pretty.”

I infrequently feel pretty. When I first came out fem, I had fantasies about being the movie girl in front of the vanity, soft lights behind me and brash up front, makeup and brushes and atomizers of perfume splayed all around on dresser-top ready for spritzing, dusting, lining, pearling: being That Girl.

In real life, I can’t habituate that girl, can’t hold her down and climb into her skin, and, more to the point, i can’t wait around for her to get dressed and done enough to daintyfoot herself into my skin. I have other things to do.

I’ve ached to be the pretty girl, the coquette, the charming klutz with the open face that guys — and then butches — just couldn’t help but fall into. But then, in real life, I was more interested in being one of the guys, which is sort of the opposite of pretty girl — isn’t it? — unless maybe you’re a Queen, and then when I say “guys,” I mean it ironically.

I put pretty on sometimes, but even then I keep ragged and rough and mussed and so pretty looks more like trashy, which I’m a lot more comfortable with. I idolize pin-up girl glamour and couldn’t in a million years sit around in front of a fucking mirror every day long enough to get that glass-like gussied, just to hoof it right into a mud puddle and then whine about getting scuffed. I prefer glamour that’s already ready to be smeared, that shows the true meanings of the word, glamour: a spell, witchery; glamour that lets the flaws, the real, through: shows unplucked chin and moustache beneath glitter and dark bands of eyeliner.

But these things do not make pretty. Pretty has a fragility to it that I just can’t hold myself to, am unwilling to always be (yes, Ani) the kitten who needs rescuing, the one who won’t eat for fear of stains, the one who won’t run ’cause her shoes or skirt are too tight — I am forever running pantyhose instead, and tearing fabric so I have a better range of motion.

What if we recalibrated pretty? But why should we, when so many other words fit better: smart, dirty, mouthy, unfettered, dangerous, roguish (yes, thank you, for a fem), calculating, powerful, aware, articulate, strong — what if all of these are places of power for that which has been relegated to the land of pretty?

What if pink got to hold its full blood history again? The color of healing scars, of early arousal, of the just inseam of bared teeth: pink is not a dainty thing. Pink is the early blood, the foreshadowing, the heather of orchids.

I claim my right not to be pretty, to take interesting and exotic with pride, to swelter into the other labels of an engaged and cracked femininity laced with a boyness I just can’t let go of all the way, not after I got so accustomed to its weight and musk after so many years –

I could do pretty when I was a boy, absolutely get all the transfags who mince into pretty as their finally due, who get to hold its danger in their hands and on their face now. Pretty boys make me want to squeal, ’cause they’re dangerous, they walk with pretty and a dagger all at the same time, all hands on deck: pretty is never something for a boy to aspire to, and must always be wiped clean — we fight for what we’re not supposed to have.

I want to give any unworn pretty to these boys and their welterweight badness, learn something about the precision of desire and naming, learn something about the audacity we all require to wear our pink and chewy hearts on our sleeves.

Body Heat: queer femme tour shows! this Friday and Saturday (1/29 and 1/30) in San Francisco!

The Center for Sex and Culture presents

a special SNEAK PREVIEW of BODY HEAT: a femme porn tour — 2010!

Sizzlin’ Fierce Fiery Queer Femme Porn – 2 Nights, 2 Different Shows! ***DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT!!!!!!!***

Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30
Cost $10.00 – $15.00 you pick :)
At the Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission Street (between 11th and South Van Ness), San Francisco, CA 94103

Come to the Center for Sex and Culture for the one of these barely-legal Bay Area performances of the Body Heat: Femme Porn Tour. Each night will offer up decadent performances/readings by fierce local queer femme writers, performers and devastritixes!

These will be your only chances to catch Body Heat during this spring!

Both shows begin at 8pm SHARP, $10-$15 (help us fill the kitty for Body Heat’s 2010 cross-country tour!), no one turned away… FMI: http://www.myspace.com/femmeporntour

Friday, January 29th Performers:
Carol Queen
Kathleen Delaney
Jen Cross
Madison Young
Amelia Mae Paradise from Diamond Daggers

Saturday, January 30th Performers:
Shar Rednour
Daphne Gottlieb
Kathleen Delaney
Jen Cross
Alex Cafarelli
Lady Fantastique

Body Heat is a collective of fierce, sassy, irreverent Femme artists setting ablaze performance art communities and smashing Femme stereotypes. Porn, Kink, Smut, Erotica – Body Heat is not reclaiming our sex so much as OWNING it.

We will turn you on.

We will challenge all of your gender, sex, feminist, social, & political boundaries & assumptions.

We will entertain the hell out of you.

Mostly we will leave you panting, begging, dripping for more.



Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission St., bet 11th and So Van Ness, San Francisco!

the femmes of the Fall 09 Body Heat East Coast tour, tearing up the pool table in all the wrong ways...
fishnet knees, just before...

‘under a genderqueering microscope’

The more comfortable I get with my girlhood, after seriously striving to embody masculinity for almost a decade, the less able I am to describe it — girlhood — with any kind of precision: Well, a girl’s a female-bodied person, unless she’s male-bodied, and she likes dresses and pink unless she hates them and prefers skinned knees and tree climbing or none of the above or all. Well, it’s clear, isn’t it, that the girl’s the softer one, right? Except I’ve stroked some pretty soft boys — and met girls rocked hard like stone and the girls are the ones who cry right except when they don’t and the boys do and I’m done with layering on description and definition: femininity likes frills and adornment and paint and frivolity up to and until and unless and and it digs its unpainted nails into thick rocky soil or, yes, knows perfectly well how to turn a phrase between a girl’s or a boi’s legs and sings its songs with abandon until and unless it remains silent.

There’s no sure thing about femininity and masculinity for me anymore — not about either except in the know-it-when-i-see-it sorts of ways and even that is all up for interpretation and assumption, those kinds of grabs. The things that say boys are strong and girls get carried have never seen me (or you, or him, or hir) carry a box of books wearing four-inch heels and who cares if its girl or not except

I do. I thicken into the femininity my stepfather wrought for me, the tough bitch smart broad high femme ball buster prima donna that he was always just the right man for: it’s that last part, of course, that leaves me nauseous, that wrote me into boyhood, into all the masculinity I’d always already carried, all my life — they just called it tomboy but I took it out of my back pocket, fluffed it out, slicked it on and called that leather jacket and jeans and boots and shorn shorn head strong and safe

girlhood was the stuff that smeared his palms and yes, greased his chin, and I wanted to get myself far away from the staining thing that I had been. I drove a straight sharp line down between butch and femme, masculine and feminine, girl and boy and always I meant to bend myself toward the unlayerable side, unbreakable side, unbroad side, ungirl side. ‘Cause boy is always and only not girl, right? We can say that at least for sure,


Not in the world I come from, the dancers I live within, who question every frilly tail-marker under a genderqueering microscope. Some boys will be boys and girls will be women but other girls stripe their butts with Marilyn Monroe panties and dance on the stage with barbells in each hand and some boys like to bend at the waist when they sob or lay open to the receiving they were never supposed to want and all the lists of what’s feminine and what’s masculine just ends up being make believe or stereotype for me now, jogging my memory around what the folks outside the Bay Area Bubble say is good for gooses and ganders. It’s longing for play I frill into, glitter that doesn’t stain the eye and a kind of strong-fisted handshake that makes a grown butch do a double take.

We make our own lists every day anyway, stripped around society’s damage, and when we come back home now and again, the bois will be girls will be femmes will be right

Body Heat: queer femme tour kicks off tomorrow, 4/3

I have the great privilege of being a part of the Body Heat: Femme Porn Tour, which kicks off here in San Francisco tomorrow, 4/3, at the Center for Sex and Culture at 7pm.

Femmes, as some of us know, still bear an interesting burden of invisibility — our right to call ourselves dykes is called into question sometimes even still, because we don’t bear the masculine markers of more “visible” dykes (which turns into an interesting paradox), and our sexual agency is still, I think, considered to be determined by our lovers, rather than by we ourselves.

There are LOTS of fierce femme writers & performers who are calling into question these and other misunderstandings around femmeness, and I get to be on tour with three of them — Vixen Noir (aka Veronica Combs of the incredible Liquid Fire fame), Celestina Pearl (di-va writer, filmmaker & performer!) and kathleen delaney (spoken word artist out of Atlanta & a dear friend from back when I lived on the East Coast!)

More info below — I’ll be blogging about the tour here and at my myspace blog: www.myspace.com/writingourselveswhole

Wish us luck, good driving, and sleep! :)


~Body Heat: A femme porn tour~

Body Heat is a collective of fierce, sassy, irreverent Femme artists setting
ablaze performance art communities and smashing Femme stereotypes. Porn, Kink,
Smut, Erotica – Body Heat is not reclaiming our sex so much as OWNING it.

We will turn you on.

We will challenge all of your gender, sex, feminist, social, & political boundaries & assumptions.

We will entertain the hell out of you & we will leave you panting, begging, dripping for more.

April 3, 2008 @ The Center for Sex & Culture, San Francisco, CA.
April 4 @ The Rubber Rose, San Diego, CA.
April 6 @ Rag Tag Cinema, Columbia, MO.
April 7 @ Chicago — Location TBA
April 8 @ Pi Bar, Minneapolis, MN.
April 9 @ A Women’s Touch, Milwaukee, WI.
April 10 @ Havana, Columbus, OH.
April 11 @ Mount Holyoke, Northampton, MA.
April 12 @ Truth Serum hosts @ Lily Pad Gallery, Boston, MA
April 13 (2 shows) @ MIKO & Brown University, Providence, RI.
April 14 on Diana Cage’s Radio Show SIRIUS in NYC, NY
April 15 @ Tritone, Philly, PA.
April 16 @ Phase 1, Washington, DC
April 17 @ The Eyedrum, Atlanta, GA.
April 19 @ The Jolie Rouge Asheville, NC.

Spread the word and bring your friends! Visit http://www.myspace.com/femmeporntour for more info!