I will once again be offering creative coaching sessions at Psychic Sister on Thursday, May 5, from 1-6 pm. You can book 15 or 30 minute sessions here (scroll down and choose Creative Coaching @ Psychic Sister), or you can just walk in on the day of (109 5th Ave SE Olympia). In these mini-coaching sessions, I utilize magical tools and practical know-how to unlock your process and activate & actualize your artist self. What do you need to bring into the world? What’s blocking you? What needs to move so you can flourish? What nourishment does your creative spirit need? This is a good opportunity to check out what I’m offering if you’re not quite ready to commit to a 2-hour creative coaching intake. I hope to see you on Sunday! spread the word!
Beth Ditto has a new clothing line and solo music project, and she shouted me out in a recent article on Pitchfork (excerpted below). Thanks Beth for continuing to bring your gifts to the world.
“Of all her bold style moments, Beth Ditto’s most iconic look epitomizes “less is more”—as in, less clothing. About a decade ago, when her band Gossip was making the best music of their 17-year existence (Ditto informs us she quit Gossip, they’re broken up, and she’s gone solo), it was not uncommon for Ditto to go shirtless, pantsless, or both during their raw and rowdy shows. I am certain the image of her half undressed will remain clear in my mind forever, captioned by this takeaway: There is no wrong way to have a body.
The subversive delight of seeing unapologetic fatness in the spotlight was not lost on those of us who looked like Ditto. Her own version of that moment centered around badasses like punk singer/activist Nomy Lamm and Missy Elliott, whose trash-bag onesie from “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” video made a huge impression on Ditto for its embrace of what would later become her motto: fuck “flattering.” This mentality—coupled with her strong sense of personal style and her penchant for speaking out on body acceptance—has made Ditto an increasingly important figure in the plus-size fashion game over the years. The culmination of that arrived this week, as Ditto launched her first independent plus-size collection, available via her site. Produced in Manhattan, the self-titled line is both a nod to Ditto’s DIY roots and a reaction to her frustrating experience with British retailer Evans, with whom she collaborated on capsule collections.”
On December 7, all donors to our “Help House Nomy and Lisa” campaign will receive a digital re-issue of ‘i’m so fucking beautiful’ issue 1. We can’t do this move without the support of our community, and it feels good to offer some fun gifts in return. Please donate if you can and spread the word!
I wrote the first issue of this zine in 1993, and it hasn’t been available in any kind of organized way for almost 20 years now. I was 17, and I drew the cover in an art history class. I had just read ‘Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression’ and was planning a performance where i “came out” as fat. The zine cost 35cents and a stamp, and soon became ‘zine of the month’ in MaximumRock&Roll (thanks to some feminist infiltration). It caught the attention of MS. magazine, who later named me as a “Woman of the Year” for “inspiring a generation of young feminists to fight back against fat oppression.” ‘i’m so fucking beautiful’ connected me with hundreds of penpals around the US and beyond, and led me to write for magazines and anthologies and speak at colleges and universities. It is a concrete document from the very beginning of my process of body acceptance and politicization of fat as an identity, and it is now available for the first time in downloadable format.
While photocopied zines have a certain aesthetic, the “master” copies have their own special feel, and we captured the full-color detail of the original, where you can see the glue stick marks, the tape, the hand-written edits, the hands-on process of creation, and the visible signs of age. Selections from other issues of i’m so fucking beautiful are included in the 2013 anthology The Riot Grrrl Collection, edited by Lisa Darms and published by The Feminist Press. i’m so fucking beautiful is also included in the Sarah Wood Zine Collection at Duke University, the Sarah and Jen Wolfe Zine Collection at The University of Iowa, and the West Coast Zine Collection at San Diego State University.
“i am not going to wait any more for people to tell me that i’m ok. now I am telling THEM. and if they don’t agree, they can go fuck themselves, because it’s no longer their decision to make.” – nomy, age 17
PLEASE DONATE NOW to help us get out of San Francisco and into a more grounded, loving home.
Click here to see the press release about the zine re-release.
It’s the beginning of the month, and our fundraiser is at $1495. We’re doing giveaways of music and art this week, with the goal of hitting $3600 by the weekend. Today, we are releasing a downloadable mix tape called “nomy & lisa RETROSPECTIVE,” and all donors of $20 or more will receive a link. These are songs by bands and projects that we’ve been involved with over the past couple decades, many of them not available to find anywhere else. Includes Punky Bruiser, Central Standard, Hey There Cowboy, Tricrotic, ((double hug)), the Foolers, and more… It’s cool to hear our histories mixed up together like that, and we think you’ll like it too! Punk rock meets cello meets accordion meets pop, with silliness and love for these fat queer bodies we live in.
We are not happy that we’re being pushed out of San Francisco, but we are happy that we have somewhere to go, and that we have community who can help make this possible for us. If we can get to $3600 by this weekend we can rest assured at least that our mover will be paid. Keep an eye on our site for the rest of the week and tell your friends to check out our giveaways. And thank you again to everyone who has so generously given already. xox
Lisa and I have been looking for a new home for over a year, and finally found it – in Olympia! We didn’t expect to leave the Bay Area, but we opened our hearts to see where we were called. Anyone who knows what’s happening in the Bay right now won’t be surprised to learn that we couldn’t find anything within two hours of San Francisco that was accessible and affordable to us. I went back to Olympia to visit my mom, and I didn’t want to leave. We found a sweet little blue house, owned by a dear friend of mine, with a yard and raised garden beds and room for us and our animals. Now we have to ask our community to support this transition. We are both genderqueer artists with disabilities, and we make the world more accessible to each other and our communities through our love and our work. We give what little “extra” money we have to fundraising campaigns that we believe in, and we rely on this network of interdependence to help us take this next step. Thank you so much for being part of our circle.
on August 29, lisa and i met up with a group of mostly white activists in a Black neighborhood where a white neighbor has been calling the police (and pulling other types of authorities into disputes with her neighbors). our intention was to ask this white woman, in a friendly and serious way, not to call the police on Black people.
we met early evening at the park down the street. a number of participants went around the block chalking hearts and names of Loved Ones Lost. we practiced our song at the park and a neighbor said yeah, sounds pretty good, you gotta get the timing right. we worked on that and then headed over to the white neighbor’s house. we sang our song a few times, and tried ringing her doorbell. a family next door stood on the steps watching us. the mom was holding back her little kids, keeping them on the porch. i waved and smiled, and she smiled. they seemed nervous but curious.
the white neighbor did not appear to be home. dogs were barking. we read aloud the names and stories of Black people who have been killed by police. we sent love. we sang the song a few more times. we put the song lyrics and some info about Oakland police shootings on her door, and just as we were wandering off down the street, the white neighbor lady came home. i was like ‘that’s her! that’s her! should we do it?’ we rallied back together and sang, and she at first seemed almost happy about it, she was like ‘i agree with you, but why me?’ that’s when lisa said ‘do you remember me?’ and she realized who we were there on behalf of.
it is intense to see a person being called on their shit yelling and screaming such predictable, scripted defenses, how she is such a good person, she gives food to homeless people, all her neighbors love her, her life was being threatened, not all cops come with their guns drawn, she doesn’t care if you’re black, white or chinese… etc. she also said their dog had almost bitten her arm completely off, in which case she is a miraculous healer because there were no scars or anything.
one of us very diligently and kindly kept trying to tell the white neighbor about mediation resources, as she stomped away, saying ‘who am i supposed to call? nobody comes to save me!’ several of us were calling ‘please! wait! listen! we’re coming from a place of love!’ and she slammed the door.
somewhere in the middle of all this, a conversation started with the neighbor next door on the porch with her kids, and it became known that she also was having problems with this particular white neighbor, that she is scared of her. a bilingual spanish speaker in our group stepped forward to talk with her and translate. it turns out the white lady reported this neighbor to her landlord for something having to do with her dogs, and an eviction process has been started. this neighbor was given the contact info for Causa Justa, and will be followed up with with more resources.
back at the park we debriefed. we felt good about it, a little rattled, but mostly positive. we talked about following up with the white neighbor, either in person or in a letter. a member of our group reminded us that this woman is dangerous to her brown and black neighbors, she is litigious, and we need to make sure not to make anything worse for them. two people offered to write a letter thanking the neighbor for hearing us, and offering resources for mediation and conflict resolution. we also talked about using our time and energy to support the neighbor who is facing possible eviction. members of this group will stay in contact with her to see what she needs.
i am sharing all of this because i want to talk more about how we call in difficult members of our communities. specifically i’m curious about how white people work with problematic white people, how do we ‘reel in our cousins’ ? and how do we stop violence before it happens?
“It’s always exciting to make a new friend. You maybe see them around a few times before you start getting to know them. As you get closer, you notice all the things you have in common. You get a little crush on them, seeing how sweet and funny and smart and sexy and badass they are. You find yourself talking about them to other friends, noticing things that would make them smile. You feel protective, wanting to make the world a better place for them.
It really sucks when that person is already dead.
More and more these days, I find myself making friends with someone after they’ve died. Through photos and stories from loved ones, at protests and ceremonies, and through the details of their traumatic deaths at the hands of police officers, I become entwined in their legacies. I find myself grieving the loss of someone I never knew, trying to take on some of the weight that has fallen on their families. It is painful. And confusing. And necessary.
I’d like to introduce you to Kayla Moore. Kayla is a black trans woman who grew up in Berkeley. Just a few years older than me, I imagine we would have hung out in high school. She was a punk rocker. She was fancy. She had fierce fashion. She was smart and quick to respond when people tried to put her down. She loved to go out dancing. She wrote gothic poetry. She worked from home as a phone sex operator. She was schizophrenic. She was an auntie who loved her baby niece. She was a big fat curvy babe.”
See the full article here, at The Body Is Not An Apology
“Soon after I moved to San Francisco eight years ago, I was introduced to radical crip artist/activists Leroy Moore and Patty Berne, and the project they founded, Sins Invalid. I had recently been approved for federal disability benefits, and though I have a lifelong disability and have been an activist since I was a teenager – and even though I’d spent the past fifteen years doing fat liberation work, and the past five years doing personal work around the legacy of medical trauma in my life – I had not figured out a way to integrate my politics within a bigger framework of disability activism.
Sitting in the audience the first time I got to see a Sins Invalid show, I witnessed some of the most radical work I’d ever seen or imagined. I watched Lateef McLeod, a beautiful black man with cerebral palsy, recite poetry through an electronic talker and get almost naked, crawling on the floor in front of a mirror under a giant full moon. I watched porn by Loree Erickson, a queer white femme wheelchair user, heard poetry by Latina wheelchair goddess Maria Palacios, and witnessed a performance by white genderqueer crip seeley quest, who did a lap dance while wearing a molded plastic back brace. Planted in my theater seat with my fake leg tucked under my chair, I felt a familiar but all-too-uncommon sensation: an urgency, a current in my body saying “This is the moment, step into it, this is where it’s happening.” I wanted in.”
See the full article here, at The Body Is Not An Apology.