Category: NYC

Come On Already, NYC

Posted by – November 12, 2014

Honestly, we need someone to do groundbreaking stuff – don’t let Iowa beat you to it again, okay? Shoot, NYS has already beaten you to it.


A proposed law that would allow individuals to change the sex on their birth certificate without having gender reassignment surgery would ease the barrier to basic services such as health care, housing and jobs, transgender advocates said.

Testimony happened on Monday, 11/10, that helped explain why surgery should not be a requirement to change your birth certificate in NYC.

#neverforget?

Posted by – September 11, 2014

I don’t like this “never forget” business.
As if forgetting were possible.
Sounds like a desire for vengeance trussed up as memory and nationalism.
We don’t forget. Can’t.

I think this is more of what we forget – the stunning beauty of that view:

World Trade Center 1 in New York City

And how goddamn beautiful is that? I get a little high just looking at that clip, remembering what it was like to sit on those metal steps a hundred floors above the ground and look down between my feet through glass, to lean my head on the glass just lightly, to feel the cool of it against my skin as everything spun a little with vertigo. It was an amazing thing. I used to go there sometimes just to sit, right there in the clouds, higher than most birds even flew, like Jack on a concrete beanstalk.

What we forget is that we, as humans, are capable of doing things for the sheer fucking beauty of them, for the joy, for the accomplishment, for the divine, for the proof that despite what we believe, impossible things are possible. We do things to feel like we are the stuff of dreams, that we invent our own restrictions with fear and no magic. That observation deck was magic. It was hard to even feel like there was a building under you when you were up there because you couldn’t see any of the thing, like you were standing on a floor that was magically staying aloft. In a good wind the buildings would “sway back and forth up to 12 inches at the top.” So you really could move a foot in the air just standing up there.

Or, as John Dos Passos once wrote about New York City: “This city is full of people wanting inconceivable things. Look at it.” But they say no one reads him anymore. Well, they should. & Manhattan Transfer, where that quote is from, is a good enough place to start.

Remember the beauty, the aspiration, the dreamers, the sinners. That’s the stuff terror wants us to forget.

Eric Garner’s Death

Posted by – July 19, 2014

Eric Garner

Eric Garner’s death is hard to watch but it happened on video. I’m glad someone was there to film it, because you can hear for yourself that he’s saying he can’t breathe. You can see the officer pushing his face into the ground. You can see there are four men on top of him.

Eric Garner had just broken up a fight. The details are still unclear but he asks the police to please leave him alone several times, and reacts with frustration when they want to cuff him. To me, he did nothing that looked dangerous or even threatening – frustrated, yes. But I can’t see any intent to harm anyone.

Four of them were on him, and I assume they justify that because he was 350 lbs.

Oh god, it’s heartbreaking, and he was only 43. He had 6 kids.

He’d been arrested previously for selling untaxed cigarettes, and says at the start that they’re always messing with him and asks them to stop and to leave him alone.

This punishment does not fit the crime.We have got to stop treating people who commit minor crimes like they’re animals. We have to break down this stereotype of black men as a constant, physical, violent threat.

Love to his wife and children and everyone who loved him.

Casa Valentina Opening

Posted by – April 24, 2014

Casa Valentina opening night 4/23/14

It was so much fun. I’ll be writing more about the play itself in the upcoming days, but for now, look at the pretty pictures.

There are more at Playbill’s site.

Casa Valentina

Posted by – April 1, 2014

So we were just in New York, and one of the awesome things we did was meet the cast and crew of Harvey Fierstein’s new play Casa Valentina.

We didn’t get to see the whole thing – just a few key scenes – but I am so looking forward to seeing the whole of it.

And it opens to audiences tonight. I have no doubt the reception will be great.

But here’s the thing: we were invited to come see a rehearsal to advise. One of the actors contacted me a few weeks back – when I was already scheduled to be in NYC – and asked that we come because a bunch of the cast were reading or had read my books.

& Mare Winningham – who plays the wife of one of the crossdressers – said really nice things about them. She was so welcoming and cool to us.

Anyway, it was an awesome experience all around, & I only wish I could have stayed in town a day longer to catch the first night of previews tonight, but alas, the class I’m teaching started today, too.

I’m hoping to get a group together to go see it when we’re next in town, because from what I can tell, this is a gorgeous play – honest (maybe in ways some people won’t like) but compassionate, by which I mean: the wife is a real person.

Hairdresser on Fire

Posted by – March 6, 2014

snipIII have a friend who gives me awesome haircuts, like this one, when I’m in NYC, and I realized recently I’ve never mentioned his work here on my blog, and should. Why? He’s about as trans friendly as trans friendly gets, having done drag himself for a gazillion years. And he really really really loves making people look fantastic.

<<  And this is his card, which really explains his whole thing on its own without me blathering on, but of course, do let him know I sent you: alexandercolby(at)gmail(dot)com.

(if you’re wondering about the post’s title, you really need to watch this.)

Wedding!

Posted by – February 27, 2014

An old friend I went to high school with got married in NYC today, and he posted this awesome photo of him & his groom. It made me smile every time it came across my Facebook feed, so I thought I’d share it withall of you.

Congratulations, Dominic & Neil!

 

NYC & Trans (Sex Worker) History

Posted by – January 5, 2014

I was reading this depressing, massive list of all the business that have closed in NYC since Bloomberg became mayor and then found this post about the meatpacking district and the trans sex workers who used to ply their trade there.

The famous (and also now gone) Lee’s Mardi Gras was nearby, too. But eventually, Sex & the City and new high rents

helped bring a flood of Carrie Bradshaw wannabes to the area, bobble-headed young women tottering over the cobblestones in their Manolos and Jimmy Choos, slipping in the blood and fat.

The neighborhood didn’t change very quickly in the 90s, since Florent and Monster and Hogs were all still there in the late 90s, but they’re all gone now, along with the women who worked those streets. I was impressed by the respect shown them in this piece, evident in that description of that ridiculous Sex & the City episode (which was, by the way, the first one I happened to see, and so was the last, too), but moreso in the last paragraph:

Where did they go, all those working girls? Some no doubt were murdered, as marginalized transwomen too often are. Others found other strolls, in more dangerous neighborhoods. And some, I’m sure, went “legit.” It’s impossible to say.

It sure is.

There are more photos here, and also here.

1 WTC Gets Lit

Posted by – November 11, 2013

(& it’s amazing, but honestly, can anyone look at this photo & no think: but damn, that bridge is too gorgeous.)

Goodbye, Lou Reed

Posted by – October 27, 2013

Thanks for everything.

Ramones + Regis

Posted by – October 1, 2013

How can you not love this? Surreal, and so 1988. I saw one of those gigs at The Ritz, too. I don’t even know how many times I saw them, but it was a lot.

Kittens

Posted by – September 11, 2013

We happen to be fostering three kittens at the moment, all of them goofy, clumsy little ninjas, hungry and recently weaned. One orange, one grey, one tortico. And they have been amusing the hell out of me, like kittens always do.

But today? They are running all over the place & so I’m reminded of that day 12 years ago when I looked down at our hardwood living room floor in Brooklyn and noticed that our kitty boys – who were then about a year & a half – had left footprints while they played.

& That was when we noticed the light coating of ash on the floor.

& Then it all comes back: the smell, god the smell. But the phone calls, & my family gathering on Long Island that following weekend, to look at our wedding photos – we’d just gotten married in July. Walking down the street in Park Slope & a woman stopping to take a call on her cellphone & watching her go ashen & cry & fall to her knees right there on the sidewalk. Finding a day a few months later to shop up on 7th Avenue and running into a funeral for a Rescue One firefighter.

It was a lot of that. It wasn’t a day.

It was months, now years, more than a decade, & yet the shock of it, and the sadness, never goes away.

So today, tears, and kittens who leave no footprints.

 

NYC Editorial Board Calls for Manning’s Humane Treatment

Posted by – August 28, 2013

This is what I call a Big Fucking Deal: The NYT Editorial Board wrote a piece calling for medical transition care for Private Manning and for other trans prisoners like her, making the important point too that her housing should be safe but not isolated due to the heightened risk of sexual assault in prison for trans people.It begins:

When Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, declared that she wanted to live as a woman, the Army’s response was callous and out of step with medical protocol, stated policies for transgender people in civilian federal prisons and existing court rulings.

and then ends:

Private Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said last week that he hoped military prison officials would voluntarily provide hormone treatment, without a lawsuit. It should not take a court order to get officials — including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — to do the right thing. They should give Private Manning appropriate medical care and safe but not unduly isolated housing, which should be available for all transgender prisoners.

What is most remarkable to me is that I read and edited a draft by trans activist Danielle Askini of Seattle’s Gender Justice League which will run in tomorrow’s Seattle Times – and its ask and major points are essentially the same as the Times’ letter.

Very, very exciting stuff.

 

NYC Cyclist Rides in Bike Lanes, Only

Posted by – August 21, 2013

It’s a PSA: Casey Neistat got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane – which, btw, is NOT illegal – and decided to ride in the bike lane no matter what obstacles were in it with him.

Buster Keaton meets cycling: my kind of CR.

Becoming White

Posted by – August 4, 2013

As per usual, a good post at Abagond about American whiteness: this article details the way ‘my people’ became white in America. I’m both Southern European (Italian) & Eastern European (Polish) and also German & a tiny, tiny little bit Irish (who weren’t white either when they first came to the US, of course). Here are some highlights, but do go read the whole thing.

The Third Enlargement of American Whiteness (1930-1980) was when the Jews, Italians and others from southern and eastern Europe became White Americans, when they melted into the melting pot.

. . .

Late 1800s: Crossing the Atlantic becomes cheap. Suddenly anyone can come to America: unlettered peasants from Italy, penniless Jews and others from southern and eastern Europe. They fill the slums of New York and elsewhere. The government fears they will be stuck there forever – a permanent underclass.

1910s: They are called “alien races” … they bring crime and poverty. They have too many children. They do not understand freedom and democracy, voting for corrupt political machines. Skull measurements (and later IQ tests) prove they lack intelligence.

. . . More

NYC

Posted by – July 19, 2013

I’m in NY for a bit, visiting family and the like, and so may not be posting very much.

NYC Drag Photos

Posted by – July 18, 2013

With many recent exhibitions, screenings and publications, the queer community, particularly in New York, seems to be on an archival bent, mapping a genealogy of various aspects of LGBTQ history. Not only is queer culture experiencing archive fever, but the era of the 1980s and 1990s has been given an inordinate amount of attention by curators, critics and writers. Adding to that dialogue, Simpson’s Drag Explosion presents an archive of the drag scene, which seems to often appear on the periphery of many exhibitions and publications on the 1980s art scene or LGBTQ history despite its influential humor, camp and fashion that still pervades culture today.

The photos themselves are a blast. I hope there are a lot more screenings, but if you can’t catch one, you can watch a slideshow of the photos online with Linda’s narration.

TLDEF’s Annual Benefit

Posted by – May 23, 2013

Trans Legal Defense and Education Fund is a really organization, and their annual gala & fundraiser is coming up. I’m told it’s a fun, classy affair.

It will take place on Monday, June 3, from 6:30-8:30 PM, at the Art Directors Club Gallery at 106 W. 29th Street.

The FB Event page is here.

Also, if you’re trans & would like to go but can’t afford it, email me & I can put you in touch with someone who might be able to help.

Help Qween Amor

Posted by – May 12, 2013

Qween Amor was assaulted in Union Square on May 7th, 2013. The suspect is now in custody. Immediately after this video was taken, her suitcase (pictured, red) was stolen. It contained her amplifier, laptop, and all other possessions.

S/he needs help to purchase a new amplifier/boombox, so that she can continue performing & sending her message of love. Contributions can be made via paypal to: QweenAmor@gmail.com.

Back in the NY Groove (While Still in WI)

Posted by – April 5, 2013

It thrills me to no end that I am going to a retreat this weekend with a bunch of students from NYC. Why? Because I won’t have to talk so slow and constantly regulate my enthusiasm and keep myself from interrupting. I won’t have to count to three when someone is done speaking just to make sure I’m not interjecting too quickly. I’m not particularly good at doing those things, mind you: I’m still from New York and have all the speech patterns Deborah Tannen talks about in this article.

A Californian who visited New York once told me he’d found New Yorkers unfriendly when he’d tried to make casual conversation. I asked what he made conversation about. Well, for example, how nice the weather was. Of course! No New Yorker would start talking to a stranger about the weather—unless it was really bad. We find it most appropriate to make comments to strangers when there’s something to complain about—“Why don’t they do something about this garbage!” “Ever since they changed the schedules, you can’t get a bus!” Complaining gives us a sense of togetherness in adversity. The angry edge is aimed at the impersonal “they” who are always doing things wrong. The person is thus welcomed into a warm little group. Since Californians don’t pick up this distinction between “us” and “them,” they are put off by the hostility, which they feel could be turned on them at any moment.

But around other New Yorkers I can fucking relax and expect people to be a little louder, a little more dramatic, to clip my sentences and know, when I clip theirs, that I am only showing enthusiasm. More