Monday, June 14, 2010

Today in my neighbourhood:

BP's attempt ($50 million ad campaign: to pass the blame.

Reminds me of Eddie Izzard's gun joke:

Consumers standing there shouting "I need OIL!" doesn't cause oil spills, being the oil drilling company with faulty equipment and no safety plan does.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Breathe On It

Play this song while you read this - it's what I was listening to this morning while thinking about this post.

One of my favourite things about being part of a queer community is participating in the way we perform for each other as both performer and audience. Camp, drag, drama, dance, and even the occasional spoken word piece move me and make me so proud of our colourful, creative, and freaky selves. Often our main stage celebrities are shameless and will do anything for attention but there is also room for the shy wallflowers to take the stage every so often and get in the spotlight where they will do something completely hilarious and beautiful, imprinting a lasting image of their courage on our minds.

Yesterday I posted the following as a Facebook status update:
It's NOT a coincidence so many cities are making alternatives to the OFFICIAL "family" Pride parties which rely on corporate sponsorship. Pride went from a march to show we existed to a bloated tourist attraction that requires millions of dollars to survive. Let's stop doing the SAME thing EVERY year, it's lazy. Get freaky on your block, love each other up in the streets, throw parties any day you want. Fuck Pride.

This morning I showed someone clips from some performances at GayBiGayGay back in March.  Yesterday I saw this clip from QueerBomb.  This weekend I was at NoLose watching a variety of performances by very talented queers.  My community in Toronto (and a bunch of us who don't live there anymore) just recently lost the amazing community organizer Will Munro who used to bring us a monthly night of queer expression called Vaseline/Vazaleen.  That's where I first saw The Hidden Cameras back in 2001.  That where I saw homos go-go dancing in briefs with sock masks on their faces, drag queens boxing, Kembra Pfahler in blue body paint walking with bowling balls strapped to her feet with electrical tape and so. much. more.  Even I got to be on that stage a few times participating in contests like bob-for-dildos on Halloween (Vasoween) night.

At the music festival I worked at for many years we wove performance into our daily tasks. Dressing up and impromptu dancing were staples but every once in a while we would get to do full-on theatrics for each other and for the larger community.  Whether it was a parody of a revival tent, a perpetual new year's eve party where the clock struck midnight every 5 minutes, or a silent film being acted out by monochromatic-outfitted villains and heroines, we acted out for each other intensely and with so much appreciation from the audience.

I love us.
We say that often. Right after someone dazzles us with an unexpected serenade or a spontaneous choreographed dance. We say that when as a large group we raise the energy level in the room above that of the day-to-day getting by. Queers do this a lot. Throw parties, freak out, rally, shout, dress up, go out and play.  We don't need Pride™and their big budget, booked entertainers, corporate floats, designated parade routes, or "no you can't bring your own water in here" beer gardens.

Just perform for me and I'll do the same for you and we can do that whenever we want.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Family Car Decals - My latest obsession.

After moving to the United States just over six months ago I started driving a car again. Spending a lot of time commuting has given me a whole new view of car culture - California car culture to be precise. Highway 280 running from SF to the Silicon Valley has shown me a whole new world where most cars only contain one person (including my own), are often hybrid or at least manufactured by Toyota, and are generally free of decals. That's probably why I started to notice this phenomenon of family car decals.

I first noticed them in December, often in the form of varying sizes of flip flop shoes in a row on the back window of a vehicle. But lately I've seen more stick figure representations along with the occasional skull version (the goth/rocker family?).

A quick google search turns up an incredible amount of pictures so I'll stop taking pictures of them on my phone now. I've been so curious to know why this is such a contagious sticker trend. I can't help but think that esp. in the recent years of debate over marriage and family caused by gay marriage activism that we are going to see an incredible backlash in the form of "family pride" by people with traditional hetero family units. 99% of the stickers i see depict nuclear families. Some add on a dog after the stick people. This could be because a divorced family and thus spread out family might not have one car to put all its stick figures on...or just that only families who fit a two parent/many kid mold think it's cute to get a sticker version of themselves made.

I'd almost put my obsession with the trend aside when I saw this:
Stick baby has two mommies. Now my fears of gay assimilation through weddings and wedding culture have been trumped by a fear of hetero-sticker-schlock mimicry.

The debate over what makes a family is now to be discussed over the $5 vinyl cling on your gas-guzzling minivan, just like your activism now consists of clicking a "Like" button to send your outrage over a news story back to your Facebook feed.