Thursday, December 16, 2010

Briefly

Need to post about going out weekend before last, the holidays, etc. I'm doing well, just tired a lot...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's been going on

Not as much as I'd hoped, I'm afraid. Busy with life, but not really getting out lately. I went to the GEAR mixer a couple of weeks ago; it's their monthly meeting and I had not been there in a while. It's at The Bronx in the gayborhood, which is always a nice place to go to. Unfortunately the turnout was a bit light-about ten people, and there really wasn't a meeting as such. I did get to chat with some people I didn't know, and afterward was introduced to Red Mango yogurt. It's like Pinkberry but I think it tastes better. A very short evening...

The Dallas Fetish Ball at The Church was a week ago. And as always, it's a mixed bag. I did find out that if you show up early-like when the doors open-you have a few hours before the place gets so crowded you can't see anything or move around. Between 10:30 PM-12:30 AM it's so packed you just kind of flow with the traffic inside. You'll be able to talk to people, see the outfits and enjoy things. I hate the fact that the "dress code" is very loosely interpreted. They don't bother to enforce it, so the crowd ends up with a mix of people who actually make an effort and the jeans/trainers/polo shirt crowd who look out of place. And to me it affects the whole mood.

I did meet some new people, which was great. But a friend had a bad experience at a nearby hotel. She'd parked in the garage and came back late Friday night-and was harassed by some homophobes. Fortunately she wasn't alone, but it was her first experience with being in real physical danger. I can totally understand how she felt, but I also think that you have to remember that when you are dressed en femme you need to think like a woman and take the same kinds of precautions.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some people don't get it

I need to post about what's happened recently but I'll do that later. Right now, I want to talk about an entry in the Houston Post about the closing of a local lesbian bar. This isn't news-bars open and close all the time (more close than open in this economy, though). But one of the comments got me thinking:


So one gay bar closes, and gays and lesbians can go... anywhere in town they please, because they've become accepted into mainstream culture, as they should. A lot of places like Marys, and now Chances, are more relics of times when gays and lesbians had to flock to gay bars because they didn't feel comfortable outing themselves in public.

One would think that letting Montrose evolve from a segregated district that was formed to escape gay intolerence into a place that everyone can enjoy and be a part of would be a unanimously positive thing, but people have to bitch.
No, people bitch because we're losing part of our culture. It was a gay bar in New York City where the whole "gay liberation" movement got started. Gay and lesbian bars of all sorts were where you could meet and be accepted. If you think that mainstream bars are ready for us, read a little farther...

Which got this reply:

Um...that's pretty inaccurate, Anonymous, and rather ignorant. if you're a mainstream wealthy gay or lesbian, maybe that's true. But think outside your own experience.
Chances is an important place for lots of queer folks, mainstream and non-mainstream alike. The fact that they're replacing it with an expensive restaurant is just one more example of how non-mainstream gays and lesbians are constantly marginalized in society (so is your comment by the way!).
The reference to wealthy gays and lesbians sounds classist, but it's not. There really is a schism in the LGbt "community" and it's one of wealth, appearance (how "straight" you look and act) and privilege. If you're on the right side, you're all for mainstreaming because it goes with your lifestyle. If you're not so straight looking, if you're a drag queen or leatherfolk or a bit nelly or butch you're supposed to just stay at home because you're a risk to the privileged getting their "rights." Just let that bus roll over you, okay?

And this:

Ok seriously, you actually think queerfolk are actually accepted in mainstream society? We are accepted as novelties on tv and in the movies, but not as valued human beings in the "real world." As a shining example of this point(and the fact that Montrose is dying as a bastion and sanctuary for the queer community) I was out at a supposedly "everyone" bar(i.e. Not exclusively gay bar)with my boyfriend the other night to celebrate my birthday. He kissed me at midnight in celebration and the table next to us began making comments about how they " did not need to see that" and quite specifically "thats fine in the privacy of their own home, but in public? Eww" So Gide you tell me if we are accepted in mainstream culture? Keep in mind this was in MONTROSE! So yes we do need our own safe spaces! And yes we will express displeasure as we lose them! From what I've seen(and this isn't the only example of growing homophobia in what was once our Gayborhood) when you start gentrifying an area you displace the people and culture which were already there. And generally speaking, the people that come along with that gentrification tend not to be so open minded.
Ironically, if it'd been two lesbians kissing the next table would have probably been all "Oooh, that's hot!" because it's okay for two women to kiss and reinforce your little fantasies (even if they'd never let you near them in bed ever). Two guys kissing? DISGUSTING!

Yeah, we're so mainstream aren't we? Right...

Since I have lived here, Dallas has lost two LGbt bars. It also lost the only LGbt bookstore in town, which was a cornerstone of the Cedar Springs "gayborhood." A gay-owned leather shop closed because the rent was raised so high it was unaffordable (and that space is still empty, two years later). We're losing our community, one space at a time...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part seven

Addenda, thoughts, and What It All Means:

The package I left with the hotel to be shipped off on the Monday after SCC? I call Tuesday after checking the UPS web tracking and find out that no, it's still there because nobody gave it to the driver. They manage to get it on a truck Wednesday, and it was back in town by the weekend.

The nail salon in Atlanta that I love and forgot to name? Classic Nail, 4772 Ashford Dunwoody Rd.; the phone number is (770) 392-9135. Really, they did an excellent job and my nails still looked great the entire trip.

I have mixed feelings about the hotel this year. Because I used my Priority Club points to pay for part of my stay, I got upgraded to the Club Floor for free. I don't think I would have paid extra for the privilege, but it was nice. The room was great-the AC worked perfectly, very comfortable and clean. The water pressure in the shower was sometimes an issue, as was the temperature, but you could never find a pattern to the issue.

And the toilet kept flushing itself. I had to talk to the desk twice about fixing it, and the maintenance person who came up to fix it thought I'd called about a blocked toilet. Nice, people. I should not complain about the parking, since it is free if you do it yourself. But the garage is too small-I was almost unable to find a spot in it, and the valets were not very helpful.

Do I like the hotel? I've gotten used to it, but I miss the old place. It was closer to the center of town, and most of the places I wanted to go to were nearby. But it's no longer an option; now a W Hotel, there are not enough rooms for SCC.

I saved this to come back and finish it, and of course I published the frelling thing instead. So here's the rest of my post...


I've said before that I was thinking that this was going to be my last SCC. This year, I haven't felt the kind of anticipation or excitement that I usually do before the event. The SCCLounge was more of a chore than ever, and a few things happened that did not help my mood. People have been telling me they aren't going anymore. They don't feel like it's worth going to; they've gotten everything out of it they can; it's focused on things they aren't interested in; they're fed up with the "community."

And probably the first two days at SCC, I was still feeling that way. And then I started talking to people, and getting back into a "groove" at the event. It made me feel like there was something more there. Are there problems with SCC? Yes, but they can be fixed. The health fair was a good start; making AIDS/STD awareness an integral part of the programming should be continued. The "Princess Day" was a great idea, and needs to continue. There needs to be more discussion about the direction the convention is going to take. And more openness, less leaving people in the dark and wondering what's going on...

I've seen too often that people feel like they are being marginalized and not part of the "community" for a lot of reasons. There has always been the transsexuals who are on the One True Path to their "wholeness" who regard anyone who is not TS as fake. There are crossdressers who don't give a damn about the issues of transsesuals, and transsexuals who think crossdressers can't understand them. Transmen are often ignored because there's this concept that they have it easier than MTF's. And that's only part of it.

I don't have any answers. I screwed up enough this year. I was supposed to meet up with people and didn't because I got caught up in my own thing, and I feel bad about that. I don't want to be a flake, but I was one this year. I've tried to apologize to those concerned and hope that they're gracious enough to forgive me.

I did have a good time. There were some great moments-Wednesday at the mall, shopping and being a model. Dinner with a friend Thursday night and finding out that she's more fabulous than I thought. Getting a makeover Friday and looking fabulous and feeling blissed. Finding that I still had that goth girl inside and she's still fierce, and getting to see someone who I really wish I could keep more in touch with. And going to the Barber Museum and seeing motorcycles and cars I only knew from photos.

So yeah, I'll be back.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part six

Continuing the adventures, almost done...

Sunday:

Southern Comfort ends for me when I take the polish off of my nails. Getting a manicure and pedicure is one of the first things I do when I get to Atlanta. I can look down at my hands and see pretty nails and it reminds me that I'm Here, not There...

Taking a shower, doing just a minimal shave (I haven't done any kind of hair killing so I shave. A lot. And after a week...). Putting on drab for the first time in days always feels odd for a few minutes. No bra, just a wife beater under my shirt. No panties, briefs. Jeans that don't fit as closely, boy socks, Chucks...I'm now in my other drag-the one that lets me pass all the time. A part of me sighs...

Packing up took far less time than usual. Partly because a good part of my stuff was going back in a box, and that was just repacking it (and tossing a few things in to make sure my luggage weight was down). I know how backed up the bellmen will be-everyone wants to check out at the same time, and we bring a lot of stuff with us. I take my suitcase and hanging bag down to the car, since that's easy. When I am going back to the room I see a bellman on his way up and ask how long it'll take to get someone to pick up a box from my room; he says he'll be right there.

A half hour later, I give up and carry a forty-five pound box to the elevators and then to the bell stand, sign a form so it will be picked up on Monday (I've already put a prepaid shipping label on the box, and the hotel has a regular pickup) and drop it off. Turn in my room keys, see a few people I know in the lobby and say goodbye.

One of the more interesting things to do on the Sunday after SCC is to play "Spot the T-Girl;" see if you can recognize someone when they aren't looking their best, that is. I usually do pretty well with the game. Today, there's not a lot of people checking out yet so I leave without getting to play.

Since my flight was out of Birmingham later that afternoon, and I had plenty of time, I went to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. It's located on the grounds of Barber Motorsports Park, just outside Birmingham in Leeds. I've always wanted to visit the collection. I like vintage motorcycles, and old racing cars, and the Barber has both in numbers. I'm an admitted gearhead, which surprises people for some reason.

The museum is big, but you can hit the highlights in two hours (which is what I had) with enough left to want to come back to spend a far more leisurely afternoon. There were two motorcycles I really wanted to see. First was the Britten. The first time I saw a picture of one, I couldn't imagine anyone ever building a more perfect motorcycle. It was the vision of one man, New Zealander John Britten, who wanted to create a V-twin racing motorcycle that was more advanced than anything built to that point. And he did it. Seeing it in person, all the incredible details, how it had just enough, no more...You know how you dream of something and fear that in person it'll be so much less? This was better.

The other motorcycle was more classic: the Vincent Black Lightning. Besides being the subject of one of my favorite songs, Vincent built the first superbikes. If you love sport bikes, you have to love Vincent. Seeing one, in all black and chrome and perfect, was worth the trip. Seeing a whole range of them was fantastic.

The Barber has a wide range of bikes-everything from the earliest to some of the newest, from utilitarian to art works. And cars-a tribute to John Surtees, the only man to ever win world championships on two and four wheels. It also has the largest collection of Lotus racing cars anywhere. By the time I left, I'd taken a ton of photos and memories to get me through my post-SCC downfall, I'd hoped.

I know, geeky car stuff in the middle of my SCC post, get over it...

Birmingham Airport has become a favorite-it's small enough to have everything close by. Dropping the car off and then walking across the road to the check-in counter-and no lines. I was there early enough to get something to eat (overpriced of course), and I'd already pre-checked in so it was wait for the plane and go home. We landed on time, baggage was off the plane quickly and I got to my car and back to the house sooner than I'd expected.

Oh, and I had managed to leave my iPod in the car. Nissan Versas have a little compartment over the vents that is perfect for putting your iPod in when it's connected to the stereo. And to be ignored when you're cleaning the car out. I call Hertz, leave a message, and totally expect not to see the thing again. Which is disappointing because it had been a Christmas present from the family. It's not new (4th generation), but it works fine for my needs and it's how I listen to music when I'm not at home. I haven't gotten used to using my Droid for that yet. I do hear from someone Monday, give them my info, and pretty much expect that's that.

Until Wednesday, when I get a call. They have my iPod, and need my credit card number to send it back. I eagerly give it, along with my mailing address. It's there in a couple of days, and I'll forgive them for the crappy packing (a sheet of bubble wrap that it slipped out of but the case protected it). So, Hertz in Birmingham Airport are good people.

Whew. I was going to sum things up in this post, but I think I'll do one more.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part five

The story continues...

Saturday:

The "big day" at Southern Comfort. Saturday is things like the pool party, the big cocktail party, the formal dinner, keynote and entertainment. It's the last day, and everyone makes the most of it...

I got up at a reasonable (for me) hour, skipped the seminars. Instead, socialized and went back to Perimeter Mall to pick up some make up. Remember the faux Bebe watch I saw Wednesday? It was still there and the owner of the stall was ready to haggle. I paid him about what I expected to-less than his tag price-and we were both happy. Tried to find some boots at Nordstrom but their size choices were limited. I guess all their big shoes end up in Dallas...

I went to a mall on a Saturday alone. And had no problems. I know people who would never, ever imagine going to anyplace beyond their own comfort zone-their home, their support group, etc. Maybe that's okay for them, but I need to do more. I've stopped finding bars that much fun anymore. But going out to dinner? Shopping? Yes.

Oh, and I broke another pair of sunglasses. Yes, cheap ones, don't cry over them but at this rate I ought to just buy one nice pair and keep track of them...

I'd decided when I was packing for the trip that I was going to wear a nice little black dress for Saturday night. I didn't have a ball gown, my sequined dress has a rip in it, and I didn't want to buy something new. Simple, right?

And then I go to the vendor's room and talk to the owner of Timeless Trends because I wanted a new corset.  Out of curiosity I tried on an overbust style corset. I don't usually get overbust styles because, well, I don't have a lot up there without some additions. But then I tried on one that had a smaller cup size and I got an idea...

So, throw out the planned outfit for dinner. And decide that my little inner goth is going to come out. Because, well, I'd been such a good girl all week. Kinda.

Now, if you're wondering how a somewhat flat-chested person fills out the top of a corset? Tape, makeup, padding, and that corset certainly help. A fishnet bodystocking conceals enough but still gives you the illusion of showing off. A lace layered skirt from Torrid, black patent boots from Electrique Boutique. Finish the look with a black and red streaked wig, dark eyes and red lips (MAC Russian Red, thank you). Take a step back, and yeah, this works.

The look worked-lots of compliments. Not formal, kinda wild, but you know, I liked it.


Dinner was not bad, the end-of-the-conference thank yous were brief, and we had a break until the night's entertainment arrived so we all took a break in the bar, got drinks, and chatted. Oh, and I stole a rose from the centerpiece and hid it someplace nobody would ever notice:


Don't tell, okay? 

The entertainment was ventriloquist Mark Merchant, who had flown in from Italy (he was doing shows on a cruise liner). I'm not a huge fan of the art, but he was funny and his first couple of puppets were fun. And then he brings out his last one, an older lady.

Named Zelda Rose. Really. 

Okay, I knew about this because people had been wanting to tell me about this so I wouldn't be upset. And of course, other people did NOT want me to know so I'd be surprised. Neither group was pleased because I really did take it in stride. Actually, Mark was far more surprised when I introduced myself after the show!

And FYI, "Zelda Rose" is less unique than I thought. She's a Muppet. She's also a twenty-three year old model. And a training manager in South Africa. There are twenty-seven Zelda Rose's on Facebook. Among others. But as far as I have been able to learn I am the only TG Zelda Rose, and that pleases me. 

Afterward, I drove over to The Jungle for the Skin Two Ball. I was only going because I needed to get out of the hotel for a while, and I was dressed appropriately. These aren't usually my kind of things to go to; unless you are going with a group you know it's not much fun. You get to see lots of fetishwear and pretty people but you can't socialize much. I did show up, waited in a very long line to get in, found a friend who was there and who told me that someone I'd been hoping to see was there-and that I needed to know exactly what they were wearing...

So I walked around until I found a pair of latex aliens (catsuits, hoods with breathing apparatus) and told the shorter one "I know you." She shrieked my name and gave me a hug; we hadn't seen each other in years but it was like yesterday. She took her hood off and still looks fabulous (even sweaty!). She's a prodomme, and no I won't tell you who she is. 

There was one downside-she'd had a bit to drink and frankly it was hard keeping her focused. But she's a nice drunk, and her friends were going to make sure she got home. We did reexchange contact info so hopefully we'll keep in better touch! After that, I lost interest after being blown off by someone who was more interested in their own attention, made my goodbyes and left. Spent a little while talking to people but ended my night earlier than I'd thought...

Next, Sunday, travel, and what did we learn. Really.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interlude

I didn't go to GEAR; simply not into going this time. We celebrated the twenty-first birthday of my stepson, in a uniquely family way. We don't do huge, elaborate things; dinner at a favorite place with friends of the family. This is an on-call week for my spouse, which means lots of things go out the window. We do not make plans for call weeks...

One interesting thing from the birthday dinner. I was sitting next to a friend who had never seen me en femme until last Saturday at Beyond Vanilla.* He did not at first realize that was me! He did however compliment me; thought I looked lovely that night. I thanked him; always nice to get a compliment. I forget that not everyone has seen me that way.

* No, I did not go to the birthday dinner en femme.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part four

Continuing our adventures in the big city...

Friday:

Friday is either the "middle day" or the "first day" of SCC for many. Some of us like to arrive earlier in the week, to have time to spend in the city, to take in some of the pre-convention events, and to be able to catch up with people and do things before the convention's busiest days. Thursday is the official first day, when seminars and the luncheons begin. Friday has seminars, lunch and the first dinner, which is less "formal" than the one on Saturday.

You can tell who is coming to SCC for the educational tracks and who is coming to party-how early did they arrive? The later the arrival, the more likely they'll skip official things (either by choice or because they didn't bother to register). It's one of those open secrets.

One good thing that happened this year was the inclusion of a Trans Health Fair. Though SCC has had the Robert Eads Health Partnership for years, which is named after an FTM transsexual who was the subject of the film "Southern Comfort." Robert died because he had ovarian cancer and could not get medical treatment until it was too late due to what he was. In his honor, FTM's have an opportunity to visit with doctors to be examined and treated for gynecological issues. This has been a vital, important part of SCC.

And this year, a health fair was conducted Friday at the hotel for all transpeople. This included HIV/STD testing, free flu shots, education and advice, etc. Also, during the week there was a table set up to learn about HIV/STD issues and to provide condoms and dental dams for those who wished them. Now you may not see this as a big thing but to me, it was huge. It was really the first time that the community seemed to acknowledge sexuality as a real part of who and what we are-and how much we're all at risk.

I joke that "What happens at SCC, stays at SCC." But it's not really a joke-there are some things that keep going beyond the convention. It'd be naive to think that when you put a group of people over the age of consent, some of whom are sexually active and who may not exhibit very good self-control...What you do as an adult is your thing; how responsible you are matters to all of us. With HIV/STD infection rates on the rise in general, while survival rates have gone up the meds that are required to live have their own issues. I know too many people who are HIV+ who would give anything to be healthy again.

So, an acknowledgement of this issue to me was a very good thing. And I'm hoping it'll remain a part of the convention from now on, and perhaps include a seminar on the subject as part of the regular schedule. I lack the medical background to do this, but I hope someone else will...

Lunch was forgettable, and I only made on seminar the whole day. And I lost my new sunglasses-which is why I buy cheap ones. But I did manage to do one thing kind of important...

I've never had a makeover at SCC. I've had other people do my makeup before, and it's always interesting to see what someone who knows what they are doing can do with me. And I had a little extra cash left...I walked over to the God Save The Queen booth and asked if they might just have an opening that day. I figured it was probably a lost cause, but no-they did have an opening at the end of the day, about 5PM. I just needed to show up, shaved and without any makeup on. I took the spot, ran upstairs to get shaved and put on my outfit. What I was going to wear was a black Z. Cavaricci dress that I'd gotten from Torrid. It's got an asymmetrical zipper on the front, much like a motorcycle jacket. Dressing it up I wore rhinestones (necklace, earrings, and bracelet) with fishnet stockings and my Le Dame Marliyn heels from Shoe Express.

Managed to get downstairs for my appointment, which if you know me is an accomplishment. Nicole Page Brooks asked me a few questions then began to work. She gave me a look that was as she called "Lady doing dinner at the Marriott." I didn't point out that we were at the Crowne Plaza; never criticize your make up artist at work. What I got was a polished nighttime look, dressy but not overdone. And I loved how she made me look-far better than I could have hoped for. And well worth the money...

Dinner was great, and I got a lot of compliments on how I looked. When we adjourned to the lounge for drinks afterward and a few photos:


We were just talking and I was happy that one of my favorite people had managed to arrive. It would not have been the same without her! I thought that was a great shot of me, then someone took this:


What do you see? Someone who's content, happy, comfortable? Who is having a great time? I do. I like the person I see here, and I missed her a lot. She hasn't been around much. There's been so much to keep her away-life, issues, pain, depression...Who wants to be around with all that going on? 

Maybe its when I see this, I realize how much I've missed that. I tell people, if you're going to go through all of this and you aren't having fun, why bother? I forgot my own advice. 

A fabulous evening, one that I'll remember for a very long time...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Interlude

Another brief interlude between SCC recollections. I had a busy weekend with Beyond Vanilla, an event held by NLA-Dallas. Well, not as busy as I'd thought it would be; did not do much Friday, the rain curtailed plans Saturday though in the end it went well, and I skipped Sunday totally...

A few big things coming up this week. GEAR has their monthly mixer at The Bronx this Thursday, 6-9:00 PM. I've been a few times before; it's a reasonably together group though it's more focused on TS issues than CD/TG to me. Then Friday is a special birthday, celebrated well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part three

Continuing our story...

Thursday:

Thursday is the official first day of the Southern Comfort Conference. The vendor's room opens, seminars begin,  there's a luncheon, etc. I know a few of the vendors, who have been to SCC for years. Shoe Express has been to every SCC, but that's not what's significant to me. It's based in my old hometown, and the owner, Ann, was the first person I'd ever talked to about being TG face-to-face. My first attempts to learn about transgender happened on AOL's Transgender Community Forums. Remember when getting on the Internet meant using modems and AOL charged by the minute? Yes, that's how long I've been at it...

I did some research and found a TG support group in New Orleans, the Gulf Gender Alliance.*  The contact listed was actually in Houston, but she knew someone locally who could talk to me about the group and refer me to a meeting. That person was Ann, a cisgendered woman who was the first person I was ever able to open up to in person. She was, and still is, one of the nicest people I know. For my first few years, she gave me advice, a place to store stuff, opportunities to unload and we became friends. At my first SCC, she was the second person I saw when I walked into the hotel. That's why when I see her, I feel like I'm back...

After saying hi to people like Ann, John with Glamour Boutique (the best place to get things like breast forms and such at truly reasonable prices), Timeless Trends (the best inexpensive off-the-rack corsets I have worn), Marvelous Mayhem and God Save The Queen Fashions (who had Nicole Paige Brooks, a former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant doing makeovers). After lunch-which was actually one of the better meals I've had at the hotel-I actually made a couple of seminars. Yes, that was the earth moving that day...

Thursday evening is usually a group trip to a local restaurant. I decided to bow out, and went out to dinner with someone I've known for years but we've never done something like this. And she'd never been to P.F. Chang's before, so that's where we went. A brief wait for a table, then I introduced her to the joys of lettuce wraps. It's chicken and spices and stuff that you put inside a lettuce leaf and, well, wrap. It's also highly addictive. The waiter didn't bring us enough lettuce, but the manager saw us talking and brought extras! Oh, yes! Dinner was great, the conversation was wonderful. Jessica's someone I like a lot, and I'm glad we had an opportunity to get to know each other better.

Before this year's SCC, I was thinking this might be my last. After eleven years, what's left? I think I found out what-being around people I know and like, meeting new people, and being part of something larger than myself. I have friends who have decided that SCC's not for them anymore, that the whole "transgender community" has little left to offer. And I can understand that feeling-when you reach a point, you start asking "Is this all there is?" Maybe I haven't reached that point. Maybe I never will. Or, maybe I have found a balance someplace?

After dinner, I dropped in on someone's room party that I'd been invited to, but it was so crowded that I just had to leave. Spent the rest of the evening in the lounge being social and making a relatively early evening of it...

Oh, and a photo from the day; self-photography isn't my strong suit, I know...



* GGA folded at the beginning of 2010. Katrina decimated the membership, and with no new people coming in the remaining members closed it down. GGA got me out of the house, into the world, and the support I needed to become who I am. And I'll never be able to thank them enough.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part two

Continuing our story...

Wednesday:

A new thing at SCC this year was a "Girl's Morning Out," aka Princess Day. It was intended for both newcomers, people who've never been out shopping before, or those of us you just love shopping. Since I fall into the latter, I got up early and went to the event at Sephora across the road at Perimeter Mall. Sephora is a chain of makeup stores that carries a wide variety of beauty, skincare and hair products. Perimeter Mall is one of  the nice things about having the convention at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia-it's within walking distance, has a good selection of shops and places to eat. While I miss the old hotel (I'll get into that later), and the mini-mall it had, this is not a bad place...

I was asked if I minded being a demo model for one of the makeovers-one of the models didn't show. So I of course did my part for the group and got a day to evening look makeover. I actually liked the look, and got some ideas for later.


I found my friend Sandra at the MAC store, where she was picking up a few things. While waiting, I snapped the above shot so I would remember the look. And hey, I did look great! We looked around a bit, and I picked up a new pair of cheap sunglasses. I rarely buy expensive ones-I either break them or lose them, and why buy something I'll be upset over? I also stopped by a kiosk that had costume jewelery and looked at a knock-off bebe watch that he was asking $35 for. I didn't like it that much, and he knocked a bit off of it but I walked away, knowing that he was going to bargain and I am a veteran of the French Market where everything's negotiable...

Got the car and drove over to the Nordstrom Rack to shop for a pair of sandals; I hadn't found any I really liked at the ones in Dallas. Bit of a wasted trip-not much in my size, and nothing I really felt I had to have. Drove over to my favorite LGBT bookstore, Outwrite Books on Piedmont. Really, I like the place, even if I didn't find anything I really wanted this time. Headed back to the hotel to beat Atlanta's horrendous rush hour, thinking I'd go to Little Five Points Thursday (I didn't). Like many things this trip, I just didn't do everything I wanted or should have done. That's my biggest regret-I totally zoned out on seeing people who matter, and I can't really offer a good explanation.

Wednesday evening was a mix of missed signals and missing people. Ended up eating (overpriced) fish and chips in the bar because I was ravenously hungry and hadn't made any kind of dinner plans. I did talk to people so I shouldn't complain-meeting people is always a good thing...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Interlude

A brief interlude between memories from SCC:

I was going to try to go out Friday night to Panoptikon, but things conspired to make that a no-go. It's one of the two Gothic club night organizers in Dallas (The Church on Thursday and Sunday is the other) and I have not been out there in ages-at least since they moved back to Club One/Excuses in Deep Ellum. 

I tried posting something to the list I used to use, but it seems like it's gone cold. The moderator of the Dallas Feminine Expressions Meetup-who also moderates the old list-basically told me to use the Meetup instead. I have mixed feelings about Meetup. It's adequate for large events or when you want to invite a lot of people out; it's not so good when you have a last minute dinner/clubbing thing. I got a few responses from Meetup-all RSVPing they can't come. The only person who did show up? Someone who read my post about it on the Feminine Expressions announce list...

I of course ran late getting to the place I'd chosen for dinner-The Bronx Cafe on Cedar Springs. I hadn't been there in a while; it used to be the default choice for Girl's Nights Out until Hung Dinger became the popular spot (I think that the waitstaff does drag may have something to do with it). I wore my black Z. Cavaricci dress (with an asymmetrical zipper on the front that gives it a kind of biker jacket look), black knee-hi socks with a pink seam on the back (because I couldn't find stockings or tights that weren't laddered!), my new black patent heels (Nordstrom Rack, love you!) and managed not to look like a wreck while rushing about! 

Robin was a wonderful dinner companion; I'd never had a chance to chat with her before. Since it was Cruisin' the Crossroads (each of the Caven bars has free cover and $2 well drinks for a half hour) we went by Sue Ellen's and then Station 4. There was a huge crowd out-this is Pride weekend in Dallas. We both chatted with a lot of people, saw some fabulous outfits, and had a wonderful time. After a letdown post-Southern Comfort, it was nice to get out for a while. 

Back to your regularly scheduled reporting soon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort

Or, why I suck at trying to blog at an event...

Really, I do. I get so caught up in things that posting about it kind of falls off. It's like taking photos-unless I really think about it, I don't. Which is why I do not have many photos of myself. I know, bad Tgirl, give back your licence...

So, let's start over?

Tuesday

Wake up far too early, toss the last few things in the bag, check the weight with the luggage scale, everything's under, great! Say goodbye to the family, drive to Love Field for my flight. I really like flying out of Love; it's closer to the house, small enough to get in and out of quickly. Park the car and yes, it's now raining. Get to the terminal, queue up for the baggage check in and thank Southwest for not charging fees. Find out that the baggage scale is crap-I'm five pounds heavy. In the middle of the check-in counter I haul out two pairs of heels and move them to another bag. Problem solved-but now I have a broken nail that's too far gone to fix so I snap the rest of it off. Damn!

Queue up for the security line, only mildly irritating. The flight leaves right on time, and we're in Birmingham a little early. I'd never flown into Birmingham; it's not a big airport, which means I get my bags quickly and the car rental counter is RIGHT THERE! Pick up my car (thank you, Hotwire for a cheap rate), pay the rip-off extra insurance (because my credit card won't cover damage) and get a Nissan Versa. It is a basic transport pod, underpowered but adequate enough to make highway speeds if you don't mind winding the motor a bit..

The drive to the hotel isn't that long-about two hours and a bit. The Crowne Plaza Ravinia has been the host hotel the last three years; we've both gotten used to each other. This year, I got a room on my own; first time in years. I do like having my privacy and space. After checking in and getting pretty, I went to my favorite nail place and had the works done-manicure, pedicure, brow waxing. The women there literally jumped on me-I had two nail techs at the same time, which made keeping track of who was doing what interesting. My color of choice? OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark-very deep purple/black. With lots of clearcoat, they were nearly impervious (at least for me-no dents or chips all week!)

Back to the hotel, found friends and ended up in the lounge chatting. That's pretty typical for me-I'm very social at SCC. Which is weird since I'm usually shy. Maybe it's because I am kinda known there, and have a reputation already? Dinner was a salad because I didn't feel like leaving the hotel.

I did see a friend I didn't expect to-there was a death in the family. Her spouse's mom; she was going to stay for the funeral and come down on Friday. These are two people I really care about-they invited me to their wedding, and that was really touching. We ended up closing the bar, and not totally sober...

And with that, I'll post Wednesday in a bit.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ATL

An early start, went to Sephora for a special SCC event. A much bigger crowd than expected (always a good thing), and I got to be a demo model for a day into night look. Really did come out well; must try to duplicate it. No new shoes, a little driving around and I imagine I'll be out tomorrow. Seeing more people showing up-it hasn't seemed like as large of a crowd as we usually have so var but it's early...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So far

Flight went well, checked into hotel,got nails fone, feel much better. Catching up with people, all good.

At the gate

It's a warm, sultry morning in Dallas; reminds me of home. The scale lied-ended up having to move two pairs of shoes around to meet weight limit. Bad scale! Through security, waiting for my flight...

Monday, September 6, 2010

On the clock

Need to finish closing up bags, get the last few things settled in. Not taking carry-on if I can make weight limits. Leave house at 0530, flight is at 0740. Arrive in Birmingham at 0915, get bags and car and drive to Atlanta. Found out that there's major road construction and people are totally nuts driving through it. Will need to add time for that and/or detours, plus the hour time difference going from Central to Eastern Time. Throwing out the plans for tomorrow, just do what I can and try to see people on the fly. Not great, but better than developing cramps like I do when I'm really stressing...TMI, I know...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nearly done

I am packed. Well, almost. I want to take some stuff out and add a couple of things. Still need to pack stuff like wigs, shoes, etc. I haven't found a pair of sandals I love yet-may have to go to Nordstroms Rack tomorrow. If not, I'll take any suggestions for places to look in Atlanta.

I'm flying into Birmingham Tuesday morning and should be in Atlanta early that afternoon. If anyone wants to get together while I'm in town? I should have time Tuesday evening, Wednesday, and evenings through Saturday. I check out Sunday morning and will be back in Dallas that evening.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting ready

I haven't really had time to get ready for my trip to the Southern Comfort Conference; need to start packing tomorrow. Can't really say why I've been so lazy about it, except I'm not that motivated right now. Why, I don't know...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Aware of the unawareness, and the one hundreth post

This is my one hundredth post to this blog. There's no real significance to the subject and this fact; I just saw that I had posted ninety-nine posts already, and I wanted to take some note of this. I'm kind of surprised. I keep thinking I have not posted much to here, yet I have. One hundred posts may not be a lot compared to some bloggers, but when you constantly suffer from writer's block it's one hundred times I managed to get over it.

Anyway.

Last Saturday the spouse and I went out for breakfast. Or rather, we went to meet a group of people for breakfast, something organized by friends who wanted like-minded (aka, leather/BDSM/etc. types) to meet up. The restaurant would fit in back in New Orleans-an older building that's seen better days, mismatched decor, but excellent food.

I was accosted by someone I know who asked I was going to a fundraiser they were working on in October. I had totally forgotten about it, and I still haven't decided what I'm doing yet. There was a request that Zelda show up, and some not-too-subtle flattery.

Later, I was going through some photos on my phone (what, you don't keep pictures of yourself in an unlisted directory on your phone?) and the person next to me asked who the woman was. I've known him for a while, but he didn't know I was a CD. Sometimes, I just assume people know, and it kind of took me by surprise. Of course I showed off a bit-because that's what we do, isn't it? No matter who you are, positive attention is a good thing...

Breakfast? Good. The company was better, and afterward indulging someone's office supply fetish was fun.

Fifteen days from now, I'll be on my way to Atlanta for the Southern Comfort Conference. This will be my eleventh time, and it's always an experience. Sometimes better than others. My first SCC, I got so lost finding the hotel I saw most of Atlanta. I went there only a week after 9/11; all of us who showed up felt like we were just happy to be someplace close to normal. A month after Katrina with things still undone in New Orleans I went to Atlanta and the shock of being in a normal place was hard. So was Rita hitting home while I was there. I've dealt with family issues, my mom's cat dying, and other things long-distance while there.

I go to SCC because I get to see people I don't get to see the rest of the year. I go because I get to, for a few days, be closer to what I am. I love Atlanta almost as much as I love New Orleans.

Fifteen days...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why Do Transgender Blogs Go Offline? — Jessica Who?

Why Do Transgender Blogs Go Offline? — Jessica Who?

I'm so guilty of this-letting my blog go dark because I haven't updated it in ages. Reading this I saw a lot of the same reasons I've not posted in a while-writer's block, lack of motivation, etc. This is something I hadn't expected but I really hope that now that I'm getting close to posting on a regular basis again...

Thanks for those of you who have been patient with me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Or not

Okay, changed my template back again. Change is good, but so is consistency.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Changes

I decided to change the template on my blog, in lieu of any actual writing. I haven't been out much. Last night, it was pouring rain. Time before that, someone needed support. Managed to make it out for GEAR's fifth anniversary; think I shocked people.

I may write more later. Or not.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Perfect Day



Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," one of the most beautiful songs in the world, covered by a variety of artists for a BBC promo.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Feel Like A Woman



A video I found some time ago on YouTube; a monologue written and performed by Michael Mullen. Some of the things he talks about will sound very familiar to some of us...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saturday night with the girls

Last Saturday I went out to S4 to catch up with some of the local girls. I had not been out in a while, and really needed a break. A very late start due to guests at home and I was on Cedar Springs by midnight. A new outfit-gray turtleneck sweater and black leather skirt from Ashley Stewart, purple tights from Lane Bryant and my favorite boots. Fortunately, quite a few girls were still out and I got to catch up with people. Met someone who I'd only talked to on Crossdresers.com; she was really fabulous. We stayed until nearly closing, then to Hung Dinger for an early breakfast. I think I got to bed around 6AM, but it was well worth the loss of sleep.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The days and nights of Zelda in New Orleans, part 3

I'd made arrangements to meet up with Vanessa, a girl who I had met online. She was working that evening, so we'd have to meet up late. Well, New Orleans is a town where things do not start early, anyway. A mix of outfits for tonight; the jeans and boots from Thursday night with a black and purple print t-shirt from Kat Von D, the black PVC bomber and fingerless driving gloves. Oh, and the new hat.

I was out of the room about nineish, and had not heard from Vanessa yet. Took forever to find parking-had to resort to a hotel garage and their overpriced rates. I really had no plans at the moment, so I found something to eat and then dropped into some of the bars I used to go by. Most haven't changed-for good or bad. Eventually I decided I was ready to go back, until I got a message from Vanessa. We decided to meet up at John Pauls on Elysian Fields. It's a location that has been a dozen other bars, but I had not been there since it changed owners. I arrived a bit early, got a soda and chatted with some of the locals. It's sort of a neighborhood bar, except the clientele is gay and they do drag shows there.

Vanessa arrived, and we really got along incredibly well. She's the kind of person I wish I had known when I was living in New Orleans-fun, smart, confident. I'd have been a lot happier! We talked and had drinks until I had to leave about 3AM (something else I miss-no closing times), went back to the hotel and got some sleep before I had to drive back to Dallas that day...

So, what have we learned Zelda?

Well, what we've learned is that New Orleans is one of the best places a tgirl can visit. It's a city where people really are accepting. The French Quarter is perfect for a day of shopping, eating, meeting people, and relaxing. You can walk it easily-just remember to wear comfortable shoes. In Spring and Fall, the weather's moderate enough to be comfortable. Winter's are usually mild. Summer, you may want to avoid unless you enjoy high humidity and heat even in the evenings. In the off-season hotels are not too bad, and if you find one with cheap parking all the better. The streetcars will take you down St. Charles and the Garden District with Magazine Street's shops and dining nearby. A car will get you to many parts of the city, though the roads are rough and parking is sometimes a problem.

Some of the best little shops are in New Orleans. The food's great, and you'll find that there is more than "Cajun" cooking-almost every cuisine is represented, and the local Creole cooking is superb. Live music is a big part of the city, and you'll find a wide variety of clubs. There is a large, active LGBT community (though the T is not so much) that enriches the city. And the people? I had two random encounters with people who I spent at least ten minutes talking to. There's an openness there, a shared love of the city and knowing that things are always changing.

The city itself has an energy to it that I've never felt anywhere else. It's a living place that you'll either love or hate but never feel indifferent to.

It's also got the most underwhelming transgender community I know of. I came of age in New Orleans as a transgendered person, and I am thankful that I had the people I did who helped me come out and who cared about me. Even when I was not exactly the shy retiring type. A few days ago, I got an email that Gulf Gender Alliance-my "home group"-is closing down due to a lack of members and activity. This group was suffering before Katrina; after it, it was only a matter of time.

There are quite a few Tgirls in New Orleans. Not that you'd know it most of the time. There are a number of drag queens and working girls out there, but crossdressers are rare. Most CD's seem to be either closeted or won't go out locally. The most-cited reason is a fear of being found out. New Orleans is in some ways a small town, where neighbors know each other and what's going on around them. There's a bit of conservatism in the business community. So yes, I suppose there is a real fear of being "outed."

So I'd go to group meetings (when we were still meeting in Kenner at a hotel) where girls would show up, dress for the meeting, then change to go home. They couldn't even consider going out! And that attitude seems to still be there. I asked a few people I knew if they'd want to go out and they'd always say no. Which is how I developed a certain fearlessness-I wanted to go out, I did, and I took the BS when it happened. Made me a better person, but still I'd have loved to have had someone to go out with...

New Orleans is such a great place, and if you're living there or nearby, you are missing out on so much! There's so much to do, so many things to see. I know people who live in cities that have fewer opportunities but get out. What's your excuse?

I do know that people expect others to organize things for them. Guess what? YOU need to be the person! Get off your pretty little butt and seek out people. Or just go out one day and have coffee at Community Coffee House on Royal in a cute little outfit and be happy. It doesn't take much, just a desire to be real.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. I just need to get back again...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Soul of New Orleans

A great video narrated by Wright Thompson about the city and the Saints. I can't embed it, but you can see it here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The days and nights of Zelda in New Orleans, part 2

So we left off with my going out to my car (through the lobby, thus giving the desk clerk a nice view of my backside), driving off and realizing I'd left my room key...in the room. Oh well, get another when I go back.

The sky was overcast, cool and slightly windy at times with rain threatening. Not a typical January day, but what's a typical day now? The drive to the French Quarter was uneventful, and I found a parking space in one of the lots near the river. I'd even managed to park close to the French Market. Half the Market is an open-air produce market that's been in business for over two hundred years. The other half is a big flea market that's stuffed with tourist stuff, music, jewelry, etc. I wandered through the market and found a nice little fleur-de-lys necklace and of course we haggled over the price. Somehow, paying list down there feels wrong...

I did not have any real plan, other than a few places I wanted to drop in on. I sort of wandered up the Quarter towards Bourbon and Conti. If you're looking on a map, you'd say I was going southwest. Which is right, but wrong. See, directions in New Orleans are based not on compasses but water-Lake Pontchatrain and the river. The lake forms the upper boundary of the city; anything in that direction is Lakeside. The river flows around the lower part of the city and to the eastern side then south to the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, heading along the river's mouth is Downtown; away from the flow is Uptown. Of course anything directly on the river is Riverside. And the other side of the river from New Orleans? That's the West Bank; trust me, it's easier if you go along...

I window shopped, found a plus size shop near Jackson Square that had a cute dress (but not in my size). I found the place on Bourbon I was looking for, but the person I wanted to see wasn't there anymore so I started heading back down Bourbon to end up on St. Philip and Royal. I was at the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon, and the woman running the Lucky Dog cart asked where I got my skirt. Now, Lucky Dog is a New Orleans institution-hot dog-shaped carts that serve dogs that you'll eat happily when drunk but probably shouldn't sober. The vendors are...colorful. Anyway, I started talking to the woman (who called herself Raven) and it was a half hour later before I left. That's not unusual-you'll get into a conversation with a total stranger and find out things you never knew. This doesn't happen in other cities...

I finally got to Fifi Mahoney's (Royal and St. Paul), which was for many years my wig and makeup source. Marcy, the owner, was in but really busy so we did not get to talk much. The shop's the same-funky yet fun, with a big wig selection that goes from cheap costume to wild custom made pieces.

I ducked out and went across the street to the Community Coffee House for a latte and cinnamon roll. New Orleans is a city that loves coffee; the native brew is strong, dark, and will jumpstart dead Battlestars. The traditional place for cafe au lait is Cafe du Monde-which also has those deadly beignet (a fried dough sort of like a holeless doughnut) which exist to get powdered sugar all over your outfit. Starbucks has had an uphill battle fighting established locals like Community, PJ's and Rue de la Course and the indys.

After refreshment, it started to rain, finally. Fortunately I'd brought my umbrella in my bag and managed to not get too wet. Another trip back to the flea market because I decided that the hat I'd seen earlier I just had to have, then back to the car to end the afternoon. Driving back to the hotel I decided to take a roundabout way down St. Charles, which is still one of the prettiest streets but the roads are terrible. When I got to the hotel, I walked up to the desk with my ID and asked for another key; the clerk was very professional and I was off to my room with my bags and time to get ready to go out later and meet my new friend...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The days and nights of Zelda in New Orleans, part 1

The last time I was in New Orleans was last spring. The last time I went out en femme in New Orleans was the weekend before I moved to Dallas-three and a half years ago. The last time I'd gone out in New Orleans during the daytime to go shopping I can't remember. So, when I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days in the city, guess what I did?

I drove to New Orleans Thursday, making a few stops on the way. I got a room at a hotel in Metairie, which was cheaper than getting a room in the city. Getting ready took less time than usual, but of course it took me longer to pick out something to wear. It was not very warm out that night, so I decided to for something a little warmer. A white print t-shirt from Seven7, Ashley Stewart jeans tucked into boots with a black faux biker jacket and a pair of fingerless black leather gloves. I couldn't find my boot socks, so I just forgot about it. Big mistake. Drove down to the Quarter and found a parking space very quickly, which should have been a sign. Tried a few of the bars I used to go to, and they were pretty dead. Also, I was developing a nice blister on my toe, so I gave up early and went back to the room.

And I was having doubts about going out Friday en femme. I didn't think I'd have enough time to get ready, and if it was pouring rain did I really want to get wet and miserable. And Friday morning, the weather was very gloomy. I got up, had breakfast at IHOP, stopped by Target to get some pads for my blister (thank you, Band Aid!), went back to the room and decided that I'd come this far and not doing the one thing that was going to make me very happy was WRONG! I did my makeup in close to record time. For those who have witnessed me getting ready, you know I can take forever, but I found some shortcuts and got a great look fast. Since I had not really done much the night before, I wore the t-shirt again. A black mid-calf skirt, broomstick style with a lace inset, black mid-calf leather Converse Chuck Taylors (going for comfort if I'm doing much walking today), with black and white striped tights. A black PVC bomber jacket, and the gloves from the night before (I really like how they look, okay?). I grabbed my Sephora/Kat von D tote and stuck a little umbrella and my purse and a few essentials in, checked myself in the mirror and made my way out to the car...

To be continued.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

She's alive!

Well...

I haven't been very active here, have I? Because I have not felt like posting a damned thing, because I have not done a lot of interesting things...

I actually have something to write about and I'll do that soon. Really.