Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part four

Continuing our adventures in the big city...


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


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 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...


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


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?


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


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.