Tuesday, August 19, 2003

sunshine on my titties..

i'm not sure how to describe my experience at michfest. but i'll preface this blog by saying that about 90% of any negativity that may seep through probably comes from the fact that i was absolutely exhausted when i got there, and we just weren't there for a long enough period of time to truly explore and enjoy it. if we do go again, i have to make sure i'm totally well rested before we get there. i've already whined and moaned about how i've spent the last 3 weeks strapped to my office chair at work so i won't bore you with that any more. but it certainly affected my spirits. add to that the fact that we drove from 2am to 8am on friday night having only napped for an hour after we finished packing. i didn't have any time to run errands or pack during the week because i worked till about 9pm every night and came home and went straight to bed.

having said all that, it was no surprise that i was dragging the entire day on saturday. camping is hard work, man.. lugging all the shit, trying to find a spot, setting up the tent, etc. etc. etc. it was too much for my body to handle and my back was killing me the entire time!

so, okay, enough of that. onto describing the festival. for the first time in my entire life, my breasts got some sunshine! wow.. what a liberating feeling. now, i'm not really the type to get all free and naked anywhere because i really am a rather shy person. but after seeing so many womyn walking around topless (some also bottomless) my breasts were just crying to be set free. and i did it. not while we were walking around or anything, but just when we were chillin' at our campsite. sure, there were other people around in their tent areas, etc. but it was so comforting to know that they didn't care and they really probably weren't even looking! i would have to say that that was the most liberating experience i had at michfest. by the way, lisa, you wouln't really be in the minority for wearing clothes.. tons of gals were fully clothed and nobody looks at you weird or anything for being dressed. as i mentioned above, i was dressed the entire time except when we got back to the camp and were in the semi-privacy of our tent site.

the feeling of being in a womyn only space was at times a little bizarre, but in a good way. only because my brain is so conditioned to seeing womyn and men. everytime i saw a really butch girl, my brain registered her as a man and that was just really scary because generally i never see butch girls and think of them as men.. you know? it's like a part of my brain had to get used to the fact that all the womyn there, no matter what they looked like, were womyn. it's almost like my brain was seeking out men because that's what it's used to! very odd.

i didn't get the feeling that there was much of a political climate there, which is something i definitely expected. then again we caught the tail end of the fest, so perhaps we missed it. but it was definitely lacking.

now, i would have to say the most disappointing aspect of michfest was that there were just a handful of womyn of color (a conservative estimate might be 50-70) compared to the 5000 womyn in attendance. that was a huge disappointment. certainly the organizers of the fest can't really control who comes to the land, but i was really, truly expecting more womyn of color.

we did get to see toshi reagon and sweet honey perform at a stage that overlooked a huge field full of womyn. and when we lay out on the blanket we saw the brightest fucking stars i've ever seen. that was truly an awesome experience. toshi/sweet honey were awesome. actually, when we were on our way to michfest, we stopped at a gas station and when i got out of the car, the driver of the van that was behind us stopped too and when she got out she asked if it was our first time on the land and we said yes. so i went on to say that i wanted to see sweet honey perform and she said "that's cool.. they're right there in the van" and they waved! :)

sunday was a chill day. we got up casually after a (finally) restful night's sleep and wandered around to the crafts area where they were selling all kinds of different things. it wasn't until we got to the sex toy shop that i thought it so odd that here we were, 5000 womyn, no penises, no men, no trannies, nothing. but we have here a sex shop full of dildos of all shapes and sizes. how bizarre.. but then again i never really understood that whole concept and i'm not going to get into it because i know how lesbians love their toys.. :)

michfest is a great, great concept. the idea of having a womyn only space for those that prefer it, is fantastic. the idea of being able to walk around freely with no inhibitions, no societal restrictions, no fears of men and rape, no fears of body shape, size, no need to wear a bra if you don't want to, etc. is truly a wonderful thing. every womyn should experience what it's like to live, if only for a short time, in a society where men don't dictate anything. but at the end of the day you come back to reality and realize that there are men in this world and while michfest is a once a year sanctuary that is definitely unique, it still somehow symbolizes segregation in a way. i'm not saying it shouldn't exist.. indeed it should. it's an astounding concept. but the womyn's movement isn't really so much about separating ourselves from men, as it is being able to co-exist in a manner that is beneficial and fruitful to all. unfortunately in a male dominated world like ours, the womyn's movement isn't moving as fast as it can/should. so, our only option then is to escape once in a while, to places like michfest where it isn't illegal to take your shirt off, as men do on a daily basis, without fear of being sexually harassed/molested/raped.

i'm not sure if i'll go back next year. i had so many high expectations of michfest being a life-changing experience and what not, which i don't really think it was. but then again if i weren't so damn exhausted, who knows how the tables might have turned?

Friday, August 15, 2003

a penis free weekend....

we're off to the michigan womyn's music festival tonight! my first camping trip.. ever. really. i've always thought about going camping just because i truly do enjoy nature's unspoiled beauty. however the thought of wild animals (read: snakes) creeps me out enough to have avoided camping all my life thus far.

but this is gonna be different. boy oh boy is this gonna be different!

we bought a 5 person tent (because i'm claustrophobic like that) which we took out by lake michigan the day after we bought it just so we wouldn't look like fools trying to hoist it up for the first time in michigan.. and despite certain confusing aspects of the instruction booklet, it was pretty damn easy! and it's a gorgeous, huge tent. not bad for a first-time buy. we already have an air mattress from having c's family over for thanksgiving last year, so that'll come in handy. we bought some heavy duty flashlights and other little accessories, so i believe we are all set and ready to go. the drive is about 5 hours which kinda sucks because i've worked 12 hour days everyday this week so the last thing i need is to torture my poor back with a 5 hour drive, not to mention the lack of restfulness that comes with working such long hours. but c will help out so i should be fine.

i'm really excited about this trip! it'll be so fuckin' cool to be around so many womyn if only for the weekend. hopefully if this ends up being as positive an experience as i think it will, it may become an annual ritual. maybe in the future we'll actually be able to do the entire week instead of just two days. i'll come back with (almost) all the gory details!

in a way i'm kinda glad i'm not single because that many womyn in one place would have mama having way too much fun for her own good! :)

right? eh.. maybe.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

..more than a woman..

sorry, you'll have to excuse the title; c's in the living room watching saturday night fever. the tunes are catchy, what can i say?

a lot has happened since my last post; apologies for such a long break but life has just been extremely busy! los angeles was a lot of fun! as most of you know i headed out the weekend before the conference and really the bulk of fun that was had occurred during that weekend. i went with a friend (met up with my nyc friend's sister-in-law who i contacted via email prior to my trip) to the santa monica pier for dinner which included fabulous guacamole and then went for drinks afterward at a bar called the liquid kitty. the first thing i noticed about the bar was that it smelled really clean and wasn't full of smoke, which was a very welcome change, but as soon as i started sipping on my beer i was jonesing for a cigarette!

so my new friend in l.a. introduced me to her circle of friends who were very, very cool. they invited me out to a get-together at will rogers state park and we played frisbee and baseball on a beautiful summer afternoon!! the grass was just as green as could be and you really couldn't ask for more perfect weather for the occasion! we hiked (it was a very mild hike) up the hill to catch a view of the ocean from the top, but unfortunately the marine layer (er, fog) prevented us from capturing what i was told was a spectacular view of the ocean. but i had a great time nonetheless. the food was great, conversation was stimulating, the people were fun the sun was shining.. i would have to say that day was the most memorable day of my trip.

the next day i checked into the "dorm" at ucla. it was just like being in college all over again. a mini flashback of sorts.. though i have to say the ucla campus is much nicer than my crunchy ass college! but breakfast and lunch was served in one of the "dining halls" and let me tell ya, the food has not changed. i don't care where you are, there's just no mistaking the taste of dorm food! needless to say i made sure my dinners made up for it!

the seminar was well.. a seminar. interesting at times, boring at others.. and just like in college i caught myself snoozing a couple of times especially right after lunch! but i learned a lot, despite the snooze breaks! a couple of the classes were just way too overwhelming though.. like the speaker just tried to incorporate way too much material in a short period of time. but i survived.

two main stories i brought back home. both bizarre, both equally disturbing:

1) a ucla cop stopped me in the middle of the street to give me a jaywalking ticket. yes, a jaywalking ticket. as you read this, you're probably thinking "wow, i didn't even know people really got jaywalking tickets in real life".. well, i'm here to tell ya, the shit is real and the shit is as ridiculous as you can possibly imagine. i suppose it didn't help that i was looking at the cop like he was an idiot the entire time and my tone of voice was as sarcastic and flabbergasted as i could possibly make it. supposedly i'll get something in the mail that will tell me how much i'll have to pay... but you know, cali's hurtin' for cash these days so i guess they're just trying to make a living eh? i'm still very annoyed by the whole incident.

2) the conference room for our lecture was like a refrigerator, so during one of my lunch breaks i headed over to a gap store i remembered seeing on my way up to ucla. i went in to buy a sweatshirt but of course i came out with a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. so i wore the jeans the next day and as i cleaned out my pockets at the end of the day, i found a slip of paper in the back pocket (about the size of a fortune cookie slip) that read: "thank you for supporting child labor". so somebody with a lot of time on their hands is going around gap stores and slipping these pieces of paper into pockets of jeans and who knows what else. only in los angeles, i tell ya. now.. i know all about child labor. bangladesh is one of many countries where child labor is rampant. and really, that's gotta be a discussion for another day.. but i was slightly disturbed nonetheless.

the week of course ended with back to back meshell concerts at the roxy which were both awesome! the first night i went by myself and had a blast as i met a couple of really cool folks. the second night i went with my new l.a. friend and we had a great time, except that it was much more crowded than the thursday night show. my short ass was stuck behind a bunch of people so most of the show was spent standing on my tip-toes! ouch.

of course i went to see meshell at the dusable in chicago as well, so i had her 3 nights in one week. what a loyal admirer i am. but of course she deserves it. every show was off the hook!

work is so busy right now i want to cry! but it'll only be for 2 more weeks. i suppose i'll live. summer's almost over and that makes me want to cry too. especially considering late hours at work are keeping me away from daylight. waaah!

ok. no more whining...