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Selfies Behaving Badly

So I wanted us to take a selfie this morning on our hosts’ patio so I could promote our appearance at Hamburger Mary’s Kansas City tonight… but sometimes the perfect selfie just isn’t worth the effort.

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Focus!
 

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Come on, Dirk… smile!
 

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This is getting ridiculous…
 

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Ah, fuck it.

 

The other “F” word

Big Faggy Bear Bust FB Banner

First, the fun stuff… Dirk and I will be returning to Hamburger Mary’s Kansas City this Saturday, May 3 for Bear Bust! We were there last year for “Kinko de Mayo” and we had such a great time. We’re really excited to go back!

This time, the theme is “Big Faggy Bear Bust.” Inspired by the wildly successful “Big Faggy Meat Rack” that the LA Eagle hosts every year during Pride, the event will in many ways be the opposite of the usual monthly fur-and-testosterone party that Mary’s puts on. Fairies! Rainbows! Glitter! And, oh yeah, plenty of testosterone and fur and too, although the fur just might have some gold highlights. I really love the inherent contradiction — butch-it-up vs. big and faggy — and I already have a few different ideas for ways to really play up the contrast.

When I first posted about the event on my Facebook page last week, I noticed a bit of criticism concerning the name of the event (though, interestingly, not the over-the-top nature of the event itself). One of my biggest fans, who happens to be a mom, summed up the concern rather elegantly:

The only thing that I’m not comfortable with is the use of the word “faggy.” I took great lengths in teaching my son not to use this word, because I find it offensive for gay people. Am I to understand it’s OK to use it? And even if it is, I don’t feel comfortable using it. Please enlighten me!

I replied that I don’t love the term either, and use it sparingly, but I don’t have a problem with it when it’s used in the proper context. Many people believe that adopting a derogatory term to refer to themselves is the best way to “disempower” the word. It’s not a 100% accurate comparison, but I can see parallels between the gay community’s use of “faggot” (a word with a fascinating linguistic history which, by the way, has nothing to do with immolation) and the appropriation of the “N” word by the African-American community. And while I personally don’t use the words “fag” and “faggot” very often, I understand and appreciate why other gay men do. My hubby Dirk agrees, and while while we certainly don’t speak for all gay men, I like to think that our view is somewhat representative. Here’s what he has to say on the matter:

openquoteThis is classic appropriation of a pejorative term by the thusly slurred populace and turning it inside out. A gay person referring to me as ‘fag’ or ‘queer’ probably wouldn’t endear me myself to them, but I know there are times we use it as an empowering tool. Conversely, if a straight person used either, especially in particular tones of voices or contexts, I’d be likely to apply his teeth to the nearest bit of masonry available. African-American folk have every right to use the ‘N’ word among themselves; there’s nothing demeaning about it when they use it. However, it’s entirely inappropriate and asking for an ass whupping for me to use it, in pretty much any context. The promoters of the Hamburger Mary’s event are gay men. The event is for gay men. We are appearing as the gay men we are. ‘Fag’ in this context offends nobody, especially those of us who might in fact be the ones offended.”

That said, given the confusion that came about as a result of my Facebook post and not wanting to alienate any of my fans, I reached out to the owners of Hamburger Mary’s to discuss the use of the term for the event. Here was their amazing reply:

openquoteOK, so we ran the artwork and idea by the leaders of the KC Bear Mafia, and a few others whom we trust to give wise counsel. They seem to be in 100% agreement that the theme is great and that there is nothing that we should worry about. Their opinion is that it is true that there will be some who are upset that we used the word ‘fag’ in the title. They also echoed what Dirk said. Much like black Americans can use the ‘N’ word with impunity amongst themselves, those outside the demographic are not welcomed to use that word as it is considered insulting. In the same way, the word ‘fag’ is used amongst gays all the time when talking about each other. I hear it tossed around all the time. I’m sure you guys do too. So, not only did they love the theme, they loved the fact that in using the word so publicly and with such obvious parody we actually rob the word of power. Furthermore, they felt like, as I wrote in the event copy, that making our event a tribute to the annual Big Faggy Meat Rack event at LA Eagle further binds us together as a community trying to rob the word ‘fag’ of any power it might wield over us.

Jesse, you have over 200,000 followers on Facebook. That in and of itself is incredible. But there is simply no way you will ever be able to please all of them. No matter what you do there will always be some who will disagree and take a contrary position. It’s just that in this case it involves a word that, for many, is controversial. So of course you are going to hear from those who are highly offended by the use of the word. However, I’ve discovered that in most cases like this, where people try to make a huge deal out of something, the issue is more about them and their trying to get on their own soapbox and get some attention than it is the other person.

It just comes down to YOU in this case, Jesse. If you don’t have a problem with it, then those nay-sayers who want to turn it into a big deal just need to shut the fuck up. You really don’t even have a responsibility to answer them, or to even leave their comments on your page if you don’t want to. You have over 200,000 fan likes. So you lose a few who want to get their pink panties into a wad? Really, who cares if you don’t care? It’s their issue, not yours. No, you don’t want to offend anyone. But that’s really an wholly impossible task. And if those who see the artwork can’t understand that it is satirical and a parody against the word fag, then those people are not the people one should base a decision on, in my opinion.

And finally, if you feel like we need to change the title of the event or else you won’t be able to come and participate, then please let us know very SOON. I already included the artwork in one publication that went to press today. I can’t change that, but I can change the name on any further ads and in the Facebook event before I post it. I hope that won’t be the case, because everyone I’ve run the artwork by and the title by seems to love it. They are already making big plans for ‘fagging it up’ and are really looking forward to it. So I’d hate to change the name because of a few people want to be negative about it. But if you ask me to, I will.

Let me know what you think.”

I think those guys are amazing, and have earned my total respect. I confess that sometimes I do try to please everybody… sometimes creating a lot of angst for myself in the process. But I think the best approach in a situation like this is to trust my gut and my beliefs. And my beliefs tell me that, in this context, the “other” F-word is being used in a light-hearted, playful, non-pejorative, and indeed empowering way. So come on out and meet us at Hamburger Mary’s this Saturday, May 3rd, because in solidarity with the owners of Hamburger Mary’s, the KC Bear Mafia, and the wonderful people of Kansas City, Dirk and I are totally gonna let our fag flags fly.

Now… does anyone know where I can buy some glitter and a pair of gold lamé tights?
Shoe Shopping in the West Village

Love Shack   Big Faggy Bear Bust Poster

Hit the road, Jackman!

Dirk and I have a crazy – and fun – travel schedule coming up, and we’re hoping to meet some of you guys along the way! To that end I wanted to fill you guys in on some of our plans for the spring and summer. We might be adding more events, too… I’ll let you know if we do.

Here’s what we’ve got planned so far:

April 13: Dirk plays the part of Rick in a staged reading of John Preston’s Mr. Benson. Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street, NYC; tickets are $10 at the door. More info and background on the project here: http://jack.mn/mr-benson-reading

May 3: Bear Bust at Hamburger Mary’s Kansas City… watch their Facebook page for details!

May 23-26: International Mr. Leather in Chicago; Dirk and I will be working the Oxballs/Titan booth at the Leather Market during the day, I’ll be helping to host the Grabbys on Saturday night, and also on Saturday night at 1:00 am Dirk and I will be performing a live show at Steamworks with our good friend Rogan Richards!
August 1-3: Sinner’s Ball in Ogunquit, Maine. Dirk and I return to Dirk’s home state to host this annual fetish event at Maine Street. Gonna be fun.
August 13-17: Tropical Heat in Key West… details to follow!
September 19-21: Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. Hoping to play Steamworks Twister again!
October 9-12: Gay Bowl XIV in Philadelphia. Boston Hancocks for the win!

More details on these events as we get closer to the dates… watch my Facebook page for the latest! Here are some photos (and one video) from a few of the events we did last year to whet your appetite. Hope to see you out and about!

Hamburger Mary’s Kansas City: “Kinko de Mayo” 2013


 
 

Kinko de Mayo, Kansas City style!

THIS is why I love my job! Dirk, Johnny Parker, and I had the immense pleasure of joining the cast and crew of Hamburger Mary’s Kansas City to celebrate Cinco de Mayo… or, as they called it, Kinko de Mayo! We had an amazing time dancing and encouraging all sorts of debauchery. I spent much of the evening serving up “bear cum” shots: People would lie face-upwards on a massage table in front of me while I poured shots of rum and coconut cream into their mouths. The coconut cream looked just like… well, you know. ;) And I might have “accidentally” misfired and dribbled some onto my customers’ faces. When I did, I was sure to lick it off… I never waste a drop!

We also took time out for karaoke. Every five years or so I do karaoke to remind myself never to do karaoke, ever. Johnny and Dirk have beautiful voices, and rocked their respective renditions of “Long Black Train” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I, who can’t sing for shit, insisted that the three of us sing Kylie Minogue’s “Timebomb” as an homage to Titan director Jasun Mark’s amazing music video. The results were disastrous. (See below.)

Finally, we took time to unwind at Hamburger Mary’s Drag Brunch. We laughed… we cried… and I got to witness Parker singing “I Will Survive” while wearing a pink dress. Some things you just can’t make up. (Again… see below.)

What a fantastically fun weekend. Huge thanks to to the incredibly welcoming folks at Hamburger Mary’s and KC Bear Mafia who made us feel like royalty, to the amazing JP Barnaby and Jodi Dash who witnessed our karaoke massacre and lived to tell about it, and to all the AWESOME people who came out to the club on Saturday night! We had such a great time and met lots of amazing folks. Dirk and I are hoping that the fine ladies and gentlemen of Kansas City will have us back real soon!

Pics and embarrassing karaoke video below.