BedPosts!!! 2/20/14

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This is happening tomorrow night! Come on down!

It’s love month, BedPosties! Join us for some amazing sexy stories to celebrate love.

The February BedPost Storytellers are:

* BedPost Interpreter Mandi Chase-Wolf
* Superstar Adam Sultan
* Brad “The Other Half of Sadie’s Open Marriage” Walton
* Newcomer Stacey Hopp

Emceed by Mia Martina!
Human furniture by Danny Gee!!

★★ PLUS YOUR CONFESSIONS READ ONSTAGE! ★★

BedPost Confessions is, each and every month, interpreted for the deaf by THE MOST AMAZING AND SEXY ASL INTERPRETERS IN AUSTIN!

The sponsors of our fabulous giveaways are Package Menswear, Little Shop of O’s, Sexy Delicious Things & Glo’s Goodies, so be sure and register to win one of several sexy, sassy prizes when you arrive!

✼ ✼ ✼ ✼ THE BASICS ✼ ✼ ✼ ✼

2/20/14 BedPost Confessions @ The North Door
[One block East of I-35 on the corner of Brushy Street and East 5th]
Tickets are $10 at the door
The ND Lounge opens at 6:30, show doors open at 7:15, show starts promptly at 8:00
Posts

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Admission

Despite my best efforts, I’m in a bad place. I was thinking about my exhaustion post, my tiredness, and I was reminded that the last time I felt quite like this I was having post partum depression. And I thought, well, I did just lose my mother and that death was a kind of labor.

Maybe there is something to it. I did go to the doctor, my body is in fine shape. My blood work is normal, good even. Depression and anxiety are old pals of mine. Most of the time it’s like I get a bad head cold, kind of cyclical, and related to hormones. I think this time I’ve been dealing with a bronchitis and its just been so long that I don’t recognize I have it.

Mornings are the worst of it, anxiety is pervasive, sadness abounds. My body feels tired, heavy, painful. Basic things have been hard to manage. Manicures, nice clothes, giving a damn. Things get nicer about 2 pm or so, and I start feeling much better about 5. Still, I know this is a problem.

There are some things I need to change and I’m not sure how to start. One is drinking. I don’t drink to excess, maybe a glass or two of wine a night, a whiskey here or there at a show. But what I’ve found is that the only time I wind up feeling “like me” or feeling good, happy, light, witty, engageable, open, is after I have had that drink or two. Three drinks? Start to feel sick, and actually, I start to feel sick now even after two, sometimes even after just one.

If one drinks to feel normal, that means the alcohol is serving as some kind of medication. That means something big is off. Seems ironic that the one thing that is getting me in the space where I feel good is the thing that has to go, but I guess I should pay attention to all the lessons I’ve learned over the years.

Twitter. It makes me feel like I’m doing good work. Amplifying change. Pointing out the things that need attention. And I guess it does do that. But mostly it feels like seeing more and more things that I can’t do anything about. There is a lot of pain on Twitter, at least the parts I’m seeing. Anger, despair, outrage, fear, a world breaking down from racism, sexism, economic injustice, abuse, you name it, it’s out there. I read and read posts, and really, there isn’t much I can do to address those particular things. Twitter activism isn’t working for me.

In the real world, meat space, I see it too. Much up close and personal, but somehow making a connection with someone and talking to them, that feels as much or more helpful. Still, I feel raw, exposed, like I’m seeing so much that has been rent or damaged and how are we all just walking around with so much going wrong?

Last week, I felt the world spin a little underneath me, and I worried I might just fly away, from thinking about it all.

Not thinking about it doesn’t change things.
Just thinking about it doesn’t change things.

I need some grounding in real action, real work.

A friend of mine, who recently lost someone very close to them said, “It feels extremely important just to be present with all these feelings, no matter how much I just want to shut them out.”

I feel that way too. But it feels a little costly somehow.

Post partum depression feels right to me. The trauma of that week with my mother was profound. I felt so alone and it was so hard watching her die. It was so hard being in the years prior to that death, her in a kind of living death. She’s gone and I’m released in a way, but it’s still as if the puzzle pieces aren’t fitting. It’s like backwards labor, a birth of myself, myself as a mother, it’s deep.

And the experience of seeing the world in a new way is challenging.

So, I’m going to be as present as I can with the feelings, and I’m going to try to find real grounding actions, real ways to make change, and a lot less getting swept into a maelstrom of tweets.

I hope, at least. I hope that it will bear better fruit than the past 6 months. Because I am still tired.

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What Love Is All About

Watch this.

Read the words of Ellen Page. I couldn’t put it better than this.

“What I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it is the most incredible gift to give and receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and and without compromise.”

My congratulations to Ellen Page, and my love and support to everyone out there living and loving authentically and with compassion for others.

Sexual, orientation, and gender rights are human rights.
Love is love.
Equality for All.

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BedPost Confessions Loves Nerd Nite

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It’s that time again.

Every year we mash up our nerdy brains with those of our smart, sex-positive colleagues at BedPost Confessions, resulting in a bubbling Valentine’s stew of piping hot, sexy nerdiness. We took a year to cool off in 2013, but the mutual attraction could not be denied…

Get out your sporks! Sex Nite Confessions has returned.

The talks:

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“Simplified Dating,” by Harris O’Malley (aka Dr. NerdLove)

Dating can be a frustrating, confusing mess…but it doesn’t have to be. It’s time to treat dating is a skill, not as a mysterious process. By stripping dating to it’s core essentials, we can make dating a simpler, more enjoyable experience.

Harris O’Malley is a blogger and dating coach who teaches nerds how to date better at his website Paging Dr. NerdLove.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“A Brief History of Select Kinks,” by Megan E. Allen

Many people ask about the origin of their own kinks and sexual interests. This is not a discussion on that. This is a bit of historical proof that humanity has been kinky all along.

Sexual health educator in training, writer, and kinky person with far too many academic resources at her fingertips.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

PLUS!

The return of the Sexpert Confessions Panel!

Credentialed sexperts will discuss your (anonymously submitted) questions and confessions on sexuality, gender, orientation and more.

Our sexpert panel will be facilitated by Julie Gillis, a producer of BedPost Confessions and other events focused on community building using theater and storytelling as a bridge between art, justice, and the everyday world.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Want to find your nerdy valentine? Form a covalent bond at Nerd Nite Speed-Dating before the show:

…or meet some new friends through the Nerd Nite Ambassador program:

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

As always, Nerd Nite is FREE (we do it for the luv).

Doors at 7, talks start at 7:30. Talks may not be given in the order described. Grab a beer and relax!

The North Door
502 Brushy St., Austin, Texas 78702
View Map · Get Directions

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An Honest Post

I’m tired. I’m tired more of the time than not, wanting to go to bed at 9pm and get up at 9am and maybe even a nap later in the day. I’m tired physically in that I used to be a dancer and active and doing all kinds of performances and now I seem to have no “on” button for that (and rob Peter to pay Paul after a show), and tired existentially because of what I read online every day, the things I see that need attention, the work that is to be done with so many forces against it.

Perhaps the two are related, but I’m not sure.

I eat well, I have a fancy western diet filled with vitamins and spirulina energy drinks, fresh food and clean water. I have a wonderful bed and a warm house. My doctor has said its just aging, but I’m only 44, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to feel bad for so long and it’s frustrating when thyroid tests come up normal.

I’m busy with lots of projects and work, kids and home life. Too busy perhaps? Maybe. My gas tank takes more time to fill these days and if I have a week where I’m out most evenings I feel pretty destroyed by weeks end. I don’t party, I don’t even go out that much, so one would think I’d have lots to spare.

Some of it is, like I said, existential. There is never a lack of things to be outraged about online, never a lack of news about environmental disasters or corporate greed, about rape culture, child abuse, poverty extremes, zoos behaving badly. More subtly, it’s really tiring to watch people argue on Twitter (not because the ones pushing back are out of place, golly no, they should be pushing back and hard), mostly because it’s the same damn pattern time after time after time.

Privileged person steps in it, gets called out or in, gets defensive and argues back, calls out tone, others jump in, fight ensue, privileged person feels even more inline with the mistake made. Lather, rinse, repeat. That’s hard to see over and over again. And I’m sure it’s even more hard to be IN it. Exhaustin.

I’m not sure what to do anymore that’s positive, right? Like, Twitter is an outrage machine, but Twitter is where the work is happening, how so then can I protect myself and do meaningful outreach. Do I even do that?

I just know that there is so much I see in injustice it’s like I can’t not see it and at a certain point, I just want to shut down completely and feel nothing. Only that doesn’t even work anymore.

People, dynamics, work, misunderstandings, holding space for others and wondering what good comes from what (knowing surely some does, but also knowing I shouldn’t be so self involved as to think I have much influence on changing the world), aging body, exhaustion.

I worry, you know, worry about my mother and her brain, that my brain might be like her brain. I worry about those things. I want to feel vital and energized and I don’t know how.

Depression? Could be. Feels different.

Feels important though to call it out here, because I don’t want to front like I’m always on top of things. Things feel like they are on top of me quite often.

What do you do to fill your gas tanks? Not “day spa” trips, or “seeing a movie” but really refill it? Or is it just aging and needing slippers, a cup of milk and less activity?

Seems early for that. Seems late.

I might keep writing, and I might not. Only if I feel really truly inspired I think. Only if it feels worth the work because the thing is bursting to be born. But I felt like I needed to be honest here. Maybe honesty will help, that I can say, I don’t have the energy for this or for that because I just don’t.

In any case, I’m tired. So there you have it.

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Soundtrack Series, I Believe

Performed at the Soundtrack Series at the Long Center, January 31, February 1, 2014

I would like to take this time to apologize to a woman who served briefly as my therapist in 2008, the one who accused me of being in a spiritual crisis. Melissa? You were right. I was wrong.

My very independent mother had been moved back to Austin and was being placed into a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s disease. She’d been deteriorating for years and no longer could drive, cook or no be safe on her own. She was angry and overwhelming. I was angry and overwhelmed.

The therapist was a very nice woman and we got on well for a few sessions until she told me that I was having the aforementioned crisis of a spiritual nature. I didn’t react well to this news.

You should know all this first:

My father, a composer and conductor from a long line of artists, musicians, performers and writers, died in 1978 in South Carolina, a sudden sudden change in our life. My mother bereft, depressed, and desperate, moved to be with her sister in Athens Georgia to provide a physically (if not emotionally) safe place for me to grow up. I came of age in that small arty town filled with magnolia trees, a strange combination of preppie clothes, tail-gates and musicians in thrift store clothes.

My mother loved classical music, and hated nearly all of the bands I’d listen to, but she enjoyed REM, in part for their lyrical voices, their beautiful minor keys, but in greater part probably because she worked with Michael Stipe’s parents and felt fond of the fellows. She had married a musician after all. She knew what they were up against.

I did my best to survive while growing up with a grieving mother who was hard to connect with, and REM provided a soundtrack for my life from 8th grade onward until I went to college at UGA. I played REM certainly, since my mother wouldn’t complain and I Believe especially, with its inscrutable lyrics that I would puzzle over like a seeker at the Oracle of Delphi.

I graduated with a BFA and I left Athens as much to find my fortune as due to too many memories, every road, every house, showed the patterns of grief, which layered on from my mother, our escape here after my father died, the town was just too hard to live in.

I ran, feeling this intangible mysterious pull to Seattle.

My mother drove with me all the way across the country, a 5 day ultimate awkward mother daughter road trip. We talked little but listened to I Believe playing over and over on a squeaky cassette tape as we crossed the plains into Colorado. Proud mountains arched ahead, wide flat skies behind my Toyota truck, me both terrified trusting in the call to leave home for the unknown.

Sometimes, in the car, I held her hand, like a child.

My mother helped me unpacked my things and she cried uncharacteristically as she went to the airport to fly home. I can’t imagine how hard that actually must have been, to leave her only child in a faraway land but she knew it was time. I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t cry back, though I tried.

I didn’t listen to I Believe for very very long time. We visited infrequently.

Seattle was new and I dove into its strangeness. I moved from sweet southern folksy pop for Nirvanic grunge, discordant and loud. It was then and there I moved fully from childhood religion to the church of theater.

I’d gone to lots of churches as a child. As a child I was baptized Presbyterian and remember weeping at the radical idea of another human being sacrificing himself in such a painful way for love of us. My relationship to spirit had long been fraught.

As I aged, I explored reincarnation with my mother (who was seriously into Shirley MacLaine at the time so it bonded us), witchcraft and crystal mysteries, all of which were supported in that small arts town, and even my liberal Episcopalian youth group.

But, Seattle brought me perspectives on the politics of organized religion, the power mongering and media manipulation of the rising evangelical Right. I developed a big city agnostic attitude, along with my martinis, Doc Martans, social justice work, and producing theater year after year.

I rejected edicts from on high claiming why someone should or shouldn’t be able to marry, or what I should and shouldn’t do with my uterus. I felt that modern Christianity was marketing ploy, a consumer item, responsible for all kinds of bad public policy and used as a bludgeon to hurt people.

Religion was rejected by rote, even after moving to Austin and having family, children with questions of their own.

Plus, everything was fine, with my lovely kids, and lovely family, and exciting and adventurous friends, and job that had to do with giving and connecting and the social justice volunteering and the joys of improvisation, and the awaking of sexual exploration and writing, a kind of magic of its own.

Until my mother became ill.

Alzheimer’s is an ugly disease, robbing the bearer of their dignity. It’s ugly for the family as well. She and I had been at arms length over the past 10 years, and I didn’t handle her return gracefully.

I was unmoored. Resistant. Afraid of her and of the memories of my father’s death, our strained mother daughter relationship, come home to roost. As she became more and more ill, I was doing more and more theater, more and more activism specifically around sexuality, sex instead of death perhaps. I was totally over my head.

My mother was in the worst stage, waking up in a fog, agitated and violent at times, extremely afraid. And because of her confusion, and me being the only caretaker, she was blaming me for all of it, all while I tried to manage a job, young children, marriage, my life. So when I went to visit this therapist, I was looking for were pragmatic tools to help get through the hard patch.

At this point in therapy, Melissa looked at me and told me I was in a spiritual crisis.

I told her I wasn’t.

She did the same thing the next week and I got even more agitated. I reacted strongly to the idea of God in anything having to do with me, my mother, her disease, you name it. “Let’s move away from this topic.”

Two sessions later, she brought it up again. I quit with a few choice words. I stewed and sputtered for weeks about it. Thing is? She was right.

I spent those years ignoring the signs that I was myself carrying-I was at once seeking for solace in the midst of despair. I placed all my action into social justice, in heart in mothering and then counseling students, my faith in producing and holding space for performers, I was doing the work of the family business.

Finally, in 2012, it happened.

During a trip to North Texas for a special concert celebrating my father’s music, I sat listening to the profoundly spiritual strains of his work. In that great hall, I felt his depth and devotion to god and to making the world better. He was as progressive of a democrat as they come, a Christian and he meant it, what Christianity meant for real. I thought about his family, their history, mine.

Right then, in that concert hall, I counted off one by one the long line of relatives and realized they weren’t just artists but ministers, missionaries, choir directors, pastoral counselors, vestry, elders, and deacons. My mind was blown.

I thought my own path, about the people, writers, performers and audience at the show I co-produce, BedPosts (which more than one person has called a kind of church) and had an epiphany! It was right there in front of me. The family business wasn’t art! It was RELIGION. I’d been doing it all along!!! All I could say was, OH FUCK as silently as possible as I sat there in the concert hall, freaking out.

Back in Austin, I listened to Life’s Rich Pageant again, listened to “I Believe” and like a bell, there it was in the lyrics, clear and sweet and plain.

I believed. In what? Coyotes? My calling? What did that even mean in a world where my life was taking care of someone dying in dribs and drabs, someone losing parts of themselves over a 10 year slow moving brain melting crisis with nothing to be done but witness it.

While it wasn’t a Road to Damascus moment, I sat with this new awareness for months.

Not long after, pneumonia grasped my mother. I sat with her for 5 days as she slipped away, the ultimate awkward mother daughter road trip. I held her hands as she faded, slowly, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to go, how hard it must have been to be trapped, but we knew it was time.. I packed her belongings and I’m not ashamed to say that this time, I didn’t have to try to cry.

So yes Melissa, I was having a spiritual crisis. And I went ahead and stayed in the desert a long time, cause I don’t like being told about my business and sometimes I need that realization to sidle up to me and just sit next to me for a time before I can look it in the face. Which always turns out to be looking back at my own face, yes? Me, waiting for me to catch up. Hi there.

I still don’t like organized religion. I still think that human systems are only as healthy as the humans in them which means the humans leading them have to do their own work first.

I believe in the connection between all living things, and that theater is a way of embodying energy that is transformative. I believe in the holy work of listening and bearing witness to each other’s stories as we strive for justice.

I believe, is the thing. If not in “god” then in the clues woven into complicated 80’s lyrics like a benediction waiting to be discovered. In a joyous hymn of coyotes, rattlesnakes, and trusting the call, in a wild force of love.

I definitely believe in that.

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On Sexual Abuse, Predators, and Pedestals

I’ve been following the Woody Allen case for several heartbreaking days. I just saw a post about Bill Cosby, and accusations about him that got ignored in years past. There are so many other examples of abuse in the mainstream media, years worth. I’ve heard stories about bad situations in my own city, people who aren’t celebrities.

Here is the deal. There are predators out there. Some are wealthy and powerful and some are not. They come in all genders, orientations, ages. They look just like everyone else. They may be boring regular folk, or they may be exceptionally talented artists, powerful leaders.

The cognitive dissonance involved in recognizing a person you know and like as a predator is really really really hard to deal with. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is. Humans pretty much hate cognitive dissonance. It’s painful and messy and causes all kinds of trouble. We avoid it in minor and major ways. On top of that, kids are not treated as reliable, generally speaking and that makes it easy to side with the comfortable side of the dissonance that “That person would never do that.” But that person might well do that because some people are predators.

I’m putting two articles, one by Andrea Grimes, and one by Natalie Shure, here which are poignant and personal examples of how the whole experience is rigged badly for kids, how hard it is for them, and how rarely things really get resolved.

Please read those.

Here’s all I have at the moment:

1) I think kids (and adults) who report abuse should be taken seriously.
That means a) believing the trauma and b) truly examining the entire system within which it occurred).

2) I think we need to really (REALLY) educate our legal system folks (police, lawyers) to get what is going on so that those people reporting abuse are truly taken seriously AND the system is such that laws are actually protecting the survivor and then ethically and forthrightly defending the accused within a much better structure. Side note on False Accusations which do occur, and if someone falsely accuses they too are acting in trauma, causing trauma, and are likely acting predatorily.

3) This means dismantling rape culture and a culture of dominance which costs women, kids, the disabled and disenfranchised and protects those with money and power. Right now? Most victims of rape and abuse do not report, reports don’t go to trial, trials don’t end in convictions. That means there is a huge problem in the system.

4) I think when we build systems of power and money around people (who might be predators) then the systems are so focused on that power and money (and all the people employed by that money) that the system has its interest in power not justice.

5) I think we have to start dismantling pedestals because worshipping people isn’t healthy and leads to a deeper experience of cognitive dissonance. There shouldn’t be anything shocking about hearing of a leader that’s harmed someone. We act, each time, as if we can’t believe it. Yet it happens over and over again. And we love our stars and leaders, it may be a built-in the human animal but man, it causes problems, especially when with point 4, there are systems designed to keep the money coming in.

6) I think we have to keep working on digging into sexual shame, dynamics of power on the individual level (people abusing each other), consent, education, honesty and healthy pleasure rather then fetishizing purity. It’s a spiritual issue. It’s a justice issue. It’s a human issue. Purity culture destroys women, men and children. The fear and loathing of sexual pleasure, wrapped in dogmatic doctrine and topped with a side of guilt causes big time problems.

7) I think we have to speak out and call out bullshit when we see it. I’m part of a show that talks about sex. How many people there are seeking health and growth? How many people have experienced manipulation and abuse? How do we open up the space to keep the space courageous, safe and focused on transparency? How do we call out those who do harm? How do we support each other through cognitive dissonance if such horrible moments occur?

8) All these things have to be worked on all together to truly shift what’s going on. No one should be falsely accused and no one should be sexually abused and assaulted. Trauma should be believed. Systems should protect rather than harm. Rape culture, dominance and patriarchy are a part of the problem. Shame is inherent in a culture of purity related to old patriarchal dynamics. Change must happen.

Finally, predators rely on our natural avoidance of cognitive dissonance. They rely on systems of power and dynamics of sexism. They rely on pedestals and our denial to keep them exactly where they like to be. They are predators, and as such they are good at manipulation. They don’t really care if it upsets us. And they look exactly like us.

I’m a fan of a lot of artists, but if I feel with certainty they are abusers? That art is not worth me selling out human beings who were damaged by them. Their art isn’t worth someone else’s soul.

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Acts of Revolutionary Love

I want everyone to watch this amazing speech by Laverne Cox.

Understanding the complex dynamics of orientation, sex, gender, gender expression is hard work. I know a lot and I don’t know anything at all.

I’m clumsy, still, in how I integrate new understanding of non-binary possibilities into a brain that was taught nothing but binary from day one.

I’m clumsy, still, in remembering respectful gendering and use of pronouns. I try. When I make mistakes, certainly not intended, I hope I can get correction so that I can do better in the fight for all to be held up in honor and respect.

I try to use my imagination to employ empathy around just how much trauma and struggle must go on in a soul that feels completely that their body isn’t right, doesn’t match, yet they are told over and over again that the soul is the thing that is wrong. Over years, people are told they are wrong for knowing who they really are inside and out. That’s so damaging, so deeply wrong.

How does anyone grow up whole hearing that kind of bullshit, when in their heart they know it isn’t true? Many don’t. Many children struggle so deeply, are abused by peers, schools, families, many commit suicide.

I watch micro aggressions all the time, people using the wrong pronouns, even when requested otherwise. How damn hard is it just to use the pronouns someone requests? Even if you don’t believe or understand them about their gender or about non-binary gender dynamics, what does it cost you to just use the pronoun they request? Do people not know it causes harm to hear the wrong pronoun over and over again? Or do they and they don’t care because the request bothers them so much? Why is your discomfort more important than theirs?

One of the ones I hear the most is, “Well he was a he before he transitioned and it’s hard to remember.” And my response is, “She was always a she, she was never a he, even though her body appeared male. So by mixing those pronouns you are denying her entire experience growing up and finally claiming herself.”

I don’t know what it costs a person to just support a person who is trying to heal and be whole. How much does it really cost me to say “she” instead of “he.” To me that is loving someone, not telling them they are wrong, or too angry, or upsetting the social fabric, or being a bother.

It’s so easy. Just use the pronouns requested. Build a relationship, learn about that person. See that person for who they are, a human being. Isn’t that better than smashing them down back into a place you recognize, even if they don’t?

I’m clumsy, still, and I understand trying to navigate and learning. It can seem challenging, but really, it’s not about me so much as it is about supporting people who need love, respect, support. That’s worth the challenge. I read, watch, listen. I listen some more. Ms. Cox put it perfectly, “Loving trans people, I believe, is a revolutionary act.”

Please watch.

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I Believe: Soundtrack Series Tonight

Soundtrack Series

Soundtrack Series

Y’all, I am going to be reading tonight and Saturday at the amazing and profound Soundtrack Series! I am in fantastic company, with such talented and skilled writers that I can barely contain myself!!! Please come and see it, hear the music, and enjoy an incredible night!

My piece was inspired by REM’s “I Believe.”

From their FB invite:

The Long Center presents the acclaimed Soundtrack Series, coming to Austin for two weekends: January 31-Feb 1 and April 11 & 12!

This is the new, organic Long Center series featuring local writers and performers that everyone is talking about! Jeanne Claire van Ryzin of the Austin American-Statesman has called it ‘One of the most refreshing things we’ve seen at the Long Center…!”

The amazing lineup for Jan/Feb:
Jay Byrd
Chris Apollo Lynn
Holly Lorka
Carrie Clark
Julie Gillis
Elizabeth McQueen

Here’s how it works: local performers and writers get on the mic to tell the hilarious or heart wrenching stories and memories they forever associate with a song from their past. We all love music. But The Soundtrack Series celebrates just how much we all live music.

The Soundtrack Series operates on the idea that just about everyone has that one song that sparks a great story from their past. Music lovers of different ages, backgrounds, and (of course) musical tastes have come to The Soundtrack Series to tell and listen to song-fueled stories, and feel the buzz that comes from connecting music with memories. The Soundtrack Series is for anyone who has ever built an iTunes library, combed through vinyl at a flea market, used a pencil to tighten their favorite cassette; and for anyone who has a favorite song, a least favorite song, or any song that takes them back to “that one time when…”

The Soundtrack Series has been featured in the New York Times, BUST, NY1, “Above and Beyond” in the New Yorker, a Critic’s Pick in Time Out New York, a Gothamlist Event of the week, and included among the “Best Events and Things to Do in NYC” by CBS News New York.

Contact our Group Sales department for information on discounts for groups of 10 or more:

For mature audiences only.

FOR MORE SHOW INFO AND TICKETS:

Questions? Call the 3M Box Office at (512) 474-LONG (5664), TTY (800) 735-2989.

Enjoy some music on me!

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Us, Here, Now.

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(photo credit Kit O’Connell)

 

Today there was a rally at the Capitol on the anniversary of Roe. It was a rally for the side of things that call themselves, Pro Life, though our team usually calls them Anti Choice. We had hundreds of amazing people, fantastic organizers, brilliant activists all. I am so grateful for them and their passion and devotion to justice.

One of the signs I saw today was about “My Generation Will End Abortion.” That’s a Utopian sentiment, and truly naive.

Abortion has existed for as long as women didn’t want to be pregnant. It’s existed in every culture and country, and has been needed not just to end a pregnancy that is unplanned or unwanted, but to save women’s lives should the fetus be causing danger to the living woman. The physical process for supporting a woman through a difficult miscarriage is the same, and doctors need to know how to help women through all phases of their reproductive lives.

I believe abortion will always exist because there will always be circumstances in which women have to choose. My life? Or, the life of the fetus suffering and unable to grow. My children’s well being? Or this new accidental pregnancy. My emotional, mental, and physical health? Or the pregnancy caused by a rape. There are more, many more stories, including wanted children who cannot be borne, including forced pregnancies through rape or coercion, including pregnancies incurred because teens had no idea how their bodies work.

The issue is access, resources, and choice. Do this, and you will indeed reduce the need for abortion services.

Abortion services though, will always be needed and should be legal and accessible, with trained providers that are free from religious or political pressure to deny patients rights.

Here are some things that will not end abortion:

  • Lying to women about condoms, as many so called crisis pregnancy centers do.
  • Shaming women and men about sex.
  • Denying that some men rape or abuse women and girls (not that those women tempt men).
  • Closing reproductive health centers (that will just mean women will take radical and drastic steps).
  • Impoverishing communities by gutting education, approving unfair bank practices, eliminating health and mental health services, and lowering wages.
  • Telling children they are like used up pieces of gum if they have sex, and then lying to them about their bodies, how they work, and being disingenuous about contraception.

The only way to reduce abortion (for it can never be eliminated) is to do the opposite things:

  • Provide extremely comprehensive sex ed to all genders.
  • Offer unfettered access to contraception, reproductive services and education.
  • Create cultures of absolute consent and acceptance between men and women regarding sex and pleasure.
  • Support a political system that provides living wages, fair bank practices, less corporate interference in local job economies, and provides safety and health care for all.
  • Increase the safety net for mental and physical health, for job loss, and economic stress.
  • Decrease oppressive racial and gendered systems so that more people have access to more education, more jobs, more ability to live with autonomy.

This will mean less unintended pregnancies, and more planned for and wanted children. It will also mean that the choice to keep an unplanned pregnancy will mean far less financial disaster for families.

It will also mean a more equitable life for ALL THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY ALIVE.

It confounds me that even when given this response, the Right and Anti-Choice side denies and refuses the truth of it. All I have heard for the million years I’ve been fighting against anti-choice laws have been about control, shame, vengeance, and discipline.

  • Don’t have sex.
  • Wait until marriage.
  • Pray.

Live with your mistakes (as if a child should EVER be told they are a mistake to live with).

The core belief structure seems to be about personal control (and fear), vengeance instead of understanding, denial instead of adaptation. Punishment, certainly.

I don’t doubt that many many on the Right believe deeply that they are the correct side, that they hold the loving position, the compassionate position. I certainly know our side believes we are and we do.

The very words have different core meanings to align with the different deep core beliefs. When I say love and compassion are part of abortion services I am accused of murderous intent. When I hear and see those words used by the Right, it seems cruel and manipulative and I see it as a cudgel to control through shame. This semantic divide can make dialogue seem nearly impossible, nearly alien in how we use the words or understand the positions. One inroad I’ve seen is with Exhale and their use of stories rather than arguments.

In all this, I go out, I write and I activate with many others, but I’m a bit at a loss to figure out how to motivate the even larger numbers of people to get out there and make change. The Right believes they have “god” on their side-their churches organize like wild, they focus on their actions in much more lock step and may even feel that their actions are spiritually called (and if not that, their communities are part of church life so it’s where everyone is, pressing each other to act).

I’m not sure how to take back the spiritual position (or if we can), though Cindy Noland of Faith Action Women in Need, did a great job today speaking on faith and abortion as compassion, healing, justice. We are a mixed group of atheists, agnostics and the message of spirituality may not appeal to those on our side, but something has to pull more and more of us in.

I  think it should, something should to get people out organized and in force. As Gar Alperovitz said last night in his talk, “The Quietly Deepening Political and Economic Crisis: Possibilities for an America beyond Corporate Capitalism,” the issues aren’t historical or political, but existential. “What are you going to do?”

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, most profoundly, “Life’s Most Persistent And Urgent Question Is, What Are You Doing For Others?”

Perhaps the Right believes that’s what they are doing, those others being fetuses in varying stages of development.

But, all I know is us here now. Those others? That’s you. The kids in school in this very county that might be marked for the school to prison pipeline. The people in West Virginia without water. The families who have lost children because of lax gun laws. The racism endemic in our country. The men and women who have lost jobs because of corporate outsourcing. The prisoners in Guantanamo, lingering still.

What will it take to get you out there?

The goal should be making this life livable for those here who are living. All of us, all colors, shapes and sizes, ages and ability. All of us deserve clean water, clean air, healthy food, access to jobs, safe working conditions, fair and equal treatment under the laws and the expectation that WE are the people making democracy happen.

What will it take to get you out there?

I think there can be no more holy work than that. And I want to see more and more of you stand with me. We are all we have and I believe if there is a “god” it is in those moments and junctures between each of us, tendrils of connection lingering eternally, invisibly, but part of us. That’s what we can count on now.

What will it take to get all our generations out there, and what will we do for others? How will we take to the streets to act on behalf of the least of us, here, now?

We need every single beautiful one of you.

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