listening to Butch Voices

I had the opportunity to go to a co-performance by Ivan Coyote and S. Bear Bergman last night and it was well worth the drive up to Seattle.

I got into the city early so I could meet Joe Leblanc (Butch Voices) for dinner.  He brought along Jay Walls (also Butch Voices) and the three of us settled down for a nice meal at Ballet, a Vietnamese Restaurant on Pike.   We had some great conversation, got to know each other a bit and left with satisfied bellies.   It was cool to talk to them about plans for future Butch Voices conferences, and discuss ways I might be able to help keep the ball rolling.  The next Butch Voices is two years away, so keeping the name and philosophy out there in the queer public eye is important.  I’m hoping to be in the position to do a session or two next time and I’ll certainly make plans to attend and help out.   I also expressed my desire to participate and organize some local butch social events, an idea Joe’s been talking about and wants to support.

Soon it was time to head over to The Richard Hugo House for the performance.  It was a short walk away and the weather was agreeable, so the three of us enjoyed a leisurely stroll.

We arrived at the Hugo House to see Ivan, Bear and others setting up.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a small bar in the venue and the three of us got beverages and a table with a good view of the stage.   The beer-scovery of the night was Black Boss Porter, a Polish brew with a kick-ass 9.4% alcohol content and a coffee finish.

My online friend Heather and her partner Georgi showed up soon after.  Heather is a fan of my writing and we’ve forged a friendly online acquaintance.  It was really nice to finally meet the two of them.  Thank you, Heather and Georgi for hanging out with us.  Heather, I’m still cracking up over the ‘wife tap’ you gave me when my hyperactivity became too annoying.. I swear you were channeling Mrs. Kyle just then.

By the time our heroes took the stage, the venue had about 50 people waiting eagerly to hear the Bear and the Coyote tell stories.  I missed out on the Butch Voices conference this year, but last night I got a hint of what it must have been like.  Sitting in a room with a bunch of butch brothers and allies, feeling the positive, supportive energy, gave me a wonderful rush.

Seeing him live and having a chance to chat with him a bit about writing, my bromantic crush on Ivan has only gotten worse.  I mentioned that I was interested in doing live readings and he was very supportive and encouraging.  And the shirt.. how many pounds of rhinestones does that thing have on it?  Tell you what, that guy knows how to present himself to the fullest.

I didn’t know much about Bear but after last night, I’m a fan of his writing and stuck around so I could have him autograph a copy.  I already have an autographed copy of Ivan’s latest book, courtesy of Roxy, who brought it home for me from Butch Voices.   Speaking of my gorgeous girlfriend, Joe and Ivan and Jay all remembered her from Butch Voices, where she worked hard as a volunteer and was generally memorable.  I grinned a lot at the way they all smiled as they remembered her.

Check out Ivan Coyote’s latest Loose End, from Arsenal Pulp Press, along with his other books and CDs.  He is a wonderful story teller with a great stage presence.  If you haven’t been able to see him live, search for him on YouTube.

S. Bear Bergman is also on Arsenal Pulp Press and his latest is The Nearest Exit May be Behind You.  Congrats to him and his hubby on their upcoming first child.

As for me, I was inspired by their performances.  Reading a good story is foreplay, having it performed by a storyteller who knows their craft is like going all the way.   I think this is something I need to explore for myself.  I love writing stories and I love getting up on stage (karaoke is my current performance vehicle of choice), so how much of a stretch would it be to read some of what I’ve written for an audience?

Later, talking with Heather and Joe and Jay, I brought up the idea of publishing, on paper, perhaps in chapbook form.  Joe had a good lead on someone local to me who has experience publishing chapbooks.   I’m going to do some thinking and research to see how I can push my craft to the next level.  I certainly have a pile of characters and stories waiting to get my time and attention, clamoring sometimes in the corners of my mind.  When I started Butchtastic, the main reason was to have a venue for my writing and way to get myself into the habit of writing regularly.  I’ve done a lot of writing, but I’ve also let myself get a bit distracted from the goal of writing and publishing stories.  It’s time to focus on that again, on characters and stories, as well as essays.  But don’t worry, I’m not gonna take the sexy out.

I promise, I’ll always do my best to bring the sexy.

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