Officer, I needed your Sirens to Use as Pasties….

For a second year in a row I spent an evening hobnobbing with the best and most glamorous drag queens, go-go dancers, and contortionists, aerialists, and stilt walkers as a volunteer for the Theater Offensives annual ClimACTS benefit show and auction. It’s a hugely over the top queer circus extravaganza. The evening all takes place under the big top of the Big Apple Circus, which is in town for the next couple of weeks.

In preparation for the night I made an appointment to get my hair done at my usual salon. Call time for us volunteers was 4:30pm and I just made it before it started to rain. Hopping into the changing room tent I greeted my fellow volunteers and friends. Given how much fun I reported having last year, a good number of friends signed to be volunteers this year. The tent was packed with people tightening down corsets and adjusting garter belts, bending their bodies into all sorts of shapes as warm-ups for their acts, glitter was being applied most liberally by all. I had brought three outfits, unable or unwilling, to make up my mind about what to wear. In the end I decided on a vintage pea green hand made sheath dress with pink flowers around the collar, silver shoes and plenty of bracelets, mascara, glitter, and eye shadow. I also wore new tights I bought on my way to the show. So, when were tights redesigned to go all the way up to just below your boobs? How unnecessary and uncomfortable. Jason showed up and stole the show with a black mini-skirt, bright pink tights, three inch high heeled boots, a pink wig and a muscle t that said “stonewall was a police riot”. Masha didn’t look to shabby either in pink fishnet stalkings, silver skirt and black corset.

After we were all dressed we stared, rather unabashedly as the dancers, performers and drag queens got dressed (or rather undressed), stretched and warmed up. One guy came into the dressing area in black slacks, black shirt and a red tie. Initially we all thought he was just a volunteer in a pretty slick looking out fit. But before you knew it he was stripping down to his undies (red, satin undies with a black ruffle) and pulling on black high heeled boots and a red shinny corset. Jason proclaimed that he basically wanted his whole outfit. I kind of agreed. It was fabulous and totally unexpected.

For Mahsa and I our jobs were serving hors d’oeuvres during the mix and mingle opening party before the show. It was so entertaining! We passed mini hamburgers, tiny chili dogs, pulled pork sushi (interesting is a kind way to describe that!), fried veggies, soft pretzels and more. It was fun to have a job that required us to be out on the floor talking with people and taking part in the fun. I got many compliments on my dress and shoes.

There was an open bar, which meant people were getting crazy sloppy, silly drunk. This also meant the volume of the night kept going up. The DJ played a hot mess of dance music and the go-go dancers broke it down along with the contortionists and acrobats. It was so much fun.

Eventually the guests were ushered into the big top for the main show. Luckily this meant our job was done until dessert was served so we got to take in the whole show. This included watching an amazing contortionist bend and role around the center ring, a live auction that included an appearance by Project Runway winner Christian Siriano and the auctioning off of such things as trips to Africa, back stage parties with Andy Rickter, and walk on spots on How I Met Your Mother. Crazy times. The show also included a performance by the Theater Offensives True Colors Out Queer Youth Theater Troupe. What stunningly amazing young people! They did an amazing montage of telling each others stories of struggling with the bigotry and hatred they have faced being out queer youth. They even sang True Colors, which I’ll admit it, brought a tear to my eye. They are just so brave!

The show closed with the aerialist from the Britney Spears Circus Tour (among other things) performing. It was breath taking! People actually tried to bid on him. It was cute. After the show it was time to pass dessert. The dildo shaped cookies were back this year accompanied by cotton candy and tiny donuts. I ate my fair share of donuts, believe me. Alas, this year I didn’t get a cookie.

It was with aching feet and an over full belly that we made our way to the dressing rooms to change into clothes more appropriate for biking home in. Oh, it was exhausting but it is also the most fun event to volunteer at that I know of. Plus it supports an amazing cause the works to subvert the mainstream through supporting radical performing arts.


Why is this so Hard?

A few days I ago I announced I would be blogging. After enduring several cleverly worded jibes from people who seem to be laboring under the impression that I have given up blogging, I set to work. I did this however in long hand. Shutting the lid on my laptop, silencing its little whirling fan I propped myself up with some pillows beneath my open window. A fine, warm, early spring breeze came in through the window. The sky was cloudless and the sun hot as it poured in through the window. All conditions pointed to perfect for writing. My pen hovered over the paper of my notebook, poised to scribble away for hours.

But despite the idyllic conditions, the words would not come. They just danced around in my head, a jumble of adjectives, nouns, verbs and so on comprising the six or so stories, articles and essays I’ve been dreaming up. Some filter was broken in my mind, inhibiting the words from sorting themselves out into proper sentences all from the same story.

For hours I just sat beneath the window, pen hovering centimeters from paper. After some time I gave it up and went outside to meet friends for trivia night. But my heart wasn’t in it. I never quite settled into answering obscure trivia questions pertaining to obscure facts about movies, music and history. I was preoccupied with my failure to write but even one sentence.

Its been this way for a while. While the ideas exist in my head, the words are all mashed up together forming a clog that prevents the transfer of ideas from mind to pen to paper. I’ve heard this called writers block. I’ve even researched writers block. Mostly I find a lot of people who are apparently quite prolific at writing about writers block while being unable to write about much else. I understand its an affliction that many face, but I’m not interested in reading long and plaintive stories of triumph over writers block. Nor am I interested in buying the full story for $19.95. I have hope that it will pass, I’m just troubled. Troubled by the fact that its not just that I can’t write but that I can’t even distinguish the ideas for stories and essays that are floating about in my mind.

I blame school. The vast amount of academic literature I have to read, the studies I have to understand, the statistical analyzing required of me, the study designed I have to come up with, the briefs I have to write…its like a creativity killer. Gone are my colored pencils, sketch books and journal. Replaced by a highlighter, red pen and a keyboard. My brain, or at least that part of my brain I’m required to use for school, has bullied the other part of my brain, the creative dreamer part, to the foreground. Here it mopes about  growing fat and frumpy with lack of use. I suppose I need to have a discussion with this part of my brain. Tell it to buck up! Get its act together and assert itself a little more. “Get out here and make something creative happen damn it!”

Sometimes I wonder if I haven’t made a horrible mistake in using my one shot at advanced education studying something other then creative writing or comparative literature. Useless the degree would be, but the training, the discipline, would be priceless. Oh, I know that no matter how you look at it higher education is a drag and infuriating. It loves to suck the life out of free spirits, but it does offer training and structure – two things I would very much appreciate at this moment that I struggle so mightily with my writing.

As for blogging – well school has ruined this by sucking up all my time with visits to the library for days of writing and researching. This has left very little time for adventures and spontaneous happenings that make for excellent fodder for blogging.

In the interest of keeping things on the Daily Boston Adventure interesting, I would welcome guests posts and stories and as always, post ideas.