Archive for the ‘*Celebration*’ Category

Hello to all

Important things have been happening in the background and a rumbling is heard. I am very proud to announce that Jerimarie Liesegang has finished her video documentary on Sylvia Rivera. The documentary Sylvia Rivera Was More Than Stonewall is one of the few possibly the only one that looks at the complete life of this Revolutionary Transgender Warrior. Twenty years ago I was honored to introduce Sylvia at the Ct. Stonewall Congress and to this day hold her dear in my heart. What fun myself, Regina Dyton, Tim, Paul and a few others had visiting with Sylvia and her family outside as we smoked and laughed and then laughed again. Sylvia indeed as a revolutionary Trans leader whose words ring true today. Sylvia who believed in a multi issue revolutionary movement where all of us were and are included. Sylvia who fought hard for her people in the Trans community and was thrown off the bus, and under the bus so many times.

We need more Sylvia’s in our movement today. If there were we all know the one issue or issues only of a LGBT nature would not exist. We would understand and see the connections with all other communities and not only act when it involves a LGBT person. We would understand fully that when the bombs drop on the people of Palestine it is our issue. We would know that when Democrat or Republican deports immigrants it is our issue. We would fully understand that when people all across this country can not afford medication that is needed, or a home to live in it is our issue. We would fight back when the least among us are hurting and become one with all. This I believe is what Sylvia Rivera would do as she proved over and over again this is what must be done. This was the inspiration that pushed us towards a new day before a wrong road was taken so many years ago. We must, let us repeat that we must move back to those days when we fully understood that we are here, there, and everywhere so there for all issues are our issues. It is the only way we will survive.

Anyway there I go again up on the soapbox but wanted to give just my little introduction to Jeri’s video.  Of course this type of work is best viewed on full screen for a full viewing pleasure. While you are over at the Ct. Trans Archive page check out all the work that Jeri has been doing lately as she posts and gets her archives in order to send down to CCSU.

My best to everyone
Richard Nelson

P.S A birdie told me a new Ct. movement documentary is now in the works. It’s good folks really good or so the birdie saw.

The documentary is found here:

Full Length (cradle to grave) documentary on Sylvia Rivera

Before moving to Hartford Ct. I lived in the woods of The Maverick, nine miles outside and over the mountain from Woodstock NY. (1) I lived in what I called an elegant shack the last place going up the mountain. The only modern convenience that I had was electricity. Very rustic living to say the least. It took me one time, one winter morning to understand why the outhouse seat was not attached after what seemed like leaving have the skin on my ass behind on the cold seat. The toilet seat then took up residence behind the woodstove where I cooked, and melted snow to take a bath. Clean water for drinking and cooking was courtesy of the artist I worked for in the summer and in the winter from a woman I did odd jobs for including babysitting her two year old. She was an herbalist and from her I learned about the wild herbs and their healing powers. We collected in the summer, dried the herbs in the old studio at the back of my shack. Screens of Red Clover blossoms, Queen Anne’s Lace seeds, Plantain, tied together in bunches, Yarrow, Tansy, Peppermint, Nettles, Comfrey from the garden. Susan and I would go on nature walks up the mountain and over following old trails. An old farm was our destination long since abandoned where fields of Dandelion awaited us and many of the herbs that Susan used grew in the area. In the fall I picked apples from the abandoned orchard and made applesauce.

During my years on the Maverick I heard many stories about Hervey White and the “good old days” of the artists that gathered there, the festivals, the free love, the feeling of living freely from the powers that tried to tame the creative spirit on the other side of the mountain and in America. Hervey White intrigued me as a revolutionary Socialist, artist, free thinking creative person. Lucille Blanch an artist who came to the Maverick as a young artist and who was still going strong painting daily live in a little white house with a “host of daffodils” growing all along her stonewalls and around her yard. “Just dig up the bulb and throw it, it will come up again,” was her direction in thinning out the plants. I worked for her doing odd jobs and helping out where I could.  But in all my talks with quite a number of folks who lived on the Maverick or who had been living in Woodstock for years no one ever mentioned that Hervey White was a Bisexual man. At the time when he was alive it was a “open secret” or so some say.

Hervey White

Hervey White

“I will do what I like and go where I like without money, paying for my living as I go. Good advice has never driven it out of me.”

So begins our story of a man named Hervey White. A socialist, utopian thinker, Bisexual/Gay man, poet, writer, publisher, builder and philosopher on art and what it could be. White along with  Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead whom he had met at Jane Adams Hull House in Chicago, founded the Brydcliff Art Colony in Woodstock ( 2 ) and after awhile White grew tired of the bourgeois notions of art and life, that was dictated by Whitehead saying of him, “He would only employ people he could dictate to,” White wrote later, “and no self-respecting artist would ever stand for his dictation.”  bought a farm in West Hurley and so began the Maverick art colony. A running joke among some old timers I met in the Maverick was that Hervy White came to this side of the mountain because all the water ran down the other side and he thought that at Byrdcliff people took far too many baths. We read this about Hervey White: In 1905, White purchased a farm just outside Woodstock with Fritz van der Loo and Carl Eric Lindin, intended as a rustic haven for the three friends and their families. It quickly transformed into an intellectual meeting place and was named the Maverick; artists, writers, and musicians took up residence in minimalistic houses, usually little more than shacks, built on the property. White’s short-lived marriage to Byrdcliffe printmaker Vivian Bevans ended in 1908. According to Tom Wolff writing Hervey White”s Maverick Community and Its Artists “we learn White’s homosexual leanings, addressed overtly in his writings, are a possible cause. White would go on to build the Maverick into a thriving community with makeshift studios, a printing press, and a steady output of publications devoted to literature and the visual arts, most notably The Wild Hawk and The Plowshare. Hervey White even while espousing socialism lived as an anarchist, living according to his principles and never sold out to the bankers, the elite, the bourgeoise, to pretense, societies expectations of what a person should be. He expressed his love for men. Leaving us to wonder who these men were, these lovers of his. We look over the photo’s of the men involved with the Maverick community and wonder which ones. I suppose we could guess and our gaydar leads us to some of them. Where they only experimenting with the leader, the catch, the cool, were they true lovers or just a one-sided sexual encounter and then they ran back to their wives?

In The Land of Tomorrow Hervey wrote …”Here I sit on this lofty hill beside a ruin of which all archeologists have read, and I am thinking of Marselino, and how beautiful he is, and how he is going tomorrow and I will never look far back into those deep dark liquid love wells more. How surprised I was yesterday to see the difference in the color of our hands when clasped; his, so dark, almost as dark as a negro’s yet having nothing of the smoky greasy black, but a clear bronze.

Both the ruins and the view from this mountain top are grand, but I am tired now and heartsick. Still I will remember all as long as I live. If I forget the heart sickness no matter…I went to the river with them [the other Mexican hands] and as were riding together, he told me again how often he would think of me, he and Catalina [“his intended”] together, and how he would write, and he would be very angry if I did not send him a photograph for I was his dearest friend and then slowly:

‘I care a great deal for you.’

And when I replied that I liked him better than all the others he said simply: ‘I know.’

I could look at him then, and I saw the lines around the beautiful mouth were quivering and drawing, and his throat was writhing. He turned toward me quickly and his eyes met mine. Ah, the shining of those eyes! He smiled; and I saw in every feature that he was saying, “It is hard to bear, but we are strong.”

He was gay when we parted; but the soft tender light was shining in his eyes. As he pulled his horse about and took off his hat waving a last laughing lingering good bye, he made the most beautiful picture I have ever seen.”

The Land of Tomorrow created a stir for it announced White’s homosexuality.

Hervey White as Pan Maverick Festival

The Maverick Festivals began in 1915 as a means to raise money to dig a well for the Maverick community. The festival was conceived as a bohemian carnival filled with communal spirit to be held during the afternoon and evening of the August full moon. A theatrical spectacle began after dark with performances by artists, musicians and local people followed by a costume ball. Attendance at the festival grew and grew and became more and more difficult to control and by 1929 it was reported that over 6,000 people were in attendance. In 1931 White suspended the festival. While living on the Maverick Lucille Blanch told me of the wonderful parties that were held back “when I was young.” This is a picture of Lucille from a festival in 1922. (more…)

Join us and sing along to this wonderful rendition by Folk Hogan of Joe Hill’s There is Power In A Union.

 

“There Is Power in a Union” is one of Joe Hill’s most enduring recruiting songs. After his execution, the song was sung at his funeral in Salt Lake City and again at his funeral in Chicago. The song is performed here by Folk Hogan in Salt Lake City’s Sugar House Park, near the site where Utah’s state prison once stood and where Hill was executed by a firing squad on Nov. 19, 1915.

Lyrics:
Would you have freedom from wage slavery
Then join in the grand Industrial band
Would you from mis’ry and hunger be free
Then come! Do your share, like a man

There is power, there is power
In a band of workingmen
When they stand hand in hand
That’s a power, that’s a power
That must rule in every land
One Industrial Union Grand

Would you have mansions of gold in the sky
And live in a shack, way in the back?
Would you have wings up in heaven to fly
And starve here with rags on your back?
If you’ve had enough of “the blood of the lamb,”
Then join in the grand Industrial band
If, for a change, you would have eggs and ham
Then come! Do your share, like a man

There is power, there is power
In a band of workingmen
When they stand hand in hand
That’s a power, that’s a power
That must rule in every land
One Industrial Union Grand

If you like sluggers to beat off your head
Then don’t organize, all unions despise
If you want nothing before you are dead
Shake hands with your boss and look wise

There is power, there is power
In a band of workingmen
When they stand hand in hand
That’s a power, that’s a power
That must rule in every land
One Industrial Union Grand

Come, all ye workers, from every land,
Come join in the grand Industrial band
Then we our share of this earth shall demand
Come on! Do your share, like a man

There is power, there is power
In a band of workingmen
When they stand hand in hand
That’s a power, that’s a power
That must rule in every land
One Industrial Union Grand

For any reader who doesn’t know who Joe Hill was here is a song sung by Phil Ochs.

One of our all time favorite songs, The Preacher and the Slave or Pie in the Sky written by Joe Hill in 1911. At Christmas time when we pass the Salvation Army ringing their bells next to the collection kettles we love to sing,

“And the starvation army they play, And they sing and they clap and they pray, Till they get all your coin on the drum, Then they tell you when you are on the bum.”

We have said many times before that Archives and Footnotes are wonderful things as one finds many truths in the archives and in the footnotes a chance to further ones interests and education. A case in point here is found in one of our footnotes, first found as a one liner in the book Stonewall and then researched in the Hartford area by Richard Nelson. One person who many of us in Connecticut do not know about is Ivan Valentin, performer, artist, and freedom fighter. Ivan was an early trailblazer and was a forceful catalyst for change here in Connecticut in 1975, a change that was needed and a change that we all can thank him for every time we see one of our drag sisters performing in a Ct. bar, (see footnote) and each time let us remember to shout out Ivan Valentin Presente’

This new piece, While Paris Was Burning, Hartford Sizzled, would not have been possible without the archives of Jerimarie Liesegang, the mother of the Ct. Trans movement. As Jeri was going through her archives preparing her collection for presentation to Central Ct. State University Equity and Diversity Collection she came upon an article written by Rebecca Boyden about the House of Pleasure. The House of Pleasure was one of the Houses that operated for a time in Hartford along with The House of Everlasting Empire, The House of Nations, The House of Freedom, the House of Flava, and The House of Ebony. In 1993 Hartford’s first drag ball, “Hartford Sizzles” spearheaded in part by the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, and was held at the Project 100 Community Center. Other balls hosted by Houses were held from 1993-1997. The balls were not only a heck of a lot of fun but raised thousands of dollars over the years for HIV/AIDS organizations and other community groups.

Connecticut has a rich and long history in LGBTQ Advocacy and Activism. Yet we unfortunately do very little to document this amazing history, especially given the accessibility of the Internet and its archiving tools.  To this point, I (jerimarie) recall back in late 2003, I was chatting with Mucha at Tisane’s and he was relaying to me the Hartford Balls that were held in Hartford following a screening of When Paris Was Burning.  Having been a newcomer to the Greater Hartford area, I was not privy to this information and found his descriptions of the Balls utterly amazing.  I asked him if any of this was documented in detail and he said not really though he had VHS tapes of all the Balls.  So I said, let’s do a documentary on the balls so it can be preserved and be a historical archive for the community and allies.  So in late 2003 a project was born; and Jerimarie, her partner Anja, Mucha Mucha Placer the mother of the House of Pleasure and Kevin Smith produced a video of segments from the balls and interviews with the key participants to explain the balls and the categories created that were an important part of these events. The video was first shown at the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2004. We dedicate this piece on furbirdsqueerly to Anja who left us all too soon and to all the folks who continued our communities stories.

Below are select images of some of the first ball participants:

Greta in her sunflower outfit. (more…)

From Fight Back News

45,000 Demand Queer Liberation in NYC
By Michela Martinazzi | June 30, 2019
Read more articles in LGBTQ

Members of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression in alternative Pride march. (FightBack!News/Staff)

New York, NY – On Sunday, June 30, 45,000 marched in the alternative Pride in protest of the corporatized World Pride event happening at the same time. The rally and march were organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which formed as a response to last year’s Manhattan Pride celebration.

Every year, the city of Manhattan hosts one of the largest Pride parades in the world. As Manhattan is the birthplace of Pride, it’s fitting that the city should celebrate the monumental event of the Stonewall riots. However, as decades pass, Pride has turned from a militant march to a corporate parade. Last year was exceptionally glaring, as all the activists and organizers were placed at the end of the parade to let the cops, banks, electoral candidates, etc. lead the parade. A few groups attempted to resist and protest at the Pride parade last year, but it was clear that what was once a space for queer people to fight back had been taken over by corporate interests.

Organizers stated, “The 2019 Queer Liberation March is a people’s political march – no corporate floats, and no police in our march. This is a truly grassroots action that will mobilize the community to address the many social and political battles that continue to be fought locally, nationally and globally. We recognize the powerful legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion by highlighting the most marginalized members of our community.”

The march kicked off at Sheridan Square, opposite the Stonewall Inn, and thousands marched uptown to Bryant Park, where they picked up several thousands more. The route followed the original route marched by the Gay Liberation Front on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riot.
Throughout the whole march, people chanted about everything from Palestine, Black Lives Matter, immigration, to anti-war and anti-cop. Whenever the marchers passed an anti-people establishment, such as Chik-Fil-A or a Trump building, they would rowdily chant at it.

The march was completely unpermitted with very few cops present. The march ended in Central Park on the Great Lawn. Everyone gathered to listen to speeches, music, and celebrate being queer and militant. The rally opened with living members of the Gay Liberation Front, many who had been at Stonewall on that fateful evening. Speeches talked about needing queer liberation alongside the liberation of Palestine, fighting for climate change, acknowledging that they were speaking on stolen land, and needing a revolution to fully be free. The messaging of the day was that we will not be free until all of us are.

Check out photo’s and more at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/reclaimpridenyc/

 

Well I do. I was a bum then and I will be a bum until the day I die. But you know what the Capitalist, the cop, the corporations are bigger and meaner and the most nasty parasites on the face of the earth. So for this weekend enjoy being a bum, outside this dirty rotten system. For our weekend music enjoyment series let’s listen to Barbara Dane sing a reworked old IWW song, “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.”

Kent State songs: https://rateyourmusic.com/list/JBrumm… A collection of Vietnam War songs by Barbara Dane and GI’s, called “FTA! Songs of the GI Resistance” (1970). It included the song “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum” – this was a response to Nixon’s comment on 30 April 1970 (just before the Kent State shooting) when he spoke at the Pentagon, saying “you see these bums, you know, blowing up the campuses”. The Washington Post ran the headline “Nixon denounces campus ‘bums’ who burn books”, while the New York Times declared that “Nixon puts ‘bums’ label on some college radicals”. A father of one of those killed at Kent State later told a reporter that “My child was not a bum”. “Oh bums of the earth, you’ve got nothing to loose But the chains and the tear gas, the Dick Nixon blues Hallelujah, I’m a Bum, hallelujah, who are you?… When he first called us bums, didn’t know what he meant But the guards defined it on the campus at Kent… Well power corrupts, we know that by heart But you got to admit Nixon had a head start… Well, some say his name Is slippery Dick Well I guess he is no bum, be he sure is some (dick)”