Archive for the ‘In Remembrance’ Category

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…)

This piece was first published years ago  on Punkpink is a Bandits Tip. Today we dedicated this piece to our comrades who love buns and know any bun will do. We try to publish this work during the Easter Week in memory of the Miracle In My Studio Kitchen and for all our friends who celebrate this time of year.

Since it is Easter Week for our Christian Buddies I thought we would have a little fun with some Hot Cross Buns. To get us in the festive mood let us all join in singing the Hot Cross Buns song. Now don’t be shy, you can do it. GO______

 

Now wasn’t that nice? So I want to tell you what I found out about Hot Cross Buns that old time favorite for the Easter Week.  I also want to tell you a little story about a miracle in my studio kitchen that had our  artist friends and many others standing in line, paying a quarter to go through my door. First we will start with the old tale and then work out from there.

 

This is a picture of a Hot Cross Bun.

According to legend Hot Cross Buns were eaten by the Saxons in honor of the goddess Eostre with the cross cut into the buns to symbolize the four quarters of the moon. Eostre was the goddess of dawn, rebirth and spring. She comes forth dressed in white bringing light to all ending the darkness and cold of winter. Symbols associated with her are the hare and egg. The Anglo-Saxon month Eostur-monath is the equivalent to the month of April.

Image result for eostre

During early missionary efforts, the Christian church adopted the buns and re-interpreted the cross in 1361. The buns along with Roman Catholicism was banned in England until Queen Elizabeth 1st passed a law allowing the consumption of Hot Cross Buns only on Easter, Christmas and funerals. (more…)

Marielle Franco, presente! Today is one year since Franco, a Black queer councilwoman, was murdered in Brazil. This week, two former police officers were arrested suspected of carrying out her murder. Her life should inspire us to fight for the rights of the most marginalized sectors as a path to liberate us all.

Meet organizers defending Marielle’s legacy and fighting against the right wing in Brazil at Feminism for the 99% – Women’s Conference

#mariellefrancopresente

Frank Little Poster

To Frank Little (25th of August 1917)

by Viola Gilbert Snell

Traitor and demagogue,

Wanton breeder of discontent –

That is what they call you –

Those cowards, who condemn sabotage

But hide themselves

Not only behind masks and cloaks

But behind all the armoured positions

Of property and prejudice and the law.

Staunch friend and comrade,

Soldier of solidarity –

Like some bitter magic

The tale of your tragic death

Has spread throughout the land,

And from a thousand minds

Has torn the last shreds of doubt

Concerning Might and Right.

Young and virile and strong –

Like grim sentinels they stand

Awaiting each opportunity

To break another

Of slavery’s chains.

For whatever stroke is needed.

They are preparing.

So shall you be avenged.

What a wonderful poem by Viola Gilbert Snell in honor of Frank Little. We publish this poem today along with a picture of Frank and his motto No War But Class War to remind folks that we have a big job to do here in this country. We can not fight Uncle Scams imperialist wars, take part in the war machine, cross class lines and fight for the Capitalist class but must do everything in our power to oppose those who stand in the way of a new day.