Theatre Company of Special Needs Performers get Funky with Shakespeare

Lisa Haas

Please help me spread the word about the amazing special needs theatre company: DreamStreet.
Based in Brooklyn, NY, DreamStreet is an important creative resource in the special needs community. Their mission is to create a socially creative community for special needs individuals with a passion for performance to grow their talents and show the world just how uniquely able they are.
This company will be performing their first classical production of Midsummer Night’s Dreaming this coming June 12 & 13. (Details below.)
If you know any special needs individuals or families in the NYC area with special needs who would have an interest in seeing this upcoming production, interested in DreamStreet summer workshops, or becoming a company member, please help spread the word about this unique organization!
Midsummer Night’s Dreaming is a contemporary(ish) twist on William Shakespeare’s tale of runaway brides, funky fairies and tinkers with talent. Show…

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Big steps

I was invited to moderate on okcupid! Which is a weird concept because it’s like an invitation to do free labor.  And isn’t my loyalty to a dating website also like a pretty strong indication it’s not working so well? But whatever cause I feel powerful and I could use all the points I can get from the (seriously fucked up) gods of internet dating.  Gotta say, everything so far is pretty tame, making me feel more like a censor (or someone with the option to censor) than a protector of my fellow internet daters.

Also, I went on the first third date I’ve been on since I was twenty three!  We went to a museum for contemporary art.  At first I was concerned because she seemed to want to explore at her own pace without talking and I started to wonder if this was a date at all.  But then I walked into the sonic installation room and found her sitting in the center of a speaker garden with her eyes closed and she sat there without opening them for a good amount of time.  Then she walked around the room crouching by different flower speakers and continued to do so after a guard asked her to not get so close.  Then she came over to me to exchange thoughts and we started discussing the installation and then music and then we talked nonstop through the rest of the museum, our drive out of the city, burgers and a long walk.  She has strong opinions about abstract concepts and wants to know everything about music.  She loves thinking about the zombie apocalypse and she informed me that should one be living through a post apocalypse, the two biggest threats are other people and depression.  I like her.  I want to know more about her.  How do you know if someone is into you if she, like myself, is a bit timid and inexperienced with such things? Without having to directly ask, I mean. I want to take it to the next level but I really don’t know how.

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A Few Bindings

The Daily Gargle

Clamorous Reader,

It’s been a busy month, which has kept this ever-digressing space of internet clean of kind ramblings. Allow me to gladly break that unnatural quiet with some more-natural nonsense. I’ve been bookbinding:

I’ve got a couple of books still in-between bindings, with pages here and there and stitching half finished – one being my huge project that I’ve been working on since the start of February, and is about a third on the way to being back into a usable book.

But anyway, onward to the finished stuff!

I had a chance to do a half-leather binding for the first time in a good while – a binding where the spine and corners are leather, but the majority of the boards are covered in marbled paper. This little early-19th century history of London had pretty much nothing but bare boards and the rugged remains of a spine when…

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Handmade Books

richard shimell

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I’ve recently learned how to make handmade sketchbooks/journals and have been practising. It’s quite straightforward, but fiddly and time-consuming cutting the paper, sewing it all together, then cutting backcloth to cover the spine, but rewarding to make something. I think they look good with a print on the cover and back from my drawer of proofs. Now I need to see if anyone wants to buy one.

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At the movies

The Flannel Files

Rae Spoon“Gender is stupid.”

That’s  the best line from My Prairie Home, a documentary about transgender folk singer Rae Spoon.

My Prairie Home is part movie, part music video.  Haunting.  Beautiful.  Brilliant.

Spoon tells about growing up different in a conservative household ruled by a parent with mental illness.

I especially enjoyed the way Spoon tackles complex issues using simple lyrics.

Here are the lyrics to one song that I really liked:

Sunday Dress

When I was a little girl. I thought I had to hold up the world. Singing “Hallelujah” in the choir to keep my feet out of the fire.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

When I was fourteen the devil came for me. Showed me hell could be pretty. I had a poster at the end of my bed. Kurt Cobain in a wedding dress.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My…

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Lesbian Hookers All Summer Long

This movie spoke to me on every level and made me laugh out loud. Highly recommend as it happens to be on netflix and I now need someone to talk to about it.

Lisa Haas

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I am excited to announce THE FOXY MERKINS will be screening in the U.S. and abroad this summer — and I will at many of those festivals!

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I will in in New Orleans for the OUTakes film festival on Thursday, July 10th at 8:45pm and Sunday, July 13th at 6:15pm. (AND, “Valencia: The Movie/s” will also screen on Friday, July 11th at 9:15pm. I’m in Silas Howard’s Chapter 9 AKA the One-eyed Dog!)

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Director Madeleine Olnek and co-star Jackie Monahan will be in Ireland at the Galway Film Fleadh on Thursday, July 10th at 16:15 (military time).

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Catch a LIVE interview with me, Monahan and Olnek on Saturday, July 12th at 10:00am Pacific time. We will be on California Women 411 promoting our Outfest screening on KPTR Radio AM 1450. Call us with your questions!

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I will be joining Madeleine, Jackie, Susan Zieger and other cast member in Los Angeles for…

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My Sad Indigo Violet Vulva

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I can’t do work because of internet problems so I suddenly remembered I’m a far side of the spectrum introvert butch with lots of hobbies.  What happens to sexual urges deferred?  This piece, from my blue phase, is called I’m not getting laid right now.  Interesting piece of trivia, the last person I spoke to from OKC brought up “The Cunt Coloring Book” because I list it as one of my favorite books on my profile.  After several consecutive nights of fairly lengthy texting, she left mid conversation and I never heard from her again.

Another piece of trivia: one of my first dates ever was to the permanent feminist exhibit at the Brooklyn museum of art.  My date disparagingly wondered aloud “why is women’s art always about vaginas?” And then we walked into Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party.  

The first time I went to that exhibit was with a high school friend who I had been immensely infatuated with at age fifteen.  I’m sitting beside an old journal that catalogues the highs I felt around her and the lows I felt when I worried she was mad at me. I never got mad at her until the last time we saw each other when I was twenty-two and I cut her off forever with little explanation and it’s probably the worst thing I have ever done to another person to date.

My current roommate was also with me on that first visit and I wasn’t overtly “out” to her but she seemed to know I had come out to our other friends and would make insinuating jests that made me feel insanely vulnerable and furious like the way she patted my back and said “have fun” as I stood studiously over the vulvar renderings and started delving deeper in my own gender exploration.

The third time I went to the exhibit was during my year of almost complete isolation when I was eating the same bland things every day and going for spontaneous five mile walks when it was very brisk and would end up walking through museums feeling like a ghost.  I don’t know why I believed I was invisible that year or maybe that was the year I started to learn I wasn’t invisible but the butch security guard in the Dinner Party room winked at me and it meant so much to me even though I have no idea why she winked at me, here I am writing about it 6 years later.

I should be going on a date this Thursday.  Maybe something will finally come of it.  My childhood is almost packed so that my parents can demolish their house.  Everyone is complaining that it is still cold here and I don’t say anything because people look at me like I’m satan when I say this but I’m really going to miss the weather.  I hate summer clothes and the dysphoria they bring.  Immensely.

cake pops, personal baggage and anger management

My lil’ sister told me she had a dream in which we were both executed by bow and arrow. She prefaced it with “it was so horrible, you don’t even want to know”.  She was right, I really hadn’t wanted to know.

I try to abstain from hearing other people’s dreams, especially when I’ve made a cameo through no fault of my own.  It’s jarring to find out how someone else’s subconscious sloppily pieces you together.  Why is it benign to anecdotally describe how I annoyed you so much in your dream that you had to punch me in the face?  You’ve confirmed my suspicions with a smile on your face (in front of all my coworkers, thanks, boss).  It’s akin to being set up by friends, a well-intentioned gesture until you show up for dinner facing the person you know your friends look down on.  You’re not disappointed in the date, just in the new awareness you have about your own worth in your friends’ eyes.

I braced myself for the worst as though my little sister was going to say “you were a sad lonely spinster with lots of hobbies and we all felt so sorry for you.”  So I was relieved to find out the story was a one sentence retelling of a somewhat unlikely demise.  We were making cake pops.  I chuckled at the dream and she seemed less sure it was funny.  She was right though.  We are, of course, vulnerable.

On a recent Saturday I woke up to find two equally bizarre text messages that could not have been more ominous in how they were timed together.  One was a long text about not letting the devil into your life, a concept not entirely objectionable when completely removed from context.  However, the way to prevent the devil from coming into your life is, apparently, to forward the text message to ten other people.  Well…oops.  I don’t like being reminded that I don’t know ten people or that I’m always the dead end for chain mail or that I am passively sinning yet again.

Text message two was from an old friend “D” that I happened to have been infatuated with for roughly seven years.  “D” is a man I met at 18, when I still believed I liked men but only a narrow subset of them.  So he basked in my awe for his body and popularity and I basked in his awe for my…I don’t even know really.  And we had a fun year of getting drunk and falling on top of each other followed by 6 years of my inability to stop daydreaming what if while he popped in and out of my life depending on his volatile relationship to alcohol.  If he was trying to clean up his act, he was on the phone crying to me each night.  But when he gave up on sobriety, he ignored me, flaked out on me in every borough, mocked me for expressing concern.  I developed a weird relationship to my phone and the amount of grief it gave me for either not ringing or for finally ringing.

No matter how many times throughout those years in New York I reinvented myself, whenever “D” contacted me, I crumbled.  I couldn’t fathom why someone reaches out to say “hi, you’re important let’s be friends I’m sorry” only to rescind it, leave you hanging, suggest you shouldn’t be friends after all.  Each reconnection resulted a spiral. First angry texts that kept me up all night and and then single spaced apologetic emails that included bullet-pointed reasons for why we should still be friends.

I loathed him as an individual.  He got away with saying things that would make me get up and leave a conversation with other people.  It was a compulsive attachment.  I used to wonder each day when I got off the train would there be a single day before I died when I didn’t think of him.  I still can’t even think of stepping off the F train at my stop without also remembering that thought.

I basically had to move cities.  If only I had cared about anything else only half as much during my twenties.  Perhaps I’d have a rewarding relationship or a career I cared about or a lot more knowledge.  Three years passed since moving away and I rarely think about him and when I do, it is with relief that that phase is over.

I sat with the messages for a good two days before telling anyone about them, much less responding to them.  The first, I decided to forget about.  It crossed a boundary and I didn’t want to embarrass my little sister by making a big deal of it.  I responded to “D”, gave him some updates (although not many).  I debated ways of asking “are you getting sober again” but I didn’t need to because he spit it out first.  A new boyfriend helping him get sober; he thinks about me a lot; he’s rereading unaccustomed earth, the only book that I gave him and he actually read.  I sent him a few texts throughout the week.  I feel like I’m trying to drink only one glass of wine when the bottle’s right in front of me.  It’s why I don’t drink.  I know I’ve changed and I’m better.  But it doesn’t mean I’m not still vulnerable to this.

Back at the cake pops my little sister tells me that her cousin had a “mental something” and had to go to a certain type of hospital.  Breakdown? “Yes,” she says before laying down details I actively try not to show any reaction to.  The pieces fall into place.  There’s some relief knowing the text hadn’t been sent for the purpose of revealing my atheistic horns with the lesbian hooves.  My best friend was institutionalized when I was 15.  I still replay the events and it’s a decade and a half later.  At least she got help I tell my little sister, wondering if she is as mad as I was when the world seemed to say “you know that person you love and relate to?  Yeah, they see things so distortedly that we are going to remove them from life for a bit.”

I’m glad I have this moment to bake and talk about life but I’m a little worried when the cake pops end up on the floor and my little sister stands by the window to silently deal with her frustration. They aren’t perfect easter chicks.  In defense of her anger:

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