Sunday, April 29, 2012

me kissing Jay

This is Jay Mays. I'd met her before, too. She's active in the Houston LGBT community and is a performer as well as an activist.

One project that she's been very involved in is called The Gender Book. It's a brief educational book intended as a primer for exploring all the ways gender is expressed. It's not a simple binary of boy and girl, no matter what some people might try to tell you.

Another one of her projects is the Houston Gendermyn, who perform here and there, now and then. At lunch she mentioned her Dorothy Hamill haircut, which I said was super cute. She then admitted that it also doubles for when she does drag as Justin Bieber. I might find that less super cute, but then I've yet to catch that show. If anyone could make Justin cute, it would be Jay.

me kissing Amy

This is Amy. I met her once before today, so this isn't one of the "hi, here we are at lunch, want a kiss?" photos. Some people have to ease into this whole getting kissed by a big fuzzy guy thing. And, as I hope I've made abundantly clear by now, I don't guerrilla kiss.

Amy is going to seminary. I told her it was a great experience for me, but also the weirdest place I'd ever been. I told her a story or two. She seems unswayed. Must be a call from God.

Of course, I didn't tell her all the stories . . . but there's really no preparation for it. I can tell she'll do well. Weirdness and all.

(Also: I love how our shirts match.)

me kissing Karen

Meet Karen. I just did. And I kissed her.

She was also at the lunch where I knew only half the people. Funny thing, she didn't know anyone. She'd visited at Grace Lutheran Church that morning, where most of the people had been that morning (not me---I'd been at another church) and had kind of got caught in the tide of people going to lunch together.

Oh those church people. You gotta watch 'em every second.

What was super cool about Karen is that she gave me a ride to the Galleria after lunch. I, who rely on Metro and the kindness of strangers, enjoyed a chat with Karen while driving down Westheimer. Very nice individual, but you can probably tell that by the fact that she went to lunch with a bunch of strangers and then let on of them kiss her while she winked.

In my book, that's the sign of quality people. I hope our paths cross again.

me kissing Hazard

This is Hazard Buck Jacobs. She has a lemon in her mouth. I just met her, so i can't explain further than that.

Honestly, I was at lunch with several people and knew only about half of them, but it was a bit of a rowdy crowd and so I just said, "okay, this is a kissing sort of gathering." So I got out my camera and asked who I could kiss. Someone had the internet in their pocket (I think they're called "smart phones?") and looked up my blog and then everyone I hadn't already kissed got on board.

This is how life is supposed to be. Lemons and all.

Friday, April 27, 2012

me kissing Megan

Megan Rohrer is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's first transgendered ordained pastor. So if you're Lutheran and queer, you've probably come across the name before.

Living in San Francisco, Megan came a long way to be kissed by me. Not that Megan knew that was the reason for the trip. As the keynote speaker for the annual Houston Transgender Unity Banquet, I'm sure Megan had other priorities in mind. Whatever. I'm still giving Megan a kiss of peace, to take back to San Francisco.

Megan's main ministry is to the homeless population of San Francisco. In anticipation of the the Unity Banquet, I interviewed Megan for Houston's OutSmart magazine, so learn more about that ministry by clicking here.

me kissing Jess

This is Jess. He's about to graduate from UH with a degree in math and physics or something really smart like that. I admit I can't keep up.

I got to know Jess when he started dating my friend Lura, who I kissed a couple of months ago. They're super cute together, arguing over who is the bigger dork. I'm sure I could call that match, personally, but it's fun to watch.

He's planning a graduation party, which he says requires everyone come cross-dressed. I've never done drag, personally, but I did hear myself saying if I could find something slinky with spaghetti straps (because I just don't think I have what it takes to keep up anything strapless), I'd go to his party---but I wasn't shaving anything I didn't already normally shave. This seems to suit him and Lura just fine.

As luck would  have it, I think I'm busy that night anyway.

me kissing Hal

This is Hal Core! (He asked for the exclamation point, and I'm nothing if not accommodating to my kissees.)

Hal is a friend I've gotten to know through my Lutheran circles, although we don't go to the same church. The main thing I know about Hal is that we share a little too much knowledge of comics superheroes. I've seldom been so envious as I was the time he posted on Facebook a picture of himself at a comics convention next to someone in a very good Nightwing costume.

If you recognize Hal, you probably fly a lot. Or, maybe now that you've seen him, you'll start flying more. Just be aware, he's in a long term relationship. They share a dog and everything. Don't go wrecking a home with a dog. Okay? Okay.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

me kissing Misha

Misha Penton was one of my first new friends when I moved to Houston. We met at Fieldwork and we immediately formed our own mutual admiration society.

Misha keeps busy. She's the brains and talent behind Divergence Vocal Theater, which has produced new opera and other vocal works. She's currently in the process of recording these new works as well as creating video components for them. That sounds not quite right. She's making music videos for her operas. I haven't seen any of the video footage yet, but I think I can safely predict that this won't be your basic taping of an opera performance. Predict? I can safely say for certain. Bookmark her the links above. You'll want to know more as these things develop.

Misha and I tend to laugh a lot. I love that she posed with a little madness in her eyes here. It's opera madness, a little larger than life and loads of fun.

Oh! And magical. Always magical.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

me kissing Lisa

Lisa Nicks is, of course, a dancer. I should do a count, figure out my percentage of dancers to everyone else on this blog.

Like the other Austin dancers I kissed this past weekend, I first became aware of Lisa when she joined the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company some years ago. I recall different things about Lisa's early days with Kathy, but it was when she danced a solo that I really sat up and took notice. It was in the context of having seen a few disappointing solos and beginning to lose faith in soloist in general.

Then I saw Lisa and I thought, "That's how it's done!"

Lisa's career started well before the KDHDC, most notably spending many years in New York City with the Doug Elkins Dance Company. She's now a founding member of Austin's newest company, Circuitous Dance / Kate Warren, which as I've mentioned before, was my reason for being in Austin to begin with.

I should also note Lisa's other creative outlet: postage stamp collage. It's pretty amazing stuff. Check out her website and be amazed how a bold dancer of big solos also sits still to create these pieces of art with postage stamps.

me kissing Olivia

Olivia is another Austin kiss from this past weekend.

The connection to Olivia is, I believe, primarily Lutheran, although we met at an ecumenical conference on activism for LGBT folk among churches. Or something like that. What we really bonded over was love lamentations, each having had recent heartbreaks.

Because, unlike me, Olivia actually dates (or dated), she's since found a lovely young woman to spend her life with and they're in the throes of planning a wedding. I met Olivia's intended just before this kiss and I have to say they make a cute couple.

Yes, even cuter than Olivia and me in this picture.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

me kissing Kathy

Kathy Dunn Hamrick is, that's right, a dancer. Choreographer. Teacher. All that. And I love she's making a face like, "why am I enduring this?"

I used to stumble around her studio, back when I lived in Austin. We politely called it taking class. She's great fun as a teacher. Serious about the dancing and technique, but there is always much laughter in her class. Or at least when I was in the class. Maybe it was just my dancing.

We still laugh a lot when we get together, which isn't often enough. I still try to make it to Austin whenever her company is performing. (The next chance being at the end of this month---click her name above, got to "Performances" and make your reservations. Trust me.).

I've written about her a couple of places, not only on my blogs, but also in  a national magazine (Dance Studio Life) and in an arts journal (The Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas). And here I am writing about her again.

Really. Go reserve your tickets for her show later this month. Thank me later.

me kissing Cherami

Another fuzzy photo from my Austin trip. I'm fairly certain I have to take full responsibility for the fuzziness of this. I was so off-balance in the pose I probably shook the whole hose. You'll note Cherami looks much more natural in the pose.

Cherami Conley Steadman. is another dancer. Yes, you can tell by the pose. It was her idea to have the full body pose pose for our kiss. And, of course, we're super cute, right?

I first saw Cherami dance in 2003 when she was the newest member of the Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company.  I was in Chicago at the time, and I remember getting an email from Kathy, telling me about this new dancer she had. I wish I could find that email because Kathy described her as, I think, "a young colt of a woman." She certainly was full of energy and enthusiasm. When I finally saw her dance, I could see why Kathy hired her. Energy of a young colt? Yes, but very focused, I thought. Very precise in her execution.

This is my favorite Cherami story. It was towards the end of her stay in the KDHDC, when I went to see them perform in Austin. I couldn't find Cherami in the company. I kept watching for her because I loved her dancing so much and I kept thinking, "where's Cherami? I thought Cherami was going to be in this show." Meanwhile, there was one woman with very short cropped hair that I kept being drawn to. She was phenomenal! I watched her and thought, "Wow, where did Kathy get this dancer, she's awesome!":

Of course, after the show, I go backstage to see Kathy and the dancers and I see the buzz-cut woman walking towards us and I finally recognize Cherami. Which just goes to show you, I really did find her to be a fine dancer, even when I didn't recognize her!

She's now in Circuitous Dance / Kate Warren and is also an independent choreographer. If you see she's on a bill somewhere, make it a priority. She's still an awesome dancer.

me kissing Lou

Lou is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and in my misspent youth as a seminarian, I worked with him for a semester in Campus Ministry. He met me for dinner while I was in Austin. I hadn't seen him since 2001, so maybe a kiss was in order.

I say he met me for dinner, but he didn't really eat. Like a good Lutheran (which I am not), he had a beer. On the other hand, it was a Dos Equis, which I'm pretty sure isn't what Martin Luther drank---although I imagine Brother Martin would have, had he had a chance, so I guess it's all within sound doctrine.

Retirement is treating Lou well, it seems. Look at that smile.

Monday, April 2, 2012

me kissing Kate

Well, dang it, I have two takes on me kissing Kate, and both of them were a little blurry. This is the better of the two, though, and since she's 3 hours away, I'm going with it.

Kate is a dancer, choreographer, teacher . . . well, I've written about the school she and Kathy Dunn Hamrick run for Dance Studio Life. Go read that. And I was in Austin to see the debut performance of her new company, Circuitous Dance/Kate Warren, and I interviewed her about that on my seldom updated Orts on Arts blog. I probably said all I need to say about her in that other blog, so I'll hold off gushing here.

Except to say that if you missed the first performances of Circuitous Dance, you should be crying. It was a wonderful show. It was thoroughly a modern dance performance, steeped in precise technique and detail, and big on the ideas and emotion. She has a group of lovely dancers who have committed to working together for 3 years and they were off to a super-fine start.

(After kissing so many Houston dancers, it was great to get to Austin and kiss a couple of dancers there, which I'll post in the next day or two . . . so, yeah, dancers seem to be the established overriding theme of this blog . . .)

me kissing Jillie

This superstar poet Jill Alexander Essbaum.


Well, Jillie and I have been friends for a while and when I briefly ran a micropress, I published one of her volumes of poetry. We used to go to the same church and would be the giggly teenagers in the pew, despite being old enough to know better.

She's repeat offender in Poetry Magazine. (I! KNOW!) and she teaches at the low residency MFA in creative writing program at UC Riverside.  So, yeah, superstar poet. You should pay her to read at your college or wherever. She's an awesome reader of her work. And it's good. Just beware of age-appropriateness. She writes a lot about Jesus and sex, not (usually) at the same time, but those are her two main themes. Not for the easily offended. Still, if you have an adult audience for poetry, you should totally bring her in. She's read all over the U.S, so maybe you've already heard her.

Anyway, that's my superstar poet friend, Jillie S-Bomb. I sometimes call her Frieda.