What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!

Me and my new friend from the Westboro Baptist Crazyhouse.  I liked her signs SO MUCH that I decided to take a picture with her!

Me and my new friend from the Westboro Baptist Crazyhouse. I liked her signs SO MUCH that I decided to take a picture with her!

Posted by TERESA

I have returned from Washington DC after having spent the night and participated in the National Equality March!  I stayed with ELLYS in her new apartment (with her fabulous roomie, Jackie) that I now covet SO HARD.  Seriously, if there were a way for me to magically transport her place to Astoria (and pay the same rent), I totally would.  Alas, I don’t want to move to DC, so awesome and less expensive places like that remain out of reach…  Anyway, it was so great to hang out with Ellys.  It was the first time we’d really hung out just the two of us – she’s good people, that one.

I’m so glad I decided to participate in this march.  It’s the kind of thing that I always want to do, but always find an excuse not to.  This time, even though I was exhausted from a really difficult week, I decided to go.  And because I went, four other people (namely, Ellys, Jackie, and their friends, Christine and Michael) decided to march, too!  That’s all it takes, sometimes.  No one ever wants to be the first person to do anything, but very often, if you’re willing to take that first step, people will be willing to follow.

It was a beautiful day to be marching, and the vibe in the crowd was great.  And WHAT A CROWD!  It was enormous.  When we got to the already-crowded mall at the Capitol, the incoming crowd was still 7 blocks deep!  Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

This picture was SUCH an accident, but I love it. Everyone is pointing up at something - and even the traffic lights are pointing up! What's everyone looking at???

This picture was SUCH an accident, but I love it. Everyone is pointing up at something - and even the traffic lights are pointing up! What's everyone looking at???

They're looking at this. :) An honest-to-goodness RAINBOW in the sky. It hadn't rained since the day before, so there was no real reason for a rainbow to be out at all. Oh, and there are also little birds flying overhead in the sun. Seriously, if ever there were a sign that I was doing the right thing by participating in this march, this is it. After all, rainbows usually mean God feels bad and is making a promise not to be angry with us or hurt us. At least, they did that ONE time.... :)

They're looking at this. 🙂 An honest-to-goodness RAINBOW in the sky. It hadn't rained since the day before, so there was no real reason for a rainbow to be out at all. Oh, and there are also little birds flying overhead in the sun. Seriously, if ever there were a sign that I was doing the right thing by participating in this march, this is it. After all, rainbows usually mean God feels bad and is making a promise not to be angry with us or hurt us. At least, they did that ONE time.... 🙂

Ellys and me at the march.  She couldn't BELIEVE she was in a pink article of clothing!  :)

Ellys and me at the march. She couldn't BELIEVE she was in a pink article of clothing! 🙂

Michael and Ellys

Michael and Ellys

Jackie, Ellys, and Christine

Jackie, Ellys, and Christine

Bringing the march to the White House

Bringing the march to the White House

Michael, Jackie, Ellys, and Christine bring the march to the Capitol

Michael, Jackie, Ellys, and Christine bring the march to the Capitol

The crowd at the Capitol

The crowd at the Capitol

This sign was so beautiful and simple.  I loved it.

This sign was so beautiful and simple. I loved it. "My wife is fighting for peace in the Middle East. I'm fighting for her."

Obama made a lot of big promises in his speech this weekend to the Human Rights Campaign.  He said he is going to be the one to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  He said he promised Matthew Shepard’s mother that he would pass hate crimes legislation.  He said he was an advocate for the LGBT community.  I believe he really means that.  I just hope he has the courage to follow through.  There are many, many people –  gay, straight, and bi; male, female, and trans; citizens – who will not let up until he does.

Special thanks to SWiSH for organizing a group to march.  If any of you are looking for a way to get involved in the fight for equality, this org. would be a great place to start.

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Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 2:08 AM  Comments (4)  
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Representin’ the Heteros!

nationalequalitymarch

Posted by TERESA

Shhh.  Come here.  *looks over both shoulders*  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Are you ready?  Here it is:

You don’t have to be gay to support gay rights.

I know, right?  Isn’t that insane?!  But it’s TRUE!  In fact, it makes a strong statement if you’re NOT gay and support gay rights, because you’re making the point that civil rights belong to everyone, and that if one group’s rights are not being honored, it’s everyone’s problem.

If you have gay/lesbian/bi friends or family and you think it’s high time they had the same rights to get married, be employed, be protected from violent crimes, and serve in the military that you do; or if you  don’t, but just believe that American citizens should not be denied rights based solely on who they decide to sleep with, join me this weekend as I march in the National Equality March in Washington D.C.

I’m going with a wonderful organization called SWiSH (Straight Women in Support of Homos!), a gay-straight alliance that works toward LGBT equality.  I’ll be staying with the lovely ELLYS at her new place in D.C. tomorrow night, and we’ll be participating in preparatory events tomorrow night leading up to the march on Sunday!  If you’d like to go with me, and you have my info, contact me.  Otherwise, visit the SWiSH website and email them directly for info on how you can participate.

And if you can’t come to Washington this weekend, support SWiSH and organizations like it with your money and your time.  Talk up the cause to anyone and everyone you know.  Be brave.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for a group of which you’re not a part.  Do that, and it’s more likely that people will stand up for you when you need it.

Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 6:05 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Karma

red hair

Posted by TERESA

It’s a brave thing to live your artistic dreams in the face of naysayers and practical meaners-well.  That wasn’t a word before, but it is now.  In any case, it’s a brave thing to try and make a living doing what you really love.  Sometimes it works really well (see Stephen King’s career) and sometimes it doesn’t.  Very often, it doesn’t because we live in a society that values success, but doesn’t value the getting there.  Our society values the awards, TV appearances, lecture tours that are the product of success, but they don’t acknowledge how difficult it is to get to that point.  I suppose it doesn’t make as interesting a blurb on the news, or as light-hearted a sidebar in a magazine…

I came across this link via Neil Gaiman’s Twitter today (why does talking about anyone’s “Twitter” always sound so dirty?).  I don’t know why it struck such a chord with me.  Maybe it’s because she does what I do.  Maybe it’s because she’s my age.  Or maybe it’s because I believe we should value our artists, not just when they “hit it big”, but always.  Anyway, read it.  Check out Catherynne M. Valente’s other work at her website.  If you’re into it, subscribe to her book.  The internet is about free content, but it’s also a means by which artists can make a living by connecting them directly with people (like us!) who might appreciate their work.

Published in: on June 11, 2009 at 6:32 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Introducing the Itinerant Felines

Posted by LINDSAY

Better late than never- the revolving door blog has been open for business for quite a while already, and we have yet to formally introduce the most recent denizens of our humble abode:

Angel/Demon Spawn

Angel,

Sophie/ Demon Shit

and Sophie.

These somewhat maleficent moggies have been amusing us  (and wreaking havoc ) for nearly two months now.  They found their way to us through Animal Care and Control’s Safety Net program. Safety Net provides free pet boarding to people experiencing hardship while they get back on their feet, so that they don’t have to give up their animals.

Angel and Sophie come from a very loving single parent family in the Bronx (who spoiled them rotten), that was evicted from their apartment after mom lost her job. The kitties will be hanging out with us until their people have gotten settled into a new place. I think it’s safe to say we are all hoping that that will be sooner rather than later, for both our sakes and theirs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love cats- these two definitely have their cute moments (primarily when they’re sleeping). And Sophie plays fetch, which is adorable. But Angel… Well, I’ve never come across a cat so bent on mass destruction. We’re all starting to feel like grandparents who are eagerly awaiting that moment when their children come back from the weekend away, so the grandkids can be taken back where they came from.

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 6:27 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Volunteer Activist Corner: Commune Cohort at AIDS Walk New York

AIDS walk

Posted by TERESA

One of the many reasons why we started this blog was to promote all the cool things we Itinerant Artists at The Commune and our group of Cohorts are up to.  Some of them are art-related, but some of them are just about us getting out there and trying to make the world a better place!

Commune Cohort, LORI, is walking in AIDS Walk New York this Sunday.  Being that I’m lazy and not doing the walk this year, I donated 50 of my hard-earned dollars to this worthy cause.  You might want to jump on this bandwagon, too!  🙂  To donate to Lori’s efforts, CLICK HERE.

Putting “The Girl Effect” Into Effect

Posted by TERESA

It’s always been a priority of mine to find time to do whatever I can to change the world for the better.  I don’t want to just float through life without interacting with my community.  I don’t want so see problems and let them slide because they’re “too big.”

And yet, they are indeed very big.  And varied.  Where to start?  Poverty?  The environment?  The AIDS crisis?  Corruption in government?  Human rights violations?  It seems so easy in an election year.  I get extremely politically active around a US Presidential election, because what I can do seems concrete.  Get these officials elected, and you’re that much closer to having the world you want.  But what about the rest of the time?

Last year, I came across an amazing website, The Girl Effect, and it allowed me to finally be able to focus my charitable efforts.  Check out this video:

Suddenly, it became clear that, as a feminist who wants to leave the world a little better than it was when I came into it, focusing on charities/initiatives that benefit young women and girls makes the most sense for me. Here are two programs in which I’m currently involved:

iMentor – Don’t have time to mentor a child? Uh…can you send an email once a week? Can you meet up with someone once a month? If the answer to both those questions is “Yes”, then you have time to be a mentor to a high school student in NYC. iMentor is an amazing organization for which I’ve been volunteering since October, mentoring a lovely young woman named Mariah.  You are paired with a student of your gender for either a 1-year or a 2-year commitment, and your only job is to let that student know that they are cared about, and that you are there to help them in any way they need.  Most of the time I feel really ill-prepared to do this!  🙂  I mean, I’m 29 and I still don’t have a lot of my shit together!  But Mariah and I are getting to a place where there’s mutual respect, and she knows that she has someone in her corner.  I’ll be with her for another school year, during which I’ll be helping to prepare her for college.  We’ll see how that goes!  Also, I’m taking a lot away from the relationship, too!  She gave me a pep talk about my writing once, and I was like “Hey!  I thought I was mentoring you!”  It’s an awesome, two-way street.

(NOTE: EVEN THOUGH I’M MENTORING A GIRL, AND THIS POST IS ABOUT FOCUSING ON YOUNG GIRLS, THIS ORGANIZATION ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE HURTING FOR MALE VOLUNTEERS.  SO IF YOU’RE A DUDE, AND YOU THINK YOU CAN BE A ROLE MODEL TO A YOUNGER DUDE, YOU SHOULD CHECK THEM OUT.  THEY REALLY NEED YOUR HELP)

Children’s International – You’ve dodged their blue-smocked representatives in the street, right?  Yeah, well one of them caught me in a philanthropic mood at the end of last year, and I’m currently sponsoring a child.  Her name is April Mae (I’m not making that up), she’s 9, and living in The Phillipines.  She’s adorable, and has already sent me a letter.  It’s $21 a month, which feels like a lot sometimes, but certainly feels better than the more stupid things I’ve spent my money on in the past.

I love dealing with children, and making the world better for young girls in particular is important to me, so these one-on-one ways of volunteering make sense for me.  Rather than biting off more than I can chew, I can focus my attention on one little girl, knowing that that might cause a ripple effect (or a girl effect) of good, either by what she grows up to do, or by telling lovely people like you about what I’m doing in the hopes that you’ll follow suit.  🙂  So, what are you waiting for?

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 11:15 PM  Leave a Comment  
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