Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 24, 2009 and Jan 14, 2010: Damien Luxe. Femmes Fight Back

Femmes Fight Back is a travelling roadshow that encourages people to talk about their various femme and sex worker activism projects, build queer and femme community, and remember femme heroines.

This interview was conducted in Dec. 2009, and aired on December 24, 2009 and January 14, 2010.

Part 1: Damien told me the story of the development of the Femmes Fight Back project, and tour, and the role it played in femme community building in her home city of New York, and in the places she went across North America, in her conversion van.

We talked about taking seriously the work you do, and considering this, when you talk about the projects you work on, regardless of how much or little you get paid for them. (A very important point! I am thinking about it all the time! It is my new motto for 2010).

Part 2: Damien talks about the role of sex workers and sex worker activism in the Femmes Fight Back project. Damien talks me about how sex workers and femmes are the 2 main axis of her feminism, and her world. Of course, these identities overlap. Damien identifies femmes for their (and her) fierceness, sense of power, agency and clear mindedness. And sex workers for their (and her) sense of choice, dignity and independance, being self directed, self motivated. Damien says "Sex workers in femme activism are the fierce ass mothers sisters neighbour boyfriends, girlfriends who are willing to put their minds and bodies on the line, because that is not a foreign concept to them".

We discuss Femme Visibility, and Femme Remembrance.

The role of femmes in the world of compulsive heterosexuality. The experience of sexual harrassment. The power of having a whole room of femmes together. What that means. Creating community and increasing femme visibility.

And then we talked about the butch nod and the femme glance. I have to say i love the butch nod. Thats when i see another butch person and its such a relief and thrill and we give a little nod to each other. Butch nodding was especially exciting when i used to go to community college on the edge of a suburb, and it was a very isolating experience. it was so good to nod to other butches in the halls.

Damien talks about the femme version of the butch nod. "I'm trying to give them a little shot of strength, like Boom, I'm trying to tell them that I love them.. I think being in a room with a whole bunch of femmes helps to develop the femme glance, instead of the nod."

We ended this episode discussing jealousy and competition within the femme community,

"Maybe we can both get what we want. this idea that there is only so much love to go around and only so much money is kind of capitalist in a lot of ways, you know?"

This is a rad, inspiring interview. Make sure you listen to it.

Damien performs under the name Axon D'Lux, and is regular in the world as Hadassah Damien.

Check out Femmes Fight Back, and other rad projects, at:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 17 2009, and January 7 2010: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Part One and Two)

(photo by Chris Hammett)

Mattilda . Many Ways to Sleep Badly. Writing about decay, and politics, and community. Writing about sex work, sex, and roaches.

How do I write about this interview when all I want to do is gush, and fall off my chair? This interview was done on Dec. 16 2009, and aired in two parts: on Dec. 17 2009, and Jan. 7 2010.

Part 1: Mattilda starts by reading an excerpt from So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (published by City Lights). There is something dynamic and important in hearing Mattilda's voice to read the words. Stories loop back on themselves. We get to know people slowly and all over the place. It feels real life, even though this book is very different from my life. Hyper real. Referencing the BBC and NPR. Irony, humor, politics.

We also talk about Mattilda's writing process for this book.

Political decay. Decay inside the apartment.Chronic pain, sex and tricks. Politics, and activism. Relationships, and friendships.
putting it all in the same place. leveling the playing field. Explaining Less. Writing about music, and dreaming, roaches, rats,parks and pigeons.

Part 2: Mattilda talks about what it means for her to write about sex work, and sex in general and highlights some of her reccomendations for other authors who write about sex work, Carol Queen and David Wojnarowicz among them.

We finish the interview by talking about the value and pitfall of The International Day to End Violence Against sex work.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore was generous, passionate and so so so insightful in this interview. It. Was. So. Great!

Read her books. Check out her website.

Contact me for a copy of this interview.

December 3, 2009: Danielle Dyson! Quilts, Films, and Family

Danielle Dyson lives in Guelph, and works as a cinematographer. She collaborated with the work of her son, Taj Dyson, and her mother Sheila Dyson to put together Home Again, an interactive installation at Ed Video.

Home Again features Quilts by Shelia, Animation by Taj, family heirlooms, Films by Danielle and sticks, dirt, snow, and bark.

In this interview, Danielle walked me through the space, telling me the history of various family objects, describing the films that were going to play, projected on quilts. Danielle's films in this piece are memories, dreams, evoking childhood, adulthood, seasons, life and death.

Danielle wants to break boundaries of how quilts are presented. I think she successeds.

november 26 2009: See-through Rainbow Bugs Everyone Can Make! The Spectra Focus!

Paul Winstanley invented the Spectra Focus over 25 years ago on the west coast. The Spectra Focus uses a crystal and sunlight, or a light bulb with metallic surfaces such as mirrors, metallic mylar, metal cooking bowls and other things to project magic rainbow membrane 3-D shapes on a wall, ceiling, floor, outside of house, or whatever.

Paul has brought the Spectra focus to schools, festivals, concerts, science fairs, and people's homes. Its a moving, interactive, all ages animation project.

In this interview Paul and I discuss the history of the Spectra Focus, and his interest in creating experiences where people feel like they are seeing something they have never seen before, and they appreciate humanity and the beauty that nature brings us. Paul talks about studying perception and alternating states of consciousness.

See it for yourself at

November 19, 2009: Sweetie Box Studios

"Fashion is so easy, style is much harder" -Amy Smania

Amy Smania lives down the street from me. She has a workshop in her backyard that looks from the park like a secret shed. Inside though, its roomier than you would imagine. There is an electric stove, and enough room for Amy to make jewerly, and display it in an area that looks like a dreamy living room dressingroom studio.

We met on a rainy night with a portable recorder in Amy's workshop, to talk about her work. Amy has been making jewelery for over 20 years. Her work is stunning, often asemetrical, can be worn more than one way, and evokes dreams and stories. They remind me of the tough and gritty parts of fairy tales... those parts you wait for.

In this interview Amy talks about the intimacy of making custom work (which the is the majority of the work she does), She talks about her process, and history with jewelery making. We talk about what it means to pass on things with meaning. To let go of work, and to make work in collaboration with those who will wear them and pass them on.

Check out Amy's work at

November 12: Simon Strikeback: Where kink and radical politics meet.

Simon Strikeback is someone I want to get to know better. He is inspiring and does all sort of rad projects i want to sit next to, and spend time with.

I originally asked Simon to do an interview about the zine series: Bound To Struggle (that Simon edits). Bound to Struggle is a collection of essays, poems, art, and short stories that approach the topic of radical politics and kink. How our communities overlap, and how we bring these different parts of ourselves to bed, to school, to work, to the streets.

We started off by talking about Bound to Struggle in the interview. We talked about all the different things we love about the zine. We talked about Simon's experience of being an activist, and academic, and someone who loves kink. We talked about what is means for the zine to get submissions from all over the world, and be distroed in all sorts of places, and we talked about play, and playing, and the value of play in politics and kink.

We also talked about Riot Acts, a Transfabulous Rockumentary a film that debued on November 12, 2009.

And we talked about Camp Trans and the Michigan Womyn's festival, and shifts that have (maybe?) taken place recently, so that trans women are welcome at the Michigan Womyn's Festival.

Simon currently lives and works in Chicago. He plays ukulele in a trans folk punk band called Actor Slash Model. You can find out about his band, Riot Acts, and other projects, by

email me to get a copy of this interview! its worth it:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nov 5, 2009: crowsnest bike bags! and the art of talking about money

noam lapid designs and makes courier bags. Ze has started a company with the love and support of hir father. In this interview, we definine what a courier bag is. We talk about the beginning of the project, as a family business, and what it means to make something that reflects your communities.

Noam talked about hir work making bags that reflect and work for different bodies, and the soupy and exciting project of figuring out how to work within the capitalist system while still honouring anti-oppresion values and ideas.

Check out Noam's bags at, or email: