I was very joyful to get out of the house this weekend. I was nearing a total meltdown with school, and frankly that didn't fully resolve until late last night when I cleared a thesis with a professor, realized I had plenty of time to write it, and calmed my raggedy over-achieving Virgo ass down. But I digress. This Saturday, my fabulous sex blogger flatmate Sarcastabitch reminded me that Giovanni's Room has having both an author reading and Holler, their (relatively) new open-mic night which I have attended previously. Side note: Sarcastabitch is so intensely, delightfully, snarkily and brilliantly fabulous that she'll also be guest blogging for The Evil Slut Clique because her wit and swish cannot be contained to just one blog.
The evening started with Terry Galloway dramatically reading from her memoir "Mean Little Deaf Queer." (Follow the link to buy the hardback from Giovanni's Room, or here to get it in paperback edition when that comes out shortly.) She was pehomenal and an off-the-wall wonder. She read/performed three excerpts. The first was about meanness as a way of coping with deafness in her youth, and the second two about passing. One was passing as less disabled to order to feel less an outsider, and the other about passing as more disabled than she really was in order to make sure she qualified for public assistance in getting new hearing aids.
It was the latter that I found the most interesting of all, though both about passing made me think about behaviors in which we, whether queer, disabled, ethnic or racial minorities, etc., may take on a very affected behavior outside of us in order to demonstrate ourselves to be either "enough" or "not too much" of whatever it is we think we have to be for the audience we're currently performing for. Performing different versions of ourselves and others is something that most or all of us do in adolescence or in college or other times in our life that are formative of our emotions and identities. To see someone not only recall this in their own life but to recreate the performance for us was captivating and it begs the questions: "How does she perceive both her own disability, and that in the context of her larger identity? How does she perceive her disability compared to others' disabilities? What does this performance of disability tell us about her perceptions, and do they seem accurate either to us or to her in retrospect?"
Overall, Terry's reading and answering questions for the audience afterward was unwaveringly energetic and captivating; in addition it was, at turns, laugh-out-loud hilarious, cringe-worthy, sympathetic, tugging at our heart strings, and, in moments, cruel. The title of the book, after all, is "Mean Little Deaf Queer." In little more than an hour she took us on a real journey that certainly left me wanting more, and so I joyfully purchased the book and had it signed, and am glad to report that Beacon is already looking for Terry to write a sequel. In this endeavor she has all of my best wishes, and I cannot wait to finish the first, and read the second when it comes out.
I've had so many things to say about Terry's fabulosity that I'll sum up the rest of the evening in a quick stream of consciousness: most read from anthologies, I from GENDERqUEER, though one young man performed a monologue on performing queerness (performing identity = evening's theme) with great hilairty. "I am a Christian Woman!" he exclaimed. Delicious audience member with beautiful braided hair. Delicious hummus afterward with some queer gals and one "butch tranny fag." Baklava and coming out stories. His fascinated: first as a dyke, then as a trans man who has a wifey, is queeer, is "down for the tranny cock" (as in, other trans men like himself), does not love cis-men's penises. My cock barely bristled; not everybody can love it. More than enough do and that's fine. Strawberry-vanilla hookah and homemade baklavah. Deliciousness abound.