Posts Tagged ‘punk’

Labels, Poseurs, and Oppressors

January 22, 2010

People are often uncomfortable with just being themselves. They hide behind labels, subcultures, and factions to define self rather than simply being. There are also those people who don’t fit a label but still try to present themselves that way.

This past week, I had a few people who believed themselves to be certain things when clearly they aren’t what they claim to be. For one of these persons, I decided to ruffle their feathers to see how they would react to controversy by letting them know they weren’t what they presented themselves to be. Instead of providing proof to the contrary, this person decided to pick on me, call me names, and tell me off. Some people don’t know how to handle conflict but I was pointing out what was clear to everyone. There’s a big pink elephant in the room and it’s you.

I often wish I wasn’t human. I ask my dad if I can be another species, and his comment is, “You’re not another species but you can pretend if it makes you happy.” Basically, I can call myself whatever I want – but it doesn’t make it true. The same goes with other people who are so set on defining themselves with mistaken labels. They are like me, wishing to be another species, I can pretend if I like, but it doesn’t make it true.

I usually let people pretend to be what they want to be when they are clearly not that. They feel threatened by people who are the real thing because they are simply wannabes. They form networks of wannabes and live a fake existence. Most people like to believe they are awesome, smart, attractive, and all sorts of things when they clearly aren’t. But they stick around with other losers; never working on improving themselves, and always staying a sad mess. They resort to picking on others to make themselves feel big. Clearly, they are broken inside and not ready to deal with it so they resort to pettiness.

I would have been a victim of some malicious trolls; immature kids, on the internet if I cared and let it upset me. For example, they are so set on trying to prove “how punk they are” by being wicked to others in the community. I am trying to sell my punk vest on etsy because it’s time for it to have a new home. I don’t know anyone worthy of being given such a gift so I figured I’d sell it. It has about 100 hours of labor into it, so it’s worth double than what I am asking for it. For some unknown reason, maybe because they liked the vest and couldn’t afford it, or they are just a mess in their own head, they tried to ridicule me. It didn’t work because I don’t care. I am only writing about this experience to show how they are what they claim not to be. Cruel, immature, and hateful. Everything that punk stands against, these people represent.

Punk isn’t about your studded vest, your colored mohawk, or your crust pants. That’s a uniform anyways. It’s about what’s inside. Peace, equality, and freedom from oppression. Clearly, these people are the oppressors. So, no matter what tattoos they have, what songs they listen, and patches they sew on they will always be a poseur. They are followers, imprisoned to their pack because no one else wants to be their friends because they are losers by the nature they are what they hate. They will never admit it to themselves because to admit a truth would have their whole world come undone. The saddest thing is, even if they disagree with me, they won’t be able to formulate an intelligent argument beyond swear words and pointing fingers. They never look in the mirror and can recognize they are the problem because they have blinders on.

With that being said, I define myself into boxes not as absolutes – nothing is black and white, but as guides to assist. Unlike the poseurs, I don’t have an image I am presenting that I’ll give up everything to maintain just to continue living a lie. I live life fully without fear. The poseurs live in constant fear of reality which is their choice. They live a life not of reality but of spectacle and melodrama. Everything in the world is about them. They are very selfish. They are people I want not to be associated with.

Maybe that’s why it’s time to sell my vest. Those who are “punk” aren’t really punk. I don’t want to be associated with people who are a lot of talk and never any action. People who have to hide behind a computer to make jabs at others because they are so uncomfortable in their own skin. Cowards and oppressors. Being exactly what I am fighting against. I have no time for you.

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Designs and Punk Gear on Etsy

January 21, 2010

So, I thought I finished my jewelry designs. I have four done so far. But inspiration struck and I am trying to figure out this design. It’s going to be something great and iconic. It’s a logo for something that has yet to be define and needs definition to represent itself to the world at large. I can do this. So, my brain is currently in logo land.

I’ll share my work once they are made/copyrighted and all that fun stuff. The pieces have anarchist/feminist/queer/vegan themes to them. The idea of the project is to donate some of the profits to charities to support the different causes. So, you get a cool piece of jewelry plus help fight the good fight.

So, I’m an artist or I pretend to be. I am still working on some awesome paintings that I’ll post pictures of them when they are done. I have very little of my current work online but you can see it on my etsy if you want.

I have a patch I made and a few vests I worked on for sell online. For stuff, here at etsy.com. The Riot Grrrl vest has about 2,000+ studs on it. They aren’t the cheap studs either, they are steel with bronze. Which means if you are daring like I was, you can wash it without it getting rusty. I hang dried it. It’s really clean though so I don’t think it needs to be washed again. It’s really awesome but it’s like 8 pounds of studding. The other vest is really cool and a lot lighter. It’s a classic punk vest. It’s a little ironic with the band Conflict being painted on leather. It has about 1,000 studs on it. It’s pretty easy to repaint over the bands if you don’t want those/want different ones. I used Tester Acrylic Paint Markers.

Queer Zine – Call for Submissions

January 19, 2010

I went looking for the underground – the place were queer punks, anarchists, and free thinkers hide. A place free from hierarchies and oppression. A place where people could be themselves and be accepted. I found the underground but I didn’t find what I was looking for. But, somehow along the way, I became what I was seeking. I am the revolution. I can’t be the only one. I want to find the others.

*****

In a world treated like a machine; where everything is a commodity to be bought and sold, there lives a human who dreams of something more: community, solidarity, and connection. Can what they seek be found in such a world?

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Basically, my idea for the zine is two-folds: writing of an ideal underground that doesn’t exist quite yet almost like the groundwork for such a place; a manifesto of sorts, and the journey of a person to find if such a place exists. Part fact, part fiction, and queer as queer can be.

*****

So, what do I want from you? Poems, vegan recipes, drawings, gay shame theme material. Not looking to have it be anything beyond PG-13. I haven’t set the idea in stone yet – so it’s all just brewing. I have some jewelry designs I need to finish up this week before I start working on the zine. I haven’t decided how I am going to publish it yet – I might even make it a small book/pamphlet – maybe color if you have color works. We’ll see what comes of it.

I just read two issues of J.D’s last night from QZAP and I am fairly confident I can do an awesome job of putting together something that’s radical, queer, punk, and interesting.

Contact me for more details. You can leave a comment here or email me – kale.and.glitter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks! Hope to hear from someone. Don’t be shy. This could be an awesome project. 🙂

Punk 101: Studs and Spikes

January 11, 2010

Where would punk rockers be without studs and spikes? I recommend only using studs because it’s not mosh pit friendly having spikes. You can really hurt someone with spikes. I never wear spikes – because I don’t trust myself not to stab myself with them.

Studs and spikes are the perfect accessory to any punk look. They are intimidating and shiny. The best website to get studs and spikes from is http://studsandspikes.com/.

Denim is pretty easy to stud. You just take the stud, push it through the fabric, and use a spoon or pliers to bend the ends secure. Studding leather is a little bit more involved. First, you need to put the stud on the leather and let the prongs leave a mark. Then, where the mark is left from the prongs, take a dart and make holes in the leather. Then put the prongs through the hole and use a spoon or pliers to secure the stud in place. For a video tutorial go here.

It takes a lot of time to stud things so be patient. I usually prefer studs with some space between them because solid studding gets really heavy. I have a vest that’s very well studded and it weights 8 pounds. My favorite studded vest has about 100 studs on the back – it looks awesome without being too heavy. Sometimes less is more – remember that. Good luck! Happy studding!

A Personal Ad

January 5, 2010

So, I’ve been single my entire life, 26 years and counting. I haven’t meet anyone worth my time. I’ve been out and queer for about four years now. I’ve been looking everywhere for someone to date to no avail. I figured, if I haven’t met someone in a quarter of a century – I am probably never going to meet anyone.

I’ve tried everything: internet dating, speed dating, going to bars/clubs, joining clubs, starting clubs, going to shows, and putting on shows. I don’t know, it just seems like the people I want to meet don’t exist anywhere. There is only a handful of queer punks to begin with and to find one that’s straightedge, vegan, and monogamous is never going to happen.

Everyone keeps on feeding me the same lines, “It’d happen when you least expect it.” “It’d happened when you stop looking for it.” But it’s just not. I feel like I am missing out on part of the human experience of having a connection with someone. I want a partner in life but I feel like I’ll never have one. I am one of the sweetest people around – not nice out of weakness – nice because I know better. I would go anywhere in the world to have a community but there doesn’t seem to be people to build that community with. I don’t know how to put myself out there more than I already have.

I am tired of 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s. I have been feeling very bored with the world and the people in it. I haven’t met any colorful people or anyone who’s been able to hold my interest for more than week in years. I’ve gone on lots of first dates – never a second.

I didn’t even look for someone to date for a long time because I was really broken. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my open wounds so I didn’t look for anyone to share it with. I didn’t think it would be fair. Now, I spent lots of time working on myself, getting to know myself, and healing myself. I felt like I done all this work to make myself as awesome as I can be and I want to share it with someone but there’s no one awesome for me to share it with.

I want an intellectual equal but I have yet to meet anyone who is. I have met people who have more education than me and talk in big words almost as big as their ego. It doesn’t impress me. I have never met anyone as smart as me though. I met lots of people who talk big about love and compassion but don’t live it. I meet lots of people who dress like me and pretend to be like me but they aren’t. I have never meet another anarcho-pacifist straightedge peace punk. They aren’t at shows. They aren’t at the radical feminist bookstores. I have no idea where to look.

I suppose that’s why I started this journal to try to connect with like-minded people. I wish someone was looking for me as much as I am looking for them. I had a hit the other day by someone who googled “transgender” + “anarchist” + “vegetarian” and I was really disappointed that they didn’t say hello. I don’t write just to be heard – I want to hear you too.

I am a very sensitive, kind, and loving creature. I have a real big heart. I don’t play games and I say it how I see it. Most people can’t handle it. I have a hard time relating to people because I really do care and most people don’t. It’s almost a curse to be a 5 in a land of 3’s. My life would be a lot easier if I didn’t care, was stupid, and mean. I’d have lots of people to date just like me if I liked team sports, group think, eating flesh, and had imaginary friends. But, that isn’t me.

I am not a cookie cutter person from a cookie cutter system. I am a beautiful lotus flower that risen from the murkiest of muddy waters. Some people can’t see beyond the mohawk, piercings, and tattoos. The punk t-shirts, heavy boots, and work pants. I like dressing loud and being punk because punk is the only subculture to have stopped a war. My dress is my armor to the world – because my heart is really on my sleeve. I don’t put up a front – I am always me.

I want wonderful and amazing people to be friends with and play with. I have a handful scattered around the world but I could always use more. Good people are really rare. I wish I could find someone good to give my heart to.

On Vegetarianism – thinking about going Vegan again

December 30, 2009

This has been on my mind for a few days. I watched The Meatrix a few days ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about one scene. I thought by being vegetarian – I was free of consuming anything flesh-like. Apparently, that’s not true because the meat industry feeds the dairy cows both cow’s blood and animal byproducts. Really, really gross.

One of my acquaintance made the mistake of asking how I was. Never ask me this unless you really want to know. I mentioned I was thinking about going vegan and and she asked “why” I was thinking about being vegan. I should have known better to stop the conversation there because such things with meat eaters always end in conflict. I told her I was already a vegetarian and that I found out they feed calves blood which is gross. She agreed with me and mentioned she enjoyed eating meat. I should have politely withdraw from the conversation at that point – which I will do next time – but I commented how eating meat is eating a tortured corpse. She was like, “Some people see it that way, other don’t.” Which I responded, “It doesn’t matter what your belief is – it’s what it is.”

The conversation went downhill at that point. As I believe meat eating to be one of the most selfish things a person can do. It’s literally saying, “I get pleasure from your pain. My life is more valuable than yours.” which is completely unnecessary in this day and age where we control our food supply and grow lots of vegetables. It’s also a waste of energy getting food energy from first making it into meat and not taking it in it’s direct form. I see meat eating as being a murderer. I do not tolerate it in any shape or form.

What about vegetarianism? I was vegan for about four months but honestly, I got lazy. I liked pancakes and certain things that I fell back in the habit of having eggs and dairy. So, I figured I’d stick with being a vegetarian. I’m way too sensitive to eat meat. I knew the eggs and dairy industry were bad and the animals had unhappy lives. I thought I could live with that but lately, I haven’t been feeling it. Rather, I feel so deeply that unlike how most people are desensitized and detached – I really feel the effect of everything I do.

I used to be your average kid doing average things: playing violent video games, watching violent movies, and feasting on the dead. I was a proud product of the system; a registered democrat – I drove down to the post office on my 18th birthday to register to vote and do my civil duties. I thought freedom and equality was established with civil war and women’s rights movement. That Martin Luther King ended racism. In other words, rather brainwashed. The system did a good job on me.

Then a lot of things happened. Maybe I’ll write a book about it. I always questioned things like I wasn’t sure if we really landed on the moon. But, I never thought to question myself and my foundation. It was outside my scope of experience. As I became more aware, I thought maybe I should become vegetarian but I never thought I could do it. I thought I liked meat too much. I was really conditioned. I started getting into riot grrrl and some punk my first year of college. I didn’t even know it was called “riot grrrl” back then.

Anyways, after lots and lots of questioning – still questioning and searching I arrive at who I am today. I am still growing and am not the final product by any means. Maybe the next step in the evolution is to go vegan because I can’t stand what they do to the animals. Life is life and precious. I have no right to decide if certain animals like pets should have a life of luxury while others have hell simply because they make stuff I like to eat.

Punk Rock 101: Dressing “punk” verses being Punk

December 15, 2009

There are lots of people out there who dress “punk” but very few punks. If all the kids who talked the talked, walked the walked, the world would be amazing. But this is not the case. Most of the time these punks are little more than frat boys in leather jackets. My friend Alex suggested that I write about the difference.

First off, anyone who claims to be a “real” punk is a poseur. It is impossible to be a real punk in capitalistic America. From the clothes you wear to the food you buy to the gas that gets you around – someone is being exploited. No one’s hands are clean. We are all guilty by association or are we the mere victim of society? Anyways, the crust punks you see begging for change for money to do drugs: not punk. They are still living off the system by being leeches. They still depend on money and the system. Plus, they smell bad and are annoying. Most of the time, when they are done playing street rat, they have a trust fund waiting at home.

Drinking, doing drugs, and smoking: Not punk rock. The beer you drink is made by some corporation that is doing evil things to the world. The drugs you buy are transported and damage lives. The cigarette companies are terrible plus harmful to the environment and yourself. Putting chemicals in your body is self-destructive and irresponsible. Imagine if people stopped smoking, doing drugs, and drinking and put that money and time to changing the world: that’s punk rock.

Being punk is all about a mindset. It’s about thinking for yourself, being independent, and not a sheep. Most people who dress punk are assholes and violent – thanks to the media representation of punk rock to give punk rockers a bad name. A real punk is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet because they know the world is a cesspool and the only way things are going to change is if the people change. Be that change.

People who are activists are punk rock. People trying to make the world loving, tolerant, equal, and free from oppressions are punk rock. People wearing a punk uniform and doing what they think they should do rather than what they know they should do: not punk rock. People getting an education to change the system from within: punk rock. Someone dressing punk who listens to punk music but remains ignorant: not punk rock.

Listening to punk music doesn’t make you punk rock. Dressing in punk clothes doesn’t make you punk rock. Being DIY (do it yourself), learning, growing, and sharing are all punk rock. Just being a good human being is punk rock.

Punk Rock 101: A Vegetarian Queer Punk’s Guide to New York City

December 11, 2009

There aren’t many queer punks in NYC. I was one of maybe 10. The days of Meow Mix and riot grrrl are long gone. Most of NYC’s lesbian scene is lipstick lesbians modeling their life after the L-Word or hipsters who talk a lot and drink PBR but don’t do much. There’s a lot of segregation in the queer scene in NYC – depending on the color of your skin and economic class determines which parties you’d go to. I didn’t like that. I wish all the queers would unite and work together to fight against being oppressed. I tried to change it by putting on a couple of concerts trying to invite everyone to come but it didn’t really work.

Anyways, NYC is really big and corporate. That’s why I left but there are a handful of places that are DIY (do-it-yourself) or worth checking out.

First place on my guide is Abc No Rio. Abc No Rio is in the Lower East Side at 156 Rivington Street.  It has a mix of everyone.  There are punk shows every Saturday at 3pm.  There’s also a zine library, a dark room, a silkscreen studio, and a computer lab all open to the public (hours of opening vary – check out their website for details).

A couple of blocks away at 152 Ludlow Street is the Cake Shop which has live music, sells vegan, and non-vegan treats. The Cake Shop is also home of the ONLY Queer Punk Party QxBXRx which happens once a month hosted by one of the boys from Limp Wrist. It’s usually mostly boys with a handful of girls but it’s a good scene – good social scene not a cruising scene. There’s usually a few queer bands that play and it’s a fun time.

Around the corner from the Cake Shop is Bluestockings Bookstore. It is located at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington. It’s an activist center, a fair trade cafe (not much food – more drinks), and bookstore. There’s all sorts of books there from activism, anarchy, queer theory, queer literature, women’s studies, and anything else alternative you can think of. They also host events almost every night, so check out their calendar.

About 8 blocks away and an avenue or two over from Bluestockings is St. Mark’s Place (2nd – 3rd Avenue on 8th street is the main strip) which was home to all things radical in the past. It’s has a few cool stores like Trash and Vaudeville which has anything punk you can dream of. There’s also Search and Destroy which has lots of military surplus clothing. There’s also lots of little stores on the street selling all sorts of things – it’s a cool place to check out. While you there, stop by Mamouns Falafel at 22 St. Mark’s Place for really good and cheap eats. If pizza is more your thing, 2 Bros Pizza is just a few doors down and has dollar pizza.

If you head on over to the West Village, the best punk record store in the city is Generation Records located at 210 Thompson Street. They have all the punk you could want and then some. There’s also a couple of cool chess shops on the street which might be worth checking out.

That’s about it for punk places to visit. However, there’s a handful of other neat places that I think is worth mentioning. In the West Village, there’s Red Bamboo and VP2 which are amazing vegetarian restaurants owned by the same people. You should definitely save room for the vegan cakes made by Vegan Treats which are driven into the City every Tuesday. Atlas Cafe in the East Village also has cakes by Vegan Treats but for some reason they never taste as good as Red Bamboo’s. Atlas Cafe has some great faux meat sandwiches. I also recommend Quantum Leap which has two locations – one in the West Village and one in the East. They have the best veggie burgers I’d ever had.

Bonus: Where to get Tattoo’ed/Pierced in NYC

If you want awesome tattoos, your going to have to pay for them but it’s worth it. It’s a lifetime investment. I got my ink done at NY Adorned. My artist has since moved to Austin or I would recommend her. I get compliments on my tattoos all the time – and they are some of the best I have seen. However, the guy who worked the front at NY Adorned was really rude but all the artists are amazing so pay no attention to him. If you want to get pierced, I’d go to Daredevil Tattoo which is also home of LeRoi Jewelry which specializes in all things piercings. Daredevil also does some amazing tattoos so I would check them out. I’ve also been told Invisible does awesome tattoos. There’s a couple of other good places that I can’t remember their names, but that should be enough to get you started.

Update: Bars

I don’t really like bars or hang out at them due to being straightedge – but there’s a few bars where you might run into some punks or queers or if you are really lucky queer punks.

Manitoba’s – Owned by a lead singer of a punk band. I went here once and it was very hetero and normal so I wasn’t impressed but maybe you just need to caught it on the right night. It’s located at 99 Avenue B between 6th and 7th street.

Double Down Saloon – I’ve been here a few times and hung out with some punks. Not very queer but I did run into a queer girl. Awesome jukebox with lots of punk. It’s located at 14 Avenue A.

Mars Bar – Located at 25 E 1st St – it’s totally a punk rock dive bar. I’ve never been inside – I stopped out front of it while some of my friends talked to some punks inside. I heard from the reviews that it’s really dirty, but a little dirt never scared off a punk, right?

I never ran into any punks here except for myself but my favorite lesbian bar in New York City is The Cubby Hole located at 281 West 12th Street. It’s really tiny and it gets really crowded but the crowd is usually pretty diverse – boys and girls. Everyone was really friendly when I went.

Bar Bonus: Brooklyn

I sometimes would venture out to Brooklyn and go to The Metropolitan which on Wednesday Nights is full of hipster dykes. It wasn’t really punk rock but the age crowd is 20-30’s usually when sometimes the Cubby Hole is 30-beyond. Also, a party worth mentioning is Choice Cunts ran by the Gaysha which is a monthly “raw party for rare queers”. Sometimes it only has like 20-30 people at the party other times it can have 300 – it’s a real hit or miss but it’s worth checking out if you’re around. It’s mostly girls but there’s sometimes a handful of gay boys. It’s about as alternative as the queer scene gets in Brooklyn.

Essay: Genderqueer

December 2, 2009

Are you a boy or a girl?” A perplexed waitress at a Dunkin’ Donut in the heart of New York City asked of me when I entered the shop.  “I just wanted a muffin; I don’t think my gender matters.”  I said but she didn’t seem to understand, she was rather too interested on what was in my pants. “Are you a boy or a girl?”  I sighed.  I don’t identify as either being genderqueer but I don’t like having to explain myself all the time to everyone.  Mostly because people can only wrap their head around the gender binary and not think outside the box.  It got me thinking though, why do perfect strangers care too much about what’s in my pants?  It doesn’t matter to anyone unless they wanted to sleep with me.  But, for some reasons, this lady’s whole identity was formed around a world of boys and girls.  I bite the bullet since I really wanted my muffin, “I’m a girl.”  She let out a relieved sigh and then got my muffin.  Again, I was forced into the oppressive gender binary to comply with the needs of an oppressive society.  It isn’t just the males that oppress; it is also other women who’ve been conditioned to think as such.

In an ideal society, I would have been able to get my muffin without being hassled about what’s in my pants.  However, this is America – home of the free if you are rich and fix into neat boxes.  Most people can’t wrap their head around genderqueer – which is outside of the gender binary.  I am something else – not just another gender but I am beyond gender.  People can at least understand transsexual, but when it comes to genderqueer, people just don’t get it.  They want to box you in.  I am sometimes envious of my transsexual allies because they have a gender identity to claim – even if they are handicapped by being born into the wrong body.  I, however, have no place to go.  No identity.  I suck it up and usually go with lesbian because I am female bodied and like women but that doesn’t describe me.  I’m queer but queer is considered to be such a dirty word by polite society.

The LGlittleBinvisibleT community has no love for anyone who’s not a Stepford Gay.  If you don’t fit the mold of what a “safe” gay is – being gay but assimilating, the community turns their back on you.  It is a threat to society, the mainstream, the social constructed order, to be an individual and think for yourself.  We live in a society based on group think with team sports, entertainment and job rhetoric paving the way for the classless individual who functions as a cog in the well oiled machine of greed and anonymity.  I – for one, am not going to be part of any machine.  I’m not going to wear the clothes they tell me to wear, I’m not going to watch their programming (it’s called programming for a reason), and not going to take part in their world of a giant rat race.

I am going to fight the system with knowledge and education, compassion and understanding.   As Crass said, “You can’t change the system by bombing number ten, the people will go into hiding but they’ll be back again.”  The only way to change the system is to change the people.  The only way to change the people is with education.

Sometimes, it’s really hard, trying to change things.  I struggle with trying to get people to understand what “genderqueer” means.  Sometimes, it’s dangerous just being who you are.  Every third day, a transperson is murdered.  I’ve been assaulted before at a punk show which was supposed to be about peace and equality for being a “homosexual. “  I just want a world where I can go to punk shows without getting punched and get a muffin without being hassled about what’s in my pants.  I can’t do it alone.  Will you help me?