Saturday, April 12, 2014


(Family photo 8 December 2012, taken by Win Farrell)

Only one feeder now still with seed on it, and a muscular young skwirl is standing on tippy-toe to rake small amounts out as breakfast. House sparrows queue on the railing with feathery irritation.

Scout insists a glowing screen viewed around an immovable feline silhouette is an enhanced experience, not a problem.

12 hours on Levaquin. Antibiotics have saved my ass more times than I can count.

Today a drunken soil conservationist named Edmund Ruffin was coaxed by his hothead South Carolina secessionist shithead friends to begin firing on Fort Sumter, and thus hostilities were begun which would kill 620,000 people. The good news is that brilliant African-Americans would be able to wrest an end to slavery from the ensuing years.

During the late 1970s, I worked intimately with a woman, in the Pleiades, to stop the legacy of child sexual abuse in this country, an effort which succeeded beyond what is generally credited or understood. We too, those of us in that group, worked in chaos against entrenched "reality". It turns out, she was the direct descendant of Edmund Ruffin. She said he died full of grief and bitterness over what he had done. Not all action is noble; male anger and fear seldom produces a positive result, and that's a fact.

According to the Writer's Almanac, it was also on this day in 1633 that Galileo Galilei was put on trial by the Inquisition, for supporting the theory that the Earth revolves around the sun. Yeah, there was white boy justice in action.

In quite different news: Happy third anniversary to the woman of my dreams, Margot. Still can't quite believe my luck in gaining your love.

Let's get this weekend rolling.


Thursday, April 10, 2014


Throwback Thursday: I'm at the Country Experience for Young Wimmin run by Sage Mountainfire near Willits, California, summer 1978. My standard uniform outside the city -- when I was wearing clothes at all.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Opening scene of Threepenny Opera, 3 April 2014, by Margot Williams

{Guest post by Margot Williams in Birmingham, United Kingdom}

I saw an electronic flyer for The Threepenny Opera online, and loving Mack the Knife and Pirate Jenny, but knowing little of the story, I bought a ticket. It was the day of the Saharan Smog, and the traffic was shocking; I barely made it to the theatre in time.

Entering the foyer, I wasn’t sure if I’d arrived in the middle of a flashmob. There were homemade banners, and people singing on the stairs; I threaded my way through the crowd and encountered a Little Person clapping along – "join in!" he cried, so I did – but I still hadn’t twigged. Once I entered the auditorium, I realised that the performance had simply spilled into the foyer. The space was festooned with more banners, and at centre stage amid the apparent chaos, a man in a power chair dominated the space, announcing the cast members.

This new translation – or rather, reinterpretation – of The Threepenny Opera is set in the near future: the run up to the coronation of King Charles III. Austerity has bitten deep, the struggle for survival is brutal, and we have finally brought back hanging. Who better to bring to life this tale of those at the bottom of the pile than the multi-ability players of the Graeae Theatre Company?

JJ and Mrs Peachum have raised their daughter to join the upper classes on the backs of the rag-tag band of beggars run by JJ, but Polly has thwarted them by falling for the beautiful and charismatic underworld boss, Macheath, the notorious rapist and murderer. Webs of affection and violence run deep: Mack and Jenny, the first of his whores, sing of "our little knocking-shop in Bethnal Green" lending it an almost cozy domesticity; corrupt police chief Tiger Brown attends his old comrade’s wedding and they fling their arms around each other while leading the assembled guests in a rousing chorus: "the British Army / will make salami / from Basra to Goose Green..." Polly sings at her wedding, but does she choose a romantic ballad? No, she opts for Pirate Jenny. They all betray each other as the drama unfolds, but the love is perversely persistent.

Can there be a happy ending? Whether Macheath hangs or not, there will be no justice.

This is a stunning production. There is so much going on on stage, it’s almost impossible to keep up. Lyrics and text are projected onto convenient surfaces, and the brilliant (certainly to me, and I don’t know sign) interpreter is fully integrated into the action. Images flashing onto screens bring home the realisation that this is no imagined dystopia; but beyond all that, the performances, the stage-craft, the musicianship! Wheelchairs whizz round, mobility canes become part of the dance, someone’s prosthetic arm is flung back and forth – but the grace and elegance with which the performers negotiate the stage, unobtrusively handed across space by their fellows or using them for support, moved me deeply. This is what inclusivity looks like. See it if you can.

The Threepenny Opera extended trailer 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014


(Dykes and Dogs Campout, July 1981, Sunol Regional Wilderness, California --
photo by Maggie Jochild)

For a few years during the late 1970's and early 1980's, I organized an annual Dykes and Dogs Campout at the Sunol Regional Wilderness about an hour outside San Francisco. We would occupy some or all of the four campsites along Alameda Creek in this East Bay wilderness area, sharing meals, hikes, swimming, and nightly campfire. One year, by a wild coincidence, the campsite next to ours became occupied by Martha Shelley, her lover and their three children.

This photo is from the campout in July 1981. Not everyone who attended is in the photo. I have identified all the attendees below, along with their relationships and political affiliations at the time. This is a rich cross-section of one political dyke community and friendship network at that moment. The two somewhat overlapping organizations mentioned are Lesbians Against Police Violence and the Pleiades, first incest survivor self-help group in the U.S.
copyright 2014  -- Maggie Jochild

Attendees not in photo:

Holly Wilder (close friend of Maggie's and several others)
Joan Annsfire (lived on Brosnan Street with Julie Twitchell, next door to Maggie and Kathie; member of LAPV)
Julie Twitchell (lived on Brosnan Street with Joan Annsfire, next door to Maggie and Kathie; former member of Henry Street Household)
Marcie Essock (ex of Maggie's; member of LAPV)
Renee Enteen (became Maggie's roommate and briefly her lover later this year)

Shown in photo, left to right:
Kathie Bailey (Maggie's roommate at 73 Brosnan, member of LAPV, lovers with Kay Finney)
Travis Smith (member of Pleiades)
Mimi Goodwin (member of LAPV)
Judy Pollock (lovers with Tricia Case)
Tricia Case (lovers with Judy Pollock)
Maggie Jochild (currently single, member of LAPV and Pleiades)
Sim Kallan (roommates with Annie Bell)
Diana Robbins (member of LAPV)

Kata Orndorff (member of LAPV and Pleiades)
Kay Finney (former roommate of Maggie's at 73 Brosnan and in Wimmin's House land collective in Durango, Colorado; lovers with Kathie Bailey and briefly member of LAPV)
Annie / Anne Marie Bell (briefly member of LAPV, roommate with Sim Kallan, briefly lovers with Maggie later this year)
Georgy Culp
Susan Bell (sister to Annie Bell)



Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. Their new sifting method has very much diminished the creativity and amount of what can be found there, so it's short shrift this week.