Sunday, 24 March 2013

The cinema says that my life will be alright

So it's the end of the LLGFF aka Queer Christmas and this week has been the BEST. I have festival fatigue though and although I'm sad because I don't get to watch queer films every single day now, I'm not going to miss paying too much money for drinks at the posh BFI bar. It's £6 for a pint of sausage rolls. I wish like hell there was a Greggs on Southbank.

This weekend has been super fun, super inspiring, super exciting, and super FUN! So here's the best of what I saw...

I am Divine

I've been so excited for the Divine documentary since the fundraising campaign was announced a few years ago and I wasn't disappointed,  I bloody loved this film! I loved seeing lots of the Dreamlanders talking, but I loved Divine's mum the most who accepted Divine later in life after a fall out, and I'm not gonna lie, I totally had a tear in my eye when she described hanging a 'welcome home Divine' banner outside the house. My only niggles were portraying Divine as a sad fatty insinuating an unhealthy/addictive sort of relationship to food discussing him as a kind of tragic figure, and  yet made nothing of the fact that Divine was totally having lots of fun hott sex with lots of fun hott sexy guys. Divine was a total legend and this film made me so happy!

She said boom: the story of Fifth Column

Argh I was so excited for this film! I love Fifth Column but I honestly knew NOTHING about them. This documnetary was awesome to see. It's a totally important part of feminist/queer music history and it was awesome to see how it related to the queercore scene and zine culture. G.B Jones is totally mesmorising and I felt super inspired after watching this. Also I was super psyched to see it screened with the amazing short film made by Fifth Column called The Yo-Yo Gang

It was worth it just to see this short super 8 film about rival gangs of yo-yo kids and skateboard kids. Best thing ever!!!

Queen of the Desert

Queen of the Desert is a half hour documentary originally shown on Australian ABC tv and shown at the LLGFF as part of the trans shorts selection. The documentary features Starlady, a super colourful and awesome translady who works with communities in central Australia, teaching young girls how to cut and style hair and trains them to run their own hair salons within their own communities. I was worried this was gonna be offensive but I really loved the way in the documentary and Starlady herself was so  respectful and informed and this warmed my cockles a little bit. I think this was definitely my favourite  of the films in the trans short films. Starlady is super inspiring especially when she's climbing hills to rescue some kids from a potential bush fire. Amazing! Watch this if you can!

What I love about being queer

One of the best positive and inspiring bits from the film fest was What I Love About Being Queer which is also a tumblr and a book project. The short film features a bunch of queers telling us why being queer is so frikkin awesome. While projects like It Gets Better videos tell you that being gay is awesome cuz you can be just like straight people now, WILABQ tells you that being queer is awesome because you are NOTHING like straight people! Some of the responses are brilliant and personal and political. People love being queer because it  links them to a wider sense of politics, because you get to decide what your own idea of sexuality and sex is, because fat bodies are desired within queer communities, and because queer sex is awesome. These were some of my personal favourites. Also I loved the audible gasp in the audience as a bunch of queers swooned over Tegan Quin who also appears in the film. 

Film fest has been a blast. I've loved hanging out at the BFI every night with my friends and meeting new people, seeing people I haven't seen in ages, drinking overpriced beer, eating overpriced sausage rolls, and having my credit card declined because fim fest costs so much. 

As well as all the ace films, I was also lucky enough to dj with some of the Bad Rep crew at the opening weekend of the film festival. Unfortunately DJ Froogs was unable to make it, but we played lots of Deftones in his absence, and we all partied super hard. It was mega fun making a dirty sweaty mosh pit in the posh bar at the BFI. There's nothing better than the sight of sweaty queers jumping up and down, screaming, shouting, and dancing to Marilyn Manson while some posh straight people tuck into a bowl of olives and a bottle of wine. It was hella fun!

Film fest is always such a blast. I see films that I think 'WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH?' and I see films that make me go 'holy shit, that's everything that's been in my head on the screen!'. It's been amazing and validating and expensive and fun, and now roll on fringe fest!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Thank you for the venom : why it SUCKS to be a fan of things

Remember when you were a teenager and you lived inside your own head? You didn't have many friends and you had hundreds of posters on your walls and your life was just 24/7 obsession? Well I never grew up from that. 

I have a completely obsessive personality. I find it hard to just 'like' things. I either love it or I hate it, it's all about obsession. I'm 29 and I still live in my own head. Bedroom dancing is my life. Music + zines + comics are my entire world. I never stopped caring, I never stopped being obsessive. 

My first real band love was bis. I remember seeing them on Top of the Pops for the first time performing Kandy Pop and thinking what the fuck? 

In the midst of all my california pop punk love, I fell in love with bis and I fell HARD. I met one of my best friends to this day via bis, I wrote zines about bis, I wrote letters to bis, I interviewed bis, I daydreamed of being in bis, I dressed like Manda from bis, I danced everyday to bis, I even said that Return to Central wasn't such a bad album, that's how much I loved bis. 

And then one day they broke up. I woke up one morning to a text from my good friend Seleena telling me she had read on Teletext that bis had broken up and I cried for what seemed like a whole day. I was lucky enough to support bis on their final farewell tour. We played with them in Manchester for their final tour, and then I went to their 'final ever gig' (not knowing that in the 10 years to follow would be filled with lots of 'last ever FINAL' reunion type shows) at King Tut's in Glasgow, and I wept like a baby on the barrier after they left the stage for the final time. I was 21 at the time and I felt like my youth had ended, as the only surviving band from my teen years had abandoned me. I felt heartbroken. And I felt stupid for feeling heartbroken, because to be heartbroken about a band breaking up you have to be a mega fan, and being a mega fan means you aren't cool. 

My name is Holly Casio, and I'm proud to be a fan. 

'Fan' is a dirty word. People don't like fans because it's too earnest, it's not cool, and it's putting people on pedestals which goes against the whole diy punk ethos. I have to admit I have a hard time justifying it myself. Lets take my obsession with Bruce Springsteen - how the hell do I justify that. I'm a working class queer feminist, I have grown up steeped in riot grrrl punk and queer ideas. How on earth do I justify loving a white male heterosexual multimillionaire stadium rocker? That's kind of weird right? 

But I love loving stuff. Being a fan isn't passive, it's productive and creative and fun as hell. As well as falling in love with things, I also make things too, no matter how small and silly. My stupid casio bedroom pop songs, my zines, my club nights, I made those, and I make those because I get inspiration from the bigger things I'm obsessed with. 

I'm 29 now and most of my friends aren't fans of things, they can quite happily like things and be done with it, they don't go the whole crazy route of getting a Bruce Springsteen tattoo

or camping out overnight for a Harry Potter premiere

or getting into a scary amount of debt to fly across the world to attend a comic convention to meet Grant Morrison.

 But I just can't help it. 

I'm pretty heartbroken today because one of my most favourite bands in the world have broken up. I thought I was over feeling like this, but every now and then it will hit me hard when something I love or obsess over goes away or ends or dies or decides to call it quits. The way I felt when bis broke up, the way I felt when Clarence Clemons died, the way I felt when Dananananaykroyd broke up. I was utterly shocked at how sad I felt when these things happened, how on earth does pop culture have a hold of my life so much that it actually shakes me up when something I obsess over goes away? I feel pretty silly about it cuz I don't actually know these people, but they are important aspects of my life. 

My Chemical Romance anounced that after 12 years they were breaking up today and I'm properly heartbroken. It's ridiculous right? I'm 29 and I love My Chemical Romance. YEAH, AND WHAT OF IT? That band have been my absolute world. Every single album has been perfectly timed to coincide when I needed something in my life but didn't know what. I believed in the mythology of 4 misfits against the world, of antiheroes, and losers, and survival. It meant the fucking world to me. I remember crying my way in to the video shoot for Planetary Go, I remember dislocating my shoulder at the Hammersmith show, I remember dressing up like killjoys with my friends for the World Contamination tour and feeling as excited and awesome as I did when I was 15. Cuz guess what? Being a fan is fucking fun as hell. It might not be cool, but it is AWESOME.

I'm in disbelief at the moment and it all feels a bit unreal. 12 years is a long time to love a band. I truly did love them. I thought I was over the whole obsession thing, I thought that intensity just belonged to being a teenager, but my complete and utter fan love for MCR over the years proved me wrong. I didn't love them ironically, they were my world. You know that whole 'MCR saved my life' stuff you hear and mock and laugh at? Yeah, well thats actually kind of applicable. I feel like MCR did save a part of me. 

This is how I feel listening to MCR

I guess I can't properly explain how sad I am. My obsession is not your obsession, but it hurts and I think I'm in a state of shock and disbelief. I'm also kind of angry. That short cold goodbye statement was a paragraph of nothing. I've seen more earnest heartfelt blogs full of FEELINGS from members of MCR simply about what breakfast cereal they are eating or what they are watching on tv. So I expected a little more from them as they said goodbye to 12 years of brotherhood, friendship, and music rather than just a 'thanks and goodbye'. I wasn't ready to lose them just yet. I was getting excited for the new album that they had just started to record and while Conventional Weapons may not have been the amazing series of 7"s I was hoping for, it did include one of my all time favourite and most exciting of the new MCR songs, Ambulance.

Ordinarily when I'm having a bad day, I have a bedroom dance to this song and I swear it has magical healing properties and can fix me in a hot minute. The same way that I listen to It's not a Fashion Statement when I'm feeling angry, or Desert Song when I'm feeling down, or Famous Last Words when I feel like I want to show the world that I am awesome and nothing can break me. But today I don't really feel like listening to any of these songs. 

Being a fan is amazing because it means you aren't cool. It means you can completely love things and be obsessed with things and be a dork. The worst thing about being a fan is that you are open to getting your heart broken a lot.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Queer Christmas!

It's the LLGFF this week which means one thing - it's Queer Christmas!

Every year I get the most excited ever as I get to spend a whole week (remember when it was 2 weeks?) on the southbank with an army of queers, watching a fucktonne of films, getting over excited, and taking over a space full of posh people. It. Is. Brilliant.

There was the time that my friends made this totally awesome Le Tigre feminist karaoke video and it was shown as part of the short film programme and we were so proud and excited.

There was the time my totally awesome friends programmed an evening of films of FUN including John Waters' Hairspray, and the amazing Fabulous Stains

There was the time that me and my bff got up out of our seats as did everyone else and danced like crazy in the cinema at the end of the Invasion of the Chubsters

I love the LLGFF. I love invading a space full of posh people drinking wine and eating bowls of olives with my scruffy scummy mates. I love getting so excited I could burst, I love seeing wall to wall queers, I love seeing really inspiring life changing films, I love seeing really awful 'ohmygodhowdidthisevengetmade?' kind of films, I love dancing, I love making new friends, I love Queer Christmas!

Last year me and my gang were super lucky to dj at the LLGFF. We ran a queer club night called Bad Reputation and we were amazing. For one night we took over the bar and made it messy. We started a mosh pit in the foyer and when we ran out of space to dance, we pushed the chairs out of the way and started dancing on the tables instead. 

We are super psyched to be djing again this year at LLGFF. Bad Rep djs will be playing all our hits this Saturday 16th March at the Riverfront Bar at the BFI from 8:30pm til late and it's FREE!

This is us last year behind the decks at BFI. Things were about to get M-E-S-S-Y.

I think there's still some tickets left for some of the films left at LLGFF so get yrself some if you haven't already! Although tickets are quite expensive (aka usual price for the bfi) and while I love love LOVE Queer Christmas every year, I always feel frustrated when I can't afford to go to things. 

Oh and LLGFF are thinking about changing their name. If you have suggestions then you can email them
The LLGFF do such a great job of programming trans films, workshops, and events, it would be amazing to FINALLY have the 'T' added to that title. Email 'em and get involved! 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

DIY Cultures 2013

Wooh I'm dead excited to be tabling at DIY Cultures 2013 Sunday 7th April at Rich Mix. I will even have BRAND NEW ZINES with me! See you there!