Tag Archives: Melbourne

Still Snapping for Slamalama

Still Snapping for Slamalama

Another Review for the Melbourne Spoken Word Website! Check it out!

HJL

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Ten Days of Awesome…

I’m kind of sad that I have to go back to ‘normal’ life now.

It feels like I just had this really incredible ten day love affair with like six different really hot lesbian characters, and we laughed, and we cried, and we plummeted head-over-Converse in love, and then had lots of really amazing sensual sex with brilliantly artistic cinematography… Yeah okay, so maybe I had forgotten what it was like to see a movie that could suck me into the story so completely and keep me engaged for the entire duration of the film, and not enrage me at all by all of the usual annoying heteronormativity and vile sexism! Basically, the equivalent to thinking that your lactose intolerant, then being offered some amazing, creamy, succulent cheesecake, eating the whole cake, and rather than feeling sick, you discover, you feel better than you’ve felt in weeks!!! You’re not lactose-intolerant your just allergic to bullshit!!!!

In other words, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival was everything I could have hoped for, and more! I was able to see four features, one ‘documentary’ and three shorts packages, so like, a lot! I mean, I wish I was able to see more, (obviously)… But I did have to go to work occasionally in the last two weeks, and due to my work life being ‘occasional’ and all, I wasn’t able to cough up enough dough for a full festival pass *sigh*. But realistically, after this festival, I think I should just quit my day job and get on the script-writing wagon! Well maybe not quite yet. But here’s a promise, I am going to write, direct and co-produce a short LGBTQ film in the next couple of years- and I’m not just saying it! It will happen. These last ten days have been truly inspirational. I even wound up with a new favourite movie, and this is big, HUGE actually, because my favourite movie has been the same for the last SEVEN years and I thought it would never be replaced! Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, sorry love, but you are now number two, NUMBER ONE: A PERFECT ENDING (2012) Written and Directed by Nicole Conn.

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In fact, I am so in love with this movie I am going to purchase a copy of the film, watch it at least twenty more times and then write an in-depth review of all its awesomeness, layers upon layers of awesome: awesome writing, awesome acting, awesome casting, awesome filming, awesome editing, with awesome sexy sauce on top. But I won’t give any spoilers here, just watch the film, see for yourself. It’s fucking awesome.

Anyway, the shorts packages I got to see were Short and Girly, Transphats, and Mixtape, and the features were Mermaids, A Perfect Ending, Bye-Bye Blondie, I Do, and Peaches Does Herself.

They all had their pros and cons, but overall there were so many more pros than cons. I mean, did I mention that Amber Benson was in one of the shorts!???! TARA!!!!!!! And it was about being allergic to love, well cats actually but come on, in the lesbian world… it was hilarious.

It made my day.

Actually it made my week!

All of the shorts were really beautiful and powerful. And I was really amazed by how much each short film could do. Many of them were crammed with positive messages that came out through brilliant dialogue and crept out of the silences, through the acting, from the cinematography. They really made you think about sexuality and gender and love just as much as some of the features. I would recommend every film I saw, well, except peaches does herself because honestly I don’t really like peaches music and it was more like a feature length music video than a documentary. Some of the dancing was quite interesting, people in full-bodied pink suits coming out of a giant vagina, and the orgy scene, and of course I loved the inclusion of the beautiful naked “pretty boy” of which peaches became infatuated with because (to peaches) they are the perfect combination of ‘dick’ and ‘tits’…  But I just thought it was going to be a documentary about why she peaches does what she does, where her inspiration comes from, why she writes such repetitive and provocative lyrics. Don’t get me wrong I think she does some radical things and breaks down binaries and *some* stereotypes in this film, but I just find her lyrics so annoying! Why sing the same sentence for the entire song?! Sorry peaches fans, but I just don’t get it!

My other small disappointment was in the film “I Do” because I was really excited that it would be bringing a gay and a lesbian character both into the spotlight. But for me, all of the female characters conformed to unflattering stereotypes and didn’t have much personality or drive. They were just character foils for the main gay male protagonist. But at least his character and storyline were really adorable and well-acted. I loved that his relationship with Mano was presented so sensualy and romantically. I think the film succeeded in sending the message that gay men can be romantic and monogamous and family oriented just like heterosexual married couples. Basically it said, look, we’re not that different, we can be just like you, so let us have the same rights! But in a cuter, funnier, and more entertaining way.

But if you are able to purchase and/or watch any of these films, A Perfect ending, Bye-Bye Blondie, Mermaids, Quiet (short), One Night (short) and Do you have a Cat? (short) were my favourites from what I saw (all lezzy films though)! Pfff- I’m not biased at all! 😛

A Perfect Ending was my absolute favourite though and I recommend it to anyone and everyone regardless of your gender and/or sexual orientation. I think everyone can enjoy this film because it has an amazing touching story, and all of the components come together so magically.

So Melbourne Queer Film Festival, filmmakers, contributors, volunteers,

Thanks for all the Awesome!

xx, HJL

Sweetalkers Event Review

Sweetalkers Event Review

My first event review! Actually my very first review ever.

This event was so much fun to attend, and even more fun to write about!! 🙂  I can’t wait to write more reviews. I am thinking about doing some book and film reviews on here as well, so if you feel like making suggestions of things I should consider reviewing I’d love to hear them!!

Love & Thanks,

HJL

Let Your Inner Child PLAY!

This Monday I have one word for you and one word only (well, almost) that word is… Moomba!!!!

I spent all weekend in plus 35 degrees watching water sports and live music and playing carnival games along the Yarra River and I did very little damage to my bank account in the process!

If you are scratching your head right now, you have probably never heard of Moomba, so check it out! It is Melbourne’s FREE festival! Jam packed with activities for the whole family! My main expenses were buying bottled water (SLAP on both wrists…I know I know. But I’m just a little Canadian and it was plus 35 and I wasn’t perpared!!!), and it costs $3.50 or even $4.50 for 600ML bottles. GASP! and my other huge expense was trying to win an enormous stuffed monkey with googly eyes… oh sweet con-artists at carnivals! How much will you charge me for the monkey? Everything in my wallet? Nah not good enough. Everything I own? My shoes, my socks, my underwear too? Is it worth it? Of course not! But in the moment, the giant stuffed monkey is the missing link in my life!

I didn’t win it.

But, I did win a tiny stuffed Huskey and a blue stuffed die and a reeeeeally cute stuffed penguin with giant purple eyes!!!

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Jealous?

I spent an hour playing dress up with my penguin, trying to see how many outfits I could make out of what I had- my jewelery, my key chain, my own clothing, and I did surprisingly well, 5 different looks for my little penguin, and then I spent another hour trying to decide what to name it- Penelope.

I was channeling my inner child, okay?! Which has never been that hard for me…. it is probably more difficult to let the ‘adult’ have the steering wheel back, “I don’t want to go yet, I want to stay at Moomba FOREVER!”

But anyway…if you are smart enough to pack your own water, snacks, and can manage to avoid being suckered in by shiny, fluffy, cute, colourful things… you can probably have an epic weekend entirely free!

Free fun? in Australia?! NOOOOOOO WAY!

Honestly, I had no idea such a thing could exist. It is a rare find indeed. Especially since everything else costs TWICE as much, or more here (than in Canada). But if you do end up in Melbourne and can make it to Moomba, be sure to go on the day where everyone is testing out their home-made flying devices! People with feathery contraptions running and jumping off a plank and faceplanting into brown murky water all on their on accord is very amusing.

And a grown woman playing with a stuffed penguin, who knows, maybe that’s just one of the many perks you will stumble upon at MOOMBA! Maybe next time, it will be you! 😉

With love from,

Heidi J. Loos

(& Penolope!)

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7. Meet Me on the Streets!

First a cautious glance here, another there, a slight twitch of the mouth. Trembling over tight-lips then tumbling out of smiles: laughter. Laughter filling the air at Federation Square. Bubbling out of bellies, and bursting from mouths. Rippling through a crowd of unlikely conveners, convened almost by accident, but not quite… Brought together by spontaneous, contagious, organic laughter, courtesy of Melbourne’s finest,
Live Street Entertainment.

Step right up, folks. It’s Laughter by Donation.

LOL  LOL!!!!!

I forgot how good it feels to laugh so hard your abs hurt. To shake so vigorously your bladder threatens to burst… To make eye contact with a complete stranger and share a deep, genuine, full-bodied laugh.

I’ll admit I was feeling a little bummed out about missing Mardi Gras in Sydney this weekend (one of the consequences of being on a ‘working holiday’ and not working! Not a lot of extra money to throw around at plane tickets and giant parties!) but, once again Melbourne lifted my spirits and proved to be the charmer of a city that I first fell for.

Wandering around Melbourne is like going on a giant treasure hunt, a really easy giant treasure hunt because you don’t have to look very hard to find gold!! Hiding around every corner is another gem: the cutest cafe you’ve ever seen, and then another one that is even cuter, a bar that looks like a 60’s grandmother’s love nest, and great grand-buildings, wrinkled with time, lined with history, beautiful architecture everywhere! But one of my favourite things about living in Melbourne is definitely the treats of the streets. Artists, musicians, comedians, clowns all pouring their hearts out on every block, onto the sidewalk in pastels, out of a shoebox speaker…

So I was walking right? One foot after the other, paying less attention to where I was going and more attention to the things happening in my head, but then I heard it. A laugh, small and timid, adolescent, but then there was another, more bold, a laugh shaking hands with someone else’s laugh, hugging… and then an orgy of laughter. It was magnificent; the kind of laughter you couldn’t ignore. Happiness squirting out of mouths- dancing over faces. And what was the source of all this magicalness?

A plump bald man wearing disco pants.

Microphone in hand, Discopants belted out a commentary for passerby’s enjoyment. A commentary of the happenings of a Saturday night on the corner of Swanston and Flinders. A crowd began to gather. Why was that well-dressed man in such a hurry? What was the young women saying on her phone? How about the one with the large camera, what was she thinking? The couple on their first date… Married with children- what would they do if he danced up to them- stopped dropped and rolled on the ground- or flashed open his suit jacket, like this, BAM-
This man had all the answers!

Straight from the eye to the mind to the mouth, he was quite witty and comical in his improvisation. But alas, later in his routine, he juggled with fire… and he burned this bridge.

I was literally counting the money in my wallet, getting ready to donate the rest of what I had, when the jokes came pouring out. The easy route, slippery and ignorant, sexist and homophobic… Sure it bought a few snickers, and handful of giggles. But the laughter was no longer inviting, no longer inclusive; it was a flurry of bees with their stingers out, broken glass flying through the air.

Not cool. I could feel the heat rising, burning up my neck and into my ears. And I was faced with a dilemma- I wanted to get up a leave right then, but his performance was almost over, and for more than half of the show I had enjoyed myself immensely, laughing uncontrollably. As a fellow artist I wanted to support his efforts, as a queer feminist woman I wanted to boycott his heterosexist douchebagyness-
But I stayed.

I stayed until the very end then I marched up to Discopants with a handful of change and told him straight up with everyone still watching. He had good energy, good enthusiasm, he was truly funny until he was not, until he danced over that line and entered into the douchebag realm. With my heart pounding in my head, I gave him a piece of my mind, and for me, his reaction saved the show. To my surprise, he wasn’t defensive and he didn’t shrug it off. He wanted to know every line, every bit that made me uncomfortable, which parts I thought were homophobic. He apologized assuring me that he would make sure those lines didn’t appear in another show- they weren’t part of his practiced routine they were just dropped in, in the heat of the moment.

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Maybe he just wanted my money… but it felt good. It felt good to speak up and be heard.
And even if my words and my change didn’t change him, and he continues to fish for laughter with rotten bait- I still feel better. I always hold onto things inside- I think of all the things I could’ve said, I should have said, I wanted to say- for hours afterwards, sometimes for days, weeks even. I’ll dwell on moments where I felt small and silenced wishing I could have said something, said anything. But I can remember this moment, his performance, the laughter it brought me, and the strength that laughter gave me.
There is such a thing as humour that doesn’t hurt, that strokes instead of pokes; entertainment that hugs, and warms and cheers…
As I walked along the south bank of the Yarra River on Saturday evening I discovered more and more street performers, musicians, and artists that had managed to gather their own crowds. Bringing people together with art and music and comedy.
Strangers making eye contact, smiling, laughing…

Ha Ha Ha! 😀

See you on the streets,

Heidi J. Loos

6. A Derby Date With Myself

Do you ever feel awkward going solo to events or restaurants or places where it is typical for people to go in pairs or even in packs? Do you think about everyone darting their little beady eyes at you, maybe grunting, snickering to their partners and friends, growling and drooling judgement, getting down low to the ground and circling you, ready to attack! Obviously because they mistake you for another species, or some rare breed of human, one they don`t understand, don`t want to understand, “the loner in the corner“, or just a lone alien specimen.

Do you imagine the very worst? And then stop yourself before you even get out the door, into your car, or onto public transit, and say: “well, actually if no one else can make it, maybe I`ll skip this one out… We can always go next time.“

I do this. And I think it`s bullshit.

Especially coming from someone who loves spending time alone…Everyone who knows me, knows that I go crazy without a little me-time. But usually my `me-time` is spent writing or reading or practicing violin in the privacy in my own home or in nature, in the woods, at the park, places and things that are `normal` to go and do alone.

But why should we be afraid to go out and do things or watch things we are interested in, or enjoy delicious food in a dim lighted romantic restaurant, alone. It`s not like you need someone else there to taste the food or drink the wine for you. Maybe pay the bill for you but…just kidding, (I may be pretty femme sometimes but I`ll pay my own way). But seriously, why not? Alone, you can close eyes and really enjoy each bite without having someone interrupt you and rip you away from another mouthgasm. Not every memory stitched into your mind needs to have a duplicate pattern on someone elses subconscious. Your memory, your day can be your day, just yours: a date with yourself.

Or maybe all of you single people do this already because you live off a healthy diet of independence and self-confidence. And us couples begin to binge on coexistence, on hanging out with your mate, always, or back in Canada, your bud 😉 and your friend. Or perhaps I shouldn`t generalize based on relationship status. I`m sure there are plenty of people who can leave their partner, or spouse or lovers at home and treat themself to dinner and a movie or lunch and a live theatre matinĂ©e or poetry slam or whatever tickles your fancy, floats your boat, munches your bunches nom nom nom- without a second thought…I envy you. But I also know that I am not alone in this petty little insecurity because society tends to tell us that it is weird, and wrong, and creepy, and sad, like, really sad, heartbreaking even, when people have no one to do things with. And lets face it, `choosing` to do things alone is usually presented as a myth, like, is it really a choice or is it just some sticky beige coverup for being a loner, for being friendless.

Screw that.

You know what I think is more depressing than being friendless, not knowing how to have fun by yourself. Cause we can surround ourselves by family and friends and lovers and acquaintances, but if we can`t even get ourselves off we can`t expect other people to do it for us- at least, not all the time, (I`m using that as a metaphor, but in the literal sense, masturbation is always a wise choice, then again, that`s coming from a proud sinner). But honestly, how do you expect other people to make you happy if you can`t make yourself happy and go out and do things that make you happy, alone? Don`t worry, I`m not putting you on the spot, I asked myself this too…

Yesterday I asked myself out on a date. I was little nervous because I wasn`t sure if I was going to get rejected, but…….. I said yes, phewww! I got ready, put on my sexy shoes, and got pretty for myself. And it went wonderfully.

I went to a double header roller derby bout, put on by The Victorian Roller Derby Leage and I bought myself two ciders and a hot dog.

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Best. date. ever.

Despite getting lost on the way there and having the tram driver tell me to get off and go the other direction when in fact I was going the right way to begin with… I made it eventually. Mind you, I was almost two hours late, but it was a five hour long event so I still got to see a lot of it. And one of the perks of dating yourself, no one was waiting for me, no one even knew I was coming, so I didn`t let anyone down.

And I cheered my ass off.

I saw the tail end of the first bout, but the full-on sweaty and heated second, a rematch of last seasons champions, the Rock Mobsters vs. the Dolls of Hazzard, and it blew my mind! I wasn`t a derby virgin, but I wasn`t far off, I`d only ever been to one Roller Derby match before when I was living in Vancouver! But this time, the difference was, I actually understood what was going on and how the scoring worked! Last time around I just cheered for the players with the coolest tights, or the ones I thought were hot, and I cheered whenever someone fell down… But once you understand what is happening, Roller Derby is quite possibly the coolest,  most exciting and vicious sport to watch.

And roller derby even has its own language, its own derby culture. It is fascinating…  I felt like an anthropologist going into to a foreign land to observe, to witness, scribbling notes frantically in my mind. The names… the derby names! They are fantastic. G-Banger got over twenty points in one jam, but Skate Bush set the record at thirty points in a single jam. I was rooting for Bush.

Afterwards on the bus, some guy asked me if my team won. I smiled and said, yeah. But really, I hadn’t been being monogamous in my cheering. I wasn’t tied down to either team. I was just cheering for whichever team was the underdog and it was such a close match that it kept changing. But in the end, I said yeah, I won. My team won.

Team-Me.

Because I went alone. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t sad, it wasn’t pathetic…

It was awesomely epic.

I think I might ask myself to a second date, perhaps a little more intimate, more romantic…

Who am I kidding, what is more intimate than Roller Derby?

Yours Truly,

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Heidi J. Loos

3. My Big Gay Weekend in Melbourne

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Dear Blogosphere,

After living, or perhaps more accurately, merely existing for the last 5 months in the giant steam room that is Queensland in the summertime, escaping to Melbourne, Victoria, for the weekend really did feel like a cool breath of fresh air for my soul. A really sexy, yummy, breath of crisp, clean air, like that first gulp of slippery oxygen sliding across freshly brushed teeth in the morning: cool, minty, and wildly refreshing, awaking all of my senses…

And to think, I was worried!! I was terribly worried that Melbourne wouldn’t stand up to its reputation. Ever since I arrived in Australia, everyone has been saying, “Melbourne is amazing, but it is way too cold.” “Melbourne is beeeautiful, but the weather is crap”. “Melbourne is definitely my favourite city… I would live there if it wasn’t so cold.” “Melbourne is the prettiest city in the world, but the weather sucks, it’s like four seasons in a day.” and “Melbourne is where all of the art and culture of Australia begins, and lives, and strives, (but the weather sucks, like really sucks)”

I was worried I would be disappointed. So many voices, creating a ladder to awesome, I thought for sure it must be a hoax. I wasn’t really worried about the weather, honestly how cold can Melbourne be compared to Canada? But I was worried, it wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful and exciting and artsy as everyone described.

But honestly, Melbourne really is a sexy beast of a city.

It would be impossible to describe to you every single sight, smell, taste, and moment that captured my heart in Melbourne over the last four days. I could spend hours pouring details over pages and pages, but still you wouldn’t really be able to taste the exquisite, mouth watering delicacies I tasted of Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Italian cuisines; you wouldn’t really feel the tingle in your feet and ears, hairs standing up, coming alive with each note: the worldly music of buskers on every street corner… You couldn’t even begin to imagine the breath-taking, soul quenching sunset over the yarra river that I witnessed while the frisky evening wind whipped my hair and nibbled at my earlobes, and I sipped an iced cold Bulmers cider on the deck of a cruise ship filled with really attractive pirate lesbians…

So I won’t. I won’t go there… besides, it would just make you all, very… jealous.

I will replay the highlights though, and the lowlights, because I don’t want to come across as unrealistic.

My weekend was like a giant rainbow cupcake, with seven layers of sweet, fluffy deliciousnous and lots of thick chocolate icing and rainbow sprinkles on top. And gelato, of course gelato, lots of rich creamy Italian coconut, vanilla, and chocolate gelato. Even you straight folks would have gobbled it all up. My big gay weekend was creamy, sweet, freshly stirred, home-made. Only the best of the best, from Melbourne 😉

There were a few chunks of unwanted, uncooked, bitterness, though. A couple of homophobic comments and attitudes, and sexist songs that clung to the roof of my mouth, and squirmed into my ears, nose, mouth, threatening to choke me and put an end to all of my happy, sparkly gay/queer/pansexual pride.

HIGHLIGHT

The best midsumma festival event I went to was the spoken word event held on Thursday night at Bar Nancy, a cute and cozy bar #61 on High Street in Northcote. (If you go there, make sure you try the sangria because it was delicious!) The event was called The Invisibles. The host of the event was the funniest, most adorable comedian I have ever had the pleasure of staring at and listening to live, you must all look her up, Lisa Skye. I plan to attend her solo show in a few weeks because every word that came out of her mouth was not only hilarious, but informative and politically progressive, on MY side of the spectrum if you know what I mean ;-)… But the sole reason the event was so great was because of the writers, the performers. They were all so unique and captivating, and brave, to share their own stories and struggles of queer invisibility, fat visibility, ethnic visibility and invisibility, and other queer minority subjectivities. It was truly inspiring!
This event will happen again next Jan/Feb in the Midsumma Festival, so if you are in the area check it out! Also, I’ve been told that Melbourne has a great variety of poets, and spoken word artists, and slams, readings and events happen frequently- yay another point for the sexy beast!

LOWLIGHT

The shittiest moment of the weekend came when our crabby old lady roommate started yelling at my girlfriend and I for cuddling and watching a movie together in the same bed. Kind of ironic right? We are in Melbourne for the gay pride parade and this woman sharing our room in the hostel FREAKS out because we are cuddling. TWO GIRLS cuddling = HORRIBLE, disgusting, wrong… apparently. The worst part was that another girl in the room had a boy in her bunk and they were cuddling at the same time as us and watching a movie on their laptop, but this did not seem to be a problem to our homophobic roommate. Instead the angry unnamed woman started yelling saying things like, “this is supposed to be a female only- single-female only dorm” (which we asked reception about the next day and there was no where that it said you had to be single, just female) She screamed “you can’t be having sex in here!!!!” We replied to her very politely that, no, we were not having sex with our clothes on and earbuds in and a movie playing on the laptop, nor were we going to be having sex while 6 other people were sharing the same room, and again, we were simply watching a movie. Anger trickled out of her pours and she warned us, “you better not be sleeping in the same bed,” wagging her finger at me, but referring to me in third person she spat out, “SHE better be sleeping up top.” So I did. I let her win because I was afraid she might do something scary/evil/violent if she saw anymore same-sex cuddling. But the last night we were in the hostel we went to sleep before she got back to the room and we slept in the same bed- and it gets better, we were in our underwear! MWAHAHA!

HIGHLIGHT

It was late on Sunday night and we wandered the streets looking for the perfect late-night dinner after our afternoon nap had crept on a little too long. Everywhere seemed to be closed. Bars, yes, but food, no. When we were just about to give up hope and call it a night we saw a little Indian restaurant with the lights still on. The home of the best Indian food I’ve ever tried, Le Taj. They served us take-away even though they were supposed to be closed and the chef had already cleaned the entire kitchen and was ready to go. And let me tell you, I thought I’d tried butter chicken lots of times, but really, all of those other times I thought I was eating butter chicken, they were imposters, they were fakes, because this, this butter chicken was the real thing. The freaking king of all butter chicken everywhere. Nothing could compare. And the seven vegetable curry medley was an orgasm in my mouth.

LOWLIGHT

After the parade hundreds of queers and allies gathered in St. Kilda by the beach to celebrate, dance, drink, eat, watch drag and listen to music. There were a couple of drag performances which I adored, one particularly awesome one about hair…but that’s not the point, the point is a trio came on made up of two self identified “straight bitches” and a femme guy- they did some lip sinking, some dancing, and some rapping. There raps started out okay, mildly offensive, but then continued to get worse and worse, until I was so appalled I had to get up and leave. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one and other people began to shake their heads at the sexist, degrading lyrics as well. One song kept repeating “bitch, you’re not bi-curious” and went on to describe how girls who identify as bicurious are liars and really just haven’t had proper sex or something along those lines, obviously stated in a much more explicit and problematic manner! In a space where we are supposed to be celebrating diversity in labels and identities I was deeply saddened to hear this group repeating the degrading biphobic stereotypes and shaming bisexuals and other questioning sexual identities. The sexism in their lyrics was unbearable, referring over and over to women as sexualized objects as “bitches” to be used, fucked, and tossed away, feeding into the disgusting rape-culture that so much of the other mainstream Hollywood hip hop does as well, that I despise.

All in all though, my big gay weekend in Melbourne was effing fantastic!
In fact, I loved it so much I’m moving to Melbourne in 10 days.

XOXO Rainbow Love,
Heidi J. Loos