Sex Nerds Unite: Rachel Kramer Bussel kicks off Best Sex Writing 2012 Book Tour at Powell’s

When Rachel Kramer Bussel was in Portland last year, she had a serendipitous experience at Powell’s Book Store.

She was at the end of putting together the book Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today’s Sexual Culture [Cleis Press], which she edits, and most of the pieces were already finalized. But as she was walking around she saw and bought a copy of Ms. Magazine, because of the article, Sex, Lies and Hush Moneyby Katherine Spillar. Bussel ended up getting the rights to the article, which for her was perfect since she was looking for a piece that touched on politics to round out the book.

Rachel Kramer Bussel

“I try to read a lot, but I don’t always see everything,” Bussel said. “So this was a great opportunity for me. I don’t think it’s something you can do when you are just shopping online because you don’t browse a newsstand in that way. It was only because I was standing in front of this magazine. So I’m extra excited to go back to Powell’s.”

Bussel, who is a New York-based author, editor, blogger and event organizer, will be back in Pdx to kick off her West Coast book tour for Best Sex Writing 2012 at Powell’s April 6 at 7:30PM. The event will include a reading and discussion with contributors Tim Elhajj (author of Dopefiend, contributor to Guernica), Kevin Sampsell (author of A Common Pornography) and Lidia Yuknavitch (author of The Chronology of Water). And there will be free cupcakes.

The book is a collection of nonfiction spanning from journalistic pieces such as Camille Dodero’s Village Voice article “Guys Who Like Fat Chicks” to Amber Dawn’s personal essay, To All the Butches I Loved Between 1995 and 2005: An Open Letter about Selling Sex, Selling Out and Soldiering On.”

What it isn’t, though, is erotica. And a lot of Bussel’s readers are surprised that the anthology isn’t necessarily getting them off.

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Bicoastal Baby — Who said it was easy?

Who said it was easy?

I said for me, long distance is a choice. I never said it was easy.

Well, it’s a choice most of the time, but that’s fodder for another column.

Luckily I’m not alone in my struggles (that’s not to say I wish struggle among others, it’s just nice to know folks in a similar boat).

Take D. for example. D. is a heteroflexible male med student living in Portland. His fiancé, B., is a bisexual female living in Eugene where she goes to school. It’s a 110-mile drive -certainly not a long distance relationship, but more accurately dubbed “Middle distance” by D.

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Getting back to it (together but apart)

Right before I leave Captain’s place in Portland, I start revving up for my return to Brooklyn.

It’s been something I’ve consistently done, not exactly consciously, but as I sit on his couch at my laptop thinking about how in a few days I will be back across the country, I want to start scheduling time with people and activities. It sort of eases the pain and separation anxiety of saying good-bye.

I’ll be the first to say being in a bicoastal relationship can be weird. It’s strange to spend almost all your time with someone for a couple of weeks at a time and then separate and get back into a rhythm of e-mails, texts and Skype dates.

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Bicoastal Baby: On neutral ground

Greetings from Cottonwood, Arizona. I’m here with Captain as we decided to meet and spend a week in the Sedona area before starting a road trip back to Portland to celebrate New Year’s.

I really enjoy meeting in a neutral place, aka not my place and not his. I guess you could call it a vacation – though we are both working. But mainly, it’s a treat to get away together, in a space that becomes our shared (temporary) home without the attachments and responsibilities that our regular individual localities often bring.

While we strive to bring a sense of normalcy when each of us visits the other and continue on with our regular schedules (for the most part), it’s nice to get away and just have some special time for us. I think it keeps us in balance and in check. Not to mention, it just feels good to get away.

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Bicoastal Baby: Ushering in surrender

All things change.

I know, deep right? But it’s true. And it’s especially true when you are in a relationship with someone who lives across the country.

And sometimes it presents challenges.

For one, sometimes your financial situation changes. When I met Captain, I was working a full-time corporate job (not making much money) but I was gainfully employed and had the basics covered even though I was miserable. At some point, after we became more serious, I went from full-time to telecommuting so I could travel and visit him. This was both my ticket out of cube culture and a way for me to support my budding romance. But now, a year out of leaving my job and a year into my freelance life, my finances have changed and while I have way more flexibility on my hands, freelancing doesn’t always equate to steady work, which means less money in the pocket. And less money in the pocket sadly means less funds to pay for those airline tickets. We’ve been lucky, however, and have always managed to have the resources we’ve needed to make a visit happen. And a large part of that has been to planning.

Secondly, long distance relationships go through the same stages as geographically intimate relationships – they just take longer to get there and adjust. We had a great honeymoon stage – full of passion, sexy whispers and future plans. That’s not to say those plans and passion don’t exist now that the shine has worn off a bit, but let’s just say we are more realistic. We are also settling into our respective homes (in our respective cities) a bit more.

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Is parting such sweet sorrow?

The second installment of New Yorker Liz Gold’s recurring column on maintaining a long distance relationship with a Portlander. And it’s just in time for Thanksgiving when many of us are thinking about those we care about far away.

The nature of being in a long-distance relationship is that at some point you have to say good-bye.

Good-bye for right now, that is, not good-bye forever.

But sometimes it can feel that way.

In my last column I talked about the “amp up” or that time right before seeing my partner, Captain. It’s the 48-hour window of adrenaline, excitement (and yes, anxiety) that happens as I gear up to head cross country to Portland to visit him – or on the flip side, the juice that I feel getting ready for his arrival to Brooklyn.

But of course with the amp up, comes the descend and it starts for me about two days before I know we are going to part. My emotions start working overtime, my senses are heightened and I tend to cry. It’s not pretty and I work on it and Captain is patient with me, but it can be trying because it catapults me into the future taking me out of the present moment.

The point is to enjoy the time we have with each other. And that should be the point for all relationships regardless of whether one is long distance or not. Am I right?

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‘Body of Work’ opens at Q Center in honor of Trans Awareness Month

Wayne Bund

If you missed the Sunday evening opening reception for Body of Work,” a collection of art exhibited in the Q Center in honor of Transgender Awareness month, don’t fear – the show is up until Dec. 3.

Curated by Alison Picard of Bloodhound Photography, who has three photos in the show, the exhibition explores “the illusions, representations and parallels of gender construction and identity.” Just as gender is diverse, so is this show – as different mediums are showcased.

The show’s opening reception came on the heels of Communi-T, Portland’s Trans Resource Fair, which is in its second year.

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Smutty Clown Comedy: A lot of cock & cunt

Need a good first date idea? This is not it. It’s more like the third date when you’re ready to see what your person is made of.

Smutty Clown Comedy at Saratoga Bar isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it for the politically correct. Seriously. Do not bring that special someone who is canvassing for any sort of human rights. You will be dumped. Immediately.

But if you’re looking for a fun and kooky way to spend a Thursday night and you can handle straight cisgender guys yelling “you all are cunts” into the microphone, this may just be your place.

Billed as a monthly X-rated open mic, Smutty Clown is hosted by Sterling Clark and Whitney Streed. Clark is pretty much adorable – on this night she was wearing a floral dress and cardigan, hair in a head scarf with large glasses aka Sally Jessy Raphael. Streed was walking around in a suit, looking like she knew everyone in the place.

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Glitterfruit lights up the stage during debut show

Glitterfruit working their magic.

Max Voltage and Riley Ciara La Roux dusted the audience at In Other Words Saturday evening with their Glitterfruit as the duo dug into a handful of instruments during their debut full length show, Fruitillion.

Opening with “Nirvaga,” a mash-up of Nirvana’s “Come as you are” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Glitterfruit did get into a little bit of everything – with numbers induced with camp, cabaret and circus style. Their set included the electric violin, bass, accordion, mandolin and ukulele with each taking turns at vocals. La Roux at one point quipped, “We’re a five person band with two people.”

The music varied – for “Girl on the Side,” a song that came from a friend named Willis in Brooklyn, it was all about well, being a girl on the side. La Roux playfully croons, “You are busy as a honeybee, sweet as syrup from the maple tree and all I want to know is want to kick it on the side with me?”

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Bicoastal Baby, a new semi-regular column

Liz Gold, a New Yorker and part-time Portlander, will be swinging through town to catch some cultural activities for qPDX. She also plans to write an occasional column discussing how to be in a cross-country relationship. So stay tuned!

The Amp Up.

This is the best part.

My partner, Captain, lives in Portland. I live in Brooklyn.

Think about that for a minute.

It’s far. Like 2,500 miles far. But it’s really when I’m on the plane staring at Iowa on the distance map Jet Blue provides that I realize, holy crap, we really live far apart.

Otherwise it’s pretty normal for us. And he doesn’t ever seem that far away.

We are bicoastal and open/polyamorous. I consider him my primary partner, though I’m not a big fan of that language. Typically we see each other every six weeks – for anywhere between 10 days to six weeks depending on our schedules and circumstances – and we both travel to each other’s respective homes.

The longest time we were apart was at the very beginning of our two and a half year relationship and that was for nine weeks. We both agreed that was too long. As a result, we’ve found a length of togetherness that works for us – just enough to feel we are getting ample quality time with each other, yet not too much where we start to get outrageously itchy for our autonomy.

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