QUEERCOPIA AT BGSQD
AMBER LOVE 14-OCT-2014 The Queercopia event was hosted by Greg and Donny at the BUREAU OF GENERAL SERVICES QUEER DIVISION and organized by author Jennie Wood. Speakers for the night included: Jennie Wood, Dylan Edwards, Amber Love, Maria Burnham, and Jeff Krell.
I had to edit together three files from different devices because I ran out of disk space. There’s a strange conversion problem with one of the files. I have no idea how but there’s a background of Jennie’s readings overlapped in Dylan’s reading but Dylan’s voice was great and booms through so hopefully you can enjoy the final production. I hope it works well enough to hear the variety of stories. The diverse content included: a prose scene, nonfiction and fiction stories made into comics, open letters, and a short story excerpt. The subjects handled LGBTQ themes in various genres, medium and tones from humorous to dramatic.
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WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME?
I want to take this moment to express what my personal experience as one of the readers was like. I was deeply grateful and touched when Jennie Wood asked me to be on the lineup. I felt so inferior because all the speakers are accomplished and still rising in their careers and I’ve barely just begun. I was intimidated. Then because of the stress of New York Comic Con, I was severely overwhelmed. This was only day two of the con, a Friday. It was crowded and I had spent the day trying to get some news coverage done. I also wanted to socialize because that’s a massive part of conventions. To put it mildly, I had broken down fast. It was only the second day and I was a mess.
Queercopia was scheduled for 7 pm. and since I’m not familiar with how long it would take to get West 13th in the Village from Midtown’s Javits Center, I played it conservatively and left the convention at 5:00. I had to walk a mile before even being able to catch a cab because that’s New York.
Everyone else’s readings were filled with comedy or at least some comic relief in dramatic pieces. I was the only one to present a dark crime noir about a murder of a gay man. I was terrified and nervous when I was done and especially after the final reading by Jeff Krell. I was internally screaming at myself. How could you not be prepared with something hilarious, you stupid idiot! Thankfully, the community center was filled with lovely people who came up to me afterwards and said they liked my story. Surely, they had to be lying and only being polite. It’s the right thing to do to tell someone they were good even if they were awful, right? I mean, I went after Dylan Edwards and Jennie Wood who were like stage actors up there bringing their characters to life. I did rehearse. I even recorded it to listen back to see how I’d be with this task. I’m used to microphones. I podcast, after all. I spent my college years at the mic of the radio station. Public speaking isn’t that scary to me but presenting my work was terrifying.
The real issue is that I was already a mess before arriving at the Bureau. I left the con upset and nervous. I found the location with plenty of time so I found the closest bar where I had two screwdrivers. I couldn’t stop crying and the darling white-haired Irish bartender gave me a third on the house. At this point, I was trying so hard to hold in the crying that when I put hand up to my nose to unceremoniously and grossly wipe it, something felt wrong. I looked down. There was blood all over my entire right arm and on the bags I had on the stool. Luckily, I had packed some tissues expecting to be crying at some point. Okay, the bar was dark – really dark – but still had a local happy hour crowd. I wiped my nose and arm enough to try and be less noticeable. I bounded through the bar and down the stairs to the restroom. It was embarrassing and only added more stress.
I cleaned up as best I could and walked back around the corner to the Bureau where I then had to worry if I was covered in blood while standing in front of 50 people I didn’t know and presenting something I’ve never shared with anyone. Besides Jennie and her partner Natalie who I only met for a minute up in Boston, I had no other friends there. I know it’s busy and there were tons of conflicting events. Queercopia was at 7 and the show wasn’t even over until 8. I missed some of my friends’ panels and parties but attended some I could get to. I had spent a couple hours before the readings alone and scared. Then felt like I invaded the Bureau even though my name was there on the sign with everyone else. I left there and found the Multiversity party at Stitch which was horrible. It’s always so loud there you can’t possibly talk to anyone. It was as if a thousand comic con attendees were crammed into one booth. Claustrophobic doesn’t even describe it. And I didn’t see the people I expected to see (turns out there were a couple people on the second floor but I couldn’t check Twitter with the non-existent NYC wifi). I was spotted by Chuck, fellow blogger/podcaster of Whatcha Readin’ website. I had one drink with him – quickly – and bolted out to the sidewalk. At least there, I ran into the cheery face of Ben McCool and chatted for five minutes.
After the unpleasantness of Stitch, I found my way to Penn Station not sure if I should just get on the next train to New Jersey. I was waiting to hear from someone and trying to text a friend that might be around. Instead, I spent the hours on a stone wall at the entrance to Madison Square Garden where I sat crying my eyes out for an eternity. I don’t even remember anything about my trip home. I was commuting in and out of the city by train for three days and then took the ferry for the fourth. It sucked and did not help my panic-ridden situation. Somehow, I did get home because I know on Saturday I woke up shaking and crying again. My mother kept insisting I should stay home and skip Saturday at the con all together. I obviously managed to get there but kept Saturday low key and mostly hung out in Artists’ Alley at Alex Saviuk’s booth.