Halloween Fun and Games

So, Halloween is an excellent opportunity (excuse?) to dress up and get out and about. If you are recognised, well you are just having some innocent Halloween gender bending fun. If your presentation is a little ‘off’, well you are in dress up mode, so what?

With this in mind I am pleased to tell you about not one but two Halloween parties that are happening this Halloween.

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On 31 October (Halloween itself), Amuse will be hosting a midweek Halloween party. Entrance is free and there will be a free bottle of whisky for the best dressed person at the party.

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On Saturday 27 October, there will be a party at Trouble (aka Big Boss Diner). Like Amuse, entrance is free and there will be prizes for the best dressed. Hilton has also promised drinks specials throughout the night!

I honestly cannot guarantee that Irene and/or I will be at either of these events, we will do our very bets, but life has been hectic lately and I am not sure it will get any better in the short term, but we would encourage you all to get out if you can.

The last Halloween party I attended was a long time ago in 2015. I went to an event hosted by Lola Montez (when she was still doing events) and then I went to Trouble. Both were a lot of fun and it really helped me gain confidence in getting out on my own… I thought I would share a few pictures that may inspire you.

This is a fantastic opportunity to safely get out and about and also support those LGBT friendly institutions that give us a safe place to socialise. On that note it is always nice to meet like minded people, share some experiences and of course have a little bit of a party too!

Hope to see you all out in your amazing fabulousness.

Summary of the events:

Amuse
Where: 34, 5th Street, Linden
When: 31 October
Time: Open from 3-30 pm, but the crowd usually gets going after 7-30 pm
Entrance: Free
Crowd: Diverse

Trouble
Where: Corner Rabie and Republic, Randburg
When: 27 October
Time: From around 8 pm onwards
Entrance: Free
Crowd: Mostly LGBT peeps, but all welcome.

 

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Slutwalk Reminder

Hi Everyone

This is a reminder that we will be doing our thing to protest rape culture, victim blaming, and slut shaming and thus promote consent and a positive attitude towards sex and sexuality next Saturday.

For those of you who do not know, Slutwalk was started in Toronto in 2011 in response to a police officer public stating that women needed to stop dressing like sluts if they wanted to avoid being raped. Since then the movement has spread throughout the world.

As a transgender woman, a parent of girls and a member of society I take this very seriously. I am also aware that transgender women are often hypersexualised by cisgender men and thus at a greater than average risk of sexual assault. Many men seem to think that women in general should be sexually available to them and some seem to think that transgender women are basically just in it for the sex and thus even more available to them: they seem to think that we are consenting to whatever they have in mind just because we are in a dress: heads up, ‘It’s a dress, not a yes!’ Transgender women run additional risks in that often sexual assaults (and even possibly consenting sexual encounters) seem to turn violent at an alarming rate. ‘Trans panic‘ is even considered a legitimate murder and assault defence in some parts of the world.

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I therefore think that all people, but especially women and transgender women have a vested interest in promoting a culture of consent where unless consent is explicitly and freely given no sex can happen. Often behaviours, beliefs and societal norms are so ingrained that people are unaware of the toxic and dangerous nature of these behaviours, beliefs and norms. We need to expose people to alternative ways of thinking about things and let them realise the danger we run by allowing sexual assault to be normalised. Men have an important role to play here too. If they themselves are not the perpetrators of an assault, then they are certainly the father, the brother, the uncle, the friend or some other male relation to the perpetrator. When they fob things off as ‘locker room talk’, or manly banter they are complicit. Men also sometimes find themselves in societal situations where abuse is normalised. We need to educate and empower men to speak out.

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I therefore believe Slutwalk is something we all, but perhaps especially the transgender community (in its broadest sense) should support.

After the (short) walk we are planning on going to Lucio’s Pizzeria in Blackheath for a spot of lunch. We would love it of as many of you as possible would join us. It is an opportunity to do a good thing, have a day out and about in a safe and accepting environment and then have lunch with some likeminded folks to meet new people, socialise and maybe get some support.

You can dress as you wish (just take a look at the weather forecast, it can be quite hot at this time of year, dress appropriately). It is a very safe environment in which some cisgender women feel safe enough to be topless and there are always a few transgender people around as well as cisgender men showing solidarity with woman by appearing in drag (which can be problematic, but I think we can give them a pass, because they are doing it for the right reasons, not to poke fun at anyone). So, dress as you wish, come and participate and have fun. Just make sure you have footwear that you can walk a kilometre or two in, stilettos may be a bit of a push…

The details:

Slutwalk:
Pirates Club
25 Braeside Road
Greenside
Johannesburg
From 10 am to 1 pm

Lucio’s Pizzeria
231 Beyers Naude Drive
Blackheath
Johannesburg
From after we finish the walk until around 4 pm

Please note that we need some indication of numbers so, that Lucio’s can be sure that they can accommodate us, so please RSVP by no later than 4 pm on Thursday 27 September.

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Time to get out and about. No Excuses!

Exciting news! We are planning not one but two outings in September. One midweek and one on a Saturday, so there are no excuses.

Firstly, time for something completely new. A book launch! Priscilla’s Services assisted an author (Maire Fisher) with ideas on how to represent a non-binary character in her new novel (The Enumerations) earlier this year. The book is being launched in Johannesburg in September and we have been invited to the book launch. We thought it would be a fun evening for you all to come with and as there is a transgender character (non-binary people fall on the transgender spectrum) the theme kind of works. Here are the details:
When: Thursday 13 September
Time: To be advised, probably around 6 pm or so
Where: Love Books The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville
Entrance is free but it would be a good idea to support the South African publishing industry, so why not buy a book, or two?

We know this is a little early but don’t despair, we can always go somewhere else for a meal, a drink and a natter afterwards. There are plenty of options in Melville or we are always welcome at Amuse.

We would love to see you there, whether you can come en femme or en homme or whatever…

Secondly, it is time for Slutwalk again. As usual we will be there to add our voices as a protest against sexual assault. It is absolutely a safe space for you to be. There are always a few gender non-conforming people around and your safety is assured. So please join us on the march. We then plan on going somewhere nice for lunch after the march. We haven’t quite decided where yet, but we are thinking of a pizzeria in Northcliff or perhaps a nice restaurant/cafe in Parkhurst or Linden. We are open to suggestions… So why not join us on the march, it would be fantastic to see you all, and then we can have a lovely lunch and a chat afterwards.
When: Saturday 29 September
Time: 10 am
Where:Pirates Sports Club, Greenside
Entrance is free but a donation towards rape survivors would be appreciated

Hope to see you at one, or both, of these fantastic opportunities to socialise. Please contact us should you need more information and please remember you are more than welcome to come dressed however you like.
Irene will be available to help you if required.

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Report Back: Summer Nights at Amuse

We had our first social of 2018 at Amuse Cafe in Linden on Tuesday night… and what a night it was. For those who couldn’t make it, here is some information to fuel your regret.

The night was billed as a Summer Nights Social. The idea was to provide gender non-conforming people in Gauteng, regardless of how they identify, with an opportunity to meet up, chat and generally just socialise in an informal, friendly and accepting environment. My good friend Anna from the Emporium of Delights and All Things Nice kindly agreed to bring some of her costume jewellery stock with her, so there was something to do if the conversation got a bit boring.

We had started advertising the event just over a month ago and there had been quite a bit of interest in the event, but you never know how many people will turn up on the night. I was expecting somewhere between 10 and 15 people based on the interest levels we had, but we have had events where we were expecting 20 people and only a handful arrive, and we have had events where we were only expecting five people and then 15 arrive on the night. I was therefore very pleased that in the end 13 people arrived over the course of the evening. This is a very good turnout for a weeknight and we were very happy. A big thank you to everyone who turned out to support us. Organising these events takes a fair bit of effort and we literally make nothing out of the event, so events that are poorly supported can be very soul destroying. When we get a decent turn out, my heart literally sings.

As usual, I had some dressing ‘challenges’ of my own to overcome (you can read all about them in a few days’ time at Daniella’s Ramblings if you so wish). I was somewhat unsure what to wear. Should I be casual (Amuse is a fairly casual venue) or should I glam it up? Or what? I settled on a pair of skinny jeans, my new off the shoulder pink top, beige cowboy boots and some accessories. Luckily Irene had some spare time and was able to do my makeup for me. I think she did a fantastic job.

 

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After dressing, makeup and a few errands (for more details please read my personal blog), I arrived at the venue just before 6 as I wanted to make sure that I was on time and be able to assist Dirck (from Amuse) with information (or anything else) should he need it. I was sitting at the table Dirck had reserved for us (thanks Dirck), sipping a coke and responding to WhatsApp’s when someone walking past asked me (very politely), ‘excuse me, but are you Daniella?’ I looked up and saw someone, a good looking young man to be sure, standing in front of me. I had no idea who they were. I looked blankly at him and said that indeed I was. He could see that I was at a complete loss and said, ‘you may know me as Heidi’. OMG it was my Facebook friend and local drag queen Heidi van Kleef. I had only met Heidi in real life once before, at a show of hers and I had never seen her without her glitter, hair and heels before. The presence of a beard also threw me off the scent to be fair. We were able to spend some time catching up on the outdoor veranda (it was a very pleasant late summer evening) and actually talking to one another in person. It was lovely.

Soon some guests started to arrive. Heidi had been asked by Dirck to stand in as host(ess?) for the evening as he had to attend an urgent meeting. Anna was the first to arrive and she joined us, and we celebrated Heidi’s recent promotion at her day job with her. Then Nicole arrived. Anna, who lives so far in the East of Johannesburg that we have to check the time zones before phoning her, had never been to Amuse before. She seemed quite taken by the charm of the place. Then she noticed the sculpture of the naked male torso. She felt compelled to touch it and I managed to get photographic evidence before dragging her away from it.

 

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Anna fondling the art work.

Clearly it was time to move in doors… Claire, Liza, Grizelda and Irene all arrived in quick succession and soon we were all happily chatting away. The service was good as always and our throats were soon lubricated. After a long day hard at work most people were hungry, and I think almost everyone ordered something to eat. The food was up to the usual standard and one of the things I really like about Amuse is the portion size. Many restaurants charge a lot more for a plate of food and they seem compelled to compensate by giving you far too much to eat. Amuse follows a less aggressive pricing strategy and their portion sizes are smaller, but I find this preferable. It is a far more ‘European’ model (as opposed to what I have seen at North American restaurants) and I think it sets Amuse apart. It also makes an evening out far more affordable.

After everyone was finished Anna opened her box of tricks and a number of people sampled her range of accessories that were on offer. It seems she was happy enough with the amount of stock she sold, so thanks to everyone who supported her.

I really enjoyed myself and it was fantastic to meet so many people new to the scene in Johannesburg. And of course, it was fantastic to catch up with old friends and talk with people who we seldom get to interact with face to face. I particularly enjoyed meeting Michelle in person. We have been on line friends for a very long time but had never met in person before and seeing all the other new faces made me very happy too.

I hope everyone had as much (or more) fun as me. As to all of you who would like to come to one of our events but have not been able to, all I can say is that you are missing out. There is no need to come en femme if you are too scared (although there is no reason to be scared) and nobody will judge you for what you wear. We would love to meet you all in a fun, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Hope to see you at the next one (watch this space for details).

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who came out and I hope to see you all again soon. Thank you to Anna for providing us all with an opportunity to acquire more bling and of course thank you to Dirck and the rest of the Amuse team for being professional and so welcoming to our little community. Finally, a big thank you to Irene who did people’s makeup on the night, was such a good hostess and who helps and supports me so much!

 

Vintage Clothing Evening: Reminder and Details

OK everyone, the big event of the winter is nearly upon us, so I thought we needed to give everyone all the salient information (and a gentle reminder).

Date: 14 July 2017
Time: 7 pm
Place: 1 Sandela Court, corner Olifants and Levubu Roads, Emmarentia
Cost: R115 per person (includes food and drink)

What is this? I hear you all ask. Well The OPC is a vintage clothing store. They have all sorts of amazing things in stock. Whether it is a ball gown, a wedding dress, a pair of 1990s Prada heels or a bikini from the 1960s, they have it on stock. And we are giving you this opportunity to have a sophisticated evening of socialising, meeting like minded people and trying on these amazing clothes in a safe and accepting environment.

The owner of The OPC is a member of the LGBT community and as such is welcoming and accepting. She is putting on some eats and drinks, has agreed to extend her opening hours for us and will also ensure that the interior of the shop is not visible to any prying eyes. There will also be security for our cars in the parking area in front of the shop.

So why not come round have some fun, meet some sisters and maybe even buy some clothes (or some jewelry).

We will need to have an idea of numbers for catering purposes, so we would appreciate it if you can book with us by no later than 11 July. To book your tickets, simply click here and give us your name and number of tickets required and we will reserve your place. To pay for your tickets you can simply click on the ‘BUY NOW’ button to the right (or maybe bottom if you are using a mobile device to browse) of this page. It is juts under the ‘PAY WITH PAYPAL’ heading. This will enable you to pay us using a credit card or your PayPal account (if you have one). Alternatively, please contact us and we will make an alternative arrangement for you.

Of course anyone needing a place to dress for the evening, help with makeup, a place to stay or any other services should contact us so that we can assist you.

Should you have any other queries please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you all on 14 July.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Time is Running Out

Hey LGBT/crossdressing non Johannesburg residents. Time is running out if you want to catch Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Monte Casino. The show runs until 18 June and that is just around the corner.

Why not book your tickets and book an overnight stay at Priscilla’s Studio? We are an LGBT friendly establishment and have some very competitive rates (especially given the service and comfort levels on offer). We offer self catering or bed and breakfast options.

If you want to take a walk on the wild side you could even go to the show en femme and we would be happy to assist in that regard as well. We offer makeovers/femminisation services as well as shopping and other associated services. Feel free to contact us contact us and we will be happy to assist.

The show is a lot of fun and all the reviews I have seen have been very good. It is a fun night out, let us help you make it even more fun!

Priscilla Queen of the Desert Outing

Hi Everyone

Time is running short, so here is a final update regarding all final arrangements for our Priscilla Queen of the Desert outing.

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2017
Where: Teatro at Monte Casino
Curtain up: 8 pm

We have decided that we should all meet at:

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Beira Alta Cocktail Lounge (mostly because it is super close to the Teatro) for pre-show drinks (and to collect your tickets) at 6-45 for 7. Those of you coming to the studio to get your makeup done will obviously meet us at the studio!

If you have any queries please contact us so that we can assist.

Looking forward to seeing you all, it is going to be absolutely fabulous!