When I first started to go to fat events it was mostly just meet ups and the occasional clothing swap or shopping. It took me a few years before I attended more organized events. The first fat event that blew me away so completely that I couldn’t stop smiling for days after was “Go Big or Go Home” by Big Moves Bay Area. The show itself was so put together, but it was the feeling of witnessing something so special and honest and amazing that stuck with me! That first major event featured the Phat Fly Girls, Rubenesque Burlesque and Raks Africa! Talk about a triple threat?! Ha-ha! And my first encounter of Marilyn Wann in the flesh! I also had the pleasure of meeting Carol Squires that evening through sheer happenstance; my friends and I asked her to take our photo during intermission. Little did we know that she used to be a portrait photographer (and a member of the Fat Lip Readers)!
Life changing stuff, folks! Inspiring and empowering and moving and just fan-fucking-tastic! I mean, that was also the first time I’d gone strapless in public! Wow! That was nearly two years ago! Now I own like four or five strapless dresses! Ha-ha! I later attended “Queer.Fat.Political” in San Francisco and discovered the Fat Lip Readers and witnessed so radical a group of women that I was humbled and inspired. Standing in that room (I was video taping) and just soaking in all that was around me? It was like a bolt of feminist-fat lightening went through me. I walked away changed, for the better, forever. Never before had I felt such a sense of responsibility to carry the torch, as it were, that these women lit so many years ago and truly set the bar high. Their activism was to me the truest sense of the word. They put their necks out to improve the lives of fat people everywhere. I was honored to be in their presence.
A few months later Big Moves Bay Area hosted “Fatdance: What A Feeling” again featuring the Phat Fly Girls, Rubenesque Burlesque and Raks Africa…and this time hosted by Marilyn Wann and Amy Benson. It was fantabulous! You just can’t be around these amazing women and not get inspired! At the very least you’ll walk away laughing and smiling. There is something so powerful about witnessing someone doing whatever it is that they are passionate about. I don’t have a word for it. It always makes me want to dance again. I do dance, but I just can’t very often. At least not until my knee is sorted out. I had the please that same weekend of attending Marilyn’s b-day party and WDAL fundraiser. Talk about awesome fatty party times?! So fun!!!
I took these experiences as sort of a template or outline for how I wanted Fatty Affair to be. I didn’t want to copy anyone or anything, but these events had such an impact on me and I knew that good feeling just needed to be spread around! That was the point of all of it for me, to have a good time and to connect people and create a stronger community. The first person I asked to speak was Marilyn, of course! If you’ve never had the joy of having a fat-related conversation with her, well, it’s great! It’s this fantastic free flowing exchange of ideas. It’s what all creative types need. It’s what all activists need. It was absolutely what I needed on both of those fronts! She had tons of ideas and plenty of experience in participating and attending such fat events all over the world. I was delighted when she agreed to speak and pleased that she was excited about it, too.
Not being a professional anything at all, I stumbled a bit when I first tried to get people to perform at Fatty Affair. I wasn’t clear in communication and while still running the cafe, sucked at follow up! Once further details and apologies were worked out, the rest of the lineup came together nicely. The last person I asked was my BFF Jery. I don’t know why…I always feel like he “has better shit to do” (gee, wonder why that is? Ha-ha!) or whatever, but I did and he accepted. It wasn’t until two nights before the event that we actually got together and nailed down a timeline for it. I know, we live in the same building and can’t seem to sync our schedules! Ha-ha! But it worked out just fine.
And here is where I use every ounce of restraint I have in me to not gush over Linda Bacon PhD not only accepting my invitation to participate/speak at Fatty Affair, but that she did so after receiving paid offers on the same day! She says it was for purely selfish reasons, that she needed to be around our positive community, to be re-energized. Can’t say that I blame her. It was yet another life changing experience for me and for many others. Everyone who helped, participated, performed or spoke was so fantastic! I seriously could not have imagined it going better than it actually did!
It was a success because of so many passionate individuals who worked together and helped pull this whole thing off! A special thank you and shout out to Raven Eagan and Amanda Evans! Raven was my boy scout and pressure valve while Amanda was the genius who took over the bake sale for me and really made it shine!
Amanda & Marilyn (Belly Bump!)
Raven & Jeanette: Babin’!
Tomorrow I’ll be talking about: The FATshion!!! <3