Archive for August, 2012

Greatest place in the universe on the best weekend of the year

Some people work out to stay healthy for their families.  Some exercise just for fun.  A select few train for the Olympics.

And Queerfitters in Atlanta? We train for Labor Day weekend.

This weekend, there’s no place in the world hotter than Atlanta. Scratch that – DragonCon is here – no place in the universe.  Atlanta Black Pride, House in the Park, ONE MusicFest, Atlanta Weekender, DragonCon, the Decatur Book Festival, the SEC kickoff games, NASCAR, Starlight’s Drive-In invasion, the end of season for the public pools….

But how to get to all of it? It’s a test of strength, stamina and sheer will power. The 72 hours you’ve been training for all year goes like this:

Warm-up: tonight, Stretch out to Purple Rain, regretful for missing Weekender’s Lovesexy Prince tribute party last night.

Saturday 10:00. Queerfit, of course.

Saturday 10:45. Park at Underground and do a fast run to Peachtree Street, to catch the end of DragonCon’s parade.

Saturday 12:30. Run up to Melia Hotel to catch a bit of Black Pride’s State of Black Gay America summit.

Saturday 2:30. Run back to your car and haul ass to Decatur Book Festival. Fight for parking. Get to Isabel Wilkerson reading Warmth of Other Suns. Read more…

Sin miedo

The No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice rolled into Atlanta today, welcomed by a rally MC’ed by Queerfit’s own Glo. This most beautiful vehicle, the UndocuBus…

…carrying Andres, Angel, Daniela, Eleazar, Gerardo, Ireri, Isela, Jorge, Julio, Letty, Maria Cruz, Marichu, Miguel, Natally, and Perla, left Phoenix, AZ on August 1 and is on a looping route east towards the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Along the way, the UndocuBus riders have been encouraging other undocumented men and women to live sin papeles, sin miedo.

But living without fear is easier said than done.  The immigration laws are grossly unfair and outdated, allowing some people (like my aunts and uncles) to become U.S. citizens in a few years, but forcing others (like Xochitl’s brothers and sisters) to wait more than twenty years to even get a visa.  For millions who think of America as home, including most of the riders of the UndocuBus, existing laws and wait lists mean there is effectively no process that will allow them to get legal status, until and unless the law is changed.

Congress has refused to update the immigration laws.  Instead of halting deportations in the meantime, though, the Department of Homeland Security has increased arrests and deportations.  In this environment, how do you get to the place where you can live sin miedo?

The same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice practice. Read more…

…and yoga with Zahra!

Just got word from the lovely Zahra that she’s in town and ready to lead us in a yoga session tomorrow! Bring a yoga mat (and any extras) if you have one, but no worries if you don’t.  We’ll do our usual QF workout, and then we’ll catch our breath by rolling right into 30 minutes of yoga with Zahra.  Those of you who have done a session with Zahra already know that she’s fantastic, and that doing yoga outside is just great.  See y’all tomorrow!

Pussy Riot!

Yesterday, the three members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot were each sentenced to  “two years deprivation of liberty in a penal colony” for “a grave violation of social order,” aka hooliganism.  Exasperating + exacerbating factors? “Complete lack of respect” for the church, an “imitaiton of demonic attacks,” and “homosexual propaganda.”  The actual criminal act? This Februray 21, 2012 mini-flash mob anti-Vladamir Putin song & dance inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Pussy Riot’s 90 second long punk prayer called out the Russian Orthodox Church for its hand in glove relationship with the ex-KGB-now-President Putin, an autocrat who has turned Russia’s political system into an oligarchy propped up by organized crime – a “virtual mafia state.”  The women  who joined Pussy Riot at the front of the Cathedral bypassed the worldly male hierarchy and appealed directly to the Virgin Mary, singing “Holy Mother, Blessed Virigin, chase Putin out!”

In handing down his two year sentences, the judge yesterday held that the women of Pussy Riot had not been engaged in political speech. Rather, their disruption inside Christ the Savior Cathedral was blasphemy, a crime.

Pussy Riot’s performance is reminescent of another disruption of an equally venerable church.  Read more…

Run Caster Run

Queerfitters,

I’m on vaca in the White Homo Capital of the World, and so leave you tomorrow in the more than capable hands of the mighty mighty Myoshi.

Olympic tip for tomorrow – the race to watch post-queerfit is Caster Semenya’s.  Three years after being forced to undergo “sex verification” tests when she won the 2009 women’s world championship with what race officials deemed too square a jaw and too flat a chest, Caster ran the 800 meters during yesterday’s semifinals in a blistering 1:57.67.  It’s her best time this year, and puts her in contention for gold on Saturday.  The uproar over Caster in 2009 was a window into the messiness of our anxiety around gender and sports, and the testing (both the details of the tests forced on Caster by IAFF officials, and results of those tests, remain secret) confirmed that we haven’t the faintest clue how to draw a bright line between male and female.  Yet, the International Olympic Committee persists.  Their most recent consensus gender test looks at naturally occurring testosterone levels.  Jesse Ellison at the Daily Beast gives a good history of the Caster/IAFF/IOC gender tizzy.

Here’s to hoping Caster runs her way onto the medal stand, and in so doing wins the right to conduct a verification test of her own on IAFF officials by shoving her middle finder up their collective ass.  Go queerfit! Go Caster!

Gabby!

Gabby yes! Bite that big gold medal all you want! And her coach, that goofy looking Chinese guy!  Give him an oversized Olympic medal to chew on too!

Excuse the exclamation marks, above and below.  The Olympics are just so exciting, even when, due to an illegally rigged cable connection being discovered and disabled, one must watch events on the 2-day delay known as youtube.  Exciting!

Everything worth saying about Gabby has been said by the mighty Crunk Feminist collective, here and here.  I’m just making a friendly amendment, a little something  about her coach, Liang Chow. And yes, it is mere coincidence that I’m writing about the goofy looking Chinese guy.

When Gabby medaled at the U.S. nationals a month ago, the Poughkeepsie Journal noted that Coach Chow rushed the podium to take pictures with a camera in each hand, one set for himself and the other for Gabby’s mother.  I like that Coach knew just the right physiology and psychology to turn a great vault into an Olympic gold medal vault, but had not yet figured out how to send digital photos through the interwebs.

And what was that psychology that Coach laid on Gabby? Not “You’re the greatest, number one, top dog, dog!”  Not “See the blond ponytail out to steal your glory? Stomp her!” Not “Don’t screw up.” (That last one was/is my father’s motivational speech for just about everything. Though he adds, because he is a kind man, “But if you do, make it look natural.”) Read more…