What is important to me in this coming month is promoting the Loud Love conference and so we get a bunch of people to experience it. We have a good program and a great team of organizers (see below).
Loud Love is about exploring, expressing, exporting and celebrating your romantic identity and experience. There are a wide range of workshops offered from Blues Dancing (a non-sexual intimacy building skill) to Honest Seduction (yes, this is not a contradiction in terms) to Drag King 101, to Transcending Jealousy and building compersion (yes, people actually succeed in this) to advanced polyamory techniques.
Plus there is a days worth of open space technology which permits conference participants to present on topics that the group in interested in.
At the end of our last organizers meeting Sky pointed out that we are not where we want to be for this Loud Love event, which is in two short months. And it made me realize that despite the good work we have done (securing a space, finding presenters, designing workshops, budgeting and more) there is more left to do to make this happen.
i dont usually ask things of my readers, but this post i will. Please think about a friend of yours (or possibly you yourself) who would be well served by this event. Then encourage them to register and attend or let us know who they are and we will let them know you recommend them for our event.
Here are the awesome folks i get to work with on this event:
Sky Blue has been experimenting with relationships since he was 8 years old and did his first
mediation with squabbling friends. He’s been in some form of open relationship for most of the last 14 years. A drop-out from UC Santa Cruz he’s lived and worked in cooperative and communal groups for most of the last 17 years. His purpose in life is to help bring people together to transform themselves, each other, and the world around them.
Kassia is a musician, activist, community builder and all-around nosey-parker. She has traveled the world, lived on a commune, toured the US with a klezmer band, and practiced Jewish Farming. After spending several years in Charlottesville helping start two small collective businesses (a hostel and a home-veggie gardening biz), she concluded that there is more fun to be had on the commune and recently moved back to Twin Oaks to work on her life-goal of conspiring with the universe to have as much fun as possible.
Angie Tupelo is a queer, anarchist, polyamorous, feminist, sub-identified, sex-positive gal. She recently moved back to the “real world” after living on a commune for 4 years, and is gradually adjusting to wearing shoes. She gives workshops on Polyamory, BDSM for Feminists, Honest Seduction, Kink for Abuse Survivors, and Intentional Community living. She blogs about life, love, revolution, mental illness, and how they fit together in her life, and really really enjoys bacon.
Ali has been bisexual and polyamorous since before she knew what those words meant. She languished in mainstream culture for several years feeling ashamed of her desires for multiple concurrent intimacies with different genders before she found her physical and philosophical home at Twin Oaks. Among Ali’s many life goals is to make sex an acceptable form of social currency and move it from the taboo to appropriate dinner table conversation. She wants to normalize polyamory as a relationship model, move forward the idea of a mischief (group) of interconnected lovers taking care of one another, and to make group intimacy & sex as easily & openly sought as coupledom.
Paxus facilitates a workshop called “Modesty is Dangerous” and you can start figuring out who he is from there. Paxus self-identifies as a revolutionary, but more importantly he identifies you, dear reader, as a potential co-conspirator in designing irresistible ideas which will change the world (super memes). He comes to the Loud Love organizing team engaged, reckless, and feeling intensely daring. His tangled form of activism fuses direct action against those threatening the biosphere (Monstanto, Westinghouse, et. al) with actively fostering and building new income-sharing intentional communities with proselytizing for radical intimacy models (including Honest Seduction). Paxus is one of three parents in a polyamorous family. His biography does not make credible fiction and was thus rejected by Wikipedia. He co-founded and directs the Emma Goldman Institute for Theoretical and Applied Funology, an entity which there seems to be no proof actually exists.
MacGyver dumped her job in high end tine-share real estate marketing to live with her friends in the country and do righteous work for an organic seed company. She drives a tractor, works as cook and carpenter and tends chickens at absurd o’clock in the morning. She spends 97% less time worrying about things than the average US American. Some of her friends call her Surprise. She is not afraid to pick up a microphone and entertain without a plan as to what she is going to say or sing when she grabs it. Not a day goes by when she is not appreciative for ditching the mainstream life and moving to Acorn.
Rabbit described it charitably by saying “Paxus dances like he is listening to a musical instrument which has not yet been invented.” But i have to confess i was a bit terrified heading into our blues dancing adventure. Feonix had contended that Blues Dancing and Yoga were powerful non-sexual intimacy building tools that we should include in the Loud Love conference we are organizing. Ali (a new Oaker and part of the organizing team) was skeptical of the Blues Dancing part of this claim, so we needed to see it and experience it for ourselves. After a 45 minute lesson, we jumped into the deep end of beginner Blues Dancing.
Feonix was right. Blues Dancing, in contrast to many forms of dancing, requires a high level of consent consciousness to work. The leader needs to send clear signals to the follower and they need to have a sensitivity to the followers comfort level. I loved that the women asked me to dance and as poor as i was at the steps, i walked away feeling confident that our interaction was a positive one for them – despite my poor dancing.
At one point when i was dancing with Feonix i noticed a young woman who had her head against her partners chest and she had an incredible smile on her face. I was appreciative of what i assumed was either a long trusting dance relationship or a romantic connection between this smiling dancer and her lead.
Thirty minutes later this smiling dancer, Nina, would introduce herself to me. We spoke of my developing theories on Blues Dancing and consent. And like a good propagandist, Nina was quick to point out that there are problems with the consent culture in the DC area blues dancing scene. Nothing especially serious, but people who were scaring away new dancers by being creepy around them. Nina told me of partners who are sloppy in their signals and did things their followers did not want them to do. But my mind had already linked onto the metaphor of blues dancing and advanced consent culture. When i asked Nina about the partner who she was smiling so broadly on, she told me it was someone she had met one week earlier, but they had an extraordinary connection. I was blown away, and further convinced.
When Steve later asked me who my favorite dance partner was, i had to say Nina. Not because she was the most talented dancer (this was quite hard for me to tell), nor for her grace and attractive appearance. For me Nina was the best dancer, because she shook me up. She showed me her emotional daring both in asking me to dance and in dancing so close with a near stranger.
And daring is my favorite trait.
And i had a fantastic time and am convinced Blues Dancing should be part of the Loud Love conference we are organizing May 31-June 2 at Sophia House (more info and register here).
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