Day 9: Amsterdam & feminism
Kestryl got back to the hotel in the morning and we went out adventuring. We found our way to a local pet shop where we acquired another toy for the dogs, and poked around in a toyshop that was right across the street. We walked a lot today and explored little streets and neighborhoods we passed along the way- like the Amsterdam cheese museum. I spent a lot of time looking at the canals and the hooks at the top of houses that are used with a pully system to get things like furniture into the upper floors because the buildings are so narrow.
Our gig was in Utrecht a city about 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam at Savanah Bay- Hollands oldest feminist bookstore! I love feminist bookstores in general and one of my favorite things about touring with Kicked Out and now with Roving Pack had been having the opportunity to read in some of the last remaining feminist bookstors. I got my start as a writer in Portland’s In Other Words bookstore and have always since that time had a strong affiliation for the indie and particularly feminist bookshop. The event was fantastic – both Kestryl and I were very well received. The bookstore had sold tickets for the event which had sold out over a week in advance! We had had people sitting on the floor and filling every available space to get in! There were snacks and drinks and mingling after the reading and i sold out of books I had brought to the store!!!
Day 10: Redlight, stamps, Trans Film
It’s hard to believe that this was not only our last full day in Amsterdam, but also the last day before traveling home. Im very excited to see our dogs of course, but if I’m honest I’m also not ready for tour to be over. We spent most of our day walking around. We started walking and found ourself in the Red Light district which was…..complicated for a variety of factors that I hadnt really expected since my community at home is made up of many current/former sex workers. I think what really stood out for me was the realization of how much trafficking exists which is very different than what I’m used to in the states. We kept wandering along the canals- I saw swans and kept staring at all the buildings – I haven’t gotten over how OLD things are! Never in my life have I seen such old buildings!
Kestryl met up with hir girlfriend in Amsterdam for one last visit and I wandered about on my own through an outdoor market that was nearly entirely tulips and tulip bulbs! Then I decided to do something brave- most purchases are things that Kestryl has been handling for us but I saw a souvenir stand with lots of postcards a sign that said “STAMPS” – now I’ve been sending postcards to my little friends and queer family each stop on the tour and I had a lot to send from Amsterdam and I thought i would be brave and take care of this on my own. Of course I ended up getting scammed – I was trying to buy 6 international stamps and ended up getting …….god knows what- basically some very old stamps from before they were regulated across the EU- and in really odd amounts . Let’s just say that this last batch of postcards is going to be written on the plane home and the stamps….. Well at least they will look good in my scrapbook.
I had a bit of a stress meltdown in route to our venue- tears in a snack bar the whole thing. It was a lot today- learning a writer and activist at home in NYC had died in the night, doing the kind of poly related growth and stretching that hits my triggers hard especially when I’m tired but ultimately is the kind of powerful personal whale leg (see old blog posts for a definition) that I’m really committed to be doing. Im far from perfect, but I’m working hard at becoming the kind of boy that I want to be. Im so much further along than I was even a year ago- but still sometimes growing involves pain. The meltdown was eased significantly by Kestryl finding me a salad at a grocery store – somehow even I hit my limit of greasy food, and having some quiet time to write and self process in my journal.
Our last event of our tour was at Trans Screen – it was a late show after the screening of a documentary about the DSM and the way it regulates trans bodies in the states – was to see lots of Trans activists we know from home in it! The last Roving Pack reading went incredibly well – I went with some new material for this reading because many folks in the audience had already been to our event Thursday in Amsterdam- I went with a part of the book where Click goes to church with one of the gutterpunk street kids and his grandmother and hilarious gender mismatching occurs and then another part of the book I’ve lovingly dubbed “fags and femmes” where Click stumbles through messy polyamory and sleeps with a femme for the first time ever. The whole evening was great and within moments of Kestryl’s performance ending and folks beginning to head to the bar I’d sold out of books- as in for the event and also for the entire tour!!!! This means that every single book I carried out of NYC post hurricane and lugged through Europe have found their way to new homes!!!!.
Day 11: Is it really over?!
Right now I’m sitting in the Amsterdam airport waiting to board our flight to Dublin and then onto NYC. I miss the dogs terribly – and have pages in my travel smash book dedicated to the dogs I’ve seen here but that aside I’m really not ready to go home, I’m just not ready for our tour to end its been an amazing 10 days – a total whirlwind in a lot of ways weve been in 4 countries traveled by air, train, sea and it’s been incredible and gone incredibly quickly. I was probably the only person ever who had to be dragged — so many tears to agree to go on tour to Europe. In the end I’m so grateful that I decided to do this! Its been an incredible experience to get to meet queers halfway around the word. We’ve had the opportunity to make amazing connections and friendships and I feel so honored that I have been able to share Roving Pack with everyone here – and that it was so well received.
There’s so much more I want to say- I don’t think I quite have the language yet to talk cumulatively about what the tour has meant to me personally and creatively – I think that won’t be able to come until we’re back home and ive had time to sift through the memories.
I’m so grateful for everyone who came out to each of our 10 events and to all the organizers and volunteers who made everything possible for us to share our art with folks across Europe! I’m especially grateful to Kestryl without who none of this would have been possible – ze handled all the travel logistics and did a ridiculously good job of guiding an anxious me who had never left north America through airports, train stations, and multiple cities. I am……… Not an easy boy. I’m incredibly high maintenance and anxious and I’m just so grateful for even bit of work ze put into making sure that I was taken care of and contained even in the most stressful or whale leg moments of tour.
We board in a few minutes and I want to finish my scrapbook of adventures so I should go but expect more blogs soon as I get settled back home!
Please forgive spelling/grammar/typos this was written on my iPad