Parties, Tassie & Money raised for charity

unnamedWe’ve had a wonderful few weeks and we’re pretty thrilled about the weeks to come. We write a lot asking for support, but we were thrilled to be able to support LGBTQI charity, The Aurora Group, by performing at their Annual Ball at Sydney Town Hall and offering private performances as auction prizes. Two attendees were sufficiently wooed by our Disney/Sondheim medley (the theme was Once Upon a Time) that they purchased the private gigs, raising more than $5000 for Aurora, an organisation that supports LGBTQI community groups including Twenty10 and the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service. The whole evening raised more than $70,000!

Libby, Hayden and MaeveFor photos of the Aurora Ball make sure you check out the Star Observer and SX albums. Luckily they didn’t capture Maeve’s drunk Snow White arguing with a bouncer at an unnamed Newtown Hotel, but they DID get some snaps of Hayden’s army of handsome fans who trailed him throughout the night.

We realise we’ve launched our Patreon crowdfunding site and promised all sorts of new projects but haven’t told you what they are so a few are outlined below. We are up to $609 per month but we need to hit $1000 per month in order to finish our EP. If enough people pledge $1 (or more if you can), we’ll get there and send some of our favourite tunes to your earholes! Other projects include:

Mother’s Ruin
Maeve & Libby are working hard with Musical Director, Jeremy Brennan to write a history about the cabaret of gin. That doesn’t sound right…but you get the picture! It’ll be a departure from Lady Sings it Better, equal parts historical and hysterical, complete with a gin tasting experience with The Ginstress, Elly Clough.
Costs we need to cover: We need to pay a dramaturg and director, we need to get costumes made and photos taken.
What you get if you donate: Downloads of some of our songs, discount tickets to shows once they’re announced, warm glow of giving! Donate here.
Pushy Women
We’re bringing Catherine Deveny’s wonderful Melbourne comedy+women+cycling event to Sydney! One afternoon only for the Sydney Fringe, you can catch Tracey Spicer, Wendy Harmer, Dee Madigan, Mariam Veiszadeh, Nakkiah Lui and Zoe Norton-Lodge telling tales of their life on two wheels.
Costs we need to cover: Regular event costs like marketing, tech equipment and artist fees.
What you get if you donate: Discount codes for the show! Anyone who pledges over $8US (ie $10AUS) per month gets discount codes to our shows, including this one! We’ll offer reserved seating to all Patreon donors.
Supported by The Squeaky Wheel in Melbourne!
Late Night Library
We’re curating a season of Late Night Library in Kings Cross for the City of Sydney. We’re got 6 amazing shows including Queerstories (a killer line up of local LGBTQI leaders), Library Love Songs with Maxine Kauter, Archer: In Conversation, a Mother’s Ruin work-in-progress showing and more. Feat. Matthew Mitcham, Zoe Coombs Marr, Georgia Rose Cranko, Annaliese Constable, Jeeves Verma, Penny Greenhalgh, Jekyll X James, Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Liz Duck-Chong, the list goes on…
Costs we need the cover: City of Sydney have actually contracted us to do this! Amazing! But Patreon support helps with our company’s ongoing costs.
What you get if you donate: The shows are already free for the audience, but City of Sydney have agreed to let us reserve premium seating for our Patreon supporters.Please consider pledging to support our growing work. If everyone who subscribed to this enews pledged $1 per month, we would reach our next target! Click here

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

unnamed (3)We got the old gang back together to sing a few tunes for Maeve’s mum, Teresa’s 60th birthday party, themed Mods vs. Rockers! The night was a crazy queer celebration with far too many amusing tales to fit here, so read Maeve’s Happy Birthday blog!

Lord knows if any of you are still reading! This Saturday we’re road tripping to Canberra to play a sold out show at Bungendore Woodworks Gallery, then next week we’re off to freezing, wonderful TASMANIA for our Festival of Voices debut. We can’t wait! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for silly photos and tales from the road.

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in other news… Telling our Stories: Gayby Baby

Last night I gave a speech at the launch of a pozible crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the production of Gayby Baby. For me this documentary is special because it celebrates the kind of family I was raised in – one with same sex parents – and it also celebrates the kind of family I hope to make one day.

For the past couple of years Maya Newell (herself a child of two wonderful mothers), Charlotte McLellan and their team have worked tirelessly to get this film produced and they now need $100,000 to get it finished. Please read my little speech below and then consider supporting this wonderful film.

xxx Maeve

Maya asked me to speak tonight as a grown up gayby. Indeed, I was raised by two lesbians, Louise and Teresa, a pharmacist and a librarian. They were, in many ways, spectacularly stereotypical – vegetarian, left-wing, overall-wearing, hairy-legged feminists who took us to Reclaim the Night and Mardi Gras, and taught us to be questioning, curious, thoughtful young people.

They even allowed their stereotype to develop with the times! When lesbian chic set in the late 90s, my mothers headed to the beautician in the throes of some vanity renaissance, waxing their legs and getting about town in Ben Sherman shirts and expensive haircuts. But I digress…

I stand before you as evidence that same sex parenting will not result in a plague of damaged, confused children roaming the earth sobbing for their fatherless – or motherless – youth. Young people like me, like my brother and sister, like Maya and many others are the grown up proof that queer parenting works.

We are not broken. Indeed, many would call us upstanding citizens. Personally, I think this is irrelevant. I think that even if I weren’t an upstanding citizen, two people of the same sex or gender should be allowed to procreate. But that is because I see no fundamental difference in the human rights of people of different sexualities, and because I believe that family is about love, care, support and education, not biology. Unfortunately, I am still in a minority with these beliefs.

Tonight, however, I am not going to rant at you about rights or laws or the politics of this issue, which, for anyone that knows me, will be a bit of a surprise. I want to talk about storytelling, and the importance of people like me, and Maya and the young people in her film, telling their stories.

A year or so ago, I watched a movie called The Kids are Alright. For anyone who hasn’t seen this film, it’s about a family with two teenage kids and lesbian mums, played by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening. The teenage son wants to find their sperm donor so they look him up and contact him. He starts hanging out with the family, commences an affair with one of the mums, is discovered and then – thank god – is summarily rejected by the whole family.

For a long time, I boycotted this film. Finally, there was a lesbian mums film, and it had to be about the sperm donor? Worse: about one of the lesbian mothers having an affair with the sperm donor! I was appalled!

WHY did the First Lesbian Mothers Film have to be about the sperm, when there is so much more to our families than this? Why did it have to imply that something was missing in these childrens’ lives? And, why was the heterosexual sex in the film visceral and passionate, juxtaposed with hilarious lesbian bed death between Julianne Moore and Annette Bening? I can guarantee you that if I were having sex with Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, it would not be dull!

Look. The Kids are Alright is a well written film, with full characters and a bright script. It would have been ok – good even – if I had already seen five or fifty films about a variety of lesbian families, with a variety of stories. But I hadn’t.

About an hour after watching it I found myself in sudden tears, halfway through brushing my teeth, hunched over the sink, sobbing loudly, realising that I had just seen my family on screen for the first time in 27 years. This film which irritated me, and offended my politics and ideas about what sort of stories we should be telling about queer families, had a huge emotional effect on me – because it was the first time I had seen anything resembling my family in a movie.

I watched a lesbian family with teenage children struggle with issues I recognised. I saw a lesbian family deal with infidelity and dishonesty. I cried for the parts of my family I’ve lost and those we hold onto fiercely and cherish. I saw the subtle differences that occur when two women parent together; differences I can’t state publicly without hideous generalisation, but marked differences that fellow children of lesbians mothers would have seen too. Moments and lines and feelings we have seen and said and felt.

I was 27 and I had never seen my family on screen, never had narratives that reflected my own, never had movies or novels or television shows that legitimised my experiences, allowed me to laugh at them, or gave me the catharsis I got watching that stupid movie. The Kids are Alright made me cry because of what it got wrong, but also because of what it got so right.

This is why projects like Gayby Baby are important. We tell our stories to fight for our rights – so that bigots and fools who say we don’t deserve to exist will hopefully hear us and eventually come around. But we also need to tell them because kids like us need narratives that reflect our lives, the diversity of our experience and the diversity of our families. We need stories that aren’t just about our rights, but are about our lives, our characters, our romances and tragedies, our laughter, our mistakes, our family holidays, our idiosyncracies and our conversations at the dinner table.

So please, spread the word about Gayby Baby, about the crowdfunding campaign and the need for donations. If you can afford to donate, please do. The community needs to hear these stories, the kids in these families need to hear these stories, my kids will one day need to hear these stories and I still need to hear these stories.

Thank you.

Please donate and/or share this link via social media, email, whatever other channels you have: www.pozible.com/gaybybabythemovie

Please also like Gayby Baby on facebook and follow them on twitter.

blackcat recommends… amazing music and more in june

So, somehow before we jet off to Edinburgh at the end of July, we have to catch ALL these amazing gigs and events in Sydney:

Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes: The Love Letter Tour
Clairy Browne is damn good, and her star is totally on the rise. Get to this gig.
Friday, 25 May
GOODGOD SMALL CLUB Sydney, NSW
8.00-10.30pm plus special guests
Tix: www.oztix.com.au

LadyNerd at Slide Lounge
Kiera Daley, aka LadyNerd is also Edinburgh-bound this year, with her cabaret packed with grammar jokes, wonderful stories about the cleverest women in history and nerdy, nerdy goodness.
Catch her in Sydney at Slide Lounge on June 7. (Check out her facebook page for shows in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide)
Tickets here.

The Aurora Annual Dinner: A Night of Titanic Proportions
Aurora fundraises for the GLBTQI community by throwing amazing, grand events, such as the Annual Dinner at the Sydney Town Hall. At $225 a ticket, it ain’t cheap, but it is worth every penny and the proceeds support excellent organisations like Twenty10 and the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service. And you can be sure of a wonderful night of food, wine and top notch entertainment. Read more on the Aurora website.
Saturday June 23 | 6pm | Bookings ESSENTIAL – bookings@auroragroup.com.au or 02 8323 4041

Give a little, get a little: Maxine Kauter Band and Gen Chadwick at The Vanguard
Maxine and Gen are two of blackcat’s favourite singer/songwriters. This gig is a total bargain with not one, but two skillful, sexy, bluesy ladies who write awesome songs and rock out with their amazing bands. Maxine is launching a crowdfunding campaign for her new album (give a little) and Gen will be giving away her new EP (get a little!). Phoebe and Maeve have already booked a table of 13 so book now and don’t miss out!
June 27 at The Vanguard. General admission is only $18.80, with dinner-and-show $53.80.
Tix here.

Women Say Something: Iron Ladies
Another in Sydney’s excellent series of panel discussions. This event is pretty much sold out except for 20 or so panel-only tickets which will go on sale in the coming weeks. With the divine Clementine Ford and the equally awesome Annaliese Constable and Bev Lange already announced for the panel, the tickets are sure to fly out the door. Follow Women Say Something on facebook for the on-sale of the remaining tickets.
June 28 at Slide Lounge.

Do you have any gig recommendations?

xxx the blackcat team

So what are all these guest performers about?

Audience members at Lady Sings it Better last night were treated to a surprise guest performance from the delightful Katie Bell!

After she snuck up onto the stage for a fabulous rendition of ‘Baby, did a bad, bad thing’ we explained that she was one of our Ladies in Waiting, contributors to the indiegogo crowdfunding campaign we help last year.

Katie won the right to perform at a Lady gig and she’ll be doing so again next Friday 2 March! We also have Laura Sturrock, an amazingly talented young women who is still in high school, performing tonight at LSiB. Siobhan Towner (a former Lady) will be joining us on March 8, and Mystery Carnage is performing (with Sally Gibson) at HOMAGE March 10.

We’re so thrilled to have these talented women joining us at the blackcat lounge.

Check them out… book now at sidetrack.com.au

Lady Sings it Better raises $12,620 on indiegogo!

We’re thrilled to announce that our cabaret act, Lady Sings it Better, has fundraised $12,620 towards our Edinburgh Fringe tour in August 2012.

We’re immensely grateful for the support of our friends, family, fans, community and random strangers who came across our campaign and were willing to help!

These funds ensure we can book flights for this amazing performance opportunity, sending us merrily off to the world’s largest fringe arts festival!

We’re contacting contributors in the next week regarding their perks; if you donated and don’t hear from us, please email admin@blackcatproductions.com.au and we’ll sort it out!