Friday, September 18, 2020

I Want My MTV

I watched MTV a lot during what I consider was its heyday, that is, when it played music videos 24/7. My watch occasionally paid off when a femulator appeared in a video. Some of the music video femulators were drop-dead gorgeous, while others were men in dresses.

Recently I took a tour of YouTube searching for music video femulations and I uncovered three in which the band members start the video in boy mode, but end the video en femme.

The three culprits are:

👠 “Heterosexual Man” by Odds (with guest appearances by some Kids in the Hall including femulator extraordinaire Dave Foley)

👠 “My Girl” by Little Odessa

👠 “Stef II” by Indochine (photo above)

Click on a song title to be transported to YouTube to see the video.

Do you have a favorite femulating music video?

Source: Moda Operandi
Wearing Rosario

Femulating in the music video for “Heterosexual Man” by Odds

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying*

I only think about being trans when I am in boy mode. I seldom think about it in girl mode.

In boy mode, I am in a place that is wrong for me and I think about how comfortable I would be if I was in girl mode.

In girl mode, I am in a perfect place. I don't think about moving to another place and I can get busy living.

* “Get busy living or get busy dying” is one of my favorite movie lines; it comes from one of my favorite films, The Shawshank Redemption .

Source: Rue La La
Wearing Jude Connally

Femulators encounter “the law” in Russian television’s Kings of the Game.
Femulators encounter “the law” in Russian television’s Kings of the Game.
See it for yourself on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

No More Excuses

By Stephanie Julianna

Stana's recent post about buying girls clothes while in drab and telling a story that she was cast in Charley's Aunt has to be one of the most common ploys many of us used to shop. I used these stories to also create my own dressing events when there were none on the horizon. Stana's reminded me of one such event. It was 1983 and I was 34 years old. I actually used two story lines to make this happen.

The first, I had been using for years to buy all kinds of gowns that I loved to wear. For me, the feel of a satin or taffeta gown is simply a divine experience. To this day, I still adore the total feel of these ultra feminine fabrics.

I traveled the state for a grocery chain and frequently passed a bridal and formal dress store in Stratford, Connecticut. I had learned over the years that many formal wear stores had a “Marked Down” rack with many gowns selling for as little as $10. I would introduce myself, telling the sales associate that I was a drama teacher and was always looking for dresses to beef up my school's theater wardrobe. I believed it was an acceptable story for me to shop uninhibited and the story gave the store personnel a great plausible way to thin out this stock. I cannot imagine that they actually believed me, but it gave everyone involved an acceptable way to buy and sell women's clothes to a man, just like Stana's Charley's Aunt story. Over time, I had a half a dozen pretty gowns for the price of one. They were always “Final Sale” items. One was not the size 10-12 it was supposed to be and I could not close the zipper, but overall, it was a great way to get a great deal on new gowns.

The second story was my way to do a professional photoshoot while dressed. I don't think that Glamor Shots had started to pop up yet in malls yet and I really was tired of only having Polaroid pictures of me with the bad lighting and such.

In my travels, I spotted a professional portrait studio in Manchester, Connecticut. I built up my courage and entered the door to find a long staircase that brought me to the studio above a storefront below. I was happy to find that the photographer/owner of the  shop was a lovely lady in her sixties and we hit it off almost immediately when I told her my story. I do wish I could have simply told her the truth, but I think I came close and I think she knew anyway.

The story I told her was that I had dressed as a girl for Halloween (true) and was approached by someone who cast girls for female impersonator shows (false). This imaginary agent told me that I had potential and if I was interested in making some good money, I should call him. He said I would need a portfolio with a head shot that he could present to different clubs. So here I was hoping that she could help me.

She found this fascinating and in short order, we made a date and within a week, I was dressing in her studio and doing my makeup preparing for my photoshoot. It was a great experience and I think we both had a lot of fun. I imagine she smelled the hint of a very thin story. She complimented my makeup skills, which I honestly covered with the fact that I was a cosmetics buyer for a grocery and pharmacy chain with my boss having sent me to cosmetology classes so that I knew what I was doing when I purchased stock (true).

A rifled through my picture vault and found a few surviving pictures from this photo session. It was a great experience, but I do wish I had the courage that I have now to just tell her that I simply loved to dress like a woman. I would thank her for her acceptance and professionalism.

I do believe that over the years, the one thing I truly hate about my situation is that I felt I had to tell so many stories and lies to simply have a few moments to feel like a whole person. It is sad that we have had to tell so many lies in attempts to be true to ourselves.

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Stephanie Julianna
Stephanie Julianna’s photoshoot

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Femulating on Stage

By Jeanette Johnson

Jeanette Johnson (center)
Greater Tuna is a comedy in which two actors play 20 roles. Tuna, Texas is described as the third smallest town in Texas and we were to portray most of the town’s residents. The show had toured the world for more than 20 years before the two actors that had conceived and written this comedy retired and allowed community theaters to buy the rights to perform it. It is a funny show with the actors changing characters in breakneck speed (one of my character changes took seven seconds).

My partner (Joey) in Greater Tuna played three women and seven men. I played two women, seven men and Yippie the dog. Each character needed to be distinct from the other characters so we had 6 ladies back stage helping us with costumes and wigs. All the characters had their own voice and demeanor.

Half of my stage time was performing as Pearl Burris (an octogenarian chicken farmer who poisoned any dog getting in her yard that might kill her “babies”) and Bertha Buemiller (the only high C member of the First Baptist choir, mother of three and a community activist as a member of the Tuna Helpers).

I am giving you this background to get to the main reason I am writing this. I want to show that allowing others to know about your feminine side can turn out wonderfully.

Three years before Greater Tuna, I conceived and performed in a show we called Pridescape at Creative Life Center in Spring, Texas. The shows proceeds would benefit a college fund for transgender youth as part of Gay Pride month. The members knew nothing about my feminine side (though I am sure some suspected). They would meet my other half big time as I planned to do the first act of the show as Jeanette and the second act as John. I was outing myself and was concerned about how I would be received. I decided to let the chips fall as they may and just concentrated on creating a strong show.

I had confided to my singing coach. I am so glad I did. She became one of my dearest friends. She joined with me in the Pridescapes show. She is so incredibly talented and perhaps the best example of a real Christian I have ever known. She had quit acting because of some “couch casting” proposals when she was trying to make it on Broadway. I got her to join me in auditioning for a show later that year where she dazzled the audiences.

I realized I was in over my head trying to sing 14 songs and also getting the staging correct, setting the lights and adjusting the sound. There is a wonderful lady (Carole) who had directed me in a play and in two concerts. I sent her a long email with pictures explaining the Pridescape show and asked her if she would be willing to help me with staging. She couldn’t have been nicer. Her husband added that he looked better in a dress than me. He is an incredible actor and later became my partner in Greater Tuna. I still think I am prettier than him, but I digress.

Community theatre is always working with a tight budget. Some shows have elaborate sets and costumes. Others come with a full orchestra (the only people receiving money in a show). The set for Greater Tuna was very simple. Joey and I built and painted it over the course of two weekends. Our biggest expense was going to be clothes and wigs.

The director and costumer took Joey and me to a couple of resale shops in Conroe, Texas. The two ladies would grab women’s clothing off the racks and bring them to us try on. The lady running the store was very confused until we explained what we were doing. She became very enthusiastic and actually was sitting on the front row on opening night.

As a side note, I went to another women’s resale shop on my own. I explained my needs to the two employees and they started pulling items for me to try on. One customer also got into the act. I bought two dresses. My favorite of the two was vetoed by the director because she said the color would get lost in our set colors. The other she loved and I wore it as Bertha in the show.

I went back to this shop later to thank them for their help and to ask if I could put a poster advertising the show in their window. The owner was there and asked “Is that the show where men dress as women?” I affirmed that it was. She told me she would not put a poster in the window and that I was not welcomed in her store. As I was leaving, one of the ladies that had helped me a couple of weeks earlier quietly informed me that she already had tickets. I suppose you can’t win ‘em all.

Our wardrobes were coming together, but we still did not have everything. It turns out that Joey and I have the same petite shoe size. It is all but impossible to find used women’s shoes in a size 11 at the resale shops. I knew I had more than enough styles for both of us in my Imelda Marcus closet but showing my supply would involve telling the costumer about Jeanette.

The costumer is a lovely woman. She is also the person who plays piano every Sunday in the church her father pastors. Her denomination is not known for being liberal when it comes to transgender people. She is also a wonderful singer and actress. She and I had shared a stage in my very first performance a few years earlier (Sanders Family Christmas). I should add in that first show, my hair was well past my shoulders. We tried having me wear a man’s wig over my long hair, but the director said it looked like I was wearing a huge hair helmet.

So I had my reservations about letting her in on the secret that was already known by the director and the other actor. However, I could not see spending a lot of money on shoes when they could be had for free. I told her and her reply was “I suspected.”

We then had a great time going through my closets picking out shoes, some more clothes and several wigs I owned (my long hair had been cut back a bunch so I would be more appealing to more directors during auditions). We still had to buy several wigs, but we still were way under budget.
She and I already had a good relationship, but it became much more substantial after confiding in her. She asked me to play guitar and sing as Conway Twitty to her Loretta Lynn over the next couple of years in charity shows. We always share a hug whenever we meet.

Greater Tuna turned out to be a tremendous success. Two different theatre critics praised my acting noting how naturally I moved about the stage wearing heels and how authentic my female voices were (thanks to a couple of years of voice feminization lessons years ago). The show set records for revenue for the theatre and was chosen the Show of the Year at the end of the season’s Award Show.
Theatre patrons still kid me when they see me. I have been told that I have the best pair of legs they have ever seen on the Conroe, Texas Owen Theatre stage. Others tease that I should have auditioned for some leading lady role in a show. It is always in good fun.

Greater Tuna was so well received by the audiences that we did another version of the good people of Tuna and their lives during the Fourth of July celebrations (Red, White, and Tuna) a couple of years later.

So there you have it. I asked a talented director to help me stage a show and it resulted in me getting cast in Greater Tuna and she and her husband becoming two of my closest friends. Despite my fear, I performed in front of 200 people at the Pridescape Show and received nothing but love from the members attending. I told a costumer about Jeanette and our cordial relationship became a true friendship.

Many folks do not have the freedom I possess. My family knows and I owned a business where I had employment security. All I can say is I have made the best friends by being honest. I don’t tell everyone, but I suppose I am a good judge of character or very, very lucky so far.

I began thinking as I was writing this story that seven of my closest friends would not even be in my life had I not been honest about who I am. And these are all people outside of the large LGBTQ umbrella. Not a week goes by that I don’t speak to at least a couple of them. It made me realize just how lucky I am.

Source: DressBarn
Wearing DressBarn

Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell femulating in the 1997 film Good Burger.

Monday, September 14, 2020

I’m Back

There were no new posts here since Thursday because I was otherwise occupied.

My ham radio organization sponsors an annual conference that usually attracts 100 to 125 attendees. This year, Charlotte, North Carolina was the site for the conference, but we cancelled it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, we did the conference online using Zoom Webinar. The conference was on Friday and Saturday and was very successful attracting nearly 300 attendees and generating kudos galore. But it involved a lot of hard work.

When we do an in-person conference, we hire a hotel as the venue and they do a lot of the heavy-lifting. In our do-it-yourself online conference, “we” had to do all the heavy-lifting, “we” being the ten officers and directors of the organization.

I spent Thursday through Sunday creating email and webpage announcements concerning the conference and Saturday, I was a moderator for the conference presentations. Needless to say, I had little time to devote to this blog except to moderate any comments that you all posted.

By the way, I presented as a woman from head to toe throughout the conference despite the fact that I was only visible online from the chest and up.

It was a long weekend and after doing some post-conference work Sunday morning, I crashed in front of the television watching the Patriots and old movies! But I'm back today and so it goes.

Source: Boston Proper
Wearing Boston Proper

Alan Manson and fellow femulators in the 1943 film This is the Army
You can view the film in its entirety on YouTube.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Charley’s Aunt, Part 2

In the previous post, I wrote that there were at least 15 film and television adaptations of the 1892 play Charley’s Aunt. What follows are photos from those 15 productions (from 1925 to 1996).

1925 – Syd Chaplin in a USA film adaptation of Charley’s Aunt

1926 – Elis Ellis in the Swedish film version of Charleys Tant

1930 – Charles Ruggles in a USA film adaptation of Charley’s Aunt

1934 – Fritz Rasp in the German film version of Charleys Tante

1940 – Arthur Askey in the British film adaptation of Charley's (Big-Hearted) Aunt

1941 – Jack Benny in a USA film version of Charley’s Aunt

1943 – Erminio Macario in the Italian film adaptation of Charley’s Aunt (La zia di Carlo)

1952 – Ray Bolger in a USA film version of Where’s Charley?

1956 – Heinz Rühmann in the Austrian film adaptation of Charleys Tante

1959 – Dirch Passer in the Danish film version of Charleys Tante

1963 – Peter Alexander in the West German film adaptation of Charleys Tante

1975 – Aleksandr Kalyagin in the USSR television movie version of Hello, I'm Your Aunt

1976 – Jörg Pleva in the West German television movie adaptation of Charleys Tante

1987 – Charles Grodin in the USA television movie version of Charley’s Aunt

1996 – Thomas Heinze in the German television adaptation of Charleys Tante

Source: Dressbarn
Wearing Dressbarn

Jaloo femulating in the 2018 Brazilian film Paradise Lost.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Charley's Aunt

The most recent film femulation of Charley’s Aunt was by
Thomas Heinze in the 1996 German version of the play.
About a million years ago, I shopped in boy mode for my female wardrobe, but I always had an excuse to justify my purchase to the sales representatives (as if she cared or even believed me). As a result, I did a lot of shopping in October using Halloween as an excuse, but what’s a budding girl to do the other 11 months of the year?

I went to the UCONN branch in Waterbury and one day on the way home, I drove through downtown and noticed that a new woman’s clothing store had opened. I learned that it was a large woman’s clothing store – a perfect fit for a size 18 like me.

The store was opened Thursday evenings, so I decided to shop there then because there would be less foot traffic downtown and I’d be less likely to run into anyone I knew.

So one winter evening, I drove downtown to shop at the store. There was hardly anyone out and about downtown or in the store, which turned out to be owned by a mother and daughter, who greeted me when I entered their establishment.

The Mom asked if I needed any help. Since it was three months after Halloween, I had to come up with a new excuse , so I hit her with, “I need a dress because I am going to play the ‘aunt’ in my school's production of Charley’s Aunt.”

The Mom and daughter seemed interested in my story and asked a few questions about the play. My answers did not help my cause and I doubt that they bought my story, but they helped me find an appropriate dress and I even got to use a woman’s dressing room for the first time!

Don’t know if you are familiar with the plot of Charley’s Aunt, but femulating is involved and the play has been a popular work for the film and television. I did not realize how popular until I researched the topic and discovered that there have been at least 15 film and television versions of the play. The play is most popular in the USA and Germany, which boast five and four versions respectively. I was surprised that there is even a version back in the USSR titled Hello, I’m Your Aunt. Where’s Charley? and the European Charley’s Tante are other titles used for the same play.

The femulations vary from unconvincing “men in dresses” to passable middle-aged ladies, but since the play is a farce, even the men in dresses can get away with it.

Source: Intermix
Wearing Sablyn top, Intermix skirt and Schutz boots

Guillaume Gallienne femulating in the 2013 French film Me, Myself and Mum.
You can view the film’s trailer on YouTube.