Archives for posts with tag: LGBT

The Fairy Princess has a two year old – most people who read my blog know that. She blogs, generally, about diversity in theater and representation on television – and Diversity is an ongoing conversation.

The reason the conversation about Diversity is ongoing is because the world is not run by, this is a generalization and The Fairy Princess knows that, however it is a generalization for a reason – not because this is intended to be a rallying cry – the world is not run by People of Color.

Unless you work for Shonda Rhimes.

Are there People of Color everywhere?

Yes.

However The Fairy Princess and her Family reside in the United States. She is also a Member of the UK Commonwealth by Citizenship, so in HER world – barring The President of the United States – the world is run by white people.

White, straight people.

Caucasian Cisgendered People who enjoy a greater sense of Privilege.

Now, The Fairy Princess‘s Father was a Caucasian Cisgendered male – so she has nothing against people who identify themselves that way – unless in impacts the way in which she lives, or  the way her family lives -changes their ability to walk about the world doing whatever it is one does all day – with us, it is generally auditions, drink coffee, creative meetings, physical health maintenance and making sure that my child lives the fullest life for his age group that any child can live. Your regular creative nightmare.

Today, she took her child to the local pool. Her child, whose heritage is Korean, Chinese, Irish and Welsh, is one who, by appearance, looks 100% Asian. He is gorgeous. The Fairy Princess has been told this by People who work in Entertainment, so of course it must be true because People in Entertainment are always honest.

Ahem.

Personal attractiveness aside, she will say, her kid has an amazing personality and a love of life that reminds her every day that we should all strive to be as full of the wonder of the world as we can.

Anyway, today she took him to the local pool – he looked very cute. He was running around enjoying himself, with Mommy only a few steps away because…well…there was water and he was in the pool, capice?

Everyone who looked at him enjoying himself and laughing, smiled.

Even the very cute little 5, possibly 6 year old girl who was near him in the water. It is a wading pool, and kids younger than 8 generally stay in this area.

As this lovely little Caucasian girl with the long lovely brown hair looked at him, she smiled. She looked up at me and she smiled. She looked at The Fairy Princess‘s son, who was laughing and splashing, and smiled again. Then she looked at The Fairy Princess and asked her a question.

“Can he see?”

The Fairy Princess took a second, because well…she had to watch her son, and also, she wanted to take stock of the situation in full, to see if she understood it correctly. Which is when the question was expanded.

“Can he open his eyes?”

Because The Fairy Princess‘s son has beautiful and expressive Asian shaped eyes. Asian eyes tend to be smaller in appearance than Caucasian eyes, but they are not. They are the same sized eye that everyone has –  generally, Asians have an epicanthic fold – which is just skin, Folks, it’s just skin. The eyeballs are the same size as anyone else.

Yes, we can see.

This is why Diversity on our television screens and on our stages and forty feet high in the movies matters.

This little girl, it seems, has has no interaction with Asian Americans, and her question was simply her trying to understand something that she had never seen. So she asked a question that, had The Fairy Princess‘s son been older and more aware, probably would have hurt his feelings. It might have made him, had he been older and more able to understand, question his own worthiness. It might have, had he been older and more able to understand, might have made him shut down and feel isolated.

The Fairy Princess never wants that to happen to her son, so she has surrounded him, since birth, with people who all walk different paths. He is awash in the love and kindness of so many, that it gives him a confidence and an armor to go out into the world where he will, no doubt, hear this kind of question again – only not given so innocently.

The next time he hears it, it could be to belittle him, or used as a tool to make him leave a situation. The next time he hears it, it could be the prelude to violence – the thought of which keeps The Fairy Princess up at night, because no matter how safe you feel in America, a Person of Color – like any woman walking around the world anywhere, has to keep an awareness of personal safety that straight, white, cisgendered males do not.

This little girl was not, herself, being racist. She was trying to understand because in her daily life, and in the life her Parents have allowed her to enjoy – she does not, it is clear, encounter People of Color. No one has explained to her that the world is large, and that people come in all shapes and shades, and that love can be all manner of things to all manner of people. No one has shared with her the notion that there are questions that are inappropriate, or that just because someone looks different to you or acts different to you, it is not your ‘right’ to demand an answer for their existence.

This little girl and her question are why we need, at a young age, to be exposed to different peoples. Not just racially – there are people with disabilities, and people who love people of the same sex. There are people who come from cultures where facial tattoos are a right of passage, or people who have lost limbs to war. There are people who began life as one type of person and have found that they are another type of person. There are people who have weight issues, or people who have scars…there are so many different types of people in the world.

They all deserve to walk about the planet without having answers demanded of them, with no notice, from someone who only knows one type of world – even if the person asking is only five. Or six.

The Fairy Princess‘s answer to this little girl, who smiled so innocently while asking was brief, “Yes, he can see.”

The Fairy Princess‘s look at this little girl’s Mother, bikini clad in a Lily Pulitzer transparent cover up, standing outside the water but able to hear every word her daughter asked, said a bit more.

Ahem.

The little girl’s Mother pulled her out of the pool rather quickly, and, one hopes, took her home to give her a talk on the Diversity of the planet, perhaps she popped in a DVD of Disney’s Mulan or something to explain it further. Hopefully, this little girl’s Mother now realizes that what she is giving her child – confidence, charm, inquisitiveness – perhaps needs to be expanded by visiting museums, and venturing to other areas like New York City. Perhaps she will realize that she is doing her child, and my child, a disservice by presenting only one world view.

Perhaps she will not.

However, if our television screens continue to diversify, if our films continue to show different types of people, if our stages start to represent our entire populations – that little girl will have exposure to other peoples. No one will be ‘foreign’ to her, she will have seen a world that encompasses many things.

As she grows, if she sees Diversity, her questions will hopefully focus less on appearance and more on…oh, science or art or music or the environment or…there is so much more to focus on, when we all can just accept one another without demanding answers for another person’s existence, for when we stop asking why someone looks the way they look. Perhaps if she can stop with the questionable questions, she will be able to set about finding answers – to things like world peace, conservation, global warming, sex trafficking…that little girl seemed very bright, The Fairy Princess bets she could do it.

That is why Diversity matters, because lack of Diversity makes the conversation stop and focus only on one aspect, and there is so much more to see and do, than ask if Asian people can open their eyes.

The Fairy Princess hopes that, in hearing her child ask an Asian American child if they could see, that little girl’s Mother learned a lesson today too.

Because the next time, that Mother might get more than a look from The Fairy Princess, she might get an earful too.

The Fairy Princess has had a remarkable Saturday that she was not expecting. First, as previously mentioned, she was on the Home Page of Out.com, for the interview she did with “Speak Up With Jimmy“. That was lovely, because she does indeed, have life long friendships with many people of the LGBT community.

Second, she was mentioned in Jeff Yang’s  blog for the Wall Street Journal, and when someone who makes their living singing and dancing winds up with a mention in the WSJ, it’s…well, it’s a cool feeling. Therefore I just wanted to take a moment and thank Mr. Yang for reading my blog and thinking it made a point or two.

And now, The Fairy Princess has to address something that has bothered her for a tremendous amount of time, and it will be uncomfortable, and it will upset some people, and it will make it highly likely that a portion of her extended Family will not talk to her for a while, but before that….

I am Irish.

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Yes, hard to believe if you read this blog (although it has been mentioned a time or two), but The Fairy Princess is Irish, Chinese, and Welsh  – which makes me fairly Celtic/Gaelic. There have even been articles on the fact that I am Irish, which…let’s face it, is pretty amazing.

I grew up with songs like this playing in the car:

 

I have an Irish name – both first and last, and middle too, actually. I have toured with Irish musicians as a singer (some fairly fancy ones, actually) for three years, and I have an Irish music CD that is available on iTunes.

I have some famous Irish relatives who helped shape New York City

“The judge can drop dead in his black robes, and we would not call off the strike.  Personally, I don’t care if I rot in jail!” - Mike Quill

“The judge can drop dead in his black robes, and we would not call off the strike. Personally, I don’t care if I rot in jail!” – Mike Quill

and, you know Unions in general in this country….

Mike Quill with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. shake hands at the 1961 TWU Convention

Mike Quill and  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. shake hands at the 1961 TWU Convention

I grew up going to Irish festivals, and hearing stories about ‘The Old Country”, and as Dad represented a few Irish performers, I have seen quite a bit of some of the more famous musicians up close and personal. Sung with one or two at a pub and such.  Actually, I would say that if it was Irish themed and made it to America, I have probably seen it.

However, I have also seen this:

 

This is Irish Drag Queen, Panti Bliss, who was recently sued in Ireland, by a group who wound up on a chat show with her. They made homophobic statements, and Panti Bliss called them ‘homophobic’ and under the slander laws in Ireland, that is litigious. And that, to quote Panti herself, ‘feels oppressive’.

(For the Drag Knowledge Amateurs – if a Drag Queen is in makeup, it is polite to use a female descriptive, if a Drag Queen is out of makeup, then, of course, it would be polite to refer to the person as a male)

Which, to Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte  in Ireland, seemed wrong. So there is now a move to change the Broadcasting Act  in Ireland, which allows people to sue Broadcasters willy nilly. This is a step forward.

(No, Willy Nilly is not a Drag Name. Or, well, it’s not mine.)

Which means that Ireland, ‘the Mother Ship’ as it were, is trying to change.

The question I have is why are we, in America, holding on to a rather antiquated set of rules that oppress people?

In Ireland, LGBT people have been marching in Parades on St. Patrick’s Day for approximately the last decade. In fact, the The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Diarmuid Martin, said recently, “Anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted. God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.”

Is there still oppression there, yes. Are there still hate crimes there? Of course. But look who is ‘coming out’, as it were, in support of LGBT people – The Archbishop of Dublin!

I mean, WHO is more Catholic and Irish than the Archbishop of Dublin?

He wins. So let’s not hide behind religion anymore, eh?

This got The Fairy Princess to thinking about the way we, in America, have handled our St. Patrick’s Day Parades. That way could only be describe as…well, I would say the Parades are very organized and fun if you like Parades, but we have a huge, festering, open sore on our Parades, and that sore is called ‘exclusion’.

We have not allowed LGBT people to march in the Parades in declared groups.

I suppose LGBT Irish Heritaged people have marched in the Parades –  (percentages have the LGBT population of America as 3.5%, which would be around 8 million people – so odds are, yes, there have been LGBT people marching in the Parades) but under different groups and banners and they had to hide.

They may have been in the Parades, but they could not acknowledge publicly that they were Gay and that they were Irish.

Honestly now...who knows or cares who this guy sleeps with? He's going FULL TILT LEPRACHAUN PEOPLE!

Honestly now…who knows or cares who this guy sleeps with? He’s going FULL TILT LEPRECHAUN, PEOPLE!

Which made The Fairy Princess think of the stories she had been told as a child – not just about The Banshee.

If you hear the cry of the Banshee, someone is going to die. The Banshee is some SERIOUS business, she's going to come in a horseless carriage and take you to the Afterworld.

If you hear the cry of the Banshee, someone is going to die. The Banshee is some SERIOUS business, she’s going to come in a horseless carriage and take you to the Afterworld.

(Thanks to my Cousin Dinny, The Fairy Princess was scared sh*tless every time the wind blew till she was ten.)

No, The Fairy Princess heard other stories when she was growing up, stories that, as Panti Bliss would say, “feel oppressive.”

Now, when my Grandparents stepped off the boat from Ireland, they saw/heard/felt more than their share of this:

Irish_Need_Not_ApplyWhich means that if one were, say, to get off the boat from Ireland, and look for a job – to find gold on the streets as they said at the time, you were probably going to have a hard time.

You could do a few things – you could work on your accent and try and hide that you were Irish. You could take a job for far less salary, in often dangerous conditions, just because of where you came from and what you sounded like. You could stay in an area that was strictly Irish immigrants and hope that you could stay with your ‘own’ people and not have to face ridicule and oppression, low wages, abuse and all sorts of other things – things that would be visited upon you simply because of who you were.

One of the reasons you were going to have a hard time, was because America was steeped in Anti-Irish sentiment like this:

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Nice going Knickerbocker America.

Well, obviously things changed…

What he said...

What he said…

But now it needs to change again, and we, Irish Americans, we need to change it.

I mean, there are BEER COMPANIES pulling OUT (ahem) of St. Patrick’s Day Parades because we are not allowing LGBT People to show that they are proud of being Irish! BEER COMPANIES! C’mon! You know Beer Companies look forward to St. Patrick’s Day like a starving man looks at food. Longingly. Salivating. They are going to take a huge hit, just to stand up – and that is a great thing – it should put us on alert.

When the Irish first came here, it was almost a crime to say that one was Irish – yet we do this  same thing to LGBT peoples.

During the Great Famine, when there was plentiful grain and cows and so on being exported from Ireland,  the Irish starved because there was a blight on potatoes. Potatoes were the only things that the Irish were ‘allowed’ to eat and so they starved – even as Ireland was exporting grain and cattle and could have fully supported it’s own population, it was a crime to speak up against this policy. And we have made it a crime to speak up and say who you love. On a day that is supposed to celebrate love. A Saint’s Day.

Because….

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It means EVERYBODY.
Cannot we, Irish Americans, drive out these ‘metaphorical snakes’ that interfere with our ability to embrace so many of our people?

OUR People.

Irish American people, who want to celebrate being Irish Americans on a day that we have set aside specifically to do that.

The Fairy Princess believes that Irish America can change.

If The Fairy Princess can learn to eat and love Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread it just goes to show – even things steeped in tradition – can be embraced. And you know what – she does not MISS the Gluten!

Which means – you will NOT miss the hate.

You won’t. I promise. It will make the day lighter. It will make the argument go away. It will embrace Irish Americans, all of them, equally – and there will be one less stupid, horrible thing to argue over in this country.

Who would not want that?

I mean, for heaven’s sake – who did you think was  going to be at the rainbow when you got to the end?

CAireland

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The song says

 

It’s doesn’t say ‘If you’re Irish… and Straight, come into the Parlor“, it says “If you’re IRISH”

Sure and they are descended from Brian Boru, and the High Kings, and Boudica, and sure they have heard the stories of the Harp that once through Tara’s Halls, and probably seen a step dance or two – right? So what’s the problem – change these policies!

There was an ‘All Inclusive” St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 2nd, which Panti Bliss attended.

Panti Bliss at the All Inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade in Sunnyside, Queens, NY

Panti Bliss at the All Inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Sunnyside, Queens, NY

My hope is that next year, Panti Bliss will be an invited guest at the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Heck, maybe they could have her as The Grand Marshal?

The Fairy Princess would totally be an Aide to that particular Grand Marshal.

Just as my Father and Uncle were once upon a time when they marched in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It was, I can say with complete certainty, one of the proudest days in my Dad’s life – being able to march down 5th Avenue in his top hat and morning coat, with a sash across his chest, showing the world where he came from.

Doesn’t everyone deserve that chance?

I mean, IRISH AMERICANS – we are MISSING OUT!

Because EVERY Parade is better with Drag Queens, my doves. Every. Single. One.

TRUST.

WHO is more fun that these girls? Ummmm...NO ONE!

WHO is more fun that these girls? Ummmm…NO ONE!

The Fairy Princess has watched the news in abject horror the past few weeks – I mean, I know ‘Haters gonna hate‘ but they seem to be going for the Gold Medal.

Ok, there is a place to start – Russia.

Russia hates LGBT people. (Article)

Hold on a minute, Russia….just so we are clear….this is what you are famous for….(Artistically famous, not, you know, bombs and torture, killing the Tsar & his family, and cold war ‘cross my line and I blow crap up‘ famous)

Ballet.

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Architecture

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And Literature….

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Writer: Nikolai Gogol (Bio)

But Russia hates Gay People. I see. (Article)

Dear Russia – wake up and smell the caviar…you stink. And if you don’t take my word for it – you have been condemned by GERMANY! (Article)

GERMANY is looking down on you!

Germany, who is never ever going to be able to stop apologizing for THIS guy….

Ain’t NOBODY got time for that – Right, Sweet Brown?

The Fairy Princess can no longer indulge in a dirty martini! She could, yes, switch to gin – but she has seen the crazed orgy scene in The Wild Party too many times for that!

Oh well….back to whiskey….grrr.

This whole thing is ridiculous and tilted her tiara.

So The Fairy Princess is going to write about some GOOD THINGS that happened the last few weeks….get ready!

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1. AVENUE Q celebrated it’s 10th year of running on a stage in Manhattan. It should be stated that from an Asian American perspective, Avenue Q provided the only ‘new’ Asian American character our Broadway stages have seen since…ummmm…Throughly Modern Millie in 2002 and since then there has been….ummmm….NEVERMINDGOOD THINGS!

HERE are some of the lovelies that have played the part of Christmas Eve –

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L-R: Lisa Helmi Johansen, Sala Iwamatsu, Ann Harada, Erin Quill, Hazel Anne Raymundo, Ruthie Anne Miles

And…as Creator Bobby Lopez said about this photo “The scary thing is that there are so many more

So Congrats to the Creators, Producers, Crew and Cast Members of Avenue Q – The Fairy Princess was very proud to ‘live’ there as part of the Original Broadway Company and just so’s ya know…July 31st was declared AVENUE Q DAY by the City of New York!

2. The FuManchu Complex which will run in London at The Oval House from Oct 1-19th, 2013 has been fully funded through Kickstarter!

Normally, The Fairy Princess DOES NOT give to Kickstarter – and here is why – and ARTISTS, I want you to pay special attention to WHY I normally do NOT give to Kickstarter and why I DID give to this one.

The Fairy Princess believes that if you want her to invest in a film, or play, or project of any sort, then present me with an investment package. I want to see that if I am an investor in your project, then there is some small hope of return on said investment. (The Fairy Princess is not DELUSIONAL, she KNOWS that there is little to no hope of return on investments in Artistic projects, but let’s have RESPECT for the investor)

I do not believe in, in general, asking people to just give money for artistic endeavors because, in the olden days, when I started – if you wanted to fund your own work….you got a job and saved money.

You produced your show yourself, you saved, you borrowed, however you wanted to do it, but you did not expect your friends to pony up money so that you could be saved the hassle of saving.

Then you invited people to buy tickets to your show.

THAT was how friends showed support. They bought tickets. They bought CDs. They came to see the project when completed.

The Fairy Princess is NOT a fan of ‘oh this will be good for my career, and I have fans or friends…I’m just going to ASK them for it, but I will reap any and all benefits and then I will not have to pay back anyone“.

NOT a fan.

I have seen too many Kickstarter funded projects that wound up not actually coming to fruition, and the money – which has no ‘if the project is not completed this money is returned to you‘ clause – went to pay someone’s credit card bill or for a fancy trip abroad.

Now that celebrities are using the fans to pay for projects that they could have found funding for on their own, because they ARE Celebrities with fans…The Fairy Princess was ‘stick a fork in Zach Braff done‘ DONE with Kickstarter.

The NY Times agrees with The Fairy Princess – celebrities using Kickstarter is not quite ethical…(Article)

EXCEPT for FuManchu Complex and HERE is why –

They needed two thousand pounds.

To put up a PLAY.

For 19 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I gave them money because I know – I KNOW that they are not going to run and pay an old bill, they are not going to go on a fancy trip – they are renting a space and they are building a set. Obviously, no one is getting paid- they are doing it for themselves but they are ALSO doing it to help keep alive the British East Asian Theater presence and so…I chose to give them money, even AFTER they reached their goal…because you know what?

The Fairy Princess is unable to attend the show due to it being in another country – so she cannot buy a ticket – Kickstarter, in this instance, was the way she chose to raise a glass and salute them. Bon chance, you feisty British East Asians!

And if anyone reading this would like to also send them some $$$ so they can perhaps go to the pub after opening night – here is the link:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/321216033/the-fu-manchu-complex-at-ovalhouse-1-19-october-20?ref=email

And Bless your hearts if you do! All Hail Daniel York and his buddies for continuing to rail against the dying of the light…it’s a damn hard thing to do.

UPDATE FROM DANIEL YORK:

‘One thing I should point out though is that the actors (five East Asians) WILL get paid the Equity rate and that’s one of the things we needed the money for because the Arts Council would only fund us if we raised a certain amount ourselves, the £2000 is barely 5% of the budget but it’s crucial in that sense. I have, however, waived my writer’s fee completely because I want the play to go on and I want East Asian actors on stage in work by an East Asian writer because I want us to have our own foundation rather be relying on the mainstream to chuck us a bone when they wanna put on a China play PLUS the cast we have is just about the most diverse group of Asians ever and we need to be seen as that. Diverse.’

OK – ACTORS GET PAID!!!!!!!!!!! That is even MORE awesome! Well then I’m glad I gave money to such a great cause and The Fairy Princess wishes she could be there to see it. BRAVO ahead of time, you British East Asians!

3. Kristina Wong is the next great thing that happened in the past couple of weeks, because she took on that hideous offensive mess that was the video Asian Girlz and she answered it back with a witty video of her own:

Kristina Wong is a Performance Artist that The Fairy Princess is glad to see on the great wide Interweb. How wonderful that a strong Asian American Woman took a stand against racism, sexism, and stupidity- this is a fabulous thing.

Let’s all get excited about this and watch the video more than a few times and tweet it etc, so that she might get paid the literally hundred of dollars (no, not a typo) that you can make on YouTube if your video is viral.

She is a Performance Artist….she needs the $$$!

4. Kevin Burrows is the next great thing to happen in the past week.

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You might not know Kevin and his work if you are not a Broadway afficianado, but Playbill.com certainly should have when they decided to highlight Broadway ‘show-mances’ that lasted and lasted. You see, Playbill.com decided to highlight more than a few of them, but failed to include any LGBT Broadway couples. (Article)

Say what?

Ummmmm, is Playbill.com under the misapprehension that theater in New York City is only inhabited by ‘straight’ people?

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One assumes that Playbill.com has actually BEEN to a Broadway show or two or twenty and has done only approximately thousands of interviews WITH Broadway people…where they may have noticed some LGBT couples.

But…when you assume…oh FELIX UNGER…..

Anyway, Kevin read the article, got fired up, and responded with his OWN article entitled “Till There Was US” on The Huffington Post. (Article)

Here is why this is awesome – because Mr. Burrows took on what is, really, institutional prejudice, and won with placement of his own article in the NATIONAL press.

Well played, Mr. Burrows, well played. A righteous parry & thrust!

Playbill.com is, of course, designed to help sell Broadway shows – therefore, they may have decided that the people reading Playbill.com tended to be consumers more than theater practitioners. They may even be right.

However, just because facts may upset someone who has an ability to buy a ticket, but an inability to acknowledge the right to live and love whom you want, as any consenting adult should be able to do – does not make it right to leave out couples who are part of the very reason there are tickets to sell in the FIRST place!

THIS. IS. NEW. YORK. CITY. and to leave OUT LGBT Couples who make UP a huge part of the Broadway Community is flat out, dead WRONG to do.

‘Mad props’ to Kevin Burrows for standing up for his own relationship, and the visibility of LGBT relationships in the Broadway community!

Encore! Encore!

5. HERE LIES LOVE is looking to transfer to Broadway! (Article)

The Fairy Princess saw this musical by David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim down at The Public Theater and truly, truly enjoyed it. This may be the first ‘new’ All Asian American musical to make it to Broadway in the next year, so this blog in particular, wishes the show well

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And THOSE are FIVE things that were kinda awesome the past few weeks….and they are a reminder that even though you can feel like you are stuck in a Sh*t storm without an umbrella……

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