subvert.com

subvert live in SF 4/20 : Left to our own Devices

April 4th, 2012

Bay Area favorite performer and conversationalist Heather Gold brings her talk show back to the Bay under its new name subvert. (Past guests include: Merlin Mann, Prof. Larry Lessig Michelle Tea and twitter co-founder Ev Williams) Her first live show and soon-to-be-podcast will happen at The Garage on April 20th. This show is themed Left To Our Own Devices and features from-left-field, hilarious writer and musician Michelle Haynes and sculptor and installation artist Michael Brown in conversation with you, the people formerly known as the audience. How do you get a worthwhile education? Michelle grew up in a very religious home and was home schooled and  self-taught, reading everything she could get her hands on. Michael grew up making his own audio-animatronic figures. What lets someone understand they can give themselves a creative education? How do we unschool for this?

Seating is limited. BUY TIX.

(video: Michael Brown's Ghost Horse)

 


my new podcast, subverting SXSW

February 23rd, 2012

Many ask me what happened to your talk show? I've always wanted to be doing it. It's my great love aside from my plays. It's what I'd like to be spending most of my days on. Life interfered somewhat as did the expenses of a live show with that complexity of recording and the state of media streaming on the web at time. I was early.

But things are changing in my life and I'm hungry to et started again and hungry for inspiration and digging into where my heart leads me. This is what subvert is all about.  subvert is the new name for the show. I'm finally taking up ben brown on the great advice he gave me ages ago: I'm going to make this show as simple as possible and go from there. This means mostly doing one on one asynchronous interviews. As membership and donations and the right producer permit, I want to make the show real-time online as TummelVision has been. Then I'd like to grow the community big enough to draw enough folks to make regular live shows possible so that I can mash up larger crowds in conversation in person.

The talk show I want, the podcast I want still isn't online. So I'm making it.

I'll be at SXSWinteractive for the 14th time March 9-13.

I'll be subverting the conference with a mini-alt one of my own: little conversations with smaller groups I tummel together that I hope to record and podcast later, environment/sound permitting.

SXSW is near and dear to my heart. I launched my solo performance career there. I've always done my own shows there but the exploding size of the conference has made the cost of renting a venue beyond my means. I started to "make my own" conference a few years ago when the quality of the panels decreased and the size of parties and the conference in general became huge and moved its focus away from making and innovation.

I'm inspired by my Burning Man campmates amazing RVIP lounge (a karaoke party in an RV) and the general move of the web to streams and flow.

So this will be a show without a venue. A minimally viable show. I'll find little locations ad hoc and put interesting people and topics together freestyle like in the moment. It will be the conversations you *want* to have, not what a social marketing manager at a Fortune 50 company would like to push into your head. if you want an intimate conference and show experience with quality  follow me at @subverting during the conference and add me on Foursquare, I'll include you . Tell me what you're trying to figure out. What is pissing you off. What inspires you. Who you want to hear from and they SO do not have to be "celebrities." Please for the love of the web, give me frickin *people.* Your authority doesn't come from so-called "influence" or magazine covers it comes from your experience and what you care about. I want to talk WITH you.

subvert with Heather Gold (fka the Heather Gold Show) in Toronto 5/25!

May 17th, 2011

subvert with heather gold: an interactive talk show

w/guest amazing actor, director Moynan King and many more
Granny Boots
Wednesday May 25th
Doors 7:30, Show 8-10
Gladstone Hotel, Melody Bar

1214 Queen St W

Toronto

subvert with heather gold holds the honest conversations we're craving
It’s a live and online experience that brings together different guests, performers and you (the people formerly known as the audience) in collective inquiry around a live, universal question or themes. It’s a place to be our whole selves together. It’s a lot funnier than that sounds. You are encouraged to bring baked goods, because that makes everything better. And Gladstone already has booze.

This show ran in San Francisco for a while as the Heather Gold Show.  I plan to launch this as a podcast and bring some nice updates to this site all in good time. If you'd like to work on producing the podcast or have this show live in your town, let me know.

This show's theme is Garden more. Plant less. We'll discover what we tend to and how with director Moynan King (Beauty Shop, Mothering, Proust Project), Sanjay Ratnan and Saniya Ansari (the Torontonians, Mammalian Diving Reflex) and comic Dawn Whitwell (Comedy Girl, Edinburgh Fringe)

L word parody, Heather Gold, Jen Kober, Faith Soloway

February 28th, 2011
 

 

I was just enjoying the hell out of Faith Soloway's hilarious L Word parody (and you should too) and I was inspired to dig up this old image from my own L Word parody with Jen Kober who's gone on to amazing things as a regular on Treme among others. The poster was put together by the talented Tanya Zani and the show won the National Theatre Award from Curve Magazine.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Look out Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho: I bring twenty college students out of the closet in a single show

February 14th, 2011

Equal parts raunchy, serious, awkward, and inspirational, her routine opened doors for the LGBTQQ community here on campus and opened the eyes of everyone less aware…it was an introduction to the life of Heather Gold, an extraordinary person.

[for the] people who stayed… to talk to Heather Gold—not even listen to or laugh at, but engage in authentic conversation with—her direct approach, her humor, and her interest in every individual was a welcome reprieve from an otherwise generally repressive atmosphere….Heather Gold is someone who deserves the chance to speak to more than just an audience of people seeking acceptance: she needs to speak to those who deny it, because if anyone can raise awareness and support for the  LGBTQQ (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning, in case you didn’t know) among us, she can.

 Audra Foster- The Gettysburg Forum

I perform and speak at college campus' regularly, usually about LGBT and diversity issues. For me this comes from the same heart as all my speaking in the Net and business world as well: creating spaces in which pretense can subside and people can be connected as their more authentic selves. Jokes help.

I'm becoming as well known for talking about and teaching how I do this tummeling as for performing.

But I am feeling really proud, and not just because I'm now entitled to a whole lot of toasters. I got serious about this goal of connecting the "audience" in my shows over a decade ago because of my San Francisco peers, mostly early web creators who all often asked "how can I add value." Many performers give people a public example of something, or publicly advocate for rights as comics Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho do for LGBT rights. I do that too, but since I began doing solo shows (for me these are monologues with lots of dialogue in them), I began asking "what if the show were not about something over there but were focussed on making something really happen right here, right now."

What kind of difference can you really make in an hour or so? You can change how someone feels about themselves in public.You can change an environment.

To be fair this Gettysburg show did go over the hour I'd prepared to do because I was obsessed with bringing the room together and tipping the public balance in the room there so that people could come out. The students were individually telling me about their frustrations. And who were all these people showing up to have abstract discussions about civil rights, yet had real concrete social and personal difficulties? They didn't feel safe. They felt isolated even in a room together. And sadly, many of these students were in their young twenties and had already made it through adolesence without getting to openly feel ok about the feelings and actions straight kids take when they are 8 or 9 "I have a crush on him. Which boy do you like best?" and so on. They were in a small isolated college. Were they going to have to go through 4 more years not honestly connected to themselves or dating or sexuality?

I deal in the unspoken. Now the only student I physically brought onstage is definitely straight. But she has a version of the same stuff to deal with as everyone. Could she say no to me? Could she tell her truth? Not being able to talk about what you're really feeling or what's really going on isn't an issue limited to queer kids coming out. It's at the heart of the breeding ground for everything from unsafe sex to bad bad corporate meetings to dictatorships. It's one of the main obstacles to our being able to be #WITH (an ongoing project of mine) each other, which I believe is our main collective need right now.

So I stayed on stage until it became easier to be out than in. Till these students had someone else they could talk to in the open, or maybe even ask out. I did my best to use what was about me in the show was used to make things helpful for everyone there.

The awkwardness, the seriousness, the conversations, the discomfort, the comic relief was all done consiously in order to achieve something socially. As I teach in workshops and my keynotes, there's an informational flow (or a narrative or theatrical flow and there's a social flow. I wanted both.

It was a funny show. In comedy terms I killed. 

But in life terms, I did something much more important. I connnected. 

We all want to meet more people and feel more ourselves and more connected. This experience inspired me to want to accomplish more every time I perform. I'm a performing aiming for, as Umair Haque would say, thick value. Artists: ask yourself, how can I help? Directly.

 

Video to come.

To bring me to your campus or event, contact my lovely agents at Speak Out.

 

 

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Look out Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho: I bring twenty college students out of the closet in a single show

February 14th, 2011

Equal parts raunchy, serious, awkward, and inspirational, her routine opened doors for the LGBTQQ community here on campus and opened the eyes of everyone less aware…it was an introduction to the life of Heather Gold, an extraordinary person.

[for the] people who stayed… to talk to Heather Gold—not even listen to or laugh at, but engage in authentic conversation with—her direct approach, her humor, and her interest in every individual was a welcome reprieve from an otherwise generally repressive atmosphere….Heather Gold is someone who deserves the chance to speak to more than just an audience of people seeking acceptance: she needs to speak to those who deny it, because if anyone can raise awareness and support for the  LGBTQQ (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning, in case you didn’t know) among us, she can.

 

Audra Foster- The Gettysburg Forum

I perform and speak at college campus' regularly, usually about LGBT and diversity issues. For me this comes from the same heart as all my speaking in the Net and business world as well: creating spaces in which pretense can subside and people can be connected as their more authentic selves. Jokes help.

I'm becoming as well known for talking about and teaching how I do this tummeling as for performing.

But I am feeling really proud, and not just because I'm now entitled to a whole lot of toasters. I got serious about this goal of connecting the "audience" in my shows over a decade ago because of my San Francisco peers, mostly early web creators who all often asked "how can I add value." Many performers give people a public example of something, or publicly advocate for rights as comics Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho do for LGBT rights. I do that too, but since I began doing solo shows (for me these are monologues with lots of dialogue in them), I began asking "what if the show were not about something over there but were focussed on making something really happen right here, right now."

What kind of difference can you really make in an hour or so? You can change how someone feels about themselves in public.You can change an environment.

To be fair this Gettysburg show did go over the hour I'd prepared to do because I was obsessed with bringing the room together and tipping the public balance in the room there so that people could come out. The students were individually telling me about their frustrations. And who were all these people showing up to have abstract discussions about civil rights, yet had real concrete social and personal difficulties? They didn't feel safe. They felt isolated even in a room together. And sadly, many of these students were in their young twenties and had already made it through adolesence without getting to openly feel ok about the feelings and actions straight kids take when they are 8 or 9 "I have a crush on him. Which boy do you like best?" and so on. They were in a small isolated college. Were they going to have to go through 4 more years not honestly connected to themselves or dating or sexuality?

I deal in the unspoken. Now the only student I physically brought onstage is definitely straight. But she has a version of the same stuff to deal with as everyone. Could she say no to me? Could she tell her truth? Not being able to talk about what you're really feeling or what's really going on isn't an issue limited to queer kids coming out. It's at the heart of the breeding ground for everything from unsafe sex to bad bad corporate meetings to dictatorships. It's one of the main obstacles to our being able to be #WITH (an ongoing project of mine) each other, which I believe is our main collective need right now.

So I stayed on stage until it became easier to be out than in. Till these students had someone else they could talk to in the open, or maybe even ask out. I did my best to use what was about me in the show was used to make things helpful for everyone there.

The awkwardness, the seriousness, the conversations, the discomfort, the comic relief was all done consiously in order to achieve something socially. As I teach in workshops and my keynotes, there's an informational flow (or a narrative or theatrical flow and there's a social flow. I wanted both.

It was a funny show. In comedy terms I killed. 

But in life terms, I did something much more important. I connnected. 

We all want to meet more people and feel more ourselves and more connected. This experience inspired me to want to accomplish more every time I perform. I'm a performing aiming for, as Umair Haque would say, thick value. Artists: ask yourself, how can I help? Directly.

 

Video to come.

To bring me to your campus or event, contact my lovely agents at Speak Out.

 

 

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Today's Resource: my 1972 Honda 350Four

February 5th, 2011

The thing that makes me happy today is thinking about my motorcycle: a 1972 Honda 350Four. I wish I had a better photo of it than this one of me and Michelle Citrin  heading to a gig in Guerneville on what turned out to be a pretty magical day. At that time we were both kind of creatively stuck. We rode up on the old small highway. We wove on windy roads that were all of a sudden friend not foe, and under Redwoods that seemed so much closer to me and my heart than from a car or even on foot. The night ended up including a woman in the audience randomly standing up and telling us she was a reincarnated Holocaust Survivor, gay men awkwardly trying to hit on the woman hosting the show, a midget dreamily slow dancing with another comic who's 6 feet tall, a random passerby telling Michelle gravely that her karaoke was pretty good but if she could could learn how to write songs she'd really have it made. Michelle will have her first musical on Broadway this year, Sleepless in Seattle. After a woman who sounded just like Harvey Fierstein read our palms we met a woman at about 3am who told us she was a prophet. At that point, I believed her. One thing melted into the other. It was all swooping and smooth and alive, just like the ride on the bike. The Prophet told us this was what she called a Blue Velvet Day.  

I wanted a motorcycle since I was a kid. I used to sneak into the boys section of the library at my school and in my small town and read books about mini bikes and motorcycles. We lived in a fairly rural area and the sand pits near our house were full of bikes and dune buggys. It was all very 70s.

In the early 2000's I took the only money I ever made from start-up stock and bought the bike. It sort of found me when I stopped by Charlie's Place in San Francisco. Vintage Hondas always catch my eye. One of the mechanics told me about a bike she'd just heard about. I found the jacket you see above in a a thrift store in The Haight. The photo was taken for my first cover shot for Where magazine. It never made it. It was considered too gay. It was too much for my Dad too who asked me as favour not to use it. But I love it. And I'm not alone. Its had a lot of press. It reminds me of my bike. Though I never used that much hairspray when I was riding it. 

After my accident in 2006 I couldn't ride and then I moved east when my wife went to medical school.
I left the bike in San Francisco, along with my heart. My friend needs to move it now and I'm hoping there's still a way to store it till I can get back and get on it. I miss driving through Marin and Sonoma county. I miss the warm sun and the golden fields and the windy roads and the freedom and getting the little wave I never knew existed between moto riders before I was one. I miss this time of feeling most myself.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

me and Gram

February 2nd, 2011

Today's Resource: sequined headbands + Olivia Newton-John Make a Move On Me

February 1st, 2011

Maybe you need to have been born exactly when I was to find Olivia Newton-John incredibly sexy, or a headband or cigarette-like mic entertainingly comforting.
And somehow there are no women in this dance club. Hmm, I wonder why that could be?
I can't wait… 

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Mary Gold (Mariam / Mirrel Kolofsky) 1919-2011

February 1st, 2011

Gram died last night.

This is a painting of my Gram when she was a teenager working crazy hours with her sister at her brothers' first store.
A customer came in one day and gave it to her. It shocked her that someone thought of her. She also never saw herself as attractive, even though she really was a beauty in her day.

We were talking the other night about what Gram liked to do.  What movies, what books, what songs? Gram liked business.
She loved flea markets as long as she could go. She read the paper to see what the prices were and how people were merchandising. 
She had been an entrepreneur growing a series of small convenience stores in Niagara Falls after the hat store and the men's goods and the bowling alley all didn't work.

Gram is the last of her 4 siblings who had a hell of a life and an incredible bond and love for one another. They lost their mum to an institution when Gram was very young and it seems their father didn't want her around. Her father was "wonderful to me" she'd say but not to her siblings. 

She spent the rest of her life holding onto family, connecting with every relative, even staying close with the stepmother who'd hit her and she and her siblings and run away from. We had Shabbes supper (Friday night dinner) every week till I left for college and the US. All 16 of us. All the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents.

She married young, had three children who each had three children themselves and took care of her mother and father-in-law who'd escaped the shtetl and lived with her. She was a huge part of the Niagara Falls Jewish community.  She loved her family, a good joke, food and chocolate. It's hard to really describe just how much she loved chocolate. One of the places she and her siblings lived, after then left, was with a relative who owned a candy store. All four of them were chocolate maniacs. It's reliable.

Would she have called herself a feminist? I don't know but she worked and entrepreneured her whole life. 

She was not fancy but she appreciated beauty and quality. She wouldn't waste a thing. 

I know this isn't the best edited blog post, but I wanted to share some things now. There's a snow storm coming. There's a lot to do. I wonder how you shovel dirt into the grave in the snow? It's a Jewish custom I appreciate. It makes it real.

I'll post more from An Honest Living: My Search for Meaning through Work in the future. Here's some bits about Gram.

Grandpa Sam is always in the tiny office up the stairs at the back of #1. It’s clubhouse sized, with rec room fake-wood paneling, a little safe and lots of piles of papers. Grandma Mary is always walking around the store in her orthopaedic dancing shoes and big, mustard jacket with pockets full of gum and stim-u-dents. Whenever I come in to work, she takes me aside. I get a stim-u-dent, clean my teeth, and she teaches me.

“Make sure that when you are putting fresh chocolate bars on the shelves, that you put them at the back of the pile and move the older ones to the front.” 

This is wisdom that makes a real impression on an 11 year old: If what you get is consistently stale, you’ll never expect fresh. 

There seems to be a lesson lurking everywhere. One day Grandma catches me crouched by the magazine stand, reading an Archie comic book. She firmly leads me to the drugstore aisle and admonishes me to “never sit still. There’s always something to do.”  And she puts me to work, neatening up the greeting cards.

I don’t see the employees “always doing something,” but I understand that it is different for me, because my grandparents owned the stores. Everyone is watching us, so we have to do it perfectly.

###
They grew up shuffling from one house to the next, trying to stay connected with each other after they ran away from wicked stepmother as children. It was hard for Jewish people to get jobs in Toronto in those days. So Uncle Jack and Uncle Carl borrowed money from family and friends and opened a book store. But they did things differently. Books were highbrow stuff back then. But they sold books the way other people this years ladies’ fashions, or meat. They sold books by the pound. They advertised “Algebra on Ice” and put the books in a refrigerator. Grandma Mary tells me: “I remember when it was Easter, we had about 30 little chicks in the window. That created quite a stir I tell you.”

Gram and her sister worked in the bookstore too when they were young. They all worked crazy hours and didn’t get paid much or at all. No one called it a “startup” or got stock options. They sold real tangible books and school supplies, and sold them cheaper than their competitors.  

Uncle Jack and Uncle Carl used the name their father took because his employer Ford hated Jews: Cole. They opened more bookstores and grew and grew. They sold a kind of cheat sheet to the books you had to read for school and called it Coles Notes. These became known in the United States later as Cliff’s Notes. And they eventually built one of the largest chains of book stores in the world. They even built a store called “The World’s Biggest Bookstore” in Toronto. And they sent people to England to measure the last big one to make sure theirs was the biggest. And it was too. Until many years and several careers of mine later, when Amazon.com came along.

When everything's stripped away
The smallest thing becomes huge.
I want to put chocolate of Grama's tongue
just for the taste
the pleasure
but they are starving her. 

She can't swallow.
No food 
No drink
for 2 days now.

She is shutting down.
Her blood visits fewer places.
Her eyes started moving around.
I laid my head next to hers on the pillow
Like a lovers.
Did she ever have a real lover?

I see you Grama. I see you.
That is what lovers really do.

I forgot that it's fun to write.
I missed some days this week.

And Egypt is telling Pharaoh to fuck off.
All those Passovers
I've heard about Pharaoh a million times
It never occurred to me that he was probably 
An asshole to his own people too.
No one needs that.
There will be more.
2012 is coming. 
The rest of the Arab nations are facing their own.
Nothing changes more
than facing yourself.

The Internet is still down.
How will we reach each other?
they're still in the streets.
What are my streets?
Who will I fight with?
Love with?
Who will I join arms with 
To make a world of just us.
Us people. Hi there.

Just what are we willing to put up with?
"I still love you Pie," I sobbed
But I know as well as she that she can't rescue me from sadness
And I know that I can't take another Pharaoh.
Not her, nor me nor any other

Freedom is frightening
Freedom cannot last without love
Freedom erases your map

Grama is regressing
Minute by minute
The legs went first
then they were wounded
then the talking
Just grabbing your hand 
and putting it in her mouth
like a baby
then she stopped eating
And you can see what there is
Before you were born.
The eyes aren't certain.
There's more to move
touch 
and sound
and maybe something on the tongue
Then the tongue stuck out
it stopped moving
Who needs hair
Before you're a baby
There's breathing
Then sometimes there isn't
Why are you there?
Why not be
Life only wants more of itself
To be
that is all
To only be 
is a powerful life
To look at see
a shape
a movement
a something
the chattering of small talk around the dinner table
always sitting around a table and eating
that's how we knew we were here
Gram was alway so proud
i think
here was her family
They sure as hell weren't going anywhere this time
not like when she was a kid

But Sarah and Carl and Jackie
Where did they go?
The same place as time
All that fun
all that life made
when there were rules for how to have a life
after there weren't
just yelling 
a their mum wandering in a park
to get some peace from what was there
Oh you 20th century
how to buy a suit
what kind of proper stitching
for Ladies Wear
and a Bowling Alley
and maybe even how to put
the stale chocolate bars in the front of the row
There's always something to do
said gram 
in her mustard colored jacket for work
that smock covering the other jacket
shiny dollar store clip on earrings

Work to do
All those cigarettes to smoke
and Friday night dinners to make
And grandchildren to watch
Jump in the pool
And it all made so much sense
Just like the 20th century 
Vanished into the sand it was built on
Those desert people know about building there
so they're preparing the way
to build again
first you take it down
the anger
the cowardice
the pretense
you rip it apart
with Pyramid magic
and what comes next?
Nothing like we've seen.
There's no shelves to stack things on
It's just you and me baby
You and me.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

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