Whats in our name?

Why Andro and Eve? We get asked sometimes..

 

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Well we love a pun for starters.. But this famous origin story called for a reworking in our minds… Something that reclaims the woman from man and says women can be so much more than the ancient stories we were told. Andro and Eve is a name that recognises we women don’t need to be femme. We are androgynous, butch, dykes, tomboys, but the divine feminine and ‘Eve’ character is also just as powerful as the archetypal man, masculine woman or genderfluid person.

We like our name because it acknowledges the blurring and broad spectrum of gender identity, and we seek to ensure our events and ethos are inclusive of transgender men and women and non binary people, because we have much in common, and queer community is about building a family outside of heteronormativity (for us). We are about uniting different identities across race, class, gender, sexuality, disability and age. Lastly, our name was also chosen because we are keen that ‘straight’ women have a space they can feel safe and free to explore women – made creative output, and break down some barriers that sadly, sometimes exist between different women. Cis men are welcome at our larger events, we just put women first. Women to the front! (In the spirit of Kathleen Hanna)!

Now we just need to remember all that next time we get asked about our name!

In this post, we’d like to acknowledge the pioneering and wonderful work of those who’ve gone before us, and were / are part of the inspiration for making spaces that promote queer and women made culture. In no particular order… Kate on Autostraddle in ‘Butch Please‘, Leslie Feinberg, Miss Major Griffin, Ani D Franco, Kate Bornstein, Bitch Planet, Susanne Sondfor, Germaine Greer, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Patricia Highsmith, Cheryl Dunye, to name but very few…

Carol; a film to make the heart sing

We were asked by the wonderful Moor Theatre Delicatessen last year to think of a film we’d like to programme as part of a festival to explore sex, sexuality and gender. The resulting festival Lets Talk About Sex Festival opened this week in Sheffield, and we’re very happy that as Andro and Eve we can represent for lesbian / queer women by presenting Carol

But why Carol? Well. Although we’re not blessed with hundreds of films exploring lesbian sex and relationships, there were a few other options but none of them so clearly put across a woman’s experience of falling for another woman in such a stylish and emotionally resonant way. We saw Carol on its release in 2015 and were already fans of the book, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, and frankly, we were blown away.

The two central performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are flawless, and the cinematography, costume and score, perfectly conjure the world in which these two exist. For those worrying that Todd Haynes film will ‘spoil’ the book, I remember being worried about this too. But somehow this film manages to capture the essence of the book, changing a few minor plot points, but making a piece of art that stands in its own right. Phyllis Nagy’s screenplay also allows us to see more clearly the world of Carol Aird, rather that in Highsmith’s novel, where we see the world through Therese’s eyes only. The film is richer, and more moving for this adaption.

Yes, there is sorrow in this film, but ultimately, Highsmith’s novel was groundbreaking in its treatment of a homosexual story where the characters (women too!) were allowed to have their hopeful ending. This bats against the still pervasive classic ‘lesbian must die’ trope in TV and film in a way that makes your heart sing.

We’re so excited to screen this film, transforming the Old Woolworths on The Moor (a fitting tribute to the way Therese and Carol meet!) into a homage to all things 1950’s. With cocktails, costumes galore and 1950’s music it will be an absolute dream to see this film back on a big screen again. We can’t wait!

Our thanks to Moor Theatre Delicatessen for their support in making this event happen, and SheFest Sheffield for placing this film in their weeklong programme to celebrate women as part of International Womens Day!

 

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Rooney Mara as ‘Therese Belivet’ in Todd Hayne’s ‘Carol’. 2015

 

 

2016: Andro & Eve’s First Year

2016 was a tough one for lots of reasons, and we are grateful for independent media such as Autostraddle, Media Diversified, DIVA, Bitch Media, Black Ballad UK and Girls Like Us Magazine amongst others, for providing alternate viewpoints and a sense of community in these difficult times. However, we can’t help feeling excited and a little bit proud of what we’ve achieved here in Sheffield at a time when it seems that women-focused and queer spaces are needed more than ever.

Since going social media live with Andro & Eve in April this year, we’ve now got a brilliant series of sold out events under our tool belts (#sorrynotsorry). Watching the growth of what started as the seed of an idea at a lesbian night in Berlin back in 2015, has been a very satisfying beginning to what we hope is a long and successful journey.

Our first event in May was a women only screening of Jamie Babbitt’s But I’m a Cheerleader at Café 9. Armed with hand-made pom-pom decorations, free ice cream courtesy of Emily’s Ices and a giant vegan cheerleader-skirt cake (yep), we had a brilliant night. It was nerve racking, but we loved it. Successfully bringing strangers together to enjoy this cult classic in a safe environment was a real win for us.

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The VEGAN Cheerleader Skirt cake with genderqueer Lego pirate friends!

We then took part in Autostraddle’s International Brunch weekend where ten of us met at Depot Bakery and enjoyed the best type of food; Breakfast. We literally put Sheffield on the queer lady map that is Autostraddle.

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Breakast food. As eaten at our Autostraddle Brunch. No way we were not going to post this pic

Our second pop-up cinema screening in October, was Tomboy by Celine Sciamma, which featured a colouring competition, with the winners being totally thrilled with their free tickets to THE KINGDOM COME in November.

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Adam All and Apple Derrieres performing at THE KINGDOM COME #1. Photo by Tash Bright

Our drag king night had been a long time in the making, and was our first larger event, but with a fab lineup, talented hosts (Adam All and Apple Derrieres), plenty cake and so much sparkle, we knew we had something special, and the crowd loved it.

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Lots of the crowd dressed in drag for THE KINGDOM COME #1. Yass! 

We’re so proud of what we, a lesbian, queer couple, have managed to achieve, with zero funding, but a whole load of hard work and enthusiasm. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve paid all our artists, catered specifically to audiences often not the focus of LGBTQ events (women identified and non binary folk) and highlighted queer culture through high quality events. As well as these events, we’ve enjoyed and supported as many other shows, screenings and festivals as we could, and have been totally inspired.

Notable highlights include Kate Bornstein at Queer Contact, SQIFF in Glasgow, The Punk Singer screening by Girl Gang Sheffield, (Which incidentally, Rhiannon recorded a cover for, of Le Tigre’s Les & Ray for Girl Gang’s accompanying CD), Strike a Pose at Sheffield Docfest, Transforming Cinema in Sheffield and Key Change by Open Clasp Theatre, and of course the Formation World Tour. I mean. Seeing BEYONCE was a lifelong dream, and it was everything. Grimes, Christine and the Queens, Lisa Hannigan and Agnes Obel were okay too….jk, they were all sublime. We’re a little bit in love with all of them. Female supergroup maybe?

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Girl Gang Sheffield had RAD illustrations to colour in at their PUNK SINGER screening in April

We have sooo many of plans for 2017, (our first event is a screening of Gender Troubles: The Butches by Lisa Plourde) but making sure to grow in a sustainable way, while continuing to make a space that is diverse in its representation and audience is a key focus. We’re looking forward to more collaboration and always keen to hear from people who might want to work with Andro and Eve.

Special thanks this year to our volunteers who’ve helped make the events happen and the local organisations and individuals who’ve helped promote Andro and Eve. We’d also like to thank publishers, Our Fave Places, Now Then, Exposed, and Vibe Sheffield for helping get the word to a wider audience about what we’re doing. Roll on 2017!

Katherine’s personal goal for 2017 is to bake more vegan cakes, so if anyone has recipes, please share! Rhiannon’s personal goal for 2017 is to eat more cakes in general.

Gender Troubles: The Butches

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We’re really pleased to announce our next event: a one off screening of Gender Troubles: The Butches, a new documentary by Lisa Plourde.

We saw this film at SQIFF in October and wrote about it here for Now Then. Mostly we loved this film for its warmth, humour and honesty. There are plenty stereotypes of butch women out there, and the interviews with butch identified women in this film show us that there’s a lot more to this identity than we’re led to believe. It made us smile plenty too!

Alongside the main feature there’ll be a showing of The Test Shot, a photo documentary project about transmasculine style. We found out about The Test Shot through Transforming Cinema, and loved the style inspiration so much we wanted to share it with our audience.

We’re also very excited to announce that we’ll be screening the short film Switching Teams by local filmmaker and Roller Derby player, Taylor Le Fin. Their film, produced by EDEN film, is a documentation of their journey in finding the gender identity that felt right to them, and the way their community supported this journey.

We design these smaller events with women identified, non – binary and transmasculine people in mind. We do this in order to make space for a group often not specifically catered for in the wider cultural scene. Our larger events are for everyone but with smaller capacities we feel we feel it is important to only invite women, non – binary and trans people to events, to ensure women and marginalised queer identities feel celebrated. This may change in future, but for now, its what we do, and we appreciate the support of the wider community in respecting this ethos.

This event is about celebrating and finding common ground between queer identities, while sharing cake, hot beverages and a cosy space. And of course there’ll be a few typically Andro and Eve activities to keep everyone amused. So we hope to see you there, at Café 9, on January 27th. Tickets are available here!

The Kingdom Come!

Saturday 26th November 2016 marked several firsts for us and Sheffield. It was the first time Sheffield had its own drag king night (to our knowledge), the first time we had produced an event at Walkley Community Centre, and the first time we brought together an all gender crowd to celebrate queer culture. Both of us have been producing events for a number of years, but this was the first time Andro and Eve had done something at this scale and it was both scary and exhilarating! On all fronts we can say; we pulled it off!

img_8517Benjamin Butch performing their first act at The Kingdom Come, November 2016.

With over 80 people turning out to watch this cabaret show with a difference, many in drag costume, there was a great atmosphere on the night. The homemade cakes went down a treat and the drag kings brought their best; we’ve not laughed so hard in a long time. Highlights for us included, Benjamin Butch and Suzy the mop, Adam All beatboxing, and Apple Derrieres’ solo medley about her vagina. It was truly silly, surreal and fabulous.

‘Such a great night. Had a lot of fun; we don’t get enough of this in Sheffield. Thank-you’.                   – Audience feedback

We’ve been so happy to hear and read the positive comments from the audience, and really enjoyed meeting so many different people. Because of this, we already have plans for the next one. Watch this space! Thank you to all who supported this new night, and especially Adam All and Apple Derrieres for helping us curate such a good show. If you want to get involved in what we do, we’re always keen to collaborate. Just drop us a line at androandeve@gmail.com.

img_8800Apple Derrieres and Adam All onstage at The Kingdom Come. November 2016.

So what’s a drag king night?

Since starting Andro and Eve in May 2016 we’ve been keen to promote the wonderful and surreal queer art of drag kings. Most people know what a drag queen is, and many will have watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, even if they have not been to a drag night. But when we’ve talked about drag kings to various people, they don’t seem sure what a drag king is, and definitely aren’t sure what a drag king night will involve.

So let us clear this up! A Drag King is a performer who impersonates male gender, usually in an exaggerated form. Often the person wearing the costume is a woman, but sometimes they might identify as non binary or male. The point is to poke fun at gender and entertain a crowd.  The performers create acts based around singing, dancing, lip-syncing, comedy or a mixture of all or none of the above. It’s exciting because you never quite know what you’ll get with performers creating new acts all the time.

adam-blue-suitsAdam All and Apple Derrieres founders of Boi Box.

As Andro and Eve’s focus is on women – made creative output, it was a natural progression to create a drag night where the performers are all women or non binary/ trans people. We’ve programmed some of the best UK Drag Kings to perform in Sheffield on the 26th November in order to bring this art form to a new and wider audience. The London drag scene is thriving  and drag kings grow more popular thanks to the efforts of Adam All and Apple Derrieres who set up Boi Box in London 3 years ago. Nights like ‘Kingdom’ in Brighton extend this network and are a great example of the queer community supporting one another.  Its time Sheffield and South Yorkshire got its own slice of this queer and subversive art form with a night solely for drag kings, so we bring you THE KINGDOM COME. Grab a ticket and come down and enjoy the sparkliest, silliest and most surreal night you’ll have for a while!