By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
I was afraid that I wouldn't be let into the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. This annual estrogen celebration (which turned 25 this year) has a reputation for being a bastion of 1970s feminism. So I was picturing a bunch of topless, hairy-armpitted, hippie, camping lesbians dining on tofu, drumming in goddess circles, and humming along to Cris Williamson. Don't get me wrongI love tofu, but I have my own reputation: I'm a push-up bra, shaved-all-over femme dyke; editor of a pro-s/m smut rag; a known man-fucker and wannabe porn star. I'm a radical lesbian feminist separatist's worst nightmare. But I couldn't resist the idea of a giant girls-only slumber party in the woods for a week. I wanted to know if the festival, at its quarter-century anniversary, was still strumming that same old tune. Was separatism alive on a secluded plot of land near Hart, Michigan? Was there room on 640 acres of wooded womyn-born womyn-identified womyn space for me and my kind?
Politics aside, I was impressed by the sheer scope of the festival: Over 650 women (including 400 volunteers) erected a self-contained village providing child and health care, three meals a day, disability resources, even designated areas (quiet, clean and sober, rowdy, or kid-friendly) to accommodate all 6500 campers. Women come from all over North America (and pay $290 to $340 for six days) to enjoy several hundred workshops and more than 100 performers.
I anticipated that going might be like walking back in time to a world of separatism, but I can't deny that being at a chicks-only camp was pretty cool. Determined to be myself and not change my gender presentation to suit the masses (well, isn't that what feminism's all about?), I wore my best "tool of the patriarchy" purple marabou sex-kitten teddy. I walked around in my knee-high these-boots-weren't-made-for-hikin' platforms. I shaved my pussy in the communal outdoor showers as a political statement. There were enough glares and criticism from some of my sisters to tell me I didn't have the votes to become festival prom queen, but the spectrum of women on stage and on line for the "Porta-Janes" gave me hope. Boydykes, butches, and other fine specimens of female masculinity moved proudly through womyn space, casually grabbing the packages in their pants. Girly girls posed and strutted in the first-ever Femme Parade, reminding us (again!) that we can be feminists and still wear makeup. Once known as strongly anti-s/m, the festival had enough leatherwomen hanging slings between trees to make me wanna go back. Old-school favorites like Holly Near and Ferron shared the stage with riot grrrls the Butchies. You know something's shifted when Tribe 8, with its raunchy stage show, headlines a women's music festival.
Just being on the same property with Lynn Breedlove made my girlfriend Red and me less nervous about teaching our series of sexuality workshops, including "The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian Sex," which seemed to stick out among offerings like "Healing Through the Voice of the Mother" and "Completing the Soul's Journey." (Organizers told us that this was the first year that so many sex-related workshops were offered.) We were shocked when over 400 women came to our first class. After I lectured about sex toys, strap-ons, and female ejaculation, women lined up for the interactive section. I introduced a few brave girls to the world of anal pleasure, and Red located the G-spots of about 30 women! Once we realized how popular our workshops were, we wanted to take full advantage of our unique surroundings. Where else could we do so much hands-on teaching about sex than in an all-women, clothing-optional campsite? It was Our Bodies, Ourselves-style consciousness-raising for the new millennium!
To go out with a bang, we decided to follow our final workshop, "How to Ejaculate," with the First Annual Ejaculation Contest. Armed with over one hundred latex gloves, plenty of lube, absorbent pads, and a big blue tarp (remember, we're in the woods!), we signed up 16 women to compete in four categories (you could enter alone, with a partner, or request a partner whom we would provide). We began with the speed category. A judge yelled, "Go!" and, at the first sign of ejaculatory fluid, screamed, "Stop!" to the woman with the stopwatch. Two contestants didn't shoot before the three-minute limit; one made herself squirt in an impressive 18 seconds. A shy, silver-haired fiftysomething butch prefaced her performance with: "I only began ejaculating after I turned 40. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm gonna give it a try." Paired with a complete stranger (one of our generous "volunteer ejaculation helpers"), she squirted her way to the championship in twothat's right, twoseconds. The crowd went wild.
Next up was distance. Red assisted a hot femme wearing false eyelashes to beat out two others with her winning spurt of 27 inches on the tape measure. As you can imagine, the quantity category was more difficult to gauge. We decided to have contestants ejaculate on an absorbent pad laid on top of the tarp (which of course would be wiped dry between contestants). After each gal gave it her best shot, judges would inspect the pad, the tarp, as well as other areasthe helper's shoes or arm, for exampleand rate the quantity from 1 to 10. Scoring a perfect 10 was a young, gorgeous, leggy redhead who gushed so much fluid, she probably soaked the ground.