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  • JennaMarie

It's all "Smoke and Mirrors" until you get quarantined.

I've procrastinated writing this entry because, well, I have yet to come up with the words to reflect the complexities of my inability to process my heart dropping out of my rib cage, pulsing somewhere deep in my gut, yet constricting my lungs as I gasp for air (no I don't have


We as lovers of movement, drama, rhythm, fiery passion, expressive personas, experimental shit, the shadows of human nature, and the smoke screen of society, do it all for love. We put our hearts up for sale, risking it all (literally; emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually) to feel that one moment when we are LIT from the inside out. Warm with wisdom, peace and purpose. Flowing freely, never expecting to fall. What grace are these moments, and when you get to live in this world of fantasy where "time is irrelevant" for days, weeks, months on end, well now that feels like a dream.

These sensations are my best attempt at describing how it feels to be on tour with Sasha Velour, Johnny Velour, Vanya Velour, Rob T Soares, Nicole Lutz, Monica Lynch, Krista Swan, Lousie Brownsberger, Maia Sutton, Barry Jepson, and of course our lad and expert truck packer Neil (with honoraries to GinTa, dadager Luke, and bless me if I ever forget Deryl). I take the time to name each and every person because this experience quite simply wouldn't be the same without each individual human (and pup) along for the bus ride. "Smoke and Mirrors" has gifted me with a chosen family for life, a revolutionized perspective amidst the queer community (and what a community it is!), and unexpected insights for life, for art, for freedom.

I'll start with drag and the queer community. I have experienced acceptance to the 'nth degree with a deep knowing that I belong even as an overall wearing plain Jane (well Jenna) of a techy who identifies as straight. As human beings, all we desire is to belong and be accepted (scientifically proven). That is exactly what you walk into if you were to take a seat in the audience for one of Sasha Velour's shows. The community opens their arms wide enough for everyone and anyone to take shelter within their embrace, enveloping you in their love, freedom and full on expression (screaming is often required). EVERYONE HAS A SEAT AT THE SHOW.

Every performance, I have the privilege of a birds eye view in which all I can see is a beautiful display of the sea of hope for society at large. You don't have to be queer to be queer friendly and embrace the simple teachings of appropriation, human respect and the profound yet simple act of asking someones preferred pronouns and their name (the only thing each of us truly owns btw). I know that because of Sasha Velour and "Smoke and Mirrors", I am more informed as to the struggles, triumphs, daily silliness, headspace, history, and hope of a community I only once thought to understand, yet never spoke into fierce existence. And just to be clear, I do not claim to understand their struggles on a visceral level, but what a beautiful lesson in universal love to know that I too have struggled with the human condition. I am still learning and I am a proud queer ally.

Every time I have the privilege of immersing myself in "Smoke and Mirrors", my brain becomes a cacophony of tidbits that seemingly continue to emerge when life bubbles to the surface, spilling the contents of my baggage all over my nicely mopped floors (ask me how many times I've mopped since entering quarantine). As you all know, I put pen to paper (or fingers to the keys) when I can't find the words to decipher the code of my emotional state. That is why I have realized that the best way to describe the power of Sasha Velour and "Smoke and Mirrors" is to reveal the insights of several journal entries that bubbled up on tour.

These are two of the many entries that were added to my beloved and sacred archive.

All of this is to simply say, I am heartbroken and I am still processing as we were unexpectedly guided home with our health in tact and our sanity questionable. As I process deep loss and allow myself the time and space to feel, I am simultaneously grateful to be able to return to my work as a Postural Alignment Therapist albeit earlier than expected. As I bid you farewell for now, I leave you with a contemplation.

Compassion is kindness covered in empathy. How can you be more compassionate with yourself, your partner, your friend, a community you live amongst, a world filled with the hurts of histories past? As Sasha would say "find those that share your level of madness and hold them close to your heart." (But no touching until further notice.)

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