"MY HERSTORY" by JD
was born and raised in Northeastern Ohio in a town outside of Cleveland.
My parents were both artists, who later turned to other occupations. My
dad a sand and gravel miner, and my mom a party decorator. My first year
was spent on a farm in Newbury, Ohio. I don't remember the farm at all,
but I have seen pictures. I do know that that’s where my dad fell
down the stairs with my sister on his shoulders, and where we grew a big
garden full of vegetables.
When we left the farm, we moved to Pepper Pike, so that my sister and
I could attend a better school system. I lived there, in the same old
house until I went to college. Back then the house seemed all alone on
the street, but as time went on we grew up, and so did the neighborhood.
In high school, I played left inner for the Orange High School Field Hockey
team and made the Northeastern Ohio All Star team too. My favorite class
was Art for every year until I graduated. I was the president of the Environmental
Club and the founder of the Gay/Straight alliance at my school.
I wasn't the All-American-kid though... I had my problems.
It was really hard to come out of the closet in Ohio as a fifteen-year-old
lesbian. My parents and I fought a lot, and I was constantly getting in
trouble for being different (ie: shaving my head, dying my hair). I was
extremely fortunate to have some other gay and lesbian friends at my school
and in surrounding areas. We attended meetings at the GLBT center in Cleveland
every once and a while and quickly found the queer friendly meeting spots
for teens. Whenever there were problems with straight kids harassing us
we had a whole gang of kids to back us up.
It was also really helpful to have an awesome gay aunt in Los Angeles,
and the best grandparents in the world. Oddly enough, my dad cut an article
out of the newspaper about Jennifer Reeves, who at the time was attending
the Bard College Summer Masters Program for Film. The article was about
Feminist Experimental Film, and after attending the screening I had a
new interest in film making.
At 17, I left Ohio for Sarah Lawrence College in New York. I went to school
to pursue my interests in queer studies and feminist experimental film.
Unfortunately I will be paying off my loans for a very long time. While
I was in Ohio I loved seeing rock shows, but unfortunately with no real
all ages venue, I was stuck seeing bigger bands and missing out on a lot
of stuff the city kids had. I didn’t turn 18 until i went to college,
so that’s when I really had the chance to catch up on seeing the
shows that I had always wanted to see and finding the community I had
only dreamed of as a teenager.
spent my time at school working three jobs: the manager of the coffeehaus,
campus tour guide, and research assistant for my queer theory professor.
I also promoted punk rock shows at the coffeehaus, and co produced and
directed the Sarah Lawrence College Film and Video Festival with my friend
Sarah Shapiro. I spent a summer in Chicago teaching 'The History of Graffiti'
to kids at the Robert Taylor Boys and Girls Club. Before I left for the
summer, my Queer Theory professor, Beth Freeman told me to find Sadie
Benning (the videomaker) when I got to Chicago. I met Sadie at the Dyke
March, and we became fast buddies. The next semester in school I took
a amazing drawing class where I began to make animated paintings. In other
classes I seemed to focus on ‘the boundaries of the medium’.
With drawing, I tried to focus my work mainly on forcing films out of
the projector and directly onto the walls. I cut horizontal movement drawings
and pasted them with others as if they were edited as a film, letting
the viewer look as long as they wanted at each frame. My last semester
of school was spent on tour with Le Tigre as their projectionist. Then
I joined Le Tigre in the summer of 2000.
Since then, I co-formed ‘Dykes Can Dance’
with Emily Roysdon and Tara Mateik. The troupe, was started as a conceptual
dance group which choreographs dances that are performed unannounced,
as interventions in New York City. The group was formed in hopes that
Lesbians would take pride in their dancing and break the chains of the
‘lesbian as bad dancer’ stereotype. The group was also created
as a rebuttal to the cabaret license in New York which bans dancing in
clubs who can not afford the high price of a license,
(esp. gay and lesbian clubs).
I also made a calendar called JD's
Lesbian Calendar 2003 with my old friend Cass
Bird, a Los Angeles based photographer. The calendar was made in hopes
to create visibility for the butch lesbian, as worker and household character
through the familiar format of the photo calendar.
have been working on my side project band, ‘The New England
Roses’ with Sarah Shapiro, and Barr. ‘The New England
Roses’ has recorded our first record entitled, “Face Time
with Son”. Good friends since college, we are all about loving each
other. We write original songs and have also covered songs by, George
Michael, Tracy Chapman, and Dave Matthews. I also collaborated with Nicklcat
and DJ Lambchop on the track, “Who Let the Dykes Out” for
LTTR (a new lesbian/queer/feminist journal edited by Emily Roysdon, K8
hardy, and Ginger Brooks Takahashi). I have lived in Brooklyn, New York
since 2000. I love dancing, driving, playing solitaire, and researching
RV’s. I hope someday to have my own RV and explore all the places
in Northern America that I have never been.
herstory / Jo's herstory