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Let’s Go Babylon

Witches, transgenders, man-haters, and sadomasochists: your New York Times guide to a 'cool' summer vacation
Let’s Go Babylon

From the story about “Cool Happenings” one can attend:

Distinct person, female hunter, instructed by the moon: These are terms used by people from Utah to Alaska to describe Two Spirits, a term that refers to gender non-conforming Native Americans. Steven Barrios, a.k.a Auntie Steven to younger members of the Blackfeet nation, is an organizer of what he says is the oldest consecutive Two Spirit Gathering in North America, held for 22 years.

The year’s gathering on the banks of Flathead Lake will feature ceremonies for healing and cleansing. During one, smoke from a circulating pipe is believed to carry prayers up to a creator; during another, a rite holder surrounded by a circle of participants pours water on hot rocks.

The gathering is also is home to a more contemporary ritual: the drag show. In 2015 Rocky Peterson, now 31, known as Akasha Makai in drag, snagged the gathering’s Miss Two Spirit Montana title with a rendition of “Diamonds” by Rihanna. For Mr. Peterson, the best way to pass on history to younger generations is by modernizing it.

Here’s news about various “Witch Camps”:

Reclaiming witches gather in camps around the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia each summer. Their rituals draw primarily from pre-Christian Europe but often are aimed at supporting the activism of indigenous landholders.

The camps range in vibe: One in Vermont offers a “pixie track” for children, another in British Columbia describes itself as sex-positive and provides a temple space where attendees can find privacy.

And in Dallas, a sadomasochistic holiday for women:

Last year, on the eve of the conference he has organized for eight years, Ian Coleman messaged a few of his Facebook friends with an odd request. “I need you to out me as trans,” he told them. “My event is suffering because people don’t think they can go to the bathroom. They don’t trust me when I tell them it’s safe.”

Despite Texas’s recently passed bathroom bill, the hotel in Dallas was ready to accommodate the crowd of masters, slaves, sirs, bois, daddys and puppies in whatever bathrooms they would like. (It was, after all, also hosting their workshops and oral history discussions.)

“Puppies” here are not young canines, but human beings who masquerade as dogs obeying their masters.

More “Cool Happenings” here.

The reader who sent it said:

I’ve been a daily reader for a couple of decades, so I’m not naive about how they have pretty much stopped reporting the news in the face of their new twin vocations of telling people what to think and trying to get Trump impeached or, preferably, killed. But this, from this morning, is a new level of  bona-fide, mask-off, satanic agitprop.

The point is not that these things happen. The point is that they are promoted not by the Village Voice, but by The New York Times. Even if you think this is a good thing, you have to admit that it’s a thing — by which I mean, this is an example of a cultural revolution.



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