Election Feelings

I'm not going to say to much here about the election.  I've linked below to a few think pieces that I found heartening and which gave me pause. 

Here's what I will say;  a lot of my friends of color and of queerness are afraid.  I'd like to remind you guys that we've had nearly a decade under an administration that strengthened us.  We were recognized and given protections that helped us to grow.  We were able to find each other and create networks and support systems that have made us strong.  WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE PROUD OF! Your country is still right here where you left it.  We can box now, so whatever is going to come our way, we got this, we got each other.  It's time to get in formation.  It's time to get actively involved in protecting our rights and our loved ones.  Don't let that scare you, let it embolden you. 

I also have a patreon now!  A lot of people have reached out to me over the years wanting to support in some way, but not wanting to buy custom videos or skype shows.  Now I don't even really do that anymore, so, you can go here and become a monthly supporter or whatnot: Observations Patreon.

This week on the OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre, I interview writer and director Jacob Strunk.  It's a two parter.  I interviewed him before the election, so when I knew this was going to go up after the election, we thought it'd be fun to get him back in to do a follow up interview.  Sorry it came late this week guys.  I was having election feelings.  To my Trump supporting listeners, you might want to skip this one, it will probably annoy you.  I love all of my fans/friends/followers.  Understand I'm upset and I do have strong feelings about what I believe in.  I won't be mad if you skip this one.

Don't Panic

The Democratic Party is in trouble...

I'm a Muslim, a Woman, and I Voted for Trump

Intellectual Yet Idiot

XOXO,

Sovvy.

Not Much To Report

Not much to report this week.  I've been doing very good at the lying fallow thing I was talking about last week.  Just working on my book, editing my graphic novel and working on my jokes.  I'm exhausted by politics and I'm really looking forward to the election.  And then the election being over.  I think I've always been in denial about the possibility of Trump winning the presidency and excited about Hillary getting into office because, like most other ladies, I'd like to have a lady president.  And she's the most qualified candidate ever to run, but she also has troubling foreign policy and a strained relationship to queer issues.  I don't like Trump mainly because I think he's very unattractive and his arrogance is off putting.  It's an emotional reason I know. 

I'm most frustrated these days with the culture that's emerged of feigned outrage.  More and more the alt-right and liberal sensibilities seem interchangeable.  I don't have the energy to articulate the feeling better.  It's the feeling you get when you see think-pieces about how offensive it is that people refer to their pets as if they're children, or why Amy Schumer's Formation video was problematic.  If you don't know what's wrong with Amy Schumer's video, a think piece can't tell you, you're beyond hope.

I've really taken to listening to Milo Yiannopoulus's podcast for this reason.  I don't agree with anything he has to say, but at the same time it's refreshing to hear someone saying how they really feel.  Is that weird?  It's weird.  I call it hate listening, and I do think it's important to know what the opposition thinks.  I'm not a conservative, but listening to conservative rhetoric helps to remind me why I disagree with the alt-right and also why conservatives feel what they feel, or even what they feel.  So that's my confession.  It actually feels good to hear someone saying what they really think, knowing it's unpopular. 

A lot of my comedy friends didn't have anything to say about her Amy Schumer's Formation video.  I'm gonna guess it's because they didn't want to potentially damage their careers.  A lot of them know her or have known her.  A lot of fucking voices were silent, which is the same as endorsing it to be honest.  If you really believe that institutionalized and systemic racism is wrong, why not speak out when one of the most famous white women in the world does something so tone deaf?  It left me dejected.  I don't know.  What the fuck do you really care about you guys?  Like really?  Because think pieces about how people talk about their dogs are sign of liberal ideology in deep shit.  We look ridiculous y'all and we need to get in fucking #formation. 

This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I have stand up Matt Kirshen.  We talk about the experience of being on Last Comic Standing, the difference between English and American comedy and then we get into stuff about polyamory, slut-shaming and forgetting when you have a tampon in. 

XOXO

Sovvy

I Wish I Was More Interesting

I wish I was more interesting.  What can I say, my life has slid into the kind of monotony that it does when you decide to lie fallow for a minute.  I needed a break, the travel, the working, the writing, the stand up, all of it was stressing me out.  I needed to do it, the hard push, to shake myself up to get myself out of the mud.  Now that I'm comfortably doing stand up and am editing one novel and a third of the way into the next I feel like I can let my life settle into a bit of a routine. 

It is hard to get stage time out here in LA though.  It makes moving to NYC or London very tempting.  I'd love to be able to work on an hour of time for two years straight.  Holy shit.  I'd get so shiny.  Alas, not yet.  I want to finish these books and put them in the hands of agents and editors before I make a move somewhere, but I know that it will be the next step.  I'm gonna try to make it London if I can.  A year there would do me just fine I think.  I'd really like to get really good.

I'm relaxed.  I'm confident.  The novel is good.  The graphic novel is good.  The stand up is good.  I'm not working on it as hard as I could be, but it's good. 

Cobra Juice had one of the best shows ever Friday night.  Margaret Cho, Tamer Kattan, Open Mike Eagle.  I mean it was magical.  We had a full house, people were standing in the aisles.  It was really good stuff.  It made me feel like I'd arrived or something.  I'm really lucky to have had Kyle Shire ask me to be a part of that show, it's really something special.  I have high hopes for it, I'd love to get it on Comedy Central or SeeSo or something.  I think we have the most diverse lineups out there and Kyle and I have amazing chemistry. 

Plus everyone laughs at my jokes about blowbangs and rape and the decline of Western Civilization.  It just feels like my people and Kyle and I did that. 

November 11th for Cobra Juice we have Jackie Kashian, Theo Von, Allan Strickland Williams, Nick Thune, and Regan and Watkins! Mark your calendars!!

This week on the podcast I have Ela Darling.  Ela is the president of APAC, (Adult Performer Advocacy Committee).  In this special episode we talk about Prop 60 on the upcoming California ballot.  She explains why this initiative threatens to shut down the porn industry and puts performers in danger through stalking and harassment. 

OBSERVATIONS_e84 Ela Darling.

XOXO,

Sov

I'm Not Gonna Lie

I'm not gonna lie, this last week I did a lot of sitting on my ass and vibrating with my own fear of success shit.  Other people call it bingewatching on Netflix.  The main thing I've learned is that it takes approximately three hours for me to find fictional characters more interesting than the world around me and about five hours to be more invested in their future than my own.  There is some good to it.  I was watching American Horror Story and it was good to get out of the world of the two books I'm working on and just fucking enjoy some TV.  It is some of the best acting on TV right now, even if the writing is fairly uneven and often predictable. 

In it's own way, when you're really living in a project, everything is seen through the filter of that project. I'm always writing my book even when I'm not, so as I watch an episode I'm studying it, how does this narrative thread work, why does this one fail, etc.  That kind of thing.  So even distractions aren't really distractions.  Today I sat down and again was writing in earnest, even more focused because I knew what not to do.  I get mired down in knowing exactly why my characters are doing something, feeling that if it's not very clear why Louis would suddenly feel this way or that way about Marc-Aurelien, well, it all goes to shit.  The truth is, it's not that important.  I just need to write the scene and let the characters have some fucking serendipity.  It's not like most of us know the reason we do half the shit we do.

For me writing becomes very much about restraint.  Holding back the muse like she's a rabid dog on a chain, when what I should do is let her run.  I'll find her eventually and build a strong fence once I know the full extent of the territory. 

Is that enough mixed metaphors for everyone?  Cool.  The good news is, as I edit the script for the graphic novel, I become more confident in my choices as a writer.  Things are good.  Not so used to that.  It means that things can get boring or a little scary.  I haven't done stand up in a week.  I just lost the passion for it.  But I'm forcing myself back out there.  I just have to get in the habit again. 

I tend to sit in the house all day working on one thing.  I forget the importance of getting outside.  The longer I linger inside during the day, the more of a task it seems to go out, and out is where the action is.  At least, there aren't any comedy shows or open mics that take place at my house.  Everything in LA is a drive and man, sometimes you just want to watch the next season of American Horror Story because Evan Peters is so god damned good at his job.

This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is stand up comic Sarah Hylander.  We talk about auditioning for Saturday Night Live and living on Doug Benson's couch.  She's fucking funny.  Does great characters too. 

XOXO,

Sovvy

I'm Not Sure How To Sustain The Enthusiasm

I'm not sure how to sustain the enthusiasm.  I feel less excited about comedy lately, it's something that wanes quickly when I stop going up.  I started editing my graphic novel script and I was surprised at how good it actually is.  I'm not saying that as a brag, I mean it in relation to how bad I was convinced it was.  When you spend eight months writing something, you kind of forget what you were writing in month one.  I'm looking forward to working on it, it's going to be a lot easier than I thought.  I've never completed such a long piece of work before and I learned a lot along the way.  I tend to over write, I like to layer like Nabokov, but having some distance from it has made it easier to see what can be pared away.  I think it's a really good story and I'm excited to see exactly what shape it takes. 

I've also been burning through the novel I'm working on.  I think about it all day, I dream about the characters.  I feel like a mother giving birth.  It's hard to sustain the enthusiasm for other things...which makes standup more difficult.   I write on stage and I write about things that are going on in my life, but the only thing going on in my life is sitting in front of a laptop writing stories about the lives of imagined people hundreds of years ago. 

I think I'm going to have to go on another one of those quests where I try to go up 100 times before December 20th (the first time I did stand up).  I guess that's what life is, being consistent even when you don't feel it.  Forcing myself to go up and tell jokes even when I don't feel inspired.  I've been working on a bit about rape culture, Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right and pc culture.  I think it's good stuff, but I get scared sometimes up there.  The language is strong, though so is the point I'm trying to make.  Wish me luck!

This week on OBSERVATIONSwith Sovereign Syre, (please subscribe, rate and review, it helps) I have Jonathan Larroquette on of the two hosts of the wildly popular Uhh Yeah Dude podcast.  We talk about everything from turning a podcast into a phenomenon to growing up with a famous parent and trying to find yourself.  He has a gold tooth that I'm super jealous of.  I'm getting my own made. 

I have a new clip up over on the media page.  It's Dave Foley helping me read some of my email at last month's Cobra Juice show.  This month's Cobra Juice is October 21st.  We have Open Mike Eagle and a secret special guest.  She's a comedy icon.  You'll regret not going to this show.  Go get tickets!

XOXO,

Sovvy

I Keep Forgetting To Breathe

I keep forgetting to breathe.  It's a thing with me lately.  I get to the end of a sentence and realize I forgot to take a breath.  Or maybe I'm having low grade panic attacks, like those little shocks that travel down a fault line before the tectonic plates do a little shifting and trigger a massive quake.  I can't shake the feeling that something is about to happen, something big.  I don't know if it's good or bad.  Things I've been feeling more of lately, paranoia about how much of myself I put out there or perhaps the feeling that for the first time I'm putting my real self out there.  Doing stand up, writing as a writer and comedian and not the character of a pornstar, requires you to put your real self out there.  The opinions you have, the life experiences you've had, they all belong to you, not a made up character.  That's been an adjustment for me.  On the podcast I'm starting to talk more about myself, the conversations are becoming less focused but more intimate. 

Writing a novel length piece of work is an emotional sine wave.  Every day I wake up and feel something different, excitement, apathy, fear, despair.  You run the gauntlet of insecurities.  Is this good enough?  Does anyone care about this story?  Is this even interesting?  Why am I writing this?   What am I trying to say?  I know that I can't get to the art if I'm too focused on what other people are going to think of it, if I'm creating some imaginary audience.  I have to write as though I'm the only one who's reading.  It's a balance.  To spend time, A LOT of time, working on something that you're not sure will have a pay off or not.  If I work on this novel and nothing comes of it, have I wasted a year of my life I should have spent working on a TV pilot so I could get into a writer's room?  Those kinds of questions.  At least if you're me.  I'm always trying to comfort myself with a plan. 

This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I talk with retired pornstar and current stand up comic Alia Janine.  I let her get me stoned, which I don't do very often.  Get into it!

No One Cares

So, I watched the debates last night.  I don't really follow politics, at least not in the specific sense of backing a candidate or following bills and propositions passed.  I can't tell you who the police chief is in my area of the city.  I do care about politics, but in a more general sense, I worry about the effects of racism and sexism on the culture and how those institutions are perpetuated by the laws enacted to regulate society.  I get it.  I care.  I'm worried about inclusion and intersection. 

I usually just vote for the democrat.  The democratic party is a constellation of moral and ethical views that I align with.  After watching the debate between Trump and Clinton, I found myself wondering how it is that we've gotten to this point.  I'm not even voting for the democrat, I'm just voting for the politician, and she's running unopposed. 

What was really frustrating, or what has been frustrating, is watching people constantly point out Donald Trump's lies, his obfuscations, his racism and sexism like it's going to make a difference, like anyone cares.  Trump doesn't even care.  No one cares that he's a horrible person, he's promising to make America great for white people again. 

All the progressives ideas that have taken root in the culture and allowed women and minorities to be included in the conversation also mean that white people have to make room, they have to give up privileges that they're now realizing they relied on.  Trump is a protest against progress.  Progress is inconvenient if you're white, if you're privileged.  You have to think about the language you use, in effort to be inclusive.  You can't go around raping women or using racial slurs as a punchline.  You have to consider other people.  No one wants to do that work.  Americans have become lazy and apathetic.  Fucking Vote.  For Clinton. 

This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre my guest is stand up Katie McVay.  She's an incredible human and so so funny.  We talk about body image, body hair, genetic legacy.  All the good stuff.  Subsribe on iTunes! Rate and Review.  It really helps!

XOXO

Sovvy

 

I Hate To Be Redundant, But It Is What It Is.

I just got back from visiting NYC.  I was staying with a fellow comic, Alia Janine.  She has a sweet place in Bushwick that has a podcast recording studio in it.  Since I started writing my novel, I find that it's all that I want to do.  This was the first time I was in NYC where I didn't really go out at all unless I was doing a set.  I sat up till three and four in the morning sometimes in her office working on the book.  I've become a bit obsessed with it.  I think about it all the time, imagining different scenarios, watching people interact with each other and imagining how the characters would react in the same situation.  Sometimes it give me ideas, some times it drives me crazy. 

New York is always a strange trip for me.  I have the weird kind of nostalgia where I can remember every fight, every desperate moment that I spent on various street corners, in random store fronts.  I spend a lot of time thinking about the trajectory of my life, how I've ended up where I am now.  I'm grateful every day that I made it out, that I made it through all the hardships that I've encountered on my way through life.  I truly was the last person that thought I'd get out of the Hell I'd built for myself when I left home.  I never would have thought that any of the things I do every day would even be possible. 

I hate to be redundant, but it is what it is.  Every day I have to stop and wonder at how far I've come.  I'm always aware it could go away at any minute.  I try to keep moving.  My friend Daniel says that's my best attribute, that I'm always moving forward.  My mom thinks it's my worst, that I never stop to appreciate what I've done. 

I'll figure it out someday. 

This weeks guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is Civil Justus.  He's a recording artist, director and activist.  He's also if Barbie came out with a "Woke Bae" Ken doll.  He's a sort of pinup for male feminism that's genuine. 

Subscribe, download, rate and review on iTunes

September 24th is Cobra Juice at the Steve Allen Theater.  Ticketing and more info is available over on my shows page.

XOXO

Sovvy

Telling A Rape Joke on 9/11

I'm writing to you guys from my friend Alia Janine's downstairs office in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  I'm in NYC again doing a bunch of stand up shows.  I like to say that coming here is like comedy bootcamp, but I think the real reason I like to come is that I like visiting the city where I first started this crazy adventure I've been on for the past seven years.  It feels safe here, and in a lot of ways it feels like no one is watching.  The scene in every city I've done stand up in is different and New York is definitely for workers.  Los Angeles feels more like place where everyone wants to be seen.  I think both things are important.  You have to be invested in being good, but you also need to be thinking about an audience and being able to make what you're doing accessible.  It's a hard line to tow for me because I know that my material can be intense, dark and cerebral. 

I have found that I resonate a lot more with men than I ever thought I would.  It's usually men that come up to me after shows to tell me they thought it was funny, and when my friends are in the audience they tell me it's always the "bro dudes" that laugh the most.  It's something they notice because it's unlikely.  I'm told that's the crowd I want to be appealing too....so ha! Fooled them!  Maybe I've found the perfect way to sneak a disruption into the narrative and it'll trigger some enlightenment next time they encounter a rape scene on Game of Thrones or something like a sleeper agent in a terrorist cell, but the opposite of terrorism.  IDK.  I'm rolling with it. 

I wrote a rape joke that's really more of a joke about how terrible the alt-right is and I'm proud of it.  I got to deliver it on stage in the East Village on 9/11, which was a real blessing.  It's a fun show and the hosts always say kind of fun stuff.  Like last time, after I went up the host said "Sovereign Syre everyone!  That wasn't a lady comic, that was a dude in a dress.  Holy shit."  This time a different host told me I was really funny then ended with "My ni**a." like he was Denzel Washington in Training Day.  I didn't mind either thing.  I get the sentiment behind it.  New culture, new rules. 

I had been going through a slump.  I was struggling with creating new material, or even being good at delivering the stuff I've already got.  It turns out I just can't take more than a few days off from doing it.  It took a few shows, but I got my groove back, so the trip should be ending on a high note.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I can really throw myself off worrying that I'm perfect every time.  I don't give myself a chance to not be funny and to work on stuff even at open mics, which is the whole point of open mics.  I will rehearse bits for an open mic.  That's where I'm at.  This trip I tried to relax and just go up and riff as much as I could before going into my act and it was good.  It's taken me eight months but I'm figuring out how to be comfortable on stage.

This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I have Josh Lawson.  He's an actor (House of Lies) and a writer/director (The Little Death).  We get into it about fundraising for independent movies, the future of film and how streaming platforms have changed the relationship between the artist and the audience.  It's great stuff.  Coming Tuesday. 

XOXO,

Sovvy.

 

Making Sushi Out Of Puffer Fish

I think I've written close to fifty pages this week.  The writing has been coming so fast and strong.  It's a blessing, but it also keeps me from being human sometimes.  Yesterday I spent six hours in front of my laptop.  I get edgy and anxious.  I sweat.  I don't eat.  It's like being on meth.  Not sure what that is, or if it was always there.  It feels good though, committing to things.  I talked about writing this novel for ten years.  Since I committed to changing, to taking risks and actually trying, in the matter of ten months I wrote a three hundred page novel and am headlong into another one.  Maybe that's what the anxiety comes from after a long day of writing, it means I've spent a long day of doing something the terrifies me, finishing!  The cycle is pretty standard, right?  Once you finish something, then you have to show it to people, and then they feel things about it, but it doesn't feel like they feel things about it, it feels like the way they feel about thing you made is the way they feel about you.  It's a pretty tough bargain.  I'm asking a lot of myself if I'm asking to write the greatest novel of all time every time I turn the laptop on. 

I was having a crisis about stand up too.  I did two sets in a row that I thought were horrible.  Every one that I talked to about it assured me that no, I was great, but it demoralized me a little bit.  I thought maybe I wasn't that serious about comedy or as good as I thought I was.  Then I did a storytelling show at the last minute with/for Andy Dick.  It was at a clubhouse in a loft apartment building.  A lot of working professionals and professional girlfriends wearing juicy sweatpants and implants, carrying louis vuitton bags.  I told the story about the time I had to take a shit in the street.  It's a funny story at the end of my act and I adapted it last minute to adapt to the format of the show.  It went okay.    Then at the open mic I go to every Tuesday I tried my first material about the fact that I was in porn.  I'm not sure if it was me being self conscious or if it was the audience, but it was hard and awkward.  I've been doing this mic every week for a year and no one knew that I've been in porn movies.   Audience reaction was hard to gauge, but they were all also comics, so audience reaction is always hard to gauge.  So by the end of all that I was feeling pretty over comedy.  Maybe I'd had it for minute and now I was moving on to writing. 

But then I was watching a documentary about whales and I wrote a great joke about rape culture.  So back on.  I also have some choice stuff about cool girls and making sushi out of pufferfish. 

I also recorded my first episodes of OBSERVATIONS out of The Comedy Store.  They went amazing.  I'm going to try to have the first one up by Wednesday!  I interviewed writer and activist Conner Habib.  We got into some deep personal shit.  I also broadcast the podcast on periscope.  We'll see how people like it.

This week I'm performing standup in NYC the 10th and 11th.  Mosey on over to the shows page for details. 

I also have a role in a new web series called Sportz Night on youtube.  I play a foul mouthed lady sportscaster.  Go peep it on my media page.

Do You Know What You're Really Asking?

TRIGGER WARNING: this story is not about sexual assault, but it centers around a sexual assault.  No graphic depictions or trauma porn. I promise.

 

When I was in college I was sexually assaulted by a professor I considered a mentor.  I was at function at his house, he got everyone drunk, volunteered to be my designated driver because I lived down the street.  The rest of the narrative is pretty standard.  But this isn't about what happened, it's about what happens.

My friends all agreed that something awful had happened to me, but not one of them, male or female, suggested I go to the police.  They worried that the fact that I had been drinking or that I had a girlfriend in the past would color judgment of me, I'd be seen as drunk and sexually deviant.  The fact that he'd been my mentor professor, that I'd spent time in his office alone, that we'd hung out socially a few times because we lived in the same neighborhood, well, that might look like a relationship, like we were dating.  They were worried I'd get hurt again. 

My female friends told me their stories of being hurt by men they trusted.  We commiserated.  They suggested I find a way to drop out of his classes and just never deal with him again.  That was a little complicated, I was on the verge of graduating with a double major in his field and he was teaching the last two classes I needed to get that second bachelors degree.  But the idea of being the same building with him, seeing him everyday, how was I going to do that?  I guess I didn't need a second degree anyway, I'd decided to get it on a lark the year before and had found a way to fit all the classes in, but I could let it go.  I was planning on going to graduate school for writing anyway.  (Phew! That was easy.  Just give up on something you worked really hard for!)

I wanted to call the police.  But he was my friend.  He was my mentor.  I didn't want to get my friend in trouble.  I mean I did, but I didn't want to send him to jail.  But I did.  But I didn't. There's nothing more terrifying than the thought of interacting with the police. I knew what would be coming, that I would be scrutinized, dissected (as all my friends had been quick to point out when I told them).  And I blamed myself, how could I have been careless enough to drink, to put myself in a situation where I was alone with a person of the opposite sex and alcohol.  Everyone knows that once a girl has alcohol in her system you're allowed to do anything you want to her. 

I knew I'd done nothing wrong, but I knew that it would be easy to imply that I had. 

When two weeks went by and I didn't go to class, he starting calling, leaving messages about not want to have to fail me, asking if everything was alright (because he knew it wasn't).  Then he started showing up at the stop where I caught the bus to school.  He would talk to me about how what had happened was a mistake, but something we did together, we had cheated on his girlfriend.  Besides, the school wouldn't like it if anyone found out, he was a teacher and I was his student.  "What if someone found out about what happened?" I asked wanting an answer, some reason why he had done this to me.  "I would say look at her.  Can you blame me?"  My heart sank, because I understood that such a defense could very well work.  "My girlfriend is older and fatter, I'm used to dating younger women.  I just needed something different."  

I went to a professor at school and told her what had happened and that I now found myself in an untenable situation.  Everywhere I went there he was.  She took me to the woman that ran the women's center on campus.  She said I should report what happened to the campus police.  I can't begin to articulate how terrifying it is to file a police report against someone.  It may seem easy but you keep thinking to yourself, "This is going to be really, really hard, and he's going to say I'm lying and a lot of people are probably going to believe him and I'm already an open wound." 

But these women said what had happened to me was assault, was a crime and that I had an the right to get justice for myself.  And I was bolstered.  That's all I'd wanted.  People to say, I believe you, you should do the right thing.   And I fucking did it.  I sat down and I did it.  I filed the report.  I got a call later from the police, wanting to go over some details.  They wanted to know if he was my boyfriend, if we had a relationship, if we had been dating, if we had a previous sexual relationship.  I was horrified.  He was in his forties, which was ancient to me.  I'd never done anything more than makeout with someone.

Based on my report the DA's Sexual Assault team or whatever they called themselves on the phone, told me that they didn't think I had a "good case" (think about that, it wasn't whether I'd been harmed, it was whether they could win) because I had been drinking and he was a professor and there was no physical evidence and it would be his word against mine and I'd probably lose and it would just be humiliating and traumatizing all over again.  They reassured me that I had the right to press charges, but they just wanted to council me on the likelihood that he wouldn't be found guilty and what a toll it was going to take on my life before we got to court.  I was gutted.  They were telling me I was going to lose, but they were really nice about it.

An hour later, someone else from the same office called me.  She said I might want to file sexual harassment charges with the school.  The burden of proof would be less, and she'd looked up the university's policy about professor student relations and it would weigh in my favor.   He could lose his tenure and that would make it hard for him to get work at another school.  So I did.  I didn't like characterizing what happened to me as harassment, but I was someone working with the only weapon I was told I had access too. 

My natural father called me when I was about to file the complaint.  He told me "Are you sure you want to do that baby, they're a huge institution and you're just a kid.  They're gonna be on his side."

The investigator told me I was a good witness because I wasn't sexually active and I had good grades and was well-liked.  "You don't fit the profile of someone who would make this up to get attention."  Someone actually said this to my face.  This is the person you're supposed to report abuse to.  The investigation starts at skepticism.  (When I filed a fourteen page complaint against the school for how they handled my complaint later, he told me he'd pay for me to take the LSAT.  He was a decent guy, but the mistrust of women, the assumption of men's innocence is so institutionalized, it becomes invisible.)

He stalked me, broke a window in my apartment in front of a neighbor while I was home asleep on the couch.  I had to tell everyone in my apartment complex to not hesitate to call the cops if they saw him.  Which was a moot point because the cops told me repeatedly they couldn't really do anything until he actually physically hurt me.  Even a restraining order is toothless unless someone violates it.  And that's what was most traumatic, finding out just how helpless a woman really is if she relies on the authorities to help her. 

When he was finally put on leave I was sitting in a study group with a bunch of students from class.  They were all talking about why the professor was gone.  They had heard that he'd sexually harassed someone.  They opined about how he was such an easygoing nice guy and that political correctness was ruining everything.  They had a lot to say about what women should and shouldn't be ok with.  After an hour of it, I confessed that I was the girl that had filed the complaint.  I told them what happened.  They all came around, because, you know, they knew me, they knew the kind of person I was.  

After the investigation, he was found guilty.  All of his colleagues thought he did it.  All my classmates thought I was telling the truth.  Hell, he'd even confessed to a student that we had "messed around" and now I seemed "upset about it."  He was caught in a web of his own lies by the end.  Phone records and witness accounts supported that he had engaged in a pattern of stalking and harassment to intimidate me from going through with proceedings.

When he saw the evidence against him he resigned.  On a side note, he was sent everyone's statements and several of us sat in fear for weeks that he would show up at the school and shoot everyone or something.  I can understand why people wouldn't even come forward to an HR department now.  I was told he was the most arrogant person the investigator had ever interviewed, and my investigator came from a background in the military investigating sexual assault and harassment complaints. 

Nothing happened to him.  He went on to teach at another University.  Still does.  His rate-a-professor score is quite high and all his reviews are raves.  He's is a very charismatic and charming guy.  And very arrogant.  I'm sure he thought my resistance was just inexperience he was going to fix. 

Whenever I told people what I was doing, that I'd complained, they would say "Whoa, that's really serious!"  Not that I'd been harmed, but that I was telling on him, that he might get in "real" trouble.  The women would also ask "Are you scared?" and I would tell the truth.  "I'm fucking terrified.  I wish I'd never said a word."

It may be that women can "say whatever they want about a guy," but men can get away with doing whatever they want to a woman.  So when you ask why a woman didn't report a sexual assault, understand what you're really asking of her.

 

 

Just Keep Swimming

I finally finished the graphic novel that I was working on.  It happened while I was sitting in a cafe in Seattle visiting my brother.  I was struggling with plot, trying to figure out how to end the story when I realized that the story was already done, that I was just trying to avoid being done.  I hate being done because it means you have to move on to the next step and you're closer to giving something to the world.

Now it will be time to start the editing process.  I was wallowing in the "I hate this and it's a tire fire" stage of the drafting process, really letting myself have it.  I was scared to give it to my writing coach for notes, I didn't want him to think I'm a terrible writer, but I pushed through it and found the upshot of having finished a fucking three hundred page epic in a script format I'd never attempted before.  I learned a lot about how to write a long form story.  I kind of threw everything and the kitchen sink into the story from magical realism to Timucuan mythology and found that all those things fall away when you get into good characters. 

So I've already started writing my next novel.  This one is a traditional format piece, a novel I've started and stopped over the last few years.  Having finished something I know now how it's done, by showing up and writing every day.  I can edit one while writing the other so that by the time the graphic novel gets to you, something else is queued up and ready to go.  A friend told me that as long as you keep creating new things you'll stay excited.

I'm going to be doing the podcast out of the comedy store starting next week.  These will be my first interviews on my own and I'm feeling a little nervous.  I'm used to having Richard Avery there to kind of tug things along. 

This week I'm doing two shows! 

I'm going to be at the Funny Bone in Columbus August 25th!  TKTS are available on the shows page. 

The Sov's Birfday Edition of Cobra Juice this month is going to be amazing.  Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall and Dr. Ken is going to read my email and Marc Maron, one of my favorite man people is going to headline.  This will sell out because other people like these guys too. 

 

 

A Change Would Do You Good

Greetings Syrenauts!  As you've probably noticed there have been some changes around here.  Like when you go to ilovesov.com you get sent over here to sovereignsyre.net.  (You should probably change your bookmarks and stuff because that's going to be a permanent change.)  What happened you ask?  Well, Richard Avery, the amazing human being person who ran ilovesov.com and the OBSERVATIONS podcast, has decided to kind of retire.  He's irascible and incorrigible though, so I don't really see him slowing down anytime soon.  Dick is one of the greatest fashion photographers ever, but he had a special love for porn girls and not the creepy Terry Richardson kind, but the "I respect the hell out of how brave you are and I want to capture you expressing every part of yourself" kind.  

Not only did Mr. Avery photograph us girls like we were editorial fashion models, but he built us websites where we could write about our feelings and often for the first time, be the ones in charge of curating our images and brands.  I recorded all of my podcasts out of a room in his house in Hollywood where he built a little recording studio just so us ladies could give ourselves a voice.  He edited and maintained all of our silly shows and did all the pain in the ass stuff like upload those files to itunes and soundcloud and all the other tedious things that go into maintaining a web presence.  

Thank you Dick, for everything.

I came into the porn industry with a photographer/lover that had big dreams of turning me into a huge star and then riding my coat tails into the sunset.  Things didn't quite work out the way anyone planned.  When I found myself an MFA student turned model turned pornstar who had some aspirations to do more but no discipline and a lot of terror about being capable of doing it on my own, Dick was there with his hand out, saying, come on kiddo.  He built me a blog, made me be diligent about updating posts to it.  When I said I wanted a podcast, he told me to book my first ten guests and he'd make himself and his studio available.  He cohosted through 75 episodes until I figured out how to talk to people, how to shut up, how to carry a conversation when it started to falter.  Through all of it he taught me to be grateful, be brave, be nice and have fun. 

"I'm not stupid.  I do all of this work because I believe in you," he would tell me when I doubted myself or got nervous about trying to do something I was afraid to want. 

I'm totally teary as I type this.  Richard has seen me through some of the toughest times of my life and never once did he offer me any pity.  Those are special kinds of friends

Two years later and through the podcast and writing and a lot of love and encouragement I'm here.  I'm a standup comic.  I'm writing a novel.  I have a monthly column.  I'm now taking over my podcast, hosting, recording and editing on my own.  I'm a big girl (finally)!

There is, of course, a long way to go to but in this moment it feels pretty damn good to step back and look at how far I've come from the day I went on my first modeling job, terrified of life and desperate for the boyfriend that had sent me there to love me, to getting to walk on stage at The Comedy Store or The Stand and fucking kill it.  I would have never thought that kind of future was available to me then, that I could be anything more than beautiful and sexually available to someone much more powerful and successful than me.  I was guided almost exclusively by fear, like most people when they leave home or school for the first time and suddenly have to "figure it out," whatever "it" is.  Life I guess.  Or your place in it.  Now I'm guided more by curiosity, confident that whatever it takes, I can figure it out.  (I mean I made this website, right?  Don't worry it will change fifty more times before I leave it alone.)

The podcast will be back in September.  I'm lying fallow for a bit, tinkering with this new site, getting the old episodes up on their own account on itunes.  You're all gonna have to resubscribe I'm afraid.  In the meantime all the old episodes are up at Soundcloud. I'm working on some really special guests over the next two weeks.  I'll be back to my regular weekly blog moving forward and pretty soon it'll be like nothing ever happened and this was just the smoothest transition ever.

I will promote this more and more, but:

August 25th

I will be in Columbus, Ohio at The Funny Bone doing stand up.  You can find all the info if you hop over to the "shows" page.

August 26th

I will be back in LA to host the Cobra Juice Variety Show.  It's my birthday show.  Marc Maron is performing.  Dave Foley is reading my email.  Justine Joli is doing burlesque!  Ticketing and info is on the "shows" page. 

XOXO

Sovvy

Grinding

OBSRVTNS: July 11th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!

A lot of changes have been afoot behind the scenes.  I can't really talk about them yet, I don't want to jinx anything, but the future is looking bright and I'm excited to be moving forward in new directions both in my personal life and the life of this site, the podcast, my writing, the stand up, everything really.  The theme this week has been one of organization, setting real goals, with dates attached to them and everything.  I'm pulling out calendars and calculators, which is something that I always forget to do, but which immediately calms me.  Feelings and fears are scary but numbers tell the truth, you see that nearly anything is possible if you can get the numbers right.  The next year and a half of my life are going to be booked solid with creative projects, I'm working on a dream.

I have a sigil tattooed behind my ear.  It's a design I made the combines the symbols for Saturn and Neptune, the planets that rule dreams and work.  Its something I used to always draw on myself before I would start writing, to make dreams flesh.  I've mapped out a framework for getting to all the things I want to get to and actually getting them done.  My writing coach told me that I make a lot of plans based on being perfect and that if I want to finish anything, I'm going to have to change that outlook.  It's hard, but I've started doing that, calculating in time during the day to lay on the couch for an hour and watch tv, factoring in that I might not want to cam seven days a week or that some weeks doing stand up is going to be more of a chore than a reprieve.

XOXO
Sovvy

Independence Day

OBSRVTNS: July 4th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!

I did a lot of loafing this week.  I didn't go up at all.  I just sat around the house watching OJ: Made in America and writing out some new bits, trying to get another 15 minute set together before I go to NYC again in September to hammer it out.  Once I have a solid half hour, I'm not really sure what will happen.  The way the stars seem to be aligning lately, I imagine I might start opening or featuring or something.  I'm not to much worried about it.  I'm gearing back up and getting into the grind of things, working on the new site, finishing the graphic novel up and finding an artist, keeping my head turned in the right direction.

Fred Sablan:

This week's guest on the Observations with Sovereign Syre is Fred Sablan.  He's a musician and fellow Highland Park resident...he played for Marilyn Manson and Queen Kwong.  NBD.

Fourth of July here, I hope you all have a safe one.

Happy Birthday America!!!

XOXO,
Sovvy

Marc Maron

OBSRVTNS: June 27th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!

This week has been a lot about decompressing.  I just came from doing a bunch of stand up in NYC, and then a detour down to Roanoke Island to visit the site of the Lost Colony because I wanted to see it, and then the Cobra Juice variety show I do every month at the Steve Allen Theater, and then headlining the Candy show at the Comedy Store.  I think I did a pretty solid set.  It was my first time doing twenty minutes and it was freeing to get to do my material without feeling rushed, having the chance to let things hang, to explore, to slow down.  So of course now all I want to do are sets that are twenty minutes or longer (not gonna happen any time soon unless it's in my living room to my dog, but whatever).

Then Tuesday I got to open for Marc Maron at the Steve Allen, which was my 99th time going up (I tried to go to a few more mics before the show to make it 100, but he asked me on a Sunday night and I could only get to three mics on the Monday before the show.  Yes, I have a thing with numbers, just leave it alone).  He was doing a residence at the theater for the last couple months working out his new hour and he asked if I wanted to go up before his set this last week and do fifteen minutes.  It was the largest audience I've gone up in front of so far, but I was more concerned with the one guy in the wings; it's a little intimidating, performing in front of someone I have a great deal of respect and admiration for.  I think I did alright. Marc is one of my favorite comics as well as one of my favorite people so I was just happy to be invited. His audience is awesome and they made me feel very welcome.

Since he's developing his material best part of the show for me was getting to watch someone writing on stage in real time.  As a baby comic it was a different experience than when I've watched him before; different point of view, paying attention to different things.  He did a great eight minute bit about a hat and there was some magical crowd work involving a random mouth harpist who was in the audience. Good times.

Then I went home to see my dad this weekend.  It's intense.  I can't stop time.  I have two fathers, a natural father and an adoptive father.  My natural father is younger and healthier, he calls me on phone to talk about his life out in Arizona, his plans for the future with his wife.  My adoptive father is a lot older, his health is failing, he's also the only one who can see when I'm hurting, the one who has shouldered the burden of raising me up through a difficult beginning, carried me through times of devastation and despair.  I'm my natural father's "little warrior" able to roll with the punches, the one who doesn't ever seem to be daunted by circumstances.  My adoptive father, my real father, is the one who makes me feel seen...and coming to terms with the impending loss of him is so painful it makes me avoidant.  I find a lot of excuses to miss visits, to stay away.  I can't do that anymore.  I know this is a stage of life that we all have to go through and that I'll figure it out, but in the meantime: FUCK.

Pills can stave off congestive heart failure, radiation can create a stop gap against cancer, but the relentless march of time against the body is something that wears every last one of us down eventually.  I know that God doesn't bring more death, that sentence is upon all of us, but the gravity of feeling that truth is something I'm wrestling with.  And it's hard to wrestle with it when in my own life everything feels brand new, optimistic, hopeful.  The impulse is to rescue him to move home and care for him, but he insists I get on with my life, that all he's ever wanted for me is to be free.  So it's short visits, walks around the same acre of land I've lived on since I was a baby, around the house he built with his own hands before I was born, that's mine now.  He shows me where he'd like his ashes scattered and reassures me that he's ready.

XOXO,
Sovvy

Headlining

OBSRVTNS: June 20th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!  I'm off the ball.  I just got back from NYC where I did a bunch of shows and managed to get up at The Stand which is one of my favorite comedy clubs in New York.  Shit was fun.  Then I went down to North Carolina and got to visit the site of the Lost Colony, which as a history buff was an amazing experience.  Some place just have a powerful feeling when you're in them, they carry a kind of energy and you carry your own energy to them.

I landed in LA and had to immediately go to host Cobra Juice the variety show I do monthly out of the Steve Allen Theater.  The show went amazing and Kyle Kinane read my email for a bit.  If you're in the L.A. area you should definitely come check out the shows.  The next one is July 23rd.  Guy Branum is headlining and Louis Virtel is reading my fanmail.

I also headlined in the Belly Room at the comedy store.  It was my first time doing a 20 minute set and it went really well.  I was competing with a sports game on the television and Father's Day, so the place was empty, but I was able to really work out the set.  I was happy.

I was going to take a moment off and get to the other business that needs to be gotten to....Richard Avery is retiring and I'm finding a new home for my site.  The podcast is going to be recorded out of the Comedy Store in the future and it's going to be just me flying solo with my guests, but every bird has to leave the nest eventually.

Louis Virtel:

This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is Louis Virtel.  Louis is a writer and pop culture commentator all over the web.  I met him when I was doing the live storytelling show RISK! this last Saturday.  He told an amazing story about a gay orgy and I just had to have him on.

XOXO

Sovvy.

At Light Fucking Speed

OBSRVTNS: June 13th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!  This week's update is coming to you a little late.  I'm traveling.   At light fucking speed I think.  I don't know where the time goes, but the days bleed into each other lately.  I'm just always moving, always fighting against some deadline.  I'm sure it will catch up to me eventually, but right now, weeee!  I miss my redlight therapy bed, that shit does something to my mood.  Makes it right.  I'm currently in NYC doing a bunch of comedy spots around town and getting interviewed for the SDR podcast.  Then I'm heading to Roanoke Island to visit the site of the Lost Colony and take something like a vacation for a few days, do something purely because I'm interested in it.

I've been thinking a lot about the future, this comedy stuff is getting serious.  A lot of changes going on internally and externally.  More later on all that.  In the meantime I have some shows coming up this week that you should come check out.

June 13, 8pm Lumos

June 17, 9pm Cobra Juice Variety Show, Steve Allen Theater/Trepany House

June 18, 8pm RISK!, Bootleg Theater

June 19, 8pm Candy, The Comedy Store, Belly Room

Tyler Knight!

One of my favorite people in the world is my guest this week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre (subscribe on itunes!).  Author, marathon man, and adult perfomer Tyler Knight sat down with me to talk about the writing process, how he went from being a model, to a stock broker, to an adult performer to an ultramarathon runner who's memoir Burn My Shadow is coming out in October through Rare Bird Lit.  He is one of the best people I've ever met.  I will always be in love with him, and you will too.

 

It Goes To Netflix

OBSRVTNS: June 6th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!

The month of May really blew right by me.  I still can't believe that we're already in June.  the second week of June!  Where does the time go?  It goes to Netflix.  That's where it goes.  It goes to fear, to paralysis, to worry about the future, to distraction, to compulsions.  I'm trying to learn to manage those things instead of trying to banish them for good only to become disappointed with myself when I slip.  I tend to use slips as an excuse to slide down into a rabbit hole of avoidant behavior.  Stuff like spending two hours a day at the gym or six hours binge watching Lady Dynamite.

I'm trying to take a social media break for a bit, to make it less of a tyrant in my life.  Limiting myself to an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening.  I'm going to brush up on my guitar playing.  I used to be able to play the entire Lindsey Buckingham catalogue along with PJ Harvey, I want to get back to it.  Guitar brings me a lot of joy.  I also have stacks of unread books in the house I want to tackle.  And there are a lot of museums and poetry readings that I want to go to.

At the end of the week I'm going to be going to NYC to see Alice Smith in concert and do some stand up shows,  when I get back to L.A.  I'm hosting my monthly variety show Cobra Juice at the Steve Allen Theater.  A special guest is going to come and read my email at the show.  We've got a great lineup with Sara Schaefer headlining.  Come out.

NYC STANDUP:

6/11: New York Comedy Club, 5pm

6/12: The Grisly Pear, 8:30 pm

6/12: The Village Lantern, 10pm

6/13: Lumos, 8pm

LOS ANGELES:

6/17: Cobra Juice Variety Show, Steve Allen Theater/Trepany House, 9pm

6/19: Candy Comedy (headlining), The Belly Room of The Comedy Store, 8pm

Willie Hunter!
This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is Willie Hunter (subscribe and rate on iTunes!).  A lot has happened since Willie Hunter was a guest on the show a year ago.  He's the co-creator of The Carmichael Show on NBC, a multi-cam sitcom that just got greenlighted for a third season!  We talk about social media and being a public and private person and the process of writing a tv show from pilot to air.  I love him.

XOXO,
Sovvy

Setting Concrete Goals

OBSRVTNS: May 30th, 2016

Greetings Syrenauts!  There are changes afoot on the backend my friends.  Life has been hectic.  I took a three week break from just about everything to ruminate on the future, take stock of the past and deal with the realities of the present.  Things are good, better than they've been in a long time and ironically that created some static in my brain.  I've been living out of a suitcase for the better part of the last decade.  Not because I'm homeless, but because I was living the life of a bohemian, traveling at the drop of a hat, moving across the country at a moments notice not once but twice.

It's an adjustment to start settling down and living one life, making choices, setting concrete goals.  Stand up is going great.  Writing is going great. Adult projects are going great.  I'm in the place that I want to be in all of those things.  Stand up is learning something new and fills me with all of that excitement.  In my writing I'm finally completing all of the projects I'd been thinking about and I'm finally putting all those classes and workshops and readings to use.  In adult I'm finally in a place where I can pick and choose the things that I want to do.  So it's only natural I might find myself wondering what to do with all the emotional energy I normally spend worrying about the future.  I think I'm going to invest it in being happy.

Jilann

This week my guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is singer/songwriter Jilann.  Jilann is an independent artist that has recently completed two albums with Mike Garson, David Bowie's primary pianist.  We talk about the struggles of being a working artist and how social media has changed the landscape for unique talents.  More than that, Jilann is a story of living a dream...she went from being a makeup artists with a secret passion for singing to a recording artist that splits her time between Los Angeles and Paris and she did it with the help of a crowdfunding project.  Good stuff.

XOXO
Sovvy