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Back from the woods!

Well, I've been back from MichFest for about a week, actually, but it's taken me til now to get around to being able to sit down and write about it. Three weeks in the woods without cell phones, computers, the internet, the news, bills, pets, work, and all the other trappings of our so-called modern life is *just* enough time to get used to be being unhooked, off the grid, or however you want to call it. It's hard to explain how the heavy weight of the burdens of outside-world life lift off of you after being there for a while, and how hard it is to re-integrate all of that when you try to come back. We like to call the process "re-entry," and for me this year it's been a struggle.

Mixed in with all the above mentioned stuff has been health stuff for me, as well as pet-health stuff, too. Oh yeah, and it's been 100+ degrees almost every day, and we only have one tiny little window air conditioner. All of which has made for a hard week. But I'm trying to get back up to speed. So here I am.

The festival itself was awesome, and I got to see some great music, spoken word and other performances... but I'll save the recap of all that for my other blog, whenever I get around to it. Here, I want to tell you all about the coolest vendor in the Crafts area this year at fest - Riot Grrrl Ink.

I knew about Riot Grrrl Ink before I went to fest, as its President and CEO Gina Mamone and I had become email-friendly over the past few years. As the world's largest LGBTQ label, I was of course familiar with their work with Bitch, Alix Olson, Pamela Means, Athens Boys Choir, and so many more. But what I wasn't as familiar with was their crafty merchandise, which was all on display at MichFest in the Crafts area.

They had all kinds of cool t-shirts, buttons, stickers, belt buckles, hats, bandanas, patches, and alot of other stuff I can't remember now. I myself ended up with two t-shirts (a really cool retro-boombox w/crossbones below it, and a sweet tattoo-style heart with "rEvolution" written on the sash, bookended by two swallows), plus an awesome knit hat with a "rEvolution" patch sewn on it, a Riot Grrrl Ink belt buckle, and a super cool punk rock coloring book! Oh yeah, and a ton of buttons for my messenger bag! (Though I sadly lost my Wonder Woman button somewhere in the woods before I got home - damn!)

You can get some of this gear on their website - just click the "Buy Stuff" menu button and go to "RGI Merchandise." Gina tells me they'll be doing updates to the site in September to add more of the gear, too, so check back often.

And while you're there, you should also definitely check out the DIY Queer Craft Mafia, which is their attempt at hooking up queer DIYers and a buying audience that wants their goods. I love the logo for it! They have a whole line of merch you can get with that logo on it, the proceeds of which go to benefit the crafters with start-up businesses listed on that page, as well as the indie musicians Riot Grrrl helps to produce and support. I've been really longing for a way to connect with other queer DIYers who are in the indie craft world, so maybe this will help jumpstart that process for me, and give me some ideas as to how to keep my own little start-up biz going.

Anyways, I can't recommend Riot Grrrl Ink enough. Gina and staff are amazing, and some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life. And it's just great to connect with other radical queer movers and shakers. I've been feeling lately that my time of being one of them might have been over, but people like Gina inspire me all over again and give me the energy to keep doing it. Support them if you can.

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