Scottie's Journal - from the California Leg of the "Getting Back To Me" signing party tour:
The California Leg of Scottie’s Getting Back to Me
Book Launch & Signing Tour for 2015 is a Wrap!
I love this time of the year – that ultra chill time between “The Empress of Holidays” & The New Year – Sanskrit has a word for it – Mudya. This is the name for the space between your inhale and your exhale. And it’s here that we can find the divine. I always use this time of the year to allow myself to feel the tumultuous rush of silence that comes from the glow of love.
I’m writing this entry into my journal, sitting next to the tree that my brothers-in-law (all of the McVickar boys – it’s a hat trick!) cut in this northern Cal forest and dragged thru new fallen snow. Our fantasy Christmas that only took off from there – those of you who read my book won’t be surprised that I made last Christmas (as monumental as it was) proud that we were able to take everything up many notches…
But what I’m blown away by, now that the leftovers all are there is (trust me - my favorite part of Christmas!) is the year that brought us to here.
As I’ve written, I think God gave me a chew toy that was so intense, so as to distract me while She was busy shifting my planet’s orbital spin. This was the Cali Leg of the tour – the logistics of which would have made me fire myself. BUT it was without reservation or regret, perfect in everyway.
The day of the event started off with my dear big sister Melissa doing my make-up and hair, I have since kidnapped her and will be taking her with me – trust me girls, this is not a luxury but a necessity! It was an amazing feeling to have this flavor of love hovering over me.
The finale was The Firehouse Art Gallery in Berkeley CA. And this event was another family affair. It truly was "old home week" as Marcy and I were welcomed into the loving arms of dear friends and family at Tom Franco's Firehouse Art Gallery. Kerry Kehoe our favorite "Still girl" caught it all on film, er, card. (Card, I said card.)
It was especially sweet to feature the amazing original oil painting "Endless Raspberry Queen" used to create the cover for "Getting Back To Me." Sally Park Rubin was on hand to discuss the story behind the painting. But here’s where I need to revel in the mudya again. As much as I should’ve been ready – indeed I’ve been dealing with the digital file of the image since I first got the idea for the cover image. I’d been sent pictures of the various stages of Sally Joy’s progress. BUT I was truly not prepared for my reaction to the actual painting. There’s something about the magnificence of a real oil paining that we have yet to translate into ones and zeros. News flash I burst into tears – seeing it in the humble setting of Sally & Ed’s living room leaning against the wall as Ed feverishly hurried to get the temporary frame on in time for the event. The lighting wasn’t great at all, the easel and other furniture littered the foreground, but there… I was. I was as if I was seeing myself for the first time.
Back to the event – Over 35 braved the rain to celebrate Marcy & my love story with some very revealing moments - For our dear friends who've been unable to attend (we've seen your well wishes) the event was live streamed, (this being 2015 and all) by our dear big brothers Ed and Rick Butler and is currently available on the web. Rick, Ed and I have been working together for over twenty years. But this was the first time I was out from behind the camera with them both. And the “firsts” continued to roll…
I say “firsts” because, tho’ this was as much our home turf as LA LA Land, it was the first time dear friends had seen Marcy and I since life changed for us last December. Also many people who we were only aware of, but never really knew, came out and introduced themselves. It was amazing, touching and nurturing.
And, it seemed to touch something deeper in us all – Sally Joy’s honesty that her painting was her way of understanding my decision to step forward in life as I am. She, like many people closest to Marcy & me, really had a tough time getting her head to follow her heart. She loved me enough in my former skin) to ask us to be Sam’s Godparents, and held me in high regard as a husband. And what was so inspiring to me was that rather than throw up her hands and say it’s too complicated, she actively worked it thru her very own way until her head could hear her heart. Love is love. And the painting shows it!
I read from Chapter 22 “Too Late To Go Back To Sleep” which describes my process of using concentric circles that represent the spheres that emanate from my heart that represent Marcy, my family, and my friends. After I had had “the chat” with circles I let the rest of the world know in a more quiet and dignified fashion. I would simply, without announcement or fanfare merely change my facebook profile picture and that pesky gender marker to it’s true F for female. Those of you who have read the book will know that… well, it was a good plan on paper anyway. But it was also how Sally Joy would see my face for the very first time after hearing my news and how it became the subject for her painting.
The Q&A was different this time as Marcy & I started off side by side rather than have me go at it solo. And the most satisfying response for me came when one man said that my book made him look to his own life to see what armor he had created to cover his true self to the world. I love when our story transcends the subject or issue and rises to the universal!
Sally & Ed’s son (and my & Marcy's godson) Sam sent everyone home with his a'capella rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Afterward I signed books and Marcy & I mingled as Sally Joy passed around her Granny's coveted shortbread (secret recipe - I'll never tell) and Lisa made a special Christmas Chai! - we can't thank you ladies enough - thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Our intention behind this leg of the tour was to create as much buzz with personal events with our family & friends to spread the word that we had written a book. In each stop we asked everyone to post pictures and comments on their FB pages and twitter feeds, etc. so that each person that attended would be a connection point to their spheres of influence. We see traffic to our website after each event thanks to you all (please don’t stop!) and great reviews on amazon when the books are bought and read. The goal being that our story could help others, but people have to know it’s there for the getting!
We tried everything we could think of in this short period of time from the day the book was released (Nov.10th 2015) until the New Year, from a neighborhood cookie party to a formal presentation at one of the largest and most influential corporations on the planet. We held an event in the classic old school style of a library book signing to an charity fundraising for LGBTQ teens, from restaurants to a winery to a live stream.
In the end, we can say we made a good start. In each location we had dear amazing guardian angels who gave up their time Merrie-Lynn in Sherman Oaks, Michelle in Hillcrest, Monica at Google, Mary Anne in Del Mar, Laurie in SJ, Cassie with the Youthspace, Jack & Ruthie in Woodland Hills and Sally Joy & Tom in Berkeley, for their love, logistical support and personal contacts… and in some cases a spare bedroom!
Marcy and my story is now your stories. And all of our love is yours.
Our journey is only now beginning. 2016 is going to be amazing! We’ll see you there!
Week four, stop one. (Or six over all… I know, I know, this whole week thingy is a… well, gotta see it thru, right?) WOODLAND HILLS – BOOK SIGNING AND CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXCHANGE!
It’s… well, the next morning and I couldn’t sleep – I am still buzzing from the love in my own backyard (literally) and no, it ain’t the sugar! (Tho’ it could by all rights be – it was a MOUNTAIN of sugar! I am moving the Cookie Exchange idea into heavy rotation!)
I started the evening downstairs – thinking in a quiet space of what I wanted to say to the guests taking time to make merry. I could hear the delightful din start to grow upstairs. Suddenly a woman walked down the spiral stair case and two women who knew each other well were meeting each for the first time. My “Nanners” and I had gone to San Diego State together and each had pursued her career in this wacky world of TV… but sadly we confessed to each other that we had absolutely no excuse for each having lived in the valley for almost 20 years and neither had known… thank you FB!
Se let me collect the rest of thoughts scattered about like legos on a Christmas morning – there would be time to have our real reunion later… finally I couldn’t stand my solitude anymore – the joyful noise of the party upstairs beckoned.
It was amazing to see guests all deck in the holiday attire, everything a little bit more sparkly and bright! Smiles, eyes, hearts… nothing beats the sight of someone settling into a nice happy chat with a Santa mug full of hot cider… yes, Charlie Brown… Christmas time is HERE!
But really, I feel like I’m training for the Olympics of Love – such an out-pouring of support from my Angels of LA. As we discussed before, in this town, nothing says true love like, “I’ll drive thru HOLIDAY traffic for you!” But also tonight has an added bonus – my neighbors could walk! Audrey, PJ & Beast (and don’t forget Preston!) Steve & Sue, Danielle and Jo & Gizzy thanks you for representin’… Girard Tract in the House!
And what a house it was -
It was SRO in the beautiful living room- made-auditorium, with the love and cheer of Jack & Ruthie Hayback. I am so grateful for these amazing friends – Jack is a professional audio engineer, and producer who knows how to turn an event into a great show, and Ruthie is the world class hostess, gracious and truly caring. That they opened their hearts and their home for Mylove and me, in their jam-packed work & holiday schedule is humbling to say the least. But they made this a truly memorable experience for everyone, in a seemingly effortless way – (but don’t worry Marcy and I weren’t fooled – we know the superhuman effort required to be calm in the chaos – kindred spirits!)
The crowd was our most eclectic yet, as Jack & Ruthie’s friends and colleagues mixed with some of my friends from college, KM and Chris, Nancy, professional colleagues Diana & Todd, and neighbors who walk the same trails in the hills of “Dirt Mulholland,” some, who were never aware of what really had happened to Marcy’s husband, (and I was to learn really had been talking amongst themselves) and of course my new BFFs – who braved the 405 AND the 101 to “represent” Marjorie, Christine, Siyah & Frannie, sisters & dear friends made in the last year. And once again… my journey was going public.
I wanted to have this event under the Christmas tree – it’s really only been since last Christmas that I gave myself the present of myself. My journey’s latest chapter really did start here at the season of peppermint and light and red & green and all that sparkles. And so I took Jack’s warm and loving guidance as we gathered our thoughts in his kitchen and then… Jack welcomed everyone and gave a heart felt request that everyone share everything that is about to happen with their friends on social media, set the stage and introduced me.
So many familiar faces and a few that were new – over 30 in all, my breath caught in my throat. And then I began, after explaining some context, I read from Chapter 13, “(Finally) Home for Christmas.” And indeed, I was.
The Q&A has been the most hopeful to date – most questions stemmed from the desire to understand how I had been able to document my going from girl to boy to woman; how I survived and thrived for as long as I could, by trying to surrender to the worlds’ expectations.
BUT – the bright Christmas star of hope shone when Mac, Jack’s friend, shared that one day, she picked-up her eight-year-old granddaughter from school as she was saying goodbye to her friend. When asked who her friend was, she replied Zach. Odd name for a girl, said Grandma, but her granddaughter explained that her friend was “a girl with boy parts.” What blew Grandma’s mind (and all of us in the room) was the way she declared this as the God’s honest truth that it is; with no judgment, no confusion and no conflict whatsoever. Just a girl.
There is hope for us all.
Jack took the mic and bowled me over as he said what Marcy and I hope is the one take away from our story – Love Actually is the most powerful force in the universe. Love does dispel the darkness of fear, ignorance and want. He thanked us for giving him the opportunity to experience that.
As we continued the evening signing books and munching Christmas cookies, I floated on that night timey, silent, profound and wondrously buoyant cloud of energy we all know as the Spirit of Christmas… my big brother Chris made sure I knew that my father would have loved his oldest daughter (me) with such pride. He would’ve loved knowing that he had all girls. Chris had met my father many times and he said this to me with with such confidence and urgency that I could feel my father’s powerful love suddenly embrace me. It was almost overwhelming. It’s truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Marcy and I want to thank all who came out to our neighborhood in the oaks! Books were bought as wonderful Christmas presents (an even better way to spread the word!) And I know one book was bound for New York – exciting! I still have to pick-up the Christmas mugs and leftover cookies from Jack & Ruthies (I swear she wouldn’t let us help clean up!) as we prepare for the finale of the 2015 California leg of my Book Signing Party Tour - this Sunday, Dec. 20th As 2:00 pm at the Adeline Firehouse gallery. And for those of you outside of the Bay area… here’s a little secret… it will be live streamed via our website Zuzubean.com
See you ALL there!
Tour Journal – Week Three, Stop Two (or for those of you doing new math, stop number 5)
Book signing & Fundraiser @Savana-Channelle Winery, Saratoga CA
with the LGBTQ Youthspace
Okay, I’m starting out now with straight-up telling you, I am blessed. By now, you know how I have the unbelievable support of Mylove (as many are saying the star of my book, and rightly so!). But I have also had more than my share of guardian angels on this tour and this stop, I was… well, all of the hyperbole that comes to mind still doesn’t do justice to shower of magick and love that poured down on me from my bestest big sister, Laurie. She single-handedly created out of whole-cloth a memorable event at this incredible location in the Santa Cruz Mountains, complete with a silent auction, (which included a private tour of the winery for 10 people that is valued at over $300.00) and three raffles of baskets of high-end gourmet food with all of the proceeds going to The LGBTQ YouthSpace of Silicon Valley. Laurie put on a spread of hors d'oeuvres and refreshments and the guest sipped the winery’s finest as Christmas lights glowed. I can’t thank this magical woman enough for her love support and sisterhood… and her beau Karl WithaK was a constant loving attentive man, that took care of every little need. Missy Polk, our dear friend (and part of my original review team) braved Bay area traffic to pitch-in! Thanks my dear!
The evening started with Laurie welcoming her friends and book lovers from the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, and then turned t over to Mylove to set the stage – tonight was a little bit different than past stops on the tour – we had a partner. Cassie Blume, the director of programs for the YouthSpace told everyone of the mission of this great organization -- founded in 2008, the LGBTQ Youth Space is a drop in center and counseling program for LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 13-25, serving more than 400 youth and, through outreach and education activities, more than 5,000 community members annually to educate and empower young people across Santa Clara County. Beyond mental health and wellness, the program serves as the primary resource for LGBTQ youth and young adults seeking community, peer support, leadership development opportunities, and a safe, supportive space to hang out.
Cassie introduced two great individuals who are living breathing success stories of the YouthSpace’s great work - Erika Cisneros the current LGBTQ Youth Space Outreach Worker and Intake Coordinator, who’s involvement began at the age of 24 when she attended the Youth Space Summer Leadership Camp, as well as receiving counseling services. She later became a consumer intern, and then an outreach worker. And Frank Pena, a Chicano-Transgender man has been coming to the LGBT Youth Space since he was 14 years old. He quickly got involved and shortly after coming out, became an active member in the Speakers Bureau. Frank later became an intern and now works full time as the Outreach Worker and Volunteer Coordinator. He also is one of the facilitators of our Trans* Group.
Then Scottie began to read the chapter that cut to the heart of her connection with the special guests – Chapter 3 “It’s Like Déjà vu all over again.” Where Scottie describes candidly and emotionally the point in her journey where professional therapy changed her and Marcy’s life forever. This set the stage for a lively Q&A that has to be the most amazing yet. Several members of this astute and literary audience, were also involved in or had been involved in long term marriages – and they wanted to know how in God’s name did Marcy plow thru her own fears and confusion to keep love and marriage first. Scottie was able to give a first hand account of love and faith and then Marcy gave her side. (for the step-by-step process, you’ll just have to read the book!)
Suffice to say – book sales were great! And after another half-hour of lively discussion and laughter, the evening continued as Scottie signed books giving her a chance for one-on-one chats - the highlight was the confession by one man who had simply been told by his wife that he was going to a book signing, (without being told the subject matter) when he read the poster at the entrance he prepared himself for a wasted hour of his life. BUT he found the writing of my book and the honesty, clarity and humor by which it was shared fascinating and he thanked me for opening his mind. Now that’s worth all the effort!
Once again, my dear friend and SJ native shutterbug Nancy captured it all and we are so grateful! To everyone who braved the mountain pass (and the return after a few glasses of incredible wine) thank you!
Next stop we’re home in LA, literally – Marcy and I can actually walk to this one – In our own neighborhood here, in Woodland Hills as the home of good friends and party/event masters Jack & Ruthie Samonte-Hayback. Please come all my Angelenos – it’s a book signing AND a Christmas Cookie Exchange as I put my cookies where your mouth is… or something like that – Wednesday, December 16th at 7:00 pm
But for now, I gotta go -- got cookies to bake!
Week three, stop one (okay, actually 4th in the overall series, but who’s countin’?)
TOUR JOURNAL - WEEK TWO - GOOGLE WORLD HQ -MOUNTAIN VIEW CA. DEC. 4
Okay… I’ve been keeping a secret. No, not THAT secret – that’s not a secret anymore anyway, silly! A secret secret, all because, I didn’t want anything to scare it away. But it happened!
I was asked by Google to participate in their “Author’s Presentations” last week. Last Friday, I read from my book to a crowd of 20 or so employees in their auditorium, while over 100 watched the live stream! So, 2015…. So… well, Google!
I have to start by saying that my dear generous and completely supportive big brother and friend Bradley opened his arms and Google’s doors to welcome me. His Chief of Staff, Monica, also a dear, dear friend was the Guardian Angel, coordinating and instructing me on Google’s ways and means on Bradley’s behalf. But both Bradley and Monica had only heard of my, ahem, life changes, so this was more than just a professional presentation at one of the world’s foremost and influential corporations on the planet… it was also a, homecoming of sorts.
Like all of my book signings have been revealed to be. I can say that I didn’t plan on that being the case when I conceived of this signing tour… and for those of you who’ve started to read my book… it should be no surprise. But there it is. A joyful, heartwarming life-affirming little ol presentation inside the magic kingdom of hope known as a Google. My dear friends Rick & and Nancy documenting on video and photo the highlights, of which there were many – Google, I realized as I walked to podium after a warm and funny introduction by Bradley, is truly a place that changes the world a little bit each day. In quiet, smooth and respectful ways, so gracefully that we may not even know the change has occurred… we’re just doing things better than we did the day before… and there was my point of connection for my author’s presentation. By being so open about my journey and the love that has supported me along the way, Mylove & I are an example of the small, graceful and loving change that this world is capable of. Love does conquer even our deepest fears.
To bring that point around, full circle, I knew that large number of those attending on the live stream (and in the room) were from the LGBTQ community, and those that weren’t had family or friends who were, (called Gayglers by the Googlers, which are members of the Google culture/workforce). So I read from Chapter Five – “What Nothing Sounds Like” which describes being caught as a child by my father for trying to be the girl that I am. It is a poignant example of the misunderstanding between parents and a transgender or different child that can lead to the lifetime of… well needing to reconcile an identity. Something that Gayglers, we all could relate to, but also as those who are reading my book are discovering... something we all go thru, gay or straight, cis or trans, queer, questioning and ALL variations in between. In short... my book is for everyone!
After the reading Bradley lead the Q&A sessions and I was asked who had inspired me to finally “come out” and finally live my life as a woman. I think I surprised everyone by saying, my wife, Marcy. She inspires me everyday to be the best me I can, and her example to face even her deepest fears of losing her knight, her king, her romance with love and strength and compassion. Bradley brought Mylove up to the podium so everyone could meet this amazing woman.
After a few more questions the session conclude with me signing more books. And then Monica gave the entire entourage a tour of the sprawling campus. This is where the giants of the computer industry have forged a new American and International business paradigm and culture that not only breaks down the barriers of ignorance and arrogance of the traditional corporate cultures, it doesn’t even acknowledge their existence. While the business world was stepping over dollars to pick up pennies, Google was creating a reality out of a dream. And we were witnessing it first hand.
We came on the giant letters “and proud” in the colors of the rainbow flag still standing on the campus as a monument to the Supreme Courts decision on same-sex marriage. It was the perfect place for a photo-op and tho’ I still need some media training (like what to do with one’s purse when you’re trying to “look cool” whatever that is) it was fun playful and… historic!
The video link of my talk will be available this week so stay tuned! This is a HUGE week for us, with our next stop the Del Mar Library on Wednesday, December 9th, and then next Saturday we’re back in Silicon Valley for the second even sponsored by Google (I know, right? How generous can they be?) at the Savana-Channelle Winery. This event will be our first fund-raiser! We’re proud to announce that proceeds from on-site book sales and the silent auction will go to benefit the LGBTQ Youthspace of San Jose. So… stay tuned!
”I’m still buzzing from last night’s affair. I don’t think, no, I know I didn’t really think this all the way thru when we first conceived of this tour thingy… it’s far and away better than I ever dreamed. Over 50 odd people (okay some of them , not so odd, but the others...?) came – some we were meeting for the very first time (word is spreading!) and most were old friends who represented the three pillars (or tribes) on which our life is built. All came to support us and have their copies of “Getting Back To Me” signed. Chad at the Uptown Tavern and his staff we’re super welcoming and warm. And under the barrage of the videos screens that lined the walls, guests entered to highlights of “Dude, You’re Screwed!” the show Scottie produced for the Discovery channel, which set the stage for Scottie’s journey.
Many hadn’t seen or heard from the prodigal daughter since… well, since the Madden’s flew north for the bright lights of Hollywood. This is the city of Scottie’s birth, she went to SDSU and started her career, fell in love with Marcy and began their 26 and going marriage & love affair. So… it seems an understatement to say that this was an epic reunion of souls under the guise of a simple book signing party. The highlights were many, including the joyful hug when Scottie’s high school mate Mark Vidano shared that he came to say thank you to Scottie for a simple kind act of strength & support done 35 years ago in the school halls of their youth. All of this was captured by the photographer extraordinaire, TJ Devadatta Best. (Truly, Scottie has never looked like this!) TJ has been a long-time friend and creative colleague and we have always been in awe of his “light inspired art.” We were so blessed to have his lens capturing the moments. Note to self – never travel anywhere without your own magnificent make-up artist, and photographer! Also Scottie’s big brothers Derek & Mitch made sure she didn’t have shout over the din by providing sound amplification – Thanks brothers dear!
Several “rockstars” mentioned in Scottie’s book came to show their love – her big brothers, Biglsy, Shredder, Brendo and KR who had been beside her since college, and the tears and hugs flowed at concert hall pitch! (As do most things that the infamous Tag-Team does… we’re not a … quite riot.) Also, Scottie’s Guardian Angel Cat and her wonderful hubby, Craig generously hosted the Madden’s and made sure they got to the Tavern on time, and Kalika McClure helped canvass the neighborhoods with old school flyers to spread the word.
The formal evening once again concluded with a Q&A which is becoming Scottie’s favorite segment of the party – and issues of gender discrimination, shifting roles and hope on the horizon are discussed in a support, tho’ raucus air. And many who commented later said it was an inspiring and heart opening event, that they were grateful to have been able to participate in.
To all of Scottie & Marcy’s friends who came last night – we cherish you all and are deeply grateful for your love, your light and your laughter.
Week One, stop one: LA @ the Great Greek
“We have lift-off!”
Last night was an amazing, giddy, affair… old friends that we hadn’t seen in years came with a mere hour’s notice (thank you Sara & Sean!) to join friends that have been with us thru the entire writing process (Macky, Kunti, Bhanu, Don & Vanita, Marie & Mike) and meet new ones (Todd – who saw a post on my dear friend’s Diana’s FB post about the event and decided to check us out! – and Ashley, my new BFF -- hey this SM thingy is working!)
Thirty in all came to hear Mylove & I thank the “midwives” who helped deliver our baby: Valerie, Merrie-lynn & Adam. Despite having to project over clanging dishes and a lively birthday party, many commented on Scottie’s reading of chapter 1 of her book. The Q&A session was very lively, and “went there” in a loving and relevatory (what? it's a word, look it up!) manner, as Lourdes Colon shared traveler's tales of her & my experiences as women in Hollywood. But Mylove brought the house down describing the unexpected benefits of our new life.
Books were bought and signed by Scottie in a casual & relaxed manner , in what was for this girl, an unexpectedly rich experience (I know, you’ll say “Duh,” when you hear it, but for those of us used to steering for the stars, we seldom allow ourselves to be blinded by the suns) and that was – After pouring my heart and soul into words on paper, then distilling a lighting bolt of love into a handwritten inscription, I close the book and hand it to The Reader, that until this point has been a faceless listener to my deepest hearts’ murmur… and our eyes meet.
Thank you again everyone for coming and for posting and tweeting and spreading the word about “Getting Back To Me”- Thanks to Chris (my big bro) for the photos! Next stop: San Diego: The Uptown Tavern Uptown Tavern 1236 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 Saturday, Nov. 21st at 5:00 pm –
as the Prodigal Daughter returns…