only in west virginia

Bootleg update!

Here are all the bootlegs i currently have, alphabetized this time :))

A Chorus Line
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
A New Brain (with Jonathan Groff)
A little Night Music (with Angela Lansbury)
American Idiot
American in Paris OBC
Amélie with Philippa Soo
Amélie with Samantha Barks
An American in Paris
Anastasia OBC
Annie (US Tour)
Annie Get Your Gun
Anything Goes
Avenue Q
Bare: The musical (Off-Broadway)
Bare: a Pop Opera
Beautiful: A Carole King Story OBC
Beauty and the Beast OBC
Big Fish (Pre-Broadway)
Blood Brothers
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson OBC
Bombshell (audio only)
Bonnie and Clyde OBC
Book of Mormon Chicago
Book of Mormon OBC
Bring it On
Cabaret Broadway cast
Cabaret With Emma Stone
Candide OBC
Carousel (Chicago 2015)
Carrie the Musical
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (London)
Chess OBC
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang London Tour
Cinderella OBC
City of Angels OBC
Cyclone (audio only)
Dance of the Vampires OBC
Dear Evan Hansen OBC
Dogfight with Lindsey Mendez
Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Dream Girls Unknown cast
Dream girls OBC
End of the rainbow
Evita (broadway 2012)
Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway Revival)
Finding Nemo
Finding Neverland OBC
First Wives Club OBC
First date the Musical OBC
Follies (Revival cast)
Frozen Live!
Fun Home OBC
Funny Girl: The Musical
Ghost: the Musical
Gigi OBC
Grey Gardens (Broadway 2015)
Gypsy the Musical
Half a Sixpence (audio only)
Hamilton (with Javier)
Hamilton OBC
Hamilton OBC (with sheet music and recordings from workshops)
Hamilton OCC
Harry Potter and the The Cursed Child (audio only)
Heathers with Thomas Sanders (audio only)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Andrew Rennells)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Darren Criss)
Hello Dolly UK Tour
Holy Musical B@man!
Honeymoon in Vegas
Hunchback of Notre Dame
In the Heights OBC
Into the Woods
Jekyll and Hyde
Jesus Christ Superstar
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Kinky Boots
Kiss me, Kate
La Cage au Folles (broadway 2010)
Legally Blonde
Lend me a Tenor (broadway 2010)
Les Mis
Lion King (London)
Little Shop of Horrors
Little Women
Love Never Dies (OBC)
Mamma Mia! OBC
Marilyn An American Fable
Marry Poppins US tour
Matilda with Eliza Madore
Matilda with Mimi Ryder
Matilda with Sophia Gennusa
Memphis (OBC)
Merrily we Roll along
Miss Saigon
My Fair Lady UK Tour
Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (audio only)
Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (video recording)
Newsies 2013 cast (Corey Cott, Kara Lindsay, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Ben Fankhauser)
Newsies OBC
Newsies Tour
Next to Normal (Broadway Cast)
Next to Normal (OBC) (last performance of alice ripley, jennifer damiano, Brian d'Arcy James with speeches at the end)
Next to Normal (Off Broadway cast) (includes cut scenes and songs)
On The Twentieth Century
On a Clear Day OBC
On the Town (broadway 2014)
Once OBC
Once on this Island
Passion: The Musical
Peter Pan
Peter and the Starcatcher
Phantom of The Opera
Rent OBC opening night
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Saved! (Aaron Tveit and Original cast)
School of Rock OBC
She loves Me
Shrek the Musical
Side Show (off broadway)
Side Show OBC
Singing in the rain
Sister Act (London)
Something Rotten!
Sound of Music Broadway 1998
South Pacific
Spongebob the Musical
Spring Awakening (OBC)
Spring awakening (Deaf West)
Streetcar Named Desire (with Gillian Anderson)
Sunset Boulevard The Musical
Sweeney Todd
Sweeney Todd (audio only)
Sweeney Todd OBC
Sweet Charity US tour
Taboo the Musical by Boy George
Tangled the Musical (Disney Cruise)
Tarzan OBC
The Addams Family (audio only)
The Addams Family US Tour
The Color Purple
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime OBC
The Drowsy Chaperone
The Great American Trailer Park Musical OBC
The Jungle Book (chicago 2013)
The King and I
The Last Five Years
The Lightning Thief (early off-broadway)
The Lightning Thief (incomplete video)
The Music Man
The Newsboys Variety Show (OBC)
The Nightman Cometh
The Pajama Game OBC
The Producers
The Visit: The Musical
The Wild Party OBC
The Witches of Eastwick
The light in the Piazza
The little Mermaid
Thoroughly Modern Millie OBC
Tick Tick…Boom! (Original Off-Broadway Cast)
Titanic: The Musical
Tuck Everlasting OBC
Twisted: the untold Story of the Royal Vizier
Urinetown OBC
Waitress (Opening Night with Sara Bereilles) (audio only)
Waitress OBC
West Side Story
Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Wicked OBC
Wicked OBC (KC’s last)
Wicked Pre-Broadway
Wicked with Nicole Parker, Alli Mauzey, Aaron Tveit
Xanadu OBC
13 the Musical
25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee
42nd Street

i’m super overwhelmed right now so i’m so sorry if it takes a few days for me to get back to you, but feel free to message me if you want one!!! i’m always happy to gift or trade!

Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democratic Senator to vote YES for Jeff Sessions to be confirmed as our new Attorney General.

If you live in West Virginia, please call his office to make sure he knows how pissed you are. 

His office number is  (202) 224-3954.

Also, Manchin is up for re-election in 2018. Be sure to support primary candidates running against him! 

A majority of US states are refusing to provide info to Pres. Trump's new voting commission -- or agreeing to provide only some information. Where does each state stand? Our latest tally:

-Alabama [public info only]

-Alaska [public info only] 

-Arizona [will not comply] 

-Arkansas [public info only] 

-California [will not comply] 

-Colorado [public info only] 

-Connecticut [will not comply; request clarification]

-Delaware [will not comply]

-Florida [reviewing request] 

-Georgia [public info only] 

-Hawaii [no statement available]

-Idaho [public info only]

-Illinois [hasn’t formally received request]

-Indiana [public info only]

-Iowa [public info only] 

-Kansas [public info only]

-Kentucky [will not comply]

-Louisiana [gov’t can purchase public info]

-Maine [public info only]

-Maryland [will not comply]

-Massachusetts [will not comply]

-Michigan [only what is legally required]

-Minnesota [public info only]

-Mississippi [will not comply]

-Missouri [public info only]

-Montana [hasn’t received request but wouldn’t release any personal or confidential information”]

-Nebraska [no statement available]

-Nevada [public info only]

-New Hampshire [public info only]

-New Jersey [no statement available]

-New Mexico [have not received request, but wouldn’t release private info]

-New York [will not comply]

-North Carolina [public records only]

-North Dakota [no statement available]

-Ohio [public info only]

-Oklahoma [public info only]

-Oregon [gov’t can pay for public info] 

-Pennsylvania [will not comply]

-Rhode Island [public info only]

-South Carolina [will provide some information but not partial Social Security number or voting record]

-South Dakota [will not comply]

-Tennessee [will not comply]

-Texas [public info only]

-Utah [public info only]

-Vermont [will not comply]

-Virginia [will not comply]

-Washington [public info only]

-West Virginia [hasn’t received request but wouldn’t provide partial Social Security number]

-Wisconsin [gov’t can pay for public info]

-Wyoming [will not comply]

Leading Suspects - Chapter 9

“Either you really don’t trust me with your baby or you actually took my advice and banged Sheriff Hot Buns.”

“Would you shut up for two seconds and listen to me? I’m in real trouble here, Jo,” I hiss and wave at Mary Jo Bristel across the parking lot. She shakes her head and returns the wave before climbing into her car.

“He was shitty, wasn’t he? Damn. It’s always the pretty ones who are all talk and no thrust.”

“I didn’t have sex with the Sheriff!” I shout and then cringe because Nelson Harris has halted on the stoop of his general goods store to gawk at me for a moment before he purses his lips and hurries back inside the building that’s in desperate need of a new coat of paint.

Keep reading

Summer in the northern hemisphere is rapidly winding down; it seems like it was hardly here at all.  The decreasing daylight has already triggered some of the trees in my part of the world to start turning.  In another month, scenes like the one above will be commonplace.  Mother Nature’s work is cyclical and evolutionary.  She reminds us that change is the only constant in the universe.

Blackwater River Canyon, near Davis, West Virginia (October, 2007).

12 Jaw-dropping US mountain towns

Photo by tpsdave on Pixabay

It’s more than just the mountains. Though the scenery surrounding the high-altitude towns of the USA is spectacular – snow-capped peaks, dizzying cliffs, burbling rivers and forests blanketed in white – these settlements aren’t just beautiful, they’re historic, and charm-filled, says adventurer Ben Groundwater.

Lake Tahoe, California

Photo by tpsdave from Pixabay

A favourite weekend spot for Californians – given it’s only a one-hour flight from San Francisco – this series of charming settlements hug the shores of the shimmering body of water that is Lake Tahoe. Though the easiest way to access Lake Tahoe’s most popular ski area, Heavenly, is by staying on the touristy south shore, it’s the settlements on the lake’s north that retain the most allure.

Plan your USA adventure

Lake Placid, New York

To most people, New York means skyscrapers and a brash attitude, but that’s just the city. The state itself has a surprising number of ski resorts and towns that service them, and perhaps one of the most beautiful is Lake Placid. Though a former host of the Winter Olympics, Lake Placid these days lives up to its name, and is the perfect destination for some relaxing time in the mountains away from city life.

West Glacier, Montana

Photo by Terrah Holly on Unsplash

There are few more scenically spectacular parts of the world than the “big sky country” of Montana, and few places capture that beauty quite like the town of West Glacier. What it lacks in size and infrastructure – this is really just a gateway into the famed Glacier National Park – it makes up for in easy-going charm, and a setting that would make any nature lover cry tears of joy.

Aspen, Colorado

Though it’s known these days for the Hollywood big shots who arrive en masse around Christmas, Aspen is actually a former silver-mining town that also enjoyed a brief stretch as a hippie enclave populated by the likes of John Denver and Hunter S. Thompson. These days Aspen’s five-star resorts and chalets are the stuff of fantasy for most, but the town retains its beautiful historic charm.

North Conway, New Hampshire

Photo by Margit Wallner on Pixabay

This is New England at its finest, a quaint mountain town within easy striking distance of the city of Boston, and yet with an atmosphere that sets it a world apart. North Conway, founded in 1765, is all historic buildings and “mom and pop” stores, but is also within a half-hour drive of 13 ski resorts.

Telluride, Colorado

Another former Coloradan mining town, Telluride has done a better job than most of retaining its old-world charm, with a postcard-perfect main street that’s a throwback to simpler times. The town is surrounded on three sides by towering mountain ranges, a geographical quirk that has helped to protect Telluride from the onslaught of mass tourism.

Mammoth Lakes, California

It takes just an hour to fly from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles to the snow-capped peaks of Mammoth Lakes, a year-round hotspot for those who enjoy the great outdoors. The town itself doesn’t quite have the history of some of its Coloradan counterparts – however, when you’re surrounded by sparkling alpine lakes and dizzying mountain peaks, it really doesn’t matter.

Virginia City, Nevada

Those with Westworld-inspired dreams of stepping back into the Wild West need only visit Virginia City, Nevada, the place where the legendary Comstock Lode – a huge silver deposit – was once struck, and which has retained pretty much all of the old buildings that lined its streets back in the 19th century. That the town is surrounded by the Sierra ranges only adds to the appeal.

Jackson, Wyoming

Photo by tpsdave on Pixabay

This is cowboy country, no doubt – you only have to cast your eye around and take in the saloons on streets, the boots on wooden walkways and the Stetsons on heads. However, Jackson, Wyoming is also hugely popular with hikers, bikers, skiers and climbers, thanks to its position among some of the most imposing and beautiful mountain scenery you’re likely to witness.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Though the adjoining ski resort in Breckenridge is as modern as they come, most of the buildings in the town itself are throwbacks to a bygone era, colourfully painted places that date back to the late 1800s. With the Rocky Mountains filling all horizons, this is a place to take your time strolling around and soaking up the history and the scenery.

Taos, New Mexico

Photo by tpsdave on Pixabay

There’s something a little different about Taos, New Mexico. It’s in the architecture: these aren’t the wooden facades of the Wild West mining towns, but rather the mud-brick buildings of the southern deserts. It’s in the people, too: this isn’t cowboy country so much as a bohemian hub filled with hippies and artists, as well as adventurers and old-school Hispanic settlers. And off in the distance… towering mountain peaks that can’t fail to impress.

Park City, Utah

Park City’s history is a familiar one: a former silver-mining boomtown turned playground for the rich and famous, who are drawn here largely for the world-class skiing, not to mention the cosy village feel and the spectacular scenery that surrounds it. Park City is hugely popular in winter, but has something of a locals-only vibe in summer, when the hikers and bikers head out to play.

Book flights to the USA

Written by Ben Groundwater

Ben is a columnist and globetrotting backpacker for

Day 86: Monsters of the Ozarks: The Side-Hill Hoofer

One of the more unusual Ozark monsters is the side-hill hoofer, a creature that is supposedly built to be able to run sideways along the hills and hollers. Vance Randolph gives a lengthy description of the creature:

“Most of the backwoods yarn-spinners have something to say about the side-hill hoofer. According to one common version of the tale, the hoofer is similar to a beaver in appearance, but much larger, about the size of a yearling calf. It lives in a burrow on some steep hillside. This animal always runs around the hill in the same direction, since the legs on one side of its body are longer than those on the other side. If by any accident the hoofer falls down into the flat country it is easily captured, since on level ground it cannot walk or run at all. The female lays eggs as big as water-buckets, and one egg will furnish breakfast for twenty-five men. ‘But they taste kind of strong,’ an old man said soberly.

"My old friend Hawk Gentry, veteran White River guide, remarked that the side-hill hoofer is 'kind of like a kangaroo, only built sideways,’ Gentry says that some of them run around the hill clockwise, the others anti-clockwise, and there’s an awful fight when the two varieties meet; they can’t easily dodge one another, for the hoofer can only move around the hill, and goes up or down by means of long gradual curves. In other words, a hoofer can run rapidly on one level, but it’s difficult for him to gain or lose altitude. These creatures sometimes attack men, although they feed only upon vegetable matter. It is easy for a man to avoid the hoofer’s attack, since he need only walk straight uphill or straight downhill for a few steps. They say that when a hoofer falls over on its side it is unable to get up, and just lies there and screams until it starves to death. Many are killed by falling off hillsides, and I have heard of a hollow in Marion County, Arkansas, which is half full of hoofer bones.

"There are old tales also of the side-hill slicker and the side-hill walloper, but I have been unable to learn much about these creatures. It may be that they are identical with the side-hill hoofer.”

Henry H. Tryon mentions a similar creature in his “Fearsome Critters”:

“We’ve had a good bit of perceptibly acrimonious discussion as to the correct vulgate name of this engaging little animal. Some Easterners say 'Side-hill Badger,’ some Californians insist that 'Side-hill Winder’ is correct, there are some vigorous proponents of 'Godaphro,’ 'Prock,’ and 'Side-hill Wowser,’ while a few technical parties claim that 'Gyascutus’ is the one and only. The majority, of the pleadings are in favor of the 'Gouger,’ so We’ll stand on that.

"Always a dweller in hilly county. He has to be, since his nigh legs are shorter than the off pair. There are six to eight pups in a litter, and once in a great while some of them arrive with the relationship reversed. After being weaned, these sports are rarely seen again by their orthodox-legged, brothers and sisters. Normal Gougers must obviously, travel around the hillside, and in making their daily rounds for food they wear the characteristic, partly gouged-out paths so familiar to woodsmen. These paths were once very common in New England, but to-day they are thought to be most frequently seen in the partly forested regions of the West.

"I am indebted to Mr. Bill Ericsson of North Haven, Maine, (and various other points) for the following account of how the Gouger population migrated from New England, 'It Seems,’ said Bill, 'that the Gouger population was getting too thick. There warn’t enough food to go around and somebody just had to move out. A pair of these ambitious little varmints, one orthodox, one abnormal-legged, got together and decided to strike out for a new location. Of Course they could navigate on the hillsides and slopes all right; but they knew mighty well they’d bog down, on the flats, so when they struck level going they just leaned against each other with the longer legs outermost, sort of like a pair of of drunks going home from town.’ This mighty smart adaptation of a natural deformity took them well across the Central States and made it possible for them to found the Gouger Colonies now existing in the West.

"The well-known Chinese ecologist, Dr. He Hop Hi, has piled together much interesting data, on the now extinct Gouger colonies in northwestern Nebraska. There is ample evidence that many years ago the chalk bluffs in this area were populated by numerous such colonies. Careful excavations have revealed successive superposed Gouger civilizations whose arrangement closely resembles those uncovered in the ancient Greek Cities by Drs. Tsountas and Manatt. Following centuries of existence here, these animals became geared to travel solely on the south slopes where food was plentiful. But a great climafic shift took place, with the Virginian element pushing northward and limiting the accustomed food supply to the northern slopes. The Gougers migrated thence, but, while food was plentiful travel was impossible. Fossil remains prove clearly that they rolled to the bottoms of the slopes and starved.

"M. decl. var. semihirsutus
This sub-species is found only in the extremely steep hills in West Virginia and to some extent southward in the southern Appalachians. He is similar in most respects to M. declivitatis save that constant brushing of the nigh side against the steep slopes has worn the fur entirely away, leaving the hide so beautifully tanned and polished that it fetches an unbelievably high price for alligator suitcase stock. The off, or downhill side wears a thick thatch of shaggy, curly brown hair much like buffalo pelt Col. Harry S. Knight of Camp Wood, Arizona is authority for the statement that 'a Sidehill Gouger is jest a burrowin’ buffalo, sized down and growed crooked.”

"M. decl. var. robustissimus
Another variant species, the Yamhill Lunkus, is not uncommon in Oregon. This is a far larger and more powerful animal than either of the foregoing species. It has now and then been domesticated for farm work. Mr. G. C. L. Snyder gives an interesting account of a visit to Ab Eades’ farm on Peavine Ridge where a pair had been broken to draft work, 'The Lunki,’ says Mr. Snyder, 'were the size of a nine months old calf, with a neck about as long as a piece of rope. The sturdy legs were normally arranged, but they could be turned about so the animals could travel just like anything in reverse.’

"Mr. Eades was clearing up a piece of land. He had four big owls (Bubo eruditus) trained to carry a rope around the top of a tree to be removed. The Lunki were yoked to this rope, and with one easy heave out would come the tree, roots and all.”


I’ve really slacked on posting photos from the move, got to visit this magical place on my way through Oklahoma.

Appalachian Subculture: On being gay and Appalachian, by Jeff Mann

Jeff Mann is a widely published essayist and poet from West Virginia. This piece was published in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, September/October 2003, Vol. 10 Issue 5, page 19. 

Appalachia has a bad reputation, especially West Virginia, the only state whose borders lie entirely within anyone’s definition of the Appalachian Mountains. Moonshine swillers and feuding hicks—these are the images that most people hold. “Hillbillies,” despite today’s politically correct climate, are still regular objects of mockery. City dwellers have been alternately romanticizing and demonizing country dwellers since Greek and Roman times, and American popular culture’s relation to Appalachia is our version of it.
    Several summers ago, some friends and I walked into a Mexican restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The young man who escorted us to our table, noticing my West Virginia Writer’s Workshop T-shirt, asked if we still slept with our siblings back in the hollers. My Appalachian Studies students have heard many a thoughtless comment, to wit: “You’re from West Virginia? But you have teeth! You wear shoes?!” One young woman told me that an acquaintance had been so amazed by her accent that he asked permission to audiotape her speech for the amusement of friends!
    Queer folk and mountain folk have something very important in common: both are frequent objects of satire, hostility, and contempt. Both feel the pressure to assimilate, to blend in “for their own well-being.” Voices from the Hills: Selected Readings of Southern Appalachia (1975), edited by Robert Higgs and Ambrose Manning, is a seminal work in the field of Appalachian Studies, and a quick browse through that volume provides a neat historical overview of attitudes toward the region. The early travel narratives depict violence and hospitality, laziness and industriousness—but it’s the negative qualities that outsiders tend to linger over. From the “local color” writers of the late 19th century to the well-intentioned “War on Poverty” literature of the 1960’s, all the observers have emphasized the exoticism, the otherness of the Appalachian people, as if the region were almost a foreign country or some remnant of frontier society frozen in time. Today’s attitudes continue to be shaped by such media depictions as The Beverly Hillbillies or the infamous film Deliverance, with its inbred banjo-player and toothless rapists.
    ”Hillbilly” and “queer” are two words that oppressed groups have tried to reclaim. They are words that I may apply to myself but that outsiders had better not use to refer to me unless they want an argument. Being a member of both subcultures is often a double burden, one that many mountain people are eager to escape. Gay culture is still primarily an urban phenomenon, while Appalachia, despite its many cities, is primarily a rural region. Making a life as a gay man or lesbian in the countryside or in a small town can be tough; not surprisingly, many young Appalachian gays and lesbians hightail it to the nearest city as soon as possible.
    I certainly did. It was in 1976, when I was sixteen, that I read Patricia Nell Warren’s novel The Front Runner and realized that I was gay. Unlike gay and lesbian youths of today, who have the Internet with its many resources to inform them that they’re not the only ones with same-sex desires, my generation had books, and I devoured them during my high school days in the small town of Hinton, West Virginia, and later at West Virginia University, where I read novels by the Violet Quill writers and relished the luxury of college-town gay life. Appalachia was, at that point in my development, a place from which to flee. With delicious images of Greenwich Village and Fire Island in my head (but not ready for New York), I found part-time work in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1985 and prepared myself for a new life filled with romantic and erotic adventure.
    Misery is often the stimulus to self-awareness, and I was miserable during that long autumn in Washington. A polite Southerner who hadn’t mastered the fine arts of cruising, anonymous sex, and emotional manipulation, I found myself as unhappy and celibate in the big city as I’d been in West Virginia. I felt like Tantalus, surrounded by inaccessible savories. On top of that, I missed the mountains and my family, and I began to realize how many of my values were thoroughly shaped by rural living and out of step with urban life. For someone accustomed to forests, pastures, and vegetable gardens, D.C.’s traffic, noise, and urban pace were abrasive and often maddening. In the midst of the city I came to realize that I was, inescapably, a country boy.
    Proximity to gay bars and bookstores was not worth the price, I decided, and by year’s end I returned to West Virginia, filled with a new appreciation for my native region. By the time I began teaching Appalachian Studies at Virginia Tech in the early 1990’s, I had changed from a young gay man eager to escape the mountains to a not-so-young gay man proud to be a member of both the Appalachian and gay subcultures. Living in a liberal university town in the hills of southwest Virginia allowed me the best of both worlds.
    For many people, however, claiming and retaining both identities is almost impossible. It’s so much easier to choose one subculture over the other than to deal with the confusions and complexities of balancing both. Those who remain in the mountains often feel compelled to hide or minimize their gayness, while those who leave for the cities try to erase their accents and assimilate into urban culture. The latter escapees face a particular difficulty. In an essay in his book, Appalachian Values, Loyal Jones discusses mountain people’s fervent attachment to place and to family. Gay hill folk are like their straight brethren: they display an inordinate affection for their native places, and they often suffer a bitter homesickness when they flee to big cities.
    Rob is a good example. A bear buddy of mine who had spent all of his life in West Virginia, he recently moved to Washington for the same reasons that I did over fifteen years ago, yearning for a rich and varied gay culture that was hard to find in the mountains. He’s had better luck on the romantic front—his handsome face, friendly smile, and well-built body are useful currency—but whenever I talk to him, whenever he returns to the mountains for holidays, I can hear the wistfulness in his voice. Everything’s so expensive in D.C., he complains. The commutes are long, the apartments small, the sound of traffic ceaseless. Maybe he’ll return to West Virginia and enter a graduate school program.
    I understand. As much as I love to visit D.C.—the Lambda Rising bookstore, the leather and bear bars, the innumerable gayfriendly restaurants along 17th Street—I’m always glad to escape the Beltway chaos and begin my retreat down the Shenandoah Valley. When I exit truck-crowded Interstate 81 at Ironto, Virginia, and wend my way along the tortuous back roads between hillsides of redbud, tulip tree, and sugar maple, I’m always gripped by the peace and beauty of the landscape. It is a loveliness I never take for granted. Perhaps it’s because my father (another literate West Virginian) raised me to be a romantic in the tradition of Emerson and Thoreau. Perhaps it’s because I’m in my mid-forties, happily coupled, and no longer delighted by late-night gay bar culture. Whatever the reason, these days the company of trees, creeks, and hills feels just as necessary for my spiritual health as relationships with other human beings.
    Many gay people continue to migrate out of Appalachia, but more and more I meet gay men and lesbians who are determined to remain in the mountains. Some are natives, while some are urbanites who’ve had more than enough stress and have decided to try something new. Harry is an example of the latter phenomenon. Originally from Staten Island, he’s lived in my little hometown of Hinton for twenty years. How does he manage to live a full gay life in an isolated town of 3,500? He does occasionally make the hour-and-a-half drive to the bear bar in Charleston, and he also attends Radical Faerie gatherings several times a year in Virginia and Tennessee. He always talks up Hinton to the people he meets, telling them of its beautiful mountains and river, its incredibly cheap property. And his strategy has worked. At this point, so many gay men, both Appalachians and outsiders, have bought property in Harry’s neighborhood that it has come to be known as “Harry’s Heights.” I’ve met more gay men in Harry’s kitchen—smack dab in the middle of Summers County, West Virginia, an area rife with religious fundamentalism—than I have in any gay bar.
    One reason that gay mountaineers flee to cities is, of course, to avoid homophobia. Though hatred of homosexuals is found everywhere, it’s sometimes more vocal here in Appalachia, where fundamentalist Christians usually assume that they’re the majority. In the Charleston Gazette, West Virginia’s most prestigious newspaper, the letters to the editor are often lousy with biblical quotations. One Kanawha Valley minister regularly harps on the sinfulness of gays and their supposed predatory pedophilia.
    However, despite this hostility, gay life in West Virginia has expanded and deepened in the last two decades. I imagine many citizens of Greenwich Village, Dupont Circle, or the Castro would be surprised to hear that Charleston, West Virginia, hosts four gay bars, a Mountain State Bear Contest, a Pride Parade, a Mr. Leather Contest, and an assortment of political and social organizations for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. For those who live in the many tiny towns of Appalachia, fear and isolation are still likely to warp their lives, but in West Virginia cities like Charleston, Morgantown, and Huntington—and their equivalents in other Appalachian states—living a gay or lesbian existence is becoming in many cases much more comfortable than I could ever have imagined during my lonely high school days in Hinton in the mid-1970’s.
    My friendship with Alan reminds me, however, of the restrictions that can still make Appalachian gay and lesbian lives lonely and unfulfilling. Alan is very handsome, lean and muscular, sweet-tempered, intelligent, and gainfully employed. Despite this, he is unhappily single. Yes, Charleston has a gay community, but it’s too small. Only a few weeks in the bar scene and you know everyone, he complains. Disillusioned and bored by the social opportunities the Kanawha Valley offers, he spends his evenings renovating his house or going to the gym. He dreams of better romantic opportunities in Washington or New York or San Francisco, but he never quite seems to go. He reminds me of the many poverty-stricken inhabitants of the central Appalachian coalfields, whose attachment to place keeps them in a region where economic possibilities have dwindled along with the coal industry itself. (Alan also reminds me of how lucky I am to have my lover John. After years of romantic debacles, I’ve been in a healthy relationship for six years, and I’m no longer prowling for erotic outlets or looking for love. It’s easy for me, a homebody who can take or leave gay society, not to resent Appalachia’s restrictions.)
    Loneliness is everywhere, of course, from the Castro to the most isolated hillside hamlet. Much to my surprise, my D.C. friends sometimes register the same complaints that Alan does about Charleston: the gay social world is too hermetic; it’s hard to find someone interested in more than an overnight frolic. But for mountain gays and lesbians who are comfortably coupled, for those who have come to terms with solitude, or those who’ve resisted the media stereotypes that encourage “hillbillies” to hold their own heritage in contempt, Appalachia possesses a rich regional culture that remains distinctive even as many other sections of America have become blandly homogenized.
    The scholar Helen Lewis once claimed that most Appalachians are bicultural, able to operate in both mainstream American culture and their own mountain subculture. That would make “mountaineer queers” tricultural, I suppose, if they are strong enough to wrestle with the apparent contradictions in their identity. That there are tensions and contradictions I was reminded a few years ago when teaching courses on gay and lesbian literature and Appalachian Studies in the same semester. The gay and lesbian students at first regarded me as a “Bubba” or redneck (I drive a pickup truck, have a mountain accent, sport a beard, wear cowboy boots and jeans, and listen to country music), while the locals in my Appalachian Studies class regarded me as one of them until I came out as gay near semester’s end, giving rise to a good deal of cognitive dissonance. I was tempted to quote Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
    The longer I live in the mountains and the more Appalachian gays and lesbians I meet, the more I realize how fortunate are those who master the complex art of balancing several subcultures. I’m also beginning to believe that future generations will more easily work their way through the stigmas and contradictions and will not feel the need to renounce one identity in favor of another.
    My ex-student Kaye is a fine example of the new breed of queer youth. She was raised in a coal-mining family in the small town of Fayetteville, West Virginia. Entirely comfortable with her lesbian identity, she is happily coupled and has little interest in leaving the region. “I like Appalachian gay bars,” Kaye admits. “Folk are pretty friendly around here, and, unlike the bars in cities, which often cater to a specific group of queers, West Virginia’s gay bars, since they’re so few, combine all the gay subcultures: men and women, younger and older, leather guys, dykes-on-bikes, and drag queens. It’s a rich mix.” Kaye also tells an unforgettable story about her years living outside the region. When she and her girlfriend moved to Florida and began socializing in a nearby lesbian bar, they were shunned as soon as the locals found out that they were from West Virginia. It turns out the other patrons took mountain incest jokes very seriously. Since Kaye and her lover were both tall and dark-haired, it was assumed that they were sisters as well as lovers! Unlike many gay people of my generation, Kaye is deeply interested in the traditions of mountain culture. As a student in my Appalachian Studies class, she recognized a kindred soul and gave me such local treats as home-canned corn relish, wild ramps, and creecy greens. Kaye is also passionately involved in such Appalachian controversies as the environmental effects of mountaintop mining and acid mine drainage.
    Everett and Glenn also come to mind. This spring John and I visited the young couple in their log cabin in southwest Virginia, which is set so high on a mountain that it’s only accessible via four-wheel-drive vehicles. Everett grilled steaks, Glenn poured iced tea, and the four of us shared a late lunch on the front porch of the cabin. Far below, the north fork of the Roanoke River rushed along. Across the valley, the fog that forms after a spring rain rubbed its belly along the ridges. Just over the fence, a neighbor’s herd of fat cattle grazed amidst buttercups. A mockingbird chattered somewhere, the porch wind chimes sounded. The rest was countryside silence.
    Everett and Glenn are both Southwest Virginia locals, one from Patrick County, the other from Alleghany County. They like their native mountains, and they intend to stay. They’re part of a widely scattered circle of bear buddies who’ve met on the Internet, friends with whom they exchange infrequent visits. Their families have adopted a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and officially regard them as roommates. What cravings they have for big-city gay adventure they defuse with several yearly trips to bear or leather busts in Orlando, Atlanta, and New Orleans. In between those jaunts, they have that quiet mountainside to come home to. “One colleague says I have two lives,” joked Everett as he doled out slices of his homemade pie. “I’m equally comfortable at wine tastings and Wal-Mart.”
    It’s that juxtaposition of the popular and the sophisticated, the wild and the groomed, the country and the queer, that gives one the sense of living between two worlds. John is due home soon, and I’m about to mix martinis. Some collard greens have been simmering most of the afternoon, and the barbecued ribs are almost done. Tonight we’re going to check our calendar—we have trips to San Francisco, Key West, and Lost River to plan—then watch a DVD of Puccini’s Tosca. Right now, however, I’m peeved, because the radio has just announced that the country music star Tim McGraw is performing at the nearby civic center this coming Saturday, but the event is sold out. The mountaineer in me loves McGraw’s music; the gay man loves his broad shoulders, furry cleavage, and handsome goatee. This double vision is the greatest gift of straddling two subcultures: the world shimmers with twice the meaning, twice the beauty.

“It surprised me how much he turned the nation over to coal and oil interests, but it’s a bad path for our country. I think he’s turning America into a petrostate. He named the most notorious oil man in the country to run the State Department, Rex Tillerson, the head of Exxon. Trump’s other Cabinet choices are so deeply rooted in the ideology of fossil fuels and promoting mercantile interests of those industries ahead of the American people, and it’s hard to see a good end for our country from those kinds of policies.The abolition or the destruction of the clean power rule is not going to bring back a single coal job in eastern Kentucky or southern West Virginia, it’s just not gonna happen. The only people who are going to benefit from that are going to be the billionaires who own the utilities and the big carbon interests.“

(-Robert F. Kennedy Jr.)

anonymous asked:

Is it true that West Virginia people only drink Mountain Dew

nah we can’t afford Mountain Dew so we get the off-brand version called “Appalachian Mist” then we shotgun cans of it and whoever chokes first doesn’t get to marry their cousin

Title: Road Trip

Author: @barryxcaitlinjustwork

Fandom: The Flash

Ship: Snowbarry

Rating: PG

Summary:  Prompt: Highway Motels.  Set Post Season 1, Canon Divergent



Meta human metabolism or no, Barry was exhausted.  He’d never know how much he depended on having Caitlin and Cisco (and the fake Wells) around to deal with everything that came with being the Flash.  He appreciated them, of course, but he didn’t think it would be so draining to do this alone.  Between work and heroics, he was burning the candle on both ends and the ache in his chest grew worse every day, but he didn’t know how to make it go away as the months passed.

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Day 1152: September 9, 2017

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad

This railroad operates passenger sight-seeing trips along a particularly beautiful stretch of the South Branch of the Potomac River in northeastern West Virginia. The trip starts at the historic town of Romney and takes in some spectacular mountain scenery. The highlight is passage through “The Trough”, a beautiful six-mile gorge known for its large population of Bald Eagles. The sides of the Trough are so steep that this area is only accessible by train, foot, or boat.

Romney, West Virginia