A sad loss
February 15, 2007 6:21 PM   Subscribe

RIP Heather MacAllister. "Any time there is a fat person onstage as anything besides the butt of a joke, it’s political. Add physical movement, then dance, then sexuality and you have a revolutionary act.”  Founder of Big Burlesque and Venus Group, she died Feb 13 after a long fight with ovarian cancer. She was notably photographed by Leonard Nimoy. Multiple memorial services are planned for her birthday, Feb 25. [some links may be NSFW]
posted by cubby (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by alteredcarbon at 6:40 PM on February 15, 2007

Thanks for posting this. I'd actually been sitting here waiting until my 24 hour limit had passed so I could post about her, but you have most of the links I would have included. Maybe I know you? Anyway, the only link I can add is this moving aknowledgment of her range of activist work.
posted by serazin at 6:48 PM on February 15, 2007

posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:48 PM on February 15, 2007 [3 favorites]

posted by LeeJay at 7:25 PM on February 15, 2007

Thanks for that link, serazin, I hadn't seen it yet. I personally did not know Heather, but a friend of mine met her through NoLose, so you may be more likely to know my friend. We both live in Boston.
posted by cubby at 7:27 PM on February 15, 2007

posted by vespertine at 11:16 PM on February 15, 2007

posted by sfslim at 1:59 AM on February 16, 2007

Reminding us that obese women want to be thought of as sexually desirable, too...pretty cool. I'd never heard of her, but here's to her memory nonetheless.
posted by pax digita at 2:53 AM on February 16, 2007

Another brave person fighting our cultural sexual superstitions. Glad to see she was able to end her life by her own choice, with dignity. If I'm ever in a similar situation I hope I have that option. RIP.
posted by pcameron at 8:18 AM on February 16, 2007

That Leonard Nimoy photo is a parody/homage of the
Helmut Newton photo (NSFW) Sie kommen
posted by the Real Dan at 9:23 AM on February 16, 2007

posted by Pallas Athena at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2007

pax_digita, not only want to be but are.

I met Heather once or twice, via my partner, Hanne, and I found her to be energetic and wonderful, and I was sorry to hear about her illness even as I was overjoyed to hear that she took it head-on and did all she could to live a glorious, glamorous, fully engaged life, all the way until she had to leave us.

And I'm proud of how she handled that too.

Heather, may you have the vacation you need and may you raise hell in the afterlife and perhaps get to start over again with less physical suffering this time around.

I bow to the four corners of the world and wish with all my heart that this will be so.
posted by kalessin at 12:35 PM on February 16, 2007

So glad to see Heather's passing noted here. She was a diva and a revolutionary, and she fought for her life like a lion. We gave her a brave sendoff in Portland yesterday, complete with sunshine and bagpiper. Here are a few more links:

Article about Heather's activism plus fabulous photo.

A moving description of Benefat, a fundraiser for her in SF.

posted by ottereroticist at 7:10 PM on February 18, 2007

SF Chronicle obit.
posted by serazin at 12:37 PM on February 24, 2007

Received via an e-mail list for Heather's friends:

According to a Proclamation from Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco, Sunday, February 25, 2007 is Heather MacAllister Day in San Francisco.

She is honored for being a "strong advocate for the transgender population and for the rights of fat people, for being the founder and artistic director of Big Burlesque and Fat Bottom Revue, the first burlesque act exclusively featuring large-sized performers, for helping inspire the passage of San Francisco's anti-size discrimination law, for helping coordinate a summit to bring Muslim and gay rights organizations as a symbol of solidarity against the civil rights offenses that occurred after 9/11, and being a member of Al-Fatiha, the nation's only national organization for sexual minority Muslims, and of NOLOSE, an organization for human rights and culture for fat lesbians and transgender people, and to honor this inspiring community leader and performer who passed away at age 38 on February 13, 2007, after a 3 year battle with ovarian cancer..." (from the Proclamation)

February 25th would have been Heather's 39th birthday.
posted by ottereroticist at 4:01 PM on February 24, 2007

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