Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan

August 25, 2014

Review of the play MMF, and other poly theater pieces

MMF play logo
Remember my announcement about MMF, a new play in New York about a poly breakup?

Well, some of you went, and here's a review. A key excerpt:

By Allan Hunter

...Within the first 4 minutes of the lights going up, Dean states that he's missing someone he is "not supposed to miss", which both introduces [his] reminiscences and sets the emotional tone of the threesome's knotted tangle of unspoken rules and undefined obligations.

Mike Mizwicki, Courtney Alana Ward and Andrew Rincón gave a compellingly stark and believable portrayal of anguished individuals in interaction. Their respective characters, Dean, Jane and Michael, exuded a most infectious frustration that quickly made me want to backhand each of them in turn. Polyamory is a lifestyle choice that requires communication and emotional patience and honesty, a point illustrated in MMF by displaying the outcome of their absence. At no point did any of the trio attempt to discuss with the others what it was that they were doing and how they ought to go about doing it. Not once was the word "polyamory" mentioned, nor was there any sign at any time that they'd noticed that there exists a polyamorous community or that polyamorous people have issues that might be of concern to them. It was not obvious whether they'd ever discussed whether they would opt for sexual exclusivity among the three of them... but we see both Dean and Michael becoming upset when two of the members of the trio have sex in the absence of the third and again when one has sex with an outside person.

We observe them flying blindly in the fog, trying to relate to each other without definitions.... All three are immature and insecure; they badger each other, deliberately inflicting guilt or trying to evoke a sense of obligation as they pry at each other for reassurances that they then cannot believe....

MMF is a well-wrought drama rendered by the three actors in evocatively unsettling tones and phrases and punctuated with awkward pauses. The material is solidly and believably human, the characters three-dimensionally real. But, as my partner Anais remarked, "I'd hate for people to see this and think that this is what polyamory is like!" (I replied, "Yes, that would be as bad as seeing Romeo and Juliet and thinking, 'Oh, so that's what dating is like!'")...

Go read his whole review (Aug. 22, 2014).

Theater buff Mischa Lin of Open Love NY notes,

The play was pretty good, well-acted and one of the more realistic portrayals of a poly situation. I wish it had a little more awareness of polyamory, but this was a scenario where people just fall into it without the education and support of a community. From that perspective, The Three of Us, the winning play in my playwright competition [link], was a far superior play because at least one of the characters actually understood what polyamory is and acted with intention. Those are the stories that will be far more interesting than the accidental threesome stories we’ve seen so far in the vast majority of drama.


Another, more aware piece of theater is Lust & Marriage, a one-woman performance that played earlier this year in Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Seattle and Portland. From the show's description:

Eleanor O’Brien
Dance Naked Productions Artistic Director Eleanor O’Brien explores the search for love, lust and life partners in this candid look at modern marriage. Does hot monogamy exist? Can polyamory save the happily ever after? #WWDSD? (“What Would Dan Savage Do?”) In this revealing solo performance, O’Brien examines cultural beliefs around monogamy, monotony, jealousy and polyamory from a highly personal perspective. With heaps of humor...

Two-minute trailer.

Here's a review by Ron Richardson; you know him from Cunning Minx's Polyamory Weekly (June 8, 2014).

review by SeattlePolyChick (June 7, 2014).

And another, in Willamette Week (Jan. 14, 2014).

Interested in more? Here are all my posts tagged "plays" (including this one; scroll down).



August 23, 2014

Stories from the Polycule and Game Changer: more books coming from Thorntree Press

When Franklin Veaux first tried to interest publishers in the book that would become More Than Two, they told him they weren't interested in a how-to poly book; they wanted his personal memoir. So he and his sweetie Eve Rickert, who knew the writing and publishing business, founded their own imprint, Thorntree Press, to bring out More Than Two, which they ended up writing together.

The book launches in 10 days. A few hundred are already in circulation, drawing great reviews. Amazon starts shipping it then, and Eve and Franklin will begin their West Coast book tour.

They hoped from the outset that this would work well enough for them to keep the company going and publish more alt-relationship nonfiction. Now they have two additional books in the works for 2015, and they're looking for more. One is Franklin's memoir, to be titled Game Changer, which he's currently writing. (If mainstream publishers thought it would sell, it's probably a good bet.) The other is Elisabeth Sheff's Tales from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families, which she's had brewing since last winter.

Elisabeth is the sociologist who published The Polyamorists Next Door nearly a year ago. Much of it is about her years of work researching polyfamilies and their kids. Tales from the Polycule will be, according to Thorntree,

an anthology of work from people living in polyamorous families. Editor Elisabeth Sheff is currently seeking submissions for the anthology. Are you a member of a poly family and willing to share your story (anonymously) with the world? Consider writing a brief entry.

Submissions are due by October 15.

Submissions can:

-- Range in length from a few sentences to 3,000 words long, depending on your age, the format you select, and how much you have to say.

-- Take the form of essays, short stories, poetry, drawings, photographs, or whatever else you create that can be depicted in a two-dimensional format.

-- Use pseudonyms or real names — be as anonymous or out as you wish.

-- Come from anyone who identifies as a member of a polyamorous family composed of all adults, adults and kids, or some other mix of folks who identify as family.

To submit a contribution to Stories from the Polycule, please email them to drelisheff {at} gmail.com by October 15, 2014.

Topics you might consider include (but are not limited to)....

Read on.



August 20, 2014

Offbeat Bride: "Angi & Bret's polyamorous backyard wedding"

Offbeat Bride features another poly wedding story with lots of pictures. This one's by activist Angi Becker Stevens, who unofficially married her boyfriend while still married to her husband, who assisted at the wedding. She wrote about their plans nearly a year ago in Salon and more recently in another story in Offbeat Bride. It all happened as planned.

Angi & Bret's polyamorous backyard wedding

Poly V and daughter
New husband Bret, Angi, daughter, legal husband Kory. (Photo: Josh Barnhart) 

As a polyamorous couple having a non-legal ceremony, our wedding was inherently pretty offbeat. We had a very small budget, and a primary goal of having a celebration that really felt like a reflection of our personalities and our relationship. We DIYed practically everything, from the invitations to the 400 paper flowers for the bouquets and the centerpieces to the iTunes reception playlist to the ceremony itself. My other partner, Kory (who I've been legally married to for 12 years), cooked the amazing food (a vegetarian burrito bar!) for our reception....

Our ceremony took place in an amphitheater in a gorgeous park that has a lot of personal significance for us.... We created the ceremony from scratch, with the help of Offbeat Bride's tremendously helpful Ceremony 101 article....

...Sometime during the reception when we were drinking and dancing, my other partner, Kory, said excitedly to me, "We did it! We made a wedding!" He was really happy with how smoothly the catering went and felt very satisfied after the immense amounts of work he had put into it....

Read on, with lotsa pix (Aug. 20, 2014).

And here's a previous poly wedding featured at Offbeat Bride, with links to more.



August 19, 2014

Times of India: "Polyamorous relationships are a reality. Are you game?" And, a seed in a remote village.

The world's largest-circulation English-language newspaper prints this today in its Bangalore edition:

Polyamorous relationships are a reality. Are you game?

By Parinatha Sampath & Dhwani Desai

In a world in which variety is the spice of life, more and more people are now opening up to the idea of being polyamorous, i.e., being in more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved....

Polyamorous is about being honest

"Being polyamorous doesn't mean that you are cheating on your partner," clarifies Santosh Srinivas, a city-based consultant. A polyamorous person is honest and open with his/her partner about their desire to be in a relationship with them and other people at the same time, and also seeks their approval.... Vasanth R, a consultant, who has been polyamourous for three years, also emphasizes on the need for honestly. "It is very important to be honest with your partner. Such relationships are only possible if all partners are absolutely open. Everyone involved should also like each other, or it will never work."

Free of complications

But does being in several relationships tend to get complicated? "Not at all. Issues only tend to crop up if one partner gets clingy. A lot of it has to do with maturity. Sure, there's jealousy, but one needs to weigh their options and see what is more important — jealousy or living a life based on certain principles. I'm sure betrayal does take place even in polyamorous relationships, but that is the case with any relationship. It shouldn't stop you from looking for new relationships. Everything must be talked about and reasoned out," says Vasanth.

It's not all about sex....

Monogamy is overrated

Priya Suresh, a homemaker, has been married for nine years and says that she would like to explore polyamory since she thinks that monogamy is unnatural.... Also, I feel that such relationships will change the way men think about women. Men tend to have the upper hand in relationships and when both partners are open to seeing others, the woman will not be taken for granted."

Read the whole article (Aug. 19, 2014).

Also, in The Times of India last month: a short description of the open-marriage option for those looking for alternatives to traditional marriage (July 7, 2014):

This one is probably one of the hardest relationship trends and is mostly misunderstood by couples. An open marriage or an open relationship is being together but having an understanding that if you wish to [step] out of the relationship, you are free to do that without being questioned or emotionally targeted by the other person.

And a while back, at least one edition ran an interview with the U.K's Meg Barker, poly researcher and author of the then-recently-published book Rewriting the Rules.


In other poly news from India, remember the independent movie 3 on a Bed? Its starry-eyed fimmakers, Rajdeep Paul and Sarmistha Maiti, went on to write the story as a novella and publish it as part of a book by the same name.

"3 in a bed" polyamory movie poster from India

From Rajdeep Paul's Facebook page for the book and movie:

By destiny’s design a film was made and a book written by our hands by the name of “3 on a Bed,” but its reach went so far beyond our wildest dreams that it keeps cropping up surprises on us each passing day. From being embraced by the polyamorous community in Australia, to a website being made by admirers in free, to being termed as “post postmodern” by a bunch of sociologists in Hyderabad University....

.... but what happened today takes the cream. At around 5 pm, I get a call from a boy who says he has read the book and wants to talk to me. The boy heralds from a small village in Panshkura, Medinipur, West Bengal called Narayan Murailpur, where there is no electricity and mobile signal is so weak that the phone disconnected 8 times within a 10 minute conversation. AND this particular boy, Shankha Chakravorty, has read the book recommended by a theater worker from Panshkura, and he is completely overwhelmed by the story “3 on a Bed.” Not only he, but a few others in their village have read it despite their difficulty with English…. He has even narrated the story to his mother and sister and they have connected with it too!!!... In his words… “You could have made it titillating and raunchy if you wanted to… but what you have done instead is a beautifully touching love story… there is nothing dirty, nothing ugly (kono noshtami nei, kono nongrami nei)… how can one not connect with it….” His only request to me, “Please write something for us in Bengali…” What more can a creator want?

Here are all my posts tagged India/South Asia (including this one; scroll down).



August 17, 2014

Is this story awful for polys, or exactly our point?

Your Tango

Here's one that some people will see as confirming the worst stereotypes about the danger of open relationships ("This never ends well." "Totally playing with fire." "Reeks of 1970s narcissism."). And others, if they read the full text to the end, may see it as exactly what can turn out great about what we're doing.

It just appeared in the popular online women's magazine Your Tango, "Your Best Love Life."

Asking For An Open Marriage Made Me A Better Wife And Mom

monogamy or polyamory?
By Emelie Archer Pickett

The wild calls to us like a far-off wolf pack and most of us have forgotten how to answer.

We are scared of the dark forests, of our own depressions and ecstasies, of anyplace untamed and free … and yet we ache for freedom....

After a decade of being saddled by picket fences, a fine marriage, taut physique, moderate career success, and an enviable collection of high-end shoes, my body and heart yearned for real unleashing.

Then, four years ago, I heard my desires howling.

Not knowing how to be wild, I headed to amazon.com for ideas in book form, eventually landing on a topic light years away from my good-girl tendencies: open marriage. Intrigued and intimacy starved, I followed my curiosity into what would become one of the most surprising experiences in my life.

After devouring books about polyamory, open relating, and primordial urges, I sat my husband down to have the talk....

He, also being slightly unsatisfied, eventually agreed to opening our relationship....

For a little while, the theory of openness played out like the books said it would: I felt immense gratitude and newfound attraction for my husband for trusting me enough to set me free, even as he struggled to make any connections beyond ours. One morning after waking from an encounter, I was absolutely flooded with emotion; not toward the man in my bed, but toward my own husband.

It seemed to be working. I looked like I had light beams pouring from my body. I was purified by my own discomfort, by the permission I gave myself to explore, by the ruthless honesty of terribly uncomfortable conversations I could no longer avoid.

And then, one day a few months later, this new wild life began to unravel.

It started with a profile photo from an online dating site that I joined as a joke.

His face appeared in my inbox and a lightning bolt shivered down my spine. I immediately knew I was in trouble.

I said yes anyway....


...So, I leapt, extracting myself as gracefully as possible from a marriage I never intended to leave.

...My tiger man moved to Peru, following a lifelong dream to live and work in the Amazonian jungle. I moved into a small artistic apartment and started rebuilding a life of my own. My practice husband lost his job, moved in with his dad, and we worked through how to lovingly co-parent our son amidst chaos and upheaval [yes there's a kid in this –Ed.].

...My Tiger and I eventually married (three times, just for good measure), laying down roots in a new home together after his stint in Peru.

We are expecting a child together. Big brother (and his dad) are genuinely excited for us.

...Together we have built a golden life out of the ashes of what came before.

My open marriage gifted me with so much: I learned how to tell the truth, to stand up for my hunger, to be brave. Those few precious months were the doorway to my forbidden life: the life I couldn't have dared to believe in....

Read the whole story (Aug. 15, 2014).

The very first commenter writes,

Soooooo grateful for the telling of your story, Emelie... for now I realize that I am not alone in what occurred in my own marriage. I entered into my marriage deeply in love and fully intending that it would last 'forever'. Yet as the years went on and our personal growth and changes occurred, along with extremely different parenting styles not known before we had children... we both began to recognize that a change was occurring that we could not control. We still loved each other as close friends... but what was apparent is that we were not compatible as lovers and life intimate partners any longer... and trying to force it was making us both miserable, which was spilling out onto our sons. Yet we didn't believe in the usual love/hate, married/divorce models. We didn't hate each other. We were close committed friends. We also didn't want to cause the psychological schisms in our kids' lives the divorces we saw happening around us did to theirs. So we sought another way.

For a time we chose to open our relationship. And then, over time we each chose new intimate partners... and continued to live on the same property in separate houses, gifting our sons, their friends, and our community with a new way of love and family in the world. One that doesn't pretend that love does not change when we grow. Or pretend that now the one we once loved, we now hate and thus take them for all we can. Our sons now in their 20s have thanked us repeatedly for choosing this way. And many in our community have come forward to tell how us deeply touched and inspired they are by experiencing a 'new way' of living family into a community that flourishes from a ground of love.

The "game-changer relationship" is a tough issue that Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert address head on in their book More Than Two. As they stress, you cannot wish this risk away or successfully rule it away. I don't know if they invented the term "game changer," but I'm seeing it enter the poly vocabulary even before the book's official publication date.


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August 15, 2014

Dan Savage apologizes to polyfolks

Dan Savage once had a rocky time with polys, starting with an ignorant little snark. Later it got better. Now he publishes a reader's letter and admits that yeah, he was an asshole back then.

Letter of the Day: Happy Anniversary

As a long time reader of yours, I've been gleefully awaiting this day for three years. You see, I am the unicorn part of a poly triad, and today marks the three year anniversary for myself, my husband, and my wife — we aren't legally married, of course, but our commitment ceremony was beautiful nonetheless....

So, Dan, it's with a certain degree of smugness that I ask: will you wish us a happy three year anniversary?

—Totally Reached It, Ability Doubter


You're doubtless referencing this asshole remark of mine [and here he quotes me! –Ed.]:

Savage, a long-partnered gay man who coined the word "monogamish" for his somewhat open relationship, used to snark at polys. He famously remarked that he'd been to poly multi-marriage ceremonies but never to a poly third-anniversary party. That prompted many long-term polyfamilies to speak up as counterexamples, jumping up and down to try to catch his attention.

You're not the first poly triad to let me know that they've made it to their leather anniversary, TRIAD, but I'm thrilled to hear from you nonetheless. Congrats and best wishes to you, your wife, and your husband.... But... technically speaking... my snark still stands, TRIAD: I have been to a few poly weddings but I've never been to a poly third-anniversary party. Still. I know they happen — yours is happening — but somehow I never seem to rate an invitation. Was it something I said?

Read the whole piece (Aug. 14, 2014).

A commenter comments, "I've never been to anyone's third anniversary party. Who the hell has third anniversary parties?"