FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: A Virtual Grease Bats Book Party and Community Love Fest

Hello precious kittens, it is I, your roaming transgender novelist, come back here for two shakes of a stick to have a book party with you. A book party, you ask? For whom? For what? For Archie, I exclaim back! For our own Archie Bongiovanni, and for this here comic we have on Autostraddle dot com called Grease Bats!

If you haven’t been reading Grease Bats, well go do that first and come back — it’s a comic about a fictional group of queer friends who ride their fictional bicycles around a fictional Minneapolis and who love each other fiercely, nothing fictional about that sweet community love. A full disclosure: I wrote the introduction to the book, so I, of course, unabashedly love it. (You can read the Autostraddle review of the book here.) And I am here to squee with you. Because this has Big Dykes (to watch out for) Energy. Let’s throw a book party for Archie Bongiovanni! Let’s all forum-role-play standing around, drinking champagne and ginger ale at a tiny queer book store packed in, shoulder to shoulder, complementing each other’s green hair, matte lipstick, leather suspenders, spike heels. Whenever Archie figuratively walks by, we will raise our glasses to their triumph, their triumph being, in this specific case, rendering us on the page. All of us. Because that is the magic of Grease Bats: the deft portrayal of a vibrant, messy, human queer community, body and soul, right there in a bound book for us to hold, caress, give to friends and put on our bookshelves. And for this virtual book party, we shall play my favorite Grease Bats related game: Character Sun/Moon/Rising.

drawn and provided by Archie Bongiovanni

Now based on that image (and your reading of Grease Bats), let’s use this to process our sometimes difficult personalities while sipping imaginary drinks and smelling that good good musty book smell. If you’ve not engaged in astrology before, sun signs are like your core identity, moon signs are like your subconscious and emotional state, and rising sign is the mask you present to the world. (Yes, astrologers, I know I’ve reduced it, but we’re two fictional champagne flutes in and this is fun.) Now, which characters represent your Sun, Moon and Rising signs? For me, personally, I’m a Scout sun because of the amount of anxiety I feel and also my deep love for burritos. I’m a Gwen moon, I think, because I am the kind of person who can just walk up to a person and ask them out, and I do like to shout about my sexuality in public places and also in my own head; all of those things are straight-up emotional reactions for me. And I carry that kind of Gwen-personal-parade around in my heart always. And I’m a Taylor rising because I love academia and donuts and I think if you asked most people who know me in physical space, they perceive me as a strange academic golem creature who can talk for two hours about pedagogy and can probably tell you that my favorite donut is the Boston Cream from Stan’s in Chicago because I have definitely on more than one occasion presented my list of favorite donuts, ranked.

Also tell me about your week, because we don’t just talk about books at a book party. We talk about us too. What’s going on with you? What else are you excited to be reading? Watching on TV? What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you since we last talked? Are you excited for Fall?

And the last thing we do at a book party is buy the book if we can afford it — check out Grease Bats on Indiebound to find it at a bookstore near you. If you’re not in a position to spend money on books right now, there are so many ways to support an author at the end of their book party! Doing things like rating Grease Bats on Amazon and Goodreads is so helpful, as is requesting Grease Bats at your local library. And who knows! If you run into Archie Bongiovanni in physical space at an actual bookstore in a building sometime, you might be able to get them to sign it.

Three cheers for Archie! Three cheers for Grease Bats! Three cheers for the Friday Open Thread!

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. So Squid and I went to a comedy show last night. I had to hunch to get in frame with the non binary bros, making me look a little like I’m about to troll out and eat someone. Still, it was a fun show! The opening act was a guy who won Utah teacher of the year awards and was very gay. Surprising! In Utah! Due to a lot of rambling the show went almost 45 minutes long, so I’m a little short on sleep today. Shocking reveal below the fold.

        • Kiiind of? I’ve been known to wear a pouch, lord KNOWS I love a pouch, but that one’s actually a “My Cat Will Fuck you Up” charm and a tiny little neck knife.
          As much as I love a pouch, I love little knives more. But! I’m excited to wear my fancy hip panniers around in Vegas next week, which don’t exactly go on my neck but look slick as hell.
          What’s in your pouch necklace?

          • Okay that’s even cooler.

            I do not have a pouch necklace because I would hurt myself with it by trying to jam as many snacks in it as possible.
            However I have been looking into making or acquiring a sporran.

          • I love this gothy ReStyle stuff. Not really a sporran exactly, but in the geographic vicinity. I’ve been selling these for years, and they’re not only badass looking, they’re vegan and durable!

            There’s a bunch of styles but this is the most sporrany looking one.

          • Ha yes they sure do! Back in the early nineties I’d wear a little one with a twenty dollar bill, a razor blade, a twist of magnesium, and a spare house key in it.

          • That’s an amazing combination of things and also makes a pouch necklace sound hella functional.

            I have been turning back to the good ole fanny pack myself. An underrated item, in my opinion.

          • My ex has been flashing a fanny pack recently. I like my cross shoulder satchel. It’s decently small and has lots of strappy clippy bits to add extra gear, although the strap does split my boobs something fierce. I like panniers though! They dress up an outfit nicely.

  2. Noooo I don’t wanna be first.

    The highlight of my week was being well enough to use some of lovely lemon skin I’m preserving in olive oil to flavour the leftover rice and the beaten egg I dropped in to make the least complicated “fried rice” I’ve ever made. It was very delicious and I might make it for breakfast or brunch and use a garlic clover and not just garlic powder.

    My hair only has one scary snarl, but I think I can get it out with some warmed oil and my trusty shower comb.

    Listening to alot of old punk rock, punk rock adjacent music and “stoner metal” rn which kinda goes with my outfit which is this really cheap black dress that looks like a t-shirt that decided to grow to knee length, my dramatic wild red toned bear boxers, and the stench of the unwashed.

    If I get sick like this again I’m sending for my granmother’s shower chair, being in mausoleum she doesn’t need it and she wouldn’t mind me having it only that I needed.

    As to the Grease Bats game I’m some unholy combination of Ari,Taylor, and Gwen only replace the cosmos with rum or mulled cider, but once as a young teen attempted to self tattoo with a big sewing needle I forget the name of.
    The unironic part about enjoying mulled cider is the witch energy I have both in and out the kitchen.

    • I’m rather curious about what your current playlist looks like. Please share!
      I’ve been getting through the day with Concrete Blonde so far, especially the kicked out “Heal It Up” they did on the John Stewart Show way back when. I’ve had it on repeat for like two hours now.

    • Omg, we’re coming up on mulled cider season! It feels like fall where I live today and you just reminded me that Fall! Means! Cider!

      Also I am of the opinion that any combination of Ari, Taylor and Gwen is a holy one.

      • Heh mulled cider season for me isn’t until December-January at the earliest, sometimes for like a micro second I forget fall is cool weather in other places and that’s when they mull their cider.

        You’d revise that opinion when it’s 3am and I’m full of Thoughts, singing and dancing all without the aid of alcohol but likely some sugar.
        In fact the only thing I love about bars is how sober me just blends in with lowered inhibitions of drunk people.
        No body enjoys an analytical that won’t shut off or shut up when they’re trying to sleep.
        It’s like being harassed by a little kid.

  3. Soooooo excited to get an read the book! I preordered it from Powells and its waiting for me I just have to go get it tomorrow morning!
    I’m a Scout sun, Ari moon and Taylor rising! Many feelings, love alone time, and very analytical mind (like too much)

    Life wise things are finally settling down and actually okay/very gay! Some cuteness with a crush, who I’m now dating (pretty sure). And with back to school season feeling the freedom of the end of 20yrs of education.

    • Jayyyyy!

      “who I’m now dating (pretty sure)” please explain!

      Also our shared Scout sun/Taylor risingness <3

      • Hahaha! Yes… well long time friend crush has become we are talking about feelings and being cute and have gone on a couple dates. It’s great and lovely and I’m working real hard to let myself fully feel and trust this goodness. Like having someone want to watch I love Lucy with me and spend time with me and think I’m cute! Wowza! (also yes this is the sorta sexual writing sharing person btw) The pretty sure part is I guess some self doubt and we havent had like a what are we talk yet

        Yes <3 <3 Scout/Taylor vibes for sure! <3

  4. Taylor sun (always analyzing everything, tries not to judge books by covers but will 100% judge people by their bookshelves), Scout moon (so many feelings, way too many feelings), Ari rising (I’m in the corner at parties quietly judging people…because I really feel very awkward. And my life has gotten better since I stopped pretending to be more extroverted than I am).

    so excited for this book! Planning to pick it up at the local queer-owned independent bookstore when I’m there for lesbian book club next week. ^_^

      • @aeosworth This month we’re reading Stray City by Chelsea Johnson. I haven’t started it yet though so I cannot vouch for it.
        We haven’t done any graphic novels in the two plus years I’ve been going but I’m pretty sure they read Dykes to Watch Out For years ago so maybe I can get Grease Bats on our list for some time next year…

    • I’m Taylor sun / Scout moon / Ari rising too!

      Also, thank you A.E. for breaking down the sun-moon-rising thing for those of us who don’t do astrology. Now I can finally understand a new subset of queer in-joke tweets. 🙏

  5. I want you all to know that I’m trying to eat soup while typing in this here open thread, and to see my computer i need my glasses, and my glasses are all fogging up because of the soup and i look like a cartoon character rn and also ALSO this means my spelling will be bad!

  6. this is fun!

    Taylor Scout cusp sun (sort of not self aware a lot of the times in both Scout and Taylor ways)

    Gwen moon (I have a really hard time expressing how happy/excited/enthusiastic/ seriously I understand you unless we’re having some type of connection but I do operate in that mode most of the time emotionally)

    Taylor rising cuz that about pretty much sums up how I am :) except the analytical part…I only do that if it’s needed. most of the time I’m just floatin along

    • Omg hey we’re the same! Especially that Gwen excitement. Eternal parade.

      One of my fave Taylor moments is when we see her tinder and it just says “I’m in grad school” and has a picture of a donut on it. Right now, while I’m not in grad school, I feel like my spiritual tinder is like “i teach undergrads” and has a picture of me housing a taco bell burrito.

  7. I’m so excited about this book! I love reading the comics, even though it is so not my life, never was, never will be. But there’s something about the characters. I’m debating about buying the book or waiting to get it for the holidays. I’m leaning towards the latter, because spending money.

    Yesterday one of my kids had a reading night at her school library, so we went along with the two younger kids and my mom. It warmed my heart, watching my mom read to my preschooler and my elementary schooler reading to my kindergartener. Books are love. Reading together is love. When I was a kid I thought child abuse was not reading to your child.

    • Omg yay reading night, that’s so amazing and adorable! No wonder your heart got all warm! What did they choose to read to each other?

      Sharing books with each other is also my love language. All of my favorite moments with my family of origin are reading-related. My brother and I had this deep love of the RL Stein Goosebumps books, which I’m like, power to you young Austen, I can not CANNOT handle scary stories as an adult.

      • They read some Bad Kitty, MO Willems, Ratpunzel, and more. When I was a kid my mom had a book store. Now I love that we often have books all over! Recently I’ve been reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (a book from my childhood), though I do change it so sometimes the families have a father and a dad, sometimes two moms, and sometimes I change the moms and dads. My kids were doing dishes last night and pretending to have to clean for the witch, just like in the book.

    • My dad read my sister and I the entire Freddie the Pig series when we were very very small. I agree, not reading to your kids is abuse.

    • 10000% approve of asking for this book for the holigays! or requesting from a library! I love that you love books so much! <3 <3 . I've been getting real into reading again after a very hectic couple of months where my brain didn't slow down enough for me to sit and enjoy a book! It's SO NICE.

  8. I got this collection at Flamecon and it is so good to have it all together! I’m a Taylor, but I love Andy best, not just because we have the same name.

  9. Aah woohoo! This is perfect, I got the book from my local comic store on Wednesday and read it all that night. I think the last time I read a lot of Grease Bats installments back to back was when I was procrastinating writing an essay in about 2015, and now there’s an entire book! The bonus story at the end was a really good way to wrap everything up, and of course I laughed just as much at the ones I’d already read before on here. :)

    I’m gonna say I’m an Ari sun, Scout moon, Taylor rising?

  10. I love this so much because I always just say I’m Gwen, which is true, but what are my moon and rising situations? I’d say Gwen sun, Ari moon, Gwen rising? Maybe? With a mercury in Scout, a venus in Ari, and a mars in Andy? Am I taking this too far? Is it weird that I have no Taylor in my chart even though I’m in grad school?


    • a) I do not think you are taking it too far b) I do not think you have Taylor in your chart either and c) defo Gwen rising and Gwen sun FOR SURE but I wanna hear more about that Ari moon.

      • I wanna hear more about mars in Andy.

        I am 0% Andy but would soooo love an Andy in my life. Kick everything up a notch.

  11. Archie is one of the coolest. Live Grease Bats reading I went to earlier in the year was just magical. I think I am a Scout, but with the difference being, I can hold my liquor for the most part. Also, I too have unironically had cosmos; I like them in a sour apple flavor. Might a good desert to a burrito.

    How is everyone’s week going? I like the shorter week format and wish I could have Sunday and Monday’s off every week. I spent my Sunday morning among community having a tea at Cuties. It was nice. Then spent the rest of my two days off outside on the bike, I mostly built. It was really hot outside and realized two water bottles isn’t enough. Rest of the week was slow as all the recession talk and the asshole in office aren’t helping people like us the small business.

    In an interesting note, I was looking at bike packing reviews of the bike I own and found one by a woman who mentioned this group she works with called WTF Explores, which stands for womxn, trans, femme, and is non-binary inclusive. I don’t have the stamina to do the local long ride they are doing in Spring, but I hope to in the future. Plus, from Vanessa’s article yesterday REI has classes that are trans-inclusive, which I will have to find a relevant one that meets my schedule to do. Really I just want to be part of a badass queer group of womxn, trans, and nb people who are always outdoors. Their site. for anyone interested.

    Based on the video’s on youtube this is considered an easy-medium hill. The heat didn’t do me any favors here.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post!

    • That looks medium easy, sure.
      I always like hearing about bike stuff on here! The long rides I did this summer were all at night to avoid the desert sun crisping me to ash; have you done any of those? I got extra reflectors and a red rope light wrapped around my frame for safety and awesomeness, no collisions so far!

      • I don’t have any night time accessories yet still need to buy lights and such. That and more comfortable seat(which is my next purchase). That WTF explorers looks interesting and they may have events in your area if that’s your thing.

        • Yeah my ass about fell off after 30 miles. I got some padded shorts, hopefully they help next time I do a longer trip. There’s a ride in Wyoming but it’s way out of my range. Maybe one day? Queue song and dance number

      • Nothing wrong that. I just want to get back into shape a little and for me being outdoors is more fun than the gym. Also, my gym has some really attractive looking & fit women that part of me wishes I can become a bottom version of And for all the hot gals and nb pals.

    • If you’re not use to heat and physically exerting yourself in said heat plain water isn’t going to be enough. One of those sports drinks with carbs, sodium, potassium, magnesium and stuff to replace electrolytes is what you’ll need.
      Also you REALLY wanna keep track of heat exhaustion symptoms like headache and dizziness.

      In dry heat at least your sweat has a chance to help cool you off but never push yourself if you’re not use to exercise in high temperatures.

      • The Monday ride was in the dry heat by the coast & I have been taking many breaks(in the shade with my gloves and helmet off) to make sure nothing bad happens to me. I also stopped at a gas station on my way home and bought a big bottle of Gatorade. I plan to add another bottle cage to my bike for a sports drink holder. Thank you for the tips.

      • I first need to up my stamina before I even try it. I also would need to get some supplies for packing too.

  12. ok I’m super late to this party but am so excited about this and have spent at least 20 minutes thinking about it. some serious soul searching. also I know nothing about astrology so thanks for breaking sun, moon, rising down.
    Sun- scout
    Moon- Ari
    Rising- gwen

    There are a lot of ways I identify w/ Scout but tbh it came down to the burritos

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