Rocktoberfest: A Video Collection

It has been a glorious Saturday, despite the lack of coffee. Blasphemous, I know. I don’t know how it’s going for everyone else out there, but the Halloween spirit is catching. And since this is a weekend post, I’m using it to post some fun videos that might help you get in the Halloween spirit yourself! (And feel free to use the comments section to share your badass October Halloween costumes!)

One-Eyed Doll: You’re A Vampire (Awesome song. Equally awesome video. who says cute girls and Sunday picnics can’t coexist with blood and guts and vampires?)

Bella Novela: Dead Sea (If you’re a fan of old school horror movies, this video should help make your day. )

Be Your Own Pet: The Kelly Affair (Attn: Bands–be careful which house parties you play. You never know when your band could turn from local indie band documentary to campy cult classic horror flick)

Lesbian Bed Death-Bela Lugosi’s Back (If the band name and the name of the song hold no interest for you….well, you’re just hopeless….Awesome band name. Awesome song. That’s all you need to know)

Before today, I’d never seen this video by mr. Gnome. I would like to say right here, right now, that this video wins for freakiest video I’ve ever seen. EVER. Enjoy.

(This is day 6 of my blog-a-day challenge! Still goin’ strong!)

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution + UHC BOOK FESTIVAL

Great, great news to start a Friday!

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will be an exhibitor at the Utah Humanities Council’s 14th Annual Book Festival! How exciting is that? A celebration of books + A celebration of words and writing? I can think of no better way to spend a day.

For those of you unfamiliar with the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic–we are an open mic that meets once a month with a focus on encouraging and supporting the voices of women and the trans community. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is an open mic dedicated to being there for those who have felt marginalized and those who are ready to start a creative revolution within their own lives. For more information, feel free to check out this interview I did with Gavin Sheehan, of City Weekly’s Gavin’s Underground.

And the Book Festival is going to be amazing. The big day for the festival is the 22nd of October, but keep in mind that events will be going on statewide for the entire month! Check the website for more information and to find out if your favorite authors will be hitting your town!

A few things:

In readiness for this awesome opportunity, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will be having our first zine! For Salt Lake/Utah artists and writers–SUBMIT YOUR WORK!! If you believe in the mission of When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution–I want you! If you believe in creative revolutions–I want you! If you believe that feminist art is an important aspect of the larger art/creative scenes–I want you! Submit your stuff NO LATER than Sunday the 16! (please!) The email to send it to: rebelgrrrl.theblog@gmail.com

I’ll also be looking for people interested in helping with tabling on the big day, Saturday October 22! If you’re free to be around, please let me know! It’ll be a super fabulous day and I’m so excited to be a part of it!!

(PS: This is Day 5 of my blog-a-day challenge!)

No one said this was gonna be easy….

(Day 4 of the Blog-a-day project)

I have a terrible admission to make.

I have practically nothing to write about. I actually had something all planned out, but you know how the best laid plans never quite work out?

Yeah, today is one of those days. So I’ll have to save that plan for tomorrow. Or the weekend. We’ll have to see. I can tell you it’s going to be about music. Astonishing, right?

Since I can’t do what I originally planned, and my thoughts aren’t running all that coherently right now, I’ll make this an entry something of a treasure chest of cool things that you should know about. I promise a more interesting post tomorrow.

Rose By Any Other Name – An excellent webseries that you should absolutely be watching if you’re not already. I’m linking you to the first episode of the first season so you can get interested! The premise of the show: What happens when an openly out lesbian and an openly straight man suddenly find themselves having feelings for each other? Talk about a complete shift of identity! This is a great Bisexuality 101-primer with some excellent moments. So yeah. Go forth and watch!

The Guild– another excellent webseries that has caught my attention and held it! I love this show. So much. It’s a show about gamers, and one of those gamers happens to be the AMAZING Felicia Day. You can catch up online on their homepage or watch a few seasons uninterrupted on Netflix (where they tie each season into one episode that’s about 40 minutes long). Why watch? A)Felicia Day B)Gamer-related hilarity C)Mass hilarity in general D) Felicia Day. Oh. And Season 5 has some epic celebrity cameos.

The Sucker Punch soundtrack-I don’t care what you thought about the movie. I don’t care if you hated it. I know that a lot of reactions to the movie resulted in an “okay….wait, what??” kind of attitude, which is fine. That was my reaction. One thing was absolutely clear though. I knew upon first watch that the soundtrack would be epic. And now that I have it, I can definitively say that it is a soundtrack worth having. Just check out the first track, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), a cover done by Emily Browning. It has everything you could want in this song, and it’s officially my favorite version of the song. Sorry Marilyn Manson. Anyway. Find it. Listen to it. Get inspired.

Okay. I think I’m done for today. I’m sure I could say more, but we’ll leave it here. More tomorrow. What sort of stuff has you excited these days? Feel free to comment, it might give me some stuff to write about tomorrow!!

 

Reflections of Ourselves

(This is day 3 of my blog-a-day-challenge. So far, so good, right? For more information on why I’ve succumbed to this particular brand of madness, check out the post from Day 1)

In yesterday’s post I started to compile a playlist of queer friendly and queer-positive songs in light of the fact that it was National Coming Out Day. Today there will be even more songs for your listening/viewing pleasure. And feel free to suggest your favorites in the comments or on the official When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution facebook page!

In addition to more music, I did want to reflect a bit more on why these songs are so important, and why I feel it’s important for musicians to embrace queer and feminist themes in their music…so here goes!

Thirteen years ago today, Matthew Shepard was killed as the result of an brutal, anti-gay attack. His death is not the only death associated with bullying for being different. Hate crimes have not disappeared, despite the best efforts of LGBTQ community centers throughout the nation and campaigns like “It Gets Better.” As much progress as the LGBTQ community is making, there are still vast inequalities and there are still a lot of myths about the LGBTQ community that continue to exist despite our best efforts to dispel them. We are still too often thought as “other” and in situations with new people, the chances that we will be asked “do you have a boyfriend/husband” if you’re a girl or “do you have a girlfriend/wife” if you’re a guy continues to perpetuate our conversations. Heteronormativity is too often assumed, especially once we leave the comfort of our queer, radical, feminist circles.

We can do everything we want within our own communities to make a difference and to promote acceptance, but sometimes the most important thing that we can find is a reflection of ourselves. Somewhere. Take music, for example. It doesn’t have to be a perfect reflection, just enough of one that we can listen to it and feel like we are not alone. And with that realization we our lives, our work can come back into focus. That is why Melissa Etheridge’s decision to come out in the 90s was so important. Yes, she made good music even before she was vocally out, but the radical act of coming out allowed her to be who she was as a musician and allowed her fan base to connect with her in a deeper way. For those who identified under the LGBTQ umbrella, it gave them someone to look up to and, more importantly, someone to relate to.

While I believe in music for music’s sake, I do think musicians and the industry at large needs to promote a greater acceptance for queer artists speaking it like it is. Artists like Athens Boys Choir could do an infinitely better amount of good than artists like Ke$ha (and do, without the big record label), and could go a much longer way in the promotion of acceptance as well as queer visibility. The same thing goes with books and the book industry at large. In September of this year two authors came out with what should be a startling truth, but in the heteronormative world we live in, isn’t as shocking as you’d want it to be. They were told by their publishers to straighten the gay characters. Terrifying? Yes. True? Also yes. Check out their whole story here. (and be part of the solution with floating YA Diversity Book Clubs here)

We all find pieces of ourselves sprinkled throughout our favorite songs. Music–and other art forms–are not just products to be consumed. They’re something deeper than that. And as such, we should be able to relate to songs and books. And those songs and books should be able to relate to us.

Now. Onto the music, yes?

1) MEN-“Off Our Backs” and “Who Am I to Feel so Free”: If you’re looking for radical electropop to suit your dance shoes and your politics, look no further. JD Samson–who you might recognize as one of the Le Tigre band members–has not stopped making radical music, and she continues to be on the frontlines of excellent beats with hard-hitting messages that you don’t often expect in electro-pop tunes.

2) Boyskout-“Back to Bed”  Boyskout was an all girl San Francisco band with openly queer themes throughout their music. Their music is both catchy and irresistable, and this has been one of my personal all time favorite videos since discovering it a few years ago.

3)The Butchies-“Send Me You”-If you don’t know who the Butchies are then you need to visit google. Immediately. And learn everything you can. I can only hope to see the Butchies live one day, with their random-seeming reunions….

4)The Gossip-“Heavy Cross”–this is another band that I’m going to have to say if you don’t know, you must look up. Immediately. Since their appearance, Beth Ditto and co have been taking over musical landscapes. From punk rock with attitude to pop-heavy tunes with a lot of soul, The Gossip is one of those bands that has to be on your radar.

5)Bitch-“Pussy Manifesto”-It is impossible for me to put into words how much I love Bitch. She is a colorful musician with mad skills on the violin and her wordplay is unmatched. Unapologetically feminist and 100% musical badass, she’s someone worth paying attention to. check her out if you are for some reason not already familiar with her. And if you get the chance to see her live–don’t miss it. Seriously.

6)Agent Ribbons-“Chelsea, Let’s Go Join the Circus”: I’ve written about Agent Ribbons and my diehard love for them before. And while I’m not sure where the band and the LGBTQ community fit in together, this video has adorable queer fairytale written all over it.

Ending notes:

“Origin of Love” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

If Loving You is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right.

(This is Day 2 of the blog-a-day challenge. See previous entry for more information.)

Today is (inter)national Coming Out Day. It’s one of those days that is important for everyone, whether you identify as bisexual, transgender, lesbian, gay, queer, or anywhere under the queer umbrella. It’s a day where we under that umbrella can feel proud that we have grown up into the wonderful, colorful people that we’ve become and feel good about loving who we want to love. Because ultimately, love is a driving force in our society. Our relationships, our friendships–these are the elements that help keep us going. It’s not the money. It’s not the stuff. It’s the people. Whether you admit it or not.

To everyone who identifies under the spectrum of the queer umbrella–YOU ROCK. Today is your day. Celebrate yourself. If you haven’t already come out of the closet and can safely do so today, DO IT. What are you waiting for? There is no time like the present to embrace yourself. If you cannot safely come out of the closet, remember that there are resources for you to access and people to talk to. You don’t have to tread the path alone.

In the spirit of the day, I’m going to come out. Depending on how you look at it, I’ve been out as a bisexual for a good four years. The levels of “out” have definitely been varied. I’ve been out to my friends far longer than my family. It’s easier sometimes. In my experience, friends have been a lot easier to share the information with. They don’t have the expectations that families often have. I am currently in a relationship with a woman, but have dated both men and women. Let me put it this way. I enjoy people. Gender is about as relevant as hair color. What matters to me when I am considering dating someone is who they are. What do they like? What passions drive them? Can we spend hours on end in deep conversation? Can we relate on some deeper level? These are the things that matter to me. Call me biased all you want, but I think bisexuality is the real home of romanticism.

Also in the spirit of the day, I’ve decided to create a queer positive music video playlist. Music by bands/musicians who are not only out in the music scene, but refuse to stay quiet about it. Music is an art form that on one hand transcends labels–a good song is a good song no matter how the artist identifies/what s/he believes. Yet at the same time, we as a music audience often look to find ourselves reflected in what we consume. I know that I enjoy a good revolutionary anthem. So here you go. This will be part one what is sure to be an epic playlist. Make sure to bookmark the page if you can’t watch all of them and check back tomorrow for more videos! Enjoy!

1) Athens Boys Choir: “Fagette”–The Athens Boys Choir–despite the name–is a one man proect featuring spoken word artist/musician Katz. He travels the country speaking the “good word” and throws down hard hitting spoken-word pieces that deal with the issues of gender, politics, love, sex and everything in between.

2) Team Gina: “Butch/Femme”–Team Gina was made up of two fierce femmes: GINA BLING and GINA GENIUS and was a performance art pop duo combining dance music with feminist analysis and queer content. While Team Gina disbanded in 2010, you can still find Gina Young doing her thing.

3) Hunx & His Punx: “Lovers Lane”–Hunx and His Punx might be the first ever “girl group” fronted by a flamboyant gay male whose dream in life is to sound like a girl. They have created a unique new sound they refer to as “Young Oldies,” a mixture of 50s teenage rock ‘n’ roll, 60s girl groups and bubblegum pop.   

4) Joan Jett: “AC/DC”– If I have to tell you anything about Joan Jett…well then, you haven’t been paying attention. Jett’s been one of the most influential women rockers and from the Runaways to her solo projects to her label, Blackheart Records, she knows how to get around and get her name recognized. The real question we must ask as human beings on this planet is this: What would Joan Jett do? And given that question and this video, it’s clear that bisexuality is definitely okay!

5) Lesbians on Ecstasy: “Sedition”–Lesbians on Ecstasy is one of those bands who were thoroughly underrecognized in their time. Combining efforts to create dark, irresistible dance/club tunes out of old school lesbian protest anthems, they created something magic. Check it out for yourself with this video. And just remember, the lesbians are totally coming! Watch out!

6) The Cliks: “Dirty King” The Cliks are the brainchild of frontman Lucas Silveira. In 2004 he took the dive away from his singer/songwriter roots and created a band whose mantra was change. Lucas remains the only constant member in the Cliks, while others act as a collective force which finds a home in the new and edgier/rock based material–for a time. Silveira is an out trans man and activist.

 

Blog-A-Day Challenge Day 1-The Start of Everything

Every day that I don’t write on this blog weighs on me, believe it or not.

How could it not? When I started this, all young and idealistic and excited about everything, writing here became an adventure. And when days started to pass without writing, followed by weeks, followed by months, I felt like I was disappointing the readers who had stopped by, the connections I had made, and most importantly, myself–and that younger, more idealistic self. And with that disappointment came a new feeling–a reluctance to write here for fear that the good things that had been built over the years would be destroyed by my newer thoughts. I’m not the same after all. Things have changed. I’m in Utah now, far, far away from the haven that Chapel Hill, North Carolina provided. And I have been questioning my motivations and second guessing myself almost every step of the way since I’ve moved here.

That’s about to change. Finally. Last month I participated in an unofficial write-15-minutes-a-day challenge, and it turned out to be one of the best things I’d done.  It got me writing, which–as it turns out–was an invaluable step forward. My journey as a writer has really only recently been reclaimed, as of August of this year. I have done varied writings here and there throughout the year, but it wasn’t until that fateful August day when I picked up one of my journals I’d started (the last entry was dated November 2010) and gave it a full reboot that my writing sessions were restored, and the practice was back in place.

Well. That exact thing is what I’m going to do here. Which means for 30 days from now until November 8, you won’t know what to expect from my writings. It could be completely rant heavy, to enthused entries about new albums/musicians I’ve discovered, to entries about the writing process itself to any number of things. The one thing you will know to expect is an entry. I can’t promise it will be the greatest written word has to offer–in fact, I’m not going to. But it will be a fun process. As I’m writing this, I’m getting more excited about the potential this has to unlock interesting subjects, and as a way to unlock my voice–so to speak.

I’m going to end this entry here for today. It will serve as purely an introduction to the 30-day madness that shall ensue. Wish me luck. While I’m determined to make this happen, good wishes won’t hurt!