First I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who pre-ordered our record or bought items from my pop-up in LA last month. Because of you, we were able to donate a total of $525 to Tiny Changes, a mental health charity created in memory of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. He passed away right around the time I was beginning to write You or Someone You Know, and it was one of the many bricks that knocked the wind out of me back then. I’m so happy to be able to contribute even in this relatively small manner towards that organization and his memory.
Before I dive into the rage/joy rollercoaster I’ve been on lately, here’s a few days and times that I’ll be playing some songs live on the internet. They’re not “announced” yet but feel free to put these in your calendar and check out my instagram for more info.
- Friday, April 17 - 9pm ET / 6pm PT
- Wednesday, April 22 - 8pm ET / 5pm PT
- Saturday, April 25 - 4:30pm ET / 1:30pm PT
I’ve been running audio from my computer directly into my iPhone, and I think it has been sounding pretty rad, and definitely better than it would if I were just playing acoustic guitar into my phone mic. I’m going to write up a little tutorial soon, for those of you who are interested in how to actually do that.
The past month has been politically exhausting, but so was the entirety of the 1980’s onward, aka my whole lifetime. I was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened and by then I was already listening to Anti-Flag and Strike Anywhere and going to Take Back The Night marches at summer camp. SUMMER CAMP. The people in power aren’t going to do the right thing during a global pandemic? You mean capitalism doesn’t incentivize the rich to help other people? No way! Never saw this one coming!
I’ve been championship-level cynical for a long time. You probably already picked up on that. But the things that bring me the most joy are very often the things that were fueled by a whole lot of rage. They’re not making me happy, but they’re giving me life at a time when the things seem to be otherwise crumbling around us. I often think of that feeling as some alternate dimension ruled by my anti-fascist or queer or feminist friends that I get to live in for a couple hours. I need them.
For instance, today I was on a zoom call where I watched clips from Dyke TV with a bunch of people I don’t know, assembled via Instagram. It featured interviews with people like Barbara Hammer and Leslie Feinberg, documentary footage around the life of Brandon Teena, and lesbian dating tips like whether or not you could pick someone up with poetry. (verdict: read me some Mary Oliver or Eileen Myles and I am yours). While there was some levity throughout, much of the videos were from a place of anger, protest, or both….and holy shit, watching it made my day. For more where that came from, go follow @dykesoccer.
It’s times like these that reading books about “already existing alternatives to a global capitalist order” like A Post-Capitalist Politics by J.K. Gibson-Graham is particularly inspiring. Right now is a great time to revisit something like Cruising Utopia by José Esteban Muñoz about queer futurity as a way to revive your own political imagination. Go get a book or a record that makes you rethink the way the world should look.
To this point, when I was in a bit of a wormhole yesterday about prison abolition (because incarcerated folks are at extremely high risk for the virus), I came across this article about how National Bail Out is freeing Black mothers and caregivers right now. While the organization typically leads this type of effort on Mother’s Day every year, they’re helping bail folks out right now and also offering further assistance to help them get through the pandemic. You can donate to NBO here.
Circling back to how this month has been exhausting, this email should be a much longer explanation of how the above items can channel positive change, and how we can all be working towards those ends regardless of what a presidential race currently looks like…but I’m tired. Talk about it in the comments with me? Or on Instagram later?
Right now I need to go turn my rage into joy by building a police station in my Sims world for the sole purpose of having all of my Sims be rude to the police officer.
Thanks for reading. For something more on the pure joy side of things, here’s a cute John Prine song featuring Iris DeMent.