What the Fuck Should I Do Tonight: Racist Bullshit Redux Edition!

HELLO. 

I hope that one or two of you at least can enjoy the irony of the name of this blog appearing on the cover of the Phoenix this week. Not that anybody reading it will know what the fuck Hot Trash is “Carl, honey, look, it looks like the beatniks are making music videos out of garbage now, I wonder how that works? Hand me my Maalox, would you honey?” but that doesn’t matter because we know what it is and that’s just fine.

Also can I just say two things about this project? Firstly, Knack Factory did all the work. I just corralled the artists. They asked me to do it, it was their idea to do it, and I just ran an assist. So I just want everyone to know that I’m basically coasting along on fumes on this project and didn’t do jack shit but email a bunch of people and Knack Factory are incredible people who think that I did more than sit around with my thumb up my ass like a piece of shit, which is all I ever do. Seriously.   

The second thing I want to say is about the racial and gender bias at play with that lineup - particularly in the wake of Paul "slow brain" Le Page making the dumbest bigoted/racist/misogynist comments yesterday and today. I hear stuff like that and then I take a look at my own life and I'm like, you know what, I'm complicit in this bullshit racism. If I don't do what I can to change it, then I'm just a part of the problem, another white oppressor.  So here's what I have to say about the NPR Tiny Desk concert project:

My original vision for that project when Alex asked me to put together a lineup was to more accurately represent the diversity of musicians making popular music in Portland, which I think in general has a higher percentage of artists who are not white and are not cis gendered men than who ended up being at that shoot. I think it is generally true that people of a certain color tend to be surrounded by and have bonds with a larger amount of people who are also of their same color, so for me, I am a white person and I suppose I have stronger bonds with white people here in Portland. As an adult woman - and I’m sorry young women if nobody has told you this yet, because it is as true as the day is long - if you don’t keep your female friends from youth, you will not really ever have any solid female friends again; it is significantly harder for adult women to trust each other enough to become friends.

Anyway, my point is that I did reach out to a number of artists who are citizens of color and/or women, but either because they don’t know me very well or don’t know what I do, or they didn’t get back to me, or because they were unavailable that day or just couldn’t make it work with their schedules, those people didn’t end up on the shoot, and I didn't press the issue. And I’m sorry to say that I didn’t think ahead about LGBTQI/non-binary representation. We only had 6 days to plan the shoot, and I was just sort of bushwhacking my way to the end with all the subtle strokes of Chris Christie wielding a machete. Plus, honestly, I don’t pay much attention to people’s gender and sexual preference stuff unless I’m fucking them myself.

Look, all of this is to say that I hope nobody felt left out or spurned if I didn’t contact you or if you feel the group with which you are most closely aligned wasn’t well represented. I’m hoping to help Knack Factory with more events like this going forward, and we’ll definitely have more planning time and more of a framework for how things pan out. When I saw the results of the project, which were amazing, by the way, and Knack Factory is crazy good and I can’t even believe they did all that work for free, I realized that it seemed really exclusive in not a good way and I want to apologize to the community for that. It wasn’t my intention. People who pursue art in any form are already marginalized people - we’ve been taught that art is not a monetizable contribution to society and that we are being childish or unrealistic if we pursue it. The capitalist system has made great strides in devaluing art, commodifying it as an ancillary service to their core money maker (I’m looking at you, Red Bull and Saatchi) and compensating the artist with “exposure” while keeping the profits for themselves, and teaching society as a whole that art only has value when it is used to advertise something. So it’s an extra blow when a community project like this comes along and boxes out further-marginalized, core gender and race segments of the already-marginalized group. I feel like shit about it, to be honest, and I’m sorry. I’ll do better. I don't know what it's like to be part of a racial group that is constantly discriminated against in obvious and subtle ways, every day - my only sense of marginalization is as a woman, and that is bad enough. I’m proud of my ethnic heritage as a first generation child of a refugee, and I’m not ashamed to be white, but my race as a whole is a violent asshole to other races as a whole and I guess I just want this community to know that I don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes, but if there’s anything that I can do to help level the playing field, I’ll do it. Just tell me what it is. And if I fuck up, tell me that too. We’re family, and art is our weapon to fight against oppression of all kinds. 

/rant

But, if you own or work for a business who you think would be interested in sponsoring an event like this going forward, please email me and let me know, as we are working on putting together a neat-o series to really dig into the heart of Portland’s incredible - and diverse, and interesting - cadre of musicians. More on that as it comes down the pipe.    

OK so there’s not as much going on for the next week or so, everybody blew their load over the holidays so we’ll just go through a few things that strike me as compelling. With Preacher’s Fire and Facebook’s expanded event listing search capabilities and News by the Nunz, you don’t need me to do comprehensive listings anymore. Regardless, I hope we can still hang.  Here we go.

Friday January 8

So I want to go to this Portfringe Katzenjammer thing at Geno’s. Technically it’s not a music thing, it’s a theater thing, but I’d be shocked if Maine dramatic artists weren’t facing the same challenges as the musicians and there’s so much crossover that you know, we gots to represent. The event invite promises a bad art auction and people flying through the air, so, you know, quality.  

Ok so here’s a thing, guys, I’m considering leaving Portland on Friday night to go to this comedy and punk show in Westbrook. I KNOW! But the lineup has a bunch of bands I’ve never seen, and, well: comedy. The comedy will likely be awkward and inconsistently funny, but it’s time for me to get out there and once and for all see Phallus Uber Alles and Bad Leg.  

Dustin Saucier plays tonight at B.Good, guys. 

You know, I haven’t been to Plague lately either, and, as is evidenced daily by my attempt to find things to wear to work in the massive pile of black clothing that lines the perimeter of my bedroom, I really do have the wardrobe and proclivities for it. So maybe that’s how it goes, Westbrook for comedy and punk, off to Katzenjammer to get some terrible art, and then finish it off at Plague. I don’t know, that sounds fun right?   

Saturday January 9

I guess I’ll go get tacos at Hella Good Tacos and watch this free show with Mouth Washington and Three Hundred Dollars, which is like a bunch of musicians from other bands and unless I am mistaken, they got together during that 48 hour band festie thing at Space? I could be wrong, someone correct me. My one problem with this is that Saturday is the day I usually have to roll solo because the one person who will actually hang out with me works on that night, and I feel like Hella Good Tacos just isn’t a great place to like, sally in and be all, “yep, lonely old lady over here, just drinking alone, don’t mind me.” So I might punk out on this.

Saturday also is a Lemmy’s funeral, which Geno’s is livestreaming at 6pm, because of course they are. After that, Kaltenbrunner and Battery Steele play for free. This is a friends and family appreciation night, it’s open to the public it’s all free, and it’s all good. Come on in, bring your stripping money cause you know that shit’s cash only.

Maine Educationalists on Sexual Harmony are hosting the Rocky Horror Picture Show complete with the traditional accompanying performance at One Longfellow Square, and the event will have some open discussion on consent, accountability and slut-shaming folded in to elevate this to an educational event. Though I wonder if the folks who are predisposed to going to this show are the target audience for this… these folks are probably already aware of rape culture and ancillary issues. Bring this show to a frat party, or do like, showings of Star Wars with this kind of education, then we’d be cooking with grease.  

Sunday, January 10

How about The Couch! I’m really into open mic nights right now. All of it, the good songs, the bad songs, the self-seriousness, the outright hilarity of open mic nights in general, but then SOMETIMES at the couch, you get someone who does standup comedy and things just devolve from there.  Plus I love that they pimp out the space with a disco ball and, you know, an actual couch. 

Alright. Have a good weekend. I had a rough week and I feel the need to curl up into the shape of a cocktail shrimp and nap for a few hours, or maybe a few lifetimes. I love you, your body is a wonderland.