I'm so excited that this is finally seeing the light! Here is a description:
A collection articles, essays and interviews with people who are creating, participating and working in art scenes where it is commonly thought they don't belong based on their ethnicity, gender, age or ability (physical and otherwise) but are making inroads in industries in which they are, perhaps unwittingly breaking new ground.
Right now it is available via print and download via Magcloud, but I'll have it available at as many bookstores ( that carry zines) and record shops ( that carry zines) and at any readings I'll be doing for What Are You Doing Here? as much as I humanly can. And cheaper. I am already gathering material for the next one, so it should be available on a quarterly basis.
Here is the Table of Contents:
1. Welcome ( About)
2. Intruder, Pt. 1: Being a Black Audience Member at a concert in which the musical artists are black and the crowd isn't.
3. Q&A: Tetrarch's Diamond Rowe
4. Photo Gallery: Afropunk Festival 2012
5. Intruder Pt. 2: Black Writers who write about.....Being Black
Last Tuesday Bestie and I went to see Henry Rollins Speak at the CBC in Toronto. This was the third time we had seen him together; the fourth I had seen him. I was looking for some inspiration, and I left wondering if I had.
Not that he was bad or anything; he was amazing. Speaking, without a break for 2 /1/2 hours. We laughed; we cried (with laughter) and at times we got sobered up pretty quickly, especially when he spoke about some of the people he has met on his travels. I tend to agree with his ideals and his general outlook on life, but I wondered if the same person who wrote such angry rant-filled books in the 80's and 90's still existed. If the same reason why I was drawn to him as a 20 year-old depressed and lonely girl who was struggling with her racial idenity and her place in the world, were still relevant to my early-Forties self.
ISBN 978-1-935950-05-9 Softcover 6″ x 9″, 240pp Coming September 2012
What Are You Doing Here? investigates how black women musicians and fans navigate the metal, hardcore, and punk music genres that are regularly thought of as inclusive spaces and centered on a community spirit, but fail to block out the race and gender issues that exist in the outside world.
“We can neither reflectively choose our color identity nor downplay its social significance simply by willing it to be unimportant… but our color no more binds us to send a predetermined group message to our fellow human beings than our language binds us to convey predetermined thoughts.”—Amy Gutmann
I just got back from NYC to speak at the Experience Music Project / IASPM conference (EMP) which was awesome I presented Saturday afternoon, we got a decent turnout and it went well. Did it, at times, resemble a comedy act? Yes.........
As my fellow panelists were working on our presentation until the last minute, I didn't have the chance to see some of the panels I wanted to, but there has been a plethora of 'stars' at the NYU Kimmel centre. Here were some of the people there:
Lots of 'rock star' journalists, authors and academics - Eric Lott, Robert Christigau, Jeremy Wallach, Greil Marcus, Scott Steward, Ned Ragget, Phil Freeman, Daphne Brooks, Devon Powers, and of course, Ann Powers and Eric Weisbard, etc.
Sorry for the delay in posting. Life has been hectic and this winter weather has not compelled me to do much outside of some book administrative stuff........
Actually I shouldn't complain. Thanks to global warming, winter in Canada ( or at least in Toronto) has been awesome this year. Little snow, the temperature has been bearable, so I really can't bitch. Sure, Earth might implode soon, but at least I don't have to wear my bulky winter coat!
Anyhoo, Happy New Year....so far it's been interesting. So many news stories that make my blood boil, but let's stick to music ( and self-promotion), shall we?
We are now in the throes of the "Best of 2011" music, film and pop culture lists, and I've submitted two and I am preparing to do a third for the Village Voice's Pazz and Jop music critics poll. As I have done for the past number of years, I reviewed a lot of music, but my personal preference veered towards listening to previously released material. As like in 2010, I was greatly influenced by going to shows as a reviewer, the Maryland DeathFest, which is always a great opportunity to check out new and previously established bands, and podcasts, my favourite being WFCS's Gateway to Oblivion, which might not be continuing in 2012. DJ Dave Polce's musical tastes were simply incredible, and I was really happy to gain more musical knowledge and appreciation of those bands that fit into the stoner / doom realm.
Lots of news and well.....views. the book has been keeping me busy - I started the round of edits / revisions a couple of weeks ago and it has been, while interesting as it's my book, extremely stressful trying to do that and work the day job, which has been pretty brutal. On top of that, I'm still writing for Exclaim! and Blogher.
I covered the most excellent Mastodon / DEP / Red Fang show last weekend, which was fantastic. I bought Red Fang's Murder the Mountains right after. DEP was great - funny, I'm not a fan of their music, but man, they know how to put on a live show. And as I wrote in my review, this was (thank god) the best performance I've seen of Mastodon. Despite the prog / hard rock of The Hunter and Crack the Skye their setlist was pretty heavy.
Okay, talking about metal.......Last week I reviewed the most excellent Napalm Death show, and a couple of weeks before that I covered the Kyuss Lives! show....I'll get to that a bit later. Before that I reviewed ( but didn't shoot) Pearl Jam, which isn't 'metal,' but it was great. I hadn't seen the band since the mid-nineties, so that was a treat. A couple of days after Pearl Jam, I shot the Weedeater show, which was fantastic! This was the third time I'd seen them in the past couple of years, and their best, to date.
I had slightly slagged Weedeater - or at least one of the members - in the past, and while this isn't a 'mea culpa' moment, seeing them perform was so incredible it made me re-think my inital comments - not to whether the rumours are true, but how they should define my fandom over the band. They are, essentially, a electrified, sludgy Blues band, but some deep, Delta - kinda blues that gets you in the gut. After I stopped taking photos, I hung out in the back of the club and boogied my Black ass off. I don't know if I ever will meet them in person, but a major hat-tip goes out to them. Dixie Dave is simply a hard-working, incredible musician - and this was the third time I'd seen him play in two different bands in three different cities, this year. Awesome.
As for Kyuss Lives! Man, they put on a show. If you read the review I linked to above, one of the openers, MonstrO was a bit of a disaapointment but I wouldn't mind seeing them again to check them out. John Garcia was (I'm tired of saying 'awesome') but awesome - I was wondering what he would sound like after all these years. To me, being able to see Scott Reeder play bass was a treat - someone at the show later told me that he strings his base upside down. The nerdy part of me was totally thrilled!
This story leads me into my next subject....so after the prerequisite three song-limit shoot, I hung out in the front and really enjoyed the rest of Kyuss Lives! set. I had decided to leave a bit early to catch a cab back to the subway but as I waded through the audience, some random white dude got in my face and yelled "fucking Nigger" in my face. I was shocked, and with about twenty white folks staring at ME - not the guy who just got in my face - embarrased. I continued walking, trying to shake off the shock and mild humiliation, and after walking quite a distance, grabbed a cab and made my way home.
Nevertheless, it ruined my evening. There was an earlier issue that had slightly dampened my mood at the show, but this ruined it. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't been carrying about 2 grand worth of equipment, that I had been a bit more reactive. If that was the case, I like to think that I would have ripped his nasty mouth off his face. But I didn't. I just went home and thought about why I am even doing this shit in the first place.
This shit tires me. I have intereviewed a number of Black women involved in the metal scene in one way or another, and a few have told me stories like this. Hell, I've experienced this thing before. But I'm starting to get real tired. I spent more money getting to the fucking venue than I did shooting and writing the concert review.....and to get that shit from a fucking stranger? I was seriously bummed.
As many of you (who still read this blog) have guessed, I also write about race, specfically for Blogher.com, where I've been writing for over five years. Last week was one of those times where my music life and my cultural activist life collided - kinda. About this time last week, I read an infuriating article over at MetalSucks.net - I won't link it - and something went off in my head. After posting a brief rant on Facebook, my editor at Hellbound asked if I wanted to write about it, and I did. You can read the result here - not my finest piece of work, but adequate.
My thinking about when writers 'joke' about women in metal , that they need to do something else. There are already issues about credibility for women musicians and fans and I don't think that you ( as a man) should use that in order to make a buck by further slandering them. After reading the many "Black women ain't shit" articles this year, the bruhaha over Revolver's "Hottest Chicks in Metal...er....Hard Rock" I had had enough. Coupled with the incident at the Kyuss Lives! show, I was a bit raw. But most importantly I agreed to write the response because I knew no one else would.
This is the thing about writing about racism and sexism. You have to be brave in order to do it, because you are going to catch a lot of shit. Many people don't like confrontation - and neither do I, really - but because of that no one else - as far as I know - stepped up to the plate. On Facebook, the link to my post got passed around and it was amazing how many people said "well, I would have just ignored the Troll (the writer). "
I understand when you tell people about an overtly sexist or racist incident and they respond with 'just ignore it.' When I was about 5 or 6 and came home from school and told my mother about some racial incident - not even fully understanding it myself but knowing that it wasn't fair - that's what I was told. I knew, from then that she was wrong but that in the future, I would have to keep that stuff to myself.
Well, not really. I did keep things 'to myself' for many years, until I realized that many times, when people say that shit to you and you don't respond, they think that they have won. And in some ways, they have, because even white or non-black folks who have witnessed the behaviour will not do anything either, even though they may secretly be offended. When I got to be in my mid-to-late thirties, I started talking. And writing about things. And while it might not make a dent in anyone else's life, it sure does in mine.
I don't like feeling like a victim, which is why I write. I don't particularly like when people get away with doing asshat things, which is why I responded to that particular post. I am am pretty passionate about the music I write about and love, and feel personally offended when I am told either that I do not belong in that scene, or that as a woman I 'should' be a certain way in order to get some silent approval or to get the male 'gaze........' it doesn't sit well with me.
Next up: The bruhaha over Slutwalk. Ugh. I will say that Racialicious has been doing an amazing job in covering the movement and the lack of representation of women of colour within it. But I'll discuss that issue ( which is worthy of a entire post) at a later date.
First, I have a couple of new things up at Exclaim! this week: First, the new album by Revocation, which I enjoyed. It's good to work out to, as I reviewed it at the gym ( yes, I multi-task). I saw these guys play almost two years ago in Toronto and was impressed by their live show. The album though, really shows how talented they are.
In July / early August I wrote a concert review, an album review and interviewed Mike from YOB - all three are now up. It's funny because I only really got into the band in 2009 and met him in person last March, and never thought I would have the opportunity to have a chat with him. I didn't tell him I'd previously talked to him in person during our phoner, as I'm personally tired of the "omigodiloveyourbandyou'resocool" sthick and just wanted to get the piece done, as I had a deadline. But again, cool dude - he knew how to be evasive in answering his questions - but I still got a lot and it went a bit better than the In Flames interview I did a month ago.
I'm feeling really rusty, as I've been interviewing people for the book for the past year, and doing less pieces with bands who have albums coming out. Hopefully that will change a bit.
So last Friday I covered the YOB show in Toronto, and it was great. the show was at this nightclub so I was a bit leery of the setup, even though I'd been there a few times before. It actually turned out okay, as the stage was a good size, but it was placed in a way where ( as you can see from the pictures) there was no definitive block between the stage and the audience. People could literally stand beside the stage, which meant that in many of my pictures there were random people standing in the background.