Tagged under "bisexual" (3)
|Warped Reality: A Queer Girl’s Experience at the Warped Tour|
Nothing like Nassau Coliseum filled with punk rock and keyed up Kat Von D look-alikes to get this girl going on a hot July morning. I’ve been to many an outdoor music festival, but I was expecting to feel a bit out of place at this year’s Warped Tour, given the swarms of teenagers surrounding me. Luckily, music is a universal language, and I found soon enough that I wouldn’t be so misunderstood in the masses. This queer writer would, however, be getting as buzzed as the parents who paid big bucks for their angst-filled offspring to mosh themselves into punk-pop heaven.
As usual, my absentminded self forgot to charge my beloved Canon (I only got to take a few pictures), so I had to rely on memory more than machine to capture the experience. With over 30 bands playing on eight stages spread out ½ mile apart from each other, I started homo-hunting immediately. Looking and listening into every sponsor stand, merch booth, and skate ramp, my quest to capture queerness at Warped Tour was a motivating feat.
In the first hour, I couldn’t tell a boy from a boi. And if there were gay boys around, I couldn’t pick them apart from the swarm of spiky-haired, kohl-eyed guys in skinny jeans. Nonetheless, throughout the day, I proudly spotted a handful of assumable gay gals, eleven to be specific. I used the butch scale and any obvious sign (a rainbow, pink triangle, signs of Sapphic affection, anything screaming ‘queer!’) to measure as accurately as possible (‘cause we all know that sexual orientation cannot be defined by physical appearance). Dressed like extras in a Fall Out Boy video, these queer chicks were rocking out just as hard as the straight dudes. One girl had on a tank top with “we are everywhere” and a rainbow printed on it. Without a doubt, we were here, we were queer, and the crowd seemed used to it. There were two lesbian couples announcing their queerness with random kisses and uber-affectionate hugs. Nothing like a sweaty screamo band to set the mood for girl-girl love.
A few beers in, I worked up the courage to ask four random half-naked hotties with “Free Hugs/Kisses” sharpied on their torsos for a hug (I wasn’t drunk enough to ask for a smooch). I then made my way to the all-girl stage in time to catch Shiragirl’s set. Shiragirl, a lesbian punk band from NY, broke down gender barriers in 2004 at the Warped Tour and set up the SHIRAGIRL stage, which helped indie female-fronted bands like Paramore perform every year thereafter. Despite a few technical difficulties, they kicked musical ass with great feminist and gender-revolutionary tunes like “Tantrum” and “Anthem”. Watching a queer girl group command shrieks of joy from both guys and gals in the audience made their sound uber-sexy and smart.
Besides Shiragirl, I was able to catch five more awesome bands take the stage(s). Human Abstract, a hardcore/metal band made the mosh pit go nuts. Family Force 5, a crunk punk band, had everyone bobbing their heads and shaking their collective ass. All Time Low, an emo punk pop band finding MTV fame with their hit “Dear Maria, Count Me In” seemed to be a favorite with the queer girls. Cobra Starship, who may just be the gayest straight band ever, had the crowd doing a sped-up wave to their hit “Guilty Pleasure” while making the “cobra sign”. With Cobra’s catchy beats and keytar funk, even the emo kids were cracking smiles. The Color Fred moved me and the dyke to my left (clutching her chest with eyes-closed) with a few songs about love and loss in a way only a shredding guitar can express.
In the midst of this sparsely homo/ suburban teenage freak fest, I began to ponder queer women’s music and its place in the world now. We have always had queer female artists, but very few were mainstream up until twenty or so years ago. After the riot grrrl movement of the ‘90s and the establishment of MichFests and Lilith Fairs, who did we have but a few queer artists like the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tracy Chapman, k.d. lang, and Ani Di Franco representing us on a mainstream level? Ani voiced our politics, Melissa named our heartaches, and the Indigo Girls proclaimed our passions. We hearted these women, made them our dykons, and secured them forever in our queer hearts by supporting them as much as possible. Hence, who can sing our suffrage better than one of our own?
We then had indie artists like Bitch & Animal, Tegan & Sara, and Melissa Ferrick come along and continue to sing our sorrows and scream our rage, and who have all now gained a respectable amount of visibility and mainstream fame. But could any of these artists/ bands now take part in alternative music tours promoting mostly white-male-fronted rock? If they did play at Warped, could straight boys and queer bois play nice together in the pit? And an even bigger question: does this generation of queer kids need or relate to our dearly-loved LGBTQ artists anymore?
Shiragirl proved to the Warped Tour bigwigs that queers can share a stage with hetero bands and rock just as hard, and the handful of gays I spotted proved to me that this generation of young queer women are lovers of mainstream hetero-headed punk/emo/rock, of music that’s an alternative to our music. Young dykes nowadays are relating to bands like Against Me! and All Time Low more and more, as different as their artists’ life stories may be. Nevertheless, now with a whole new queer music scene on the rise whose bands would fit right in with this tour, they could have the best of both worlds. The queer music scene at present crosses gender and genre boundaries. Gay girl music is no longer defined by a dyke with a mic and guitar pick.
Bitch & The Exciting Conclusion, God-des & She, The Cliks, Pussy Pirates, Erase Errata, Ms.Led, 8 Inch Betsy, Girl in a Coma, KIN4LIFE, The Gossip, Boyskout, and The Shondes would undoubtedly rock these Warped stages just as hard as the bands I saw play. It’s not that today’s queer women don’t appreciate, like, or relate to our queer musical pioneers of the past or our present state of gay music; it’s simply that they don’t solely need queer artists to speak their stories anymore. Music doesn’t seem to need to be sexually oriented for queer youth today.
In the midst of this musical epiphany, I managed to miss bisexual-for-pay belter Katy Perry and sadly, the Gym Class Heroes. If I was going to find any more Sapphic sisters, what better place than where Katy Perry was performing “I Kissed A Girl” (no matter how many queer girls know she is full of bi-curious bullshit). So after five over-priced Budweisers, six bands, four “free hugs”, and a failed attempt at crowd surfing, what did this queer “warpie” learn? Three things indeed. One- that this generation of queer women looks to all genres of music (mainstream, pop, queer or not) to enjoy/relate to. Long might be the days when only Ani or Indigo were the artists to understand our unrequited love for our same-sex dorm mate. Queer women these days are loving all types of tunes, no matter the sexual preference of their performer. Number two- the queer music scene is stronger than ever, on the rise and filling the airwaves with songs about us, reaching the ears of homo and hetero alike. And three- getting to feel on bikini-clad teenage girls through free hugs is the ultimate way to get warped.
Tagged on August 4, 2008
|"L Word Where?"|
I noticed it for the first time Tuesday night, heading into NYC during rush hour. Since then, I’ve spotted three more, high in the sky, across three major NJ highways (all of them ten minutes from the Holland Tunnel). As big as it was, I was quick to notice something amiss. And that’s when it hit me like the car I almost-rear ended while staring at it.
Awkwardly gazing at Showtime’s new billboard, I noticed characters from all the hit shows that made them “Network of the Year” - Californication, Weeds, The Tudors, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Dexter- all except The L Word. Maybe if I was on some one-lane highway heading down the Bible Belt, I wouldn’t be so stunned at the exclusion of our favorite series from this ad/ode to programming excellence. But for goddess sakes, it’s the Tri-state, home to many a queer girl. Left incredulous, all I could think about the rest of the week was why The L Word was left out of Showtime advertisement heaven.
Last time I checked, The L Word has had a pretty good run on the network: five seasons strong and every queer gal’s guilty pleasure. Heck, it was even announced last week by Showtime’s president Robert Greenblatt that a spin-off is in the works. So why not include it on a billboard displaying all the series’ that made Showtime the year’s “it” network? Could they really not squeeze a shot of Bette’s incandescent eyes or Shane’s chiseled cheekbones on this big-ass ad? There’s no doubt Jennifer Beals and Katherine Moennig make way better eye candy than David Duchovny or Michael C. Hall. Was it a conscious decision then to leave out the faces of our beloved dyke divas because of what the show represents? The billboard features characters from shows whose lives are centered on adultery, drugs, prostitution, and murder. Queer sex was really too taboo to be posted?
The exclusion of The L Word from Showtime’s billboards illustrates just how invisible queer women are made in the media. It especially speaks to how we lack representation in general on television. Unless it’s a queer-centered product or a queer targeted audience, it is very rare to see any depictions of lesbian, bi-sexual, and queer life on the boob tube. Sure, we’ve come along way since Will & Grace. But besides a bunch of real-life lesbians (Ellen, Rosie, Daniela Sea, Leisha Hailey) and a few questionable bisexuals (Tila Tequila, Lindsey Lohan, Kristanna Loken), where do we see any other (never mind authentic) representations of queer women’s lives on TV?
Besides LOGO’s Ex’s & Oh’s and Gimme Sugar, what mainstream cable network has shows about/involving queer women, their struggles, their dreams, and their lives? It’s no secret or surprise that our heteronormative TV culture keeps queer programming at bay, unless the network is queer itself. Mainstream hit shows like Degrassi: The Next Generation, Cashmere Mafia, and Nip/Tuck include gay/ bisexual characters to fill a few dramatic storylines. And as irreplaceable as The L Word is, there is a dire need for more shows about queer girl worlds and how they turn.
It’s great to see sexy queer gals like Portia de Rossi and Michelle Paradise on the screen representing femme fierceness. And dykes like Jackie Warner, Cat Cora, and Dani Campbell do a fine job of representing “us” on the small screen. But I have yet to see real butch women representing for the bois on TV. As awesome as Ellen and Dani are, they don’t cut it in terms of butchness. Snoop from The Wire and Julie Goldman from The Big Gay Sketch Show are as close as it gets.
Truth is, most of the queer women on TV are depicted as lipstick lesbians, or something close to these uber-femme types. Take Tila freakin’ Tequila, the over-sexed bi bimbo reducing girl-girl love to nothing more than spa days and skimpy outfits. Then there’s Rosie, our token butch, who is loud and aggressive and best known for feuds with the infamously toupee-d Mr. Trump. Is this who/all we are? If not, where the hell are the rest of “us” at in TV land?
There’s nothing wrong with femininity, brazenness, boisterousness, and a fierce libido. But when it pigeonholes us into a “type”, then Houston, we have a problem. I don’t know about you gay gals, but Lindsey Lohan’s recent foray into homoville isn’t enough queer female representation for me. There’s so much to our culture that the boob tube chooses to overlook, and that Showtime chooses to hide. Like our faces on their billboards. And if their new one is any indication of our present state of queer affairs, then we still have a long and winding road ahead of us in boob tube land. Let’s keep watching for signs till then.
“Lift your eyes higher then the billboards do” - Bitch
Tagged on July 28, 2008
She rescues damsels in distress, loves her mother (and her grandmother) and is unabashedly self confident. She lends a sane voice to the insane world of reality TV. It seems the breakout star of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila can do no wrong. Have we found our next real-life lesbian superhero?
Tagged on July 9, 2008