The Littlest Meap

It is the post I will be writing, all my life

Posted by: meaplet on: July 21, 2008

I got back yesterday from 10 days in Miami, FL, at the GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of) Choruses Festival 2008. GALA involved eight days of, well, choral music. And gay people. And fun.

The title of this post is based on “It is the Song,” a piece commissioned for the Festival Mixed Chorus, of which my own chorus, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, was a part. In the interests of this NOT being the post I will be writing all my life (which, unlike the song I have been singing all my life, is NOT a metaphor for being a homosexual), the rest of the post will be divided into short and useful sessions. If you wish for a day-by-day breakdown of witty one-liners, please see the Twitter updates on the side of this page.

Lessons learned

  1. Bear soup is not somewhere you want to be. Fortunately, the bears will be too busy paying attention to each other to notice you, especially if you hang out in the deep end.
  2. I have a massive intellectual crush on Eric Lane Barnes. I purchased two CDs of Captain Smartypants music because of this. It was the right decision, even if neither of them includes “Battle of the Gay and Straight Composers.”
  3. I will buy things if they come with free kisses from gay Irish blokes? Whatever, dude, it was a totally awesome tee-shirt, I would have bought it even without the free kiss.
  4. Certain composers of music about new stupid boyfriends and santa’s cocaine are unable to tell short brown-haired women apart from each other. This composer I will not name, because I hang out with him periodically and he still can’t tell me apart from other women (or remember my name ever, which I’ve known for a while). At the whole situation I snort.
  5. Despite the seeming unlikelihood of a deaf person choosing to spend a week of their life at a choral festival, every group must have a sign interpreter. This is, apparently, because one of the founding goals of the Women’s Music Movement was to reach out to all women, everywhere, with their strummy music and expressive sign language. The latter part I learned when a Cris Williamson sing-along turned into a Cris Williamson sign-interpretalong.
  6. Gay mens’ choruses and women’s choruses (almost never called lesbian choruses, but many of them restricted only to bio-women who only date bio-women) are ::completely:: different animals. So different, in fact, that it seemed slightly discordant having them at the same music festival. Gay mens’ choruses, are, for the large part, pretty campy. Lots of show tunes, impressive classical music, and humor. Women’s choruses, however, are for the most part a part of the Women’s Music Tradition, and are basically a choral version of Cris Williamson or Holly Near or Ani Difranco. They are there to be serious and change the world, and you better know it. Or they will kick your ass. Or sing “The Great Peace March” again.
  7. I am, weirdly, totally fine with the racial stereotypes played with in an elaborate routine that shows the Lone Ranger and Tonto falling in love, but very uncomfortable with white gay people appropriating black freedom songs for their own movement. I thought a lot about this–does it mean that I’m more ok with being racist against Native Americans than against black people? Ultimately, I decided that it meant that I’m totally cool with taking racist tropes and turning them on their head and mocking them, but not ok with blind copy-and-paste appropriation of another group’s struggle and art. That and trying to squeeze “homophobia” into a verse of “Turn Me ‘Round” just sounds dumb.
  8. Florida: hot in the summer.
  9. Free public transportation: awesome, but also a hangout for homeless people.
  10. Cuban food: nothing resembling vegetarian.
  11. Holly Near: actually a celebrity. (I am always skeptical when people tell me that people from Mendocino County are celebrities–for example, have any of you ever heard of Spencer Brewer? But in the case of Holly Near and Seabiscuit, it turns out to be true.

Highlights of “things Molly scribbled in her 200-page program”

  • “Boys like me like boys like me.” – a line from Eric Lane Barnes’s “The Theme From Pants” (performed by Captain Smartypants)
  • “Gender and sexual identity/ is a very personal thing you see/ so the rules aren’t what they seem to be” – from David Maddux’s “The Gender Polka” (performed by CHARIS – the St. Louis Women’s Chourus)
  • Amazing Grace to the tune of The Water is Wide? Good. Huh. (“Grace”, arranged by Mark Hayes, sung by Illuminati, from Columbus, OH)
  • Why do cellphones always ring in quite a capella moments, and not loud ones? (During perfomance of New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus)
  • I call bullshit on this sign interpreter. (Scribbled down during Seattle Men’s Chorus performance of “Every Sperm is Sacred”)
  • Slash fan fiction and pulp novel conventions: discuss. (During Seattle Women’s Chorus’s performance of a show they recently did about the works of Anne Bannon. Much of which was written by ye olde E.L.B.)
  • ! (This by the listing for the Turtle Creek Chorale’s a capella rendition of the William Tell Overture) (During which time the chorus had an elaborate set of signs like those used in football stadiums, with which they had created highly-detailed Lone Ranger/Tonto fan art. I kid you not.)

New games we should play
(In the style of the and the Peter O’Toole game (People You Thought Were Dead Until They Turned out to be Still Alive) Fay Wray game (People You Thought Had Been Dead Until You Read Their Obituary and Found Out Were Alive All This Time))

The George Michael Game (People you thought were already out until they had big media comings out) and The Seabiscuit Game (People your hometown claims are celebrities, who actually turn out to be celebrities).

What about your own perfomance, Molly?
How about we don’t talk about that? The monitor, which would have allowed us to hear ourselves on the stage with lousy acoustics, was down. I could really only hear me, the piano, and maybe one or two people near me. Apparently other people in LGCSF couldn’t even hear the piano.

I reiterate, let’s not talk about that.

5 Responses to "It is the post I will be writing, all my life"

YOU HAD FUN. *cheers*

Meaplet Molly,

You maketh me to laugh, forsooth. Your paragraph about the difference between men’s choruses and women’s choruses is particularly pithy. People often try to assert: they are the same! Don’t foment division! And yet: they are not the same. Groups of men behave differently than groups of women. And groups of gay men behave differently than groups of gay/lesbian/bi/questioning women (for it seems women’s choruses are frequently made up of different sexual identities than men’s choruses) This is neither bad nor good, it just is. I, for one, am glad to see someone else put this down in writing. Men and women are different. And I, for one, cry, ‘Vive la difference!’

Since you are a citizen of San Fran, check w/ Kathleen McG to see if you could (legally) obtain a copy of their recording of Gay vs Straight Composers for its premier concert last May. There were 2 sections Kathleen and I chose to leave out in service of brevity: Chopin and Wagner. (Was Chopin gay? Who knows? Was Wagner? Certainly not)

I am just now shaking the humidity and Miami dust off my Seattle body. What a huge geographical, socio-economic, gustatory, temperature and moisture difference! I do miss the thousands of hunky Cuban men, tho.



psst. i found you.

let the mass exodus from lj continue!

ELB: very happy to hear from you! Considering the “intellectual crush” mentioned in the post itself… I was more than a little bit excited to have you respond. I will definitely have to check in with Kathleen re: Gay vs. Straight Composers

Katie: Yes, here I am, away from the tumult and strife that is the LJ. Now, to add your new non-LJ blog to my feed reader…

Ai: <3

Linda sent me over — I love your account of our week together.
–the other brown haired one….

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