Thursday, August 17, 2006

Melissa And Friends

Last week was the Michigan Womyn’s Musical Festival and I was once again a no-show. Since I first learned about this annual event, I have wanted to go, but I fear it is a dream that will elude me forever. You see, I have a penis, and people with those are not allowed. And even if I wanted to, radical surgery wouldn’t gain me entrance since only “womyn born womyn” meet the eligibility standards. Even if they did change their policy, it’s unlikely that I would attend anyways. Camping in the woods in the August heat with several thousand feminists of the most militant variety is not a vacation I would be able to talk my wife into. So I have to just pout in a sour grapes way.

So instead of seeing Jill Sobule and Lez Zeppelin on the MWF mainstage last Thursday, I did something better. I got over my snit that she overlooked me and went to see Melissa Etheridge in concert at Constitution Hall in DC. I’m not sure that the mostly female audience was even aware of the irony of seeing America’s most famous lesbian musician at a venue that once snubbed African American singer Marion Anderson. Still, the DAR hall is a great place to see a show. Our seats were in a box just behind the floor seating. We had great sightlines to the oddly decorated stage, which consisted of a series of boxes that looked like glowing cubist strawberries.

This was my third time seeing Melissa live. We first saw her as the opening act for the Eagles on their Hell Freezes Over tour. She may have been still in the closet to most people, but she wasn’t fooling any of her fans that surrounded our seats. The second time was a few years ago on her solo (but by no means acoustic) tour. With just a guitar and some backing tracks, she rocked the Warner Theater.

At the DAR, we had to share our box with three other people. When we arrived, the first person was already there. She was very young and this was her second time to see Melissa. She had used her MEIN membership to get tickets to the Madison Square Gardens stand before she knew Melissa was playing DC. We had a fun time chatting and sharing celesbian gossip (Jodie Foster has been married for thirteen years, destroying another one of my dreams). Our final two boxmates were a twenty-something high-strung farmgirl that had just come out and her mother. Everyone complimented her mother on supporting her daughter so much. The mother’s attitude was that at least she didn’t have to worry about any unplanned pregnancies.

Melissa took the stage just five minutes after the nominal start time, surprising many of the attendees still lingering in the lobby, and proceeded to rock for nearly three hours. Melissa’s stage style is very Springsteenesque. She interacts with the audience a lot and likes to tell stories and ramble on. She introduced one song with a poignant story of a girl she had a crush on just after high school. The girl vanished one day because her parents had institutionalized her to keep her from spending too much time with the wrong crowd, meaning Melissa. Melissa also made multiple references to wasting ten years with the wrong person. We all knew whom she was talking about.

Good music is good music and Melissa Etheridge makes some of the best. In recent years she has had to carry a heavy burden as a role model and leader in the lesbian community and as a breast cancer survivor. She also plugs the Al Gore movie that she wrote a song for and (as a Kansas bred liberal) touts biodiesel fuels. Despite all this, she rocks hard and gives her fans what they want.

Melissa has a core group of loyal fans that will follow her everywhere. Judging by my boxmates and the enthusiasm of the audience, a Melissa Etheridge concert is part tent revival and part rite of passage. Melissa accepts that she will never be an arena-headlining superstar, which is fine with me since that lets me see her in great intimate venues. I don’t even mind sharing the men’s room with the women’s lounge refugees. And my wife doesn’t worry about any fellow groupies trying to pick me up. I’m just glad to be counted among Melissa’s great fans and friends.


Anonymous said...

Jodie Foster is married? To, like, a man? I don't believe it.


yellojkt said...

Married, but not to a man. But there are wedding rings and everything. My boxmate offered to send me pictures of Jodie's wife. It seems she's done a lot of research on the relationship. Definitely more stuff than appears in the mainstream press.

As tempted as I was, I turned down the offer. Doesn't look good exchanging e-mail addresses with a college-aged woman in front of your wife no matter how clearly innocent it is.

We also giggled about how uncomfortable Jodie looked in heels in "Inside Man". Also about Ellen's latest girlfriend being pure armcandy trophy wife material. We were all super catty.

Anonymous said...

Is your uses of the phrase "boxmates" done as tongue in cheek.

Anonymous said...

yellojkt, if you think this is off topic, or just too darn rude, feel free to dump it.

One of the guys in the 10thcircle did this...


Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more comment.

Ya need to man up on the penis thing.

"I have a penis", what is *that*?

Don't say it like you "have" a pimple or a pinky finger.

You WIELD a penis, like a blacksmith's hammer, John Henry's sledge or a medieval broadsword.

Need a good nickname for it too, something that connotes appropriate gravitas, like Mjolnir, or Excalibur, Nautilus, Anduril, Moby, etc.

Something like that, bro. Man up!


Anonymous said...

Jodie's partner is named Cydney Bernard, and you can see a photo here.

Since you live in the Baltimore area, I'll mention that several years ago, Jodie was allegedly dating Gina Schock from the Go-Go's, and they were spotted together at the Club Charles.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Lesbian, bi, straight - who cares? You're right - good music is good music!!!

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to see Melissa Etheridge perform live; from the first time I heard her I thought she'd probably rock the place.

In Michigan, how do they manage to screen out transgendered people? It's not always obvious.

Impetua said...

I saw Melissa in concert ages ago when I was but a youthful slip of a dyke. Now, of course, I am a fully mature suburban lesbian mom, and Melissa is hotter than ever. Let the good times roll.

And as for the MWMF, well, I have a special loathing for it which is entirely based on the fact that an ex of mine dumped me for another woman (without telling me about the other woman), then suddenly on a week's notice jetted off to attend the festival. Of course, it's a love/hate relationship I have with the festival since she jetted off to meet up with the other woman as a surprise. What she didn't know was that the other woman went every year to meet up with some "buddy" of hers to spend some, shall we say, quality time, and as a result totally dissed my ex, who took to calling me from her cellphone every night from the festival "just because." I found out later all the backstory on this and haven't been able to stomach the festival since. She similarly ruined "Schindler's List" AND the Oregon Country Fair for me too, but honestly, I'm not so sure that I'm the festival type anyway. Long lines, dirt, smelly half-dressed free-spirited (i.e. boundary-less) types, etc. Not my thing.

Oh and the ex remained firmly the ex.

Impetua said...

Oh, and that whole exclusionary-penis clause? It's discriminatory bullshit, and shouldn't be legal. It's another huge reason why I wouldn't attend even if I wanted to. Why, some of my best friends have penises... or wish they did... said...

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