023. phthongaphile

Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists

Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists

If I were the sort of person who had idols and celebrity crushes, this might be the moment for it.

Behold, my heroes!

A few weeks ago came the culmination of months of excited waiting and jumping up and down like a silly fangirl…

Rock the Garden 2009.

Why so ecstatic, you ask?

The Decemberists, that’s why. Only my favourite band in all of creation. And they were headlining the concert!

I feel kind of bad. In this picture they were standing off to the side watching the band right before them, Calexico, perform and I first saw Jenny and distracted everyone around me by pointing her out, leaning over the side of the rail trying to see the band. Then frontman Colin Meloy appeared, followed by Chris Funk, and then honourary Decemberists Becky Stark (of Lavendar Diamond) and Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond).

Needless to say, I was completely beside myself. And part of me felt bad that this band was putting on a great show and all I could think about was the next band.

It’s not like I have a crush on Colin Meloy or anything. For one thing, he’s not my type at all. I do have a little thing for Jenny Conlee though, kind of a keyboardist crush. Her work on Crane Wife was exemplary (especially on “The Landlord’s Daughter” from the epic track No.2, “The Island”). They’re just really, really good!

Yea, even amazing!

They are currently touring with their new album, the 17-song folk rock opera The Hazards of Love. From what I can decipher of the plot, it’s about Margaret, a maiden who falls in love with the shape-shifting William (faun by day, human by night), the son of the [jealous and possessive] Queen of the Forest. What follows is a twisted tale of love, perversion, infanticide, kidnapping, haunting and drowning.

And the music is divine. However convoluted the plot may be, the music is some of the best and mature that Meloy has written so far. And I got to hear him live!

Shara Worden as the Queen was absolutely incredible in her silver glam rock pants, working every angle in her performance. She just exuded sex. If I were straight… well…

So that’s all I’ll say. Go out and buy the album. Hazards of Love. Prepare to be amazed.

So that was two weeks ago.

This past weekend was Twin Cities Pride—the third largest in the nation, according to festival organisers. In 2006, Minneapolis had the fourth-highest percentage of GLBT persons in the adult population, with 12.5%. (That figure may be higher now.) Not surprisingly, the area has an active arts and theatre scene, boasting the highest number of theatre companies per capita in the nation (including the Guthrie)!

This year, even though it’s my first “out” year, I decided not to be in attendance. For one thing, the sight of drag queens and the like does absolutely nothing to boost my pride. And while the sight of shirtless, chiselled, muscular boys wearing next to nothing was temptation enough to go (I do like me hot some shirtless men), I can now see that anytime on my way to work. [insert goofy grin]

But pride in what? I ask.

I won’t go on about that because it’s a moot point and I’ve ranted about this before. I don’t aspire to be a woman or surround myself with gay icons or role models (e.g., Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Joan Crawford, Bette Midler or Cher), pursue promiscuity and multiple sex partners, go out clubbing (I can’t dance worth anything and refuse to make a fool of myself in public that way) or play into any of the stereotypes that culture expects me to fit as a homosexual.

As a blogger wrote recently,

If we want Joe Public to understand that GLBT is not about sexual deviancy, then half naked, leather wearing, whip carrying people are not exactly sending the message that we want them to understand . . . Is the purpose of the parade to widen societies acceptance, to honour our peers who made the parades possible in the first place, or just a party? If it’s one of the first two, then I think it damages everything that we want society to understand and also devalues everything that the earliest parades and marches worked to achieve.

It’s just not something that I’m comfortable with. I’m not “Loud and Proud.” My sexuality is something I treat with reverence and respect. It’s not a political tool or an activist badge. For me, it’s very personal, and I refuse to see myself as different. We’re just people.

As my boyfriend and I have discussed on many, many occasions, straight people don’t have pride festivals. They don’t flaunt their straightness in front of everyone and expect the general public to just accept them. Of course, they are accepted by Joe public and enjoy all rights and privileges therein:

  • Parents don’t have to explain to their kids what a couple stealing a kiss or just full-on making out is, unless said PDA gets so gross (as in, misdemeanour) to the point of calling the cops.
  • Old ladies don’t scowl at a man and a woman holding hands (and more) in public. Unless they’re just bitter old hags who scowl at everything…
  • Christians don’t show up to protest with hate signs at their weddings.
  • Straight people aren’t beaten to death just for being straight.

Granted, at Rock the Garden there were some very public heterosexual displays of affection (including a couple haxing sex on the lawn, according to a friend of mine); and honestly, shirtless guy with his hands all over his girlfriend right next to me made me uncomfortable.

As did the drunk guy trying (and I mean trying) to dance with his girlfriend. And hitting blond girl in front of them in the head twice as he attempted to twirl GF. Things were not working well for them that night.

2 thoughts on “023. phthongaphile

  1. Em

    Just try not to forget that those “out and proud” types are the ones whose visibility made it possible for your sexuality to be a non issue.

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