I was at a vigil for most of yesterday evening, so I didn’t have time to write a full Music Monday post. But all day my head was filled with music, so I want to leave a few offerings all the same.Read More
Earlier this week, a group of contemporary classical music types put out a zine called How to be a Good Ally and Create Safer Spaces in New Music [PDF]. For those of you who are already well versed in issues of social justice, there won’t be anything groundbreaking in it, but it’s still a decent introductory primer, and I highly recommend it to those who are newer to thinking about these issues, especially the sections on affirmative action and cultural appropriation. (Quick! How many concert series can you think of that even approach gender parity or proportional racial representation? I’ll wait.) Given the limited space available in the zine, the authors don’t have room to really go in depth on all of the ground they cover, and today I want to expand on one area that they touch on briefly, specifically how to balance focus on an artist’s marginalized identity against focus on the art they make.Read More
By now I'm sure most of you are aware of the problems with Roland Emmerich’s upcoming Stonewall movie. It whitewashes history and erases the contributions of trans women of color, putting a cis white gay man front and center instead of the historical people who were actually the first to fight back against the police*. It perpetuates the abhorrent transphobic myth that trans women are ~really~ “men in dresses” by casting a cis man in the role of Marsha P Johnson. Along with cutting Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the IMDB page for the film has no roles listed for several other pivotal women of color, including Sylvia Rivera and Stormé DeLaverie.
This film, in short, is an insult both to history and to some of the people most vulnerable to oppressive violence. Do not see this movie. Tell your friends not to see this movie. Don't reward racist, transmisogynistic lies.Read More
It's 2008. November. My junior year of high school. I'm sitting in my Gay and Lesbian Literature class, still riding the buzz from last night's election victory. Obama, not McCain, is going to be our president for the next four years. My teacher, herself a lesbian, is upbeat about the presidential election, but upset about a ballot initiative that passed out in California. (We are in Massachusetts.) It's my first brush with a phrase that will cling to my life for years to come: Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that stripped Californians of the right to marry someone of the same gender.Read More
Come back when your screams aren't so raw around the edges. Edward Rothstein didn't actually write those words in his New York Times review of the New York première of John Corigliano's first symphony (written in 1988 in response to the AIDS crisis), but it's a sentiment that seems to be lurking everywhere beneath the surface. He opines that the piece "is extraordinarily aggressive: to show anger and pain, it shouts and screams and harangues in triple-forte range. These outbursts seem almost tantrums, they are so raw and musically unmotivated.". Later, he calls such gestures "vulgar"; he compares them unfavorably with other "musically sophisticated works" and complains that they "[rely] upon prepackaged emotional baggage" and fail to "enlarge the listener's perceptions". Could you mourn your dead in a way that's a bit more tasteful?Read More