lifeblood: listlogs: 2001v04n055-news

ig-news-digest         sunday, march 25 2001         volume 04 : number 055

today's subjects:
  [ig-news] review of sxsw                           []


date: sat, 24 mar 2001 11:35:44 -0700
subject: [ig-news] review of sxsw

here's a review of sxsw in the dallas voice

text below
music - over at the rainbow
gay acts rock out as fest plays down queer bill
by gilbert garcia
pop music critic
austin ^w even at a music festival, in one of the most left-leaning cites
in the country, sexuality can be a touchy subject. that was the
impression left after this year^rs south by southwest music fest, a
festival which finally saw it^rs first all-gay showcase. at one
of the festival^rs many scheduled seminars, panelists bounced around the
issues of importance to gay artists and gay audiences and discussed
their place in the larger popular landscape.
the panel audience of about 10 people heard that even melissa etheridge,
by all accounts as gay and out as an artist can get, wouldn^rt confirm
what everyone knew until her success was well
established ^w fearing that knowledge of her sexuality would affect her
career. the same went for
kd lang and elton john. the well-placed group of panelists (two writers,
a publicist and a record
label artists^r rep) spoke in the present tense and hinted that, even
now, successful gay artists
keep their personal lives quiet to avoid making waves.
of course, the fear of being out of the closet is also the fear of being
pigeonholed, and this is
particularly true in the music business. one audience member, an agent
for a number of rock
bands, expressed frustration at the fact that gay rock acts could never
be included in queer music events, simply because their music was not
considered ^sgay enough.^t
panelists rattled off other names ^w rufus wainwright, the magnetic
fields, the aluminum group
^w of artists whose musical tastes didn^rt fall in line with what
audiences thought of when they
thought of gay musicians. as a result, according to the panel, these
artists shunned their gay
association as well.
near the end of the afternoon, local alt-country singer miss xanna don^rt
took the floor. it was due to her efforts that, after much discussion
with sxsw staffers, a gay showcase had been put
together featuring indigo girl amy ray, raucous folkie melissa ferrick
and punk-rock power trio
the butchies. she even brought established downtown club the rainbow
cattle company on
board as a venue, hosting two non-queer nights last thursday and friday
in exchange for the gay
showcase last saturday.
it was a showcase that was long in coming, and one that miss xanna says
she had been working
on since 1997. but it was not, we were told, ^sofficially^t a gay
showcase. miss xanna had of course originally treated it as such, and
had begun publicizing the event as a queer showcase when she was asked
by festival organizers to avoid referring to the evening as a ^sgay^t
event, particularly in the mainstream media. the reason given was
predictable enough: the artists participating wanted to be known for
their music, not their sexuality. whether any showcase artist was aware
of this decision is unclear.
as far as the actual showcase went, it was a huge hit and certainly
could not have been mistaken
for anything but a gay showcase. amy ray was treated, quite simply, like
royalty. with the butchies as her backup band, ray pumped up the crowd,
opening with her anthem against sexism in the music business,
^slucystoners,^t from her new album stag.
though they were obviously exhausted from a full day of work, the
butchies tore through material
from the album 3, taking a crowd that didn^rt seem quite ready to rock by
surprise. but it was
melissa ferrick who stole the show.
accompanied only by her guitar and a drummer, ferrick gave a performance
that would have
shamed a full ensemble. gyrating to the rhythm of her six-string, she
poured her heart out to the
audience, who were reduced to a swooning and screaming crowd ^w not
unlike that at an elvis
presley show.
early show-openers lord douglas phillips and daniel link certainly got
the crowd going, and ray
and the butchies finished them off admirably. but it was ferrick^rs set
that was clearly the climax of the whole evening. she closed her set
with the raunchy moaner ^sdrive,^t before quickly launching into a medley
of indigo girls covers.
again, the audience applauded wildly, as much for ferrick as for the
realization that as far as
mainstream music goes, it was the indigo girls, one of whom was standing
just offstage, who had
gotten this ball rolling. official or not, this was an evening that
queer artists finally had their own place. if this showcase proved
anything, it^rs that the gay tent has plenty of room for all styles and
tastes, and every one of them is welcome.

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end of ig-news-digest v4 #55

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