Friday, 12/31/10

by musicclipoftheday

Tonight, at a club on Chicago’s west side (The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western), New Orleans dance music reigns.

Big Freedia & The Queen Divas

“Double It” (with Galactic), live, San Francisco, 2010

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“Azz Everywhere,” live, Portland (Oregon), 2010

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TV show (Last Call with Carson Daly), 9/28/10

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(Yo, Rachael—thanks for the tip!)



[I]nside New Orleans, the genius of sissy bounce is how perfectly mainstream it is; in the world beyond, the genius of sissy bounce is how incredibly alternative it is.


The first of Freedia’s three successive New York gigs in May began with a preshow bounce dance class, which should give you some idea of how far from home Freedia and [Freedia’s D.J. and de facto manager Rusty] Lazer were. But “every night it got better,” Freedia said. “They was all on the Internet, posting up the pictures, like ‘If you missed last night, OMG, you missed a party.’ Each night it built, and the last night” — at a traveling dusk-to-dawn festival known as Hoodstock, held on this occasion in a raw space in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn — “it was just unbelievable. Five hundred people in there. Everybody was dripping wet. The walls was dripping wet.”

Any doubt that that space, like any space in which Freedia performs, quickly belonged to the women in the crowd may be dispelled by a story Lazer laughingly told about a blog post he’d seen the day after their Hoodstock set. It consisted of two photos taken at the show, and their captions: in the first, a group of women were horizontally p-popping in what amounted to a flesh pile. “To the men,” the caption beneath it read, “we don’t need you.” The second photo depicted a woman at the same show sitting on the floor while a man prone in front of her performed a sexual act that might traditionally be described as submissive. “But we like having you around,” the caption beneath that one read.

What strikes Lazer most about the dynamic at these shows, though, is not how unexpected it is but how familiar. Long before he started D.J.-ing, he was a drummer in a series of rock bands; he is old enough to have come of age in the latter days of punk. And when he started playing shows with Freedia almost two years ago — when he started witnessing, over and over again, a same-sex group taking over the dance floor in order to perform an ecstatic act of physical aggression that is both exceptionally demanding and socially unacceptable in other contexts, at the behest of music that’s ritualized and played at seemingly impossible tempos — it all began to remind him of something.

“It’s as if punk had been reinvented for women,” he said, smiling. “I remember going to punk shows when I was 13, slam-dancing, stage-diving. It was a kind of reckless abandon, something you really couldn’t stop yourself from doing. If the girls weren’t just outright afraid of being in there, there was somebody literally shoving them out of the way. Now it’s exactly what was happening when I was young, but in reverse: the girls literally push the dudes right out of the middle. It’s just pure empowerment, physical aggression that’s not spiteful or vicious. I think it’s no accident that the slang term for a gay kid in New Orleans is ‘punk.’ It’s pretty rewarding.”

—Jonathan Dee, “Sissy Bounce, New Orleans’s Gender-Bending Rap,” New York Times Magazine, 7/22/10


reading table

even the stone-hard camphor tree
by insects

—Kobayashi Issa, 1822 (trans. David G. Lanoue)


radio: last call

Ten straight days of Bach, on WKCR-FM, conclude tonight at midnight.