As a young teenager grappling with questions about my own gender and sexuality, I discovered the music of Stevie Nicks. I instantly felt comforted by the ways in which she embraced her own "otherness" through lyrics that never questioned the validity of her own feelings. As a toddler, long before I'd heard Nicks' music, my parents would catch me running around the backyard with a long, flowing blanket wrapped around myself, cackling, and exploring gender never by playing the princess, but always the misunderstood witch. Now, here I was, an adolescent struggling to come out as queer, with these beautiful songs of magic, vulnerability, and empowerment to sustain me through difficult times.Around the same time, I was invited to a gathering at a friend's house of queer high school students in Southern NJ, which was sponsored by The Attic Youth Center. There I met Mark, who would soon become my very first high school boyfriend, but who would long after remain one of my dearest friends.
Mark was a force of nature - never willing to mute who he was, but always full of instant and fierce acceptance of anyone he encountered. I still remember the safety I felt trick-or-treating with him at 15, both of us in full gothic drag, on the streets of Gloucestor, NJ (remember, this was 1998 - pre-Will & Grace!).
This past October, we lost Mark to the demons with which he'd been struggling for most of his life. In his wake, he left so many whose lives he had impacted with his zany sense of humor and welcoming smile.
I immediately wanted to do something to honor his memory, and - in the current climate of our nation - to somehow benefit some of the folks who are most vulnerable and often invisible in our society.
I've written a one-person cabaret (with a four-piece band and backup singers) that incorporates my own stories with the music of Stevie Nicks to take the audience on the journey of my own life, from a youth full of unanswered questions about gender, through my teenage years and experiences with love, coming out, rejection, and to the present day as I grapple with endings and beginnings, loss, and the road ahead. Since Stevie Nicks' music was such a presence during my journey as a queer teenager, and in memory of my friend, I will to donate the entire ticket proceeds of this cabaret to The Attic Youth Center for LGBTQ Youth.
I've engaged some world-class Philly musicians to fill out my band, but in order to make this all happen I need to pay them for their skillfull and generous work!
The $1,945 goal will go entirely to paying the six musicians joining me for 2 rehearsals and the performance.
Anything raised above the goal will go (along with all ticket sales) to The Attic Youth Center.
I am so excited to delve into some of my favorite music with these esteemed artists:
Malchijah Giddings on keyboards
Dan Hanrahan on guitar
Joseph Plowman on bass
Austin Wagner on drums
Janet Williams on backing and guest vocals
Ginger Coyle on backing and guest vocals
Please consider donating to support these fabulous musicians for their time and talents, so that all other proceeds raised for this special performance can benefit an organization that is a cornerstone of Philadelphia's queer community.