10.21.18/10.22.18—Low Key Arts Center Hot Springs, Ar (Screaming Females, Kitten For-ever)//Day Off

Woke up early, and for some reason didn’t shower but that’s okay. I put together a new outfit for the day: olive green slacks, and a button down shirt (Blue with white dots, buttoned to the top collar.) I feel confident in my look. Step outside with all my baggage (yeah right, a lot of that will never go away) and check in with my friend Danielle back in Chicago. Her cat is going through some issues that can only be contributed to “age.” I help her process that and she helps me process some bullshit that’s going on in my head. She’s the best and I miss her terribly.

We set an early van call as todays drive will take up the better part of the day, but we really need breakfast too. Sunday in Baton Rouge, whatever could that look like? We drive to the two recommended spots and they’re slammed. We check a coffee shop, but alas nothing to eat. We finally settle on a spot that we thought would be an easy fix. Instead we were stuck in a line for an easy 30 minutes. I absolutely refuse to make any sort of complaint on a service industry member’s work. Its part of the code of being in service: be polite, be empathetic, 20% tip mini-mum for even the worst service, do not criticize. So I won’t say what was going on, but from the outside it all looked unnecessarily complicated, and we were all so hungry, and already chasing daylight that Marissa and I started laughing to keep from fully freaking out. Thankfully, the breakfast was delicious.

We got on the road and it was a pretty straightforward drive. I made the mistake of looking at the news and reading the Times’ report on the Trump Administration’s effort to roll back a bunch of protections on Transgender’s peoples protections under Title IX. Cowardly shit. State sanc-tioned violence. Violence to people that deal with violence on a regular basis, be it micro or mac-ro. I’ve said it a thousand times here: I am never happy with the fleshbag I was given. I have a battle with it on a daily basis. I would really love it if I was never read “male” again, I would really love it if I wasn’t misgendered by my fellow queer people. I would really love it if someone could walk away from any average conversation one could have from me and realize “huh, they aren’t at all what they look like” or rather not discount my statements, my expressions, my everything by assigning “guy” to it. I’m not male. I was dumped in a male flesh bag, at a birth i didn’t even ask for. My agency? Fucking laughable. Why do we do this? Why do we make such a big deal? Because we have to. Because I have passing privilege, and with that privilege I am not subject to the level of violence some of my loved ones are subject to, but it’s assumed that I’m “one of the guys” and being let into that cabal of toxic language/ideology has always been something I’ve never enjoyed. I am something else. Some gurl brain that dates/partners up with lesbians. Some gurl brain that has more dysphoria about my body, my presentation, my “look”, than they do actual skin cells. Hard themme/soft femme. That’s where I am, and the moments that that is seen, honored and respected are so few and far between that when it does actually happen I want to burst into tears of gratitude. I want my loved ones to be safe. I want my friends to be safe. I want my crushes to be safe. I also want the strangers I don’t know to be safe. I want the people (namely people of color, indigenous people, sex workers) whom the measures of Title IX weren’t even extended to to be safe. In safety comes accountability, recognition, advocacy and respect. Violent acts against fascist aggression IS self defense, and we aren’t going to go any other way with it.

I spent most of the ride enraged over what I read, but I kept quiet. I reached out to some loved ones/freinds/crushes/strangers and made sure they were okay or offered an ear if they needed it. If I was a rich gal, more people would be getting money from me for their re-assignment sur-gery, or rent, or a meal or whatever they need that can lift some worry from their life and make them feel safe. “SAFE.” That’s what we keep coming back to, because it’s a basic right to feel safe, and I can’t convince you to actively care for someone you don’t know, but when a group of people are saying they don’t feel safe how the fuck are you going to talk them out of it? How are you going to do that without actually listening? Why would anyone choose to behave this way? I grew up in the house of a nurse, a woman that oversaw an ER for decades, a woman who—while incredibly flawed—taught me to care for people, to not let cynicism get the best of me, to not be so calloused. I can’t teach how to be that way if you are going to not listen to/talk over victims or marginalized people.

We got to Hot Springs, Arkansas as the sun was setting. The temperature dropped drastically and for the first time since being back in the bay, the scarf was let out. Quick and efficient load in/check. We have tomorrow off, so we will crash in Hot Springs. The plan is to get adjoining ho-tel rooms with Kitten Forever, spend some time around Hot Springs, hopefully get into some sort of water, and then drive halfway to Birmingham.

We have a couple hours until showtime so everyone kinda breaks off on their own. There’s been a lot of good camaraderie between both bands. It’s nice, but I still keep to myself. “Tallboys are for drinking, not talking” as the adage goes. I prefer the anonymity. Van Dyke Parks once said “when I saw someone blow Jack Kennedy’s brains out on national TV in the name of fame, I learned there was a lot of safety in anonymity.” I feel that; I’m a nice moment to visit, but not something you wanna keep around the house. I love hosting a party, but I’m better if I can leave a party when no ones looking. I absolutely abhor any sort of compliment because that all feels like lies/consolation prizes for some other flaw I have in me. That’s how I am on tour. I keep it mostly to myself. I only feel safe in the whip, and even then I’m mostly keeping it to myself as that’s where I do all my writing. Tonight is an after party for a ten day film festival in Hot Springs, that happens to be on day three, hence the late start time. Even the promo poster for the night says “somehow we’re going to get through this.” I appreciate your optimism, Hot Springs.

Moments before Kitten Forever take the stage, Cheyenne informs us they are going to get a dif-ferent hotel on the other side of town. Turns out some guy was following them around, and con-fronted them in a very creepy way. Like FOLLOWED them, and figured out where their hotel was. People: don’t do this. Don’t do this ever. And you fuckers wonder why I get bent out of shape over my gender/presentation…you think I want a seat at that table? Plan is that I’ll ac-company Cheyenne back to the hotel so they can cancel their room and get a refund while en-suring that our room is not canceled. But first, we should watch some of KF…I’m pretty sure they fed their nerves right into their instruments because they gave one of their heaviest perfor-mances of the entire tour. We all took to the front and freaked out/danced as a measure of de-fense for I was ready to fight any sketchball that got close to them. Fire set. Screaming Females followed through with an equally strong set of heavy rock/solid jams. The sound was spectacu-lar, and the band totally fed off it, particularly in “Triumph” which turned to a stretched out explo-ration of the cosmos through instrumentation. It’s one of those moments, where I’m floored by watching my friends whom I see do normal ass friend shit all day, step out of that dynamic and turn into the greatest band in the world for an hour a night. Truly inspired set tonight. Real magic. We pack up, dance around to songs by The Clash and The Velvet Underground while loading out into the cold Arkansas night.

We get back to our hotel, and throw ourselves unto the beds while falling asleep to some bi-zarre cop show from the ‘60s(?) featuring an incredibly young/moonfaced Burt Reynolds. The title of the episode “Love and A Nickel Bag.” I hear that, Burt.

II

Woke up a bit before everyone for a quick shower. I’m really not sure why I didn’t shower the day before especially when I’m switching up uniforms, but no matter now, for I am one clean ba-bine. I’m back in bed, shirtless, in my underwear. Everyone starts waking up when there’s a knock on the door. No one gets up. It’s housekeeping. It’s so early. Another pound on the door.

“HOUSEKEEPING.”

(“is anyone else going to get up and tell them to beat feet? No? Ughhhh, okay.”)

as I’m walking, again mostly nude, to the door it opens.

“NOOOOOOOOOPE. We are still sleeping.”

This amuses Jarrett, who is well awake and laughing. “Noooooooope.”

“No, don’t get up” as I plop my body back on the bed.

We all take our time getting dressed and watch some really bad “Final” “Nightmare On Elm St.” There’s a cameo from Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, whom I proclaim are the Jay and Bay of the ‘90s. Checking out of the hotel, I encounter a ghoul who’s been roaming the hallways of this hotel since well before Bill Clinton was born. He has a pink shirt on and he whispers “hi” as I walk by him to Marissa, gesturing that I quickly get in the Elevator.

We walk down the street to a lil cafe where we meet up with Kitten Forever for breakfast. I have a yogurt with fresh fruit and granola, a croissant and a coffee. Delicious. From there, we went to get the oils changed on both vehicles. Then we finally vacuumed the whip, which is something Marissa wanted to do for well over a week. It was disgusting. I did find a ton of bobby pins though, which I must have lost when I slept in the whip while we were in San Antonio. Feels good to have a clean home again.

Jarrett and I broke away from Marissa and Mike. They wanted to go to Planet Fitness, while we met up with Kitten Forever and hit the spa. The initial plan was to find a trail to hike that could lead us to a hot spring, but alas those actual springs are too hot to soak in, so a spa will have to do. The spa is heavenly and it’s super nice to hang around Kitten Forever (as usual.) From there, we went back to the coffee shop, where seemingly everyone got stuck inside trying to ex-it. We go to a pizza joint called Squeezbox which surprisingly had delicious pizza. My expecta-tions for pizza are low if I’m anywhere but NY or NJ. It’s all just bad in comparison, but this was pretty good. Plus they had garlic knots. Mike and Corrie coordinate a halfway point between Ar-kansas and Birmingham, Alabama where we’ll crash out and have another hotel party. Did you know that in Tennessee there’s not a law against passengers drinking a beer in the car? I didn’t know this, but the band makes me aware of it. Naturally, I have to partake in this novelty, name-ly for shits and giggles, but Mike presses Jarrett to do it too so I’m not alone. We grab some beers from a gas station that sold SINGLE trojan magnums. Who’s that confident? Who DEFI-NITELY ONLY needs one condom? We are in Tennessee for a total of ten minutes before we hit Mississippi, so we chug these beers quick. It’s juvenile, but we aren’t working, we’re on tour. We are allowed to have stupid fun if we want to.

There’s talk of stick n poke tattoos tonight, and I put in a request for one. It’s a definite “sex ha-ver” tattoo (but a tribute to the only boss from Ohio, Chrissie Hynde) and I want it in a questiona-ble area, but Cheyenne says they’re game to administer. Thank gawd that beer in the whip gave me the courage to ask. Good plan, but Marissa has to get one first. So while the adjoining rooms watched “Jeepers Creepers” and “Gremlins” respectively (before we both watched “Joe Dirt”—a Masterpeice!) Marissa get’s “Thunder Road” zapped on her arm, in tribute to the only boss from New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen.. It’s beautiful. Cheyenne has great handwriting. It did take a while though, so I go to bed without getting zapped.

“We’ll make it happen! You want it, you put it out into the world, so we have to do it” assures Cheyenne.

It’s not going to happen. It’s been a gag I’ve been chasing since the beginning of the year, and so far no takers. Oh well. I’m too wired to sleep, so I stay up until 4am watching music videos and youtube clips of baseball fights. What can I say, I like a trainwreck.