I hope those of you on the east coast are staying warm and have power in your homes by now! Here in the bay area we are just starting to enter the rainy days of fall and I’m curling up with rooibos chai and vegan pho.
I had a wonderful time playing at the San Franciso Transgender Film Festival last night. It’s running Nov 8th – 11th, so check it out this weekend for great films by and about trans people.
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I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent elections. I believe very strongly that the kind of transformative change we deeply need will come from people’s movements, not elected officials. With that said, I believe electoral politics can be an important strategy. I’m glad to say that in many ways the context we have to work in now looks much better than I’d feared it might on the morning of November 7th.
For the first time, a U.S. President won with a minority of the white vote joining with people of color super majorities. I think this speaks well for the potential of building the kind of multiracial coalitions we need to build successful liberation movements. For the first time, four states advanced queer civil rights at the ballot box rather than rolling them back. While I think marriage shouldn’t be pursued as the main or most important goal of LGBTQ movements the way it has been in recent years, I think this vote was a good sign that the hearts and minds of people across the country are shifting away from homophobia and heterosexism.
One of the most hopeful developments to me is that the San Francisco Health Commission has unanimously approved removing exclusions on transgender surgeries and hormone therapy from the Healthy San Francisco health access program for low income people. The largest number of women ever were elected to the Senate, including an out gay woman. California raised taxes on the wealthy for schools, and amended the three strikes law that has sent countless people to prison for non-violent offenses (for the record, I don’t believe prison is ever an effective response to harm!). My home state of Virginia went for Obama *again* after *44 years* of going to Republicans in presidential races, and they voted in a Democratic senator. I’m also glad to say that my adopted city of Berkeley rejected the sit/lie ordinance that would have further criminalized homeless people.
I’m definitely bummed about the passage of California’s Proposition 35 (further criminalizing sex workers and allies under the false pretense of “stopping human trafficking”), and the failure of proposition 37 (labelling GMO’s). It’s not all good news, but overall, I think the outcome of this election is a good sign for on-the-ground organizing toward a truly liberatory world. Let’s keep at it!
Headlining at the Starry Plough
I headlined at the famed Starry Plough in Berkeley November 10th! Thank you to everyone who helped fill it up and make it such a great night. It was an honor to play on this stage that has hosted Ani DiFranco, Jeff Buckley, Erin McKeown, Jonathan Richman and Guy Clark, to name a few.
Rin Tin Tiger (9:30 pm) are an acoustic indie band from San Francisco whose star is rising these days, and with good reason. They’re high energy and a lot of fun.
The Plastic Arts (10:30 pm) is Kyle Terrizzi, an East Bay acoustic pop singer-songwriter with a voice that will melt your heart.
Eli Conley (11:30 pm) I was joined by Maia Papaya on upright bass and backing vocals. We debuted two new songs, one of which you can check out below.
“Shut Up Songwriters.” Interview & Videos
Shut Up Songwriters. features the best of the Bay Area’s singer-songwriter scene. In my interview, I talked with Kyle Terrizzi (aka The Plastic Arts) about Barack Obama’s re-election, as well as how transitioning from female to male affected my musical development during my early adult life. Plus, I sang the first song I ever wrote, sitting under a tree at Disney World when I was 4 years old! Listen to the interview here.
See you soon,