Sunday, May 26, 2002

Never Enough Heartbreaking Quotes Department

The saddest thing I have ever heard come from a tranny's mouth:

About a Boy Who Isn't ''Yeah, I'm happy, but I always think, Why did God make me like this?'' he says, looking off into the distance. ''Why couldn't he have just made me one way, either a guy or girl? Because I don't feel like a girl at all, but I have a girl's body. I don't understand why God would do that.''

While I have an answer for her, she won't like it. And they wonder why I won't accept Christ as my sole savior. The short duration personal savior concept helped save my sanity at a very early age, praise "Bob."

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Never Enough Christian Deconstructionism Department

Just to run it down for you, in case you never thought about it much:

  • Among most monotheistic religions, the supreme deity is male.
  • Among most religions where Abraham is an important character in their histories, believers are told to scorn homosexuality.
  • Among most Christian sects, Jesus is represented as Caucasian, often with blonde hair and blue eyes, despite the near certainty that any historical Jesus was a Semite without any significant Indo-European genetic stock.
  • Among most Fundamentalists in America, the saved are rich, a hangover from Calvinist theology which America has never fully shaken off despite its attempts at a just and equal society.

No wonder Christians, although told to love all people, act so hateful towards the women, non-whites, queers, and the poor. We're dealing with thousands of years of layered theology geared towards the creation of an elite. And people wonder why I scorn religion. Other than the Church of the SubGenius, of course.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Never Enough Kick-Ass Concerts Department

AH. Here it is, five days after the Mötorhead/Morbid Angel show, and I am fairly certain my hearing has returned to normal. All I know is, from this point on, I will bring earplugs to whatever show I attend. I will also make more of an effort to get into the moshpit, if it isn't too filled with muscled youth full of aggression, like this one was. (And with a much less slippery-wet floor!) I saw the skinheads--nice guys, really--who were in the pit and decided I was better off staying on the edge, occasionally bouncing off a friendly blow, picking up people when they fell down in the pit, and pushing people back into the fracas. One guy got cut on both temples from the sheer insanity. Maybe I'm getting too old and/or too girly for moshing. I got bruised anyhow, but without getting tangled up in bodies. Yay me!

(Readers who don't get into metal much might be tisking such carnage. But anyone who's heeded the call to mosh knows there are few finer experiences than when a driving riff sends you whirlpooling into a sea of bodies, each on their own trajectory while more-or-less following a chaotic spiral round the venue floor, colliding with grins, letting the savagery of the music soak in with each impact, knowing that if you falter the very guy who just slammed into you would not hesitate to stop and pick you up, shake your hand, and then catapult back into the fray. It makes tribal dancing seem dignified, and appeals greatly to those of us who have a bellyful of the hypocrisies of civilization. Such anarchic freedom, but without callousness, is highly refreshing, and the main draw for us life-long metal fans.)

The show opened with Today Is The Day. Originally, the tour included Speedealer, a Dallas band featuring Harden Harrison, formerly of Rigor Mortis. Part of me was let down when Speedealer didn't show up in Seattle, but I wasn't about to let their absence defeat me. So Today Is The Day did their set with a minimal soundcheck, throwing out samples and screams along with growls and tons of hardcore-influenced riffing. By the way, the carrier signal sound a modem makes is really hard on the ears when fed through guitar stacks and amplified through a club's PA system. But I guess that's the nature of today's metalcore bands. Destroy all ears before the main act shows up. All in all, they were pretty good, but not exactly my cup of tea.

During the intermission I went into the club's lounge for a cigarette and a place to sit. Oddly, I got hit on twice while in there. Alas, both times it was by guys. (I should wear something that screams "dyke" to the next show.) The first one was actually pretty cool, as he offered me a beer. I politely declined and he left me to my devices after that. I suspect that he mistook my friendly smile and nod as a come-on, rather than an appreciation for his air drum solo.

But despite the sexual handicap of not being the right gender for my heart or glands, Mr. Beer-And-Drums was Prince Charming in comparison to the second guy. He was dressed like Indy Rock Pete from the online comic Diesel Sweeties, but was big and stocky, and a bit slow. He bummed a cigarette off me then asked if he could sit with me. I pointed out there were no chairs at the table, and he just said "OK"--not noticing that he was standing right next to a vacant chair. I finished my cigarette and told him I was going to wander, so he could have my chair if he wanted. He took the seat, then said, "You know, you don't have to run off because of me." Ah, ya lummox, I'm trying to be nice and you're taking things way too personal. But you know, this IS a show, and I wanted to find a good spot for Morbid Angel's set.

There is apparently a small cult of Morbid Angel fans in Seattle, hopelessly devoted to the band that helped defined, along with Death, Deicide, and Cannibal Corpse, the world renowned Florida death metal scene. They had lined up along the barrier on the front of the stage and the pit area long before Morbid Angel's soundcheck, and were going crazy waiting for the appearance of Morbid Angel frontman and bassist Trey Azagthoth. When they showed up, the moshpit reached its zenith, as flying bodies smashed against each other, desperately trying to embody the exotic brutality of the riffs and the pounding of the drums.

It was a pretty solid show all in all, although Trey seemed annoyed at the lights--he once shouted at the guy in the booth to turn off "those fucking lights" in his face--and on the tiny stage at the Catwalk Morbid Angel seemed almost claustrophobic, but that didn't hurt the ferocity of their set any. Being more a fan of old-school death metal, I shrieked along with "Immortal Rites" and "Chapel Of Ghouls"; I was a tad disappointed that they didn't play "Opening Of The Gates," one of their newer songs and my favorite Morbid Angel song, but since their set was only an hour long I understood, and as far as I was concerned, they were most head-bangingly worthy.

Another intermission, another cigarette, and a bottle of water for rehydration, and I was floating. This time nobody hit on me. Still, reflecting back on it, I have to admit being flattered. I was worried how people might react to a transsexual at a metal concert, but I had no reason to worry at all, as I was ultimately a fellow metal fan. But the crowd was growing even thicker, and the pit was shrinking just because there was far less room. Time for Mötorhead!

There are a number of reasons why Mötorhead is one of the greatest bands ever. For one, they were punk before most punk bands had even formed, presaging even the mighty Ramones, which Mötorhead honored with a cover or two. They were also metal back when most "metal" bands were writing material that'd be comfortably played on any classic rock station in the country. Mötorhead frontsman and bassist Lemmy Kilminster has persued his vision of loud, heavy, blues-and-punk fueled metal for three decades now and shows absolutely no signs of turning down the volume, let alone stopping.

Furthermore, Lemmy is a bass playing GOD, let there be no mistake! While most bass players are most comfortable maintaining rhythm, Lemmy plays his bass with more zest and aplomb than Keith Richards has ever been able to summon in his whole junk-addled life. At the end of the show he held his bass like a rifle, "firing" into the audience note after soul-shaking note, before hanging the bass from one of the club's cables and letting the feedback give all his fans a deep tissue massage of afterworldly proportions.

There wasn't a period of Mötorhead's career that didn't have fair representation in the show, from the early hits "No Class", "Ace Of Spades", "Killed By Death", and "Bomber"; through the Orgasmatron classics "Doctor Rock", "Nothing Up My Sleeve", and "Orgasmatron"; right through more recent tracks like "Overnight Sensation." The only signs of age, if any, were that the band took two breaks, giving themselves and the audience five minutes to take a breath and a smoke, to drink their beers, then jump right back onstage and pummel our ears with their metal blessings.

Lemmy, as always, alternated between savagery and congeniality. One moment he called the audience "pathetic" for not yelling louder; the next he's assuring the crowd, "Don't take me too seriously, you are a great audience!" This works a lot better than the constant patronizing that most bands foist upon the crowd, and helps prove Lemmy and Mötorhead as true legends, cooler than all others, irreplaceable, and damn near immortal. If Mötorhead comes anywhere near your town, ever, GO SEE THEM--and wear earplugs unless you like to hear tinnitus for days on end! You will be grateful for heeding this advice, trust me.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Never Enough Rumsfield Quotes Department

Don't thank me, thank the BBC for their amazing Donald Rumsfeld quote collection.

And to think, this is the guy in charge of the biggest armed forces in the world. On second thought, don't think about it too much, it's scary.

Never Enough Metal Memories Department

I am going to see Mötorhead and Morbid Angel at the Catwalk this coming Tuesday. YAY ME! I'm so excited that I am having trouble sleeping. It's also got me reminising about other metal concerts I've seen over the years. Here's some of the more memorable ones:

Anthrax, Metal Church: Arcadia Theatre, July 11, 1987--My first ever metal concert, after years of listening to metal on the radio and borrowing tapes from friends. Metal Church was pretty good, with crazy versions of "Ton Of Bricks" and "The Dark." Anthrax played a wonderfully loud show, but I realised their appeal would be limited when Joey Belladonna donned a war bonnet and pranced about on stage during "Indians." The hood ornament from my father's Ram Charger got stolen; he was not happy. But that show did make an impression; I'd see more metal concerts in my life, oh yes.

Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, Metallica, Kingdom Come: Cotton Bowl, July 3, 1988--The last ever Texas Jam, part of the Monsters Of Rock tour, this was the first time I saw Metallica live. Not a bad show, but there was no way I could get close enough to the stage. I got a big toe bloodied trying, and the crowd was so packed near the stage that the crowd would sway as one, literally carrying one off one's feet! I got heat exhaustion half-way through Metallica's mid-day set. Scorpions were good; Sammy Hagar climbed the scaffolding during Van Halen's set and made an impression. I was offered a joint and refused--the guy's girlfriend said she was proud of me. The Metallica t-shirt I bought got stolen before we left. Bummer. All in all, it left a bad taste in my mouth as far as stadium rock went. But the Metallica set was WORTH IT.

Metallica, Queensryche: Reunion Arena, February 5, 1989--I had sworn I'd see this concert for my birthday no matter what--and never mind that Texas got hit by snow, meaning that there'd be ice on the highway for the whole hour-plus ride from East Texas State to Dallas. Queensryche was pretty good but stuck to songs off their Operation: Mindcrime album, never getting to the old classics I liked the best. Metallica put on a tight, heavy concert. Although we were in the nosebleed section, my college buddy and I slammed against one another from the rail, to the annoyance of the late-comer fans but to our delight. Best memory was of the Justice statue crumbling into huge pieces onto the very stage, climaxing when one of the light scaffolds broke free on one end and swung back and forth dramatically. In retrospect, I realise that a LOT of choreography had to go into that to make sure nobody got creamed by a statue head or by the swinging scaffold, but at the time, it blew my mind.

DRI, Nasty Savage, Sick Of It All, Sedition: Theatre Gallery, March 17, 1990--Easily the best show I've seen ever, mainly because it wasn't in a club, stadium, or arena. It was in a warehouse with concrete pipes stacked up on the sides. This provided the best moshpit I've been in, with plenty of room for fast-paced whirlpooling and slamming. I even took a roll at one point and didn't get stomped on. Nice! I caught one of Spike Cassidy's guitar picks at the end of the DRI set. Sick Of It All was brilliant, too. Turner Van Blarcum of Sedition had his bone mike-stand sculpture which got quite a flailing during their energetic set. Alas, what I remember most of Nasty Savage was the way this one middle-aged woman in slut finery sat on the edge of the stage and kept flashing her tits at the lead singer. But damn, this really was one of the finest times I've had at a concert, and it set the standards for all the others since. (BTW, there's a poster for this show online!)

There certainly have been other metal concerts, such as Pantera and Prong, and a Godflesh show, that I'd like to mention, but sleep has finally started to hit me upside the head, and it would probably be wise to take advantage of the drowsiness. Besides, I have to have something to talk about LATER.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Never Enough Reaching Out Department

Excerpted from an e-mail I sent to Abigail Garner of Families Like Mine, a site for families with LGBT parents:

I've long felt that trans liberation movements would fail as long as transgendered persons do not present themselves as being fully human--and this means reaching out to others. Unfortunately, reaching out is fraught with perils.

Transfolk of all genders and originating sexes seem to be polarized in terms of if and how they come out of the closet. Many seek to pass as their presenting gender to such a degree that they become invisible--or "stealth" as many transpeople say. A very small number can, and never have to deal with transphobia as long as they remain in the closet. But sometimes we are outed before we are ready, and the revelation that "she used to be a man" or that "he is really a she" fuels rumors and other abusive actions--including rape, assault, and murder.

On the other end of the spectrum are those whose gender presentation, intentionally or otherwise, draws attention to themselves. They draw a lot of prejudice even among other transfolk and are usually quickly categorized as boisterous even if they try to maintain a low profile. While they may be out of the closet as a matter of expediency, there remains a lot of presumptions behind their motives and self-identity. And of course, they find themselves larger, more obvious targets of transphobia in all its forms.

And yet, in my experience, most people have no intrinsic prejudice against the transgendered--just a lack of experience which leads to misunderstandings. Communication, as always, is key to resolving this lack. This means we transgendered people must not be afraid to make friends outside the transgendered community. We must reach out to all, even those who might consider us enemies. We must show compassion towards their misunderstandings, even as it hurts to face them, so that we may in time resolve those misunderstandings and find compassion in others. Above all, we must not be afraid to show our true face.