This is an especially queer weekend, here in the little City of Hudson – lesbians, bears, and drag queens – oh my!
Friday night, April 7th, Sarah Kilborne is doing her musical show, “The Lavender Blues” at Club Helsinki at 8pm. Tickets are available here. This Friday celebrates the release of the show’s first CD: The Lavender Blues: Live at the Linda.
I was able to do a little Q&A with Sarah about her show.
Hope to see you there! Don’t miss it!
Q: How would you describe your show, “The Lavender Blues”?
A: The Lavender Blues is showcase of queer music before World War II. But even more than that, it tells the story of this music and the pioneering artists behind it.
Q: What inspired you to put this show together?
A: People commonly believe that the LGBT movement began with the Stonewall riots in 1969, but a hundred years ago queer men and women were claiming their identities in the public sphere – and singing about it too. This musical history has been forgotten and it has a lot to tell us, not just about queer history but women’s history and cultural history.
Q: How long have you been doing it? Where? Any special moments?
A: I first workshopped the idea two years ago, at the LGBT Center in New York City, and received both written and verbal feedback that was really inspiring. The show has grown and developed a great deal since then. Regarding special moments, when the show first received a standing ovation, that pretty much blew me away.
Q: What has been the reaction from the audience/individuals?
A: The response has been enormously positive. People thank me for creating the show, for sharing this history and bringing it alive. They want to know more about it and I love that. Knowing our history is important; we are part of a continuum. Learning where we came from helps inform where we are today and how we got to be here.
Q: Was this before a time when the ‘personal was political’? Before there was a political identity for LGBTQ people? How do you feel our political identity now influences our LGBTQ culture?
A: Yes, this was largely before the personal became political. In America, there wasn’t a political identity for the LGBT community in the 1920s or earlier because there wasn’t a political agenda against the community. That doesn’t truly begin until the mid-to-late 1930s. Today, it’s nearly impossible to separate the personal from the political. The moment someone identifies as L, G, B, T, or Q, they are affirming a part of themselves and a desire for equality that other people wish to deny. The political will necessarily be part of LGBT culture until the narrative that targets us loses its efficacy.
Q: What parts of queer life pre-WWII do you feel were BETTER than LGBTQ life today?
A: Every era has its pros and cons. I often wonder what it would have been like, though, to live during a time when there was no stigma attached to loving a person of the same sex because there wasn’t even the vocabulary to describe such a relationship. Pre-1900, some same-sex couples felt they’d found the purest form of love and felt superior to those entangled in male-female relationships. What would it be like to be gay before there was the concept of being gay? I wonder about that.
Q: In today’s political climate, what is your advice for anyone who creates LGBTQ culture/art?
A: Your work is more important than ever. If you have a vision, share it. If you have a story, tell it. If you have a voice, use it. We live in an uncertain time but this is constant: art makes a difference. Art connects and unites people, sparks important dialogue and communication, challenges the status quo and inspires the heart. Give the world what you alone can create. Help shift the vibration.
Here is a video from a previous show at Helsinki:
For more information, please visit Sarah Kilborne’s website: www.SarahKilborne.com
“The Lavender Blues”
Friday night, April 7th
Club Helsinki at 8pm.