Get Your Rainbow Rodeo Zines!
Congrats to Elizabeth for being the 100th subscriber to this newsletter! She got a free copy of the first issue of Rainbow Rodeo!
Speaking of which, I am so excited that our fundraiser for Rainbow Rodeo #2 is going apace! We need to raise $600 in the next 5 weeks. Will you subscribe or pre-order your copy? The first 40 subscribes will get a free art print of Danny Valero's gorgeous cover illustration!
The goal, ultimately, is to raise enough funds so I can pay contributors for this newsletter!
At the Silver Spurs level, you'll get an embroidery hoop from CJ Surbaugh, who interviewed queer Christian folk icon Semler -- and 5 subscribers will be randomly selected to win zines by Adeem the Artist!
Pony up to the Golden Corral for a heaping helping of Tex Miller's drag king performance, a limited edition CD by Adeem the Artist (5 lucky winners selected), and one of these nifty unicorn pins. Tex wrote a beautiful essay about outlaw country and gender! Also, Ellen Angelico, who wrote a review of Adeem's album, will play guitar on your track! For free! Priceless!
And at the Platinum Pony level, Soda Canter will give you a free social media consult (whew!) and you can hop on a Zoom call with all of us contributors!
And, of course, everyone who wants to will have their name in the thank-you pages!
So what are you waiting for??? Subscribe!!!
Sweetheart of the Rodeo
Just to give you a little taste of Rainbow Rodeo #2, here's the first half of Felipe Oliveira's thought-provoking essay about respectability politics and queer country music.
Long before coming out publicly in 2010, Chely Wright recorded a song that seemed to defy conceptions of heteronormativity and/or monogamy. ”Picket Fences” was never released as a single, remaining a deep cut that didn’t get much attention, although a reviewer once mentioned the song by saying that they were “not inclined to be sympathetic to the character’s story.”
At the time, Picket Fences was one of the few songs Wright had released that was written solely by herself, revealing an interesting account of Wright’s unconformity with society’s norms. In the song, the common path where you “get a job, say ‘I do’, and settle yourself down” is dismissed in the name of those whose lives are still “spinning around.” The twist by the end of the chorus, though, reveals an ambiguity that is no strange to queer individuals. “What’s so great about picket fences? I guess I’ll never know” is more lament than contentment.
Now, more than 20 years later, are we still mournfully pining for that seat at the table, or have we gotten over it?
The battle between being taken in by what society says or refusing it altogether is a long fight inside the queer movement. Being left out is the first symptom we experience once others perceive us as different, so the tendency to make up for it comes almost naturally. Like Brooke Eden says in her song ”American Dreamin’”, “ain’t we all just trying to belong?” But, as Chris Housman sings in ”Blueneck,” in order to belong, “y’all” needs to really mean all.
Read the rest when you pre-order or subscribe to Rainbow Rodeo!
I interviewed self-described queer mammer-jammer Carrie Biell about those things, and how queer community is necessary to her art and survival
Also, Paul Boggs, a queer Black veteran and highly accomplished attorney, also excels at her special brand of soulgrass and just announced her new album with a Dom Flemons duet on the debut single
I'm developing a working theory about queer aesthetics in music, and Caitlin Cobb-Vialet fits the bill
Gina Miller and professor Tressie McMillan Cottom have joined the Americanafest Board of Directors. This is an important step but, as I have written, it is not clear what the Board actually does or how one gets to join it. While I know both people will be advocates for equity, it would be great if Americanafest was more transparent!
Black Opry, your one-stop shop for BIPOC roots artists, is looking for writers