This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.
we’re stuck in florida, and it’s only about 12 days to the election. is it a sign? maybe we’ll stay here and count ballots. anything to help the cause. “one for bush, one for kerry, one for bush….um, two for kerry, three for kerry….one for brian, one for amanda, one for noam chomsky….”
the tour has been wonderful and hard so far. touring in a bus for the first time has been a huge relief (no more schlepping our shit every which way every night and morning) but it leaves one with a feeling of complete impermenance. as if we’re heading somewhere and never actually arrive. there’s also very little space to spead out and make a mess, which i tend to need. at least every few days.
the local shows in the south have been pretty well attended and the people we’ve been meeting have been inspiring and beautiful. performers have just begun to emerge from the woodwork in different places and the brigade is gaining momentum. kansas city was a trip and a half…we flew in for one show to support pj harvey and sonic youth at a large theater. since we’d been getting radio play (a lot of it) we were astounded to actually play to a captive audience of about 2000 folks who were familiar with the album and completely into the show…..we’d expected to feel like an opener (with everybody sort of milling in and curiosly checking us out, at best). it felt incredible, quite a step up for our wee band. pj harvey cancelled (something having to do with a missed flight or a canadian border holdup). i was disappointed not to be able to meet her, but we did get to play a longer set. the folks from sonic youth were plenty friendly and had very kind things to say and share.
the baby porcupines that were vigorously mating in my throat region have called a truce and seem to be huddling together for warmth but threaten to get it on at little prompting (lack of sleep and lots of talking seems to get the little buggers going at it). i soothe them with herbal teas and try to keep my stress level at a minimum, which is difficult as that often requires ignoring everyone and everything around me to keep my head on straight. staying out of everybody’s headtrips and problems while living in close quarters is not an easy task, and can feel downright insensitive at times, but it’s pretty necessary to maintain your own sanity and protect yourself. my mom taught me that. hi mom! i love you!
i also was intrigued at somebody’s post on the dolls’ forum about the current meaning of cabaret, and thought i’d cross-post my musings here.
good morning, eveybody……..
i don’t claim to be any sort of expert on cabaret or the weimar era. in fact, i probably hold my romantic views as fast as the average citizen…i associate the cabaret with a fantasy of an era that we can only be familiar with through books, films and other seond-hand impressions (and therefore, the romanticising of others) of a time that is now gone. however, the cabaret as an idea did not begin and end with weimar germany, even though that’s the “classic” cabaret. christopher isherwood’s novels and berlin stories, which were turned into a play, which were in turn turned into the musical “cabaret”, which in turn was made into the joel gray/liza minelli film is a beautiful example of how post-modern this all gets….the story which feds the fantasy which feeds the story which feeds the artform which feeds the fantasy, etc etc ad infinitum. but there was also the cabaret of paris, the cabarets in new orleans, the vaudleville everywhere, the dadists, the beat culture of the fifties….the spirit of what cabaret means keeps getting captured again and again in different generations and places, it just gets tagged with a different label. for me, the concept of “cabaret” isn’t the particular musical styling, it’s the spirit in which it is created and brought into the world.
so when i answer these questions, i must be honest: i’m not trying to re-create the weimar berlin cabaret, i’m not trying to start a cult, i’m not trying to do anything excpet kick-start in other people the romantic fantasy which i’ve always had and i know many others share….to create a space, even just an hour or two, in which everybody and anybody can take part: a spot in a dull world which keeps getting more and more frightening where everybody bands together and makes alot of meaningful noise, where self-expression is demanded, where risk-taking is honored, where art is god and where the rules of everyday life and coduct are forgotten for a while.
some of us will read up on it, take all the christpoher isherwood books out of the libabry and study the dissonant chord changes of kurt weill, some of us will lock ourselves in out rooms and try to memorize the Dada Almanac, some of us will rent “blue angel” and watch it countless times” and write essays about dietrich’s influence on the transgendered community, and others will simply come for the show. let posterity show that a very valiant attempt was made at some point in the early 2000’s by a group of people, musicians, aritsts, performers and common folk to fight against the overwhelming ennui of the cultural climate. the folks a few decades down the road may find the same inspiration from our efforts.