May 24, 2016

Courage; and Grace, Too

Canada is in shock.

Gord Downie, lead singer and songwriter of legendary Canadian band The Tragically Hip, has been diagnosed with a glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour that is incurable.

Gord Downie has terminal cancer.

Canada is heartbroken. 

The Tragically Hip is from Kingston, Ontario, about twenty minutes from where I grew up. This band has been a fact of my life since 1987. They've been the background music of my life since I was twelve years old.

There are so many memories of their music during my school years that it's difficult to choose one from during that time. The memory I want to talk about actually is almost exactly twenty years old - May of 1996.

I was in Ottawa with my husband for the annual tulip festival. We were waiting in line at a BeaverTails stand, staffed by 8-or-so university-age students. The radio was playing (loudly) in the stand. And this song came on:


And the crowd. Went. Wild.

By the crowd, I mean the crowd of students in the BeaverTails stand, who lost their damn minds. I was a little too "mature" to mirror their reaction, but in my head I was singing and dancing along with them.

That's my favourite Hip memory.

May 22, 2016

San Diego Gay Men's Chorus faces homophobic 'nightmare' at Padres game


I am FURIOUS after reading this article from LGBTQ Nation. The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus were invited - INVITED - to sing the national anthem before last night's Padres game. When they began singing, instead of their own amplified voices being broadcast throughout the stadium, a recording of a woman's voice was broadcast. Nothing was done to stop the playing of the recorded voice.  No action whatseover was taken by anyone in charge of the sound or music in the stadium:

"No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including 'You sing like a girl.'"

This is unconscionable. A member of the San Diego Padres staff committed a hate crime last night, and appearances at the time were that the entire organization - or at least anyone with access to the sound booth over the next three hours as the game was played - were complicit with this appalling act. Can you imagine how these 100 men felt, humiliated and taunted in front of an entire stadium, how they may have feared for their safety amid thousands (the average attendance at Petco is 28,000) of hostile, slur-shouting fans, likely in varying states of intoxication?

What about a closeted MLB player who witnessed this cowardly ambush on these men? Is that player likely to ever feel comfortable to be honest with the world about who they really are?

The chorus has stated that the Padres' President and CEO reached out to our organization to apologize and to offer to meet with the community to discuss the incident. A statement has been issued stating that "an error in the control room prevented" the men from singing.

If you are as outraged by this as I am, I urge you to write to the Padres organization to express your thoughts. Their email address is comments@padres.com and they can be found on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Padres.