Front row at Karl Lagerfeld's A/W 2010 show, Paris
Almost exactly ten years ago today I saw Beth Ditto perform for the first time in SF at the Fillmore, opening for Sleater-Kinney (along with the recently reunited Bratmobile). Later in that fateful summer of 2000 (more on that later, I've been queer for a decade how rad is that?) I saw the Gossip perform in a basement in Olympia during Ladyfest. It was a house show and kids were all drinking beer (I think I let one of those too-cool Evergreen co-eds make my 15 year-old dork self a cocktail of coca cola and whiskey). The room was uncomfortably hot and definitely too crowded. The Gossip had, at this point, only released their self-titled 4-track e.p. (already one of my favorite records of all time), and were literally the coolest thing in the world.
I remember at this show that Kathy had to set up her drums in the basement on the cement floor, and the bass drum kept sliding around. While Nathan tuned his guitar, Beth turned to the rabid crowd and hollered: "OKAY! Who's gonna sit in front of the bass drum so it doesn't move?! Who wants to help the Gossip tonight?!" She was our heroine, our own little rock goddess who was actually nice, who was actually cool (has radical politics of inclusion and liberation) and who was a real person. And now the fashion world thinks she's rad too. And I hope some of her radness inspires kids young and old (looking at you Ms. Wintour) to be a little more revolutionary, radical and real.