So I went and saw Kristin Hersh read tonight from her new book Rat Girl. She also played some songs and gave an on-stage interview. It was amazing. I went with Perfect Little Daniel Portland of the band B0DY H1GH, newswoman extraordinaire and fellow 90s obsessed friend Ryan, and Brandon LaLaVek from Tayisha Busay. It was a very well-organized event, and because we are four enterprising young faggots we got there in time to have pretty good seats. Some people had to stand in the back, and though the view was, I would say, pretty much exactly the same, I would later learn that there was a vast distinction between Those of Us Who Got Seats and Those of Us Who Did Not Have Seats (see below).
The interview was fantastic. Well, first, let me just say that Kristin looked wonderful. Blonde, in a sort of sea-foam-y blue/green summer dress. Looking beautiful. Her voice was husky and she was very funny. The interviewer was talking as Kristin was getting her guitar on, asking for a little context on the song she was about to play. She said, "Kristin, you've mentioned songs being healthy, but also being evil. Is this song healthy or evil? Where would this one fall on the spectrum of--"
Kristin, adjusting the guitar strap and not looking at the interviewer responded into the mic "Oh, they're all evil."
"None of them are healthy?"
Kristen looked at the intervier then glanced at the crowd and said "I think it's healthy to be evil."
So you know. THAT WAS A HIGHLIGHT. In the hour-long discussion and interview, I think it worth noting, the name Tanya Donelly did not come up once. That was a disappointment. But it was mild. She played "Your Dirty Answer" and got really into it and I could. not. keep. it. together! For the LIFE OF ME! She read from various parts of the book, which is a memoir built around her teenage diaries. And y'know, you think "teenage diaries," right? "What do kids know, anyway?" Right? Yeah. But then you realize, and the discussion tonight framed really well: when Kristin Hersh was a teenager, she was a really big deal. It's strange to think about this kind of artist-career today, because the underground today is, such as it is, a very different place. But when Kristin Hersh was 18 she was diagnosed as Bipolar and was also putting out really insane beautiful records that everyone was buying. Not like in a rich way but in an influential art way. She had this weird experience and I am excited to read the book about it. Gosh.
So then they announced that Ms. Hersh would sign copies of her book, or CD booklets, or whatever. Those of us With Seats could line up first, and after she'd signed our books, if she had time, she'd sign those of the people Who Did Not Have Seats. WAY HARSH TAI. And then they called us into the line in groups of five or six. Kristin was seemingly really into it and posed for photos and had a few words with everyone. As we approached we talked about what we'd say to her when we got to the front of the line. I won't betray the other boys' moments, especially because this one was mine.
Kristin (signing my book): Hi. How are you?
Me: Hi. I'm good.
Kristin: So, MAX, right?
Me: Yeah... y'know you and I have the same birthday.
Me: Yeah, when I am trying to name other people born on August 7th, I'm always like "Oh yeah, Kristin Hersh! She's so cool!"
Kristin (staring at me intently, because, I think, we are having a Leo Connection Moment): Well, you know who else is born on August 7th? Shhhhhccc--
(Kristin Hersh starts making an SH or SCH sound, and Ryan, who is in line behind me, hands his camera phone to the attendant who is taking the photos for people, and says 'Hey take a picture of those two!' and I am distracted but trying to finish Kristin Hersh's sentence, her "SH" sounds)
Me (excited like such a dork): CHARLIZE THERON!!!!
(Kristin Hersh stares at me blankly).
Krtistin: I don't know what that means...
Me: Well, she's born on our birthday, too.
Kristin: No, I was going to say, Scheherezade.
Me: Um, what?
(In retrospect, y'all, now that I'm writing this as a (screen)play I realize that I should have retorted with "WELL I DON'T KNOW WHO THAT IS, B'OKAY?!" But I guess this is why we have the Magick of Cinema. The woman holding Ryan's cameraphone readies the shot).
As she leans in, Kristin Hersh tells me, hurriedly and in her dusky, low, (evil) voice, "It's the Birthday of Secrets".
So that was my night.