Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!

12.15.2007

No Wonder || From Yentl to The Shondes

This Catholic Pinay lesbiana (on the Far From Heaven-side of butch) knows what “shonde” means. It’s Yiddish for shame, disgrace, pity or outrage. And I knew this before I peeped the definition thoughtfully provided on the website for queer dramarock sensations, The Shondes. I know what “shonde” means because—interfaith confession time—I fancied myself a spiritual Jewess the minute I saw Yentl on VHS and felt tingly about all the cross-dressing, carts of books and “like buttah” showtune meditations on female education and the Talmud. I was so moved by the sepia-toned, candle-lit, made-for-Barbra-by-Barbra exultations about desire, feminism and faith that the very next day I rushed to the B. Dalton bookstore across from WhereHouse Records at the Riverside Plaza to buy a copy of The Essential Talmud, and the collected works of Isaac Bashevis Singer. Drink it in here...



I knew it was deeper than my brief flirtation with the Baha’i faith circa the 7th grade. But I didn’t realize until much later what it all meant: all those grainy, black & white dreams of Brooklyn scored to the pizmonim-inspired harmonies of
Fiddler, or those fantasies about being a stranger among them in Cicely, Alaska with Dr. Joel Fleischman on Northern Exposure. For this nerdy, only-child from Southeast Asia coming of age in the white, working-class suburbs of Southern California, Jewishness meant intelligence, humor, showtunes, culture and cute glasses. Not only did Jewishness (or at least the made for TV versions I encountered) compliment my own sense of strangeness and my own sense of ethnicity, but oddly—thanks to my belated, analog encounter with Yentl—it also told me something about my budding queer sexuality. Only two months before I came out as a big homo, my Yentl costume on Halloween was misread as “Shaolin Kung-Fu Master” by all the other college dorkuses around me. A shonde in so many ways. It seems no accident that I am currently employed in a Gender Studies program with an endowed "Barbra Streisand Chair in Sexuality and Intimacy." Someday...somehow...somewhere...

It’s because of this awkward sense of communion (pardon the Catholicism), and a recommendation from a McSwonderful friend that now, more than 15-years later, I have found The Shondes...

Read my complete interview with The Shondes at OH! INDUSTRY.

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