Thursday, May 19, 2016

1998 Ani. Inspired by seeing her tonight for the 18th time!


The following is the full text from DiFranco’s letter:
“AN OPEN LETTER FROM ANI DIFRANCO TO THE EDlTORS OF MS … So I’m poring through the 25th anniversary issue of Ms. (on some airplane going somewhere in the amorphous blur that amounts to my life) and I’m finding it endlessly enlightening and stimulating as always, when, whaddaya know, I come across a little picture of little me. I was flattered to be included in that issue’s “21 feminists for the 21st century” thingybob. I think ya’ll are runnin’ the most bold and babeolishious magazine around, after all.
Problem is, I couldn’t help but be a little weirded out by the paragraph next to my head that summed up her me-ness and my relationship to the feminist continuum. What got me was that it largely detailed my financial successes and sales statistics. My achievements were represented by the fact that I “make more money per album sold than Hootie and the Blowfish,” and that my catalogue sales exceed 3/4 of a million. It was specified that I don’t just have my own record company but my own “profitable” record company. Still, the ironic conclusion of the aforementioned blurb is a quote from me insisting “it’s not about the money.” Why then, I ask myself, must “the money” be the focus of so much of the media that surrounds me? Why can’t I escape it, even in the hallowed pages of Ms.?
Firstly, this “Hootie and the Blowfish” business was not my doing. The L.A. Times financial section wrote an article about my record label, Righteous Babe Records, in which they raved about the business savvy of a singer (me) who thwarted the corporate overhead by choosing to remain independent, thereby pocketing $4.25 per unit, as opposed to the $1.25 made by Hootie or the $2 made by Michael Jackson. This story was then picked up and reprinted by The New York Times, Forbes, the Financial News Network and (lo and behold) Ms.
So, here I am, publicly morphing into some kinda Fortune 500-young-entrepreneur-from-hell, and all along I thought I was just a folksinger!
OK, it’s true. I do make a much larger profit (percentage-wise) than the Hootster. What’s even more astounding is that there are thousands of musicians out there who make an even higher profit percentage than me! How many local musicians are there in your community who play gigs in bars and coffee shops about town? I bet lots of them have made cassettes or CDs that they’ll happily sell to you with a personal smile from the edge of the stage or back at the bar after their set. Would you believe these shrewd, profit-minded wheeler-dealers are pocketing a whopping 100% of the profits on the sales of those puppies?! Wait ’till the Financial News Network gets a whiff of them!
I sell approximately 2.5% of the albums that a Joan Jewelanis Morrisette (sic) sells and get about .05% of the airplay royalties, so obviously if it all comes down to dollars and cents, I’ve led a wholly unremarkable life. Yet I choose relative statistical mediocrity over fame and fortune because I have a bigger purpose in mind. Imagine how strange it must be for a girl who has spent 10 years fighting as hard as she could against the lure of the corporate carrot and the almighty forces of capital, only to be eventually recognized by the power structure as a business pioneer.
I have indeed sold enough records to open a small office on the half-abandoned main street in the dilapidated urban center of my hometown, Buffalo (N.Y.). I am able to hire 15 or so folks to run and constantly reinvent the place while I drive around and play music for people. I am able to give stimulating business to local printers and manufacturers and to employ the services of independent distributors, promoters, booking agents and publicists. I was able to quit my day job and devote myself to what I love. And yes, we are enjoying modest profits these days, affording us the opportunity to reinvest in innumerable political and artistic endeavors. RBR is no Warner Bros. But it is a going concern, and for me, it is a vehicle for redefining the relationship between art and commerce in my own life. It is a record company that is the product not just of my own imagination, but that of my friend and manager Scott Fisher and of all the people who work there. People who incorporate and coordinate politics, art and media every day into a people-friendly, sub-corporate, woman-informed, queer-happy small business that puts music before rock stardom and ideology before profit.
And me, I’m just a folksinger, not an entrepreneur. My hope is that my music and poetry will be enjoyable and/or meaningful to someone, somewhere, not that I maximize my profit margins. It was 15 years and 11 albums getting to this place of notoriety and, if anything, I think I was happier way back when. Not that I regret any of my decisions, mind you. I’m glad I didn’t sign on to the corporate army. I mourn the commodification and homogenization of music by the music industry, and I fear the manufacture of consent by the corporately controlled media. Last thing I want to do is feed the machine.
I was recently mortified while waiting in the dressing room before one of my own shows. Some putz suddenly takes the stage to announce me and exclaim excitedly that this was my “largest sold-out crowd to date!” “Oh, really?,” I’m thinking to myself, “that’s interesting … too bad it’s not the point.” All of my achievements are artistic, as are all of my failures. That’s just the way I see it. Statistical plateau or no. I’ll bust ass for 60 people, or 6,000, watch me.
I have so much respect for Ms. magazine. If I couldn’t pick it up at newsstands my brain probably would’ve atrophied by now on some trans-Atlantic flight and I would be lying limp and twitchy in a bed of constant travel, staring blankly into the abyss of the gossip magazines. Ms. is a structure of media wherein women are able to define themselves, and articulate for themselves those definitions. We wouldn’t point to 21 of the feminists moving into the 21st century and define them in terms of “Here’s Becky Ballbuster from Iowa City, she’s got a great ass and a cute little button nose … ” No ma’am. We’ve gone beyond the limited perceptions of sexism and so we should move beyond the language and perspective of the corporate patriarchy. The Financial News Network may be ultimately impressed with me now that I’ve proven to them that there’s a life beyond the auspices of papa Sony, but do I really have to prove this to you?
We have the ability and the opportunity to recognize women not just for the financial successes of their work but for the work itself. We have the facility to judge each other by entirely different criteria than those imposed upon us by the superstructure of society. We have a view that reaches beyond profit margins into poetry, and a vocabulary to articulate the difference.
Thanks for including me, Ms., really. But just promise me one thing; if I drop dead tomorrow, tell me my grave stone won’t read: “ani d., CEO.”
Please let it read: songwriter, musicmaker, storyteller, freak.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Toddlers shot one victim per week in 2015.

Tell me why you need a gun.

I've had this "discussion" with a few people over the past few years as it's become somewhat of a hot topic again and I must say that there doesn't seem to be that much to discuss. On my end. The rest of the world though, seems to have a lot to discuss.

I felt a little sick hearing the story about Jamie Gilt from Florida. She was shot by her 4 year old while she was driving one day. Her gun was in the car, loaded. And the little dude got his hands on it and shot her. She lived, and is actually recovered. The part that made me feel a little sick though was that her son got "all jacked up" on the way to gun/target practice when he would go with his mom. So, here is the pro-gun, pro-gun for kids, pro open carry even, mother of a 4 year old who accidentally shoots her. Why did she need a gun?

Her story got a ton of media, but one who got a little less was that of Patrice Price. She was also shot in a car, while driving. She was shot by her 2 year old from the backseat when the loaded gun was found next to him somewhere in the backseat. Sounds like she didn't need that gun.

Toddlers shot one victim per week in 2015.

Tell me again why you need a gun.

At least six Americans have been killed by dogs causing guns to accidentally go off. This year.

It's only May, people. That was just the # on DOGS.

Toddlers shot one victim per week in 2015.

Tell me again why you need a gun.

Please. Seriously, thrill me.

Change my damn mind. I don't know.

Just make me hear some sort of conversation that isn't noise, please. Or agree with me. I feel like it's every single day or week that another soul crushing story hits the news about a death or ruined life that are the aftermath of a gunshot or multiple gunshots from an escalated argument that turned deadly because 'everyone' can/needs to carry.


Got some Old Nation Geographic magazines. One from the month and year my sister was born (November 1976) and then one for mine and Adam's birth month and year (September 1979) and one for Amy's man, Ryan. (April 1979). I think they are really neat to have and I hope it made a good gift.

Now. Have you ever seen a blue lobster? I had not, until this dude:

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