I started running into Meg as a casual acquaintance in Olympia. She was always coming and going...busy...getting shit done, which is how I like to be at home too (at least in theory). When she slowed down long enough to have a conversation, I found a caring friend, an open communicator and someone who has a thirst for knowledge, which is how I wish I could be. Also, since this is a punk blog, she plays guitar and sings with her friends in DOGJAW, who put out one of my favorite LP's of the year.
MEG'S TOP TEN OF 2012
The Things That Got Me Through. 2012 - "It's A Wash".
1. HOT TEARS - Live @ Labia Majora, Olympia, WA
Molly Fischer (SONGS FOR MOMS, FISTING CRYSTALS, generally a total bad ass activist) played a show in the Labia Majora living room in the fall and I just cried through the whole set. This has been a really hard year and she has a way of making me stop and sit with whatever I am dealing with, which is not one of my greatest skills. She performs in a different dimension and I feel so inspired by her.
2. Recording DOGJAW – Slow To Build LP, upstairs at PUNKALL in Olympia, WA
Playing music with Kendra and Joey enforces the most important parts of myself while simultaneously changing me on levels I do not understand. We are fucking psychics and making music with those two is like running into the ocean for the first swim of summer.
3. Attending the National Harm Reduction Conference in Portland, OR with 3 other members of the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach project (EGYHOP).
I was re-inspired about the importance of political activism, radical direct service and the true change that can come with a long fight. This was my second Harm Reduction conference and I was amazed by the dedication and risks people have taken into making this world less fucked. Its kind of confusing there because there are like all these bad ass activists mixed in with like total normy researchers and social workers. I am a freak that is also a social worker so this confusing aspect of the conference is not particularly new to me, unfortunately. However it is still really funny to talk about all the sketchy (and really, really cool) things we do out of a moldy bike trailer every night without anyone telling us what to do - all while sitting on a panel in a fancy conference room of norms (to be fair there were some serious bad asses in that room too). Things are never stagnant, we are always in motion and at the conference it was clear that this is exactly where I want to be moving. I am so proud of EGYHOP.
4. DISPARATE live @ Le Voyeur in Olympia, WA.
DISPARATE is a relatively newer band in Olympia and I am so excited about them! The first time I saw them it was with DOGJAW and SECRET LOVER (wild band of really great people from Worcester, Mass with some serious moves). I am so inspired, excited and appreciative of the integrity I see in DISPARATE. Maria’s voice is so powerful and she just gets huge when they are performing!! I love how much space she takes up and they are fast and weird and political and one of the best new bands in Olympia for sure.
5. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND/TOYS THAT KILL live @ Fest 11 in Gainsville, FL.
So, I went to Fest for the first time ever in 2012. I was expecting to get in some fights with people while selling merch for RVIVR because that tends to happen sometimes.., BUT I had so much fun!! People were not actually that shitty and I saw so many cool people and a few good bands! ANYWAYS we were on bad behavior the last night because even in the best case scenario, one can only tolerate Fest for so long. For example, there was this fucked up sign hanging in one of the bars that was read “fight fest aids! whiskey shots, emergen c, ear plugs” (fest aids is like some fucked up thing people say there about getting a cold at fest). So we slapped a sharpied paper towel on top of the word AIDS that changed it to say “fight fest homophobia, racism” and then it fell down which was cool (because I mean fuck that shit) and then we ran out to go do so much dancing at the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD set and got all woo woo about the underlying darkness of those songs. Then we had to run over to catch TOYS THAT KILL in a fully packed sweaty, smoky bar and we were all in wild moods-then Joey the Joester smashed this tiny light bulb on the ground in the middle of the bar... he was a wizard among mortals that night. Why was there suddenly a tiny light bulb for him to smash?? I don’t know, but I am so glad it showed up.
6. Queer Rock Camp 2012 showcase Olympia, WA.
This year was the second session of QRC and I have volunteered both years as a food coordinator of sorts and keyboard instructor. This year brought a whole new set of challenges because we doubled the number of campers and, in a lot of ways, we got overwhelmed by all that came up. I am endlessly inspired by rock camps everywhere and I was just so goddamn pleased at the showcase to have such liberated bands as SANDY THONG AND THE BUTT SLUTS, THE RESERVOIR TIPS and FINGERBANG, just to mention a few. I am also so proud and impressed with the organizing collective and their ability to dive in to such a huge project and pull it off. This is truly changing the world.
7. Willie Mae Rock Camp 2012 Showcase.
Molly Fischer and I were lucky enough to go to the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls last session of the summer in NYC. I helped with the keyboard class and band managed the OCEAN COOKIES! I had never band managed the teenagers before and it was really cool. I can’t believe I have the opportunity to tell these people all the things I wish someone had told me when I was in high school. It is the ultimate honor. Also WMRC does a really good job of prioritizing anti-oppression and anti-racist programming and are always looking for ways to improve their programming in those ways. They run a really good camp.
8. Future Virgins, Zippers to Nowhere, Kimya Dawson, Dogjaw in the Sylvester Park gazebo in Olympia, WA.
The Chattanoogans were coming through with a show in Seattle and Portland so we squeezed in a day time show in between! It was so fucking fun and I rented out the Sylvester Park gazebo (its free!!) in the middle of downtown Olympia. It was outside, I flyered the community mental health program nearby and so many street kids were there and a bunch of housed kids/folks and neighbors and punks and it felt like a real ass community event...Not to mention how good those bands are and I was in bed by 10, which rules.
9. Realizing That Punk Saved My Life.
OK so this one is like “duh” for most people since they were like 12 or whatever, but I think I just finally let myself own it for the first time. Over the past 5 years I have had the chance to seriously connect with my community in a way that I’ve never experienced before as the common show goer in towns I have lived in. I have played music with people for like 8 years by now but I never actually considered myself someone that plays in bands. A lot of that can be attributed to a shitty, demoralizing former relationship, but point is, I never took ownership over my freak lifestyle like I have in 2012. Like so many of us, I have depression, anxiety and many bi-polar tendencies that are majorly enhanced with the use of substances. While I still struggle with that shit on a daily basis, it is like a fucking speck in a sea of sand compared to the strength and support I feel in my life. Looking back now I see all the ways I have come into my power since moving to Olympia 5 years ago but I never truly realized how much I need my community to survive until this year. Playing music, EGYHOP, and the DIY punks have truly saved my life. So, thanks for that!
10. Re-evaluating my sobriety.
I got trashed on Thanksgiving because I was so stressed out and I kept yelling about how 2012 was “a wash” and that how nothing matters and we are already fucked and stuff like that (age old rant). I drank/smoked weed like a handful of times this year and got legitly drunk a couple of those times too, which wouldn’t be that weird, except that I before that I had been virtually substance free (other than coffee) for 4 and a half years. 2012 was a reminder that it is important that I still don’t regularly use booze/drugs to run away from my less desirable sides. I know that I can’t handle casually drinking/getting high but it is ok that I slip sometimes to get the fuck away from my life without it taking me down--the cool part of this year is that I really don’t want and seriously don’t NEED to get fucked up to function and live an overwhelmingly meaningful life. So that’s an important reminder I was grateful to have in 2012... We are endlessly capable! Even with this. And, maybe in the end, 2012 wasn’t a total wash after all.