Best Parking Spaces, Kathleen Hanna
There are few advantages to a long (hopefully temporary) confinement to a wheelchair. One is obvious: I get the best parking spaces. Another allowed me to meet my hero, Kathleen Hanna. Her current band, The Julie Ruin, was performing at the Cat’s Cradle. I know the main parking lot to the entrance is gravel and not wheelchair friendly. Calling ahead to ask if they have a better option, they tell me they will have something in place when I arrive.
Meeting Kathleen Hanna
To make a long story short, we sit outside the back stage door adjacent to a paved lot. Remarkably a van pulls up, and we see HER, Kathleen Hanna, exit the van and walk into the stage door. With eyes wide open we sit there, stunned. Then, 15 minutes before the front doors open, we are ushered in backstage. I secretly hope to see her again. Disappointingly, there is only a few staff members visible backstage. The club itself is empty, and we walk (or roll) towards the bar. While waiting for my beer, my wife nudges me to point out that Kathleen is walking by the bar. I froze, but my amazing wife gets her attention and she comes over. I introduce her to my wife and daughter. Kathleen was amazingly gracious and down to earth. I got lost in the surreality of it all. I have nothing amusing to say, but we talk and I let her know that I am a fan since her early days fronting Bikini Kill. I introduced my daughter to her music several years back. I tell Kathleen how my daughter and I traveled to another state to see the documentary The Punk Singer (watch the trailer). It looks at her life, music, and feminism. After seeing the film, my daughter now also claims her as a hero. Finally, someone calls her backstage, and I get the obligatory pictures before she smiles and heads backstage.
The three of us continue to stand at the bar trying to absorb the moment. Realizing the doors will open soon we take another advantage of the wheelchair allowing us in early. I roll to front row center. There are no seats, except mine. Yet another benefit. We are close enough that I place my beer on the stage. The music and energy of the club are high. She is on stage no more than three to four feet from me. I did not know that Kathleen had spent time in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. The show is a kind of home coming, and the crowd loved her. She talked and interacted with the audience in between songs. She spoke of the incidents in her life inspiring her life’s work as a feminist. She discusses having to grow up with an abusive father. She didn’t even know what a loving father was until she finally met her friend’s dad. I mention this because as she explains how a daughter needs a loving father in her life, she nods towards me. I know that mentioning this is only egotistical bragging but, down deep, I know I always try to be there for my baby girl. I like to think that the nod is warranted. Time passed so quickly, and the show seemed to end too soon. We spent the 3-hour drive home talking about the experience. Honestly, after the show, I am even more of a fan. Leading up the night, I hoped to, but never really expected, to meet her. I hate this medical struggle but, for one short night, I feel fortunate to be stuck in this damn wheelchair.
d-_-b “passenger” – Iggy Pop & The Stooges