By: Roxie Conquistador
‘You know,’ she tells me, ‘I realize that I have a talent for pushing people to share what’s inside, to connect with their potential and project it.’ I’m sitting, standing, walking, running errands, sharing a pretzel, sharing a beer and sharing thoughts with Kelly Thomas; and already I’m more motivated. She’s a teacher, a fantastic mom, an organizer, a devoted advocate for the community and a talented musician with three projects of her own: an acoustic act, Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups, and the loveable Tammy Whynots. She was a driving force behind the Rivertown Music Club which benefited many of the region’s musicians and charities and she continues to give back to the community with her unstoppable talent for connection.
You can say Kelly Thomas’ upcoming event, One More Girl On a Stage, is a cancer benefit and ‘you wouldn’t be wrong,’ she explains, ‘but the real reason is the title. The more girls on stage, the more our community is exposed, and the easier it is for everyone. That’s what I want. I want women on stages to be the norm, and I don’t want me or any other women to have to struggle against more than what’s inside me, and inside all artists, to be able to get my songs out there and appreciated by audiences.’
You can’t deny that women are a minority in the music business. A growing minority to be sure, but it’s a risky tightrope to walk in a category commercialized by male tastemakers in a world still struggling actively against discrimination. The balance of women participating in musical acts that embrace at once entertainment, enlightenment, sentiment, art, and sexuality in that atmosphere can be a catalyst to explosive self-expression and just as easily, incredibly frustrating scenes of, well I hate to use the word, but misogyny.
Let’s clarify though. The prefix “mis-” means “wrong,” and “-geny” means merely “production or birth.” Misogyny is a word that describes all types of wrong treatment based on any stereotype roped into the way a person is. It’s not solely a moniker for woman-hatred, or female-oriented sexism (the latter of which somehow comes off as more subtle than the prior). It describes any action that is wrong in the context of the essence of a person’s being. It springs from differences and an inability to understand each other in situations where we should be relating and interacting on even ground. And in music, that means when we’re trying to share those instrumental elements of creativity and communication, things become misconstrued when we most want to connect, and that’s why it hurts. Misogyny is not limited to women, and any of those elements of performance, integrally felt in body and soul and mind and rooms, can be distorted.
The attributes most affected by the cancer, a woman’s breasts and hair, are woven into our society’s concepts of gender and self. Their modification thus invokes an intensely affecting experience of personal and social re-evaluation. One of Kelly’s good friends (you can understand how she makes this type of lasting friend easily) a prominent musician and logician, was diagnosed with breast cancer and knew immediately that the most effective treatment was the double-mastectomy -which she obtained. The procedure led to an exploration of the meaning of sexuality and person, and forms of sexuality in performance. The music stood infallible. The strength of its composition was the source of its integrity and connection with friends and fans.
2013’s One More Girl on a Stage will dedicate its proceeds to the American Cancer Society. The event takes place October 24, 25th and 26th at several venues, with each night targeting our developing arts communities in the Greater Cincinnati Region. Thursday night is free, Single night passes for Friday and Saturday are $15, but a limited number of $20 weekend passes will be available for sale through the end of the night on Thursday.
You can follow One More Girl here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-More-Girl-On-A-Stage/168152303340173
Cincy Groove Magazine offers an insightful article, with lineup: http://www.cincygroove.com/?p=14405
As does CityBeat:
And for more information on Kelly Thomas, please visit http://www.kellythomasonline.com.