Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Harmony Bar to Host Raging Bigot Michelle Shocked

March 19th, 2013


I was, well, shocked this morning to read that Michelle Shocked went on an anti-gay tirade a couple days ago at a show in San Francisco, of all places.

“When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilisation, and Jesus will come back,” Shocked told the crowd at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, before many of them reportedly walked out. “You are going to leave here and tell people, ‘Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.’”

The club’s manager tried to end the show, but Shocked continued playing until venue staff pulled the plug and turned off the stage lights.

This being the Twitter era, many live or near-live Tweeted the incident:

Matt Penfield, onstage live-tweeting the performance for Shocked was, well, shocked.

“Eerie foreshadowing at Michelle Shocked show,” Penfield said. “before the show she talked about how ‘people seem like your friends then they turn on you.’”

Her first set was “all cool. 2nd set, she got up went full hate speech,” he tweeted.

Another audience member, @lisahubbert said, “wow, she’s a total bigot and said so on stage. It was unreal. We had to leave. I am so disappointed.”

@anile02 who was also there offered this: “She said she lives in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

“In retrospect seemed clear that she designed the show to deliver this message,” tweeted Penfield’s wife, Christine.

I’m not a big fan of Michelle Shocked and basically only know her album Arkansas Traveler. Wikipedia notes that she became a Born Again Christian at some point in the latter half of the 1990s so that explains her homophobia.

To my mind, if you go onstage in San Francisco and declare that you fear the world will end if gay couples are allowed to get married, you are intentionally trying to stir the pot. Apparently others agree because several venues have cancelled her appearances.

According to Shocked’s website, she has a tour stop here in Madison on 4 May at The Harmony. The site also lists a show the following day in Evanston which has been cancelled so it’s not completely up to date as I write.

At this time, Isthmus lists the Harmony gig. The Harmony’s MySpace and Facebook pages are unhelpful.

Will The Harmony join the growing chorus of venues denouncing her views and unwilling to host a homophobe? It’s not that Michelle Shocked is equivalent to Fred Phelps – after all, she did come to Madison back in 2011 to support the protestors – but I feel her bigotry merits opprobrium including attaching to her a social stigma.

So what is a Madison liberal to do? On the one hand you have a pro-union person who supported you against Scott Walker’s assault and on the other you have a raging bigoted homophobe who is loony enough to think that a law passed in California would bring on the Apocalypse.

Personally I think she should be made unwelcome. Thanks for supporting workers back in 2011 but your Born Again bullshit should go elsewhere. If she had ranted about blacks being inferior or expressed support of anti-miscegenation laws, I don’t think many people would think twice about showing her the door. And homophobia doesn’t differ from these other repulsive ideas in quality one iota.

UPDATE: The Harmony gig has been cancelled. According to Pollstar, Michelle Shocked 86′d it herself.

UPDATE 2: Michelle Shocked claims her rant was a big misunderstanding.

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