The first time I heard Mary Gauthier sing was on WYEP (shocker, huh?) a few years before I met Ledcat. The Louisiana connection caught me right away. I was struck by her stoic interview in contrast with her raw music and lyrics. Gauthier is coming to Pittsburgh on Wednesday September 25, performing at Club Cafe on the South Side. I had a chance to ask her a few questions – and we are giving away one pair of tickets to the performance courtesy of Opus One Productions and Club Cafe.
Describe your impression of Pittsburgh. What do you love about ourCity? Any memorable experiences when you’ve visited? I love Pittsburgh. It’s always been a wonderful place for me to play, I connect with the audiences there. I’ve been there in the dead of winter, and in the heat of summer. I’ve been there to play festivals, bars and theatre’s. I always enjoy coming back.
As a former foster parent recruiter, I had an unusual response to “The Foundling” – I was often struggling to help parents (and families) find some peace in between placement of a child and the deep desire to reunite with their birth family. It was rare to find foster (or adoptive) parents who were happy with their interactions withbirth families. But isn’t that the point? The line “we might hurt the same” captures a certain agony that the most loving and perceptive foster or adoptive parents cannot understand perhaps? Well, all I know is that adoption is a very, very complicated thing, and the honest discussion of it in this country has not yet begun. Foster/adoptive parents come in so many varieties that it wold be unfair to generalise. But yes, it is not uncommon for the sorrow of a fostered/adopted child to be misunderstood. it took me 50 years to make sense of my own sorrow around loosing my first family, and sometimes I wonder if I ever will fully understand the impact it’s had on me. The loss is bigger than the mind can grasp.
You say “I believe in redemption. I needed redemption; I continue to need redemption.” When I read that, I think of Johnny Cash – especially performing “Your Own Personal Jesus” actually. What artists exploring redemption themes have shaped your own music? I love Flannery O’Conner, Leonard Cohen, Cash, John irving, Vonnegut….the list goes on and on..
Are there any Pittsburgh performers (based here or born here) that influence you? Not sure about this one, sorry.
Who was the first LGBTQ person that you met and how did that impact you? My first gay friends had a profound effect on me. It was liberating, exciting, wonderful.
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character in television, song, film or literature? Oscar Wilde. Love him, love him, love him.
What is one simple thing a reader can do to support the LGBTQ community? Be out, be out. if you’re not gay, support your gay friends when they need your support.
I have to revisit my question about The Foundling – there are so many LGBTQ teens who are traveling, journeying and often running because of their experiences coming out to their families. There are LGBTQ teens in foster care group homes because they can’t find families who will foster them, much less adopt. This is a different experience from being given up for adoption at birth, but there’s probably an emotional resonance. What should our community be doing differently to suppor these lost teens?Gay kids who run away and end up on the streets need us. Yes they do. I’ve worked with schools that are “alternative” schools, for gay kids, super smart kids, artists, dreamers…gender outlaws..kids who just can;t make it in a regular high schools. I think these alternative schools save lives. I wish there would have been one for me..I quit high school, and ran away. Being a gay kid is no easy cross to bear. It’s better than it was when i was a kid, but it’s still very, very hard.
I lived in Baton Rouge for three years. Most of my cultural experiences came from time spent in Acadiana, not New Orleans – I was pretty wary of New Orleans.It was so dark and mysterious and sensual that my innocent Pittsburgh 21 year old self wasn’t prepared to navigate. If I went back, what would you suggest I “not miss” in terms of experiences (I did Mardi Gras thoroughly – oh my) New Orleans, for me, is all about the food. I’d find my way to the highest rated restaurants, and enjoy!
Thank you, Mary. You can check out Mary’s discography on her website. And be sure to purchase tickets to this performance here.
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2. The prize is a pair of tickets to the Wednesday September 25 performance in Pittsburgh. You must be 21 to enter. Tickets will held at will-call.
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