Your Name: Jill Sobule
Your Pronouns: her/She
How do you describe your identity? Jeepers, I kind of don’t think about that as much. I guess “bi”, “fluid”, “queer”? They all could work
We last ‘spoke’ via Q&A in 2013 when you came to town with the Julia & Jill Show. So I’ll skip the usual questions. But I loved that show! Thanks! (Read earlier interview here and my review of the show here ~ Sue)
Your website has a DVD for sale ‘Live From Pittsburgh’ recorded in 2003, a recording you didn’t release for a long time. Tell me about that performance and why it is for sale now (I’m ordering, btw.) Well, the folks that made it had a zillion of them in storage. They contacted me last year. So…I got a ton of them.
This Saturday, you’ll be working on your one woman show #Fuck7thGrade with a reading at our City Theatre. What sparked this particular project? I feel this urge to tell you my horror stories from 7th grade; does that hold true for your audience in general? Please tell your story. I feel like Freud might have got it wrong. It’s not those first few months or years, it’s 7th grade! That is what fucks your shit up for the rest of your life. And everyone agrees. That combo of puberty, tribal cliques, societal pressures etc. And especially for girls. There is pressure to be more compliant and boy crazy. That wasn’t for me.
Sunday night, you perform at Club Cafe just down the street from City Theatre. Same songs, less stories at Saturday? Do the two performances have any overlap? Well Saturday will only be a taste of a developing show. In concert, I’ll include the songs, but play other ones too!
I usually ask performers to name a love song to LGBTQ youth, but you have penned one for this project ‘Underdog Victorious’ Please tell our readers more about this particular song and what you want young queer people to take away from it. Ah, I love that song. It’s about a little queer boy in some hick town who is bullied. But he holds onto the fantasy and thought that when he leaves his shitty little town, he will be a fabulous rock star who everyone will want to…kiss. It was also my fantasy. And you know what? The weirdo outsiders end up kicking ass, no? Just have to wade through those tough years. But they also are what makes us who we are today.
When we spoke in 2013, you identified as a bisexual woman. Since that time, we’ve had more and more prominent people openly embracing their bisexual identity – Roxane Gay, Amandla Stenberg, Debbie Harry, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and many more. But my readers continue to teach me just how pervasive bi-erasure is both in the general community and the LGBTQ community in particular. Have you struggled with erasure? What makes a difference for you? When I said I was bisexual back in 1996, I saw some backlash from the gay community. Some felt like it was a cop-out. A younger queer generation is telling us to chill out. There’s a wide spectrum. I would say I might these days lean towards the fairer sex, but who knows.
Who are some of the younger openly LGBTQ artists that our readers should be listening to, but might not know about? What’s amazing is now, who isn’t queer? Well maybe Toby Keith. Maybe I would have younger readers know about the pioneers. How bout all those African-American blues singers from the 20s and 30s like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith? Bessie sang, ” “When you see two women walking hand in hand, just look ’em over and try to understand: They’ll go to those parties—have the lights down low—only those parties where women can go.”
What other projects do you have coming up in Pittsburgh and beyond? I will have a new record out in the Fall! Can we talk then too? This last Winter, NYU did a production of a musical that I did the music too. It was an adaptation of the movie “Times Square”. We had a bunch of same-sex kisses!
Where can readers find you on social media? Twitter, Instagram, FB, et
Thank you, Jill!
The City Theatre reading is sold-out, BUT tickets for Jill’s Sunday evening show at Club Cafe are still available.