13 July 2010

Lilith Fair (and Happy 33rd Birthday, Sarah!)

It's already July 13th - Sarah's 33rd birthday!

The reasoning behind picking July 13th as Sarah's birthday was to mark July 13th, 2004, when I saw Sarah McLachlan, one of my music idols, for the first time in person. Although Sarah was not named after Sarah Mac in my mind (I simply picked an arbitrary name that transwomen tend to like), the storyline calls for just that; Sarah is driven by Sarah Mac's music as much as Kirsten is driven by Mariah Carey's. (I need to come up with what specifically gets Sarah attached to Sarah Mac.)

So it was very appropriate to celebrate Sarah's birthday by seeing Sarah Mac all over again. This time, it was part of the Los Angeles (actually it was Irvine in Orange County) stop of Lilith Fair, a festival of women musicians that had run from 1997 to 1999 and has now been revived. Sarah Mac or not, attending a very womanly event like this is also a good way to mark the occasion.

During the daylight hours, two smaller stages hosted up-and-coming singers, while a third intimate lounge, set up by ABC, hosted three acts.

Here is MariƩ Digby, singing her cover of the infamous Rihanna hit "Umbrella." Lovely atmosphere around the lounge, and MariƩ is interacting with the crowd pretty well too.

The rest of the festival had a very womanly feel of course, as well. Samples of sanitary pads and other feminine hygiene products being handed out, a feminist author having an autographing session, and of course a crowd that was 90% or so female (and a good portion of them lesbian). Lilith Fair is the ultimate way to just enjoy being a woman and value the sisterhood of other women.

Of course, here is the one and only Sarah Mac. So glad to see her again after six years.

The time when I enjoyed Sarah Mac especially a lot was the late 1990s, as I listened to her live Mirrorball album extensively, often on the road. Of course, it was also the time when my own Sarah was supposed to start her flight attendant stint. At the end of 1999, I had a disastrous trip to Amsterdam, where Sarah's airline was the saving grace thanks to the Melissa Etheridge inflight audio entertainment; truth be told, however, during the flights I was rocking away to Sarah Mac just as much through my own CD player, and Sarah Mac ended up being the pre-landing music at the end of both ocean crossings (and several more afterwards). In any case, glad to be reminded of my own Sarah from Sarah Mac.

On a more personal note, Sarah Mac becomes the fourth artist whom I get to enjoy in person multiple times. For a long time, Mariah Carey was the only artist with that distinction for me - though I also ended up returning to Sir Elton John and Melissa Etheridge in recent years, and had it not been for Bono's back injury, U2 would've been on that short list as well last month.

The encore finale. Sarah Mac brought out the performers from throughout the event, so that they could jointly sing the 10,000 Maniacs number "Because the Night."

Some of the performers visible are Brandi Carlile (in all black and singing her heart out), an out and proud lesbian; the legendary Emmylou Harris (in white cardigan and black slacks); Jes Hudak (in red shirt); and Molly Jenson (in floral romper). This main stage had also hosted country star Miranda Lambert and mariachi star Jenni Rivera; Rivera's mariachi music was certainly an unusual and very welcome twist to Lilith which normally sees only WASP music.

Again, one great event, just to feel good about being a woman and being surrounded by other women. And happy birthday, Sarah!

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