lifeblood: listlogs: 1998v01n005-news

ig-news-digest      wednesday, february 25 1998      volume 01 : number 005

                               today's subjects:
  [ig-news] women's night 98, cyber auction         [bones <>]
  [ig-news] ig in the sydney morning herald, feb 21 1998  [sherlyn koo <sher]


date: tue, 24 feb 1998 09:52:42 -0600
from: bones <>
subject: [ig-news] women's night 98, cyber auction

[sherlyn's note: this message was originally sent to the
indigo girls list at]

women's night 98 is a fundraiser for the los angeles gay and lesbian
center. the money raised at this event ($300,000 last year) go towards
women's services at the laglc. it is a fabulous event held at the beverly
hilton in beverly hills, ca. ellen degeneres is being honored along with
speaker pro tempore sheila james kuehl from california and senator carol
moseley braun of illinois.

in a couple of days you will be able to bid on an indigo girls autographed

there is also a pair of ellen degeneres' own hush puppies! she wore these
on her show and they are autographed by both ellen and anne heche!

the event is march 7, 1998 and the auction will be closed by 9pm. there
will be directions at the site on how to bid, etc.
planetout, the host for the cyberauction will be doing a live broadcast on
the internet from the event. it is my understanding that amy and emily will
try to attend if their schedules permit. they were honored at this event a
couple of years ago and really liked it.
i will be happy to answer any questions in private e-mail.

pat dengler
silent auction chair
women's night 98

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date: wed, 25 feb 1998 10:35:17 +1100 (est)
from: sherlyn koo <>
subject: [ig-news] ig in the sydney morning herald, feb 21 1998

hi everyone,

this is the ig article from last saturday's sydney morning herald
(feb 21 1998).  i don't know if it's in the age as well.  you can
find it on the web at
it's not a bad article, but i think it was actually written
sometime last year...

- -sherlyn

real grrrl power
they're rebels with a chorus - two gay singers who wrap a serious message
in sweet melodies and honeyed harmonies. lauren martin listens to the
gospel according to the indigo girls.

to say the indigo girls are political is wild understatement. they live,
breathe and sing politics, in rich, toasted-honey harmonies, heedless of
the postmodern fashion that makes a mockery of political correctness.

now, there are some bands who "do politics" and are considered cool
because of it. "we're not one of those," admits anarchist, activist,
lesbian pop star amy ray, one of two folk-rocking indigo girls. "we're
seen as being overly earnest." then, with clear intent to subvert the
slogan, she adds: "but we just do it".

what ray and emily saliers have just done is to sell more than 7 million
albums in eight years. they have just done it with precious little help
from commercial radio, which has ignored their songs since the first
single, closer to fine, led their second, self-titled album to a 1989
grammy award for best contemporary folk album - an award they're up for
again this year. they have been ignored by mtv, even as the station has
embraced next-generation guitar folksters such as the wet-lipped jewel.
what the indigo girls just don't do is make much of an issue about their

but right now, on the eve of their second australian tour, they are
trying desperately to make an issue of a proposal to dump nuclear waste
on western shashone indian land in nevada.

"the thing that we're fighting is, the shipments would last for a period
of 30 years and there would be 15,000 of them and they're high-level
waste, and they would not only ship the waste but they would keep
creating more at the utility companies, so as soon as they got rid of
some they would create more," argues ray, suddenly aware she's getting
worked up.

"it just seemed like a really bad idea," she adds casually, lest she
sound too earnest. oh, what the hell: she's off again. "then there's the
fact that the legislation changed the liability so that if there was an
accident, the taxpayers had to pay for it.

"so we've been fighting that with a bunch of affiliated indian groups.
and then we fight things like clear-cutting and mining issues and land
rights and sacred sights - maybe similar to your indigenous issues."

there are no borders in indigo girls politics. ray was recently in
mexico on a mission with members of pearl jam and rage against the
machine's frontman, zack de la rocha. they were down with the zapatista
peasant rebels, seeing some of the most brutal politics being played
right now.

the girls ran a lyric-writing program in high schools across the united
states; awards included a special tape of six socially conscious indigo
girls songs.

they started their own grassroots environmental campaign called honour
the earth with some native american friends. a lot of the united states'
resources - uranium, gold, timber, coal - are on indian land, making a
natural link that wasn't being exploited politically. so in 1995 the
indigo girls staged 21 benefit concerts in 16 states in what turned out
to be the largest single fund-raising effort in the history of native
american activism.

they've just returned from another month-long tour, raising a few
hundred thousand more dollars. now they're in minnesota, at a place
called the earth lodge, perusing applications for honour the earth
community grants. (ray makes apologies for saliers, who was supposed to
be in the interview but "is still in her sweat" - an indian sweat

there are no borders in indigo girls music, either. the politics have
not only informed their lyrics but amped up their style and energy. the
most recent album, last year's shaming the sun, lifted the girls beyond
their previous reputation as joni mitchell's prodigal daughters. for a
band accused of doing the same thing over and over again, albeit
beautifully, shaming the sun was a risk.

"i think that's true," says the dark-haired, dark-eyed ray, admitting
there was a lot of creative tension in making it. "we've become more
comfortable in the studio while our politics have expanded us.

"when we started working with a lot of the more strident activism that
we've done - you know, with [the zapatistas] in mexico and some of the
indian issues and some of the gay issues - we got much more outspoken.
and just by virtue of getting older and feeling like we've seen things
now that we hadn't seen before, we realised we don't have anything to
lose. when you see people that are dying for causes, literally dying for
their cause ... you don't really think of your life the same way any

the experience affects their songwriting, but perhaps more clearly in
the case of the more raw and ragged shaming the sun, it affects their
approach to producing an album. "we're not so precious on things any
more," ray explains. "you learn to have fun and you learn not to take it
all so seriously."

it's a funny line, this edge of what's to be taken seriously. take the
indigo girls' adventure into television. in a triple-whammy of lesbian
chic, emily and amy scored a cameo on ellen. the girls almost had to
decline because they were booked to do an honour the earth gig in ames,
iowa, on the night that america's most out tv star was to record the
show in los angeles. their record label, epic, reportedly stepped in
and booked a lear jet to get them to both appearances, but even that was
a bit much for saliers and ray. "we had to twist their arms to get them
to agree to the jet," a spokeswoman for the girls told reporters. "it's
a little star-trippy for them."

ray doesn't know what to make of celebrity, let alone lesbian celebrity.
"there's definitely a trend of lesbian chic and "marketing to the dykes'.
but there's still a lot of prejudice out there. there's still a lot of
places in america i know - a lot of families that aren't accepting and a
lot of places where you aren't accepted, and there are still people that
live maybe in more rural areas who have to fear for their existence and
their jobs and stuff.

"but i think some of the lesbian chic kind of stuff, and ellen - you know,
the things that are happening that are more "out' - i think it helps. it
helps the movement. it may hurt it, too - we just don't know yet.

"you always have to wait until the trend passes to understand whether
you've made any progress or not."

saliers and ray have always been out and never romantically together.
they live separately, write separately and view the world differently.
ray, 33, lives in rural georgia; saliers, 34, in atlanta. "we've probably
stayed together for so long [about 18 years including the years before
they signed with a major label] because we have our own space."

the space, however, is an increasing challenge in their music. "before
this last record, i had written all these songs that just seemed so far
out of indigo girl territory," says ray, who has a reputation as the more
driven of the two. she thought about a solo record. she couldn't imagine
reconciling what she'd written with saliers's precision-pop style. in the
end, they decided that nothing was out of indigo girls territory. why
limit the band? they put more shade in their light, upbeat trademark
tunes and put out an electrified, passionate album. fans loved it. fans,
it should be said, of whom half are reported to be male and largely in
their 40s and 50s.

the band just may go anywhere from here. shaming had echoes of bruce
springsteen, and cameos by steve earle and the native american ensemble
ulali. punk-rocking ray reveals that country music, of all things, has
been sneaking into her material. but she's keen to do stripped-down,
naked folk.

"emily, she's kind of gotten into, like, samba and salsa and stuff
lately, which is really cool ... so there may be some stuff coming out
like that."

rays describes saliers as the more musically accomplished of the two.
that's how she explains the clear distinction between "emily songs" and
"amy songs" (every girls fan has a preference).

"i have a lower voice, and i tend to write songs that are more guttural
because of that," suggests ray. "i'm much more influenced by the
alternative and the kind of post-punk scene. and the way i feel, i
express myself in a way that i suppose is much more guttural, just
because i don't have as much finesse.

"emily has a lot of finesse and has a great command of musical
vocabulary, and those things come out in her writing. her images are very
polished, i think. we both use our weaknesses and our strengths, but they
differ. they differentiate us and i think we come together despite that,
because we just trust it."

what ray doesn't trust is corporate america. she runs her own underground
music label, daemon, to support local artists in athens, georgia, and she
has been largely suspicious of the music business.

the duo go into the studio later this year to record. speculation abounds
as to whether they will re-sign with epic when their contract expires,
although both girls have praised the label's approach to their creative

"there are things emily and i are not of one mind on," ray concedes. "the
environmental stuff - we work very closely on these issues and we always
agree. there are maybe other political things that we differ on, probably
to do with issues of ... well, fighting the corporate battle. i tend to be
a little more anarchy-oriented at times."

just as she's about to verge off into the political again, however, ray
makes it personal. "but we're pretty solid: it feels really good to have
her as an ally."

and if lack of airplay is the price they have to pay for their politics,
so be it. "it's not fashionable for us, but it's inspirational," says ray.
"it outweighs all those other things; it doesn't weaken us. we just put
our heads down and play music and do our activism, both things
independently and together, and just live out what's in our hearts.

"we just do it."

the indigo girls play the state theatre in sydney on thursday and friday
next week.  

=-=-=-= sherlyn koo - =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= a+e=ig
"i'll breathe and grieve and struggle and strive and love and love and
love, and if i'm lucky, once - just once - the dream will drop to the
floor and shatter in shards of silence.  but i will see, i will see,
in the pattern of the pieces i will see... something.  this will,
this will, this will happen..."                - peter mulvey

- ---------------------------------------------------------------
this has been a message from the ig-news list.
please send feedback, questions etc to
submissions are welcome - please send these to


end of ig-news-digest v1 #5

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