I'd rather be able to face myself in the
bathroom mirror than be rich and famous.
In a way, this is going to be a not-so-art-related blog entry. Although I had to cringe a bit after writing that because the woman who I am writing about is one of the most inspirational artists I have even seen in person.
A couple of weeks ago I caught wind that Ani Difranco was coming to town to play a show. Growing up, I have always loved her music. This may not be surprising to those who know me well (especially who knew me in high school.) I was a very...unique....teenage. I never followed the crowd. Not only did Ani inspire me to find myself in my own feminism journey, but she inspired me in my music.
In 2006 I saw Ani live in Providence, and at that moment, witnessing this 4'11" woman on stage (whom, I might add, is the same height as me) I was inspired to take my music to the next level. Shortly after I decided to apply to Berklee College of Music. This was the only college I applied to in high school. It was Berklee or Bust! Luckily, I was accepted. Although I only stayed at Berklee for a short period of time, I still have to admire Ani Difranco for the inspiration she instills in others.
Ok, now that I got sidetracked and blabbed on about my admiration for her (and yes, I do have a woman-crush on her), back to my story. After I caught wind that she was coming to town I decided, less than 3 days before the concert, that I was going to buy tickets to her show! I only had enough money to buy 1 ticket other than my own. I went through the list of all the people who are closest to me. But I finally stopped at my father. My father, John, is one of the most inspirational people I've ever met. My father encouraged me throughout my whole life to be my own person and follow my dreams. When everyone else told me I couldn't, my father told me to prove them wrong. My father taught me to question everything, and to form my own opinion. And, although I may hate to admit it, I am a spitting image of my father. My father was the one who taught me to play guitar. He would sit in my room with me for hours on end teaching me how to listen to every note of a song, and how to mimic it on the guitar. He's the one who went out and bought me a brand new Martin acoustic guitar once I got accepted to Berklee. And when I decided to leave, he wiped my tears and told me "well...that's just not for you, but something else will come along".
So as a way to thank my father, I bought him a ticket...without forewarning him mind you. The next morning I went up to him and said "hey dad! Do you have any plans on Thursday night? No? Well we are going to a concert together." This threw my father through a loop and he instantly responded by saying "Uhhhhh why don't you take your mother?!". My father is, in a way, an introvert. He lived in a house full of women for 30-some-odd-years, and unfortunately he was never the first one my sister and I ran to for a parent date night. In fact, I believe I haven't had an evening out with my father since the father and daughter dances we went to in elementary school together. So, somewhat hesitantly, my father agreed.
Now, my father is very liberal. In fact both of my parents are. They are very loving and accepting people. But I felt like I had to warn my father of the "Ani Crowd". If you have ever been to an Ani Difranco Concert than you know exactly what I'm talking about. He half-shrugged it off telling me I was worrying to much. When the doors open and we took our seats we found out that Buddy Wakefield would be opening for Ani. I'm not a huge spoken-word fan (at all) and I never really heard any of his stuff. But I thought to myself "It's poetry...I mean really how bad could it be?" Well, you should have seen the look on my fathers face when Buddy decided to tell the audience that "This poem is for Steve!" and that "Steve likes to stick his boner into my butt hole", then proceeded to go on talking about God and Religion. All I could think to myself at this point was "OH DEAR GOD! WHAT AM I TAKING MY FATHER TO?!" But luckily my pop was a good sport. He laughed all the awkwardness off. When Melissa Ferrick came on my father became more relaxed and started to enjoy the music.
But....when Ani came on....everything changed. My fathers face completely lit up. He couldn't stop smiling. He was constantly turning to me saying "Wow!!! She's so talented!!!" Then I realized...my father finally understood my obsession over her. Not just because she's an amazing bad ass political chick! But because this girl has some amazing talent! My father and I then started bonding over her talent. "Wow dad did you hear that augmented chord?! That's so cool how she just threw that in there". My father would turn to me and say "What is she tuned to?! Do you know?" and I would say "Definitely open G. Look at how she puts tape on her fingers to muffle the notes".
This was the first time in YEARS that my father and I bonded over something so strongly. Our relationship has been rocky for the past 3-4 years or so. But once the concert was over, we walked out with his arm over my shoulder and I felt like a 6 year old elementary school girl who just finished going to the best father and daughter dance of her life. I couldn't be more thankful for my father. We may fight and argue and scream and curse at each other. But we are exactly alike. I'm stubborn, moody, emotional, passionate and impetuous, and I have to thank him for that! To me, all of these "bad" traits make me who I am. I am proud that I am honorable and loving. I love the fact that I'm thick-headed and stubborn. And I love the fact that I am my fathers daughter. So many times I've had people say "You're just like your father"....as if that's something to be ashamed of. But all those people can go to Hell. No man will ever compare to my father.
So to wrap this mush-fest up, thank you Ani Difranco for once again making my life a little bit better. I'll never forget the Ani Difranco concert that I went to with my FATHER! And he certainly will never forget it either!