I have suffered and recovered from character assassination
A complete deconstruction of my character.
It is Saturday, the day before my 44th birthday. We are re-releasing [hopefully] the very first episode of Anterockstar tomorrow, initially premiered to a live audience in Los Angeles on 6/6/6, recut for your improved viewing experience.
I remember 6/6/6, and how exciting it was… and then the screaming phone call from hell that woke me up the next morning at 6AM to take it down.
In the first Episode, I reveal a family ‘secret’ that some people would have preferred remain that way. The truth is, all I revealed was one small aspect of the truth, something many people are aware of and witness to, and share in common with me. That was my intent in revealing it in the first place. To bring myself closer to those who had experienced domestic violence growing up, so that we could understand each other better. I remember watching this episode with a friend back in the day, and her citing her own experience, and how shocked I was that she would have had that in common with me… I thought her life was pretty perfect at the time. It brought us closer... we formed a bond.
What this friend nursed me through, I’m sure she could retell better than me. Daily we reviewed my social media together, and daily there were nothing but comments villifying me at my deepest level, my body, my thoughts, my words, everything was condemned, nothing was sacred. They revealed things about me only familiars would know. This friend knows just how much will it took for me to continue to pursue my artistry, to remove myself from that negativity, if only temporarily, to remain connected to the spirit that had initiated all this… my confidence in my abilities as a business woman, producer, performer, mother, daughter, friend, and lover… to deliver on the promises of the vision I had for Anterockstar… to prove myself as a musician. She and her husband were my photographers at the time, and Cat continues to be my friend and mentor today. They helped me capture that spirit in some incredible pictures taken from that era, some of which feature in the shiny new opening titles for Season I... some of which caused stirs... including one of my butt as a clear canvass, before I got the artwork.
Taken with Venus in the background, 'au naturel'.
To say a picture is worth a thousand words is an understatement. The release of ‘Go Diva’ caused even more rhetoric, and attacks on my intimate person. Of course, this would be de rigueur, after all I appear nude, however tastefully or classically I am posed. My family, friends, colleagues, all suddenly exposed to a private side of me, began distancing, disappearing, attacking, then colluding wherever they could. How any of this came as any of a surprise to anyone who knew me was a surprise to me. I have always been open about who I am with those around me, and was shocked that openness would be used against me in such a way.
In a way, they were inspiring it.
My next photo issue illustrated the violence I was experiencing in the form of gagging restraint. It was released as part of a campaign to combat hunger and poverty. Red tape is what causes poverty was the artists statement.
It got twisted.
When your character is so shamefully exposed… what’s the difference in taking off your clothes?
This journey has seen me prove my abilities time and again as much more than what I had initially thought, and for that I am extremely grateful. The talents and skills I learned throughout production give me great joy, because of the pain I endured to acquire them. Because our initial producer abandoned the project, I was forced to do something I had never done before, shoot a camera. It was a skill I took to naturally and without fear, and take great pride in having mastered. Recording bands live off the floor from the pit, events that have been going on for years before me and will go on years after me is something I could never ever have bought with money. An opportunity to capture history in the making? HELL yes.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of shooting some of the tallest legends in independent music, including my greatest coup, Dead Kennedys [I've HUGGED a sweaty post show Klaus Fluoride], and my beloveds, The 3Tards; who saw me walk onto their stage and never really leave it. John is someone I get the privilege of calling 'friend', and if anyone has taught me how powerful my voice is, it's him. I have had the honor of shooting The Cure from the 3rd row where it feels like worshiping at the feet of God [fun times when he winks back at you], and hell, I'm so lucky I have footage in my collection of rising stars in their very first public performances...
The bands, their courage, their passion, their devotion to their craft and sharing it with their audience, their commitment to the long road, and the literal blood sweat and tears that they shed in the name of connecting us all to that small part inside ourselves where we’re not fighting to be understood. This is what drives me, and the series. I have discovered that we ALL live in a certain amount of pain and trauma brought about by misunderstanding.
Music is harmony. It transcends all that.
This journey has also seen me reveal more than anyone should really know about a stranger’s life, but I accepted long ago that ‘with enough courage you can learn to live without a reputation’ and I believe it; I saw it in a movie once. [Rockstar] is a term we throw around like bullshit in the series, and it has always been the bone of contention. [Prove myself as a musician] was the original understanding of the [Rockstar] title. In the case of Anterockstar, what was formerly bullshit becomes the cherry bomb on top a 44 tiered cake. The rest is just icing.
The initial and subsequent experience caused me so much trauma, that I have become obsessed with being careful in how I portray those around me, and try always to portray them in the best light… which forces me to see them [and me] that way. But I have also learned that even I can’t spin a pig’s ear into a silk purse. I cannot deny that those around me have sometimes behaved with less than perfect honor, neither have I always behaved with perfect honor; but striving for the light has allowed me to conduct myself with some amount of grace, and for that I am grateful too.
In the end, whatever else I’ve proven, I’ve proven myself as a human being.