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NorCal Blogger Tussles With Taylor Swift Over First Amendment
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

November 9, 2017

Blogger Meghan Herning (Photo: Courtesy Meghan Herning)

In a post titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation” on her blog PopFront, San Jose native Meghan Herning theorized to her 200-ish subscribers about parallels she saw between the Taylor Swift song “Look WhatYou Made Me Do” and a documentary she watched featuring Neo-Nazis marching through Charlottesville.

“In my personal opinion, I thought the tone of lyrics in Swift’s song, like, ‘I don’t like your kingdom keys / They once belonged to me’ were similar to you chants of ‘You will not replace us’ in Charlottesville,” Herning says. 

More prominent media outlets like Vice and The Huffington Post have speculated about the connection between the pop star and far right politics. 

So when Herning received a letter via email a couple of weeks ago from Swift’s Los Angeles-based lawyer, William J. Briggs II, demanding that she take down her blog post or face legal action for defamation, the 30-year-old Sacramento resident was shocked.

Listen to the radio segment for The California Report and read the full story here
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Amidst its Own Loss, a Santa Rosa Violin Shop Assists Fire Victims
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

Luthier Julian Loveland at work in the Loveland Violin
Shop in Santa Rosa (Photo: Gabe Meline)

When we think of a musical instrument that most closely mimics the human soul in a state of upheaval, the violin comes most readily to mind. 

If the guitar gently weeps, the violin wails, uncontrollably. So it’s heartening to hear how the Loveland Violin Shop in Santa Rosa is helping to put violins back in people’s hands after the Tubbs Fire so cruelly took them away. 

 Read more of this story here.
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Trans Singer Encounters Mother (and Bathroom Laws) on Tour in the South
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

November 2, 2017

Transgender singer Tom Kennard poses at a rest stop urinal somewhere between
Birmingham, AL and Knoxville, TN (Photo: David Wallace)

Joyce Arterberry takes her seat front and center in the Civic Auditorium in Knoxville, Tennessee. She’s driven five and a half hours from Indianapolis, Indiana with her daughter Amy to see her son, Tom Kennard, perform with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on tour.

Getting ready backstage, Tom is excited and nervous. He’s fretting about the seats he bought for Joyce and Amy. He’s one of 250 singers on the tour and wants to make sure his mom and sister get a good view of him up there under the lights.

“Do you think they can they see me?” he asks anxiously. Tom’s also wondering whether his mom will like the scarf he crocheted for her as a gift. “She picked green to go with her pea coat,” he says. He plans to present it to her after the show.

Joyce is also excited — she’s had her hair done specially for the occasion — and, similarly, a little bit nervous: It’s been many years since she last saw her 67-year-old son sing.

Listen to a version of the story that aired on The California Report Magazine, and read the full web story at KQED Arts, here.

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Michael Tilson Thomas: A Mahler Nut and So Much More
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

Michael Tilson Thomas on tour with the San Francisco Symphony in Europe
(Photo: Courtesy SF Symphony)

This week, the San Francisco Symphony announced the retirement of Michael Tilson Thomas after 25 years as music director.

Tilson Thomas is best known for his championing of the works of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, including a series of Grammy Award-winning recordings.

But this is just one piece of the conductor’s contributions to classical music.

Listen to the radio story and read the full accompanying article on the KQED website here.

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Choirs’ Joyous Crowds Outnumber Anti-Gay Protesters in Alabama
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

October 11, 2017

Members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus reflect on the experience of
crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir received a police escort through the city of Selma, Alabama. 

It was the second day of a week-long tour that took the singers through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. The six blue buses bearing some 250 singers and around 50 family members, organizers, reporters, a documentary team, and various other hangers on, swept importantly into the quiet town on an overcast Monday afternoon. 

Cops stopped cars at a few intersections. The locals didn’t seem otherwise inconvenienced. Except for two individuals. 

Read on here

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Bay Area Choruses Sing Out in Mississippi Against Anti-Gay Bill
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

October 8, 2017




Around 200 members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, together with some 50 singers from the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Jackson, MS to sing a message of love and unity on Sunday.

The gesture kicked off a concert and outreach tour of five southern states — Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina — and was intended as a powerful message to state legislators just days before a controversial law, House Bill 1523, takes effect across the state.

Read more and listen to the story here

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How San Francisco’s Drag Royalty Does Good, While Looking Fierce
KQED Arts

KQED Arts

October 5, 2017

Members of the Imperial Court pose at the Oakland Museum of California
(Photo: Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California)

San Francisco has always been the sort of place where people come to reinvent themselves in a big way. The trend goes back to Joshua Norton, the eccentric wheeler-dealer who declared himself emperor of the United States in 1859.

When San Francisco drag queen and political activist José Sarria declared himself the "Empress José I, The Widow Norton," in 1965, he wasn't just having fun with Norton's legacy.

As the founder of The Imperial Court, Sarria launched and presided over an entire movement that would not only support LGBTQ causes in a profound way over the more than five decades of its existence to date, but would also do it with lashings of bejeweled and sequined flair.

Learn about The Imperial Court in this episode of Bay Curious.

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