It sounds like Michelle Shocked might not intend to let the cancelation of her tour stop her from showing up anyway.
Friday afternoon, the beleaguered singer tweeted that she would be appearing at Santa Monica’s McCabe’s Saturday night for a “speaking engagement” on the subject of “Effects of Gay-Bashing on the L.A. Mayoral Race.”
This came as news to the club — and not good news.
“She is not welcome at McCabe’s,” said the venue’s angry concert director, Lincoln Myerson, who had just learned about Shocked’s vow — or threat — to show up, after getting calls about the singer’s mysterious tweet. On Monday, the guitar shop and concert venue joined nearly every other club on her impending tour in canceling her upcoming appearance after her alleged anti-gay comments at the opening gig of the tour Sunday night in San Francisco led to mass walkouts and media furor.
Myerson said that the club had not heard from Shocked at all during the week, despite repeated attempts to reach her before and since the show cancelation. He added that, as of a couple days ago, none of the other halls or clubs that had canceled their shows with her had heard a peep out of the mercurial performer, either.
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“Had Michelle attempted to talk to me” about taking part in some kind of non-musical forum, “I might have attempted to work something out with her. But for her to go rogue on this shows that she’s her own sheriff. If she wants to do it at the park down the street, she can do it there, but she can’t do it at McCabe’s. I’m not intending to clean up this mess for her. I wish I could get on and tweet, ‘Hey, it’s at her house — here’s her address.’"
Asked by via Twitter if she intended to make her "appearance" some sort of guerrilla action, Shocked, who was arrested two years ago at an Occupy protest, responded: "OK, OCCU-PIE!!" She also retweeted a fan who said: "You mean like on the sidewalk in front of @McCabesGuitar? It doesn’t get much more punk rock than that. I’m there."
The club had received everything from benign petitions to actual threats from LGBT supporters throughout the week, and now there is concern that activists may believe her supposed appearance is sanctioned. “I don’t want to deal with broken glass and broken guitars,” Myerson said. “And to find out about this from news agencies instead of Michelle herself is irresponsible and offensive.”
Myerson added, “I can’t stop her from having a rally on the sidewalk. But I’ve alerted the police department, saying I think there might be trouble, and could they have a couple of extra patrol cars cruise by.” He’s worried because the store planned to be open up until the once-planned showtime to process refunds for a few dozen ticketholders who haven’t already gotten their money back.
On Monday, McCabe’s was receiving petitions and threats of protests from LGBT activists if the show went on. But there were other reasons for joining the wave of cancelations, like Shocked refusing to respond to club owners’ inquiries about whether she planned to use her upcoming concerts as a platform for similarly outraging speeches, or even if she did actually still plan to show up.
Now they know: She’s planning on putting in an appearance, all right.
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Even now, despite this apparent act of antagonism, Myerson would like to give the performer, who had previously been a McCabe’s favorite, the benefit of the doubt about the intent behind her suggestion to the San Francisco audience that they tweet that she said, “God hates faggots.”
“I think she might have been trying to make a point about ‘I love both bigots and queers,’ but if so, she did a crappy job of it. If you want to make a point about the hypocrisy of racism, you don’t go into the First AME Church and lob the N-word and then expect to get a reasonable debate going.”
Shocked is only speaking with the media via Twitter, since her volunteer publicist walked off the job Thursday after less than 48 hours on duty. Shocked is also believed to have been acting as her own booker on the scotched tour, despite contact info for a booking agent on her website. Until mid-week, that same contact page also listed a publicist who had not worked with her for several years, who said he had sent Shocked legal threats in order to get his name and phone number removed from her site.
Shocked also tweeted Friday that she plans to show up come what may at her Madison, Wisconsin, gig May 4. That’s the one show on her tour that hasn’t been canceled, apparently due to the club owner being on vacation and unreachable in Mexico, though a contact at the venue told local press “there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll cancel this."
As for Shocked’s interest in the subject of "gay-bashing in the L.A. mayoral race," further information can be found in the Q&A with her that Spin.com published Thursday. In that conversation, apropos of little, Shocked brought up the election and told her confused interviewer that she supported candidate Wendy Greuel, on the way to mocking gay GOP candidate Kevin James (who did not make the run-off) as being “as affordable as any other politician.” Chances are Greuel will not be showing up outside McCabe’s to accept Shocked’s endorsement.
Despite some baffling attempts to explain herself this week, Shocked continues to be a pariah among some gay former supporters. “What the hell?” comedian Margaret Cho wrote on Huffington Post Thursday. “It’s freaky to me, the whole business of going from a queer icon to someone who would actually say that God hates us. When the shock wore off, I found that people were super angry, but I just got scared.”