The Thorns of Life

Yesterday was a particularly bad day. There wasn’t a lot of reason for this. Just a lot more work then I wanted to deal with, more people in my house then I cared for at the moment and it was capped off with a near visit to the emergency room. Needless to say that when I turned the car around from the emergency room, I wasn’t in any mood to do much, but indulge myself in selfish acts of decadence. I drove out to an Indian restaurant and ordered a massive amount of food, which I washed down with a large 220z bottle of Taj Mahal beer. I drove home, happy for the first time all day and immersed myself under blankets to watch disc two of season four of The L Word.

I started watching The L Word on a whim really. I was at home and bored and not wanting to go out into the world and so, there it was, available to me On Demand from my wonderful fiber optic cable provider. The show as a written piece of work and as a narrative is not that good. It’s plagued with the over dramatic and paints lesbians as neurotic, sex crazed idiots who can’t seem to be loyal to each other, though the show always tries to portray the seven or so main characters as terribly devoted to each other. But it does have it’s moments of truth and sometimes manages to say some really poignant and important things about sexuality and gender. One of my favorite characters on the show is Max. Played by Daniela Sea, Max is a Female to Male transitional and for me is a one of the most important characters Television has had to offer. Max has the most true drama in his life, it is not filled with frenzied issues about who is fucking who or who can keep it in their pants. Max deals with the true bullshit of the gender binary and sexual politics. The character and Sea’s portrayal are engaging and heartfelt, even when they are ripping headlines from the tabloids and getting Max pregnant before top surgery. Like I said, the show sometimes blurs a good narrative for sensationalism I fear for sensationalism’s sake.

Daniela Sea is also a member of the most hyped band in punk rock since I don’t know who, the Thorns of Life. Started by Blake Schwarzenbach and Aaron Cometubus, Blake said of Daniela that she was “this kind of serendipitous lightning that shot out of the Left Coast and galvanized the seven foot tall glowing cadaver.” Which is the part of the Thorns of Life story that I personally am most interested in right now. While I am stoked that Schwarzenbach is gutting the punkers again with his sharp tongue and playing razor like punk diddies again, Sea is a much more interesting numeral in this equation. I’m really drawn to her presence on The L Word, and based on the shoddy reporting of wikipedia, her life experience is less than typical for your average punk band started by people in their thirties.

In the “community” (and by community I mean the punk community) Schwarzenbach and Cometubus are certainly the better know figures. But this is truly an all star kind of band. For me personally, I don’t think I would be watching the YouTube clips or downloading crappy bootlegs if it weren’t for Sea’s presence. Despite the availability the internet provides, another Schwarzenbach band is a welcomed bit of knowledge, but I would most likely have waited until they played DC or put out a record before I got caught up in the whirlwind. This has a lot to do with timing, since I am immersed waist deep in the sea of The L Word, but another punk band, no matter who the players are, doesn’t always entice me, unless I am intrigued at another level. Sea’s work in the The L Word adds that extra level for me.

I am interested if the lesbian community will adopt the Thorns of Life based on Sea’s presence. Not being tapped into a greater The L Word watching community, I don’t really know their demographics or how the character of Max is viewed amongst the GLBT community that I think the show is aimed at. Certainly there are punkers out there watching it that are excited about this project because of her presence. I’d be interested to see, as this band grows if they are able to break some of the white lines drawn around punk rock. We call ourselves inclusive, but it’s obviously not there and it’s never been a very inviting community, despite amazing efforts.

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