NOTE: As we get close to City Stages turning 21 this coming weekend, we figured we’d take a few moments and do a couple of things to get you into the mood. Guest contributor Jeremy Henderson gets us started by sitting down with Amy Ray, one half of the Indigo Girls.
“Lesbian” and “indigo” both have three syllables. The syllables are identically stressed. When I first heard them – les-bi-an, late 80s, walking home through the 3rd grade suburbs of old Vestavia; In-di-go, early 90s, in a church van, radio blasting, scruples flaring, girls pretending to French each other – they were both followed by snickers and dirty winks. I think that’s what did it for me. For a split second, I totally thought they meant the same thing, or that one implied the other, synonyms in a sinner’s vocabulary. Both words sounded so… exotic. So… earthy. Onomatopoetic even.
Amy knows what I mean. She remembers the first time she heard ‘indigo.’ It was 1985. She had a dictionary. She was looking for a word to go with ‘girls.’
And when she dials from her private number in the North Georgia Mountains, we’ll talk about how people who live in the North Georgia Mountains (she’s been there 17 years) love to say ‘North Georgia Mountains.’
We’ll talk about her youth group skate nights with the Methodists as a teenager in Decatur, Ga.
We’ll talk about their 1997 show in Auburn with The Rock*A*Teens the spring before my freshman year. They had to reschedule. One of them had a sore throat.
We’ll talk about how their new independently released album, Poseidon and the Bitter Bug (which references North Georgia in the second line of the first song), is kind of incredible and how it just might be the best thing they’ve ever done, which I’ll tell her I really wouldn’t know much about because other than recognizing that one song from the church van, I don’t know anything about their music. I only own one of their records – that one, the newest one, and only a promotional download version at that, which cracks her up. “That’s refreshing,” she’ll say.
But for most of the 20 minutes, the Indigo Girls‘ Amy Ray and I talked about the word “lesbian” – about our first times to hear it, how we both instantly knew it was bad, and how it sounds so different now.
I went first.