Queer musical group bends genders

Chris Azzopardi

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17
Where: Creole Gallery, Lansing
Phone: (517) 487-9549

Nate Borofsky of queer folk group Girlyman will miss home made meals when the group hits the road this week.
Although he sees it as an exercise in diet variance, and sometimes he and bandmates Doris Muramatsu and Ty Greenstein run into some delectable cuisine along the way, "sometimes it's not so good."
"I'm not as picky as the others," Borofsky says as he prepares a pasta sauce for dinner.
Food issues aside, Borofsky's looking forward to touring since the band, who live in the same New York apartment, had most of the summer off.
Muramatsu and Greenstein, who met in the second grade, had recently ditched their duo project, when Borofsky, who performed solo on the Boston music scene, moved in with them. And though living together has made it easier to create music, it's involved a lot of letting go on a creative level.
"If I come up with some musical or lyrical idea I have to be able to let go of that," he says. "They might love it, or they might hate it. … That's ultimately a good thing for creativity to let go of things like that – even if you're working on your own."
When the group leaves New York, they'll pile into their large, European van and pass the time doing crossword puzzles, shouting out clues to each other.
But, besides games and some light sight seeing, "it's not like being out on vacation," Borofsky says.
Girlyman, who won a 2006 OutMusic Award, will perform its "delicious acoustic harmony-driven gender pop" on Sept. 17 in Lansing. The group's musical title comes from their gender bending ways. "Ty has been traditionally a very butch woman and I'm kind of a girly man myself. … No one identifies as straight," says Borofsky, who generally wears make-up on stage.
In 2004, Girlyman's debut album, "Remember Who I Am," was released on Indigo Girls Amy Ray's indie imprint Daemon Records. Getting signed to Ray's label occurred out of the blue when the band entered a contest where she was a judge.
After tying for the award, the trio decided to send her an album. Eventually, they received a call from the label manager.
"It was actually a real stroke of luck," he says.
Girlyman's newest Daemon Records release, "Little Star," features a song called "Young James Dean" about a woman in the '50s who dresses more like a man. The song, written by Greenstein, is based on Daphne Scholinski's memoir "The Last Time I Wore A Dress."
"It's about gender ambiguity," Borofsky says. "It sort of goes against the gender norms of the times."