EMU hosts benefit concert for TransGender Michigan

Jason A. Michael
By | 2018-01-15T20:44:33-04:00 December 14th, 2006|News|

YPSILANTI – About 75 folks came out Thursday night for a concert to benefit TransGender Michigan at Eastern Michigan University’s student center auditorium. The concert, which featured six very different acts, was organized by EMU student and TGM member Kevin Werner, who acted as the evening’s emcee.
The show started with Billione, a soulful crooner who sang to tracks including “Love” by Musiq Soulchild and Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative.”
“I embrace everybody as long as everybody embraces me, and I think that’s what this event is all about,” he told the crowd.
Despite some sound difficulties, Fallsway Down, a guitar and drums duo comprised of Jessica DiDonato and Jessica Klein, were fun to watch and delivered a set of approachable melodies.
Werner, who claimed he was not a comedian, was genuinely funny between acts. He sang an impromptu version of “Age of Aquarius” when asked his zodiac sign by a member of the audience, and delivered a few zingers.
“Wal-Mart returned to [greeting customers with] Merry Christmas,” he said. “Heaven forbid they celebrate any other holiday because Wal-Mart is owned by Jesus. I’m sure that’s where Jesus would shop.”
Mind The Wires, a five-piece ensemble, utilized two guitars, bass, saxophone, sitar, an African djembe, snare drum and tambourine. They also added computer effects and at one point a member of the band even used monitor feedback as an instrument. The group calls their unique sound “sonic multi-genre masturbation.”
Things only continued to intensify when The Wellness Plan took the stage. This hard rocking band came complete with its own groupies, who spent the entire set standing and dancing in front of the stage.
“Face it, the sound is gonna suck, so just listen to the guitars and we’ll rock your face,” one member of the band shouted out early on.
Closing the show was the concert’s only trans performer, Ferndale-based Stephanie Loveless. She played an intense and emotion-filled set. Her only partner on stage was her guitar, which at times she stroked with gentle affection and at other times she strummed it so fiercely that she broke no less than two strings during her 20-minute set.
“A member of the orchestra just quit,” she quipped after losing the second.
Loveless told the crowd that, as a trans women, “one of the most humiliating experiences for me is sex, dating and romance.” She debuted a new song she’d written about a former lover who refused to be seen with her in public called, quite succinctly, “You’re Such A Pussy.”
“My theory is it’s always better to write a song than to get a gun,” she explained.

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.