Oh, North Carolina…
On Saturday, May 21, I’ll be joining Ryan Germick onstage at the music and technology festival Moogfest for a conversation. It’s a just a quick stop on the way home from Atlanta’s HOW Design Live, but it sounded like fun and I always enjoy speaking with Ryan. No big deal, except for one thing: Moogfest is in Durham, North Carolina.
North Carolina recently passed House Bill 2, widely and rightly condemned for its treatment of transgender people. An encouragingly long list of corporations, performers, and other public figures have called out North Carolina for what they felt was a hateful and ignorant law—’cause it is—and a number of boycotts followed.
The musicians and other creative types involved with Moogfest, though, have decided to stay and protest. So barring any change of plans by that community, it looks like I’ll be there with them. I don’t know if my voice will make much difference (I’m not a headliner or anything, just a small fish in that extremely cool pond) but I’ll add my voice to theirs as best I can.
One of my most important early musical experiences, when I was still in elementary school, was listening to the electronic music of the artist then known as “Walter” Carlos. I used to sit in my father’s big easy chair, between the speakers, and slow down Carlos’ Baroque albums to half speed and listen to each and every note as if transcribing a conversation. I was fascinated by that musical landscape, and by later original compositions on A Clockwork Orange and other recordings.
Moogfest is named for Robert Moog, late father of the Moog synthesizer, which was used on those recordings. He was a good friend of Walter so far as I know, and a good friend still when Walter became Wendy; one of the first public figures to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
Wendy Carlos is a Trans icon today; a musical pioneer but also a social one. She helped usher in the future on two fronts. In that spirit, I’m glad to see Moogfest doing what they can to oppose those who want to drag society back into the past.
Here’s the MoogFest official statement opposing HB2.