We awoke at Justin's house early (fyi- "early" is something we discuss often and occasionally make plans for, but it doesn't actually exist in our world- and that's mostly because of me. I do not like to be rushed and I do not like to get out of bed. Most people view this as a negative trait, which surely it is, but once I was told it's not and I now cling to that as truth. See, my friend Simon said, it's not that you're careless or slow... it's that you live 'a life of leisure.' Fuck yeah, dignify my laziness by calling it a lifestyle! But anyway, because of my moral and ethical aversion to "early", all of Kingdom is forced to be leisurely with me.)
We always bring info on veganism/animal issues on the road with us, but this tour we decided that we should bring sexual education materials (and pro choice literature!) as well. Before leaving Philly I hooked up with an organization called CHOICE to get abortion info, STD hotline cards, and condoms. They gave me two huge bags of 300+ condoms, and some female condoms (which none of us have ever tried, but will soon and report back here about it. If any of you have tried them, comment here and enlighten us!) All of this has been going over really well on the ol' merch table (obviously, who doesn't NOT want to get herpes?) and in Detroit we found ourselves wanting to expand on what we have. Vanessa (Justin's roomate) volunteers at the Planned Parenthood in Detroit, and with a couple of emails and phone calls, arranged for us to pick up a load of info on our way of out town.
I love Planned Parenthood. Touring all the time leaves me broke all the time and Planned Parenthood operates on a sliding scale, so I go there for all my gyno needs. Pap smears, STD tests, whatever. Here's a little fun fact for y'all. Vaginas are delicate and sensitive to extreme climate change. Going from a humid city to a dry one can throw one's vag right out of whack and leave it with a gnarly yeast infection. But, if you're a girl on tour, what can you do? You gotta go from Miami to Denver, and your vagina is coming with you. Thankfulllllly, there is a Planned Parenthood in every city, ready to give your poor, touring ass free medication. Hurray!
On top of providing cheap/free health care to any and everyone, they also do rad things like give folks like us 2 huge bags of info on STIs/ birth control and a sack of flavored lube! Cherry, pina colada, mint... it's out of control. It's merch tables gone wild. (btw, Ryan tried the bubble gum and fruit berry lubes and says they're "delish".)
I got a text from an old friend as we drove to the show saying that he, unbeknownst to me, was FROM Springfield, Ill and just happened to be in town for a few days. He's a full time tour dude (driver/merch) and part time international traveler, so of all places on earth to run into him I really would have put Springfield near the end of the list. However, life is random like that, and hardcore makes it all the more.
The Black Sheep Cafe was s a graffiti-covered room that smelled like a reeking toilet. The venue is owned and run by hardcore kids, and Kevin (one of the owners) was there when we arrived. (Nicest dude.) We set up our merch across from the metalcore band that was playing that night. Their set up consisted of one GIANT banner and a plethora of patches (embroidered, rap-metal style) and pins that said things like, "Satan Sucks", and "I save dead people", and "JESUS!" We were all tempted to repent and be saved, but they just didn't have enough breakdowns to sway our stubborn souls.
Core (my old pal) showed up and we caught up on the last year or so of our lives- mine which was more or less been rad (with lots of embarrassing mishaps and hilarious injuries), and his which was less embarrassing and had way more monkeys in it. He had just gotten back from living in South Africa for 2 months, and dazzled me with tales of Ethiopian cafes where they burn frankinsence and serve fresh popcorn with each cup of coffee and cheetah sanctuaries where the terrifying wild cats are so friendly that you can actually pat them. Lucky for us, and now for you, Core is an amazing photographer and has a flickr account where he keeps photos of all his travels. (As well as a few photos from our show- some featured here) Go check them out: CORE THE WANDERER
Seeing as only one person stayed inside for the metallic prayer sesh, I didn't really expect for any of the 13 or so kids milling around to stay inside for us. Turns out those 13 or so kids were there waiting for us! It was amazing. At one point during our set every single person in the room was moshing. Then every kid bought a shirt, and a cd, and a record. Then we all hung out eating the cookies a kid baked for us and talking about sex and hardcore and, of course, food. Thanks again to everyone who came out to that show and those who have kept in touch since- it's nights like those that keep my faith in hardcore alive.
Springfield, Illinois vegan straight edge:
We awoke to Core making us banana pancakes, tempeh bacon, soysage, and coffee straight from Africa, and gave the usual, "See ya when I see ya!" and hit the road again.