An interview with The Blow


And The Blow’s new tour could clue you into her queerness more, but could also be cause for confusion if you are an audience member looking to believe everything she says when she has a microphone in hand. Khaela’s performance includes just as much discussion of what she is performing and why as the performance itself. And it’s all under the pretense that she is singing songs as she wrote them for a famous female singer who had a girlfriend in the last couple of years. “But you wouldn’t listen to her music,” Khaela says on stage, never once mentioning the celebrity’s name, but the crowd gets it. The shouting of “Lindsay Lohan!” begins.

This is the theme that extends through The Blow’s latest stage performance. New songs like “Make It Up” are said to have been written for this pop star’s new album while she was in a relationship with a woman, but later shelved because of some personal setbacks. And the stories are elaborate: Khaela says “Make it Up,” for instance, was inspired by the celebrity’s coming out to her mother, and her mom replying, “You’re just making it up.” And said celebrity had responded, “It really does feel like we’re making it up — like we’re inventing something new.” And that, as relayed to Khaela, inspired the song.

Did Khaela really write songs for Lindsay Lohan?

“I don’t know what people think,” she said, “but I do know that people really want to believe what you say. And that’s another thing I’m excited about exploring with working in different kinds of context, is performing in an art space or theater space, lights go down and people think ‘OK, someone’s gonna tell me a story.’ And if you work in a music space, even people who are art educated or performers, I’ve seen them want to believe a thing that I’m saying is true just because I’m up there and I’m singing. If I was doing it as a musical, they’d say ‘That’s corny – I know it’s fake,’ but the fact that I’m embodying my own persona, I can’t be my own persona and say something that isn’t true. It’s really exciting to play with that because there’s so much room there.”

Not only does Khaela sing these songs, but they come equipped with her taking on the stage presence of someone different — someone much more high femme. When performing as the celebrity, Khaela will tuck in her shirt to make her outfit more fitted and replace her moccasins with six inch studded heels. She’ll carefully remove them afterward, making sure the audience is aware of her much more practical set of slip-ons and preference for looser wear.

When it comes to her appearance, which has altered as I noted earlier from the last time around, Khaela said it’s all part of the performance.

“I think there’s something about presenting as something that men could desire, but that doesn’t mean you can have me. Sometimes its sort of like there are really strong role models for gay women in our culture who are really like so inspiring and amazing and positive like Ellen and Rachel Maddow and even Rosie O’Donnell. But I think when guys look at them, they think ‘Oh well I wouldn’t want to be with her. She’s a lesbian, she’s cool I like her but it’s not like I want to be with her.’ So it’s some kind of assumption that women are lesbians because they couldn’t be with men, like they’re not even an option on the table – so to go ahead and be like, You know what? This is how I look. I kind of enjoy having long hair — I think it’s pretty. And also there’s an interesting way in how you move around in the world and people have these expectations of you. It’s true, you could be attracted to me, but you’re not going to make my heart race. It’s just not going to happen!”

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