On this episode of Blue Ridge Free State, we talk about punk and LBGT history in Roanoke, Virginia, and how those two came together at the Backstreet Cafe.
We interview Deanna Marcin about the recent controversy of MDC’s show, how it was cancelled, and how it was rescheduled. She also talks about her journey as a transsexual woman, how she landed in Roanoke, how she came to work at the Backstreet Cafe, the atmosphere there in the years that followed a fatal shooting rampage, how she started booking punk and metal, and what’s happened since then.
Mason sets the stage by dropping some history about the Backstreet and Roanoke’s LGBT community. We also take a quick look at recent polling in Tennessee’s US Senate race and Georgia’s gubernatorial race.
Mason has written a couple of stories about the Backstreet Cafe and its shift to begin booking punk music. The first of these was in 2015 for the Washington Post. The idea came from attending a Good Cat Bad Cat show at Backstreet Cafe; that’s when he met Marcin and started to think about all that had changed since the shooting, 15 years before. Two years later, after the bar fired Marcin and changed its name, he wrote another story for Vice’s Munchies.
For more about LGBTQ+ history in southwestern Virginia, check out the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project. It’s got oral histories, info on walking tours, essays, and a lot more. We’re hoping to feature the project on a future episode at some point.
For more on the polls on the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee and the gubernatorial race in Georgia, check out this post on Sabato’s Crystal Ball.