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.
On this episode, we talk with elections analyst Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, about a variety of House, Senate, and gubernatorial races in the Appalachian region. We consider how opposition parties have fared in midterms since the 1990s, with a focus on Appalachia.
We also hear an excerpt with Mason and Madelyn Beck of Harvest Public Media from Us & Them, a West Virginia Public Broadcasting podcast about political and cultural divisions in America.
And Mason talks up top a little bit about last week’s flooding around his home in Floyd County, Virginia.
On this episode, we talk about Donald Trump’s recent swing through Appalachia for Republican candidates for US Senate, and why he’s trying to make it all about himself. We also interview Jake Zuckerman, politics reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail about the West Virginia teacher’s strike, Gov. Jim Justice’s recent PEIA presser, the Manchin/Morrisey race for US Senate, the Miller/Ojeda race in southern West Virginia, and how healthcare is playing as an issue.
In our first episode, we talk about why Donald Trump is campaigning in West Virginia. We also interview Amy Friedenberger, politics reporter for the Roanoke Times, about the 2018 midterm races in Appalachian Virginia.
Check out the episode here:
In the episode, we talk about Donald Trump’s visit to Charleston, West Virginia, to stump for US Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey against incumbent US Sen. Joe Manchin. I mention writing about the race for the New Republic. You can find that story here.
I also interviewed Amy Friedenberger, politics reporter for the Roanoke Times. You can follow Amy on Twitter.
This episode features the music of Stations (Roanoke), Poe Mack (Roanoke) and, briefly, the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers (Cleveland).