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Norwescon Friday. - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Norwescon Friday.
Went to the panel on being a writer and blogging. It was somewhat entertaining, although it didn't tell me much that I didn't already know.

Mar 21: Alexander James Adams
Mar 21: Alexander James Adams
Went to the Alexander James Adams concert, which has to be the strangest experience I've been to in a while. For the longest time I wasn't dealing with the idea that Heather was gone and that someone strange had taken her place. My initial reaction is that Heather really is gone, and in a sad, strange way, but also that there's some clown wandering around doing covers of her work... poorly.

As the concert evolved, however, he got better. He got into the groove of what he was singing, did a pretty good job especially with his new stuff, and for the most part was convincing enough as a talented filk singer to keep up all going. Kouryou-chan thought he was effective enough. And although i've been rather... twitchy... about the very idea of Heather going trans, Alex does make a pretty damn good-looking man.

I had a pretty good lunch with fallenpegasus, but other than the one panel on writing and blogging I didn't get to any others. A bit of a shame, but not much to be done. Omaha wanted to go to a burlesque show, so I was set down watching over Kouryou-chan for most of the evening. Not that I mind; we went to the dance, where we both overheated in our winter garb, then spent a few minutes at hospitality. We decided that was too crowded and noisy so we found a quiet nook. Kouryou-chan played a game on Omaha's computer while I read more of Her Majesty's Dragon, a so-so mash-up of McCaffrey dragons and Napoleonic men o' war maneuvering that seems simultaneously well-done and terribly ham-handed. I'm not sure how Novik pulls that off.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Muse, Soldier's Poem

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Comments
valarltd From: valarltd Date: March 22nd, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
We got to see Alec as part of Tricky Pixie, and that show just rocked the house.

I thought Bun (age 15) was going to hyperventilate herself out of her chair about four times. She practically died at the new version of Faerie Queen.

He is very good looking and quite hot.
lisakit From: lisakit Date: March 22nd, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yah, the stage presence translated well. And I agree he's better with Tricky Pixie. I think having others on stage to play off works well for him.
valarltd From: valarltd Date: March 23rd, 2008 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Sooj always has good energy in Memphis. And performing in a place that knows and loves you always helps any artist and group.

(Besides, where else can one get Mama Dragon herself to lead the conga line?)
lisakit From: lisakit Date: March 22nd, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why did the idea of Heather going trans bother you? For myself it was like *blink* Oh, OK. It's nice to see that Alec's voices keeps getting better. But then, he's a professional so you know he's working at it.

If I didn't have the creeping crud I'd offer to let the squidget stay here awhile.
jenk From: jenk Date: March 24th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
He mentioned that the voice is still pretty variable. Some gigs it's there, some gigs ... he plays more fiddle than normal :)

With Tricky Pixie SJ can handle a lot of the singing, which probably helps too.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: March 22nd, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm told the procedure can change a singer's voice significantly, so for someone who makes their living off how they sound, that was a pretty gutsy move to go through with it.

Like you, I'm not sure how I'll react when I see Alex perform for the first time, but as long as he's happy, I guess that's not really that important.
solarbird From: solarbird Date: March 23rd, 2008 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Alec is totally hot, even if I did mock the mullet in last year's convention newsletter. ^_^

It'll be another year before his voice really settles down. I've been to a couple of Tricky Pixie concerts since last year's Norwescon (and that really is a good experience, you should see a show - Sooj is made almost entirely of charisma and talent, and Betsy is awfully, awfully good at the cello) and it's really surprising how much his voice deepens every few months. It's changed again since last, hum, November, I think? So that's no doubt giving him fits.
grian_ruadh From: grian_ruadh Date: March 23rd, 2008 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I think my big boggle was having heard that Heather was no longer singing and that some guy had taken over her catalog of work and was touring with it. I didn't know that "some guy" was *her*! A moment of mental whiplash there. ;) I met Heather a few years ago at an SCA event down here in Eugene. My eyes are having a hard time reconciling this guy with the hot redhead I met before. O.o

It was a similar sort of thing when one of my wife's indie Canadian singer friends, Meryn Cadell, underwent the same sort of change. Little stretch of cognitive dissonance and then things were fine.

I'm looking forward to hearing Alexander play sometime.
solarbird From: solarbird Date: March 24th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've seen fans who Do Not Want To Deal cling to the story somethin' fierce, so once I saw that, I understood the reason for it better. That was a weird experience.
ssha From: ssha Date: October 24th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just wanted to note that I am a fellow Heather/Alec fan of long standing, and also live in Eugene.
grian_ruadh From: grian_ruadh Date: October 24th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well met! :D
elfs From: elfs Date: March 24th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Alec (is it Alec or Alex? I've seen people using both) is very hot too.

I guess my biggest problem comes from the fact that I Just Don't See It. I've known quite a few trans in my life and for most of them, I could see it.

Alec seems to be very happy and satisfied with himself, but I just don't know where he came from; I didn't know Heather all that much, but I don't see Alec anywhere in any of the memories I have of her. I know comfortably where Pat, Spencer, Sterling and (yes) you came from; Alec, on the other hand, seems to have come completely from the Land of Faerie. I think the title of the Just Out article says it pretty well: The Disappearance of Heather Alexander. It is like she just "disappeared." It's sad and strange to me because I haven't figured out why she had to go, at least not quite yet.

I'm not clinging. I have an inordinate fondness for reality. And Alec is pretty damn good on stage when he finally warms up, and the funny echoes of Heather are still there. It is heartwarming to know that, in some sense, even he misses Heather and writes songs to her. I'll adjust. I'll just have to live with my encrogglement until that happens.
jenk From: jenk Date: March 24th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure how well anyone knew Heather. I knew the stage persona was at least partially a construct, but I now think that much of the off-stage persona was also a construct. Alec told me once that he had worked hard to make Heather cute, loveable, girly, tomboyish ... which is part of the reason for the whole "fairy tale" thing. Like he said in the Just Out article, "I made a fairytale girl. That's who I was. And I was terrified because I realized I'm going to take everyone's little fairytale princess and transform her into-what?"

I don't mean to imply that Alec identified as trans for 2 decades. There was probably a lot of denial going on, and rationalization.

Possibly a more gradual - and open - transition would've made it easier for some of us. (He has lost some venues as it is; none of the Highland Games have invited him back.) But there was a danger he'd have NO voice, none, so he had to plan for "what if this really IS retirement" as well as transition. I can understand not wanting to tell various crowds, "Hey, I'm not who you thought I was, and I'm going destroy this voice you've been paying to hear, and oh yeah, I'm becoming a man."
solarbird From: solarbird Date: March 24th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Alec (is it Alec or Alex? I've seen people using both) is very hot too.
I seem to think he prefers Alec, but he's happy with Alex as well.

I don't see Alec anywhere in any of the memories I have of [Heather].
I didn't know Heather Alexander. I liked going to her concerts, but that was it - Anna was the fan. But it was always pretty clear to me that Heather was playing a stage persona, which was of course perfectly normal for a performer, but... the execution of it seemed just a little bit brittle and forced to me, and I thought it was just a little strange the way that seemed to continue offstage. But I just figured that was just me, since Heather certainly had lots of fans, and took the continuity of it to be all part of the Bardic art thing. (I certainly did not see it as an indicator of something deeper; I didn't even really think about it. I just thought the act failed to connect well with me.)

So. I can imagine that if you never felt anything off about Heather, that this would be a big surprise. Particularly if Heather connected very well with you. But, for whatever reason, I did see something as being just a little bit off. So Alec, to me, is just more real than Heather ever was.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: March 23rd, 2008 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm rather surprised that you feel that Ms. Alexander is gone and a stranger has taken her place. You've written so many wonderful stories involving fluidity of gender, form, and identity. I don't know the individual in question personally, but (based on the trans people I do know), it would seem to me that "Alexander" is more like the person "Heather" decided to grow up to be - he still has all the experiences and memories Heather had before transition. The way I see it, he's still the same person, with some design modifications.

lisakit From: lisakit Date: March 23rd, 2008 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't consider myself a close friend, but I think I knew Heather better than Elf did. There is some adjustment in the relationship with Alec. When I first met him about a year after the procedure I was a little apprehensive of him. This simply because he was male now and I have issues. After getting a hug though my mind went "oh, this is the same person". But in some (albeit minor) ways he's not. It's not just the voice and appearance. His mannerisms are different and the way he chooses to relate to the world is a little different. You can still see the Heather in him from time to time, but in a way it's almost like Heather was the parent of Alec.

I feel like I'm not really explaining it well. Even though I can tell he's the same person, there is a little adjusting and relational shifting, regardless of what your relationship with him was before. Heather had a strong female energy and now Alec has a strong male energy. Ones responses to that are going to shift. Even if you're bi.

So I can see how it could be a little disconcerting to fans, even ones who are very open minded. It's not that you can't accept that he went through the procedure, it's just the adjusting. I don't think Elf has really had much interaction with Alec since the procedure so he's probably still in that adjustment stage.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: March 24th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I can understand that. I wasn't aware of the entire backstory.

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