I still have chills from GiGi La Femme's closing burlesque act, to Ani DiFranco's "Joyful Girl." In part because on my way home from a very bizarre trip to LA, which gave me a lot to think about and soul search over, I was thinking about that song, about "everything i do is judged/and they mostly get it wrong," about what I'm supposed to be doing. Usually when I see burlesque, there's nonstop cheering, the audience is part of the act. But last night, during that song, GiGi captured our attention. It was hauntingly beautiful and she said so much with her body, and it made me think about what gives me joy, what gives me pride, what I built over five years at In The Flesh, but too, what I've built out of this fallen law school ashes life.
There was something about the way GiGi danced, the smile on her face, the hint of mystery as she moved, taking off some clothes, being, for a few seconds, topless, yet as if she was holding onto a secret as she slipped on a gorgeous white gown. It made me think the song was about masturbation, or a girl with a secret that she is so proud of but doesn't want to totally share. She was inviting us to peek, but not get too close, and that air of mystery stayed through the end.
From Righteous Babe:
Recorded in December 1995 and January 1996, you almost want to wipe the snow off the CD before placing it in the player and grabbing a beer or seven. But when you are laid out, Ani has pre-meditated the final chapter “I ended the album with ‘Joyful Girl’ because I see it as a song of redemption; you travel down this really steep slope until you hit bottom, then you’re in the valley where it’s green and you can rest”.
I spend so much time lamenting what I haven't done, the mistakes, the problems, and I forget, sometimes, that it can be simpler, purer, less fraught, it being life. I'm so honored and awed by the entire night last night, but especially that. So thank you. I needed to be reminded of that song, of what I felt like coming home from LA and trying to shake off other people's expectations and hype, good and bad. November was a very rough month for me, and the last week I've been pretty listless, depressed, melancholy, like life is literally passing me by and I am just watching and not participating, save for a few brief blips. Seeing GiGi dance, and hearing everyone last night, helped bring me back a little bit.
i do it for the joy it brings
because i'm a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it's the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
and i do it just because i want to
because i want to