Today is a special entry. It’s a guest blog from blogger who for the time wants to remain private. When this writer offered this piece, I was very honored. Besides, it’s always nice to meet another music aficionado.
The open letter below is dedicated to Wendy O’ Williams. Best known as the vocalist for The Plasmatics, later a solo career and sometime actress. Wendy O Williams was also an animals right advocate who openly promoted vegetarianism.
Looking back, I often feel as if Wendy O Williams was misunderstood, and well ahead of her time. Her shock rock stage antics were quite controversial, especially for a woman. Yet behind the aggressive chaos of her public persona, here was an entertainer who sincerely stood behind what she was doing, warts and all. Unlike today’s publicity stunts from today’s performers, there was a method to Wendy’s madness. Perhaps this article will explain better.
I did a portrait in tribute to Wendy O back in 2009, which you can see on Deviant Art. In honor of her birthday, which is on May 28th, I did new art to both accompany the guest blogger contribution and for WOW herself.
Dear Wendy O. Williams,
Yesterday was your birthday – you would have been 66, if you were still alive. I’ve thought about you quite a bit in the last couple of days. Wondering what happened and who you were because, of course, I didn’t actually know you.
When I was in 9th grade, I was attending the same school you dropped out of at age 16. You lived in my hometown. The town’s motto is, “Where Life is Worth Living.” I doubt you felt that – you got the hell out of there as soon as you could, started traveling the country, selling crocheted bikinis to make some extra money. You ended up in NYC working as a stripper, where you met Rod Swenson, your longtime companion and bandmate / manager.
When I was in 9th grade, I didn’t feel like I was where life is worth living either. I was sleep-walking through everything as best I could. I remember when I first heard about you: I was riding the school bus, reading through my favorite book, New Wave A to Z. My next door neighbor must have glanced over my shoulder and been overcome by something, because she talked to me about the book, and she rarely talked to me about anything at that point. She told me that you were also from this town. I looked at your picture, and your blurb, and sure enough, it said Webster, NY. My mind was blown. How could someone who looked like that, who became so famous, be from here, and no one’s talking about it! And it’s true – throughout my life, no one has talked about it, and I’ve forgotten all about you for long stretches of time, only to have my mind be blown all over again.
Your father was a chemist at Eastman Kodak. Mine was too! I wonder where, exactly, you lived, and what you did for fun. What your childhood was like. I can’t find these details anywhere, so I feel compelled to make them up. All I know is that your family moved from Rochester to a sprawling piece of land in Webster, a couple of acres worth. I doubt you can find property like that here anymore – everything’s been rationed out into sub-divisions and new shopping plazas in this suburb. I bet you used to play in the woods when you were a kid. Seems like you loved nature and animals all throughout your life. I did that a lot too; we used to take mini-hikes down to the bay all the time, collecting bottles and cans to cash in for candy money. Identifying different plant life – both my parents are science types. I wonder what your mom was like.
Anyway, just wanted to think about how our lives may or may not have intersected. I could go on, but maybe I’ll save more speculating for next year around this time.