Michelle Shocked Stages Eccentric Protest Outside Venue That Dumped Her

Tape over her mouth said "Silenced by Fear"

Michelle Shocked
Michelle Shocked in 2011 / Photo by Getty Images
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Jesus suffered and died, for no reason other than God's love, at the hands of countrymen who knew not what they did. You don't have to take the Christian Bible literally, or believe in any religion at all, to see why that story has been hugely influential — and prone to various interpretations. Michelle Shocked, in a free-wheeling SPIN interview where she meta-apologized for using an anti-gay slur during a recent San Francisco concert, was clear about little else other than her devout belief in this part of the Gospels.

And so in hindsight it's only logical that Shocked would make her next public appearance in the guise of someone being stifled by a public that fails to understand her. According to the AP and SantaCruz.com, Shocked showed up last night at Santa Cruz, California, nightclub Moe's Alley, one of the venues that canceled her tour dates after the anti-gay remarks, which she has said were misinterpreted. She was wearing white scrubs, dark shades, a bag over her head with the eyes cut out, and tape over her mouth. The tape bore the words "Silenced by Fear."

The booking selection to replace Shocked last night at Moe's was meaningful: Beaver Fever, billed as a "butch power pop trio," and Frootie Flavors, dubbed a "legendary queer party band." Shocked reportedly sat outside, busking on her acoustic guitar and gesturing toward written phrases she had put up on the wall behind her.

As quoted by SantaCruz.com, the signs said:

What would you say to Michelle Shocked if you had waited to hear her side of the story not what was reported? Were you there?

Is Michelle Shocked obligated to publicly state her personal view about Prop 8?

Does speech really scare you that much?

Is it possible Michelle Shocked was a target of fear-mongering in the name of a protection racket?

Shocked reportedly wouldn't speak but would respond in writing on a dry-erase board. She told SantaCruz.com, "They shouldn't have allowed it to be triangulated until my side of the story was represented." She also apparently plans not to talk for three days.

The singer and songwriter, who emerged in the '80s amid New York City's anti-folk scene, hinted at her plans in a tweet earlier yesterday.

Moe's owner Bill Welch told the AP: "We will not be bashing Michelle Shocked ... Rather we will celebrate music, diversity, and send some healing Santa Cruz energy her way."

Shocked's website lists her next show as taking place tonight at the HopMonk in Novato, California. The venue's site lists her show as canceled. It's unclear whether Shocked will appear, or what the aim is of the larger "conversation" she has indicated she hopes to provoke, but it's obvious enough that although this singer may have fallen silent, she hasn't gone quiet. Whether her cause is worthy of her faith, no one else can answer for her.

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