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“Because Of Those Women In Those Lesbian Bars…” – with Crys Matthews

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Sweet, sweet love…. 

Usually on this show when a guest brings up affairs of the heart i’m like ‘ugh, let’s move on…’, but this week I didn’t. Maybe it’s the summer weather, maybe I’m mellowing in my old age, but this time i leant right in and learnt all about a significant relationship in social justice singer-songwriter Crys Matthew’s life. And, that relationship would not have happened were it not for the lesbian bar Phase 1 in Washington, DC.

We talk all about the evolving nature of language (one of my favourite topics, as you know!), listening to your gut, and why lesbian bars are still important…. 

Crys Matthews  00:00

You know, we don’t always know, our elders in the community. And we don’t always get to know how much they impacted. The very free happy life that so many of us have now was because of those women in those lesbian bars in the 80s in the 90s, and even before

K Anderson  00:21

Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode, I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there, and the people that they used to know. Ah, love. Now, usually on this show, when a guest brings up matters of the heart, I’m a little bit like, oh, yeah, let’s move on. And maybe it’s the summer weather or maybe I’m just mellowing out in my old age. But this week, I took a different tact, and I lent right in. And when I land in, I learned all about a significant relationship in social justice singer songwriter, Chris Matthews life, which started all because of the lesbian bar, phase one in Washington, DC. We talk all about the evolving nature of language, which, as you know, is one of my favourite topics, following your gut, and why lesbian bars are still important. Let’s get into it.

So, I’m gonna ask you a very big question.

Okay. So we can park it, and we can come back to it. It’s too early to have this conversation. But why do you think lesbian bars are important?

Crys Matthews  02:21

Oh, boy, for so many reasons. So for myself, I identify as lesbian, I always try to correct people when they try to do what I like to refer to as the queering of the culture. Because it doesn’t hold space for those those individual alphabets. And those individual alphabets actually mean quite a bit to some of us. And so I think the disappearance of the of the lesbian bar scene is kind of a perpetuation of that that idea of, you know, women as kind of saying, really just given the finger to the patriarchy in every possible context. So even within our own community, within our own culture, we still have to grapple with some of those same isms that are outside of our little microcosm. So like, we’re still grappling with racism, we’re still grappling with, with sexism and things like that, even within our own community. And so the lesbian bar scene was kind of like, bucking up against all of that very early on. And so the erasure of those spaces, kind of not holding space for that L and kind of any contexts at all, you know, we just blanketly say queer, when we’re talking about our community, a lot of times, those bars are disappearing, and the significance and the history of those bars and what they represented their prime and heyday, a lot of that stuff is getting lost within our own community, especially for the younger generations. So I think in one regard, it is important that we are talking about that history, kind of in a more holistic way now so that people can kind of remember how absolutely badass those women were back in the day, like carving out these spaces for themselves, and holding on to them for decades and decades and decades, even amidst that same internalised patriarchy that our community has, and then in the face of everything that was outwardly facing them, as well. So yeah, I feel really strongly about it. I tried to I tried this. Yeah, you know, I tried to support as many of the spaces there are still a few here and there. But it is fascinating to see just how few there are compared to how many there were back in like the 90s and ad, man,

K Anderson  04:33

well, okay, so let’s just divert quickly to talk about what you’ve just said around the erasure of the owl from when using the word queer. Does that mean you’re against the word queer to this?

Crys Matthews  04:46

Not at all. I’m very, very pleased. My girlfriend identifies as queer. It’s very important for people for whom that word feels like home to be able to embrace that and to be able to fully live their authentic, truthful selves. 100 sent. For me the issue the differences when we’re talking about our collective community, not all of us identify as queer. Number one, not all of us are even comfortable with that word intergenerationally. A lot of times that word is very triggering for folks just because of the history of that word being hurled as a slur so often. And so it’s just a mindfulness thing. It’s just you know, if that’s your identity, cheers, so stoked for you. So happy to rock that cue for you have my little card up for you at the parade and be like, yes, for the queer kids. But that’s not my identity. That’s not the letter. That’s for me that there’s not the letter that describes how I love that’s not the letter that describes how I walk through this world. So it’s just a mindfulness thing. It’s just a matter of, I respect you and hold space for you, I hope that you will do the same for me.

K Anderson  05:44

Ah, see, for me, I just use the terms interchangeably. I know what I net, what do you mean, I never be checking up on me. So it’s

Crys Matthews  05:53

just the thing, it’s like, it’s such a subtle thing that happens, it’s like that really, it’s almost like an accidental erasure. There’s no malicious intent behind it. It’s just again, just not mindful of the fact that, you know, we don’t all identify that way. And that those alphabets, we say, those alphabets, because some of those alphabets actually mean a lot to people, that it’s the same thing with biracial, so many people in the BI community, like, barely get seen as it is, and then they don’t even really get to have that space held for them. So you know, it’s just a thing. It’s just a mindfulness thing.

K Anderson  06:26

So I wanted to ask, How do you feel about the word Butch?

Crys Matthews  06:31

I love it, I literally have a T shirt that says Butch and big gold letters.

K Anderson  06:35

And what do you love about it?

Crys Matthews  06:37

Again, I’m always going to lean towards giving the finger to the patriarchy in any possible context that I can, they’re the worst. And so for me, you know, the idea of being able to know in your bones that I look as handsome in my suit, as any other guy. And I’m 100% so happy with being a woman and love everything about being a woman. And just love the clothes that I love to wear. And love the fact that I can mow the grass and love the fact that I can do all of these other things that you know, people who are my age where it’s always like, girls do that. Girls don’t do that girls can’t do that. And it’s like, there’s nothing about my life that looks like girls can do everything about my life looks like, I got this, do you need help? You know, I just I love that. It’s just like, when I was attending the Michigan Women’s Music Festival, you know, which is a whole other sidebar about the good and the bad about that. But one of the best parts about that experience about those years that was so transformative for me was being able to see so many women who were so confident and proud of their business of their Bucha identity of the way that they walk through the world. And love that. Like, it’s interesting. Now, people are like, Oh, what are your pronouns? And I’m like she her? Because so often, you see people who look like me and automatically assume that they’re trans or automatically assume that they’re non binary. And I’m like, You need to expand your definition of what a woman is, because this is it right here. And so, you know, it’s, it’s just this really empowering thing. So I lean into it so wholeheartedly because of that, because it’s so revolutionary, compared to so many different aspects of popular culture and society. So I love love, love my budget is love it.

K Anderson  08:24

So do you get that a lot, then people assuming that your pronouns

Crys Matthews  08:28

every day, people ask me that as often as they asked how my name is pronounced?

K Anderson  08:32

Wait, is your name not pronounced? Chris?

Crys Matthews  08:36

It absolutely is. I get called cries. You would not believe it?

K Anderson  08:44

Oh, okay. I guess that makes sense. That’s it? Well, no, I can I can see it. Yeah, but so does it annoy you being asking opinions out? Or is it because of the assumption from the person that’s asking is that your pronouns are different to the ones that you’re giving?

Crys Matthews  09:02

It’s a little bit of both, I think, what more so the latter, just because it’s almost like, Okay, if we are creating this world, this new, very revolutionary progressive world where we are trying to break the binary, when we’re trying to say to people, you know, women are more than what you assume women are, are we not acting counter intuitively to that by seeing someone like me and assuming that I don’t automatically subscribe to the definition of woman? So it’s just this interesting juxtaposition. You know, it’s not a hill I’ll ever die on but it does give me pause often and I am always very slightly bristled, when people are like, are your pronouns they them? No, they are not. There they are

K Anderson  09:48

this. There’s an interesting layer to it all about age as well, right? Like, my assumptions would lean more towards someone having gendered pronouns than non gendered pronouns. ones. But if I was ever to ask them, I think I would assume that an older person would have gendered pronouns, and a younger person would have more non gendered pronouns. So maybe everyone just thinks you’re really young. That’s what I’m trying

Crys Matthews  10:15

to do. That is true as everybody thinks I’m so young, which makes my girlfriend so mad, because she’s eight years younger than I am. And everybody thinks we’re the same age.

K Anderson  10:26

Yeah, it is interesting how this expanding of adapting our language to expand our understanding actually sometimes just reinforces,

Crys Matthews  10:36

yes, that exact thing. Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, it doesn’t, it’s not like it, it kills me. I mean, I’m so glad that so many people feel so empowered to be so authentically themselves, you know, my, we’re in a polyamorous relationship. So my girlfriend’s husband is a trans non binary person. And so, you know, it’s affirming to know that so many people are able to be in their skin, the exact way they see themselves and the exact way they experience themselves. That is really beautiful. And so I always hold space for folks who identify as they them for folks who have pronouns that are different than mine. Because that is a really powerful thing. I mean, I feel like at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is people being able to live a good happy life. And the easiest way to do that as you get to live your life authentically. So you know, it’s it’s I don’t have a chip on my shoulder about it. It’s just one of those ironic things that I think about in the quiet of my social justice mind. And I’m just like, we’re actually doing the opposite. No, guys.

K Anderson  11:36

Well, I mean, it’s just like, you know, how someone pronounces their name like now that you’ve told me your name is pronounced cries. I’ll say it like that from now on. Like, it’s just

Crys Matthews  11:45

wish it is not.

K Anderson  11:48

A Wait, what? Huh? So let’s pick up on the coming out. Yeah. Did you grew up in DC?

Crys Matthews  11:58

I did not actually from southeastern North Carolina originally. Okay. So the South, the South, he can imagine what a time to come out.

K Anderson  12:06

So Well, I mean, you’ve just alluded to it, but what was that like for you?

Crys Matthews  12:11

So my mom is a preacher. So that made it a little bit more tumultuous than I think it probably would have been on its own. Just because, you know, she was very loving. And we always had such a phenomenal relationship. But I think as is often the case, for parents, so much of the things that go south, in someone’s coming out process has a lot to do with somebody else’s fear. And so like, worry about what their friends and their community is going to think about them, are people going to say, Oh, I did something wrong, this is my fault. So it’s like, this very fear driven thing. And a lot of times people just don’t have the capacity to express fear in any other way than just like anger and hurtful type things. And so my coming out was really, really tumultuous. I came out of my senior year of high school and like, basically went from second in my class to fourth in my class, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s a lot. And it just I was like, barely living at home. I my first girlfriend, her family basically, like took me in. I mean, I would go home occasionally to get different clothes and like, just try to make sure she knew I was okay. But in general, I wasn’t even really living at home my entire senior year. You know, now she and I have a phenomenal relationship. Like, I tell that story. And when I’m singing when I’m performing, because it’s so important for kids to know that when people say, Oh, it gets better. It’s not like just this lip service blurb that’s some far off thing like that actually can be your story too, is often our stories with our families. Not always, but it definitely can be. But that took time. That took a good bit of time. But you know, I’m, I’m grateful for the journey. It definitely taught me a lot about how to engage with people, and how to certainly be okay with myself and be okay with who I am. But yeah, it was it was tough. 18 to like 23 was really, really rocky. But

K Anderson  14:02

I mean, what were the steps in terms of getting there?

Crys Matthews  14:07

Well, for me, I had the benefit of kind of being her only kid. So it’s like, you know, as somebody who was able to experience the world, in a place where I could be affirmed and see so many people like me be affirmed, I went to college in Boone, North Carolina, which is like a very progressive area. I joke and call it the lesbian mecca of the western part of North Carolina. So

K Anderson  14:30

for anyone listening boot, and that’s where you want to boot and

Crys Matthews  14:32

go to boot visit. It’s so great there. It’s like a tiny little blue.in the mountains of North Carolina surrounded by nothing but red. But you know, I got a chance to get that affirmation. And so when you can get that it’s easier to kind of stand in your conviction when somebody is trying to say to you, you’re wrong, there’s something wrong with you, you know, it’s not okay for you to be living this way. And you you kind of know inherently that that’s not true and you’ve been able to experience people who also believe that that’s not true. And so with her, because it was her only kid, you know, it just got to the point where it’s like, I don’t want to come home and see you, if this is how it’s always going to be just being really candid with her, like, explain it to her, Listen, you got to do this work, you are tearing our relationship apart, I don’t have to be down there, you know, you’re not providing for me, I’m taking care of myself. So I’m not beholden to you for anything like that. Until you actually want to have a productive relationship with me, you’re not going to have a relationship with me, it’s just that simple. And so for her, I think it took time. And then it was interesting, because she always has been a mom who says, kids don’t ask to be here. So when you have children, it’s your responsibility to love them, it’s your responsibility to take care of them. Because they didn’t ask to be here, you made that decision to have them to be their parent. And so it’s your responsibility to love them unconditionally. And so I think for her knowing that and living that it was almost like this mirror that she put up in front of her own face at some point in her journey, because I remember, when I was younger, before I came out, you know, this was like an Oprah’s heyday, Oprah would kind of have these groundbreaking shows where she would have like lesbian and gay children on the show. And the parents would just be like, Oh, it’s terrible. And the audience was always split on the issue. And she would always be like, distraught at the notion of these parents turning their children away, and distraught at the notion of them, you know, letting their kids be homeless on the streets or anything like that. And so it was such a, such an odd experience to know that side of her like that compassionate side of her, and then to see her respond with such fear based vitriol when her own child came out, but again, you know, as as we grow, and as we’re able to kind of see the world as it actually is, and not just our perception of it. You know, for her being being a minister in the AME faith at that time, you know, that that denomination in general is not very open to LGBTQ people even still. And so at that time, you know, to have been one of the few women who was a minister in that faith, to be one of the few people who in the community was so highly regarded, and then to have her one and only child be a very, very, very, very lesbian lesbian was a bit jolting for her and I can respect that.

K Anderson  17:20

How do you become a very lesbian, lesbian, like it takes key ingredients?

Crys Matthews  17:26

The key ingredients are this Melissa Etheridge, number one, and like circa 1993, Melissa Etheridge, oh, yeah, a lot of sports ball. Add that all in there, you know, just a lot of things that I cannot speak openly about, you know, it’s just as gay as you can get to how much tofu there’s so much even something called nut loaf. It’s very, very lesbian, very lesbian.

K Anderson  17:55

Approximately three kittens, right?

Crys Matthews  17:57

Exactly, exactly, per square inch of the house.

K Anderson  18:03

Okay, so you’d like having that conversation with your mom being like, 1819 20, however old you were, when that conversation happened, which is kind of an ultimatum, maybe not quite as strong a term as that. That must have been terrifying.

Crys Matthews  18:19

Sort of, I think, because of where I was, it wasn’t as scary as I guess it could have been. Because, like I said, you know, I was working for myself, I had my own job. I was paying my own bills. It wasn’t like, I was beholden to her. And so I had the fortitude to say, I love you, I want us to have a relationship. We’ve always had a great relationship. It kills me that we still don’t, but I’m not gonna subject myself to this kind of heartache. Every time I come see you. It’s not worth it to me. So yeah, you know,

K Anderson  18:50

but have you prepared yourself for her being like, Okay, see ya.

Crys Matthews  18:53

Oh, yeah. But I mean, you know, my family is a really big family. And I think, because I knew in her heart of hearts that she did love me so very much, there was nothing about our life together that ever implied anything, but what you always hope a parent’s love for a child looks like Like always, always, always, until I came out. And so it was kind of like, knowing the truth was there and just hoping that she would finally one day wake up and see the actual truth as well, which is that I’m your kid, and you love me, because I’m your kid, and I’m really awesome. So we should not be, you know what I mean? So, and she did, she got there. But you know, it could have been a gamble. But I think because I knew how much she loved me. And she had never given me any reason to think that she didn’t love me. It’s just that she was scared and confused. And you know, all of those, all of those things that make parents make really bad choices. So

K Anderson  19:52

and how did she then get to a place where she could reconcile her faith with What you know,

Crys Matthews  20:05

I can only speculate kind of just on some of the conversations that we’ve had in over the years. But for me, I think a lot of it had to do with making her peace with understanding that an individual’s walk, you know, we talked about an individual walk of faith and individuals walk with God versus institutionalised religion. And, you know, there’s a difference between someone’s own personal faith, and go in and sitting in a building with four walls and hearing somebody else’s interpretation, who’s not necessarily a prophet in any way, but just has read this text and interpreted this way, and is now presenting it to you in this way. I think for her being very, very deeply, deeply spiritual, and deeply connected with what I think is the true origins of Christianity, which is to emulate Jesus’s love to love thy neighbour to love one another. You know, this commandment I give to you, I think for her, being someone you can’t, you can’t really do both. You can’t say, Yes, I believe that. That is the person I want to follow. That is the person I believe everything about this world has to do with, you can’t reconcile knowing that and believing that in your bones and then living in a way that isn’t authentic to that. So for me, I feel like that was kind of the bottom line of it for her was just kind of leaning more into her own individual faith, and her own individual walk and not being so reliant upon being in some kind of structured, organised religion.

K Anderson  21:35

And I said the other have a follow up question that that I would have is, if you were I know, we joked about it earlier. If you were like the most lesbian, lesbian, child, did she not have an inkling?

Crys Matthews  21:49

Oh, my gosh, I asked myself that every day because I just want to first girl when I was four years old. I know she knew ahead of time, because when I was in fourth grade, I had I had a little diary. And literally the only page in that entire diary was one page that said, I think I might be gay. That was the only thing in it. And she found that one day, wait fourth grade, so you’re like, yeah, oh, nine, nine, yeah, nine years old, wrote that. Then, which I’m like, I don’t even know where I heard that word at nine years old. But I wrote that in my diary. And she ripped it out and threw it out and never, never talked to me about it until I was much, much older. And I knew that the page was gone and assumed, obviously, that she had found it, but she never said anything to me. And you know, I never said anything to her that kind of drove home that maybe I shouldn’t talk to her about that. So I mean, I think she knew, obviously, but I don’t I don’t know. I think it’s one of those things where it’s just such a foreign idea. You can’t even fathom that. It could be true. So she never asked me like, you know, are you gay or anything like that? Until, until it was me being like, Yes, I’m gay. So which is like this whole crazy story, but yeah, no, she never asked me ahead of time. She never was like, Do you think you know you like he man’s shoes a lot more than you like Barbie shoes and like, you never want to be in these dresses? Like, do you have anything you want to tell me? Like never any of that?

K Anderson  23:16

Oh, he man shoes. You know, I wish they made kids shoes for like an adult sizes.

Crys Matthews  23:22

I know. I would still be rocking those men’s shoes. They were really great. I felt crier yes to straps.

K Anderson  23:29

Okay, and so when did you then move to DC?

Crys Matthews  23:33

So I moved to DC in 2010. Yeah, because I had fallen in love with a girl from that area and was like, right on the cusp of my 13th birthday. was like I’ll either move to Portland, Oregon, because my music had been doing really well out there. And I was I was ready to do that. And then he chose

K Anderson  23:51

a girl over your career, you know? Sorry, I shouldn’t have called her a woman well,

Crys Matthews  23:56

but that’s the thing with songwriting. You know, you can do that from anywhere. Well, yeah.

K Anderson  23:59

But also like songs on is good. If you’re in love.

Crys Matthews  24:04

I know.

K Anderson  24:09

A little bit of you know, drama and

Crys Matthews  24:11

heartbreak and torture.

K Anderson  24:12

Yeah. So okay, so how long did you know her before you decided to move

Crys Matthews  24:17

there? Okay, this is the craziest story, the craziest story. Okay. So the night that I played phase Fest in DC at phase phase one in DC. It was part of this festival, this multi day lesbian women’s music festival that they were having. And that night, I met this girl. They’re, like, walked into the bar, saw her sitting there and just thought, Man, that girl looks like she is having the worst night. She looks so sad. So I like walked up to her and was just like, you know, hey, I’m so sorry. I promise I’m not being a creep. You just look very sad. And I just wanted to see if I could cheer you up. And so she says, Yes, it’s my birthday. I’m alone here tonight on my birthday. I just put my girlfriend on a bus. So yes I’m a little sad tonight. So we just chatted briefly. I played my set, she liked my music. This was back when MySpace was still a thing. She like, gave me her MySpace, ah, and then, you know, those were the days, millennials, you miss that whole waggon of Myspace, you’re so lucky. So I go on, sorry, you know, we’re living our lives. She messages me, I this is like, maybe eight months later, I’m playing another show kind of in that area. And she says, Oh, I’m gonna come to that show. I say fantastic. Not really remembering who that was until after the fact. She came to the show. And because it was like, I was truly it was like, it was completely platonic. I had a girlfriend at the time, she had a girlfriend like, you know, it’s just, I’m an empathetic person. So she looked really sad. So I just felt bad that she looked so sad. So eight months later, she comes to that show. I am at that show with somebody who I we didn’t really date we kind of had like a thing. It’s like this unrequited love thing. Like she’s that person in the story of my life. So I was there with her staying with her, but we weren’t together. And so this other girl who had met at phase one comes to that gig and me being the nerd that I am when the girl comes up to me at the end of the show, and it’s like, oh, man, I really love that song. completely oblivious to the fact that she has travelled all this way to see me I look at the other girl and say, Oh, that song is about her, which it was. But which is not what she was hoping to you know your audience. Yeah, exactly. And so at this point, we’re both single, but this was like this other misconnection thing. So then flash forward a few months, even still, I’ve been playing in Portland, I’m really, really stoked to be moving there. And I pretty much made this decision with my best friend, we’re gonna go start this next chapter and just, you know, enjoy ourselves on the West Coast. The girl that I met at phase one, and I we start messaging every day on Gchat. Like from the morning, she wakes up, you know, to time she wakes up in the morning till she goes to sleep at night, just chatting, chatting, chatting. And over the course of the next couple months, she’s like, I really want to see you before you leave before you move to the West Coast. Because I feel like once you move over there, I’m probably not gonna see you again. So I say great. So in this process, and this time, I’m trying to find somebody to watch my dog. So I can go to Portland get established, you know, get my this is before I’m, you know, as successful as I am now. So I have to have like a normal job as well as music. So I go over there, get my job started hoping to. And then I’m going to fly back and then drive a U haul across the country with my dog and with all my stuff. But in that meantime, I need somebody to watch my dog can’t find anybody to do it. My mom, she loves my dog. She is terrified of dogs. She’s like, I cannot do it. I don’t think I can take care of your dog. She probably won’t make it if I have to watch her. So that won’t work. My best friend is like I can’t do it. Buddy. Your dog is so wild. She doesn’t get along super great with my dogs. I can’t do it. Meanwhile, this girl has said to me, my parents used to raise dogs, like they have this beautiful piece of land. If you need somebody to watch your dog. I’ll watch your dog. And I’m trying everything I can not to do that. Because that seems like a big ask for a friend that you kind of just made. And the universe does what it does. Like when there is a path for you. There is nothing you can do to not have that path be the path you’re on. Nobody can do it. So I have to say to her, I’m so sorry. I hope you were serious about that. Because nobody else can watch my dog. Can you watch my dog? She says yes, I drive from Boone, North Carolina to Northern Virginia. Well, at this point, she’s her folks. We’re right outside of Charlottesville, I drive from Boone to Charlottesville area, drop off my dog, and literally never left Virginia. I lived there outside of DC for 10 years. It was like the most serendipitous crazy sequence of events ever. We were together for 10 years, we got married and we’re together for all of that time. And then another chapter in this wonderful saga. That is my life was the post divorce phase. But the starting of us the beginning of us was very, very special thing very romantic thing. But that is how I ultimately ended up in DC, which I’m grateful for. Because that’s that’s kind of what led me to a lot of what my life looks like now. What’s that chapter so you know, bitter bitter with the sweet but yeah, it’s quite a story.

K Anderson  29:07

Yeah. And it is like the most lesbian lesbian thing ever,

Crys Matthews  29:10

right? Just a U haul instead.

K Anderson  29:15

Okay, so that phase fast that you were talking about before? Was that the first time you ever went to phase one?

Crys Matthews  29:21

Yep. first and only and only first and only? That’s the whole episode over that. That’s it. No, so much changed my life from that night.

K Anderson  29:31

What was it like than just re establishing your life with? Oh, did you move you moved in?

Crys Matthews  29:38

Oh, yeah, it was crazy. So what happened was we had split so this was this all happened kind of like a couple of days before New Year’s, New Year’s Day. So she was at her folks house. I met her at her folks house. We had a lovely New Year’s Eve together. And then two days after that she was gonna drive back up to the DC area where she worked and lived And so I said to her, we’re parked at this gas station. And it’s like from a movie like she’s pointing one way to go north, I’m pointing one way to go south to drop my car off so that I can fly. And I’m sitting there in my car at this gas station thinking, Man, this feels like something really big. I just don’t want to leave this girl. Like, I’m literally having these thoughts. Like, it almost felt like a panic attack. If I’d ever had a panic attack, I assume it felt something like that. And so I just drove up to her. And I was like, what would you think if I came up to Northern Virginia with you if I came up to DC for a couple of days before I left town? And she was so excited. So she was like, yes, come up. And I did. So I drove up the couple of hours up to the DC area in Northern Virginia, where she lived. And we just had the absolute best time together. Just really, because I mean, we had been talking all this time, you know, so it’s not like she was a stranger stranger. We just didn’t have as much in person time in front of one another. But it was like, we just clicked really, really well. And it was very effortless and easy and felt felt very meant to be. And she felt the same. And so we just kept kind of rolling with it. I kept thinking, I would leave, I would leave, I would leave. And I just never never did. I never had the inclination to like, we just had a very happy life together for a long time.

K Anderson  31:23

Wow, yeah. And 10 years, that’s such an achievement. Sorry, I sound sarcastic all the time. I’m not being sarcastic. Not at all. 10 years is a long time. And so if we go back to phase one, yeah. What do you think that space taught you about yourself? A lot

Crys Matthews  31:38

of a lot of things. I think, being a young young singer songwriter, that space was very cool. Because when you go into a space that has so much history, and you see all of the different people who are like you who have played that space, that same space, and there are people that you kind of look up to, and you’re just thinking about legacy and about the longevity of a place like that. And it’s just like, oh, I want to do this, this career that is not ideal. It’s not the thing that inspires a lot of confidence in parents, when your kids come home and say I want to be a singer songwriter. But knowing that all of these other people who are also like you who are women, loving women have been able to do this have been able to make a career out of it and have been sustained by spaces like this one where people can gather together and community and share not just music and dancing, but also festivals and things like that, because I think that festival lasted through 2017 phase fest, which is pretty awesome. And so it’s just encouraging. It’s just inspiring and encouraging being in spaces like that, because it shows you that there is a history and a legacy. And that you if you’re lucky and do a good job might at some point be part of that history and a part of that legacy.

K Anderson  32:58

And if we return to the question that I asked at the top of our chat, why lesbian bars in particular, are important? Is there anything that you would want to add to your response?

Crys Matthews  33:10

Yes, I think that for younger generations to know that when you look at the whole scope of women’s history, especially here in America, so many of the more transformative movements, more rebellious movements involved these not afraid of the patriarchy so ready to show up and speak out against injustice, women, and a lot of those women were lesbians, and a lot of those women were gathering together in places like phase one, and then lesbian bars and places like that. But there’s this huge, huge history of those spaces being almost gathering grounds for so many women who were just fearless who lived their lives, the the most authentic way that they could, who were fully themselves and showed up in all of these spaces and drew strength from one another in community in those spaces. And there’s a lot of power in that. And so I think that’s also for me why it’s so sad to see so many of them disappearing is because a lot of that part of the story gets lost as well. You know, we don’t always know our elders in the community. And we don’t always get to know how much they impacted. The very free happy life that so many of us have now was because of those women in those lesbian bars in the 80s in the 90s. And even before, you know, they changed a lot about the world. They changed a lot about popular culture. It wasn’t just about dancing. It wasn’t just about the music. They really, there is a history there that I wish could be preserved in a more tangible way because I think the younger generation withdraws so much power and support from knowing about that

K Anderson  34:52

and bottling up that energy and that passion,

Crys Matthews  34:55

because they’re going to need it. If this year is showing us anything we are in for In a world of needing that energy,

K Anderson  35:04

well on that happy note Do you have any memories of phase one or clubbing from your own cuisine that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories of queer clubbing, go to LA spaces podcast.com and find the section share a lost space and tell me all about what it is you’ve got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as last spaces pod. Find out more about Chris by following her on Twitter and Instagram where her profile name is Chris Matthews. And that’s Chris C. Ry s not CHR is Chris. No Chris. Okay, you’ve got that. Also, make sure that you check out her most recent album changemakers which is out now. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.