July 10th, 2010
Mary’s living room in Fishtown
TP: So, talk about the first time you ever heard of Kansas House.
MC: I mean, I had just moved to DC, I was looking for a place to live because the apartment I had moved into with this girl, she decided to move back to Boston to be with her boyfriend. And Ann Jaeger was like, oh, I think they’re looking for people at Kansas House. I can’t remember if she already lived there or if we moved in at the same time. So I don’t even think I went to a show there before I moved in.
TP: Do you know how long it was from you being in DC to when you moved into Kansas House?
MC: I’m gonna say like four months. Yeah. It was weird.
TP: I had no idea! How did you know Ann?
MC: Through the Nelsons. I went to college with Marc.
MC: And when I moved to DC, I knew Bill Colgrove. That’s how I ended up visiting. And then he was like, “hey, we’re going to Easter dinner at my friend’s parents’ house,” and it was the Nelsons. I knew Marc from college, and it was awesome.
TP: How did you know Bill?
MC: Through the Internet– this is 1997 people! It was totally… it was awesome back then.
TP: And Katy, how did you know about Kansas?
KO: Um…. Towards the end of high school and the beginning of college, I started doing things with Positive Force. It was the Fourth of July, I don’t remember what year it was, but I was in college at the time. There was gonna be a film screening at Positive Force House, but everyone was telling me that there was this show happening at this place before hand. And it was Bread and Circuits and former members of Alfonse, and it remains one of my favorite shows I ever went to. And that show happened at the house and then people went from that house to a pot luck. Well, it was like show and like, pot luck/film. And it was cool because I didn’t know anything about the bands, and I think about this a lot. I just went because everybody was like, this neat thing is gonna happen. I was brought into a neat thing happening. And I couldn’t go on Google to look at pictures before hand. I was just going to go see a band, and all these people from another place. I don’t know… I think about that a lot because I think of some of the magic of not having peoples images available to you before you before you go hear what they make or do, it makes everyone a little more mysterious and magical when you can’t just access them like that.
KO: And the show was awesome. And the bands were awesome. And then it was like seven or eight years later, and I was at the house of what I determined had been a member of Bread and Circuits and she actually had gone through gender transition from the time that the band existed and the time I was at her house. So she didn’t identify as female until after going. But we were sitting there and she was like, that was my band. And she told me she really liked that show. That was kind of like a neat… that was my first time going to a show.
TP: Do you remember who you went with?
KO: It was kind of just like, the folks at Positive Force House. The Positive Force members… I went with Sarah Clemm, and Molly Cartman, now Molly Davis. And probably a couple of other folks. Megan Blumenshien and Katie Frasier were two people I knew through Positive Force.
TP: Chen, do you remember who you replaced?
MC: I think Derek Morton. I think, yeah… he was moving out and I took his room if his room was the one upstairs to the right.
TP: And who had the other rooms?
MC: So, when I got there, it was me, Bob Massey, Ann Jaeger, and I think Jon Kreinick. And then, Ann moved out, Tom Crawley moved in. And then I moved out. So I think I only had that many roommates.
TP: Do you know how long you lived there?
MC: I feel like I moved out in ’99 some time, but I’m not sure exactly when.
TP: When did you move to LA?
MC: 2000. Yeah. So yeah, then I went and lived in an apartment by myself, over on Garfield.
TP: So, okay… so, talk about, and you’ve come up a couple times. Like, Cynthia Connolly said the first time she ever went to Kansas was because you had Jim Hauser’s art. Do you remember that?
MC: Oh! Totally!
TP: What happened?
MC: So, I had this dorky Jim Hauser, it was the one that’s up by my bathroom now, it says, it’s some dumb like, metal rock quote. And I have no idea how Cynthia found out about Jim’s work. Because she came over there to specifically talk about that. It might have been because Bob Massey was stoked on that painting and wanted to buy one, and maybe Bob talked to Cynthia about it? I don’t know how close they are. And, yeah, and then she came over to look at. Because I had tons of pictures. I was kind of like, Jim’s DC art dealer for a while, because he would just send me pictures and I was working at AOL at the time, and there were a bunch of, you know, people with millions of dollars who were only 25-years-old who wanted to buy art for their mansions. Yeah… I didn’t realize that was the first time.
TP: That’s what she said. And then Marc, was it Marc? Yeah… Marc was talking about all the dinner parties that you used to have.
KO: Oh! I did go there for dinner a number of times. And I remember one night, and I think it’s some of those pictures that are online now. Because I was looking, and was like “why was I dressed in that dress?” I only wore that dress one time?” Because I think we thought it was going to be a cocktail, like, there was one night when Bonnie and I were like, oh, we’re supposed to be really fancy tonight! And I think nobody else really did it. I think maybe that was the first night that I met Nathan, who now lives in Seattle. I think he was dressed up. And I don’t remember the bands that played, I don’t know if everybody dressed up. But I just remember it being the people that I looked up to were playing there, and going there. And I also remember a few years later when there weren’t as many active shows that were happening regularly, I remember Ian MacKaye said to me, “Katy, will you make me a mix tape of what’s happening in basements these days? Like, the good stuff.” And I was like, what? I mean, it’s kinda cool… I hope he remembers because I did make it. I thought I put like pretty good liner notes. When Ian MacKaye asks you to make a mix tape, you gotta deliver! But I specifically remember him saying, mentioning the fact that it could sometimes be awkward for him to go to small shows because if it wasn’t people he knew well, they would act strange, understandably, act a little weird around him. But that Kansas House was always this place where he felt comfortable going and seeing shows in that format. And I thought that was an interesting, you know, testament. Because when I did shows in my basement later, I sort of grappled with the fact that oh, this is really intimate and we can control so many aspects of this;versus, oh, I hope anyone who comes here feels instantly welcome, because having a show in a house in the first place is sort of “gatekeepy” kind of in a way.
TP: Talk about what it’s like to have a band play in your house.
MC: I remember, like… so many of those shows were so tiny, anyway. The ones that I remember the most were, like, the Superbowl was on and Golden came and played half time and seriously, there were like five people there and it was awesome. And I remember the Dismemberment Plan playing there, and then I saw the picture, somebody posted it to Facebook recently and I was like, oh my god, there were like, a dozen people there, in a living room, listening to Dismemberment Plan. So, some of them it was just like, oh, our friend’s band is coming over to play and they play and then it’s over. And some of them were really intense. Like, I remember when Q and Not U played, and it was really hot out. You had to have all the doors closed. I think that’s what sucked the most about it. It would be the summer and you’d have to close all the doors and put mattresses on the windows. And it would just get so hot in there, and that Q and Not U show, I remember, the condensation on the walls, like, you could draw on the walls in water and sweat. Even upstairs in my bedroom, the walls and windows were condensed on. And then afterwards it would just be clean up, and you know, clean up sucked, and then, I don’t know…
KO: I saw Juno there.
KO: That was a time!
TP: Talk about that show…
KO: Well, I think in my head they all sort of blur to one happy memory at times. So, I definitely went to a few of the smaller, just more quiet shows. I remember that show being packed. I don’t remember who else played… was it Most Secret Method, maybe?
MC: Probably because I think that’s how we knew them. No… they were on De Soto.
KO: I think that probably was… but I remember it being a really cool show. And I remember, because it was my senior year of high school when I started playing music myself.
TP: So, actually, talk about what I looked like on the inside of the house.
KO: It looked different from when there were shows and when there weren’t shows. And you walked in and there was the stairway going up, and you would go up there if you had to use the bathroom. And, I feel like some nights you had to go in the front door and some nights you had to go in the backdoor for the shows…
MC: Oh weird. Yeah, because you probably sometimes had to block off the sound on the front door or something. I just remember that you walk in and it’s kind of a great room. Just a big, wide open space, and yeah, when there weren’t shows it was just couch, coffee table, TV, Playstation. There was that fireplace that wasn’t a fireplace, and I just remember that broke clock that I think was over until that thing got torn down. And Ann had put, she had this big cloth, like, tapestry sort of Swedish looking thing that she put over the light that looked really cool. And there was just usually junk, like, instruments, amps, and stuff, just kind like any group house, I think.
KO: I would go, when there was a break between bands, to the 7-11 to get a Slurpee. Because you could walk right over to it.
TP: How… what was your sort of major mode of transportation while you were there?
MC: I bought my first car when I was there. That’s what I was doing.
KO: I think when I went to that film thing I went to the Courthouse Metro. But then later I would drive there.
TP: How was it like to park when you lived there?
MC: It wasn’t hard… first of all we had the driveway, so it was me and Bob trading places, or like, asking each other to move, the big white van. And the street, nobody else lived on that street, so parking I don’t remember being an issue. The only time I remember it being an issue was when somebody, sometime something would be going on, and I was in the driveway and some dick parked right in front of my car, and just left his car there. And I should have gotten him towed but I was a little bit too nice for that. And instead I just fumed and was angry and I came out eventually and his car was gone. I don’t remember it being much of an issue.
TP: What do you recall about the neighborhood?
MC: That motel across the street, I forget what it was called…
TP: The Highlander.
MC: The Highlander… how could I forget what it was called? And I’ve been back since then, it’s like a different neighborhood. It was just really… you know, there was that nice kind of development across the street of old Virginia houses, and other bungalows around. And it was just neighborhoody. It wasn’t, I don’t think there was a Starbucks or anything. If you went to Clarendon, I remember when Now Music moved into that total strip mall, that was kind of like, woah, there’s a total strip mall here!
TP: Katy, what do you remember the neighborhood like?
KO: I just so heavily associated it with Positive Force because it was around the corner. And it was strange because I guess now that I’m thinking about it, all of these really important thought processes and friendships and kind of ideas developed for me in those spaces, and meeting people, but before, when I first went to Positive Force I was like, why is this in a house? This is so strange. And it really, because I was at the end of my time in high school, and I was used to different after school groups that did social justice themed work, but I wasn’t used to the idea of meeting in peoples homes. And so maybe that’s why, until I moved here to Philly, I lived in group houses. And it’s funny because I think, I was talking about this with someone the other day, how I think it changes your perception a little bit about how you can travel, how you can live. I did this festival for ten years of my label and had a bunch of people sleeping and crashing at the house, and other friends of mine who hadn’t been a part were like, isn’t that driving you nuts? I’m like, no.
MC: Yeah, right.
KO: Isn’t that how it should be?
TP: And one of the things people are saying a lot is sort of how, like, everyone had respect for the fact that it was somebody’s house.
MC: Yeah! I never felt like my stuff was unsafe, or somebody was going to go into my room, or anything like that. Or if people were going to go into my room, they just needed a place to chill out. It never felt like people were going to come in and trash the place. I think there was one party we had where it was like a little, when Rico… That’s right! Rico still lived there when I moved in! So who, maybe that was before Krenik…
TP: Yeah, cause he lived in the one… people have mentioned. Did he have a crazy party?
MC: I think we just had a party, and he invited his friends. He was just, from a different social circle, and we didn’t know his friends and he just had a really Euro dance crowd. I think it was just maybe weird because it was the first time a bunch of people were showing up that nobody knew, and it was like that kind of party, where it was a little bit tense like, is it gonna get weird? Maybe, maybe not… we don’t know these people… Oh my god. Rico. Rico Suave.
TP: I know… I wonder, I feel like I need to find Rico.
MC: I know, seriously!
TP: Or, how he even got there in the first place. Derek will know the answer to that.
MC: Derek will know!
TP: Because I feel like… there’s definitely sort of this transition, and you can sort of almost trace it by the bands that played there. With Derek and his techno bleeps, and Bob and the Punk-Not-Rock, and Ann, and Hammacher, with his crazy Locust, and sort of this transition.
KO: He lived there?
TP: Yeah, for a little bit.
MC: After I had left.
TP: He replaced Chris Richards.
MC: Oh, he lived there too!
TP: At least, that’s what Chris said. So… talk about, what was it like to hang out there on a night, or just a day when it was just a house.
MC: I just like, I have a lot of memories of hanging out with Bob and Jonathan. Well, first, there was a Playstation and we all got into Parapa the Rappa for a while. And then, I have an indelible memory of U2. Joshua Tree was on TV, and none of us kinda wanted to admit that we were all like sitting there and watching the whole thing and we had a very long discussion about U2 and the merits of U2. I don’t know, Fugazi worked in there somehow. Here’s what’s interesting to me. Group houses in Philly are so super involved. Everyone is involved with each other, and meals are really communal. And I feel like this wasn’t that kind of group house. Maybe it was because we were older or something, although we weren’t that old. It was kind of just this house where everyone lived. You made your own food. I think the group things we would do together, like, watch the X-Files, stuff like that, but there was less of a communal living aspect to it which I kind of regret, in hindsight, but the shows were definitely a community effort.
TP: Katy sort of started talking about this, of the intimacy, of seeing a show, and seeing a band in that small of a space. Talk about that experience.
KO: Well, I think it also made it so that, I mean… I met Kim Coletta and Ian MacKaye when I was 17-years-old and I had normal conversations with them. So I think it created in me, a pretty strong disrespect for the artifice of people being inaccessible to speak to. To me, if you like what someone makes or does, it was just like, oh, then you get to talk to them. Not that you get to, but… then later, when I started seeing some of my friends who began playing music full time in much more club-centered route, and the kind of mechanisms in place to protect them from interaction with crowds, I don’t know… I was really disrespectful of that because I thought it was sort of silly. But then again, I also realized that when I was young I just sort of thought that DC was kind of the way everything– and not just DC at that moment in time– was the way that every music community functioned. That there were a few bands that people paid a lot of attention to, they were involved with the community, they would play accessible, affordable, all-ages shows. And other people would emulate it, because they saw it as a model of what the most successful band they could see was doing. And I kind of wonder if part of the reason so many bands in DC were so stringent about that was because it was emulated by people they looked up to.
TP: Yeah, I think totally.
TP: So talk about the set up, what went into the logistics of making sure everything was where it was supposed to be for house show?
MC: I think it was pretty informal, just fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Somebody would ask if they could have a show there, and somebody would be like yeah sure. I don’t remember us turning down many shows, that’s why I feel like people didn’t bother asking if they didn’t think it was gonna be good. And you know, I guess that in some ways it had to be somebody who knew somebody in the house in some way, so there’s sort of that gatekeeper aspect to it. And in terms of getting a PA, I’m not a band person so to me that all kind of happened magically. Either Ann or Bob would find that stuff.
TP: How did the mattresses get on the windows?
MC: Yeah, that was just like, drag the mattresses…
TP: And where were they when there wasn’t a show?
MC: I’m gonna say the basement, cause I can’t imagine any where upstairs where they could have been, there was no place for them up there.
TP: What else, the basement is sort of this weird elusive place. What did you do? How much time as a resident of that house did you spend…
MC: There were band practices down there all the time. I did laundry down there I think. I assume. And that was it.
TP: Do you remember what bands were practicing down there?
MC: I think whatever Nathan Bennet was in at the time practiced there. And Bob and Jonathan, probably Les Trois Malheures were practicing there, but I don’t really remember that many band practices.
TP: Were you living there when Dead Teenagers was happening or had you already moved out?
MC: I want to say I was living there. I know I was living in DC. Okay, so let’s talk about Dead Teenagers!
KO: I did see a show of Motorcycle Wars where Clark was wrapped entirely in saran wrap, and Bonnie at that point was like, I think like 8 months pregnant. Man… these are my friends!
MC: So wait, so the Dead Teenagers/Motorcycle Wars thing started, what came before that?
TP: Yes! Please talk about this!
MC: Was Mr. Taste versus Bees! So Mr. Taste was Erik Denno, Ann Jaeger, me, and J. Robbins, theoretically. And I don’t think we ever had one practice where all four of us were there. I think it was me, Erik and Ann, and all we did was take pictures. J., Erik and Ann probably played music and I was, like, at work.
TP: What was everyone’s assignment in Mr. Taste?
MC: I’m assuming I was singing, because I don’t play any instruments. I’m sure Ann was bass, who was playing drums? Does Denno play drums? Maybe Ann was playing drums.
KO: That’s funny because later, I think Brian Lowitt and Melissa Quinley had Dr. Shades. It was a pseudo hip-hop band. Maybe Mr. Taste was an influence of Dr. Shades.
TP: And who were Bees?
MC: Bees I know was Bob Massey. I don’t know who else… maybe Jon Krenick? I don’t know. But it was, like, BEES! Like, that’s so scary, that’s the scariest thing they could come up with. And we were warring bands, and then I guess somehow, because Mr. Taste couldn’t get their shit together, and then, Dead Teenagers did get their shit together, and then Motorcycle Wars pretended they invented that whole thing. Which is bullshit. I’m just gonna say. Dead Teenagers forever! Even though, I wasn’t in the band.
KO: I loved Motorcycle Wars.
MC: The line in the sand!
TP: So, what… did you see Dead Teenagers play at Kansas? Do you remember?
MC: I feel like I must have but now I’m starting to wonder if that was right around when I left. Because I know it was going on…
KO: It was a few months, at least!
MC: Because I wasn’t at the saran wrap show, and I know I would have been there if I had lived there.
TP: I wonder if the saran wrap show… wait a minute… because I don’t remember… Jason Hutto was talking about this, I think he said it was aluminum foil, and he said that Clark was in terrible pain.
MC: Oh god!
TP: And I don’t remember being there, and I wonder if that’s when Laura and I came to visit you.
MC: Oh wow… maybe! That makes kinda sense. Because I feel like I would have been there if I were in town. Was that a Motorcycle Wars vs. Dead Teenagers show?
TP: No… it was just Motorcycle Wars. But, Heidi sent me an email that she had sent to Joe. Because these people save everything! And she sent me an email she had sent to Joe, they hadn’t been dating but they were sort of just starting to date, and she had gone to Dead Teenagers and I can look at the date and see and let you know. Because then you’ll know. I was kind of like, I don’t remember this happening, but I remember the flier because they played with Trooper.
KO: Yeah! Trooper!
TP: And Jimmy sent around the flier, and I wonder if that’s… that could have been when we came to visit you in LA.
MC: Yeah, that’s so funny. Oh. I missed it. And definitely, if Bonnie was 8 months pregnant… I never got to see Bonnie fully pregnant.
KO: She was. At that show she was mad pregnant.
TP: I wonder if that was it.
KO: I remember too, that show was the first night I talked to Shelby. And I think I didn’t… I think I heard him talking about… I thought. I don’t know. All I remember is that I said to him, “I have a dodecahedron die” because he was talking about Dungeons and Dragons. And he was like, what? And I think that begat a friendship.
TP: Well, actually, I think that’s something that’s a really significant thing about that house. Like, talk about sort of the social connections if there’s any in some way.
KO: It was easy to make friends there. I mean, I feel like maybe one of my old bands played there once. Maybe Bald Rapunzel did?
MC: I think you did. I totally remember when Ann lived there, and little Katy Otto. Little teenage Katy Otto!
KO: But I think, DC in general, at that time was an easy place to make friends.
MC: Yeah. God I loved it.
KO: Yeah, people were very friendly and inviting. And people who were “cool” were very friendly and inviting. I say cool because I don’t really know, what does that mean?
MC: I remember us having awesome dance parties. Like the Aquarius Party and stuff like that. And I feel like, when I moved to DC there was sort of this complaint in DC that nobody danced at shows. And by the time I left, like, three years later, everybody danced all the time. And I think that was a period of people starting to let down their hair and things changing a little bit. And we had awesome dance parties there. I remember Ryan djaying one, and that one, I think it might have been the Aquarius party where everyone had name tags and you had to come up with your own DJ name.
MC: Yes, that was awesome.
TP: Do you remember what your DJ name was?
MC: It was either Beep Boop or Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. I think it was Beep Boop.
TP: I’m not sure the other one would have fit.
MC: Yeah. Exactly. Tikki tikki tembo was what I djayed as at Galaxy Hut one night. That was my DJ name. And you had to say the whole thing.
TP: One of the things that I remember, like you were talking about, we used to watch X-Files. Like, I remember, solid, Sundays. Driving from my house in Mount Pleasant, to go watch X-Files with everybody. So, there was something very communal about all that. So, actually, totally tangentially, one of the questions I forgot to ask… talk about how you knew if something was happening there. I mean, if it was in your house it was obvious, but how did you find out about shows.
MC: I know there were fliers. I have an awesome flier upstairs that was from Oswego, maybe Juno…
KO: That was the show!
MC: And Ryan did this amazing flier that was a dude falling down the stairs, and he drew this little picture of Kansas House with flames coming out the window and it says “at the neighborhood hotspot known as Kansas House.” So I think it was just sort of, like… but it had the address on it. I don’t think it was, one of those “Ask a Punk” kind of things. It was a venue.
KO: I think it was probably at the point where shows were being listed online. I think, that was always my experience with house shows; kind of like, er, what do we do? Now it’s just like you know, it’ll get there out there no matter what so you may as well not worry.
MC: I think we had very few serious problems with the cops or with noise, so you could widely disseminate the information.
KO: I think part of how it was located, in that little space.
TP: Do you ever remember the cops showing up?
MC: Yeah, in fact, maybe that was the Rico party. And that’s why we were all kind of like, what’s up with Rico? Cause that was the night the cops came and that was one of the only times. I feel like that was it. I mean, it must’ve happened other times because I know we were diligent about those goddamned mattresses. I know there were neighbors who cared about the noise. I feel like they were across Wilson Boulevard, but they cared. And maybe behind, maybe the Highlander complained once? I don’t know. So, I know it must’ve happened. I feel like… my memories are so vague, it was so long ago. I feel like I remember a show getting shut down, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It was just like, oh, you know. We got to play four songs. Oh well, bummer.
KO: The last show I remember going to there was maybe like three or four years ago, and I didn’t even know they were doing shows there anymore. This band I knew from California came and played. And I remember some shady things. It’s kind of good that I forgot the name of the band because some shady things were said, and it was sort of weird. And they were like, my age. And I remember there were these young punk kids were like, “why do you talk that way exactly?” And it was kind of heartening to me because these older dudes– and it was probably some crappy stuff about women– and these older dudes were totally getting schooled by these younger kids. And they said to me later, Are all kids in DC like that? And I just smiled because they were friends of mine so while they had said some strange things, I was also hosting them at my house and I said “Well, we can only hope.”
TP: That’s awesome. Like, a lot of things that people are saying… there was no Internet, but there was email.
MC: There definitely was Internet, because I went down there to work at an Internet company. But… yeah.
KO: It wasn’t the same way.
KO: I feel like there was a Geocities site where sometimes shows would be.
MC: You know what’s funny is that I had a website at the time, but it’s not like I would post the shows on the website. Or I think every once in a while I might be like, “Oh Juno is playing at my house tonight if anybody cares.” But I don’t think anybody saw that.
TP: Or, I know, I went back and looked at the Hipfux archives, and there were some announcements, that happened that way.
KO: I heard about things.
MC: So maybe it was kind of word of mouth.
KO: I heard about things through the Positive Force folks. And it was a lot of handed out fliers. Marc Andersen trained us all to be really good flyrers.
MC: I’m sure it was kind of up to the bands to do their own promotion, so some of them did fliers, some of them relied on word of mouth. And you know, if somebody in the house was inviting the show to be in there then they would do promotion.
TP: So, it was kind of like word of mouth.
MC: I guess. I know there were fliers that had the address on it. It wasn’t a big deal.
TP: So talk about, and this is kind of a loaded question, and I’m asking it of everyone, so I don’t care. What do you think is your most significant moment, and you can define the word moment however you want, that happened at Kansas?
MC: I mean, mine is totally personal. But when I was moving away, I had two weeks to pack my shit… oh my god—everything about this! I had two weeks to like, pack everything and move out to California. And Ann Jaeger threw me an awesome goodbye party, surprise party, and walking into that house and seeing all those faces there… I’m gonna tear up just thinking about it. It was such an awesome party. And, Miss Tina Plottel made me a cake— it was one of those photo frosted cakes and it has a picture of Guy Piccotio…
TP: It was me and Laura. I have to tell you… did I ever tell you? Now you can hear the backstory. And then we’re gonna get to yours but I have to tell you. So, Ann must’ve, which is crazy because I remember this going through email. So Ann Jaeger, email, not words you would normally associate with each other.
MC: Yeah, totally!
TP: So, Ann sent out this email saying, we’re gonna throw Mary a surprise party, the premise is she’s coming over to do laundry. And we’re all gonna be there, let me know what you want to do. And this was around the time period where people were just getting photo cakes because they were funny. And it was also like, this plus, on Hipfux or Runnykine or whatever it’s called, when people would just get really wonky, and annoying, the way that you would signal that the conversation was done and that nobody cares was, usually, it was me or Mary or sometimes it was Bob, and one of us would start a conversation about Guy. And how his butt was the most mesmerizing aspect of Fugazi shows. And Mary has this brilliant thing that she had written, about how everywhere else in the country, Fugazi is about Ian, but in DC, everyone is, Guy is the master, like, it’s all about Guy. So we would start some kind of conversation that involved Guy’s butt.
KO: Oh dear!
MC: And then it became shorthand, like, “Guy’s Butt.” So…
TP: So, I wrote back, I emailed Ann, and it was something that came to me in a flash. I think Laura was working at City Paper, and we sat next to each other, at the time, and I think if it was an email it was sent, we would both get it at the same time, and I think I may have said: “we’re getting Mary a photo cake with Guy’s butt on it.” And it was just instantaneous and Laura was like: yes we are.
MC: And it was Jason Hutto’s photo, right?
TP: It was, and Jason was working at the Paper, so I think it was one of those things where the two of us just got up and went over, went across to Production and we were like, we need this picture. And we took it to the grocery store. I think it was the Giant that was over at Laura’s house, and we took it over there and were like, anybody wants to give us money for this, but it’s totally cool, and we were like, we want this on a cake. And I think they may have thought that we were a little crazy, but it was totally awesome. And that was how the cake happened. That was a fun thing. Okay so what was your most significant moment?
KO: I don’t remember one per se. I just remember overall a general feeling. Overall, especially I had my band with several people, but Bonnie and I were the ones that spent so much time together, and I just remember outside of our band we would go to shows all the time. We went to so many Norman Mayer Group shows, and I don’t know if they ever played there, we were kind of obsessed, and it’s funny now because Kathy and Jen are friends of mine but when I was younger, I was like, these are the coolest women I have ever seen in my life. And just like, places like Kansas House were a vehicle from feeling like a starry-eyed fan girl to feeling like oh, this is your community. And I thought it was really neat because we had this festival recently and my friend Eric Gamelem who lived in that area and went to tons of shows at Kansas House and took a lot of photos, and he said “I don’t think I know Mary Chen very well but I went to her goodbye party!”
KO: And now I get to take pictures and she’s playing a show. I don’t think she would remember me but I definitely remembered her goodbye party.
MC: It was a really awesome party!
TP: Anything else you guys can think of?
MC: The other thing I’ve been dying to mention is that, when we were talking about the cops, there’s one major incident that sort of sprang from Kansas House, and that was This Bike is a Pipe Bomb played at our house and everybody was giving out those stickers and everybody was putting them on their bikes. Somebody locked their bike up at Rosslyn station and there was, like, a giant bomb scare. It shut down the entire metro or the entire orange line for the day.
TP: Actually, were you living there when David screened Magic City there?
MC: Yeah, I think so.
TP: Do you remember how that all transpired.
MC: So that was… I saw his video, and that was when the GTO protests going on. And was that the Andy Cigarettes show?
MC: That was a good show.
TP: That was an awesome show.
MC: And that was one of those, it was a band from out of town that nobody had heard of and we were all like “holy shit!” That guy was amazing. David probably just like, you know, knew me and Ann and we were like, totally. That’s another thing that’s interesting to me to think about. In terms of it being a punk house, but nobody went to those protests. I think we were all kind of like, oh, it’s just a circus. It’s just like, because at some point those protests start to seem like a giant party, instead of like political action. So we were kind of over it and we were not gonna go, and David and his friends actually went because they were like, it’s giant! We’re going.
KO: To the A-16?
MC: Oh, no I’m sorry, the WTO protests, not the GTO protests. Were you there?
KO: Um hmm…
MC: Of course!
KO: And I marched next to Zach de la Roca, but Ian MacKaye pointed him out to me, he was like, “look!” And I was like, oh, Zach de la Roca. I was a member of the Rage Against the Machine fan club and I got the seven inches sent to me in the mail. But another memory I just thought of— my friend’s band, Delta Dart, came from Olympia and played. And it was awesome, and Erin McCarley from that band, later… we had met as teenagers, playing a show at the Metro Café. My old band played with a band she was traveling with. And I think fairly shortly after that show I kept hounding her “come to DC and play music with me! It would be great!” And she still lives there and has a baby. But it was cool because she played, and Jason at one point who lived there, from Paroxysm, he did a label called Paroxysm Records that put out Delta Dart, and so they came and played. And Jason was in Hott Beat.
MC: Also, so when I found out that the house was getting torn down, I started having dreams about the house and just like, dreams about that house empty and it was so weird. I had this teacher in the Netherlands, we were living in this really old building, it was like a castle from like, the 14th Century. She was telling us that her belief is that buildings do have a soul, that they are living organisms when people live in them, and that when people live in them they thrive and when people don’t live in them they die. And so I was really sad to think about it being empty, and I just had this urge to go down there and give it a hug and just be like, it’s okay, I’m really sorry. I’m sorry you have to go away now, because it gave us so much joy and so much community, and it was such a great little, it was like the little red lighthouse in the middle of all those huge condos by the end. And, it’s really sad… I mean, it’s inevitable, we all said I can’t believe it lasted this long, but, it’s really sad…