Learn your ABC
If the bar mitzvah is the Jewish boy's equivalent of a coming out ball, then Athens Boys Choir's latest disc "Bar Mitzvah Superhits Of The 80s 90s And Today" is as close as sole member Katz will ever get to this 13-year-old moment in the minds of most Jews. That's because Katz is a trans man.
Still, the Southern, Jewish, Caucasian, pansexual female-to-male trans person, who happens to be a skilled rapper and spoken word artist, refuses to settle for anything less than full inclusion. In fact, Katz has the fighting spirit of a Patti Smith, who once spit word to tackle the chauvinism she experienced among both Christian conservatives and the male-dominated punk scene she'd eventually conquer.
Understanding the transformative power of awareness-raising (one's best weapon in the battle against discrimination), Katz gets candid about his most personal experiences on tracks like the enlightening "Day Breaks," in which -- over an unexpected sample of the Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody" -- he compares his experience of going home for the holidays before and after his mom's death to his own experience before and after transitioning.
If punk articulated the voice of the disenfranchised in the 70's, Athens Boys Choir utilizes the hip hop that eclipsed it as the word of the oppressed in the 80's and 90's to draw attention to issues that are important to him: such as war in the boombastic, booty-shaker "EZ Heeb" and the more poignant poem "Mama Needs a Hug," religion in the biting "Teeth" and spiritually-minded "Mourner's Prayer," and Trans-phobia on "Anticipated," where he raps better than any of the emcees on "Ego Trip's (White) Rapper Show." But I ain't surprised. My Heeb rappers have always done me right, from the Beastie Boys to MC Serch, Matisyahu to Mickey Avalon -- and now Athens Boys Choir.
See Athens Boys Choir live with indie singer-songwriter Eric Himan on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 10p.m. at Blur (227 W. Dougherty St., Athens, GA). 21+ Free/ Under $3. Expect Gay.com giveaways all night long including Free Year Premiums ($90 value). For more information, call 706/543-8283 or check out: myspace.com/blurathens.