technically I was born female, I don't relate with gender,
either way. My gender is Queer. I date other Queers. Because
I don't really get the need to assign a gender, I've always
had a problem with feminine-looking lesbians. It's not that
I don't like them. It's that they confuse me. They make
me think of my mother or my sister, neither of whom I, as
a GenderQueer, find in any way sexually attractive. I try
and get past my femme prejudice, but even dedicating myself
to marathon nights of The L Word can't break me into the
idea of feminine women being with other women. I get Shane.
I don't get Bette.
I was scheduled to interview a heavy-hitting lesbian in
music and film, who also happens to be a femme. As a journalist,
I usually stick with subjects that I relate with. But in
this instance, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity
to have some star credit under my belt, or to meet the woman
whose career is as colorful as her Technicolor hair. I was
more worried about how I would cover up the hives that erupted
all over the backs of my hands. Femmes make me nervous.
femme was singer / actress Danielle Egnew, whose name is
a regular on list after list of famous lesbian icons. In
spite of their cult to mainstream appeal, I was never a
Pope Jane fan. I was a Butchies Queer. Pope Jane was three
femmes, and Danielle Egnew was the queen femme of them all,
with her big girly voice, big curly hair, big lipstick,
and who could forget the famous photo with the big studded
guitar strap hanging around her neck over her big naked
feminine parts? I needed to adjust my attitude for the interview.
met Danielle Egnew at a lesbian bar around the corner from
her Sherman Oaks home called The Oxwood. She suggested Starbucks,
but I could feel the backs of my hands begin to itch again,
so The Oxwood was my idea. I got there early and waited
with my beer. I could only imagine what she would order
while pulling credit cards from her Dolce and Gabbana or
Louis Vuitton wallet…some froo froo drink with more
garnish than the saddle bags on my vintage Kawasaki cruiser.
Again, I adjusted my attitude.
turned to shake hands with Danielle Egnew. I didn't expect
her to be in glasses but her narrow tortoise shell specs
were very studious. She was big smiles, big hand shake,
big mane of curls that fell down her back striped that bright
red, black and platinum blonde, big full painted lips. All
femme. I had no idea what we were going to talk about past
the list of generic questions in my wallet. Then my eyes
stopped at her Starfleet Academy T-shirt. It was so startling
that I actually read the shirt out loud. A very Homer Simpson
you a Star Trek fan too?" she asked me. "I'm a
Star Trek? Voyager who? Again, Homer Simpson took control
of my mouth. "No, I hated Star Trek. I didn't know
people actually wore Star Trek clothes, " like the
matching Starfleet Academy sweatpants she was wearing with
a pair of beat up cowboy boots that had nothing to do with
the rest of the outfit. Danielle Egnew's eyebrow turned
up in a smirk. Doh! I put a cork in my inner Homer.
promo pics are standard Hollywood, best side forward and
accurate enough for me to recognize her in a crowd, but
her photographs don't capture her full character. In spite
of her predisposal to the feminine archetype, Danielle Egnew
is a knock-out. Part Native American, the Cherokee and Lakota
make for high cheekbones, Her Italian blood sculpts her
jaw line and neck, and with pale Welsh skin, Egnew looks
more like an animated character from a Disney film. Her
big brown eyes should be doe-like, but they're not dewy.
They're deep, like if you misstep you'll drown in tar. Maybe
that was just the look she was giving me. I didn't feel
like the interview was off to a very good start. Then she
was a snorting belly laugh. "Oh yeah," Egnew snorted
some more, "they make Star Trek clothes. I have more
at home, but not the Starfleet uniforms. That would be weird."
when I found my angle for this interview. This wasn't going
to be the world's most awkward visit ever. In spite of Danielle
Egnew's drop-dead good looks, flowing femininity, grocery
list of talents and general status as a lesbian icon, she
was really weird. That I could work with.
ordered a chilled double Patron, no lime. You can tell a
lot about someone by what they drink. Patron is top shelf,
strong, right to the point, and confident. Double Patron
says that the person drinking it is double confident, no
messing around with extra filler like hops, carbonation,
and the 12 ounces of water that I use to keep my hands busy.
I nailed the character of Danielle Egnew in one drink.
asked me, when was my birthday? I told her June 14th, a
Gemini. She told me all about Gemini, about me, then about
personal things off the grid that made me both uncomfortable
to hear a stranger report to me, yet curious to hear more.
One of Danielle Egnew's many talents is Clairvoyance. In
fact, she's known on an international level for this gift
of Mediumship, even applying what some would consider her
TV Superhero abilities to know the future into the field
of assisting law enforcement. According to Egnew, it runs
in her family. I soon realized that I was the one being
interviewed, or rather, reviewed. I'd have to stay on my
her private metaphysical practice in Los Angeles is busy
with clientele, most of America does not know Danielle Egnew
the Clairvoyant. Danielle Egnew is best known as being the
power singer / producer for the all female band Pope Jane,
breaking down the Indie-to-mainstream barrier in the 90's
and building a bridge to a world wide fan base that Indies
everywhere would cross, once it was built. Ten years ago,
Danielle Egnew created both an Indie sound and music marketing
plan used by so many artists today. It was so successful
that Pope Jane didn't need a record label. By the time the
labels decided to jump on the Pope Jane bandwagon, the industry,
just as Egnew had predicted while penning music industry
articles years before, fell into financial collapse.
Egnew's many talents is a no-brainer. She's Rock Star, Actress,
Screenwriter, Composer, Producer of music and film, Radio
Host, Sound Designer, and even Clairvoyant. But I was determined
not to become another journalistic cliche. There had to
be more to this woman than the sum of her talents, and I
was right. What I discovered is that her vision, the endless
creative template everyone raves about, was more a symptom
of a larger problem, rather than a destination.
learned that Danielle Egnew is addicted to creating things.
I wasn't yet sure this addiction was healthy. This woman
does not rest, ever, as far as I could tell. She described
to me with great focus (and a vocabulary that fell out of
a Dickens novel) project after creative project she was
currently working on. The Double part of the Double Patron
was beginning to make sense, though it didn't seem to have
the least bit effect on her as she sipped it slowly.
Egnew's mind is a quadruple core processor on steroids.
She's a steady stream of dreams, how to build the dreams,
how to bring people to the dreams, and back to the beginning
to start again. The cycle was intense but there was well-planned
logic in how it all came together. She was speaking at a
normal pace, but it was a mental effort to keep up with
coming off of starring in and scoring the 2007 lesbian drama
Changing Spots, she's producing, starring in, and composing
original music for two feature films, her own original dramatic
screenplay Imogene's Waltz, and the comedy Girlband by writer
/ director Renie Oxley. Egnew is providing original songs
for the television reality series Boy's Town. More songs
are erupting from this woman this year as she releases her
long-awaited solo album Red Lodge, her first album release
since Pope Jane went on hiatus in 2003. Egnew is also writing
and recording an album with her new alternative rock band
Junkie Cousin (Egnew calls the music "White Trash Rock")
with co-producer and writer / guitarist Paul Houston. In
addition, Egnew co-hosts syndicated radioshow The Music
Highway with Sheena Metal, a broadcast to over 2400 affiliates.
April of 2007, Danielle was part of the celebrity VDAY West
LA's performance of The Vagina Monologues in a dream cast
that AfterEllen rightfully branded "The V Word",
as the cast included most of The L Word heavy hitters: Jennifer
Beals, Janina Gavankar, Rachel Shelly, and Alexandra Hedison.
That's not even counting the other lesbian folk-lore heroes
that flushed out the cast such as Jill Bennett, Honey Labrador,
Heather Juergensen, and Sheena Metal. So tight was Danielle's
performance and involvement that she was invited by Executive
Producer Victoria Russell to not only participate as talent,
but to sit as a producer on the nation's largest upcoming
bi-yearly VDAY event yet, the two week long 2008 Until The
Violence Stops, which will include celebrity performances
of The Vagina Monologues as well as comedy nights and live
music all throughout the city -- a two week Mardi Gras of
culture and social awareness amidst the silicone sea of
dived in and interrupted Danielle Egnew because I was getting
lost. "Do you think you suffer from mania?"
mouth still half open in mid sentence, she went silent.
I confess I gloated inside that I stumped her, because this
woman had a come-back for everything. Her come-backs had
come-backs. When she finally spoke, it was the voice of
someone I hadn't met yet.
simply said: "I don't suffer."
moment in and of itself was worth the entire interview.
That was the voice I was looking for, the voice that didn't
exist on the press release. I liked it best.
that voice, I learned a lot more about Danielle Egnew in
those two and half hours. Mostly I learned that I had drastically
stereotyped this woman, and that femmes weren't so scary
after all. We talked about how much she misses her home
state of Montana with its wide open spaces and we talked
of her love of Science and Physics. We talked about how
she loved to perform in musicals and why Sweeney Todd is
her favorite, why she believes director John Waters to be
a genius who, to quote Egnew, "paints with his camera
on a canvass of stained sheets". She discussed why
she believes Captain Kathryn Janeway is the greatest Star
Fleet Captain ever (with Captain Jean-Luc Picard as a close
second). Egnew told me about some kind of engine she's designing
for deep space travel that runs on something called "dark
matter" and magnets, and I wasn't sure if this topic
fell under the Science category or if this was some Star
Trek thing that went over my head. Either way, I had no
idea what she was talking about but she really seemed to,
so I tried to be polite. We talked about her obsession with
watching Discovery Channel and how she's become a wild fan
of "her crab boys" as she called them on The Deadliest
Catch. We even discussed her crush on The X-Files character
"Dana Scully"(not to be confused with a crush
on X-Files actress Gillian Anderson) which inspired her
pop single Special Agent Dana Scully, a popular track on
mp3 sharing sites around the world, in which Agent Dana
Scully is actually a lesbian.
gave up on trying to hunt down all the publishing money
on Scully the minute I saw that it was getting pirated and
passed around on some Korean download site," said Egnew.
"I figured, if I can't even read the language but they're
still getting into the song, which is in English, how can
I be offended by that?"
most of what I learned about Danielle Egnew is that as much
as I thought I knew about her, there was so much more there
that I didn't expect, and I had to wonder if those parts
might be the best? Danielle Egnew's complex inner geek is
what defines her. It's what she consciously wrapped up in
that beautiful femme package in order to sell herself to
the masses, and it's that inner dream-builder she protects
with a non-stop barrage of witty banter to throw off an
unsuspecting press hound. No matter how beautiful, bright
and hyper-accomplished, I uncovered the natural weirdness
of Danielle Egnew, and I liked it. I would happily invite
both her and her Louis Vuitton wallet to a dinner party
without fear. Even if she is a creation addict.
Egnew is online at www.DanielleEgnew.com.