Fuel for the Soul: The Artist & The Resistance

March 24, 2017

Angelique Stacy: Jill of All Trades

In this series, Saturn Cafe connects with artists in order to get a look at the social justice movement from their perspective, in their own words, to explore the role artists play and the power they have to affect change in the #resistance.

Musician. Tattoo artist. Singer. Thereminist. Dancer. Painter. Puppeteer. Angelique Stacy describes herself as a “Jill of all trades, master of none,” and has indeed entered many different realms of creativity in her lifetime, each with a powerful passion and drive behind it.

Jill of All Trades

 

Angelique Stacy is an artist of many mediums, creative in many genres. “I do a lot of different things,” Angelique mused. “Currently I’m in a punk band, The Screaming Bloody Marys. Most of my life or career, I’ve been a singer or dancer or performer of some sort, modern dance, puppetry, etc.” One of her first jobs was actually as a tattoo artist.

 

“If I was an animal, I would be an octopus, or a squid. Tough, and able to do eight or ten things at once.” Even close friends find that every time they talk to Angelique, they find out about something new that she does or has done. “They say, ‘You never cease to surprise me!’ and it’s true.”

 

Often creatively involved in three or four projects at once, Angelique usually finds herself focusing on things that are trying to say something about what is currently happening in the world. “This political climate has reinvigorated a lot of my more social causes.”

 

One unique and deeply meaningful form of Angelique’s art comes in the form of memorial portraits made from the ashes of the cremated person. “It started when one of my friends passed away, and I’ve wanted to make sure people’s remains are respected, and their last wishes. This is a way to share their stories, and teach people about reverence.”

 

You might have seen Angelique’s art back when Saturn Cafe in Berkeley had the Space Lounge next door, and her art was featured during a Dia de los Muertos event.
As a person with Asperger’s, Angelique recognizes that many people don’t always get nuance, and straightforward visual aids can be really helpful, for neurotypical and neurodivergent people.

Being an Advocate

 

“I like to speak up for people who can’t speak up for themselves.” This directive is at the heart of Angelique’s art and what she most wants to focus on.

 

“In the last few years, my daughter and I were both diagnosed on the autism spectrum. It was an ‘oh duh’ moment for me; it explained a lot of things to me about myself and about her.” It also inspired a lot of disability activism. People with mental health issues are part of a very underserved population, and much of the services that are provided are part of the programs that are currently being threatened by the new administration.

 

“I’ve been sharing a lot about how (these changes in funding) would directly affect my daughter and her life in school,” Angelique said, sharing how personal many of these attacks are for her and her family. “Repealing funding in education will truly be negative for us.”
When Angelique was in middle school, she fell and hit her head during a seizure related to temporal lobe epilepsy. That moment changed her life forever. “I went from a science whiz student with high grades to a girl with holes in her memory,” she said. “Now, I have a voice that works 95% of the time. But when it works, it works.”

On Identity

 

“I am multi-racial, and come from a background where people have gone great distances to be with people from the other side of the tracks, or other side of the world.” Her mom is English and Native American, and her dad is Japanese and European. “The Asian and Native American really coalesce with my own story.”

 

Born in California, Angelique has lived in various parts of this state and others. It was when she was younger and living in the California Central Valley as a young person that people often asked her for her race and gender, wanting to know if she was a boy or a girl or ‘what’ she was. “I wondered, ‘why does it matter?’ and that actually inspired a lot of songs around wondering why these identifiers did matter. As I get older and age, I look way more European, but when I was younger, I looked more brown and more Asian.”

 

Later, as an adult, she was hired off of Facebook to be a tour guide for haunted neighborhoods in Kentucky, and was warned that she might feel threatened there. What she found instead was that Kentucky was actually a lot more integrated than many places in California, with an entirely different culture. “Black and white communities were more integrated, there were more mixed marriages. Latina and Cuban communities were more segregated, however, and I only met one other Asian lady there. But overall I found them to be some of the most open, welcoming people I’d ever met.”

 

After spending time in Portland, she and her husband and daughter moved back to the California Bay Area, where they have been finding their footing and their community for the past several years. “Saturn has been one of the only places that I’ve worked that has truly accommodated my disability. They have worked really hard to help a lot of communities, all of the intersecting communities to have space.”
“Though it’s crappy what’s going on (in the political climate), I think it woke a lot of people up. The good sign is that I’ve seen a lot of people with lighter skin be a lot nicer to people with darker skin, asking questions, being more aware of their part in centuries-old racism.”

The Screaming Bloody Marys

For the last few years, Angelique has been lead singer in the punk band Screaming Bloody Marys, which plays in shows all around Northern and Central California. For a taste of their music, check out this video from when the band opened for the Dead Kennedys last year:

Ever since she was young, Angelique was inspired by seminal punk bands. Now, she often gets the chance to open for many of those same groups who influenced her back then. Getting started in the music scene very young, she has been playing and singing in bands for the past 30 years. For her it has been part of who she always was. “I felt compelled, I couldn’t help myself!”

 

Her instrument of choice is the theremin, one of the first electronic music instruments, which she often plays in shows not with physical contact, but by controlling the frequencies above it, the pitch and volume. And in addition to being a singer, Angelique X Stacy is also a songwriter. “I write a lot of lyrics about (what’s going on). Then I get to scream about it, it’s a great release. It helps because I am usually more introverted, and would rather read or research.”

 

Many of her songs are “anthems for the resistance, to rally the troops.” She even gave us a sneak peek of some the lyrics to one of her most recent works-in-progress, which directly calls for people to rise up.

 

Here it comes

The flag comes down

And we all have to struggle

She vs. He. Us vs. them

All gonna crumble

 

Brown and white

Black, red and yellow

All in this together

Let us unite in this struggle

And get it together

 

She sees her songs as a type of cheerleading in a far less traditional way, and in the past has worked with her husband and former bandmates to create music that said something important. “I’ve written a lot of love songs, and there’s time for that, but I’ve been more inspired lately. This has inspired a responsibility in me. I have this talent and it needs to be used for the greater good.”

 

“The people I care about in my life force me to share my voice. When I can speak, I speak on behalf of those who are nonverbal, like my daughter.” And Angelique speaks not just with her words, but with her songs, paintings, theremin, body art, and many other creative mediums.

Thank you for being a champion of the #resistance, Angelique! We are listening!

 

P.S. Do you remember seeing Angelique as the star of last year’s Girl Scout cookie milkshake video?