Ballroom Dancing

SXSW panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo By Gary Miller

SXSW Interview: k.d. lang

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 16

The comfortable setting gave writer Holly George-Warren's conversation with k.d. lang the feeling of a taping of Ellen. Looking particularly butch in jeans and a blue work shirt with the sleeves rolled up, lang joked, "I am Brokeback Mountain and this is the Jake Gyllenhaal look." lang came across as thoughtful and self-effacing to a fault, discussing her career from its beginnings in performance art in Canada to her new release, Reintarnation, a hits and rarities collection that finds her visiting her early country roots. What stood out was the amount of collaborative work lang has done – with, among others, Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, and Deodato – which she used as learning experiences, although she admitted that wasn't always the case early on. A discussion of fame led her to claim that "coming off a hit record is really hard." Of her coming out in an interview with the Advocate in 1992, lang chuckled, "I thought I was out the whole time." The culmination came when lang stated her philosophy of being a lesbian and an artist, "It's been a lifelong focus to be middle-of-the-road. It's the highest standard of progressive subversive behavior." The assembled cheered.

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