For all the ballyhooing that’s occurred as the major label record industry has slipped dramatically over the last decade-plus, there are lots of indie acts that are quietly but consistently building impressive oeuvres in the digital age. Bev Stanton is one of them.
As electronica imprint Arthur Loves Plastic, Stanton — a 45-year-old Silver Spring resident and lesbian — has, since the mid-‘90s, released dozens of projects, had her work licensed for shows on the Discovery Channel, VH1, MTV and other cable networks. She was one of 24 artists profiled in “Pink Noises: Women in Electronic Music and Sound,” a 2010 book by Tara Rodgers, and she’s won a dozen Washington Area Music Awards (“Wammies”) in the electronica category. Stanton uses all the usual techniques — she makes her own loops, samples other sources, records friends playing various instruments, uses MIDI tricks and more. She attributes her popularity to good timing and perseverance.
“I just sent some product to a company,” she says. “They were trying to bridge the gap between people creating music and projects that wanted music but that wasn’t just cheesy canned stuff.”
Listen for her Thursday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the back room of Jackie’s Restaurant/Sidebar in Silver Spring (8081 Georgia Ave.) where she and Rodgers will spin for an Equality Maryland fundraiser (equalitymaryland.org/events for details).
Ironically, Stanton does not own a TV so she never sees her work on the air. She concedes that’s probably “for the best” and says it would be too tempting to watch constantly if she owned a set. By day she works in D.C. doing online work for an environmental non-profit. She came to the area about 20 years ago after living in North Carolina and craving a “more cosmopolitan” area.
Stanton, who admits to a fetish for mid-century design (she loves the “atomic age” look of chairs of the era), was born in the Bahamas but grew up mostly in central Florida. She enjoys web surfing (especially Daily Mail) and spending time with her two cats, Nicky and Kimba, in her free time.
(Blade photos by Michael Key)
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out in high school and fretted over telling my best friend but it turned out he was gay too so it all worked out.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Dusty Springfield. Despite her phenomenal talent she was plagued by insecurity. However, she was an uncompromising perfectionist in her artistic approach and her music transcends her era.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I used to enjoy DJing at the back room of the Black Cat for Girl Friday events several years ago. It was a very eclectic crowd of shoe-gazing males, edgy lesbians and ostensibly straight women who apparently just needed a few drinks to defy labels. I also loved spinning at Cafe Japone in the bar with the fiber optic ceiling.
Describe your dream wedding.
Even if marriage equality passes in Maryland I have the major barrier of finding a woman who would want to marry me. In the meantime I might resort to a Sue Sylvester-style ceremony but would ditch the tracksuit and wear black.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
What historical outcome would you change?
Columbus’ arrival to the New World.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I don’t have TV so I always feel a little out of the loop and rely on Facebook to keep up, with mixed results. But Susan Boyle’s overnight success on “Britain’s Got Talent” demonstrated the power of YouTube and was a triumph of raw talent over slick music industry packaging. It almost makes up for Katy Perry!
On what do you insist?
To thine own self be true, or at least have a plausible excuse.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
“oh no! i sent an email to my coop board this morning to report a gas smell in my living room only to discover it was a burning odor from a feline pheromone diffuser. add this to the list of things i will never live down.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Easy Does It!”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would offer to administer the serum to every straight female friend who has told me they are sick of men just to see how serious they are about this.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe I am currently in purgatory and suspect that ascension to the afterlife is about as merit-based as things here on earth.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Please come up with an elevator speech to help me explain the ENDA controversy to my straight friends!
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That lesbians are hummus-consuming granola activist types whose lives revolve around their cats … oh wait!
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
I loved “High Art” though it was more a commentary on the art world than a lesbian film per se. Radha Mitchel was captivating yet understated and underrated.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
The Super Bowl. It is a great time to do supermarket shopping!
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I would love to win the lottery so I could pay cash for my apartment and politely instruct my mortgage company to stop hounding me for documents!
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know!
I love D.C.! Although it’s inhabited by people with a heightened sense of self-importance, it is a destination for passionate activists trying to make the world a better place. The architecture is beautiful and the monuments are absolutely stunning. I have lived here over 20 years and still find new places to visit and explore.