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Evelyn McDonnell

Evelyn McDonnell has written or coedited six books, from Rock She Wrote: Women Write about Rock, Pop and Rap to Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways. She edited the forthcoming collection Women Who Rock (Black Dog & Leventhal) and is series editor for the ForeEdge/UPNE Music Matters books. A longtime journalist, she has been a pop culture writer at The Miami Herald and a senior editor at The Village Voice. She’s currently an associate professor at Loyola Marymount University, where she directs the Journalism program.

"Kicking it with Iggy Pop and Peaches"
In 2003 punk legend Iggy Pop and electroclash diva Peaches collaborated on “Kick It.” The song and accompanying video offer a fascinating tete a tete on what Judith Butler called the performance of gender. For decades Pop has crafted a style of masculinity sans parallels (I promise mangled French appropriations dans tout my presentation). Naked, ripped torso; bulging crotch in tight pants, transparent or leather; hyper-sexualized lyrics; grinding, guttural, body music: Iggy is cock rock. But the extremity of his performance thrusts past provocation to border on parody. He seems to want to push his sexuality to, and past, the breaking point. Slicing open his flesh, singing “I just wanna be your dog,” the person born James Osterberg isn’t presenting dominance; he’s offering abjection (as Kristeva would say).

Peaches, on the other hand, from her name to her pink hot pants, confronts concepts of femininity. She both mimes and ridicules testosterone overdrive in “Rock Show,” offering “a big gigantic cock show.” (Is she talking about Iggy?) In “Kick It,” the two genderqueer iconoclasts trade confessions and questions about their personas. It’s a fascinating duet, the two margin walkers trying to suss each other out, figuring out which one’s the top, which one’s the bottom. “I wanna be your cat,” Peaches sings. There’s a pause, like he’s considering it, then his answer: “Fuck that.”

I propose a paper analyzing the performances of gender offered by both Pop and Peaches, and how they came together (so to speak) on “Kick It.” Having helped introduce them to each other, I plan to draw on my archival material as well as hopefully interview both of them again. Needless to say, there will be audiovisual aids. Merci.