“Don’t Label It!” continues to bring diverse people together, this time for Saturday afternoon’s Ides of Pride outdoor concert to rock a pre-Pride celebration that benefits girls who wanna rock.
The event’s lead organizer, Xanna Don’t (top photo), is a woman who’s hard to categorize. And that’s just the way she likes it. If you call her a singer, reporter, rock enthusiast, promoter or grassroots organizer, that might start to scratch the surface.
So it’s appropriate that her online publication and music promotions fit comfortably under the umbrella name “Don’t Label It!”
“It started out as my band’s newsletter 15 years ago in Austin, Texas,” Xanna says. “People thought it was a magazine. My wife and I started getting invited to South-By-Southwest parties as a print publication, so I thought, ‘Why don’t I just do that?’”
And she did. That’s what Atlanta loves about Xanna; it seems nothing is in her way or out of her grasp.
“Don’t Label It!” became a vehicle to get the word out about her band and promote other acts as well. She booked gay Pride acts in Austin for three years, and organized the first all-gay music showcase at SXSW in 2001. Guests included Amy Ray, the Butchies, Melissa Ferrick, and others.
“We made music history…and gay history, I guess,” Xanna says. “And I was able to get local gay acts on the bill that normally wouldn’t have gotten in, and from that exposure, they started getting in on their own.”
With a move to Atlanta, Xanna put her talents to work in the Peach State. She was the entertainment editor for Labrys magazine, and is always a visible, staunch advocate for musicians, causes and people she loves.
That perspective remains the name of the game at Ides of Pride on Saturday.
The afternoon show outside at Frogs Cantina features The Sexual Side Effects—a “trans super band” with frontwoman Amber Taylor (bottom photo) that now includes the bass stylings of Angela “Bucky” Motter. This is the first show since the recently buffed Motter, a popular solo act in his own right for years, joined the group.
Rabble-rousing gay mayoral candidate Kyle Keyser will be in attendance as well, shaking hands and talking up his campaign. Opening act I’m Chinese (they’re not) is straight—which is more than OK, Xanna says.
“I really try to promote gay musicians, but I also believe in sharing with straight bands and exposing both to new audiences,” she says. “We should combine demographics and make sure everybody reaches as many new people as possible.
“Once they hear us, they’re going to like us.”
Another thing you’ll like on Saturday is the beer and prizes. Hey, who doesn’t? Just $10 buys a bottomless beer cup, and of course the whole Frogs menu is at your disposal. The original idea for prizes earmarked for a raffle was too boring, though.
“Now it’s apple-bobbing for prizes emceed by Ray Matheson [formerly Ruby Redd],” Xanna says. “I wanted people to do something.”
Ever the advocate, the Ides of Pride benefits a rock and roll music camp for girls.
“It’s no coincidence that it benefits Girls Rock Camp,” Xanna assures. “People put guitars in the hands of little boys, but don’t always do that for little girls. We want to help do that.”