Courtesy of Billie Joe Cavallaro

Get ready: Eugene’s about to get OUT and LOUD.

The OUT/LOUD Queer Music Festival is back for its ninth year of energetic performances at WOW Hall Friday night at 8 p.m. to entertain and bring together the LGBTQ community.

Organized by the University Women’s Center, this year’s event features nationally renowned musician Bitch, poet activist Ignacio Rivera, guitarist Pamela Means, mandolin player Pegasissy and singer-songwriter Virginia Cohen.

“OUT/LOUD is an important event because it brings communities together to build solidarity and celebrate often marginalized artists. This event is key in creating a space in Eugene and the Pacific Northwest to celebrate queer people and the art that they produce,” said Siche Green-Mitchell, OUT/LOUD coordinator and senior at the University.

This year’s event boasts a headline show by Bitch, a skilled violinist who started playing at age 4 and has performed with and learned from big-name musicians such as Andrew Bird and Ani DiFranco.

“Ani is a huge influence on me. She plucked me up when I was very young and offered me a very righteous ‘go-on-with-yer-bad-self’ whisper in my ear that I have kept with me for years,” she said.

Bitch has lived a wildly successful life as a queer artist, starting her own record label called Short Story Records, performing with many talented artists and releasing multiple records by herself and with other artists such as Animal. She is currently celebrating the release of her most recent album, “Blasted!” and said her music is often informed by her gender

and sexuality.

“It has given me a sense of community and a sense of ostracism at the same time. Being a woman is the most particular thing about me. It’s in everything I do—with all its harshness and expansion—down to how I choose to express myself as a queer,” she said.

Audiences can expect a “theatrical, intimate experience” on Friday, replete with Bitch’s rocking electric violin, keytar, ukulele and bass.

Eugene local Russell Melia, better known as Pegasissy, will also be performing at tomorrow’s show. A one-man band composed of guitar, mandolin and vocals, Pegasissy likes to make pop music and have fun, although his sexuality does play a part in his performances.

“I’d like people to laugh at my jokes and have fun and go home humming. If there’s any message, I’d like to rep the fact that there are tons of different ways to be queer and to perform, and that you don’t have to do it in any certain way to do it right,” he said.

OUT/LOUD originally began as Lesbopalooza, so Pegasissy is glad that the event has gradually become more gender inclusive. His performance will certainly be entertaining, including his “queer recontextualization” covers of popular songs, such as Biggie’s “Party and Bullshit,” where he changes many of the words to address queer and identity politics.

“If you’re sensitive to bad words, you may not be interested,” he said, adding, “The wearing and throwing around of glitter is highly encouraged.”

Virginia Cohen, another local songwriter and returning OUT/LOUD musician, will sing her original songs for the crowd tomorrow night.

“Playing music, for me, has always been first and foremost a way of dealing with life. It is a way of getting through, a portal into my experience of reality and the deeper truths I find there,” she said.

Cohen majored in French at American University and spent a year in Paris, writing songs along the way, and that period of time greatly informed her music and style. She recorded her music onto a tape recorder — the year was 1984 — often singing into a bucket to get a reverb effect. The recordings may have been low-fi, but that time was crucial in finding her voice. Now, she looks forward to the OUT/LOUD show as a community gathering where she can share her love of language and melody and rhythm with a common majority.

“It is important, for me, to remember our history as queer people. To remember that even being able to have an event like this, openly, is a major triumph and demonstrates how far we have come. It goes without saying that there is still so far to go, but it is nice to have an evening to just be together, an evening where we are not actively fighting for a political cause, rather just being ourselves as we are in the world,” she said.

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