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Athens Boys Choir

February 20, 2013

Athens Boys Choir

The name Athens Boys Choir may be a bit deceiving to describe a one-man operation, but you can’t blame a Jewish Transsexual, who came into manhood in the Deep South, for having a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. Harvey Katz, the solo member of this multimedia word-centric experience, travels the country speaking “the good word”; throwing down hard-hitting spoken word poetry and homo-hop to eager queers and allies everywhere.

In addition to his spoken word, Athens Boys Choir is also known for his hilarious parody raps. Katz has a playful and witty approach to challenging mainstream normative ideas and ideals about gender, sexuality and personal politics.

Athens Boys Choir has been touring nationally since 2003, performing for audiences that are becoming more diverse everyday. You don’t have to be a spoken word enthusiast to enjoy the lyrical stylings of the Athens Boys Choir.

With five CD’s already released, Katz/The Athens Boys Choir has established himself as a force in the spoken-word/queer/pop culture/homo-hop movement; you choose how it moves you. His latest release, Heartstrings and Hamstrings, was the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and it’s a great capstone to Katz’s body of work.

1. What is your hometown?

Well I grew up in Miami but never felt at home until I moved to Athens, Georgia. I was supposed to be there for one night but I stayed for 12 years. Now I live in Brooklyn, NY and I looooooove it here.

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Almost every role Rick Moranis has ever played. His roles are always those of a dreamer who ends up in strange pickles. I’m part Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors, and part Gozer in Ghostbusters. Just a little guy looking for love. A plant and animal enthusiast.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Frances McDormand (crossing fingers). She’s such a badass. I want to be played by a badass like that. Heightwise, I’m a Danny Devito but inside of me a Frances McDormand lies in wait.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

This is a hard one. There’s an old Zine called Salivation Army. It’s a Zine out of Toronto and the final one in the series was made as a film. It’s a gorgeous piece of art. It’s raw and sexy and super gay. Visually compelling and brutally honest.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

I’m currently reading several books which makes me a master of none. I’m reading “When we were Outlaws” by Jeanne Cordova which is a memoir of a Butch Lesbian activist in the 70’s. So far it’s been fascinating. I’m learning a ton.

I’m also reading about 1000 pages of letters that my grandpa sent my grandma while they were courting and after they got married and he was drafted into the Navy and on into his years fighting in WWII. It’s a love story and super interesting because I only have his letters to her and not her letters to him. He died when I was 2 so this is sort of a belated introduction to a man I never knew.

Lastly, I’m re-reading “Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim” by David Sedaris. I’m getting into storytelling now and he is an excellent story teller.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

I’m mostly listen to podcasts these days, making me remarkably uncool but full of fun facts. My favorites are Risk and Porchlight (story telling series) but I also love This American Life, Stuff you should know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and Radio Lab. For music, I let Pandora do the shuffling. My top stations are Brother Ali, Roger Miller (Old Country), and Santigold.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

I watched “Pitch Perfect” on a plane last week and found myself disturbingly moved by an acapella version of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”. Hey, I’m just speaking my truth.

8. Cat person or dog person?

Dog! I’m too needy for a cat. I need a animal that won’t make me work for it.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

kindness…no truth… kindness? That is the hardest question ever!

10. How do you define sin?

Certainly it’s not sodomy or stealing from Target. I don’t think you can sin against yourself but I do think you can sin against others. I guess I think a sin is an intentional and unnecessary attempt to hurt others. Guilty as Charged.

11. How do you define virtue?

Boy, y’all are getting deep here. I guess virtue is following your conscience through the undesirable shit.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

Its made of some old wood and just says “Till we meet again…maybe”

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

I’d like to see the lighter side of Jodie Foster. Also, I’m dying to know if Richard Simmons is a cat or a dog person.

Athens Boys Choir

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