Q&A: Hitting Back

Brandi Carlile reacts to last year’s South Park tragedy with a self-defense campaign for women.

In the wake of the murder of the Gits' Mia Zapata, members of Seattle's music community banded together to form the self-defense group Home Alive. But Home Alive is on hiatus, so after Teresa Butz was killed and her partner seriously injured by an attacker in their South Park home last year, Brandi Carlile called the Indigo Girls, whom she's opened for and become friendly with, to talk about how to fill the void.They came up with the "Fight the Fear" campaign, which will facilitate self-defense courses for women in the city. Carlile, who's recorded critical and commercial successes like last year's Give Up the Ghost, called us as she was driving down I-5 to chat about the effort. An extended version of the conversation is available on our music blog at seattleweekly.com/reverb.SW: Is the self-defense issue more critical for the LGBTQ community than for straights?Carlile: No. It's one of many different communities that we're targeting. I do believe that everybody in the LGBTQ community is at a certain amount of risk for violence and just for physical-boundary issues. I think that it's important to look at all communities in the women's community. Our courses are going to hopefully benefit homeless women, battered women, seniors, homeless kids, youth. And the LGBTQ community is just one of those organizations.Is there a reason the kickoff event was only for members of the LGBTQ community?Each class will be [tailored] to the demographic that it's being taught to. For instance, the vision- and hearing-impaired class will be [specifically] relevant within that community.How long have you been involved with self-defense?Never.You're not into karate or anything?No, but I'm scrappy.Do you plan on taking any of the courses yourself?I don't know. That's a good question. I'll definitely be observing them.So, you don't have personal-security issues yourself, then?No, I don't think I do. If I felt compelled to, I think I would [take the classes]. I can kick the twins' [sidemen Tim and Phil Hanseroth] asses, so I think I'm covered.Are you gonna bring this project on the road with the Lilith Fair this summer?I don't think so. This is kind of a Seattle-based project. We're not even talking about expansion until we see how this year feels.ckornelis@seattleweekly.com

 
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