Beth Ditto: Turning coal to diamonds on stage and the runwayon October 5, 2012 @ 3:07 pm (Updated: 9:33 am - 10/10/12 )
When Beth Ditto and Gossip roll into Seattle next week to play the Showbox, it'll bring back plenty of fond memories for the plus-sized diva who's become an icon of sorts in pop music and fashion.
"Sometimes I have to remind myself of the younger Beth," she said in a phone interview. "I remember just touring in a van and hoping to make enough to pay rent when we got home. And now I have to keep track of it because so many people are depending on you for a payroll."
Ditto was just 18 when she moved from Arkansas to Olympia along with her band mates and threw herself into the burgeoning music scene that spawned fiercely feminist bands like Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill.
Over the years the band and the openly gay Beth would evolve from fiery queer punk to dance pop, ultimately signing a big label contract with Columbia. At the same time, she became a figurehead in the fashion world, hanging with the like of Versace in Milan.
Now, she's telling her story in an unapologetic, no holds barred memoir called "Coal to Diamonds," coming out October 11th.
"Yeah, it is pro-fat, it is pro-choice, it's all of the things that I am," she said. But also it's this idea that you run your life and you can get out and you can do more than anyone ever thought you could."
Ditto painfully recounts the abuse heaped upon her as a young, overweight openly gay girl in a small Arkansas town. She said she hopes it can inspire others the way she was inspired when she first moved to Olympia 13 years ago.
"The idea of giving back to the ten years before me that made it possible to be the person that I look like, the person that was ostracized, to make that in the mainstream context is really important to me."
Gossip plays the Showbox at the Market Tuesday October 9th. Listen to Seattle Sounds Saturday night at 7 p.m. for your chance to win tickets to the show.
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