in which Stargirl grows up

Let’s start with a sad story: Once upon a time, in a town called Chicago, a girl named Mackenzi Lee worked for a lovely company called National Public Radio. National Public Radio was a good and generous company, who gave Mackenzi many wonderful things. Including a free ticket to Lolapaloza, where Mackenzi would get the chance to see one of her all-time, most favorite ever bands – Florence + The Machine. Tragically, time was not on her side, and Lolapalooza somehow happened at the exact same time as her friend Sondhein’s visit to Chicago. And since Mackenzi Lee only had one ticket, and didn’t want to leave Sondheim out in the cold1, she opted not to go. Mackenzi Lee is a very good friend.

However, this meant that she didn’t get to see Florence + The Machine. And that made her sad.

However, this story has a happy ending. Because yesterday, at last2, I found myself at the Comcast Theater, waiting to see Florence + The Machine.

And friends, it was good enough that it was worth the wait.

On a note that seems unrelated, this weekend, I found myself writing an essay about the novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. In my opinion, everyone should read it. Stargirl is one of the great achievements in modern young adult literature. If you haven’t read it, go immediately to your local library, pick up a copy, then don’t even go home, just sit down on a bench outside the library and read it. It will only take you an hour – it’s a quick read. I’ll wait.

Okay, are you back? Good.

Even if you haven’t read the book, the point is that the most wonderful part about the book is the main character, Stagirl’s insistence on being totally true to herself at all times.

I am pretty sure Stargirl grew up, dyed her hair red, and became an internationally renowned singer named Florence Welch.

concert photography is hard, okay!!

Florence Welch is a force of nature, because she is unique. It’s like she’s from another planet. She is part nymph, part goddess, part siren. To quote the lovely Laini Taylor, she moves like poetry and smiles like a sphinx. Her songs are about seahorses and demons. She wears floor-length skirts and performs barefoot. She skips around the stage, moves to her song like she is some wood elf lost from her tribe, but totally content to just dance around the forest until they find her. She is Stargirl, all grown up.

Florence is outstanding. You can’t take your eyes off of her. Yeah, she has an extraordinary voice. But it is how she moves, it’s how she presents herself. Her confidence. She is totally herself, the kind of self that if she walked down the street and wasn’t famous, people would probably cross to the other side.

But they don’t. They cheer her. They scream her lyrics. They dance when she tells them to dance.

You all know how I feel about spending money to support the sort of things I want to fill the world with. And I want to tell the world I want more people like Florence Welch, who are not afraid to be themselves. I want to celebrate people who are true to themselves. It made me so happy last night, to see so many people embrace Florence Welch and her wild personality and the art that comes from it, and love her for it.

So thank you, Florence Welch, for being exactly who you are. For being beautiful, and making beautiful art, and inspiring so many people with that beauty. You inspire me. Thank you for an amazing show.

  1. Or rather leave her out in the heat.
  2. At long freaking last.
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