Amoeblog

Amoeblog Interview with Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp

Posted by Billyjam, June 12, 2013 10:47am | Post a Comment
Kalyn Heffernan and Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC) are currently in the midst of their intense two-month, cross-country US tour opening for Flobotson which they'll have covered 10,000 miles by the time it ends up back in WSC's home state of Colorado on June 28th and 29th. The first leg of the tour the Denver CO act played San Francisco's Cafe Du Nord which is not wheelchair accessible - something Kalyn, who has the brittle-bone disability osteogenesis imperfecta and is in a wheelchair herself, was unaware of until it was brought to her attention right before the show date. Her solution? Do an impromptu free show outside the venue for those in wheelchairs who were denied denied access. "Since this tour a lot more disabled people have been coming to see me that I've never met which is awesome to me. But it seems like the most inaccessible places is where they want to come," said Kayln who weighs just over 50 pounds and is 3 1/2 feet tall and can easily be carried up and downstairs with her small wheelchair at the SF venue and other venues that are non-wheelchair accessible.

I talked with Kalyn via emails back last month at the time of the Bay Area WSC date for an Amoeblog. And last week (June 4th), when Wheelchair Sports Camp arrived in New York City for their gig at Santos Party House, I caught up with the rapper/producer who loves to smoke the weed, clearly loves life and music, and proudly sports a CRIP LIFE tattoo on her stomach. When we met up the upbeat good-humored Kalyn was wearing a black T-shirt with the bold pink lettered message "Blow up dolls, Not countries." The video interview was conducted with Kalyn just as she had arrived with her crew (including her longtime girlfriend and assistant on the road Jennah Black - pictured above) outside and round the corner from the downtown Chinatown district Manhattan club before their concert - which was off the hook.

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Wheelchairs Sports Camp Take It To The Wheelchair-Accessible Streets Of San Francisco for Last Minute Free Show

Posted by Billyjam, May 19, 2013 02:12pm | Post a Comment

As reported here in the latest weekly Amoeblog Hip-Hop Rap Up Colorado's Wheelchair Sports Camp (WSC), who got added at the last minute to a one-month national tour supporting the Flobots, got booked into the non-wheelchair accessible Cafe Du Nord - something that appears to be an honest oversight by the promoter/booker and or the club, given the last minute nature of WSC been added to the tour. Regardless the oversight caused somewhat of an uproar among the many wheelchair using fans of WSC who cannot make it into the show featuring krip hop star Kalyn Hefferernan along the percussionist she is touring with this time out.  Since earlier in the week Kalyn had been scrambling to try and find an alternate space (I was among those trying to locate somewhere) to do a wheelchair accessible free show in San Francisco this afternoon. But when nothing had materialized by this morning the ever resourceful Hefferenan announced plans to do an impromptu, free pre-show on the sidewalk outside the Market Street, San Francisco club at 4pm this afternoon. See just made flyer left about the last minute show that proudly proclaims "The More Wheelchairs The Better."

A little earlier today I caught up with Kalyn. "I'm usually good at posting whether or not venues are wheelchair accessible but because it was so many shows [on the heavily booked one month tour] and getting ready for the road was so nuts I haven't had the chance to find that out for every venue. I didn't realize the San Francisco show was inaccessible until a few crips hit me up disappointed they couldn't come," she said stressing that, "As a disabled rapper I can't shit on my people! I know what it's like to be excluded from a venue and it blows. I tried to find a way to do a show in a more venue type setting but it was so last minute we figured just take it to the streets!" This is good news to disabled Bay Area fans who, said Kaylyn, were initially "understandably pissed that I'm playing an inaccessible venue in the first place." She added that, "Because my band is support and was added on after all shows were booked I didn't have a say in where we played. And I'm lucky to be small so I can be carried up and down more easily than most. Eventually I hope I have enough leverage to play only accessible shows. This is a great way to start the conversation on how to deal with unaccessible venues."

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FILM ABOUT UK DISABLED PUNK BAND PREMIERES AT SXSW

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2008 07:40pm | Post a Comment

Billing themselves as the "UK's only disabled punk band" the five-member unique British rock group Heavy Load, who formed a dozen years ago -- several of whose members have learning disabilities -- and who reportedly have become cult heroes on the disability arts scene in the UK, are the subjects of a new film that will be premiering next week at the film festival part of the upcoming annual SXSW (South By South West) music and film festival in Austin, Texas.

The film is scheduled to be broadcast on television sometime this summer, according to the band's bass player Paul RIchards, who said that Heavy Load  (not to be confused with the 80's Swedish heavy metal band of the same name) are hoping to come over to the States this summer to do some dates to promote the film and connect with some disabled punk artists in the states. If you reading this know of any disabled punk or hard rock groups in the US please enter their names/contacts in the comments below, which Paul will be checking periodically. He will also be accompanying the filmmaker to SXSW next week.

Meantime, to hear some of Heavy Load's music, including the autobiographical song "We're In A Film," check out their MySpace and for more info on the documentary film about them (trailer below) click here.

For more details on the SXSW festival, which runs from March 7 to 16th, click here.