When Lena Dunham announced that she was coming to Seattle as part of the promotional tour for her book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” she put out a call for local artists to audition to be her opening act.
Dunham wanted artists with “a devout following, but no national reach.”
Seattle’s Mindie Lind, a pianist, singer/songwriter and member of the band Inly, was all over it.
“Of course I was gonna send my video,” Lind, 31, said the other day of her performance of the song, “Lowlands.”
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“And that’s all they really wanted,” she said. “They didn’t leave room for kissing ass or telling the good folks at www.lenadunham.com how special you are. Just straightforward click bits and be done.”
Oh, but Lind is pretty special. She was born without legs, and is evolved enough to see that as “an act of creativity to get around places and opinions that don’t suit your body.
“It’s a bit like magic, learning that you could use a skateboard instead of legs,” she said. “Having no legs is about opportunity, and not as much about lack.”
That magic, and talent, also helped Lind beat out 90 other entries in the “Pianos in the Parks” video contest, which won her a spot at the final installment of “Concerts at the Mural” sponsored by KEXP and Seattle Center last summer.
Dunham was initially called out by Gawker for not paying the artists opening for her, while she was collecting $28 per ticket. (Her reading, at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the University Temple United Methodist Church is sold out, but brokers are charging as much as $106 per general-admission seat.)
Dunham responded (on Twitter, of course) that she was paying the artists after all. An oversight to which Lind paid no mind.
“I did not click on the call for local talent to get paid,” she said, adding that the “main” controversy is that the Internet “is full of folks just waiting for the next big ‘mess up’ so they can make some money off it.”
Dunham heard the criticisms, agreed they made sense and learned from it.
“I don’t understand how someone couldn’t like Lena Dunham,” Lind said, citing her accomplishments as a writer, director and actor of the HBO series “Girls.”
“Do other people do that a lot and I just don’t know about it?” Lind asked. “It’s prolific, impressive and, most of all, it’s outstanding work.”
Lind isn’t sure what she hopes to come from winning the coveted opening spot.
“The community high-five for (the ‘Lowlands’ video) and for this opportunity has been awesome and fun,” she said, “and that’s already more than I thought would come of it.
“My heart sometimes feels cold and black, and that kind of support softens me right up.”
A “Kinky” career
Of course she’s put boots on. Of course she’s walked around in them.
“Honestly,” Cyndi Lauper said, “I have always loved high heels. I just wish they didn’t hurt so much.
“But you can’t beat those red boots from the show!”
Indeed, the “Kinky Boots” that just stomped into Seattle the other week — and will stay through Oct. 26 at the 5th Avenue Theatre — have been very, very good to the wild-haired, Queens-bred singer-songwriter and (I’ll say it because I was there) ’80s darling, who answered a few questions for me via email.
Lauper, 61 (what?!?), won a Tony Award for best original score last year for her shine on “Kinky Boots,” which also won five other Tonys, including best musical.
(That means there’s another Tony in town; 5th Avenue board members Tom and Connie Walsh were co-producers of “Kinky Boots” and brought home their gold.)
The play is based on the true story of the owner of a shoe factory who turns his struggling business around by making footwear for drag queens.
But it’s also a story of changed attitudes, tolerance and love. Something we’ve done pretty well with here in Seattle. But we’re not like everywhere else.
“ ‘Kinky Boots’ needs to tour everywhere,” Lauper said. “There are still so many states in America that teach intolerance and bigotry through their laws, and we hear horror stories about people being beat up or even killed because they’re different.
“The messages of ‘Kinky Boots’ — accepting others not like you and that we all have value and together we can change the world to be a beautiful place just by agreeing to live on the same planet — are important for everyone to see.
“If our little musical can spread that word, then we know we did what we set out to do. Love one another! Let’s work together to make positive changes.”
There’s also a message of breaking new ground, no matter your age.
“Kinky Boots” is Lauper’s first musical, for which she won her first Tony — and became the first woman to win in the composing category on her own.
She also became the first artist in more than 25 years to top the dance charts with a Broadway single; and Lauper was awarded the Grammy for best musical theater album for “Kinky Boots.” (Thank you, Wikipedia!)
“So maybe it’s the universe telling me I should do more theater?” Lauper asked. “I do hope to do more Broadway in the very near future.”
You read it here.
Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or email@example.com.