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Anything for a Weird Life

Letter of Recommendation: Suzanne Doogan

To Whom it May Concern, This letter of recommendation is written for Suzanne Doogan, a member in good standing of many years in the music and arts underground of Baltimore City.

Photo credit: Paul SodolakPhoto credit: Paul Sodolak

In a scene such as the one in Baltimore, folks have many opportunities to stand out. Suzanne quickly did so. One evening at a Baltimore basement show, Suzanne took the stage to read some poems and to perform a cover song.

Their cover, of Nirvana’s Scentless Apprentice”, managed to contain the song’s essence while taking it in an entirely new direction. Suzanne, using only a snare drum and their voice, made the song come alive in a new way. My impression? As Julez Santana once put it, THIS is what the game’s been missing!” I became pro-Suzanne in all things, and sought more performances, poetry chapbooks, music, and recordings. From then on, if I saw Suzanne when I looked to the east”, I knew all was going to be well at whatever event I attended. The vibes would not be off.

Suzanne’s undimmable energy permeates all that they create. There is a deep resistance to form that I soon became attuned to in their body of work. I had become a fan of their project MEMS and looked forward to their next show, assuming that they would continue in the trajectory of a musical group. By that show, they were instead performing a play as their set. I was surprised and delighted by this turn, being reminded of the I have no idea what I am going to see” energy of a Lexie Mountain Boys performance. When you go see Suzanne, the gates are open in the best way.

[Editor’s Note: We’re also especially fond of Suzanne’s first band, Boy Spit, and her contributions to Deterritorial Audio Magazine]

During these recent trying times, Suzanne is especially to be lauded for working with others to find ways to have shows safely. I have now become accustomed to shows in backyards and at urban farms thanks to Suzanne, who is often working the door and tending to logistics at these events. My favorite performance was given in a public park somewhere around the shore of a lake. I had to wander around, hope I was heading in the right direction, and stumble upon the performances. Many folks at this show had not been to one in a very long time. Some joggers were confused.

For this and many other reasons, I recommend Suzanne Doogan for your show, project, artistic collaboration, or other creative activity without reservation. During this Pandemic, the light in the underground had to dim, sure, but Suzanne was one of many folks who has carried the torch despite it and throughout. I remain a fan.

For all things Suzanne Doogan, here is a place to start. I have found it vital to follow Suzanne on Instagram in order to keep up with their activities.

Tim Kabara

IG: @kim_tabara

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