An ode to k.d. lang on Pee-Wee's Christmas Special
AKA the first time I ever had Gender Feelings
I have watched Pee-Wee's Christmas Special at least once a year since its original airing. I went from a warbly home recording, to a DVD copy, to ripping the DVD and now it lives on my computer to watch whenever I feel like.
My absolute favorite part of the special has always been k.d. lang's rendition of Jingle Bell Rock. Not just because she delivers what is probably the greatest iteration of that song ever to be recorded, but also because it made me Think Things as a kid.
Kid me could not tell if this performer was a boy or a girl. When Pee-Wee introduces his next guest, was he saying Katie Lang, or K-D Lang? I couldn't tell. The singer's voice was deeper than most female singers I had heard, but able to hit notes higher than any boy. Much to think about.
But the most captivating part to me was this mysterious person's look: If this is a boy, they're wearing a dress! If this a girl, they have very short hair! I found either of these concepts extremely interesting as a kid. Before Pee-Wee's Christmas Special, I had never had these ideas presented to me. And no one in the playhouse ever comments on it. Whether this was a boy in a dress or a girl with short hair, everyone seems pretty chill with it. Hell, it's the most fun they've had all year (AAAH!).
Anyway, it's almost Christmas, I've watched this special twice now this season, and I've been meaning to write a little something about it for a while now.
So, thanks k.d. lang, for being the first step on my long road of thought and feelings about gender.
And thanks Paul Reubens for making the greatest holiday special ever. If you've never seen it, you totally should. It's on Youtube in two great flavors: very HD, and very chockablock with 80s commercials.