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18. Januar 2023 um 16:00

Winterrede Brandy Butler: «A Scene for Three Voices»

Es ist wieder soweit: Das Debattierhaus Karl der Grosse lädt zur alljährlichen Ausgabe der «Winterreden» ein. Verstummt der Glockenschlag des Grossmünsters um 18 Uhr, beginnt vom 16. bis 27. Januar 2023 eine Winterrede. Jeweils eine Persönlichkeit aus Politik, Kultur oder Kunst spricht aus dem Erkerfenster des Karls. Du hast die Winterrede verpasst? Bei uns kannst du sie nachlesen!

Sarah Palin, Sascha Rijkeboer und Brandy Butler im Erkerfenster vom Karl der Grosse. (Foto: Alexandra Li)

Winterreden: A scene for three voices

Written by: Brandy Butler (with help from friends as all good stories are)

Setting:  a balcony extending from Karl der Grosse, in the Niederdorf 

Zürich Switzerland

Voice 1: Brandy Butler

Voice 2: Sarah Palin

Voice 3: Sascha Rijkeboer

Voice 1: Good evening. My name is Brandy Butler. For those who don’t know me. I am a genderqueer performer, activist, educator and parent. I am here tonight to tell you a story… Can I be honest with you for a second? Seriously,  I am struggling. Not because I don’t have something to say. Of course, I have something to say. I can say things. We all can say «things.» Right?

It’s just that I wanted to say more «things» to you. I wanted to tell you a story. A really great story.  Oh no… damn it... I can see it. Your eyes just lit up. «Tell me a story Brandy, Tell me a story!» I can hear your excitement all the way up here.

I am sorry. I can’t. I mean I won’t. I mean the thing is I just don’t know which story to tell. So many things have happened in the last months, let alone the last few years. Where do I even begin? «What’s the story?»

Voice 2: «Am 17. 12. 2020, haben wir, Brandy Butler, Sarah Palin und Sascha Rijkeboer unsere Teilnahme am Event «Winterreden» des Debattenhauses «Karl der Grosse» öffentlich abgesagt. Wir wollten damit ein Zeichen setzen dafür, dass wir keine Plattform mit Stimmen teilen möchten, die sich inhärent gegen uns positionieren. Vielmehr möchten wir auch darauf aufmerksam machen, dass es Positionen gibt, die wir nicht debattieren möchten, weil sie menschenfeindlich sind. Das Debattenhaus hat daraufhin unsere Positionen neu besetzt und kein Statement abgegeben. Mit diesem offenen Brief möchten wir erneut darauf hinweisen, dass wir ein solches Nebeneinander, bei dem sich die eine Partei für ihre Existenz rechtfertigen muss, nicht unterstützen.»

Winterrede im Karl der Grosse. (Foto: Alexandra Li)

Voice 1: Wait what? No no no. That is not the story, or at least not the story I wanted to tell today. Every good story starts with an inciting action, a specific event that kicks off the main plot by forcing the main character into it. It’s not that. That is not… that. 

An inciting action makes a story more interesting, and based on that principle… what you just said is a non-story. BORING. 

Voice 3: Is it a non-story? You got called a fascist. 

Voice 1: What? who called me fascist?

Voice 2: That guy who took your place for the winterreden.

Voice 3: you don’t think someone calling you a fascist is an inciting action? 

Voice 1: Sure it’s an inciting action, a quite effective one at that. But I was looking for something a little more «classical»,  more... traditional. Like... the letter from the king and queen sent to cinderella’s house announcing the ball, or…

Voice 3: oooooor… when Gessler made the citizens of Altdorf salute his hat attached to a pole! I got it! I got it! Let me try it a different way. «Once upon a traditional time, you got called a fascist.» Does that work?

Voice 1: No it does not work, because FIRST of all I am not a fascist.  

Voice 2: «Nooo not that you ARE a fascist, you got CALLED one!»

Voice 3:  Is it important to know what they mean? Fascists are just a good story. I’mean… listen to this! (lol) 

Voice 2: Am Sonntag nun veröffentlichte die Gruppierung ein Video, in dem sie die Hintergründe ihrer Störaktion erklären will. In dem Video sprechen zwei Mitglieder, «Tobi» und «Manu». Insbesondere wird eine der Veranstalterinnen der Show, Brandy Butler, kritisiert, da sie eine «gender-ideologische und links-dogmatische Persönlichkeit» sei. Einem grösseren Publikum ist sie aus «The Voice of Switzerland» bekannt. Neben Butler seien auch die Dragqueens «keine unbeschriebenen Blätter», da diese in «dubiosen Kreisen» unterwegs seien oder «in zwielichtigen Kollektiven» mitwirkten. 

Voice 3: Omg! I didn’t know you were in Voice of Switzerland, Brandy!

Voice 1: Can we please stop talking about facism and nazis and The Voice of Switerland?! Please?  

Voice 3: That story is super easy to tell. Since you don’t have a story, you can just use theirs. They even made you into their story. 

Voice 2: [mumbling] I still can not get over the fact Brandy was in Voice of Switzerland.

Voice 3: I don’t want to be their story AND I didn’t say I don’t have a story. (Pause)  I said: I. don’t. know. which. story. to. tell! Which is the right one to share with them?  And of course, I am not trying to tell «a» story. I want to tell «The» story. «The» story that every single person here can relate to because we all have the same shared experience. 

Voice 3: I think the best thing to do is have a «publikums gipfel»…

Voice 1: No even better, we can take a vote! Then we can decide collectively what is the story that we want to hear. 

Voice 3: Ok. Sounds fair. and democratic!

Voice 2: Sounds swiss. 

Voice 3: I’m for Willhem Tell, but told as a Cinderella’s Story

Voice 2: Willhem Tell? Seriously? 

Voice 3: William Tell fought against a fascist dictator. That’s why everyone loves the story. I tried to tell you that before, fascists…

Voice 1: I am for Little Red Riding Hood. We have the bad wolf dressing up as a woman to lure a child into bed.

Voice 2: JK Rowling must love it!

Voice 3: What about the Ugly Duckling. «Das Hässliche Entlein.» He doesn’t look like us. That’s reason enough for us to bite him.  

Voice 1: Everybody loves Pocahantas! *sings Colors of the wind*

Voice 2: Gaahhh… Let’s just vote!

Voice 3: YES! Let’s vote!

Voice 1: STOP. Enough... I have something in mind. 

Sarah, Sascha und Brandy am Dienstagabend im Karl der Grosse. (Foto: Alexandra Li)

Voice 1:

Once upon time

There was a city.

In this city were large grey concrete buildings. Blue Trams as far as the eye could see, and a long, wide golden street that led right to a large body of water.

In this city was me. 

I lived here.  

There was also you. 

Simultaneously, We both lived here.

Sometimes you and I did things. 

Usually we did things separately, alone. Jogged the length of the river. Went to a cafe and stared out the large glass windows.

Often you did things with others. Rode the bus to work. Sat in the parks in the late summer evening hours.  

All sometimes….sometimes we all did things together, 

and when we did 

there was US.

Most importantly there were places where WE all could all go 

where stories were archived, and held through the ages.  

In these places, stories were written, or sung into the air.  danced across our bodies. We harbored them in rooms and hung them, and sometimes even sprayed them across walls. We called them art. 

Through art, We knew more about each other than we did before. And this was good.

Sometimes you didn’t like my story.

 «Where am I?» you asked.

«I can’t see myself in your story.» 

«Not everything is about you and that’s ok.» I replied [lovingly]

But you got scared. 

If you were not always in the story, where were you? If no one wrote this story for you, who were you? 

We sighed. You and I paused and heard travellers rattling by their suitcases along the cobblestones of the city streets.  

It’s nice to be the center of the story, but isn’t it just as rich to hear one: To listen to the words and hear them sung into the air. To let them dance across your body or hear their echo on the big carpet of cobblestones underneath your feet and let me share them from... for example: a balcony. 

«Thank you.» You said

So we wrote a new story.

THE END