“100% Trans Jews”

The band’s name is Schmekel and they play klezmer-core punk. Oh yes. If they’re playing any gigs while I’m in NYC I will be at one.

The music itself merges traditional klezmer scales and rhythms with the aggressive energy of early gay punk bands like Pansy Division.

If the musical satirist Tom Lehrer were to write a hard-core anthem about sex reassignment surgery, with a driving guitar lick, a “Hava Nagila” breakdown and a keyboard line lifted from Super Mario Brothers, it might approximate the Schmekel sound.

Schmekel means “little penis” in Yiddish. And people wonder why I like hanging out with trans guys.

Helen Boyd

is the author of My Husband Betty and She's Not the Man I Married.


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