DFW Music News

North Texas Ties to Capitol Protest Include 'Disappointed' Musicians and Straight Pride Organizers

Three people showed up to the Straight Pride Parade in Dallas in 2019. Now two of them are facing charges for storming the Capitol.
Three people showed up to the Straight Pride Parade in Dallas in 2019. Now two of them are facing charges for storming the Capitol. Lucas Manfield
Some people will show up to the opening of an envelope. Such is the case, it appears, with Mark Sahady and Brandon Navom from Massachusetts, who were recently called out on social media for answering President Donald Trump’s call to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Navom and Sahady have a history of fighting for worthless causes. Dallas had the pleasure of hosting them as attendees of a “straight pride” parade that took place in Dallas in November 2019, exclusively attended by three people, including its organizer, Teresa Stephens Richenberger.

When the pair flew in from Boston then, they were met with less of a protest and more of what you'd just refer to as "any other Saturday:" a group of three people strolling the streets of downtown while proud of their heterosexuality when no one even asked.

We even offered some totally sincere advice on how to put together a more successful straight pride event in the future.

The group had intended to rally a crowd of 2,000 people clamoring, presumably, for the right to remain straight. The event was canceled because it was strikingly stupid to begin with because of low attendance, but the disproportionately proud-to-have-straight-sex Navom and Sahady were so committed to celebrating their heterosexuality that they made the trip anyway.

But, at least one shit-stirring rally would be in the cards for the pair. Navom and Sahadi are members of Super Happy Fun America, which organized a better-attended Straight Pride Parade last year in Boston, and last week, they were among the throng of President Donald Trump supporters protesting at the Capitol, demanding Congress "stop the steal."

We’ve reached out to Super Happy Fun America but have not heard back.

In the past five days, several arrests have been made in a concerted effort by the FBI to find those who smashed their way into the Capitol to trespass, vandalize and terrorize those inside. (We don't have any knowledge that either of the two men entered the Capitol themselves.)

Many of those arrests have become viral stories, as Capitol crashers were filmed being pulled off airplanes by police — as they were put on “no fly” lists — or because they were turned in by loved ones. A Grapevine man was arrested after his ex-wife reported him to authorities, and a teenager reported her mother, aunt and uncle for harassing a Black woman at the rally after she recognized them in a video published online.

Another notable attendee of the Capitol rallies was indie musician Ariel Pink, who has since publicly
defended his decision.

“This is stupid as fuck.” – Musician Stefan Gonzalez referring to Ariel Pink's tweet about attending the Stop the Steal rally

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"i was in dc to peacefully show my support for the president. i attended the rally on the white house lawn and went back to hotel and took a nap. case closed," he tweeted on Thursday.

Pink — and his companion at the rallies, longtime collaborator John Maus — have since received ample backlash for their choice to attend an event that resulted in a handful of deaths along with injuries to 50 police officers.

Some of those critics are in Dallas band Yells at Eels, who have worked with Pink on several albums.

Stefan Gonzalez is in Yells at Eels with his father, Dennis Gonzalez, and brother Aaron Gonzalez. The family is a legacy band in Dallas, multi-Dallas Observer Music Awards winners and prominent figures in the jazz and experimental scenes.

On Thursday, Stefan shared a screenshot of Pink’s tweet on his Facebook page, adding to the post: “this is stupid as fuck,” and “How embarrassing. Stay away from the Gonzalez family you slimy, rich, fascist sympathizing fuckhead.”

Pink first met the Gonzalez family close to a decade ago, Stefan says, through a music blog. The musicians have played with Pink on several occasions.

“I’m ashamed of that association now, obviously,” Stefan, who uses pronouns they/them, tells the Observer. They explain that they were not familiar with Pink’s politics until they read the news that he’d attended the rally.

“It totally blindsided me,” Stefan says. “It’s very disappointing."

Stefan found it particularly problematic considering Pink's work is in underground and experimental genres, a culture that hardly goes hand-in-hand with anti-anti-fascism.

"I think it's disgusting in, like, white privilege at play," Stefan continues. "This person [is] from Beverly Hills."

As others have pointed out, Stefan believes the outcome of the riots would've been different had the cause been a, well, more worthy one.

"It could have potentially been a massacre if people had stormed the building for, like, real social justice issues," Stefan says. "The kind of carnage that could have ensued had it been people fighting for a more valiant cause Iike Black Lives Matter or LGBT rights or, you know, various things. You know, that shit wouldn't have gone the same way."

Aaron Gonzalez, who’s worked on three of Pink’s albums, partly echoes his sibling’s sentiment.

"I'm proud of those records, but in terms of Ariel Pink's career, our contribution to it is largely a footnote," he says. "I'm not gonna disavow my association with him because, really, I don't really have much of an association. I was commissioned to play bass on some records, is basically what it boils down to."

"It's pretty shitty that he attended that fucking rally, I guess," Aaron continues. "You know, I don't particularly associate with the kind of people that wants to attend that kind of a rally, much less the biggest ... a very large, destructive one of historical import whose main function was to disenfranchise voters. If that's how Ariel Pink feels, well, then, that sucks."
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio