My origin story...
This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned my birth name and alter ego together in print. I’ve done a fucking stellar job at leading a double life- one as Militia Vox - a "powerhouse" hard rock + heavy metal artist and Stephanie Lippman who does “respectable gigs”- musical theater, ‘blackup singing’ for celebrities, commercial acting / singing work, moonlighting in a sparkly evening gown with big bands at upscale events.
Both have healthy careers, tour internationally and have sung with their idols. I’ve managed to keep my Stephanie life / work separate from my superhero alias FOR 20 YEARS. This reveal is frightening, so I knew it had to be done.
I hid my Selina Kyle-eque identity and was reborn in NYC as Militia (my Catwoman) in 2000. It was a choice I made to assure the rock and metal community that I was an authentic artist. I didn’t want to have to have that image clouded or have to explain the other work that was doing because I knew it would be misunderstood. As we all know, the rock and metal community can be finicky and I was already faced with having to win supporters and media and industry gatekeepers and show them that I’m the real deal even though my sex and skin color made them doubt me.
My alma mater and the acting/theater world was rough with my heart and mind – heavy music gave me an outlet to scream out my anger and frustrations of being the consummate outsider and gave me the means to cope. I had played by the rules until I couldn’t anymore- my art and purpose meant more to me than protocol.
The Boston Globe recently printed an article about me and my harrowing experience at The Boston Conservatory. The piece is well-written (Thanks Diti and Linda!) - it was on the front page of the paper and was the #1 story on The Boston Globe online for a week. (Link below) There’s a lot of info to digest here. Unfortunately, 4 key points were left out:
1: “The loophole” that is referenced is The Copyright Act of 1976 that ASCAP offered to me as a lifeline and legal copyright protection for the revue. Getting their written approval infuriated Neil Donohoe, who was livid that I had gone over his head- which ultimately caused the expulsion.
2: The other reason why I bit the bullet and did the revue was because there was a theater full of not just students and faculty but parents that had flown in from all over to finally see their kid in a production at the school – there was a responsibility there, I couldn’t let them go home without seeing SOMETHING- the cast was all there in costume, the band was warmed up and ready. I knew the potential consequences, but I stick by what I did and I know I did the right thing. Drama schools do songs and music from plays all day; No copyrights are obtained. It’s for educational purposes, not for profit or public presentation. This was no different.
3: There was a specific conversation that went down when I directed a controversial race play at the school, “The Dutchman” by Imiri Baraka. This occurred before Rocky Horror and solidified my place at the top of the school shitlist. I was pulled out of class and confronted angrily by an administrator, who barked, “Why did you bring THIS ELEMENT into our school? Why couldn’t you do a nice dinner table comedy?” Because there are no records of this sad attempt at intimidation, it didn’t make the article.
4. Neil told teachers to fail me or not grade me (incomplete) in other classes to make sure that I would have no chance in graduating that year. One of my teachers (Dr Jane Baldwin) called me, in tears, because Neil told her to not grade my final paper or else she would lose her job. Other teachers were told a similar rap. My transcripts reflect his best efforts to smear my final grades. This is why I did not want to go back to finish the following year!
There was no way to tell this story without revealing myself- my name, my past, my age (all things that the industry deems as problematic!) I have nothing to prove about my talents as an artist to industry gatekeepers- I’m here to stay and they can choose to acknowledge me or not. But one thing is undeniable – I have established myself in this business, DIY, on my terms. And THAT is fucking metal.
READ IT HERE: