Intrepid Dance Project

Life is too short not to dance!

Intrepid Spirit Blog

Intrepid Spirit: Candye Kane by Jennifer Jonassen

Posted on May 8, 2016 at 6:35 PM

"…if i leave you with one last thing it's this: to love your bodies, love yourselves and love everyone else's body if you get the chance. It set me free to accept my big body and I hope you accept yours…" Candye Kane



 

It seems so right that my inaugural Intrepid Spirit Blog should be about Candye. Often called the toughest girl alive- (title of one of her song) she personifies the word intrepid. Candye survived eight years with pancreatic cancer. Google it-its true! Preparing her for that fight was her challenging life which she wrote about ( and you can find out more in her play also titled "The Toughest Girl Alive."


As I've written many times before- she was the catalyst for so many things for me. Back in 1997 I had a very different and often hateful relationship to my body. There used to be this magazine called Mode which was the first plus size magazine I can ever remember. And one day I found an article about Candye Kane. Her message about larger women being desirable and attractive was the first time that possibility existed for me. I was twenty seven years old.


Back in those days I lived in my native Brooklyn, and was fortunate enough to work in the heart of Greenwich or "the" Village as we called it. And the next day when I rode the F train to into work I skipped down West 4th St to the $10 CD store where much to my delight I picked up 2 or three of her albums. Much to my delight her music was full of the same body positive messages as the interview in Mode magazine. And better yet- Candye's pictures in and on her CD albums were so gorgeous, and sexy. Again probably the first images I can recollect of a large woman being sexy or sexual or beautiful.


Soon after subsequent trips I made to work I'd end buying dresses and lingerie as well as feather boas and glitter! We all affect each other on this planet and lol and there is absolutely no denying that without her influence I don't think I would ever have ended up where I did in life--as a dancer-- a go-go dancer at that--and wearing many similar and bold lame looks!


 Fast forward to 2004. Post 9/11, My youngest sister and I decided to move to the other side of the country. We first landed in San Diego- well Escondido really- and where at first we both felt like fish out of water. We see an ad that Candye Kane was playing at a festival in Solana Beach and were beyond excited to be able to go! After the concert we waited in line to take photos with a disposable camera lol! We started talking and she really took an interest in me & Amy. She was interested that I was an actress of larger size. These were the days on MySpace so we all swore to keep in touch and a few months later when she saw I was up for a local theatre award she offered to loan me something to wear!

 

Since then we became fairly good friends. (Though I always remained a little bit in awe of her. Never really able to shake off my fan self.) She invited me and Amy to her house. We'd get to hang out at her local gigs. She made me feel special when she let me read early drafts of her stage biography. She treated me to an all you can eat chinese buffet once- which was one of the best birthdays of my life needless to say!! Candye recommended the amazing canter my husband and I would use at our wedding. She even wanted to perform at our wedding but was booked on one of her many international tours.

 

When I saw her a few months ago at Cedar Sinai she looked amazing. Sitting up regally in her hospital bed -- she was almost a little old Hollywood glamourous even. It was really hard to believe she wasn't immortal in fact and would go on forever. She battled pancreatic cancer for eight year. EIGHT YEARS. That's got to be some sort of record! She seemed to keep surviving with the one disease that usually ends with a quick and dirty fight - maybe almost a year like another friend of mine- more often than not a few months like my grandmother.

 

Candye really was the toughest girl alive. But she was also one of the softest girls alive as well. She had an enormous heart and I remain profoundly better for having heard her music and having had the chance to get to know her a little. I urge you all to go listen to her music or read some of her writing. I found this old clip of Candye back in 1997the same clip that I quoted at the beginning of this blog. It's really hard not to fall in love with her: her witty lyrics, her bouncy spirit, her many talents and her genuine sincerity when she urges everyone to love their bodies and to love themselves. Make sure to watch it to the end! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsiOVv4MNLc

And then visit her site at: www.candyekane.com


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