Bernie Sanders supporters have been burning in Bushwick for months now, but that doesn’t mean the neighborhood is completely in Bernie’s mothball-filled pocket. Heather Fink– a Greenpoint sound mixer, filmmaker, and comedian– is hoping Hillaryheads will “come out of the closet” for Chillary NYC 2016, a late-night comedy showcase she’s throwing at Gold Sounds in Bushwick this Saturday. And she hopes a lot of them will bring their limiest green attire out of the closet with them, because there’s going to be a pantsuit competition.
“Bernie is what’s popular right now. The voices who love him are loud,” Fink admits. “Liking him is cool.” Case in point: Fink had initially approached a music agent about getting some of his artists for the event, but soon discovered that younger musicians “are afraid to say they support Hillary openly.”
On the other hand, comedians can afford to be outspoken—as we discovered when Godfrey led a chant of “Fuck Hillary!” at a recent pro-Bernie event. So Fink, who is 34, has put together a lineup of comics like Jena Friedman (an alum of B+B’s own Girls Talk), podcaster extraordinaire Catie Lazarus, and Mo Fathelbab, a founder of the Experimental Comedy Club. Between their sets, there’ll be a spoken-word open mic centered around the theme of “Why I think Hillary is so chill.” After that, there’ll be a dance party fueled by “SWEATY SESSY HILLZ LOVE.”
Like a February rally at Brooklyn Bowl, this aims to be a safe space for Hillary supporters – “a fun positive vibes event where people can let out their feelings and not feel so isolated or ostracized,” per the organizer.
And Fink believes it’s a sorely needed one. “For women who like Hillary— we get called names and shouted at,” she told us over email. “There’s men who love Hillary and god bless those sexy betches but yes it’s a lot of women. Our voice is silenced and shouted over and there’s a culture of keeping your opinions to yourself— of being seen but not heard. Of being ‘feminine.’” To prove her point, Fink sent us a screenshot of a Facebook discussion in which she was called a “bitch”– and worse– during a discussion about the Democratic candidates’ policies.
“There are women who like Bernie, but those women are embraced and encouraged by the men who like him so they have that empowerment,” Fink noted.
Hillary may not be pulling down the kinds of crowds Bernie has been in New York– his South Bronx rally drew at least 15,000 outspoken supporters, and a similar number have RSVPd via Facebook for his rally at Washington Square Park on Wednesday (his Greenpoint rally wasn’t as well attended). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty who would agree with Fink when she says Hillary is “experienced, capable, and remarkably resilient— and she stands for the same progressive values that I believe in,” and who would further agree that she’s “more honest than Bernie, who I feel dishonestly represents himself as– not a politician– and as a revolutionary, though at 74 I don’t understand why he waited so long in his life to affect change.”
Fink suspects that if Hillary supporters aren’t marching down Broadway or making puppets and pumpkins in their candidate’s likeness, it’s because they “may be more busy and employed and may just be quieter, more shy, or lack the desire to broadcast their feelings as much. But they still come out to vote— in the privacy of that voting booth, their voice is heard.” (Sure, Sanders might be racking up some serious indie cred by eating hot dogs with Michael Stipe in Coney Island, but a Fox News poll released yesterday has Hillary with a 16-point lead among New York’s likely Democratic primary voters.)
In fact, Fink is so fired up about Hillary and the idea that “it’s actually possible that we could have a female president,” that she’s returning to live performance after six years away from it. Though she hosted the Street Meat variety show at Cake Shop for three years, she’s now more focused on her career as a filmmaker and her day job as a sound person for tv shows and movies like Fort Tilden, High Maintenance, and Broad City, which, of course, is no stranger to Hillary.
In her earlier years, Fink interned for Senator Ted Kennedy, who famously endorsed Obama over Hillary during the 2008 primaries. Some have attributed the move, in part, to clashes with the Clintons over health care as well as an incident in which Bill Clinton reportedly told Kennedy that “a few years ago, [Obama] would have been getting us coffee.”
Does that mean Kennedy would #feelthebern if he were alive today? “Honestly, as a woman we are so used to getting sucker punched in the gut when we try to do big things,” Fink said of the 2008 race. “Something seemed normal in a bigger picture sense of the world about [Kennedy] not endorsing her. What’s more remarkable to me is all the people coming out to support her now, and I definitely think Kennedy would be one of them. The time is now!”
“Chillary NYC 2016,” April 16 from midnight to 4 a.m. at Gold Sounds, 44 Wilson Ave., Bushwick; free.