It is hard to say when The Mammary Chronicles was first conceived. Some believe it was in-utero when Deanne Brown and I retained the tails of our X- chromosomes and began developing the stuff it takes to bear breasts. Or perhaps it was when, unbeknownst to each other, we were simultaneously buying our first training bras. Or maybe 30 years later when we first met and started our all-girl, rock band, Daisy Chain. It just as likely could have been in 2010 when Deanne was diagnosed with breast cancer and I wrote an ode to breasts called The Hills Are Alive. It is impossible to say for certain, but I do recall sitting with Deanne as she recovered from her first chemotherapy treatment and discussing with her what higher purpose this disease could possibly serve. As she choked down thick, green, macrobiotic shakes in the throws of nausea, I secretly wondered how she would ever get past this? Having lost my own mother to cancer I was completely terrified for her, for her family, and for myself. Life without my best friend was unfathomable. It was going to be one hell of a battle, and nothing would ever be the same again, but I knew if anyone could prevail over cancer, it would be Deanne “The Yes Mom” Brown.
Deanne is now almost 3 years cancer free and together we are on tour promoting our chapbook called The Mammary Chronicles: The Hills are Alive. It is a bodacious little book of poetry and prose dedicated to the celebration and preservation of breasts, the women who have survived them, and in honor of those who haven’t. Even though we both wish we had never heard the word “cancer”, we both agree we have grown exponentially from the experience. Writing, creating and performing together is the organic icing on the macrobiotic cake, and where the real healing began.
With 10 tour stops under our bra straps we have raised funds and awareness. In honor of breasts, paintings have been painted, cakes have been baked, parodies have been written, and poems have been penned. Nearly everyone we meet has a story about breast cancer that they are desperate to share. All they need is a place to share it. The Mammary Chronicles continues to exist to give those who need it a place to express themselves with a depth and breadth that only a piece of art can convey. There is no telling when there will be a cure for this disease, so instead we each must strive to find our own unique cocktail for a cure. Deanne and I believe that the healing powers of art, music and love should never be underestimated and should be part of everyone’s treatment plan.
Every stop on our Bearing Breast Tour has been a party to celebrate Deanne’s clean bill of health and a toast to survivors and breasts everywhere. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity heal by sharing our poetry, prose and music with audiences all over Southern California. We can never forget that this tour wouldn’t have been possible back in the 1980’s when we were buying our training bras because back then the word “breast” was considered a “bad word”. Thanks to the brave survivors and activists who came before us, we can now say “breast” just about anywhere we please. We can sing about them at the top of your lungs in the middle of Barnes and Noble, newscasters can joke about them on the 5 o’clock news, and pastors can openly pray for them in their Sunday morning sermons. And thank God for that because as Deanne and I know, if you want to solve a problem, you have to be able to express it. Then if you can somehow rise up to create something to share with others, it can make the pain and loss seem worthwhile.
It has become our mission to use whatever talents we have to help create a world free of breast cancer and full of rad poetry and art. So stay tuned! We are currently on the lookout for writers and visual artists to contribute work to future episodes of The Mammary Chronicles.
Our next tour stop is presented by
SAN DIEGO LUNA CHIX CYCLING TEAM and the Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest
1475 University Ave., San Diego
$10 suggested donation.
Pre-sale tickets available from the LUNA Chix or at the door.
Happy Hour 5 - 7 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.
Please contact RaundiMooreKondo@gmail.com or visit www.TheYesMom.com to schedule a tour stop or purchase a copy of The Hills Are Alive by Raundi Moore-Kondo and Deanne Brown, artwork, by Emily Kamaka, and edited by Savanah Moore-Kondo