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Filmed November 28, 2007
Laura Harris, 25, is a drummer for Benjy Ferree, the Aquarium, and is a student at the Corcoran School of Art. When not pursuing an aesthetic lifestyle, she is a devoted employee of the Black Cat, Washington, D.C.’s premiere independent rock venue.
Though I had seen Laura perform with the Aquarium numerous times and admired her explosive drumming from afar, I first spoke with her at the Black Cat in 2006. I had gone to see a friend’s band on the club’s backstage and, much to my dismay, found the vocal audio signal mixed too low for human hearing. I glanced to the back of the room to see if the sound engineer would correct this sonic issue. Unfortunately, no sound engineer was present. I walked to the mixing board and contemplated adjusting the faders myself to boost the vocal level. I was staring at the mixer when Laura appeared unexpectedly.
“Don’t touch the mixer,” Laura warned.
“I wasn’t going to touch the mixer,” I replied.
“Are you sure?” Laura queried. “You looked like you were going to touch the mixer.”
“No, I wasn’t going to touch the mixer,” I repeated. Laura disappeared into the depths of the Black Cat to continue accomplishing Black Cat-related tasks. Once she was gone, I contemplated the depth and breadth of the lie I had told her for the remainder of the night and much of the next day.
In the filmed portrait above, Laura is enthusiastically breaking down boxes, a regular part of her nightly Black Cat routine.