Hedwig and the Angry Inch is one of my favorite films, and I found myself watching it again this evening (after letting it sit on a shelf for far too long). And while I knew I’d love it as much as I ever have, I didn’t expect to find it as new and fresh as I did today.
While I could recall the plot off the top of my head, there had been enough time between viewings that I forgot a lot of specifics — like the role that my current state of Kansas plays in the story.
Hedwig is taken to the United States by an Army Sergeant. They shack up in Junction City, KS, a town populated by the residents of Fort Riley ( and, naturally, the area where I currently live). This detail never stuck with me because I had no knowledge of the area, and no reason to familiarize myself with Junction City.
But the town and fort are a particularly apt choices for Hedwig’s story. Like her, the small city is populated by in-betweeners. Nothing is settled, but merely searching for settling.
This is never clearer than the excellent “Wicked Little Town,” where the city itself is name-checked, along with area-specific details like the rolling Flint Hills and the burning winter winds. Hedwig sings:
And then you’re someone you are not
And Junction City ain’t the spot
Remember Mrs. Lot and when she turned around
And if you’ve got no other choice
You know you can follow my voice
Through the dark turns and noise
Of this wicked little town
This is a lovely and crucial song, which is later revised by Hedwig’s admirer and eventual thief Tommy Gnosis. But it was remarkable to not just return it for a familiar kick, but to climb into it and learn something new about it and about here.