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Saturday November 18, 2017
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The Return of Safety Girl

 

continued

Brown says people didn't see much of her in the mid-2000s for a reason: "I left a traumatic second marriage," she says, and she means "trauma" in its precise literal sense: she says her husband beat her. "Five years ago, I was in a domestic violence shelter with my baby in Wayne County. I lived there, and in my car, and on friends' couches."

Now she's married to longtime friend Jesse Sinatra, a wedding singer ("I call him my hippie in shining armor"); she's lost fifty pounds ("I always gain weight after my marriage breaks up," she says airily); and she's living in public housing ("I'm in no rush to move. I love where I live. I'm proud of who I am, where I came from, and where I am right now").

In her Ypsi Girl videos, camped up in a pink wig, Brown could be Lady Gaga's shorter, plumper sister, but Brown the shopkeeper is slim, with long blond hair, and wearing a demure vintage dress that on a less vivid personality might almost be called dowdy.

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