Interview: The Trump Protester with Dashboard Confessional Lyrics

As with most things on the Internet, you find out things from a friend. Not too long ago, a friend on Facebook posted a link to a woman outside one of Trump's buildings in midtown Manhattan, across the street from where I used to work, holding up Dashboard Confessional lyrics. Funny enough, they worked perfectly. I had to find her and get the scoop on what she was up to. Found her in Brooklyn and she took the time to hang out with us for a bit. 

Photo taken from original article on


Shawna Stoltzfoos


Performance artist

Place of residence


When did you first think of this idea?

A few Saturdays ago, on a Megabus from Philly to New York. I'm head writer for a Philly sketch comedy team called Barbara Bush, and we had a writing session that morning. I'm watching the landscapes go by and thumbing through Spotify when somehow I land on Dashboard and start texting some old friends about all the good/awkward/best memories those songs conjure. 

Why did DC lyrics pop in your head when thinking of Trump?

It really happened the opposite way. I'm listening to those songs on the bus and I'm chuckling to myself about all the silly boys and girls I once felt these raw emotions toward, and I think, who would I feel this way about now? Trump was the only person who came to mind. I feel very raw and emotional and distraught about that person. The idea came to me all at once in that moment and I was haunted by it for six days, until I couldn't take it any more, and I went out and did it. 

I call bullshit on Trump owning that block, that's a city street. Did you think you'd honestly get arrested? 

I call bullshit too. I doubt I would have been arrested, but tensions are particularly high on that block. I walk it every day to work and it's never a relaxed, groovy place to hang out. I'm also not the first to protest on it, and others (with more aggressive demonstrations) have been arrested.

I shared with Chris and honestly thought he'd seen but hadn't! When did you know Chris Carrabba shared? 

Thank you for that! My sister tagged me in his first Instagram about it, which was it's own special reward, because she first introduced me to his music.

What about Chris' lyrics connect with you personally when not thinking about Trump?

In your interview with him for your podcast, Carrabba calls it "the wail of nothing better to do." It makes my heart ache in the best way to hear him say that. To be that age (for me, 13, 14, 15) and to allow that space for yourself to just feel whatever the hell you're feeling, and just let it wail, because we've got nothing better to do; we're teenagers and now is the time to feel things. That meant the world to me and still does. In my little teenage world, there were hardcore kids, and there were emo kids (which was a term I didn't hear until much later, actually), and there were these kids who sort of floated between the scenes and wanted a little angst off the plate of what everybody was offering. Those kids were Dashboard fans, and I was definitely one of them. I like to think I'm still that kid.

Are you interested in politics in general?

Oh politics, you gross, wonderful thing. Yes, I am interested in it in general. Politics is society! It's exhausting, but it's important.

Favorite bands?

Wilco, The White Stripes, The Smiths, Nico, Bowie. My husband, Jake Lewis. But sometimes I just listen to P!nk on repeat.

Favorite Dashboard Confessional album? and why?

Swiss Army Romance. Because it's written in the margins of all my freshman quizzes, somewhere.

Favorite Dashboard Confessional song? and why?

Swiss Army Romance! It's the quintessential Dashboard song. Calling out the phonies in a melody that won't QUIT.

Favorite Dashboard Confessional deep cut? and why?

I swear I have heard other songs, but the MTV Unplugged performance of Swiss Army Romance? If you don't feel like you're floating above the road in your hometown when you listen to that, Fuck you. 

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