OGs and Mecca Normal

“Pussy Riot 2” by Jean Smith

Revolutions don’t happen in a day. Sometimes they take weeks, or months, or years. In the early ’90s, a group of grassroots activists, artists, and musicians declared Revolution Girl Style. The Vancouver duo Mecca Normal were at the vanguard of that movement, which grabbed the media’s attention for a moment, then dissipated. But Mecca Normal never stopped making music, art, books, and trouble.

Last night at their LMU presentation “How Art & Music Can Change the World,” Jean Smith showed slides of some of her latest paintings: vibrant tableaus showing women performing with their heads covered in splotches of bright colors. Pussy Riot has put Riot Grrrl and RGS back on the world stage, as Mecca Normal’s singer pointed out, bigger and badder than ever.

I presented last night’s performance; it was a chance for me to honor and catch up with a band I’ve followed and written about for decades. When OG (Original Grrrl) Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile) showed up, it felt like a mini reunion. Wolfe recently returned from Georgia — the country, not the state — where Pussy Riot has helped reignite protests. And those activists turned to the original girl rioters for help and inspiration. “Coming full circle” was a refrain of the evening. Sometimes a revolution spreads in ripples, drip by drip.

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