Well, Tom Kenny, the actor who provides the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, likes my book anyways. I happened to sit next to the character actor at Holly George-Warren’s interview at the Grammy Museum last week. A mutual friend introduced us. Turns out Tom had bought a copy of Queens of Noise in August at Book Soup, and is a fan. Holly’s talk about A Man Called Destruction, her book about Alex Chilton, was great too.
Monthly Archives: April 2014
In what I believe is a first since the Runaways broke up, Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, and Lita Ford were together, posing for cameras backstage at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in LA. Joan was a recipient of the heavy metal honor. I have to say, they look great. Maybe they really will do a reunion. In this interview, Dee Snider shows love for his (twisted) sisters — and also pushes for more to come.
I’ve been getting a feeling lately I haven’t had in ages, that girl-power feeling. Yesterday it was as if a cherry bomb exploded all over LMU, my place of
enslaveemployment. Women were running the show at the Queens of Noise Faculty Pub Night, from librarians bringing the noise — not shushing — to the girl DJs of KXLU, “hackers” of the event. And then there was me, spreading the gospel of the Runaways one more time — my last scheduled appearance promoting Queens of Noise. The nine-month tour ended with a shebang, with all-female supergroup Upset performing live on the bluff outside the library, as the sun set behind them. As one of those radio divas, McAllister of the great ginecore show She Rocks, said in a Twitter hashtag: #ladiesrulethistown.
The whole amazing night was put together by the library’s Jamie Hazlitt, one of the many super-rad book workers there. LMU’s own blue-haired punk poet Gail Wronsky gave me a lovely introduction. Then, I said a few words. It was awesome and intimidating to have skin-pounder Patty Schemel in the audience as I talked about Sandy West’s biceps, reassuring to see the friendly faces of loveydoveryrocker Azalia Snail, colleagues, and students. McAllister — who told me Gail had been one of her favorite teachers at LMU — asked me some whip-smart questions. Then, sadly leaving our booze behind, everyone went outside to hear another KXLU queen — Harmony, half of the soon-to-be-superstar band Girlpool and a former student of mine — play some classic girl punk rock tunes.
Dean of the Library Kristine Brancolini made the whole thing possible, as did KXLU’s Lydia Ammasova and Mukta Mohan and the library’s Carol Raby and Ray Andrade.
Increasingly I admire Vice’s ballsy reporting; sadly, being detained by Putin’s henchmen is a sign of being on the side of right these days.
As a preview to my Faculty Pub Night April 22 at the William Hannon Library, Michael Aushenker interviewed me about the Runaways and Queens of Noise for Los Angeles newspaper The Argonaut. He also talked to the seminal punk photographer Jenny Lens.
I finished reading Masha Gessen’s fascinating, intelligent, and well-written book about Pussy Riot, Words Will Break Cement, yesterday. A Russian-American who has previously written about Vladimir Putin and had tremendous access to the band, Gessen explains much about how these women came together; their context within Russian literature, politics, and dissidents; their actions and trial; and the horrors they experienced in prison. The more I find out about Masha, Nadya, Kat, and the rest of these artist/activists, the more impressed I am with their foresight and bravery in trying to stop an autocratic nightmare. The New York Times ran an article yesterday about the emergent xenophobia in Russia that reported in part:
“At Mr. Putin’s direction, a committee led by his chief of staff is developing a new ‘state policy in culture.’ Widely expected to be enacted into law, the proposed cultural policy emphasizes that ‘Russia is not Europe’ and urges ‘a rejection of the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance’ in favor of emphasizing Russia’s ‘unique state-government civilization,’ according to Russian news accounts that quoted a presidential adviser on culture, Vladimir Tolstoy.”
As evidence of this emerging monocultural supremacy, the article cites a banner hung in Moscow that decried the “fifth column” of dissenting bloggers, politicians, and musicians. Putin used this loaded phrase himself in a speech, setting the stage for the potential purging of difference. Chilling stuff, as the Times says. Interestingly, Fifth Column was the name of an amazing queer-punk Canadian band in the early ’90s, associated with the Riot Grrrl movement from which Pussy Riot gets their name. They were dissidents against the homophobia of the era of the Defense of Marriage Act, just as Pussy Riot oppress the anti-gay politics of Putin’s Russia.
Somewhat amusingly, Masha and Nadya questioned Putin’s own sexual orientation on Real Time With Bill Maher.