Attention Bay Areans! On May 12, come hear me and two icons of punk rock feminism dreams come true, Alice Bag and Allison Wolfe, speak/read/perform at Stanford University. Free lunch! The next day, Alice and I will be at Studio Grand in Oakland with the phenomenal feminists of Frightwig.
PUNK FEMINISM: Girl Bands, Violence Girls, Riot Grrrls
A Panel Discussion & Performance
Presented by Rubén Martínez, Visiting Artist, Institute for Diversity in the Arts
Allison Wolfe (Sex Stains, Bratmobile)
Alicia Velasquez (a.k.a. Alice Bag of The Bags)
Evelyn McDonnell (author, Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways)
May 12, 2015, 11:30am – 1:30pm
The event is free and open to the public, and a catered lunch will be served.
The Knoll, 660 Lomita Court
Stanford, California 94305-8180
A trio of punk feminist pioneers – a musician/songwriter, a musician/author and an award-winning journalist and author – visit Stanford for a performance panel of music, spoken word and commentary revealing the roots of the punk feminist movement and asserting its relevance today.
The “Riot Grrrl” movement took off in the Seattle/Olympia Washington area in the early 1990s and Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile was there. A decade and a half earlier, Alicia Velasquez, a.k.a. Alice Bag, fronted the seminal East L.A. punk band The Bags. Veteran journalist and author Evelyn McDonnell has witnessed all the important alternative and underground scenes in which women have played key roles during the last three decades.
Between the three of them there is deep knowledge of Chicana punk, the Los Angeles “new music” scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the trials and tribulations of women in the music industry (McDonnell’s recent book tells the story of the 1970s “girl band” The Runaways), and a generation’s worth of feminist cultural production.
Evelyn McDonnell has been writing about culture and society for more than 25 years. She is the author of four books: Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways, Mamarama: A Memoir of Sex, Kids and Rock ‘n’ Roll, Army of She: Icelandic, Iconoclastic, Irrepressible Bjork and Rent by Jonathan Larson. She coedited the anthologies Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Pop and Rap and Stars Don’t Stand Still in the Sky: Music and Myth, and her work is included in several anthologies.
She has been the editorial director of www.MOLI.com, pop culture writer at The Miami Herald, senior editor at The Village Voice, and associate editor at SF Weekly. Her writing on music, poetry, architecture, theater, and culture has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including the Los Angeles Times, Ms., Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Spin, Travel & Leisure, Us, Billboard, Vibe, Interview, Black Book, and Option.
Evelyn has won several fellowships and awards, including an Annenberg Fellowship at USC and a fellowship to the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. Her 2004 Herald expose of hip-hop cops, written with Nicole White, was awarded first place for enterprise reporting by the South Florida Black Journalists Association and second place in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine State Awards.
In 2013 she was inducted into the Beloit Memorial High School Hall of Fame. She earned her Master’s in Specialized Journalism, the Arts, from USC, where she received an Annenberg Fellowship and was chosen for the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She is an assistant professor of English at Loyola Marymount University and lives in San Pedro, California, with her husband, son, cats, and a fantastic view of the ocean.
Alicia Velasquez, aka Alice Bag, was born and raised in East L.A. She grew up in a home where speaking a language other than Spanish was forbidden. Alice began singing professionally at the age of 8, dubbing cartoons into Spanish and recording the theme songs. She attended several Eastside schools and by the time she left junior high she had become fascinated with the glitter rock scene and music by T. Rex, Bowie and the New York Dolls, which eventually led to starting The Bags.
The Bags were one of the first and most popular bands of the early L.A. punk scene and were notable for having two strong female members. Their music was fast, aggressive and confrontational. Alice Bag didn’t so much perform as explode on stage and The Bags quickly gained notoriety. By the time the remaining members of the Bags were included in the seminal Penelope Spheeris documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization.
Alice went on to perform in many different groups while she attended college in Los Angeles, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Cal State L.A. She began teaching at inner city schools where there was a need for bilingual instructors, work she continues to this day.
Following the birth of her daughter in the mid-90’s, Alice took a break from writing and performing, during which time she focused almost exclusively on motherhood. Realizing that this role alone was not completely fulfilling and needing a musical outlet to express her ideas spawned her latest project, Stay At Home Bomb, an all-female punk rock group that addresses domestic roles, socially enforced images of femininity and the burning desire of women to kick ass in a rock band.
Allison Wolfe was born an identical twin in 1969 in Memphis, Tennessee. After her parents divorced, her lesbian feminist activist mother moved the family to Olympia, Washington, to start the first women’s health care clinic in the area. She later became quite influenced by the Olympia/Evergreen DIY music/performance scene.
After graduating high school and spending a year as an exchange student in Thailand, Allison attended the University of Oregon, where she connected with politico Molly Neuman from Washington, D.C. With the support of fellow Olympians Bikini Kill, they joined forces to create a punk feminist fanzine “Girl Germs,” the girl punk band Bratmobile, and, along with others, third wave feminist punk movement riot grrrl.
Allison graduated from The Evergreen State College and moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for The Washington Post and played in bands Cold Cold Hearts, Deep Lust, a reformed Bratmobile, and Partyline. In reaction to (anti-) feminist backlash and an increasingly corporate music scene, Allison came up with the idea for Ladyfest in 2000, a non-profit feminist indie music festival that continued and spread around the US and Europe.
She now lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches English, DJs, sang in the band Cool Moms and currently sings in the band Sex Stains. Allison is working on an oral history of riot grrrl book.