Tag Archives: feminism

#GrrrlsOnFiLMU on KPFK

I’m looking forward to being live on the air again tomorrow with Prof. Sharon Mooney to talk about Grrrls on Film. Tune into the Feminist Magazine KPFK 90.7 FM in LA, or livestream at kpfk.org, at about 3:30 p.m. March 15.

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#GrrrlsonFiLMU Lineup Announced

Kim and the Created

Kim and the Created

I’m extremely pleased to announce the lineup of the Grrrls on Film festival at Loyola Marymount University March 18-20. We have an incredible array of films by, for, and about women. All participating filmmakers will be present, plus a few. There will also be a concert outdoors featuring Kim and the Created, Colleen Green, Peach Kelli Pop, KXLU DJs, spoken word, and more. The press release and complete schedule are below. We will be presenting more details during the upcoming weeks. And, it’s all free!

Loyola Marymount University presents GRRRLS ON FILM, a free festival featuring films and music from groundbreaking female artists, on the LMU campus March 18, 19 and 20, 2016

Confirmed participants include Penelope Spheeris (The Decline of Western Civilization, Wayne’s World), Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways), Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), Alice Bag (the Bags), Kim and the Created, Nao Bustamante, Phranc, Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile), Colleen Green, Kari Krome, Peach Kelli Pop, Nicole Panter, Raquel Gutiérrez, Jill Reiter (In Search of Margo-go) and Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames)

For Immediate Release — Grrrls on Film is a weekend-long celebration of the feminist acts of making sound and vision. The festival and forum at Loyola Marymount University gathers together pioneers in movies, music, art and activism to address what has become one of the hot-button social justice issues of our time: lack of diverse representation and expression in arts and entertainment. The event borrows its name from the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s, which fused the Do-It-Yourself credo of punk with Third Wave Feminism’s call for self-determination. Continue reading


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Girlschooled #musicbizsobro

Anna Bulbrook saws a mean fiddle and sings with a dreampop echo in the Bulls, Airborne Toxic Event, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. She has big eyes that make for a bold, direct stare and a bit of an Annie Lennox vibe. Those big eyes are capable of big vision. Bulbrook founded Girlschool to provide a platform for the many talented female musicians whom she felt were overlooked in the alternative rock scene. Thought became praxis this weekend when she booked a formidable gathering of women-led bands for three nights at the Bootleg Theater.

Making full use of the venue’s capacious space, the audience Friday night was able to move from the Bulls at the Theater Stage to the powerful emoting of Miya Folick on the Bar Stage to the slick funk of Kitten back on the Theater Stage. And that was just Friday night. While there was a somewhat repetitious Lilith Fair vibe in that evening’s bill, Saturday offered the raw power of Kim and the Created and the ’90s pop grunge of Veruca Salt. Tonight, there’s Allison Weiss, Kera and the Lesbians, and more. In volume (numbers) if not volume (decibels), Girlschool’s Field Day Weekend aptly proves its point that there’s no rhyme or reason in #musicbizsobro.

That said, the industry panel that kicked off the weekend was depressingly retro. Ten white women in their 30s and 40s all dressed in black perched on bar stools and complained how there were no women in their fields before them and, essentially, told women not to act like drunk sluts. It was a painful erasure of herstory and object lesson in how the radical activism of feminism can be reduced to self-help bandages for internalized misogyny. There was some useful conversation about the recent disclosures of sexual harassment by a predatory publicist; one woman spoke frankly about the decade’s worth of indignities she had sloughed off as part of the price of being a woman in show biz, and how her consciousness had now been raised by this Twitter outing. However, instead of acknowledging all the women who had broken barriers before them (only manager Carol Shields got any love; what about Sylvia Rhone, Marilyn Laverty, Ann Powers, Liz Rosenberg, Frances Preston, [your name here]), panelists moaned about having to invent the wheel. When two journalists complained that they had no “elders” to guide them, the “elder” NPR reporter sitting next to me and I burst into laughter.

When the “experts” began telling the audience “not to fuck the band” and praised sobriety, I felt like Revolution Girl Style had never happened, and I was back at the New Music Seminar circa 1993. Fortunately, at that point, Fabi Reyna, editor in chief of She Shreds magazine, walked on stage. Younger than the others and not clad in black uniform, she proudly confessed her love of a drink or two, or even more. After all, if men can enjoy the pleasures of spending a lot of time in clubs, why can’t women? Bulbrook speaks proudly about feminism, which is great; I love feminism. But as bell hooks and others have said, if we use this term lightly and vaguely, do we dilute its meaning? Sarah Banet-Weiser talks about how today’s “pop feminism” puts the burden of social change on women, and particularly on girls, to empower themselves as individuals. Empowerment is certainly the goal of feminism, but the means should be to take down the structures of oppression by creating alliances with others who are oppressed, not gender equity through self-improvement.

Girlschool is getting that last part right. But they don’t need to reinvent the wheel and spread a doctrine of 21st century chastity. The talk Friday got a bit wack. But the music was great.

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Punk Made Her a Black Feminist

Punk inspired Chardine Taylor-Stone (drummer for Big Joanie) to be a black feminist, and she gave a great TedX talk about it.

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Dear readers,

I know I’ve been fairly quiet the last few months. Never fear: I have been busy. Along with my LMU colleague Sharon Mooney, and several other students and faculty, we have been planning. Plotting. The official announcement doesn’t come for a couple weeks, but I wanted to let friends, followers, and family know about this incredible event we are putting together:


MARCH 18-20, 2016

Grrrls on Film will be a weekend-long cinematic celebration of the feminist act of making noise. From the experimental movies of Lizzie Borden to Riot Grrrl documentaries to the rockudramas of Floria Sigismondi, this festival will offer a multi-decade tour of ways in which women have used the sonic, stylistic, and political tools of punk to create modes of expression that subvert gender and transgress genres. Grrrls on Film draws on both movies made by female directors, including Penelope Spheeris, Alix Sichel, and Abby Moser, and movies about noisemakers, such as the Bags and Bikini Kill. It particularly offers a triptych through LA punk, from the pioneering efforts of the Runaways, through the emergence of hardcore, to the Go-Go’s pop breakthrough, to Riot Grrrls’ reclamation of Southland moshpits. Many of the directors and musicians as well as other cultural and gender studies scholars will be on hand during the three-day festival to present and discuss these seminal works, which have never before been presented together. Student-made videos will also be shown.

Grrrrls on Film is a collaboration among faculty of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, the School of Film and Television, and the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University. In addition to screenings and director’s talks, there will be a concert sponsored by KXLU and expert panels featuring filmmakers, musicians, and scholars. Organizations that promote and support women in film, music, publishing, the arts, and academia will be on hand to provide information and resources and present workshops on topics such as how to make fanzines, shoot video, or repair bikes. With the film industry under governmental and media scrutiny for gender and racial bias, we think it’s a great time to explore the history and future potential of Girl Power.

Confirmed participants include Alice Bag, Floria Sigismondi, Allison Wolfe, Penelope Spheeris, Phranc, Anna Fox, Jill Reiter, Abby Moser, Ruben Martinez, Michael Lucid, Lucretia Tye Jasmine, and Vega Darling. Some of the films featured are The Runaways (Sigismondi), The Decline of Western Civilization (Spheeris), Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden), and In Search of Margo-Go (Reiter).

Open to the public, and free! Book your flights now.

Updated Jan. 6 1 p.m.: Lucretia Tye Jasmine (Quinn and Daybreak) and Michael Lucid (Dirty Girls) added to list of participants.

Updated Jan. 6 3:15 p.m.: Also just added to the list of participating filmmakers: Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames) and Adebukola Bodunrin (Golden Chain).


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Sex & Wars & Rock&Roll

In The New York Times Magazine on Sunday, Emily Bazelon writes about opposing feminist views of rape culture. Understanding the difference between “dominance feminists” such as Catherine MacKinnon and “pro-sex feminists,” led in “The Sex Wars” by Janet Halley, is crucial to realizing that there is no single ideology for analyzing and overcoming gender oppression. This understanding can be applied to the sex wars raging in rock’n’roll; Chrissie Hynde and Joan Jett could use a little help from feminists such as Halley, while Jackie Fox is setting herself up as pop’s answer to the late Andrea Dworkin. The figure and voice missing from Bazelon’s article is the late Ellen Willis, whose measured, thoughtful critiques of both porn protesters and S&M advocates I’ve been rereading, and missing. If any tabloid tool tries to mansplain feminism to you, hand them this Times piece, and a copy of The Essential Ellen Willis. Then tell him to get a sex change, live as a woman, and get back to you in 50 years.

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Revolution Girl Style Now: Bikini Kill Redux

I’ve always thought of Kathleen Hanna as a philosopher, not just a rad punk artist. She proves it once again in this interview for NPR, where she talks about the perils of outsider elitism and her admiration for Beyonce: “Whenever you’re trying to be the opposite of something, you’re just reinforcing it. We’ve got to be something totally different.”

The occasion for the interview is the release of the Bikini Kill demo tape on Sept. 22 for the first time in multiple formats. I remember getting that tape when I was music editor at the SF Weekly. I can admit now that I didn’t appreciate it that much at the time; I thought they were retreading Mecca Normal and X-Ray Spex, admittedly two of my favorite bands. (That year I named Mecca Normal singer Jean Smith my Person of the Year.) It took seeing them live at Gilman Street Project to realize the true force of Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, Kathi Wilcox, and Billy Boredom. My intern, Sia Michel, was much smarter – I think she might have nabbed that tape. She’s now the editor of the Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times — told you she’s smarter than me.

I’m so glad this music is coming back out and a new generation can appreciate it. I’ll be starting my First Year Seminar (Revolution Girl Style: Punk Feminism, Then and Now) next week as I always do: Playing Bikini Kill’s call to action: “We’re Bikini Kill, and we want Revolution Girl Style Now!” Then I’ll go see Kathleen and her new band, The Julie Ruin, at Burger a Go Go.

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