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#GrrrlsOnFiLMU

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:

gof_2016

GRRRLS ON FILM
MARCH 18-20, 2016
MAYER THEATER and ALUMNI MALL
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY
LOS ANGELES

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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Filed under Queens of Noise

See "The Runaways"

There are precious few movies about women rockers: The Girl Can’t Help It, What’s Love Got To Do With It, The Rose, Dreamgirls, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. This paucity is just one of the reasons that Floria Sigismondi’s The Runaways — which opens nationwide today — is so important. The first-time film director hones right in on the feminist issues of the Runaways’ story — sexism, sexploitation, girl love, etc.  It’s also just a really fun, raunchy roll through the LA glam/pre-punk scene. Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie have a hot kiss to the Stooges’ “I Just Wanna Be Your Dog.” What else do you want?

Of course, while that titillating scene generated a lot of publicity heat for the film, it might also have kept the hoped-for Twifans away. As has been reported elsewhere, the planned wide release of the film has been scaled back to art houses after disappointing turnout at its initial foray into major cities. This isn’t really a big surprise and is probably where the R-rated movie should have started anyway. Rock films rarely make big bank. Unfortunately, The Runaways is now tainted with a cloud of disappointed expectations. All the more reason you should see it. Support girl love, as the Riot Grrrls used to say.

I have serious issues with the film as a historical document. But as a feature film, it’s pretty great. It shouldn’t be called The Runaways, as it leaves out the stories of band members Sandy West, Lita Ford, Jackie Fox, Vicki Blue, Kari Chrome, etc. But if it were called The Cherie and Joan Show Starring Kim Fowley, I’d retract my reservations and completely endorse it.

I talk about the film, my LA Weekly story on Sandy West, and other matters on this weeks Podlicks podcast. Listen, and then go find your local art house this weekend and do rock and women a favor.

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The Joan Jett Interview

Joan Jett talks to me about the Runaways, Kristen Stewart, sexploitation, and the L-word, for Interview magazine. With photos by Floria Sigismondi.

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