Finding Hope in Music: A Daily Song Series

The world we are living in right now is one of great uncertainty and fear among many people right now. Including myself. And the communities that surround me. We seem to be entering a political place where people are not treated as human, but as “other” and therefore not worthwhile. And we’ve got to find ways to fight that. Demonstrations, rallies, sit-ins, phone calls and postcards to representatives, and other means of direct action are important right now.

Also important: Art. Music. Writing. Things that inspire us and keep us going.

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution started as a college project. This was a place I’d document rad musicians–especially women–who were fighting gender stereotypes and kicking ass and taking names. Over the years, the blog as a whole has fallen by the wayside as these projects do. Life happens. You forget to spend that time writing and instead find yourself lost in working and surviving. You convince yourself that your voice isn’t important when it exists in a sea of other people’s voices, and besides your few followers you have have probably forgotten you. And besides. Writing a blog isn’t important. Making money is.

So I stopped.

But these days, I’m feeling a lot of anxiety, and a lot of fear. And dealing with this world is hard, lately. So I’m going to do what I keep encouraging others to do, and focus on things that make me happy. In this case, I’m also going to focus on things that help inspire and motivate. A return of sorts to the original mission of this blog.mina-and-regina-spektor

I’m starting a M-F Daily Song series. The songs will be a mix of old and new songs by artists who’ve got attitude and bite and most of all–have something to say. The daily songs will
be posted on the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution facebook page. On the weekend I’ll compile the daily features into a list here on the blog so you can see the weekly picks.

So….stay tuned. And feel free to share your faves!

Daily Song Challenge: Days 13, 14, and 15

…..and welcome back! I really do hope you all have been enjoying this series, and would love to hear from you all on songs that you would apply to all of these categories! Please feel free to share. There are few things I enjoy more than discovering new music!


Day 13: A song that is a guilty pleasure

I knew when I posted the last entry that the next song title on my list would have to be a “guilty pleasure” and I’ve been spending quite a bit of free time over the last few days trying to figure out if I had a guilty pleasure. I am of the opinion that if you love a song, you should love it, and not feel bad for doing so, so the concept of a “guilty pleasure” bothers me. The whole idea that you love this one thing, while the rest of the world hates it and thus you’re left feeling bad about it is troublesome. So. Guilty pleasure? I personally don’t have one. I love a song the rest of the world appears to hate, but I don’t feel bad about it. Starship’s “We Built This City” was a song I grew up with, and the idea that a city had been built on rock and roll was a source of inspiration. Can you imagine? A city where rock and roll is church. Where the culture is built around rock and roll. I wanna live in that city. I’m not going to post the video proper, as most of the world is well familiar with the song. Instead, I’m sharing the Rock of Ages clip that uses it. When I first watched Rock of Ages and saw this clip, I about died. I LOVE THIS SEQUENCE. So much. Fight me, I dare you. (Ok. Don’t. I’m a terrible fighter.)

Day 14: A song no one would expect you to love

So….y’know that song, “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift? I really like that song. When done by Screaming Females.

True story: I don’t listen to a lot of radio. Mainly because I’m a pedestrian and public transit user 99% of the time, so I don’t listen to music in a car, which is where most people still listen to radio. So when Swift came out with “Shake it off” it never crossed my radar. But I’d been following the AV Club’s Undercover series on youtube and the premise of it is so fantastic. They have a list of songs, they invite bands into their space, and the bands choose a song and it’s crossed off the list forever more. The results are spectacular. G.W.A.R. covering Kansas’ “Wayward Son.They Might Be Giants covers Destiny’s Child classic “Bills, Bills, Bills.” Iron and Wine covering G.W.A.R. 

There are so many rad covers.

Including this one. Which if I had the option of paying money for, oh would I. And I’d probably listen to it every day. Because I’m sorry Swift, but this song was made for Marissa Paternoster’s vocals. When I finally did hear the real song, there was a very odd sense of deja vu and the song is great….but Screaming Females did it best.


Day 15: A song that describes you

Out of all my favorite songs, each which I love for very personal reasons, what song describes this being that is “me”? What a peculiar question. But I have an answer. And I’m going to share it and the runner up.

The first song is obvious. Look at the title of this blog. “When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution.” Sound familiar? It should. I have long been inspired by the riot grrrl movement and the song “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill is a song that inspires me still. It’s defiant. It’s celebratory. It’s punk rock at its finest. It’s a reminder that we are revolutionary creatures. It’s a reminder to be confident and be yourself.

The runner up is a song that I have a deep attachment to. Much like “Rebel Girl” it’s an inspiring song, one that I use as a reminder as I go through the world. “Be Brave” by My Brightest Diamond is deeply personal as a reminder of just that. Be brave. Yes, it’s scary. But it’s a beautiful thing.

The lyrics:

I am a bird in water, a whale on sand
I am the flood, the fire, the oil spill
I’m feeling scared and I am overwhelmed
And so I don my mask and finger bells

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone, undone

I am a slave, I’m under house arrest
I am the beater, I am beaten for less
Than being punk and feeling anger swell
And so I don my beaded dress and finger bells

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone, undone

It’s so hard, it’s so heavy
To be hungry, to be happy
It’s so light, it’s so easy just to be

It’s so hard, it’s so heavy
To be hungry, to be happy
It’s so light, it’s so easy just to be

Oh God, what would you do with me
Oh God, what’s my responsibility
God, what would you do with me
Oh God, what’s my responsibility

Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone

Be brave dear one
Be changed or be undone
Be brave dear one
Be changed, be changed, be changed




Days 8-12 of the 30 Days of Music Challenge!

Daily rituals are hard to keep up, especially once you start slipping up. But this challenge will be done, one way or another! And this week I’m going to recommit myself to doing this daily, instead of playing catch-up. Last week was a long, crazy week, with one wonderful moment that I hope to write about later today. But we’ll see.

Okay. So where are we?


You’ll notice that #12 has been changed. The original text was “A song from a band you hate”. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I don’t really enjoy dwelling on things I don’t enjoy. The world is full of brilliant, interesting music and our lives are too short to listen to all of it, so focus on the stuff that is enjoyable!

Day 8: A song that you know all the words to

I’m going to start this one with a fun story about me, and then give you an actual answer.

So way, way back in my middle school years (mid 90’s), I believed I had the key to one of the MOST ANNOYING PROBLEMS EVER. You know how pop radio loves songs that are ultimately earworms? The songs that you can’t get out of your head no matter what? Well. I was a genius. And I had the answer. The answer: Find one of your favorite songs. Listen to it a couple of times so that you know the lyrics, especially the chorus, and any time an earworm tries to get in your head, use the song you have purposely memorized to defeat the earworm.

For the record, it worked. My trouble with earworms has really only happened over the past few years, and even now it’s minimal. My song of choice? “Sheep go to Heaven, Goats….go to Hell” by Cake.

See? Even as a young ‘un, I was brilliant.

Okay, the actual answer. So a moment of confession: I’m the WORST with lyrics. the worst. Even on songs I think I know, I forget a line, or think I know but come up with something super bizarre. So the songs I know all the lyrics to tend to be the songs that were truly part of the foundations of my love for music. There are exceptions, of course! I’m going to share one of the exceptions, I think. I could share “Just a Girl,” by No Doubt or “Shatter” by Paula Cole or “You Oughta Know” by Alanis, but I’m going to share this song instead. It’s a track by Regina Spektor that you can find on her Live in London album. I love Regina Spektor and have for a great many years. Soviet Kitsch might be one of my favorite albums, partly because of the tracks “Ghost of Corporate Future” and “Your Honor.” She has of course gone on to release a lot of amazing songs, but those two songs are forever favorites. Anyway. Back to Live in London. So there’s a track that she sings called “Silly Eye Color Generalizations” that is absolutely beautiful. It’s unaccompanied, vocals only, and the message is simple, but important. When I first heard it, I listened to it on repeat several times over, and singing along to this track is a very enjoyable activity, I highly recommmend it.

Day 9: A song that you can dance to

I am not a dancer, so my form of dancing tends to be the awkward dance of bopping along to a song as best as I can, or in the case of frenetic punk rock doing the pogo thing or in the case of metal doing a super tragic headbang type of thing. Again: Dancing is so not my thing. That said, all music is inherently something you can experience through dance/movement. And I suppose one of my favorite examples of that would be “Y.A.L.A.” by M.I.A. This is a track that has jumpstarted many mornings and gets included on any party playlist I put together. And the power of the last line in this song makes it extra explosive. (Fun fact: MIA and Deap Vally are completely different artists in so many senses, but their music together? Just…..YES.)

Day 10: A song that makes you fall asleep: 

I disagree with the language of this particular entry. To me, “a song that makes you fall asleep” suggests that the song is either a)super boring or b)one of those songs that you listen to as you fall asleep and as such any time you listen to it, you fall asleep. I personally don’t like when art (especially in music or written forms) becomes part of that category. Art is meant to be appreciated.

That said, this category does have some merit in the idea that songs can be soothing and create that space needed to fall asleep on those nights where sleep seems so far away. Way back in the day, the album that would help facilitate sleep for me was Loreena McKennitt’s Book of Secrets. I just had to make sure I was asleep before her cover of “the Highwayman” because if I wasn’t the verses would settle in deep and I’d find myself in tears.

These days, the album that I’ve been listening to when I can’t fall asleep: Agnes Obel‘s album Philharmonics. This album is beautiful, and the soundscapes that are created are powerful and delicate.

Day 11: A song from your favorite band

My favorite band? Just one? Does anyone really have ONE favorite band? How do I choose this? Hmmm. I have so many conflicting emotions here, because I have so many favorites.

But since I can just choose one, I’m going to choose a song by the DC based band Priests. The reason? Since I discovered their album Bodies and Control and Money and Power, I have found myself listening to the album in full on repeat multiple times. Over, and over again. From start to end, this album is perfect.

Day 12: A song in a different language

As mentioned above, lyrics are easily forgotten for me. That isn’t to say I don’t believe good lyrics can help make a song, because oh do they ever. “Silly Eye Color Generalizations” is a perfect song to prove that. I do think music is powerful, no matter what language is used for the lyrics. Songs have an ability to create mood and atmosphere that transcends words. And the world is a huge place. To limit one’s enjoyment of music to their spoken language does the world of music a disservice. Just like one should travel beyond one’s state or country, so too should they do that with music. Keep your options open, and your musical playlists will be so much better for it.

I think I’m gonna cheat with this one and pick two. The first track is proof that rock and roll goes beyond american and british borders. The Mexican rock band Ruido Rosa has been rocking since 2005 and this track is one of my favorites. It’s intense, it’s loud, and if you love rock and roll, this song is for you.

The reason I really want to cheat on this category is because I will take any and every opportunity to share this next track. I am a military brat. I’ve been outside of the United States and during my high school years in Germany, I very eagerly looked into the popular German alternative artists and found some favorite songs that I’ll still go back to. But it wasn’t until I moved back to the states and was in college that I found a song that truly captured the idea I expressed above. The lyrics aren’t the most important. It’s the song. I believe when I found this song I was enrolled in college level Spanish courses. I made an effort to find Spanish songs and try to learn the lyrics where I could. During this period I discovered the Colombian rockstar Juanes thanks to his duo with Nelly Furtado, and then the Argentinian musician Federico Aubele. There are some songs that will live with you forever. Whether it’s the music, the vocals or just the atmosphere it evokes, they will be there. This song is one of them. “Postales” is a beautiful and haunting song and the video that accompanies it such a perfect piece of art, all on its own. I don’t really have the words to express my love for this song. So….listen to the track. And enjoy it.






Days 5, 6, and 7 of the 30 Days Challenge

Welcome back! It’s been a crazy week around here, with lots of small adventures, but I assure you I haven’t abandoned hope on this excellent project. For one thing, I enjoy sharing music. So this project provides all the reason I need to come back. But in case you were upset that I missed a few days, here’s a few pretty pictures to prove I’ve been doing things worth documenting.


My girlfriend and I recently moved into a beautiful apartment in downtown Salt Lake City, which means the last couple months have been very much centered around trying to put our house together, and when we have time, exploring downtown. I had Saturday and Monday off, so we were able to put art on the walls, fix a few things around the house, and each day we get this stuff done, the closer we get to having a legit home. The breakfast image in the collage was our very first breakfast together in this new place. The picture of Siouxsie the Cat is her on the bookshelf that contains our extensive non-fiction music library. She seems to know that the Rolling Stone Women in Rock book mentions her namesake. Smart cat. Then there’s the cover of the latest issue of Jem and the Holograms, featuring Blaze and Pizzazz fighting for the microphone. Jem and the Holograms (IDW) is seriously one of the best comics and if you like comics and aren’t reading it, I encourage you to fix it. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up my comics from my pull shelf, and getting this cover this weekend made my day. Blaze is one of my favorite characters in the history of characters. I’m not even kidding. Finally, completing this collage, is the valiant Starbuck the Pibble, defeating Memorial Grove Park and announcing her presence as Best Dog Ever.

See? Important things have been happening.

But. Now. Onto the music! (Thank you, dear reader, for your patience!)


Day 5: A Song that Reminds you of Someone

My musical journey has never been boring. Outside of my youthful blind hatred of jazz, I’ve been fairly open to everything. It’s gone from Queen to top of the pop charts in the 90s, to Meredith Brooks and Sheryl Crow and Garbage, to Evanescence to Nightwish to…. oh goodness, the list goes on. And that is only naming a few.

In college, I went to the University of Chapel Hill and my main music player at the time was iTunes. My favorite thing about iTunes was the fact that if you made your library shareable, other people could see it. And I actually met a very good friend through this very odd medium. I had an obsession with discovering women that rocked, and at that point I was especially interested in the kickass ladies in metal. Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and later on Arch Enemy and Otep. The friend I met through our mutual tastes introduced me to the epic world of metal, the different subgenres and bands. One especially notable band was Opeth, a kickass band from Sweden who defines epic in sound and lyrics. One very memorable experience I had with the friend that introduced me to this band: we went to a live show with them and one of Devin Townsend’s bands. Opeth was, naturally, the headliner. The show was on a February 15. Because of how late shows can run and the fact that my birthday is on February the 16th, it became one of my absolute favorite concert experiences. I also caught a towel that one of the musicians threw to the audience. And I may have kept it for some time.

This friend and I have lost touch since college, but I will always appreciate the impact he had on helping me discover new music.

Day 6: A Song that Reminds You of Somewhere 

I love this question. It actually took me a second to track down this song, because the time between college and now has been…well….significant. But this actually is a fun 360 with this blog. Way back when in the days of college, I started this blog. My love of music and music discovery continued to grow. In addition to discovering riot grrrl (many years too late for the original wave) I also fell in love with the Chapel Hill/Durham music scenes. The bands were varied and supportive of each other, and as soon as I saw my first local show that had been organized at the campus, I knew I was hooked. One of the bands I couldn’t get enough of is not active in the original form I knew them (International Orange), but the musicians are active all over the place. One of the musicians in the band, Django Haskins, had another band called the Old Ceremony. In one of my classes that would provide the inspiration to launch this blog, I actually got to interview Haskins and it was without question one of my favorite experiences.

I cannot emphasize this enough. I. LOVED. THIS. BAND.

So Much.

I was so grateful they were local, because it meant that they had shows over town, and whenever I could go to them, I would. I loved their jazzy, sleazy sound, and most of all, I loved this song, which I know best with The Old Ceremony, but was also done by International Orange.

When The Old Ceremony launched into this song, I would swoon.

I’m not kidding. I would fall back into the couch we’d be sitting on and close my eyes, and let the music wrap itself around me.

So this song reminds me forever of evenings spent at West End Wine Bar with good friends, red wine, and the Old Ceremony owning the small crowd with their music and showmanship.

Final note on this song: Friends, if you don’t have songs that make you swoon, fix this. Music should be loved heart, mind, and body.

Day 7: A Song that Reminds You of a Certain Event

This song was a hard one to choose. Did I choose a song from my first concert? My favorite concert? Or should I try to choose a non-concert event? What does this question want, really?

Finally, I decided on a song. This summer, Salt Lake City had its very first Rock n’ Roll Camp For Girls. Very First. We had 41 girls between the ages of 8-18 form bands, learn instruments, and at the end of the week, on a Saturday afternoon, performed in front of an audience that Kilby Court and In the Venue would’ve died for. It was packed. These girls rocked. As someone whose passions exist in the realms of feminism and music and creating opportunities for young women to step up and own their identities and passions, I volunteered. I took the week off of work and spent every day from about 7:45 am to 6:30pm at Rock Camp. My first part of the shift was general: help with check-in, snacks, miscellaneous as needed. The second part was as band manager. Instrument instruction was at the beginning of the day, and the rock camp venue was small, which meant that the vocal group ended up making their space outside, near the volunteer snack tent. On one of the days I was helping with snacks, the girls in the vocal group were learning the lyrics of the classic “I Love Rock & Roll” by Joan Jett. Because of the frequency of the chorus repetition, each girl got to solo a piece of the chorus as well as sing together. And hearing 8 girls defiantly sing this song….made it. That moment is why Joan Jett is so damned important. After the Runaways ended and Jett tried to pursue a career in music, label after label refused to work with her and she had to pave her own way. Her valiant work helped lead to moments like these. That moment at rock camp is a future of promise. And the future is fucking beautiful. That moment ruled so much that when I finally saw Joan Jett in concert for real last month, her performance of this song paled in comparison to this moment. There are few moments that will ever stand up to that moment.

Because I don’t have a video of that moment: here’s the classic track.


Whew. For just three songs there were a lot of memories. Thank you for those who read and enjoyed this entry. The mere act of writing this blog and reliving these memories has been truly enjoyable, and I hope that translates in the reading.

Day 4: A song that makes you sad

I’ve spent most of the day wondering how I would write about this song, and have come to no conclusions. So this is going to be a short introduction. I’m going to let the song speak for itself, as it should. This song, “I Have Never Loved Someone” is by My Brightest Diamond, the project of the brilliant musician Shara Nova. I was first introduced to My Brightest Diamond through a friend of mine, who shared her cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” Shara Nova’s voice is beautiful, her mastery of her craft unquestionable. As I listened to more My Brightest Diamond it was clear to me that she is something special. Her way of creating lyrics that are poignant, genuine, and clever, of bringing everything down–lyrically and musically–to the heart of things….She is a musician who has truly had an impact on me. If you aren’t familiar with My Brightest Diamond, I deeply encourage you to check out her music. And we’ll start with this. It’s a song that carries so much love, and is so gentle, and so beautiful….and….well. Let’s let the song do the talking.


Day 3: A Song that makes you happy

I have so many songs that make me happy. When it comes to music, one of the best things a song can do is make me happy. Witty lyrics, cheerful tone, a dose of snark, all of these things can easily make me happy.

A few artists specifically have the ability to capture all of those things. The defunct band Agent Ribbons had that ability, and the musicians Zoe and Kim Boekbinder are both too clever for their own good and when they make music together as Vermillion Lies? Game over. They win. They celebrate geekery (“The Astronomer”), circusy weirdness (“Circus Fish”), the macabre (where does one start? They’ve got a few of those tracks…) And then….

vermillion lies witb
Vermillion Lies: What’s in the Box (2008) cover pose. Find this and more pictures on their facebook

There’s this song.

This song in many ways is a very, very serious song. It’s about the devastation to the environment caused by climate change…what is also known as global warming.

But this song delights me in the way only something this theatrical could. It’s a conversation between Kim and Zoe about the future of the planet, how everything is going swimmingly and how soon no one will have to wear clothes because it is far too hot! And oh my! What will we do about those poor polar bears when the heat becomes unbearable? As the listener you are an eavesdropper into this absurd conversation, and you can either walk away saying “what the fuck did I just listen to?” or you can join in with the antics. And singing along with this song is one of the very best things. I promise you.

Day 2: Least Favorite Song

When it comes to the subject of least favorite songs, I try not to hate on things too much. The world that we live in has far too much music to hate on one specific song, so why do it? I suppose it also helps that I don’t listen to a ton of radio so I don’t hear the same song over and over.

But I definitely have least favorite songs. And some I’ve grown out of. I’m not going to go out of my way to listen to Nickelback, for example, but the hate on them is so universal that it’s almost a cop out. Why add to that? If you love the songs I (or anyone) dislike, Good! Music is for everybody and everybody has different tastes.

Anyway. For this entry, I’m not posting a video. It’s a least favorite song so I’m not encouraging the traffic to listen if I can help it.

I was in high school when Puddle of Mudd became popular. By then my music tastes had grown pretty eclectic. I listened to No Doubt, Cake, Sheryl Crow, HIM, and quite a few artists in between. I grew up and good ol’ rock and roll like AC/DC and Queen and loved them and still do.

Enter Puddle of Mudd. I don’t think I liked anything by them. Ever. Could my hatred be attributed to Wes Scantlin’s voice? It’s kind of whiny, and on a song like “She Hates Me” the whining seemed exacerbated. Was it because I didn’t care how they treated the women in the lyrics and in the videos? I certainly remember not being impressed by that. It also could have been in part because I was one of those good kids who didn’t really develop an enjoyment of swear words till much later. Though even with that said, Meredith Brooks “Bitch” was a favorite song. So it could have been any of these reasons. Really, probably all of them in small doses.  I’ve listened to “She Hates Me” twice in order to write this entry so I could remind myself of why it is one of my least favorites. And it holds true still. I could go my whole life without hearing Puddle of Mudd ever again and be quite happy about it.

Anyway. Now that I’ve tormented myself for this blog post, I’m going to go listen to something that makes me happy now. Maybe some Regina Spektor will help balance out the bad taste left behind….



30 Day Song Challenge. Day #1

Sometimes, the best thing to do to get you into daily habits are month-long challenges. Since today is the first day of September, it seems like a perfectly admirable place to start. So for the next thirty days, I’ll do my best to post here….most days. Life does happen. So some of the days might get put together in one entry. But anyway. Let’s do this!

Here’s the challenge as found on Pinterest which directs to this page which was originally posted in 2011:

30day song challenge

Day 1: Your Favorite Song.

Favorite songs are hard. The truth is, when it comes to music I get excited about new music as much as I get excited about hearing my favorite songs in unexpected places. I also don’t listen to the radio much. My main source of music is through spotify and the music I own. Let’s see. I’m going to think out loud for a moment.

Favorite song like I sing out loud as soon as I hear it? I have quite a few of those. Favorite song as in timeless? Again, there are a few of those. I’ve been around the block a while and with so many years of music discovery behind me and yet to come, there’s gotta be some timeless tunes among them.

Favorite Song. A song I could listen to on repeat? That happens pretty frequently too. Not sure that would make a song special. Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” is definitely a favorite. As is “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill. Those tracks stand pretty high up on my all time faves list. But The Favorite song? That gives one track an awful lot of power. (Seriously, how do people answer this question?)

Okay. I’m gonna go with a song I don’t listen to often, but it’s definitely one of those songs that reminds me of another place and time. The song is called “Habit” and it’s by the band Jump Little Children. The first time I heard this track I was struck by the way it seemed like had freewritten lyrics, and how wonderfully the music matched up to it. I related to it, and felt like the world around me could easily relate. The song struck me back then and even now–when I’m making general purpose playlists–I can’t help myself. This song tends to be on most of my general playlists. No matter how much time passes, the story in this song is universal. We’re all searching for something. We all have habits that we know we should quit, but can’t help it.


FanX SLC on Gender Double Standards in Comics

This weekend I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours traversing the geekily decked out halls of the Salt Palace for FanX. There is nothing quite as wonderful as getting on the trax and seeing Princess Peach a mere few seats away. And it’s even better when a kid who seemed positively enchanted by this princess character ends up in conversation with Princess Peach.

Overall, my experience at FanX was absolutely fantastic. I’m still fairly new to the full embrace of nerd culture that pervades at FanX and Comic Con, and the last few times I’ve wandered the halls, it’s been with a sense of overwhelming anxiety at how many people are there and how many things and I can’t even process everything at once.

But this time I was actually able to breathe, deal with the crowds, and I even got to check out a few panels: a new achievement in my geekdom!

The panel I was most excited about (to the surprise of no one, I hope): Gender in Comics: Is There a Double Standard?

I am relatively new to the comic book world. The increasing internet conversations about Wonder Woman and Black Widow have had me wanting to get into a medium previously untapped by me, and let me tell you: the spiral has started. From web comic turned book The Adventures of Superhero Girl to Toe Tag Riot to Secret Six….I can’t stop. The conversations about comics and the representation of women in comics have been around me even before I really dove into the books, and now that I’m starting to read and immerse myself in the culture of comics, the gender disparity is obvious.

In seeing that this panel would happen, I built up my expectations. What I was hoping for was a conversation with data, with historical context, with thought as well as passion, and maybe a little advice on continuing the trend toward change in the industry.

What I actually got was unfocused conversation, with a dude who was overly happy to play devil’s advocate, with audience members who came prepared with their thoughts ready to throw at the panel right as the actual discussion started, throwing the panel completely off guard.

Okay. Let me back up. So to catch you up: The panelists included professional SLC Geeks Rebecca Frost and  Danielle  Über Alles–both can be found discussing pop culture and comics on the Hello, Sweetie! Podcast. The panel also included JM Bell, host of SLC’s The Left Show, which covers science, politics, culture, and much more. The moderator of the group was Rich Bonaduce, the VP of the Utah Film Critics Association.

As soon as Frost and  Über Alles introduced themselves and the moderator tried to get things started (he decided the first thing to do was show a slide with the definition of double standard and read it to the audience. Because cliches work?) two ladies in the audience tried throwing their own questions at the panel. They’d come in early and immediately went straight for the front row. Their questions, while interesting for an open circle conversation, derailed both Frost and  Über Alles, and initially they did their best to respond, and finally–after Bell’s late arrival–were able to open the conversation to other questions.

Unfortunately, the tone was set. The panel itself had interesting points, but seemed to focus only on the art for most of the time given. Which while worth noting, only hints at part of the problem when we’re talking about double standards. It’s not JUST how s/he’s drawn, it’s how they are represented overall. Especially when comics are just one of the facets of the double standard of representation of women across media. And the moderator seemed to want to hammer into the audience the idea of “LOOK! Dudes are drawn unrealistically too!” Throughout the panel he kept changing the images on the slide show to fit the unrealistic drawings, which while interesting at first, eventually became distracting.

The good things that came out of the panel: This issue isn’t done being fought. More and more people are getting into comics and more people have the option of buying the stories that they love. So buy the comics by artists/writers you enjoy. Buy the comics with artists/writers/teams who are well known to show women and trans* characters realistically. Don’t waste your money on teams that have been known to draw/write sexist/racist story lines.

Even if you don’t read the comics by writers/artists you’re supporting and they end up living on your shelves collecting dust: at least you’re supporting these stories. And in an industry driven by profit, like any other, that MATTERS. If you can’t afford new comic books (because buying serial comics adds up. I am beginning to see that myself. eep), that’s not the end of the story. Borrow them from friends. Talk ’em up to your fellow nerds. Encourage people to buy more copies. And use your social media to talk about what you’re loving. More and more we have the ability to call out artists/writers and creative teams in comics when they do something wrong. Twitter allows us to get closer than ever to the source of publication. (Always try to be respectful when possible. RAGE for rage’s sake will accomplish little unless backed up by a lot of other similar rage-fueled consumers. Respect may not win over a publisher, but you could easily win supporters in your line of thinking who’ll continue to call out the publisher and build up that momentum.) The industry has the potential to change partially because we have the ability to help direct it in that way.

Additionally, the panel has convinced me that a thought I’d been considering for a while is something I want to make happen. Officially. Comics are awesome. And this conversation is incredibly important. So, Salt Lake City and surrounding neighborhoods. The time is now. Let’s create a feminist comic book group, where our monthly meetings will include conversations about current comics, as well as focused discussions on a monthly comic choice! This way we can keep the comic love and feminist discourse going so we’ll be prepped in September when Comic Con SLC rolls back around.

Questions? Wanna get involved? Find me on twitter or email me at rebelgrrrl.theblog

Final note: Check out Hello, Sweetie podcast and the Left Show, because they are worth supporting. And as unfocused as the conversation was this time around, they each had good reason to be there and are doing great things for the geek community in Salt Lake and beyond.

Final, Final Note (I promise!) Definitely look forward to more comic book related posts here. I’m enjoying them far too much for me not to start writing about them!

Cheers to 2015!

I don’t know about ya’ll, but thank the gods 2014 is over.

Musically, 2014 was awesome. I’m still listening to White Lung, the Coathangers, and Tacocat on heavy rotation. Sleater-Kinney has reunited, the Muffs are performing, and L7 has teased the possibility of a reunion. Whaaaa….?

In terms of the day -to-day: 2014 has been taxing at best. Like any year, there have been a lot of great moments. A feminist drinking party, a book club with amazing people, evenings beyond compare at the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mics. Oh yeah: and I made a trip to the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls-PDX happen. It’s unquestionably one of the BEST organizations to volunteer for.

But in terms of goals and accomplishments…there haven’t been a lot. So this year, despite the fact that everyone knows that resolutions are tough to stick, I’m going to try to make some. Things I want to see in 2015 include more content here on this page, a commitment to keeping the events tab here up to date so those of ya’ll in Salt Lake have an easy resource for rad events to keep you excited about this incredible community. In addition to creating more content here, I’d like to make some more real world events happen. Features at When She Speaks from the creative community, more feminist-inspired get-togethers, record night parties, and more events designed to highlight the women musicians in the Salt Lake community.

A few of the places you can follow me on the internets:



and Facebook. There’s also a group page for When She Speaks where you can talk feminism, grrrl-fueled music, and talk with other like minded peeps. You can find us here.

Anyway–Welcome to a new year. The best way to deal with a new year is similar to the best way to deal with a new day: make it the best. Enough from me. Here’s to a great new year featuring awesome new music and music discoveries, events, and wonderful people. Please feel free to get in touch with me rebelgrrrl.theblog at gmail[dot]com or via any of the aforementioned sites.

(I’m including this video because the 2014 My Brightest Diamond release was one of my favorites of the year. And seeing Shara Worden live was inspirational. And any opportunity I have, I will share the MBD love.)