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.

labor-day-weekend-2016

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!)

30day-song-challenge-catchup

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 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….

 

 

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 @gmail.com

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!

Record Store Day 2014!

It is almost that time again.

Next Sunday, April 19th, music lovers and hipsters (not mutually exclusive) will descend upon their favorite indie record stores and buy all of the things! Well, perhaps not all of the things, after all, we want to keep our stores in business, and not have them closed for a few days due to lack of inventory (although I don’t think the stores would mind too much. They’d probably love knowing they had that much love from their local communities).

But seriously though: Record Store Day is one of my all time favorite days of the year. Music has always been part of my life and that passion has only grown as the years have gone by. This year I’m doing the full music geek thing and I’m going to love every moment of it. I ordered a retro turntable via the interwebs, where one can buy many of such products, and I am absolutely planning on visiting at least two of Salt Lake’s indie record stores: Graywhale and Randy’s Records. After all, what is a turntable without records to play? (The actual excitement I have about this whole thing cannot be transmitted properly through the interwebs)

A few of the things I am looking forward to seeing and maybe (if I’m really, really lucky) buying:

  • Garbage – Girls Talk (featuring a duet with Brody Dalle. HOLY SHIT. This is how I know I exist in the rigGarbage with Brody Dalleht time.)
  • Black Prairie – Fortune
  • Big Mama Thornton – Sassy Mama
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – remaster of Dip-Dappin’
  • The Dresden Dolls – The Dresden Dolls. I would so dig owning this on vinyl.

 

For the music geeks out there: What’s your relationship with Record Store Day? Do you love it? Question its existence? How often do you find what you want? How often do you walk out the record store horribly disappointed? Do you have any other traditions you observe on this, the holiest of “keep indie music/culture alive” days? Do you have other music holidays that you alone observe and think that they should be as big as Record Store Day? Share your thoughts in the comments!

And before I end this post entirely:

Salt Lake City, indie music stores may not be as popular as our coffee shops, but we do have quite a few options for buying new music! So please support your local record stores!

Graywhale | This shop has several locations, so even if you’re not in Salt Lake proper, there may well be one in your area! Check the website to find your nearest location!

Randy’s Records | This is a must visit location for the serious lovers of vinyl. Randy’s has been around since 1978 and has Utah’s largest collection of used and new vinyl. Even if you don’t find the Special Record Store Day release that you’re super stoked about, you will find something equally if not more awesome and unexpected.

Heavy Metal Shop | The Heavy Metal Shop is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Despite being tucked inside a small alley in downtown Salt Lake, it has a reputation that goes far outside of Utah’s borders*. The shop has been around since 1987 and is a great place to go for those who love their music heavy.

Raunch Records | This is the BEST stop for punk rock albums that you don’t already have in your collection. In addition to a crazy awesome selection of punk/hardcore and more–it also has a great staff who are happy to answer questions. Oh! and zines! GO BUY ZINES BECAUSE THEY’RE AWESOME.

*Hey, that hoodie Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells is wearing sure looks familiar….Oh! That’s because it’s from the Heavy Metal Shop based in Salt Lake! Whoa!

 

February + Music = LOVE

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about the things I’ve been listening to. I frequently post single links to facebook and tumblr but it is rare these days for me to give you a rundown on all of the things I’ve been listening to.

That’s partly because the internet is a vast place. We all know this.

Personally, I savor those periods where I get sucked into the internet’s musical vortexes. Whether I’m finding new artists via spotify’s “related artists” tab or watching random NPR Live videos of artists I’m not familiar with, the outcome is always the same: I find new stuff. Lots of new stuff. Some of it gets lost in the wayside. I’m the first one to admit that I can get fiercely excited about an artist, a song and then a month or two later that artist or song has dropped completely off of the radar. But there are songs that stick. Artists that I could–and do–listen to on repeat.

This blog was primarily started as a place to highlight musicians that I’ve discovered or fallen in love with. Music is a beautiful art form. It has the ability to bring us to to higher places, it has the ability to connect us as humans and remind us that we’re not alone. It helps us remember that our lives are best spent dancing. And those are just a few things.

So keeping that in mind: Here’s a post of the music that I can’t get enough of.

Sarah Kirkland Snider (composer) | Shara Worden (singer) | Ellen McLaughlin (lyrics) | Song: Circe & the Hanged Man.
Album: Penelope: A Song Cycle

While I prefer posting songs that have accompanying music videos, I had to share this particular song. I had the fortune of seeing Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) accompany The Utah Philharmonia for a special performance of the entire song cycle. The experience itself was absolutely incredible. The musicians themselves were brilliant and Shara Worden’s voice is just beautiful. If you’re familiar with My Brightest Diamond, then you know this. If you’re not familiar with them, you should fix that. Between the brilliant orchestrations, emotionally charged lyrics, and Worden’s voice–it’s a piece that is guaranteed to make you believe in the power of music and storytelling. You will feel deeply with this album.

The story itself is simple. The narrator is a woman whose husband went away for some unnamed war. He shows up at the door 20 years later with brain damage and no memory of who he is/was. In order to help her husband heal and rediscover himself, the wife reads to him passages of the Odyssey. The track I’m sharing here veers from classical to more indie rock territory, and the lyrics here are especially poignant. Before I saw the Utah Philharmonia with Shara Worden, I tried to familiarize myself with the album, but didn’t get the whole way through. When I reached this song–I felt the lyrics strike a chord. When I saw the song performed live: I couldn’t keep the tears at bay.

Artist: Gabby Young & Other Animals | Song: Open
Album: The Band Called Out For More

There’s something magical about the combination of elements that Gabby Young & Other Animals bring together with their music. Big Band jazz/swing/cabaret and pure joy are all to be found here. The band has been on my radar for some, but it wasn’t till this week that I truly fell in love. The band is led by a flame-haired enchantress with a bewitching voice and incredible style. The 7-piece band includes the basics (guitar, drum, etc) but goes further with violins and brass instruments. The music is as varied as the instrumentation: sometimes you’ll find tracks that are so haunting, they’ll crawl under your skin and stay there. Sometimes you’ll find songs so saucy you’ll find yourself impressed by their boldness. There’s a sense of glee in the art of experimentation and new combinations, and they are able to pull the songs off so well that it’s hard not to fall in love with them.

The great thing about this band is that they have tons of music videos that are worthy of being shared–including their brand new music video for the irresistibly catchy song “I’ve Improved” which was unveiled 6 days ago, on Feb. 14. I’m once again going to deviate from the singles (all of which are wonderful) and share my favorite track. The reason it’s one of my favorites is simple. With this band, you know you’re going to get some very upbeat/sassy music. This song goes along with the catchy rhythms and adds on a positive message, and one that’s worth keeping in mind.

Artist: Agnes Obel | Song: Just So
Album: Philharmonics

I am fully, 100% behind the mantra that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. That said, occasionally when I’m roaming the massive collection of albums at the Salt Lake City Public Library, a cover will catch my attention. And since I believe in the fun of experimentation (I discovered my love for Sia and the Noisettes by taking a chance on covers that caught my interest–and the Sia album was nothing like what I expected based on the cover), I checked out Philharmonics. From beginning to end, the album is beautiful, and captivating. On the surface, much of the music seems simple. But when you combine the gorgeous music with the lyrics, it becomes something else entirely. Albums like this are why one should believe in the power of experimentation. The reviews in Rolling Stone and on NPR other such sites have their place, but sometimes your favorite new band/musician is just a matter of luck.

With that, dear reader, I leave you to listen to the music here, check out the links provided, or perhaps go on your own musical journey. Wherever your wanderings take you, may they be be fruitful and fully enjoyable.

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

A little while ago, a horrible anti-feminist/fat-shaming meme started going around the Internet. If you’ve been online since it started circulating, you’ve probably seen it. The photo–if there had been no text added to it–is a great picture. It’s inspirational. It’s a plus-sized woman facing the camera and proudly holding a  paper that says “This is what a feminist looks like”.

I have similar pictures, of me proudly wearing my This is What a Feminist Looks Like t-shirt. For example: this one, taken when I hosted an amazing event that featured the strong community of women poets and musicians within the Salt Lake community.

Photo by Shauna Brock
Photo by Shauna Brock

Back to the meme.

What on its own is a wonderful picture that speaks volumes of feminist pride and exudes confidence was stolen and the message of power was taken away by a malicious caption:  “That’s pretty much what I expected.”

When I discovered the picture, I found myself unexpectedly crushed by the implication that somehow I, as a plus-sized woman and a feminist myself, was somehow less human. Suddenly I was just as easily worth ridicule and disgust. And it wasn’t just the person (or people) who found the image and added the horrific captioning who shocked me–it was the too-many-to-count commenters who were agreeing with the idea, and carrying on the anti-feminist/fat-shaming/anti-human campaign.

I claim to have little faith in humanity among my group of friends. They hear me day after day complaining about the stupidity of people, it’s a thing that I have been doing for a long time, and it’s second nature really. But honestly, under all the bark, I don’t believe it. I generally feel that people are good, that people are capable of amazing, wonderful things. But then something like this happens. And suddenly, my faith in humanity is actually shaken to its very core. The kind of people who insulted this woman are loathsome, vile creatures. And I find it hard to believe that someone could be so very hurtful, and damaging. But it happened.

Then today, I found something wonderful.

Turns out that the stolen picture is actually of a wonderfully badass feminist activist named Kelly Martin Broderick. And she wrote an amazing post about how horrified she was to discover the picture had been stolen and used as it was. But she didn’t stop at horrified. She fought it as best as she could, trying to get the picture removed from facebook since it had been stolen, but to no avail. But that did not stop her from speaking up and speaking out.

Kelly Martin Broderick: You are absolutely my hero.

I can’t tell you how much your voice made a difference to me today. It takes extreme courage to stand up when people are attacking in droves, powered by the fuel of the internet.

I am inspired by your strength, and grateful that you were able to rise above the awfulness of the Internet-gone-bad and make your statement. Despite the awful behavior of the people behind this meme, something great came out of this. Broderick proved that strength is possible in circumstances beyond one’s own control. That even when things are not working towards our favor, we can turn the tide and remind people that our greatest strength is in fact the power of our voice, and our ability to stand strong—and not take other people’s bullshit. If the people behind the meme can use the powers of the internet for harmful purposes, we can use the internet for good. To remind those that found the meme and grew as disheartened as I did upon first seeing it that the world is not all chaos and awful.

I am so fucking grateful for Broderick’s strength, because it’s reminded me that I too am powerful. And we feminists are everywhere. And taking this kind of bullshit is simply unacceptable. Hatred, mean-spiritedness, and spite will get you nowhere. If you want to be happy, if you want to make a difference in the world, you move past those things. You remember that everyone is human, that everyone has feelings and that EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF DIFFERENCE deserves a chance to be happy and live their lives.

If you haven’t already read Broderick’s piece on xojane, you should definitely go do that. Also, contribute to the tumblr page she set up, We Are What Feminists Look Like. As she explains in the piece on xojane:

The biggest miss the creator of my meme made was not realizing the point of the This is What a Feminist Looks Like campaigns; the point is to draw attention to the fact that feminists are not all the same. We are all different.  

So in response, I am starting a tumblr, We Are What Feminists Look Like. A few friends have already submitted pictures and I hope many more of you folks will submit pictures or thoughts. This experience has taught me that while one cruel person can ruin my morning, I have an entire community of friends, family, and feminists to back me up.  

Music Articles Worth Reading

And here we unveil a whole new feature idea for the blog: a list of noteworthy links to check out, should your interests run that way. If you’ve read any interesting music blogs/articles/ etc and want to post them in the comments, I’d love to check them out! Keep in mind that applies to music related writings you may have written, oh great internet-music-blogging-atmosphere.

sxsw-2013-logoHappy Readings!

  • SXSW–love it or hate it–is a big deal in the music world. For some smaller bands, playing SXSW means they’re on the verge to being “discovered” by the larger music population. But does it always? And given the increasing role sponsorships and big companies are playing, how much of this once heralded festival is truly about the music? Andrea Swensson, a music reporter at Minnesota Public Radio and a long time SXSW attendee shares her thoughts. Why I’m Not Going to SXSW This Year
  • SXSW by the music! The great thing about this little thing we call the internet is that you don’t have to go to SXSW to experience new music, especially when the staff at NPR are so good about putting together music lists. If you’ve got some time to kill and want to check out who’s playing in Austin, check out this excellent and exhaustive list. The Austin 100. Oh, and if you’re not the biggest music geek in the world, you might not know this, but the staff at NPR’s All Songs Considered do a GREAT job with daily recaps. So if you want to live SXSW vicariously, subscribe to the NPR ASC podcast asap.
  • If you’re a music person, then chances are you’ve already heard this bit of news. The ambassador for Record Store Day 2013 (April 20!) has been chosen and is none other than Jack White. Given his love of records and all the great work he’s been doing with Third Man Records, he is unquestionably the PERFECT fit. Add his incredible love for records and we have to ask ourselves, was there really any other candidate? Anyway-he issued a fantastic statement which everyone should add to their reading list. Whether you totally 100% agree or think he’s full of it, it brings up some good thoughts.
    As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves. ” Read the rest of his statement HERE.
  • Speaking of Third Man Records, have you heard that Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) is about to be the latest artist on Third asraMan Record to make a 7-inch with the label?  She and Ruby Amanfu will be doing reinterpretations of Rodriguez’s “I Wonder” and Memphis Minnie’s “When My Man Comes Home”. Read a bit more here.
  • Ok–final mention of SXSW in this entry, I promise. I’m sure you’ve heard whispers about a documentary that’s all about Kathleen Hanna and her work? Maybe you even helped fund it during their kickstarter campaign? Well, this SXSW the film (by Sini Anderson and Tamra Davis), The Punk Singer premiers. March 10. If you can make it to SXSW and somehow crash that movie, you’ll have to let me know how it is. ’till then, I’ll have to wait until I can finally check it out. (SOOOOO EXCITING!!!! OMG!!!) Kathleen Hanna posted about it on her blog, and a small excerpt (and then you can go read the rest of it HERE): “It has been really fun watching old footage of Bikini Kill , as that’s something I’ve never done before. I have now officially realized why we seemed so fucking nuts to people, and I say that with an absolute beaming pride. I can’t believe any of my bandmates took such a leap of faith and let me play music with them.”
  • Kate Nash’s new Album, “Girl Talk” came out this Tuesday! Have you bought it? Listened to it? what are your thoughts?

What have you been reading? What new albums have you bought? What’s making you happy this week! Talk about it in the comments! Cheers!

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution May Reflection

May has been a month of extreme growth and development, for both myself personally and for When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic. Huge, Wonderful, Incredible changes. 2012 will be a year I remember for a long time (and the year’s not even over!)

First of all: in the spirit of taking risks, embracing the punk aesthetic that I love so much (yet find myself terrified to fully embrace), and celebrating 2 years of When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution as an open mic–I dyed my hair pink. Let me repeat that one more time, in case you are skimming over and missed that previous line. I DYED MY HAIR PINK. Not pastel pink. No light or subtle colors for me. This is the first time I’ve ever dyed my hair like this, and there is no halfway point on this. As soon as I promised myself that THIS was the month that it would happen, I knew that the only way to do this would be as bright and bold as possible. and voila. The whole process was made exceptionally easy thanks to a friend of mine who generously agreed to help me make this the best experience ever. She did such a great job! The success of this is so much a part of her excellent abilities, and you’ll have to excuse me, but she is amazing. Her name, if you’re curious, is Tami Porter-Jones and she’s a pretty fabulous writer, and her first book is out and available on amazon. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, of stories with characters who draw you in, and great writing, then you should for sure check out her book, which is available on amazon or right here. Do yourself a favor and get in on the action.

So yeah. My hair is now bright pink. And I’m loving every second of it.

This month has also made me acutely aware of how important starting the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic/community was. It’s been an incredible two years, full of a lot of wondering “am I doing the right thing?” and “is this going to last/be worth it?” The answer was always pretty obvious, but here, two years later, the answer is unquestionable. YES. It was. And it’s an amazing community of writers/performers and I’m so grateful to see how it’s grown and developed, with such an amazing group of core supporters and new people at the same time. There is DEFINITELY a reason this little open mic with a huge spirit won City Weekly’s Best Poetry Open Mic in 2012.

A little food for thought, should anyone outside of Salt Lake read this post/about the awesome that is WSSIHtR: Don’t spend your time wishing that something like this existed in your area. Seriously. All it takes is the guts to start your own revolution. You say you want a space dedicated to creative women writers and musicians? Make it happen. Talk to your friends. Talk to venues around your town. Coffee shops, bookstores, libraries–find somewhere! And the best part about organizing an open mic that people don’t really tell you (especially when you’re *just* starting out) is how freakin’ easy it is. Bring the passion. Bring the support. Advertise as much as you can over facebook. Invite everyone you meet. Post fliers everywhere. And most of all: BE THERE. Be ready for nights that ROCK, where the talent is so dynamic and contagious that you’re freewriting poetic verse by the end of the night even though you’ve never been a poet. Be ready for the nights where it is your small core group sharing stuff in a supportive environment, testing out new/old material among friends. Be prepared for these and everything in between. Most of all–be persistent. In creating a community like this, it’s you who has the role of the fearless leader. Without you this wouldn’t exist. Don’t give into your fears. Embrace that inner pit bull, grab the bone and GO.

They say that you are your own worst enemy. What they don’t say ENOUGH is the more important message that the movie Whip It conveys.

YOU ARE YOUR OWN HERO.

It’s up to you to create, to bring people together, to make a scene, to start your own damn revolution….so what are you waiting for?

This message is absolutely something I’ve learned over the trials and successes of running the When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic, and if you are interested in more information, in starting your own variation on the theme, please feel free to let me know, either in the comments or an email at rebelgrrrl.theblog at gmail.com

Final thought for this post: having a project like WSSIHtR has been a really interesting way to track my growth. The very first open mic two years ago, I was so terrified being onstage, in front of people. SO terrified. And now here I am running City Weekly’s Best Poetry Open Mic and just last weekend I hosted the Salt Lake City Women of the World Poetry Slam qualifier. That was unquestionably the biggest thing I’ve done to date. The community and spirit of slam was actually part of my influence in starting WSSIHtR, and hosting a slam event is COMPLETELY different from an open mic–at least in terms of format. The general idea is the same. Thanks to my two years with WSSIHtR, thanks to my learning to come to terms with being in front of people, sharing my own words, my own spirit, and offering myself up to the altar of the creative community has taught me a lot. And I rocked the slam as the host. So much fun. It was definitely a learning experience in terms of the stuff that was different from slam to open mic, and I was far from perfect, but I did my best to keep up the energy and got the hang of it pretty well. For me being onstage is a unique experience. I am myself, but amplified. Weird sentiment but totally accurate. I don’t really disguise myself in a character created exclusively for the stage, and for me I think it works. It’s definitely more vulnerable, when people are seeing you pretty much as you are, but once you realize that you’re in control, that you’re the driver and by the way, you’re kick ass, it’s pretty fun. It’s getting to a point that works that is the real challenge. And it doesn’t come overnight. But damn is it a learning experience, and one that leads to more self-knowledge, more self-confidence, and a bigger appreciation for all the little steps that led you to your state of knowledge.

It’s on that note that I’ll end this blog with a BIG GIANT shout out to everyone past and present who has helped make When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution such a huge success. While it takes one person to lead, an open mic like this cannot exist without a supportive and engaged community. And everyone adds to the spirit that is built up over time. 

Also–the future is shining pretty brightly. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is getting better every day.

–One last note, and I ended the May WSSIHtR open mic with this idea–When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution started on a dare, on a vague notion that something like this could happen and work, but no certainty whatsoever. It’s through dares like this one that hidden paths can be uncovered, that monsters can be defeated, that we can learn to overcome our fears. So for the month of June (and beyond?)–be daring. Have you always thought that your hair would be cooler neon green? Screw convention–do it! Have you been wanting to do something but you keep convincing yourself out of it? Stop rationalizing your fears. Dare yourself to do one thing every month that scares you. Just try. Even if it’s not the best experience in the world, you’ll have learned something. And we live once. What are we living for if we’re too cautious? Too safe? Give yourself permission to start your journey to flight.

When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution May Events

The month of May means one thing to me, and one thing only. The ever-growing When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution open mic is now another year older.

As of the last Saturday of this month, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution will officially be 2 years old. And that means the whole month of May is going to be an incredible, event filled month! And here’s a run down of what we’re planning so you can add them to your planner or smart-phone and plan on being there!

Friday May 18, 2012, 7:30 pm @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse: Words of Temptation–An Erotica Open Mic 

There is nothing more liberating than talking about those topics that are so often seen as forbidden fruits. Sex and sexuality and freedom to explore is the thing that made the TV Show Sex and the City so very popular, yet it’s still something many of us only talk about with people we know or certain circumstances. This month we will be having a very special evening full of words that ooze passion, desire, and temptation. The evening will be hosted by the sultry and sensual mistress of Salt Lake City Slam, DeAnn Emett (who I wrote about here along with the rest of the 2009 slc slam team).

The event will also act as a fundraiser opportunity for the Salt Lake Slam team raise money for Nationals this year, which are all the way over in North Carolina….Charlotte, NC to be exact. And if you’re excited to send Salt City Slam down to nationals this year, don’t worry, you do not have to wait…you can help them right now by clicking on this link! If everyone who reads this were to donate one dollar and everyone they shared this link with would donate a dollar and on and on….eventually all those dollars (or $5/$10) would add up!

This will be an event not to be missed! For one thing, how often is there an event like this in Salt Lake City? Not often enough, in my opinion. And if this is successful, we’ll definitely consider making this an event that’s scheduled again in coming months.

Tuesday May 22, 2012, 9:00 pm @ Club Jam: When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution–Date With the Night Party!

The road to making this open mic what it is has not been the easiest. There’s been a lot of work involved, a lot of planning, and a lot of anxiety. Yet it has continued to grow and expand beyond my imagination and i expect that it will continue to grow even beyond this.

So this–this is an opportunity to celebrate several things. First–most obviously–the continued presence of Salt Lake’s feminist-riot grrrl-infused open mic in the scene. For this fact alone, there will be a birthday cake. I can’t promise anything as far as the cake goes because I do have yet to order it, but I can tell you that it will most likely be vegan and it will be bought from a local store. When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution is a local open mic and continues to support local businesses, especially those businesses that are made of awesome.

This party will also be a celebration of persistence and feminism and the kickass women that make up our community. There will be some great drinks, great company and delicious cake, so do come out and celebrate the little open mic that refuses to go anywhere.

Saturday May 26, 2012, 7:00 pm @ Jitterbug Coffee: When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution Open Mic

Join WSSIHtR for words/music/ideas and concepts that will delight and inspire. The community of When She Speaks is indeed a revolutionary one, and is also one of incredible diversity. Poets, novelists, fiction writers, comedians, and musicians have all found a home at this open mic, and anything that can be performed is certainly welcome. While WSSIHtR was founded on the concept and continues to celebrate the act of bringing the creative women of SLC a home to share their works, it is not an exclusive open mic and is open to everyone, no matter how one identifies or where they are in their artistic process. The scariest part of being at an open mic is in the sharing and we are all nothing but supportive. This is a place where writers and musicians can expect to share and grow and network with each other, and the space aims to be a safe, supportive environment for EVERYONE.

The open mic lasts between 2-3 rounds and is always a lesson in expecting the unexpected! This month’s will be extremely special as it will mark the 2-yr anniversary of this spectacular event, so don’t miss out!

Finally: A Special Announcement. Or two.

I will be hosting the Salt Lake City Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is Poetry Slam WoWps Qualifier. I’m so excited to be hosting such an amazing event! Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is continues to be one of Salt Lake’s biggest slams and continues to bring in great features from all across the country and draws some of the best and brightest of the local slam scene! This will be especially exciting for me given that I will have an opportunity to be part of the process that ends up with a Salt Lake based qualifier for the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2013! So yeah. This is gonna be an incredible event. The only unfortunate thing about this particular slam is that there can only be one victor. I’m going to have to convince all of the other competitors to try and storm wowps 2013. Salt Lake can totally take over the 2013 wowps. ooh. I really like that idea…..(mwahahaha)

So in conclusion: if you can take Tuesday, May 29th off of work, call in sick, or something, then you should do it. Put Your Mouth Where the Word Is will be taking place on Monday, May 28 and it will kick so much ass that you’re gonna really need some extra sleep the next morning. Stay tuned for more details.

And a final note: WSSIHtR is making a zine! Be part of it by submitting your art/prose/poetry/feminist rants/etc to rebelgrrrl.theblog @ gmail dot com. Go ahead, go for it! There is currently no theme, though if some of you wonderful readers want to suggest themes and one of them rocks so hard that it’ll just have to happen….well, you could earn a cookie and a dedication in our latest zine.