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Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

07 November 2016

Interview with Sarah Potenza



I get a lot of pitches to cover musicians and musical acts. My usual screening is based on my time and a quick web search. That's when I realized that Sarah Potenza is not the usual musical artist. She's making waves with the title track of her album, Monster, including its fun video (posted at the bottom of this post). I had the chance to chat with Sarah as she prepares to return to Chicago for a show at The Hideout on Saturday, November 12th. This is not a transcript, but taken from notes.  

VLF: I really enjoyed your album. Right now you are getting a lot of praise for your song, Monster. It has been called an empowerment song. Over the past few years, empowerment has been used to describe a lot of things. So what does empowerment mean to you?

Potenza: Empowerment is something that makes you motivated. Something that makes you feel a certain way. I read something about body love and since then, over the past year I have made an evolution about how I feel and see my body. I use to feel "ewww" about my body parts. But I read a story about a woman who learned to love her body, her juiciness, all of that. It empowered me to love my own body. I follow a lot of body positive people on Instagram and Twitter and it matters. When you see someone who can wear a bikini and have back fat it empowers you. It changes the way you see yourself. Especially to see yourself from a more powerful position. As feminists we need to be ok with being powerful. Feminism doesn’t mean angry. Empowered doesn’t mean angry.

VLF: In an interview with NPR you talk about not being taken seriously because of your flamboyant style. Is that one reason that drew you to audition for “The Voice”? That you would be judged by your voice and not your visual style?

Potenza: No, not at all. I auditioned because I believe in saying yes to every opportunity. Not letting your inner hipster stop you from doing things either. Too many people say no to things they think are beneath them, but I think nothing is below you. I saw "The Voice" as a way to elevate my career and platform. So I decided to walk through that door.

VLF: Oh, great! I asked because I know about the research about blind auditions being great for removing many biases. The classic one is about orchestra auditions and how once blind auditions became standard, orchestras went from being mostly dudes to a better balance. 

Potenza: ARGH!! I hate that. You know I use to send emails with a man's name because I knew I wasn't being taken seriously by some in the music business. Now my husband handles the business side of my music business because he is taken more seriously. This is just one of the many reasons why I early voted! I have been so incredibly hurt and disgusted by the many men I know who hate Hillary. They have a loathing for no reason, but I know it is because of what she represents as a woman.

VLF: Agreed! OK, pivoting back to your music.... Monster is bringing you such amazing attention because in our thin-obsessed society, being proud of your not-size-zero body is radical. Do you worry that the attention is too focused on this one song, this one radical message and won’t carry the rest of your amazing work to people’s ears?

Potenza: No, I don’t really…I'm honored if people just get this one song. I do a lot of work with young women. I teach workshops and I have a lot of fans who are young girls. One girl did her 7th grade career day project on me. I don't know her, but she lives in Michigan. I encourage girls to be their own best friend. My mom and I are now great friends. My mom use to put a lot of energy into her looks. She's a life-long member of Weight Watchers and I use to feel bad that I would never be a size 4 like her. I want to be the role model for girls who will never be a size 4. But yes, I definitely want people to explore the rest of the album.

VLF: What does success look to you? Do you have it?

Potenza: It is weird. After you have been on "The Voice," everything seems small after that. I have had so much success already. I do feel successful in a lot of ways. At the same time I know there are so many more mountains to climb. Success looks like Bonnie Raitt, Neko Case, Alabama Shakes. I’m going to be playing The Hideout and having a hundred people will be a success. I want the longevity. I want to become iconic. I want to get to be where I can be an artist and do what I want to do. I'm always creating. It's funny, promotion wise you’re always living in the past because I recorded the album a year ago and wrote Monster long before that. For me, success is closing that time gap between creation and promotion. Yeah, I want Lemonade success - to write, create, and distribute as quickly as Beyoncé does.

VLF: How do you practice feminism within the music industry?

Potenza: wow...This is a hard question, good, but I haven't thought about this. I think I practice feminism by being myself and being a role model, by writing the music I want to write. I am not writing songs where women are only doing things they "should be" singing about. I do not want to be participating in the gendered nature of song roles. I practice feminism by writing about things like the election, without being preachy in songs, but writing about them. I've been touched by Leelah Alcorn's story. I am thinking about writing about her. But do it from a clever, non preachy way like Monster. Not angry, not sad. I'll be following along the steps laid by Neko Case.

VLF: Thanks for taking time out to talk to me. Good luck in Chicago! And the rest of the tour. 

Potenza: Thanks for wanting to talk!



Sarah Potenza
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
The Hideout
$12.00 - $15.00

03 March 2016

American Masters -- Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl


On Friday American Masters premieres Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl. In Chicago it will air at 9:30 PM. Everyone else, check your local listings. I haven't had time to preview this documentary for a review, but I am excited for this! When I was growing up, much of the music in our house was country and western music. My first concert was seeing Kenny Rogers. We watched Hee Haw and Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters. Loretta Lynn was everything back then. I did not realize how revolutionary she was until I was older. I do remember not quite understanding how popular culture reduced women in country music to "Stand By Your Man," when I knew them by Loretta, Dolly and Barbara. If you need evidence of Loretta's feminist ways, take a peek at the clip below. Then check out the full documentary Friday night.

EDITED TO ADD: It has come to my attention that Loretta is a Trump supporter. My heart is crushed. More evidence that even bad ass women are not perfect.



American Masters -- Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl explores Lynn's hard-fought road to stardom, her struggles to balance her marriage to Oliver "Doolittle" Lynn and six children with her music career, her friendships and collaborations with Spacek, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and music producer Owen Bradley, along with her life on the road, her Nashville and Hurricane Mills communities, her songwriting inspirations and her music's lasting impact on her peers and fans.

12 November 2015

20 Years of Swallowing Down that Jagged Little Pill


This is how you know that I was not a good riot grrrl. I worshiped the shit out of Alanis Morissette. I've heard all the critiques of Alanis. That she was too pop to be real riot grrrl, but to one 20-year-old young woman trying to find her place in the world, Alanis was the perfect amount of anger at the right time. Every.single. song. on that album spoke to me. And the fact that there was the hidden track? OMG! Mind blown at the audacity.

"All I Really Want" is still one of the best openings to an album. "What I wouldn't give to meet a kindred," spoke truth to the fact I was lacking in close friends at the time. I had friends, but somehow I had failed to make really close friends. I missed a lot during college. I also have a concert tee that says "Intellectual Intercourse."

"You Outta Know" is my go-to karaoke song because even 20 years later you can get a room full of women to scream out "YOU OUTTA KNOW!!" at the top of their lungs. "Perfect" was the perfect song for a girl who was living the life she wanted, but was struggling to reach the high standards she had for herself. I thought I was "Mary Jane." For me being 20 sucked.

But having that cassette tape made it suck a little less.

I was like an Alanis evangelist. I told everyone I knew that they had to get it. Some rejected it out of her anger, but most of them came around.

Then she went on tour. I got to Tower Records early enough that I was first in line AND won the ticket lottery to be the first to buy tickets. This is why I'll never win the Lotto. I barely saw any of that concert despite being front row center because I danced through the whole thing. I was possessed as I swung my long curly hair with her. At the end of the night she tossed daisies and guitar picks at the crowd. I still have mine somewhere in a box.

To read her tell the story of "Jagged Little Pill" and how she bust on to the scene was like a visit from an old friend. You thought you knew her, but gawd damn you didn't know half the story of how bad ass she was. Yes she was commercial, but I didn't have the acces to riot grrrl music that others had. Hell I didn't even find Ani until a few years after college when I former friend said, "If you love Alanis, you'll love Ani." Funny thing is that Evergreen State College was my first choice for college. Birthplace of too many riot grrrl acts to list. Would Alanis had made this much of an influence on me? Who knows. What I do know is that I do not think I would have made it out of my 20th year without Alanis. And for that I say thank you.

And I adore that you did this video.



12 July 2014

Janelle Monae at the Taste of Chicago

I will admit that I was not a huge fan of Janelle Monae before I found myself at her free-ish (lawn free, pavilion seats cost money) concert as part of the Illinois Lottery Anything's Possible Music Series at the Taste of Chicago on Thursday. I had heard of her (who really hasn't, right?) and all that jazz, but I never went out of my way to truly discover her. Well I discovered her on Thursday as if I had discovered chocolate by falling into a vat of fudge. It was that delicious.

I now see why she has such passionate fans. From where we were sitting, we could see them. My favorite was a boy about 12 who was there with his mom. Clearly this was an event that might be the best night of his year. He was dancing and singing along with her all night. He was also doing that fanboy thing where he has to occasionally shake out his excitement. ADORABLE! There was also a pair of young men in the front center row who were doing the same thing. But the winner was a little girl about 3 or 4-years-old whom I could barely see through the fence dancing the hell out of the songs. I went to the concert with Keidra, of The Learned Fangirl, so it was great to have a Janelle fan along with me. Janelle did a covers of a few music legends including Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Prince, and James Brown. The crowd went wild for these!  

At one point of the concert, Janelle brought out handmade signs that said "STOP THE VIOLENCE" and another that said, I believe, "STOP KILLING OUR BABIES...WE LOVE THEM." The signs were clearly quickly made and with a not very thick marker, so it was hard to read them from our vantage point. But she talked about the violence that is plaguing Chicago and asked us to sing along so loudly so the gangs could hear our love.

Overall is was a fab concert and I am so happy that I went because now I am a Janelle fan. I'm going to get some of her music and play it when I need something to kick my butt, ease my crankiness, or just want to get up and dance.

Created with flickr slideshow.


DISCLAIMER: A friend and I attended on the invitation from the Illinois Lottery. Our seats were located in the VIP section where we had access to food and drink (non-alcoholic) and an amazing view. The concert was my compensation in return for this post-event review.

20 December 2013

4 songs that prove Dolly Parton is a genius

I grew up listening to country & western music in the late 70s and early 80s. I still feel like it is a classic period for this genre and Dolly Parton is certainly one big reason. While people only see a walking Barbie doll, I see a lyrical genius. And yes, this is totally a result of me seeing all the other lists posted on people's FB pages and me thinking, "Oh, these should be a list of..." So here you go:

1) Coat of Many Colors:  
"My coat of many colors that my momma made for me, made only from rags, but I wore it so proudly."



2) Jolene:
"Your beauty is beyond compare, with flaming locks of auburn hair, with ivory skin and eyes of Emerald green. Your smile is like a breath of spring, your voice soft like summer rain, and I cannot compete with you, Jolene."



3) 9 to 5: So many great lines in this one!
"Pour myself a cup of ambition"
"For service and devotion, you would think that I would deserve a fair promotion"
"They let you dream, just to watch them shatter"



4) I Will Always Love You:
"Bittersweet memories that is all I am taking with me"


09 December 2013

Music Review: Wise Girl

I always chuckle when I get a pitch to review music. I think I have a weird taste in music that often goes for the most commercial sounds, as I listen to more music on the radio than hitting clubs to discover something new and indie. Yet I also love rock music that is mostly guitar and screeching boys (see: The Offspring) and folk music (see: Dar Williams).

Which is why I rarely do music reviews. Anyone I do review means that they touched me in some way. For Wise Girl, they made me dance!

I was identified as a reviewer because in a guest blog post for Infectious Magazine, Abby admitted, "It is tough being a woman running the show, especially on the business side of things," and in an article for The Sound Alarm, she advised women to "love yourself for who you are no matter what shape or size, don’t listen to what the media says is standard." I especially loved her definition of "being one of the boys."

So crank up your speakers or plug in your ear buds, because it is Monday morning and we all need something peppy to dance to.

08 July 2013

Interview with Tylan of Girlyman

Did you know that Tylan of Girlyman has a solo CD, One True Thing? Well, you probably do because her Kickstarter was a smashing success! I was lucky to chat with Tylan about this and much more.

Viva la Feminista: You were recently in Chicago to play at Space (actually in Evanson). How was the show?

Tylan: The show was amazing. It was honestly one of the best shows on the tour. The place was packed with love and support.

VLF: Who are your musical influences?

Tylan: I like really great songwriters. Paul Simon was the first one I obsessed over. Springsteen, Patty Giffin, Indigo Girls....and a lot of my peers who are not famous, but are playing shows and writing great music.

VLF: So...pick one act who most of us don't know about, but should?

Tylan: Oh, don't make me choose! (long pause...Jeopardy music....). Coyote Grace is a trio, and yea, my partner is in the act. But really, they are so talented. Their songwriting is so good and performances are so exciting.

VLF: Do you have a dream collaborator? Or have you already achieved that?

Tylan: I have gotten to work with a lot of my heroes. But so far never Patty Griffin or Ani. They are two huge influences and I would love to work/tour/collaborate with them in some way.

VLF: When did you write your first song?

Tylan: I was 14-years-old and wrote it for my English class. Our assignment was to write something, anything based on the book "Of Mice Men." I submitted a tape & lyric sheet. When I got it back it had A++++ on it. I already knew that music was important to me, but had never really tried my hand at songwriting. That teacher and her feedback really encouraged me.

VLF: You address the Pandora/Spotify phenomena on your website. Can you say more as to how these sites (which I admit I use) endanger musicians livelihoods?

Tylan:  I don't want to vilify any site. I think they are a bridge to the next way of doing things for musicians. The problem is that they aren't really compensating artists. I use Pandora every day. I like how it helps people discover new artists. It's a really different way than radio. This is an evolving industry. We have no idea what will fill that gap. Is it artists making money through airplay/album sales? How do we sustain this? How much do these music sites have a responsibility to sustain the artists that they build their business on? It's all pretty exciting. Musicians need to demand that we get compensated.

VLF: What was the Kickstarter experience like? Who should never Kickstart a project?

Tylan: It was life changing. It was my first big project on my own, as a solo artist. The response was quick. I had a $20,000 goal - the bear minimum for recording a professional album and within 36 hours I hit the goal. The Kickstarter ended with donations totally more than double! It was a clear mandate to make this album. I learned that what I do, personally, matters. It matters to people enough that they will put their money behind it. Kickstarter is starting to fill the gap. Kickstarter still has an assumption of ethics. You have to go into it asking yourself, "Do I need this money? Will I be able to deliver? Do I need this money for this project?"There is no one big rule, rather a self-administered ethical test. There is a sacred trust and no accounting for how money is spent. trust. quality control. ethical agreement?

VLF: What is your goal with your music?

Tylan:  It's a calling. It is something I've always been called to do. It also makes no sense! It makes more sense to get a 'job,' but I've always been called to create music. It is healing and a way to connect more deeply with the world & other people.

VLF: What is the kindest thing someone have done for you lately?

Tylan: Oh, so many things! It blows my mind. Just yesterday my partner & I were looking for a place to live in the Bay area. As we were looking at houses, my phone dings..it's a paypal notification of donation…Just out of the blue. The note attached said, "If you ever had any doubt, if you what you do is worthwhile & have a talent, here is something to remind you." This like this have been happening more so since I took this solo journey; Emails, cards, and physical notes of encouragement. So much love comes to you when you are following your path.

Tylan One True Thing-08-Love Then by Effective Immediately PR

14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is not only a day for chocolates & flowers, but a day for radical acts as we work towards a day free of violence against women & girls. Fifteen years ago Eve Ensler declared Valentine's Day, V-DAY. To celebrate 15 years,


Chicago is in on the act too.




And friend of VLF, Alejandra O'Leary has
a special Valentine's Day tune for us to dance to



How ever you celebrate today, I hope you are surrounded by love!

21 October 2011

Review: Broken Mirror Baby by Alejandra O'Leary

Do you remember the TV show, Rags to Riches [video]? Well that spurred an obsession with 1950s-60s music that held me in its grasp for a few years. I especially loved the girl groups and their super cute matching outfits. But it was their pop hooks that reeled me in. I never got fully into riot grrrl, as I was more of a hip hop gal. I also steered towards radio friendly grunge pop like The Sundays.

Which is why it shouldn't be a surprise that I really enjoyed Broken Mirror Baby by Alejandra O'Leary.

When I popped it into the CD player on the way to work, my husband said, "If only Q101 were still around."

At least the Q101 from my high school and college days, where they played grunge pop.

O'Leary's music is fun, especially @ the club, the opening track. It's not too safe, but it's hella fun. And fun music is exactly is called for during the blah days of fall/winter in Chicago. The music will make you think you found a lost CD from the 90s and you'll think, "THAT'S where it went!" And in the best way possible.

That is why I hope you will click on over & grab a copy of her CD or download the album to your digital music player.

So to sum up.... Broken Mirror Baby by Alejandra O'Leary reminded me of 1950s-60s girl bands with the edge of the 1990s. Poppy, fun and a new addition to your "I need cheering up" playlist.

19 July 2011

Summer of Feminista: Don't call me a groupie! Women in the music biz



My name is Martha Carolona Preciado and I am an expert in progressive political grassroots movements pertaining to Latina women because of my involvement and political ideals.

How are you embracing/could you embrace the role of public intellectual?

Before music there was politics. I was completely involved in progressive grassroots movements for Latinas as the chair of La Coalición for a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. addressing the needs of the Chicano/Latino/Hispanic community.

Now with my involvement in the music industry I have faced objectification and demeaning attitudes towards women in the industry. A continuous derogatory viewpoint, the concept of "groupie". I constantly encounter negative comments of my presence backstage of a show or my friendships with males in bands thus having to validate my work and is some ridicule manner apologize for being a woman. "She must be a groupie", as a response to my presence and overlooking my talent and capability; solemnly focusing on the sexual objectification of my gender.

The music industry is a male-dominated field creating an overwhelming disparity between men and women. Furthermore, unlikely to practice gender equity due to the assumptions and gender roles. I am a woman, I am Latina however there shall be no negative assumption of my talent or scrutinize my capabilities due my gender or cultural background. On the contrary, I embrace my gender and culture and I am proud to be a young Latina thriving in my work. As a woman, I strongly believe I embrace the role of a public intellectual by empowering women to break the glass ceiling and diminish stereotypes which limit our mobility in any workforce. In any of our fields, we must break any stereotype and generalization of our work. It is imperative to continue embracing our passions and close the gap in gender dichotomy. We need more women to exercise their professions without the need to prove themselves continuously. We too are capable, we too are talented. We are women who do not fear deeply-rooted stereotypes in our society. It is in our hands to demolish closed-minded perceptions and thrive in our professions.


Summer of Feminista 2011 is a project where Latinas are sharing their thoughts on Latinas as Public Intellectuals. Liberal. Conservative. Academic statements. Personal stories. Learn more or how you can join the Summer of Feminista. This is a project of Viva la Feminista. Link and quote, but do not repost without written permission.

15 February 2010

Book Review: Girl Power by Marisa Meltzer

I am totally unqualified to review this book as I totally missed the Riot Grrrl moment. On the other hand, I totally dove into the Lilith Fair moment, so I think that I could write the rebuttal or sequel to Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music by Marisa Meltzer, as Meltzer says she never attended Lilith Fair. But I don't hold that against her.

Girl Power is a quick read. In fact I dare say that it's a must have on your summer 2010 reading list. It's not fluffy, but at only 145 pages, it delves thru the 1990s women's music scene quickly and in fairly accessible language. In other words, Meltzer doesn't compare Avril to Courtney by using uber-academic jargon. Because of that, I'd also say that this would make an awesome book group selection. I can only imagine the music throw downs at the Women & Children First Feminist book group.

As someone who missed the Riot Grrrl moment, I really appreciated reading about how it came about, got popular and then essentially killed itself thru a media boycott. Meltzer ponders if that would have been conceivable in today's media soaked culture. I concur.

But what I found most intriguing about the book was how Meltzer outlines how a group of feminists grabbed guitars, drums and the mic and launched a very real music revolution and then how that revolution was so successful that it is quickly evolved into what we typically think of as "Girl Power" music.

From Alanis to the Spice Girls, few pop "Girl Power" acts are left un-examined as to how well they stay true to feminism and the benchmark of Riot Grrrl. Meltzer also looks at how some Riot Grrrl acts moved into the mainstream and how that impacted their music. One could use this book to examine just about any grassroots, indie movement to see how it evolves into something vastly different in a short amount of time.

The immediate thing I thought of was mom blogging. How we went from moms using blogging as a medium to reach out and find intelligent adult conversation while raising our fab kids to a community where we are thought of as idiot product whores. Meltzer discusses how once Riot Grrrl peaked, others joined in, but not to spread radical ideas such as embracing our sexuality as women, but to cash in on fame and sometimes money. People started to see newbies rocket to stardom while those who paved the path were left behind, sometimes willingly. This is a familiar plot line from many movements.

I didn't agree with many of Meltzer's conclusions such as grouping P!nk with Avril as bullies. She points to "Stupid Girls" as being problematic by calling out specific "stupid girls" instead of calling out society. I think that's exactly what P!nk does by calling out "tiny dog" accessorizing celebs. Maybe I'm just still reeling from Meltzer making a great case as to why the Spice Girls were a good thing and not P!nk. And reeling in the sense that I think it's an excellent case and one we should all reexamine.

Girl Power also made me stop and consider how do we want girls to discover feminism. Or more to the point, how do we think we can get them to discover feminism?

My daughter has taken a liking to this book solely due to the title.

The kid has asked me how I have liked the book, what it's about and tried to read over my shoulder. This is a book I do plan to leave on a shelf for her to have easy access to when she's around 10. Maybe a bit sooner, but 6 is still too soon for me to discuss rape with her. But the thing is that she knows "girl power" and what it means to her. I asked her and she said, "That girls can play soccer, girls can play chess and girls can play guitars!" Then she laughed and confessed that she cribbed that response from the cover of Girl Studies. I tell ya, she's a smart cookie. But if even 75% of girls her age know "girl power" as a slogan that translated into "Of course, I can do X!" then isn't that a good thing?

I guess it can be a not-good thing if the girl in question doesn't have someone in her life to build upon that feeling and reinforce it.

Hopefully you get that the bottom line of this review is that it was a good read, a fast read and one that did make me ponder if it's feminist to "go down in a movie theater" or not. So whatacha waiting for? Grab a copy thru an indie bookstore or Powells.com.

Edited on 2.26: I had to add this link to the kid's debut at Feministing. 

Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the copy of the book. I met Marisa years ago when she was with Bitch magazine, but I highly doubt that it is why when I asked for a review copy, her peeps sent one.

06 December 2008

Lilith Fair - Dream Team

My iPod is almost like a mini-Lilith Fair in that it's chock full of Sarah, Indigo Girls, Ani, Dixie Chicks, Catie Curtis and so forth. As I was driving home from work today, I was listening to Sarah McLachlan and her voice so fit the scene of a snowy Chicago. Oh, how I miss Sarah! And no, a greatest hits album isn't enough for me. (BTW - I have no idea how I thought I could get my hair to look like hers in this pic, but I tried!) But it got me thinking...if Sarah or someone else were to resurrect Lilith Fair, who would I want to be included?

So my dear readers, let's take a moment out of the hustle & bustle of the holidays and the insanity of politics. Who would you want to see in Lilith Fair - The Revenge? Did you ever scan the list of the kick ass women who did play Lilith Fair? Damn...edited to add: My choices include all the kick ass women from the actual tour.

My choices include:
  • Taylor Swift - Yeah, she's bubble gum country, but I think she could kick it
  • P!nk
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • I know I'm missing a ton, but I'm super tired right now.
Would being on the feminista tour help Brit Brit?

I love that the Lilith Tour website hasn't changed since 1999 and there's still a link to chickmail.com. A moment of silence for chickmail y'all. I sooo miss that account.

22 September 2008

Work it, Mom! Monday

Whoooooo...wee! Is it a Work it, Mom day! I am pooped and see no rest for this wicked mama.

First up, my post today at Work it, Mom addresses some of the confusion that people have about the NOW PAC endorsement of Obama/Biden. It's a bit revealing on the inner workings of NOW, one of the most crazy and passionate organizations I could ever be involved with.

Last night one of my aunts got married & I spent some overdue time with aunts & uncles who live in the burbs. The problem with my dad's side of the family is that when we all left our suburb, I went east to Chicago and they went west to the hinterland suburbs. So it's rare for any of us to really be in each other's neighborhood without a major event happening.

Since my dad's sister got married he came into town and took the kid off our hands. I was able to have dinner with Cinnamon and Lauren. I also coined a new term - Poiserati - for those of us gals with Poise bags. Yet somehow we failed to take a picture of the three of us with our New York bag. THEN Cinnamon & I got our boys and headed to a bar for some drinks & chatting. Wine, beer, friends...couldn't had been a better night.

Except Friday we added Dar Williams in the mix. She was in town promoting her new CD. It was the first time since I started going to her shows that I didn't do homework on the new CD. It was nice hearing the old stuff and the brand new songs. Sadly this whole Sarah Palin thing is getting to me...During "As Cool As I Am" there is a line, "I will not be afraid of women!" I kept adding "except Sarah Palin!" to it in my head. Oy...

So that's my weekend and now I'm off to one more gathering with my dad and his girlfriend. Ta!


***Don't forget to enter to win 8 books by Latino authors***

27 March 2008

Should a feminist listen to misogynistic music?

R@d@r asked this about a post from last week:

as a songwriter/musician i am very interested in this question of whether a feminist "should" be into certain booty-shaking jams. (i know you were just being flip but this is actually something i think about.) chris rock did a whole routine about it that was pretty interesting as well as funny. my wife, who is a pretty hardcore feminist, really really loves "the seed 2.0" by the roots & cody chestnutt, in fact it is one of her favorite songs - but if you actually listen to the lyrics they're pretty horrible. i know that a lot of people enjoy songs and ignore the lyrics, but as a singer and writer of lyrics this disturbs me (or, perhaps it's just a blow to my ego). it's a phenomenon i find curious.
My friends know that this is one of my side issues...meaning that it's a great question, but one that I try to ignore as it reveals so many hypocrisies about myself as well as the movement.

And honestly, I wasn't being flip...I meant it when I said I was listening to un-feminist music. I like to explain a lot of my choices as a teen as just that, being a teen and making bad choices. But in reality, I think I did them because well, I liked the beat, the music, and even the attention that it brings a young woman when "Rump shaker" is on the sound system. Especially a young woman with a rump.

Fast forward to now and there has been a lot of attention brought to misogynistic lyrics & music in hip-hop, which brings anti-racist activists to bring to light the horrible lyrics of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, as r@d@r pointed out in his comment as well. Misogyny in music is not a new invention nor is it located only in hip hop music where you can easier say that "I don't listen to the lyrics, just dance to the music."

I honestly think that un-feminist lyrics fall into that vat of "WTF feminism" that includes Brazilians and going to strip clubs for the fun/irony. I sometimes have no idea what to make of it.
Are we bad feminists when we listen to misogynistic lyrics? Or are we bad feminists period?

Last year I was at two feminist conferences. Both had a dance party one night and at both we ended up dancing to music that just earlier in the day we had enlightened and engaging debates about. At one point, one older feminist who was also shaking her thang pulled me close to ask, "Um, isn't this what we're protesting against?"

So r@d@r, I don't have an easy answer to your question. It's a good one. And one that will continue to be debated as long as feminists end up in dance parties...Which I believe I'll be at another one this Saturday and maybe in my own hotel room.


Technorati tags: feminism, music

13 February 2008

I wanted to be Pat Benatar....I think she wants to be Natalie Maines

I'm a child of the '80s and thus grew up in the hey day of MTV. You know, when they actually showed music videos and the non-music shows were related to music (Remote Control 4EVER). So I logged more than my fair of time watching, acting out music videos and yes one of my favorites is "Love is a Battlefield."A few years ago I heard of a new summer camp for girls - Girls Rock! How freakin' kewl is that? One week learning the ins and outs of an instrument, writing music, and forming your own band? Hell yes! Can I be 10 again?

So when I received an email about a Girls Rock! movie, I was so all over it. Watch it. I'll wait for ya...

Yeah, now you want to be 10 again too, eh?

I have to admit that I cried like a baby watching the trailer.

While I grew up post-Title IX, it was also pre-Girl Power. I hung out with the boys during recess because I liked playing sports, I liked getting dirty and honestly kicking their butt (seriously, no matter how many times I would tackle them, they still thought they could take me). I rejected all things pink, hated wearing skirts, and fought the nail polish & make-up thing all through grammar school. I lived in a place and time where a girl needed to choose. Tomboy or girly girl. Skirts or jeans. To see girls today, especially my 4 1/2 daughter, float effortlessly between rugged grrrrl and pretty princess, well, it is pretty overwhelming for me. To see them rock out and find and USE their voice as seen in the trailer, you get a big pile of ooze that was me. Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Heart, and Lita Ford were the rockers I wanted to be. Oh, yeah, and Leather Tuscadero.

My daughter is more interested in soccer and dance class (see, I didn't think you could balance those two in my day!) right now, but I'm pretty sure that by the time she is 9, she's gonna want to attend camp. She already does a good air guitar and air fiddle & banjo to the Dixie Chicks.

There is a Girls Rock! camp in Chicago, but doesn't seem to be affiliated with the Girls Rock! from the movie. But hey, we're in Chicago and we gotta rock with it. If your girl will be nine by the summer, check 'em out. They take girls on a sliding scale, so don't fret if your fave punk rock girl isn't flush with cash. If you are, you can donate to the cause.

H/T to Kim at Hormone Colored Days & Momformation for sending me the trailer link!

Technorati tags: Pat Benatar, Natalie Maines, rock & roll, guitar, Girls Rock!, movie, feminism

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