In 1993, when I was 17, I was interning at SPIN magazine. One week, right after my first serious boyfriend (a repeat-reader of On the Road) had cheated on and broken up with me, I was cat-sitting for a guy I worked with who later OD’d and died. His apartment, a studio on 5th Street between Avenue A and B, had a pile of zines and comics (and a litter of kittens who slept in a cat bed under the sink). While recovering from my breakup, I just holed up in that apartment and listened to all his CDs and read all his zines, and the one that instantly changed my life was Bikini Kill Fanzine #2. I went straight to the copy store and made copies for me and all my friends. I brought it to my feminism club at school (Stuyvesant High), which was run by the Debbie-Harry-esque school psychologist. We studied it like it was a textbook. I sent a fan letter to the address on the back. I started doing my own zines. And I carried the BK zine around with me in my backpack like it was an amulet that would protect me from the indignities of high school, which in a very real way it did.
-Ada Calhoun

2 Responses to “”

  1. hi ada, that is so cool that your school had a feminism club! sorry about yr cheating bf. the funny thing is that back then I read On the Road every time we went on tour. ok I still do. It somehow makes sleeping on the floor of the punk seem like a crazy adventure! ha. xoxoxo tobi

  2. Ada! I was in that feminism group! You gave me a copy of that zine! It totally changed my life!
    My friend Emily also copied a tape of Bikini Kill’s ‘The first two records’ for me the following year in 1994. I listened to that over and over in my room. Just loved it.
    In 1996 I was able to see Bikini Kill play live, at The Vault (I think that’s what it was called) on Houston Street. Team Dresch and The Cold Cold Hearts opened. Several of my friends from high school and Riot Grrrl NYC attended. Bikini Kill played extra songs at the end because we were all screaming for more. What a great night! I feel so lucky to have seen them.

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