Archive for the Stories Category

You’re like totally one of us grrls

Posted in Stories on July 18, 2011 by theadventureclub

It’s Summer, 1991. I hitch a hundred miles and sneak onto two ferry boats in order to be in Oly on a Saturday night. It’s Revolution Summer Grrl Style Now and I can’t stand to miss a single show. I have to get into town, find out where the venue is, and find a place to change before the show. I borrowed, without permission, a dress from a girlfriend. It’s three bucks at the door for grrls, five bucks for boys, and three for boys in dresses. I’m never asked for more than three. After the show, some grrls and I go back to someone’s apartment and we lie on the floor and talk and laugh all night. When the sun comes up we go out to a greasy spoon off of Sleater-Kinney Blvd. Over breakfast we continue talking about feminism and resistance. The grrls are super smart and hella insightful. I start writing some of the awesome stuff the grrls are saying on a paper placemat. “so I can remember” I tell them “I want to make a zine and include some of this stuff.” Then I ask them if they think that it’s OK for me to make a zine. Like a Riot Grrl zine, you know. They say of course it’s OK and that it’s a great idea. One of the grrls doesn’t get where I’m coming from and she asks me why wouldn’t it be OK. I look down, I’m embarrassed when I say “Cuz I’m a boy”. The grrls tell me that just because I’m a boy that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a riot grrl. And one of the grrls adds “Fuck yeah, Zero. You’re like totally one of us grrls”.

PS: I’m no longer a boy. Now I’m a woman and a riot grrl.

PPS: Thanks, BK

“Fuck any kinda power, that means girl power, too!”

Posted in Stories on July 18, 2011 by theadventureclub

In 1993/94, I had the good fortune of seeing Bikini Kill play one of the most memorable shows I’ll ever see. It was at this huge, all ages venue in Hollywood that had all these bouncers, something we weren’t used to then. FYP opened, Spitboy followed, we all danced, no big deal. When Bikini Kill came on, though, things strangely and suddenly shifted. A certain faction of crust punks started screaming sexist slurs one after the other at the band, song after song. Frankly, I was shocked. I considered myself an anarchist at the time, and to see so many kids covered in anarchist-style patches toting boring, stupid epithets just made no sense. The show wore on and things got more hostile: “Fuck any kinda power, that means girl power, too!” These same people, by and large boys, eventually started pushing girls around in the audience. At this point, Kathleen stopped the show and attempted to address things, but the opposing voices got louder, more belligerent. What happened next, though, I will never forget.
Kathleen started asking for one of these kids to approach the stage and speak into the microphone, since they wanted to be heard so badly. There were raised fists and shouts of “bitch, whore,” etc, but no one wanted to actually step up. Finally, Kathleen singled one boy out, saying, “You! You! Come up here. What are you afraid of… a girl?” The boy’s friends then pushed him to the front while Kathleen held the microphone out to him. When he went to speak into it…THUD! she hit him in the head with it.
The whole place pretty much went nuts. A bunch of crust punks rushed the stage, but a host of bouncers seemingly came out of nowhere to hold them back. Just then,“1- 2- 3- 4!” the band starts back up (oh how I wish I could remember what song). Meanwhile, Kathleen starts pulling girls out of the crowd, one by one, on to the stage, to safety. Bikini finished their set that night with 20 – 30 girls dancing on stage with them. Magical.
This stands out in memory to me not just as a successful display of female power, but also as an example of when small, innocuous acts of force can be used skillfully to turn an unacceptable situation on its head.
For what it’s worth, here’s a (horrid) zine page I made about the event.

I started the first queer/straight alliance at my high school

Posted in Stories on May 25, 2011 by theadventureclub

Back in high school, I was overcoming alcoholism, getting myself to come out the closet, and healing from my brother passing away on 9/11. I had this english teacher named Chin-a, who is an amazing womyn of color and was in the riot grrrl scene back in college. While fighting off some of my battles, Chin-a made me a Bikini Kill mix CD. After listening, I felt unstoppable. At 17, I came out of the closet and my parents kicked me out the house various times. I was raised in Brooklyn, so after the arguments, I packed up my bag, stepped out of the door to feel a hard punch of wind from the cold winters’ night. With my head up high, I walked to the subway to ride the trains all night long. I wasn’t scared though, in my headphones I had “For Tammie Rae” on repeat, it reminded me of my brother, my best friend. In my heart, I knew it was badass to be Chicana, androgynous, queer, and wanted to change the world around me. I started the first queer/straight alliance at my high school, and my parents sent me away to gay rehab. I proudly wore my Bikini Kill t-shirt the whole time, and knew I had to keep on going. So, I went off to college at Evergreen, and started a Chicana queer punk band with my best friend. On our first show we played at my friend’s living room in Olympia, on our setlist we covered: “Feels Blind”. I was on vocals, and cried throughout the song + playing the drums at the same time. It was so liberating, and audience felt it too. But then, my dearest band member started her other band “Weird TV” and I left to Oaxaca, MX, focusing on organizing work with LGBTQ communities. Bikini Kill encouraged me to organize, and helped me become a stronger queer womyn of color. Thank you for being part of my revolution. Que la lucha sigue! In solidarity.

Lupe

The Fang Gang

Posted in Stories on May 25, 2011 by theadventureclub

I booked a basement show at the “Fang Gang” house in Madison, WI for Bikini Kill sometime in the early 90s after exchanging some letters with Kathleen. I couldn’t think of any local bands that really seemed right to open for them, so I asked some female friends of mine to do some spoken word. It was
a really great, intimate show and we had a lot of fun. The next morning before the band left, I heard some bass guitar coming from the basement. I quietly walked down the steps and Kathleen was playing by
herself, possibly working on a new song. I walked behind the drumset, picked up the sticks and started playing along. Kathleen smiled and we jammed for a little while. It’s one of those magical
punk moments that I’ll always remember. – Tim

as the mother of twin girls…..

Posted in Stories on March 7, 2011 by theadventureclub

I grew up with a single mother who started being told that her body is an object to be thrown around and assaulted in every way possible since the time she was an infant. She had me when she was fifteen as the result of being raped by the star quarterback’s little burner brother in front of her family’s trailer in the rural Midwest. She tried her best with what she had to work with, but as a model of womanhood she lacked. She showed me that drunk, aggressive, pathetic excuses for men were welcome to come waltzing through my life and take whatever they wanted. That I was to act as a needy co-dependent victim groveling gratefully at the feet of the men who showed up just long enough to destroy any semblance of a stable home, help themselves to mine, my mother’s and my sister’s bodies, and give us just enough of the fatherly love that we had been craving so badly for so long that we would forgive him. We were starved for attention and the way that my mother was showing me how to get it was to be a sexual object and a victim.

There are many ways that a young woman might internalize such a childhood. That “crazy bitch” or “slut” that you know are probably acting out something that they had no opportunity to process earlier in their life. But I turned it inward, and started protecting myself in ways that were ultimately just as damaging. As a teenager, I developed a relationship with painkillers and food that allowed me to wall myself in to a fortress of my own body, one that I felt no one might be tempted by. I ate compulsively to a point that was physically painful, because if anyone was going to hurt me, it was going to be me. I became addicted to painkillers and couldnt remember what it felt like to not hear the fuzzy hum of my own consciousness reverbing itself. I had frequently had dreams of trying to run and finding myself immobile and screaming silently.

Until one day, I heard someone scream. I had spent the day wandering and skateboarding around the city on what I now know to be a ridiculous dosage of Vicadin, and I ended up in a record store. I had a duct-taped together Discman that only worked when I held pressure in just the right spot, and a hooded sweatshirt with a rather concealing front pocket. I was browsing around idly when “Suck My Left One” came on. Between the drugs and the general dissociation with which I tended to live my life I didn’t pick up on it until the very last few riffs, but after that I knew that I had just experienced something that would change my life forever. I asked the guy what that band was and he gave me the standard snotty record store guy attitude with his response of, “uh, Bikini Kill…. “ and wrote me off. It was 1998, so I guess I was a little bit behind schedule. I asked him if he would play it again, and he snubbed me so I went to the Alternative section and stole a copy of “The C.D. Version of the First Two Records.” I didnt stop listening to it until my shitty Discman kicked the bucket for good. I wish I could say that I then picked up a guitar and started a band of my own, but suffice it to say that I eventually found my own ways to scream that did the trick.

Now, as the mother of twin girls I am concerned with presenting a model of womanhood that provides opportunities to scream and ways to get attention that have nothing to do with being a sexual object. I feel pretty good about what has come out of what started as a pretty shitty run, and if you think Im a success, you can thank riot grrl.

We were all getting into punk music

Posted in Stories on March 7, 2011 by theadventureclub

I grew up on the eastern end of Long Island- Hamptons territory- and I was lucky enough to have found a group of strong/witty/creative girl friends in such a secluded part of the country. We were all getting into punk music in high school (1994-ish) and I remember having a hard time relating to a lot of the bands with male singers. I was also struggling with my body image and had pretty cruddy self esteem. One of my friends handed me a copy of Pussy Whipped on a Friday and I listened to it all weekend long. This may seem too magical, but it completely changed the way I viewed the world…like this self loathing veil had been lifted off my face. It was totally empowering to hear girls screaming their truths and making big commanding sounds with their instruments. Bikini Kill lyrics and melodies are always stashed in the back of my head-ready for when I need that reminder to stay strong. I think that every girl in high school should be handed a Bikini Kill album as sort of a survival tool.

Polly Robins

I had a slumber party with Bikini Kill

Posted in Stories on March 7, 2011 by theadventureclub

Hi,

I was a huge Bikini Kill fan and when the band came to Tempe, AZ, I convinced my two friends, Sabrina and Ryan to go with me. I think this was in 1995. After the show the band was looking for a place to stay before leaving for Flagstaff, AZ the next day and my friend Sabrina said, you can stay with us!

The band stayed at my friend Ryan’s place (apartment). In the morning I had to leave early for work, but Sabrina told me that you guys wanted to go to a thrift store. Ryan lived near Savers (thrift store). Sabrina, Ryan, and I all had worked there. It was where we met, actually. Sabrina was so excited about the show she had seen the previous night, she called Savers and asked for Kathleen to be paged. I think she wished the band good luck or something.

Anyway, that is my story. Pretty cool after all these years to think I had a slumber party with Bikini Kill when I was like 23 years old. 🙂

Josette