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Incredible unpublished 1995 interview with Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna
06.11.2014
09:42 am

Topics:
Feminism
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Riot Grrrl
Zines
Kathleen Hanna

kathleen h singing
 
I stumbled across a box of old correspondence recently and found a few forgotten letters from Kathleen Hanna, singer for Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin, from almost two decades ago. I vaguely remember sending her an embarrassing number of interview questions for a fly-by-night zine and, to my shock, she responded. She typed a lot of her answers on an honest-to-God typewriter. Unfortunately the zine stopped being produced and this interview didn’t see the light of day…until now.

Kathleen’s support for aspiring young female writers and musicians cannot be overstated. She was the riot grrrl movement’s big sister, muse, and fairy godmother. Bikini Kill wasn’t exactly raking in a ton of money, but she still bought zines from riot grrrls all over the world.

Not only that, she was amazing at introducing girls and building a support network. She asked me to suss out a nearby midwestern college town’s LGBT community for a dyke friend of hers who was moving there to teach at a small conservative university with no out faculty members or LGBT student organizations whatsoever. How could I say “No” to the amazing Kathleen? I was pregnant, prostrate with endless, debilitating morning sickness, unable to look at a computer screen without throwing up, but you bet your ass I still called around, researched, and compiled twenty pages of notes for her to pass along to her professor friend.
 
kathleen zine
 

Q: What was the best show you’ve ever played? What was the worst? And why?

Kathleen Hanna: BEST SHOWS ARE ALWAYS IN MINOT because the kids are spazzy and don’t care about cool….also some of our first shows in Olympia meant a lot to me just because we met w/so much opposition and our friends supported us…...oh yeah, our show in Richmond about a year ½ ago where my sister sang rebel girl & demirep with us and when the bass amp broke she did an acapella medley of songs we used to sing a long to (like on the family record player) and it just about broke my heart. My sister is actually an amazing singer and performer, Imean, I always knew she could sing, cuz we learned together by mimicing records, but I didn’t know what a performer she was till that nite.

Q: What was the stupidest remark any music store clerk has ever made to you?

KH: Okay, both these come from the same guy. 1. I was asking if I could sell my fanzine/writing thing and he said he wouldn’t sell it cuz it didn’t have anything to do with music and I should come back after I write something about my groupie experiences or something. 2. After living in the same town for like 7 years and being in tons of bands, putting on shows, putting out writing, etc….the same guy comes up to me when I’m reading a comic book in his store (incidentally he sold the comic book even thouggh IT had nothing [to] do with music) and starts telling me what a great guy the dude who made the comic is and he used to be in this local band blah blah blah, what he didn’t know is I wrote the comic I was looking at and went out with the dude (asshole) he was talking about for like two years. Duh.

Q: Do you think that there are more or fewer young women these days who fall into the “I’m not a feminist, but…” category than there were five years ago? Why?

KH: I really don’t know, I can’t answer that one.
 
bikinikill
 

Q: What are your thoughts on the following feminist theorists and writers:

a) Andrea Dworkin

KH:  saw her give a lecture. Went up and told her I felt erased by everything she said because I “am a feminist AND a sex worker”. She totally condescended to me and told me i’d pay for what I’d done for the rest of my life. She also lied and said that COYOTE, an organization by and for women who work as prostitutes was not happeneing at all anymore and trashed its founder, Margo St.James, and acted like there were No organizations by and for sex workers in existence (which is and was a total fucking lie) She also believes (or at least she did at this lecture a few years back) that feminists should work with law enforcement agencies which is just fucking stewpid…..and was in support of a bill/legislation (it passed) in WA state that made it so all sex workers (dancers/models/and other legal sex work situations and women who’d been arrested for prostitution) have to register with the police and pay a $75 dollar liscensing fee(obviously this is for legal sex professions) and get fingerprinted.  THIS IS TOTALLY FUCKED UP AND CLASSIST and bogus because it makes it so poor women have to come up with the same 75 dollars as middle class/rich ones would PLUS if you are in a jam because of domestic violence, or whatever and you need a job that pays cash quick, like dancing, say but they make you pay this fee…I mean, who can afford it. I could go on and on. My main problem is that she thinks she can speak for all of us (sex workers and women in general) and she can’t. She’s also totally mean. BUT some of her writing is interesting even though shes full of shit.

b) Germaine Greer

KH: I know about her but am not really familiar with her work.

c) Susan Faludi

KH: I liked backlash, it was sorta like pulp novel reading for feminist theory heads and seemed good, just in general, but I already knew sexism existed.

d) Mary Daly

KH: Shes like an ecofeminist and that shit scares me. I’m sure I’ll read her someday but I really hate the idea that women are more nurturing/close to the earth than men or something…...I think its stewpid and strategically flawed.

e) Naomi Wolf

KH: I read The Beauty Myth, and while it was interesting on some levels, like the idea of beauty being “the third shift” for women, I hated how she kept playing white women against Men and Women of Color, like how she’d be all like (this is not a direct quote) “No employer would expect an African American to do blah blah blah, so why do they expect women to do blah blah blah…” I mean, that shits just stewpid cuz Naomi Wolf doesn’t know jack about whatever any individual African American male OR female has to deal with in terms of employment, and also she would act like all women are white over and over and over and, well, it just so annoying and dumb that I stopped reading it, so whatever.

f) bell hooks

KH: I think bell hooks is one of the most important and creative scholars around. I’ve read almost all her stuff and cant wait till she puts out some fiction ( maybe she has and I don’t know?) Anyways, yeah, I could go on and on. I like studying her writing style because it seems really fluid and effortless even though she is explaining very difficult/complex ideas that are operating on several different levels, usually in a way that both academics and non-academics can understand.
 
kathleenint
 
Q: What do you think of the anti-feminist writers such as Christina Hoff Sommers and Paglia?

KH: I haven’t read them because I don’t feel like it. I have heard stories though and it makes me think that, you know, while some of their ideas maybe interesting, MEN tend to tokenize any woman who says anything that sounds at all, even remotely anti-feminist, and then this whole duality thing starts happening where no one really pays attention to their work anymore. Men just use Them to make women who disagree with them feel like shit…….and then certain feminists dismiss them altogether as male identified. Actually, I think that whole phenomenon is probably more interesting then some of these ladies ideas, but I don’t know, like I said I haven’t read them. I’d like to see more writing by feminists about Tokenization, specifically how it functions in different feminist contexts.

Q: What is your opinion of misogynist FEMALE musicians who insist on bashing other women and not supporting them?

KH: Courtney is boring. I am not interested in her.

Q: What is your favorite piece of musical equipment?

KH: My mouth.

Q: Last two books read?

KH: BE MY BABY by Ronnie Spector. Baudellair Live, Interviews with Baud. edited by Mike Gane

More delightfully outspoken opinions from Hanna, including what rock star might be a candidate for getting “beaten senseless with a brick” after the jump…..

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Ask Lemmy: Straight talk from metal’s ace life coach
06.10.2014
06:25 am

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Music
Race
Sex

Tags:
Lemmy


 
If there were any doubt in your mind that Motörhead’s apparently indestructible singer/bassist Lemmy Kilmister is a total goddamn genius, I refer you to these two “Ask Lemmy” videos. They were produced for the program Hard N Heavy on the Canadian E1 network in 1994, and in them, the man who gave the world the lyric “They say music is the food of love/Let’s see if you’re hungry enough” offers some perfectly blunt, often hilarious, genuinely sage advice on matters of love, sex, and RACE RELATIONS.

I can add nothing further here. Just watch.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘The Filthiest Person Alive’: Divine profiled on ‘Night Flight,’ 1986
05.21.2014
06:01 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies
Television

Tags:
Divine
Night Flight


 
Night Flight was an all-night, only on the weekends “underground” and “cult” TV programming block show that began airing on the USA Network in the early 80s wild west days of cable television. Before Law and Order:OMGWTF existed to fill every time slot on every cable channel in existence, Night Flight was an essential weekly download of deeply weird underground film and music. It was how I found out that Divine existed.

I don’t recall Night Flight ever showing an actual John Waters movie straight through, but they used cut-up segments from his films in their fucked up interstitials and bumps. So when I got to college and had a roommate with a beater VHS tape filled up with nth generation dubs of Mondo Trasho, Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos, and Female Trouble, I knew right away that THAT was the the tape I was going to wear through to thinness while getting high as hell.

But on top of the clips in the interstices, Night Flight showed this substantial interview segment, a wonderful introduction to the talented and genial actor and drag performer, and I don’t just say that because it was my introduction. Check it out.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Heroic cat saves little boy from vicious dog attack
05.14.2014
10:22 am

Topics:
Animals
Heroes

Tags:
cats


 
YouTuber Roger Triantafilo uploaded this incredible video today of what appears to be a pit bull mix mixed-breed dog attacking his young son who was on his tricycle. What you don’t expect to happen is a cat. Yes, a cat happens. Just watch.

My cat defends my son during a vicious dog attack and runs the dog off before he can do additional damage. Thankfully, my son is fine!

Glad the little boy is doing well.

 
h/t reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Helen Keller was a militant anti-capitalist radical
05.01.2014
10:22 am

Topics:
Class War
Heroes
History

Tags:
Socialism
Helen Keller


 
Today is International Workers’ Day. Happy May Day comrades!
 

“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands - the ownership and control of their livelihoods - are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.”  — Helen Keller, 1911

This is taken from a short essay about Helen Keller’s political activism found at Dorian Cope’s On This Deity blog. It focuses on the parts of her life story that they didn’t teach us about when we learned about Helen Keller in school… Hey, the blind and deaf chick in The Miracle Worker was a commie!

But what the endless accolades and history books almost always fail to mention is that Helen Keller was a militant radical activist. Her views mirrored the likes of the era’s most notorious dissidents – Emma Goldman and Eugene Debs – who were respectively deported and imprisoned for ten years. “I don’t give a damn about semi-radicals,” she infamously proclaimed; indeed, she leaned so far to the left that the FBI kept a file on her for un-American activities. She was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union; a lifelong socialist who campaigned for Eugene Debs’ presidential candidacy; a member of the revolutionary Industrial Workers of the World; a suffragist and crusader for birth control; an anti-fascist (the Nazis publicly burned her books); and a pacifist, who condemned America’s imperialistic motives in both world wars. Having benefited from a privileged background, Helen recognised the social injustices facing those denied the same opportunities – and blamed industrialism and capitalism not only as the root of poverty but also disability-inducing disease. Her anti-capitalist and pro-worker stance was such that at the 1919 Hollywood premiere of a silent film about her own life, she refused to cross an Actors Equity Union picket line and joined the striking workers on their march.

I have to interrupt here. Ponder that last sentence for a moment. THAT is what you call a hero.

In her lifetime, Helen Keller was one of the most recognisable women in the world, and those who flocked to bask in the radiance of her fame were positively scandalised by her beliefs. After publicly supporting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, admiring the Russian Revolution, and fearlessly lambasting the powerful John D Rockefeller for his role in the Ludlow Mine Massacre (“Mr Rockefeller is a monster of capitalism”), Helen’s radicalism became a source of extreme embarrassment to those who required her to be true to The Myth in order that they might gain:

“So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘archpriestess of the sightless’, ‘wonder woman’, and ‘a modern miracle,’” Helen bemoaned. “But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics – that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world – that is a different matter!”

Read the entire essay at On This Deity and watch this amazing footage:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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David Bowie narrates ‘Peter and the Wolf,’ 1978
04.29.2014
07:25 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Prokofiev
Peter and the Wolf


 
Thanks to its ubiquity in kids’ music appreciation programs, Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is easily one of the best-known pieces of orchestral music of the 20th Century. Even among those of us who don’t really know classical music in great depth, its main themes are instantly recognizable. As a broadly popular work that was in the USA’s public domain for many years (it’s not anymore, so if you’re an orchestra conductor, don’t go gettin’ any ideas) Peter has been copiously recorded, released, and adapted for other media, but the release that I suspect will be of the greatest interest to DM’s readers is the version I have, RCA’s 1978 LP—on green vinyl!—featuring an enchanting, beautifully recorded performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the great Hungarian-born conductor Eugene Ormandy, with narration by David Bowie.
 

 

 
Though the vinyl seems to have only ever been issued once, the recording remains widely available on CD—a quick perusal of Discogs reveals that it was issued on CD several times between 1992 and last year, with a frankly silly cover image of wolf ears collaged onto Mr. Bowie’s head.
 

 

Peter And The Wolf by David Bowie on Grooveshark

 
We’ve heard lately that a few readers have had problems with Grooveshark embeds. If you’re among them and you want to hear this, there’s a YouTube playlist of the recording here. And if you don’t mind an abridged version (and you can endure an ad), you may enjoy this clever superimposition of the edited Bowie narration over a famous 1946 animated short.
 

 
Now, this has nothing to do with the Bowie version, but I don’t know when else I’m going to get to bring this up: if you still haven’t seen the 2006 stop-motion Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton, you really need to do that as soon as possible. It’s free for streaming to Netflix and Amazon Prime subscribers (and a bargainous $2 for non-Prime users), and it is absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t find an embeddable version of the whole thing, but here’s a taste.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Frank Zappa as record label honcho in ‘From Straight to Bizarre’


 
By far the majority of artist-run record labels exist as mere vanity imprints, releasing an album or two by the musician/would-be entrepreneur him/herself, and that’s that. Noteworthy exceptions are certainly around—Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records and Null Corporation, Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe, and Jack White’s Third Man are a few artist-run labels that have achieved significant successes.

An early example of such an artist using his own label to bypass the strictures of major label deals is, unsurprisingly, the iconoclastically independent-minded Frank Zappa. In the late ‘60s, when Verve Records inexplicably missed their deadline to re-up Zappa’s contract, he and his manager Herb Cohen used that leverage to establish their own production company and label, to retain creative control, and to release artists they favored. The labels they established were Straight Records and Bizarre Records. Between them, in a mere five years of existence, the labels released albums by Lenny Bruce and Wild Man Fischer, and now-immortal recordings like Alice Cooper’s Love It to Death, Tim Buckley’s Starsailor, and Captain Beefheart essentials like Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby.
 

 
Tom O’Dell’s 2011 documentary From Straight to Bizarre tells the labels’ story in detail, through interviews with Pamela Des Barres, John “Drumbo” French, Sandy “Essra Mohawk” Hurvitz, Kim Fowley, Alice Cooper’s Dennis Dunaway and the Mothers of Invention’s Jeff Simmons, among many others. YouTube user Treble Clef has broken the feature-length doc into short chunks for your piecemeal viewing convenience. There’s a lot of illuminating stuff herein, so please, enjoy.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Lou Reed and Brian Eno, together at last: it’s ‘Metal Machine Music For Airports’


 
When the mashup phenomenon hit remix culture a dozen or so years ago, I found the whole business exhilarating. DJs were gleefully combining a capella tracks with instrumental beds from often wholly incompatible songs and making it work, sometimes giving valuable new context to classics, sometimes even creating tracks that improved on both of their sources. People like dsico, Freelance Hellraiser, and the massively gifted and almost frighteningly prolific Go Home Productions were fashioning technically impressive and admirably witty pop-song syntheses.

What I’m sharing with you today isn’t nearly as advanced as all that.
 

 
Some clever or stupid person (it’s such a fine line) using the nom de YouTube “machined01” has mashed up Lou Reed‘s immortal noise prank Metal Machine Music with Brian Eno’s groundbreaking Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Not a dazzling technical feat, surely, but the results, surprisingly, are really lovely.
 

‘Metal Machine Music For Airports 1
 

‘Metal Machine Music For Airports 2
 

‘Metal Machine Music For Airports 3
 

‘Metal Machine Music For Airports 4

Feel free to kick the concept up a level and play all four at once.

Here’s a fantastic TV clip of Eno talking about Music For Airports, and how he arrived at the ideas that would codify just about all of the ambient music that followed. It’s not very long, and well worth the few minutes of your time.
 

 
A big ol’ hat tip is due to Pitchfork/The Wire scribe Marc Masters (who also co-wrote the book on No-Wave, as it happens) for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Everything you always wanted to know about Samuel Beckett, but couldn’t be bothered to ask
02.25.2014
02:57 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Literature
Television

Tags:
Samuel Beckett

SamuelBeckett_RogerPic_1.jpg
 
Samuel Beckett said little of his experiences during the Second World War. He dismissed his work with the French Resistance as “boy scout stuff.” Whatever his activities, they were important enough for General Charles de Gaulle to award Beckett the Croix de Guerre.

After the war, he returned home to Ireland to see his mother. He stopped off in London to visit friends, who noticed the change in him—he had lost weight, looked tired, weary, his face lined, his teeth bad.

At home in Dublin, he was saddened to find his mother ill with Parkinson’s disease. He stayed to look after her for six weeks. It was during this time that Beckett had an epiphany that was to change his life, and eventually modern literature.

One day, while out walking along the harbor wall during storm, Beckett had a vision how his life must be if he wanted to succeed as a writer.

He had always written in English, and had been long influenced by James Joyce. Facing out to the gray, lace-capped sea, Beckett understood he must write in another language, and must break with Ireland’s rich literary traditions, which were holding him back. He suddenly saw his path was not with “enrichment,” but with “impoverishment.”

“I realized that Joyce had gone as far as one could in the direction of knowing more, [being] in control of one’s material. He was always adding to it; you only have to look at his proofs to see that. I realized that my own way was in impoverishment, in lack of knowledge and in taking away, in subtracting rather than in adding.”

Beckett began to write in French, and over the following decade, he composed the novels, poetry and plays that established his reputation as one of the century’s greatest authors.

With reference to the autobiographical elements contained within Krapp’s Last Tape, this two-part documentary, Samuel Beckett: As the Story was Told is “a rare glimpse into the reclusive world of this literary giant, whose most famous work, Waiting for Godot, evokes with unnerving precision the cosmic despair and isolation of modern humankind.”
 

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Nina Simone calls for ‘Revolution’ at the Harlem Cultural Festival, 1969
02.21.2014
12:55 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Race

Tags:
Nina Simone


 
The great Civil Rights-era “High Priestess of Soul,” Nina Simone was born on this day in 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina. Simone was one of the 20th century’s greatest—and most controversial—musicians, calling for armed and violent revolution by Black people so that African Americans could form a separate state. She was made to feel quite unwelcome in Nixon’s America and disappointed by the revolutionary and political movements she had been associated with, became a citizen of the world. “America had betrayed me, betrayed my people and stamped on our hopes,” she told interviewers. “No way am I ever going to go back there and live. You get racism crossing the street, it’s in the very fabric of American society.”

When Simone did finally return to the US, in 1985, she was immediately arrested for tax evasion (she had refused to pay taxes as a protest against the war in Vietnam). She died at her home in France in 2003.

In this utterly extraordinary footage of Nina Simone performing at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969 (“the Black Woodstock), she does her powerful song “Revolution,” of which John Lennon said in 1971:

“I thought it was interesting that Nina Simone did a sort of answer to “Revolution.” That was very good — it was sort of like “Revolution,” but not quite. That I sort of enjoyed, somebody who reacted immediately to what I had said.”

I think her idea of what sort of revolution was called for and his were quite a bit different. He was in the bag, so to speak, for peace. Simone wasn’t.

And now we got a revolution
Cause I see the face of things to come
Yeah, your Constitution
Well, my friend, it’s gonna have to bend
I’m here to tell you about destruction
Of all the evil that will have to end

[...]

Singin’ about a revolution
Because were talkin’ about a change
It’s more than just evolution
Well you know you got to clean your brain
The only way that we can stand in fact
Is when you get your foot off our back

If you want to see all of the jaw-dropping footage of Nina Simone at the Harlem Cultural Festival, they’ve pieced together her entire set over at Arthur.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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