Image via Bikini Kill Archive
That time I discovered Riot Grrl when I was all of 13-years-old and in middle school (but still too late to actually be part of any real riot grrl movement,) probably changed the rest of my life in a really real way. I listened to my music too loudly, but silently (oh, the irony) held on to the fiercely radical point-of-view that Kathleen Hanna-and-every-band-she-ever-performed-with & Bratmobile & Sleater Kinney & Heavens to Betsy introduced to me. A few years later, as I grew into my identity a bit more and started to explore my own relationship to dominant culture and politics and art and sexuality, everything they were talking about made a lot more sense to me. Fortunately for my budding baby-dyke feminist self, this was just about the same time that Le Tigre started releasing dance-a-thon political ladypowered jams like "Hot Topic" and "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?" My real-time love for Kathleen Hanna continued to develop and I still freak out every time I'm at a dance party and "TKO" or "After Dark" or "Deceptacon" or a rogue Bikini kill song comes through the sound system.
Anyways, all of this is a really long winded introduction to say that as obsessed as I am with Kathleen Hanna, and have been for over a decade (on the brink of my 25th birthday, saying this makes me feel old -- I know I'm not -- but whatever), I'm completely in love with JD Samson's new project, MEN. If you're unfamiliar with JD, 1.) Why? 2.) She joined Le Tigre during the Feminist-Sweepstakes era and has been making major art and music since. What started as a DJ duo with Johanna Fateman (the other 1/3 of Le Tigre), became a performance art collaborative effort that made use of the talents of Michael O'Neill, and Emily Roysdon (!!!), and Tami Hart (taking the place of Ginger Brooks Takahashi) and other super talented and queer and awesome individuals who make music and art that I like to listen to, and they're asking IMPORTANT QUESTIONS while doing it. (I'm really close to apologizing for my enthusiasm over what they do, but I'm not doing that yet).
MEN just finished their US tour, and I was lucky enough to be in LA when they performed at The Echoplex (a venue I don't think I've been to since high school, actually?) and again in Brooklyn at The Music Hall of Williamsburg this past week. Needless to say, it was awesome. And these past two shows, along with every other time I've seen them perform, have been totally empowering and revitalizing and full of amazing energy. What can I say, they're a real class act, and they happen to be doing amazing justice to the musical forefathersandmothers that they were born from, (and with "Double Dare Ya" covers, to boot). Oh, and if I were single, their shows would also be a really good place to find a date.
Above photos by me; Canon 5D/50mm
at The Echoplex, Los Angeles
at The Echoplex, Los Angeles