Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where are all the Riot Grrrls?: Sexism and Punk Rock


Published in Persephone Magazine, March 16, 2011

I started out wanting to write about how I don’t think the punk world is really sexist. After all, I’ve been going to shows since I was 16 and haven’t personally experienced overt hostility, assault, or discrimination. But once I really sat down to think about it, I realized, much to my own dismay, the scene is almost as bad as anywhere else.

Almost. I still hold the opinion that it could be worse. I think there’s a more accepting ideology involved – for starters, there are several bands who outwardly express that they are anti-sexist in addition to being anti-racist and anti-homophobic – but it’s still a scene that’s part of this society, and part of music in general. Punk is not immune.

One major problem is a lack of female artists, at least in prominent groups. You can count on one hand, maybe two, the number of current well-known punk bands with at least one female member. The Creepshow, Star Fucking Hipsters, The Measure (SA), HorrorPops and Civet come to mind. If you loosen the definition of “punk” you could include a few more, like Hey Monday, Paramore and VersaEmerge. There are others, but it’s still a pretty barren wasteland compared to the hundreds of all-male bands that are out there. Barren in numbers, of course, not in talent.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Punk's Guide to SXSW

I originally wrote this for Dying Scene.

So you’ve decided to go to Austin (or already live there). And you want to enjoy yourself among the myriad indie rock, folk and acoustic acts that dominate the hipster pilgrimage that is SXSW.

Believe it or not, there are punk bands playing the festival, so you can find something more entertaining to do than, say, Photoshopping anarchy symbols on top of the festival’s logo. Anyway, here’s a guide to the punk bands and showcases gracing this year’s South by Southwest festival.

We’ve already reported that Fat Wreck Chords and Shirts for a Cure will host showcases on March 18 and Bridge Nine will host shows from March 16 through 19. We also thought we’d break it down day by day so you can get a handle on when the punks are playing.

Of course, half the fun of big music festivals is discovering bands you’ve never heard before. So we tried to include some of the lesser-known punk bands on the list, and the size of the fest means we can’t by any stretch pretend this is an exhaustive roster of who will be playing. The full festival schedule is here.

But we put together a short list of shows that we’d be sure to check out if we were going down there. Check it out here.

How not to write obnoxious how-to posts about check-splitting

For some reason, this piece from The Awl about splitting restaurant bills has been making the rounds in the internet circles I run in.

(This isn't actually about writing how-to posts, but I found The Awl post and some of the responses I've seen very obnoxious. I guess I'm really just adding my own reply, which is probably equally obnoxious, but seriously, people. Cut it out.)

It says, basically, if you are under 25 you can pay for what you ate but once you pass the quarter-century mark you should suck it up and split evenly, even if you don't drink or your food was cheap.

That's dumb.

I know, I'm not far past the 25 mark (I'm 27). But I generally think the paying-for-what-you-ordered route is the fairest one. From what I've read by people who work in restaurants, it's really not that big a deal for a server to split up checks or to put different amounts on different cards. Toss on an extra dollar in tip each if you're worried about being a pain. Or bring cash, which means you can pay what you owe and not give the server any extra work.

Because here's the thing. Though Jill at Feministe may think I'm an "ass" for this, I'm not going to pay extra for someone else's choices when they are significantly more expensive than mine. I'm a vegetarian, which means my food is often at least a little bit cheaper. Especially if I'm being nice/a doormat and I agreed to go somewhere where all I can get is a side salad and some tiny appetizer. I'm not paying for someone's pricey meat entree when all I had was a vegetable quesadilla. I'm already being nice by agreeing to eat somewhere that doesn't cater to my dietary needs to make my friends happy, so I'm not going to pitch in extra dinero on top of that.

And likewise, if I drink at dinner and someone else didn't for whatever reason, I wouldn't expect them to pitch in for a $10 cocktail when they had iced tea. Sure you could argue that it evens out in the long run, but why take that chance when it's not difficult to divide a tab fairly?

So here's what you do: get the bill. Look at it. Find what you ordered and add up the cost. Then add between 25 and 30 percent for tax and tip. Then put that amount on the table. Once each person has done this, someone count the money and compare it to the total-plus-tip (if you're a really big group they may add in tip, so figure that out beforehand). Is there enough? Good. If not, start hitting people up for singles until you get there.

Is it perfect? No. There will always be someone who only wants to tip 10% and someone else who throws in an extra buck to cover for them, but it's a lot closer to being fair than just splitting evenly. Plus it involves math, and math is hard. Oh wait, we all have cell phones with calculators. So it's actually NOT hard.

Also, to respond to The Awl: if you have to start a sentence with "I really hate to generalize/be sexist here," then you are about to generalize and be sexist, so just stop talking. And as a less-cute girl, I have never seen any of my hotter friends do what you claim they do. Being pretty does not make people manipulative and cheap. Really, everyone comes up a dollar short here and there, and decent friends don't mind covering once in awhile (no matter what you look like, shockingly).

Honestly, though, I've never been at a group dinner where anyone wanted to just split evenly. Everyone I eat with (except my parents, who just pay for my food, hooray) throws in for what they had plus tax and tip. Or we ask for separate checks.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spotted: Crochet bike in DUMBO


I noticed this while I was walking my dog last night. A crochet bike, surely from Olek, similar to the one that used to be on the Lower East Side. This is the same artist who crocheted a cover for the bull on Wall St, which was in place a whole two hours before some buzzkill took it down.


I'm not sure how long this has been there. I don't walk through that intersection all that often. But it has to be somewhat recent, because I can't find any other pictures or info on it through Google. My guess is it went up some time in the last few days, but if anyone knows for sure leave a comment.

More pics after the jump.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A belated post on the Walk for Choice and Planned Parenthood rally

I should get it out of the way that this is a media-heavy (photo and video) post, so if you're on a slow connection, consider thyself warned.


I know, I know. It's been almost a week. I suck. But last Saturday I attended both the Walk for Choice and the Planned Parenthood Rally for Women's Health.

In short, both were awesome.

I arrived at Foley Square, where the W4C was meeting, a few minutes late. I was worried they'd leave without me, but luckily they were running behind schedule. I met up with some people I follow on Tumblr, and enjoyed some of the signs.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Awesome video - Dropkick Murphys "Take Em Down"

This is a fan-made video using footage from Wisconsin union protests and the new Dropkick Murphys song "Take Em Down."

Also, in the interest of self promotion, here's a story I wrote on DKM selling special edition shirts for workers' rights.

Save Punk Island (Updated)


Yesterday I came across this note on Facebook:

CALLING ALL PUNKS! I need you to do me (and yourself) a huge favor. To ensure Punk Island happens this year, Governors Island needs to know we're interested. Please send them an email or drop them a line asking them when Punk island will be and that you are really looking forward to it.

The Trust for Governors Island at or at 212-440-2200.

And please, keep it simple and clean. Just when and thanks.