Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A List of Unapologetic Female Musicians Who Don't Need to Use Their T & A to Be Amazing

I was put this together while I was unloading the dishwasher today. I have always been so turned off by the women in the music world who sing all girly and lullaby-like, all while wearing next-to-nothing. It feels like their pockets were lined by executives who warned them: Go out there and degrade yourself or else! Dignity, anyone? Thank the universe that these women went out and did just the opposite.

Wendy O. Williams

Patti Smith

Kim Deal

Debbie Harry

Melissa Auf der Maur

D'arcy Elizabeth Wretzky

Joan Jett
Kathleen Hanna
Kristin Hersh
Aimee Mann
Erykah Badu
Donita Sparks
Bianca Holstead
Carrie Brownstein
Courtney Love
Sinead O'Conner
Tracy Bonham
Janis Joplin
Queen Latifah
Chrissie Hynde
Pat Benatar
Poison Ivy
Lydia Lunch
Marissa Paternoster

I could go on. Moms and Dads, please be sure that your little girls know about these women and understand that it's okay to be fierce.

* I should add that there is a difference between removing one's clothing as a means of exuding power and doing it to please men. Burlesque dancing, for example, is an expression of female sexuality in a way in which the female is in control. Wendy O. Williams and other women on this list did wear sexually provocative clothes, but in the end, it wasn't really about them acquiescing to some expected soft, feminine ideal. It was about their fearlessness of belting it out.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, etc.

A couple of weeks ago, Jere and I went to the Boston Book Festival to see our heroine, Kristin Hersh. I believe that she has mentions on this blog here and here. I was very excited to learn that she had released a memoir. Even better, there was a whole evening devoted to rock star writer types scheduled this month. The icing on the cake? Said event was being hosted by Steve Almond, author of (among others) Candy Freak (one of Jere's favorite reads), My Life in Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life (The words in the title are organized in the shape of a crucifix on the jacket, despite Almond's Jewish roots.) This summer, for one week, he hosted The Emily Rooney Show on WGBH (the NPR station I prefer over WBUR, however, I do miss burly, little Bob Oakes in the morning). Monday through Thursday, I think he pretty much stuck to the outline of the show's topics, but on the Friday of that week, he took the reigns and delivered a refreshingly different and lighter alternative to the political blah-dee-blah. It was a churchy-like show in which we, the listeners, called in and confessed our guiltiest musical indulgences. Almond played the part of the Catholic priest, administering penance for such pleasures as oh, I don't know, Emily Rooney's Everybody Hurts by REM (Does this even qualify?). I wanted to muster the courage to confess that E.L.O.'s Do Ya has always been my own personal Desperado, but, alas, it was a particularly busy day in my workshop and I couldn't break away from all the soapy necessities.

While at the event, I purchased a hardcover copy of RARWSYL and had Almond sign it for me. While in line for this, Jere waited for an autograph from Hersh. He also asked her to do the intro to his web show, Randomonium. For his debut episode, he was fortunate enough to get Andrew W. K. to do an intro. I think Hersh tops this, but it's debatable. He's done several episodes since then, scoring intros by Danbury Connecticut's impressive hardcore get-up, The Pist and Red Sox legend, Bill "The Spaceman (but please don't call me that)" Lee.

Anyhoo, I've since read Almond's book and I found it to be quite energizing. While I don't consider myself to be a Drooling Fanatic, by any stretch, I do get giddy over some more or less obscure seeming artists (I absolutely love The Fall, for instance, but it is rare to be able to talk "Mark E. Smith" with someone). I am still in geeky love with all three members of Rush and I am pretty sure I can still recite all of their albums in alphabetical order.

After reading the book, I have decided that I would like him to release a testimonial about my soaps. I have wanted to have a good, reputable celebrity type to publicly endorse my soaps, and who better for the job? Most of my soaps are tributes to my favorite rock stars and/or feminists. My Bad Brains ode, Soap Craft, is scented in African Rain, which I find rather amusing, as Almond devotes a passage to analyzing Toto's "Africa," where it apparently rains a lot.

The question is: Does Steve Almond bathe? I would guess that yes, he does. Would Steve Almond like a bunch of free soaps in exchange for a brief, but positive testimonial (if he appreciates them, that is)? Perhaps. However, I think his wife could dig them, too, as she (from what he descibes) seems like a super rad lady who would might understand why my Dinosaur Jr. soap is purple and green.

Of course, I am chicken. What kind of asshole would I look like if I approached Mr. Almond with this request? The kind of weirdo who makes soap for a living (but, lest we forget that we do live in a post Fight Club world and some people actually understand that the danger level in mixing lye and water with oil can be perceived as kind of cool).

So, Steve, if you are reading this and you are interested in indulging me, please comment! Would it make you feel better if I said that you would be bumping Kathleen Hanna, my idol, out of first place?

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