I was on the radio yesterday and am scheduled to be on ‘Weekends on All Things Considered’ this Saturday, December 15. (That’s on Saturday at 5:00 on WNYC.) please check it out…
a talk by Ann Cvetkovich
December 13, Thursday
6 to 8 pm
Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor
Ann Cvetkovich, English, University of Texas at Austin
Introduction by Cristina Beltrán, Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University
In Depression: A Public Feeling, Ann Cvetkovich combines memoir and critical essay in search of ways of writing about depression as a cultural and political phenomenon that offer alternatives to medical models. She describes her own experience of the professional pressures, creative anxiety, and political hopelessness that led to intellectual blockage while she was finishing her dissertation and writing her first book. Building on the insights of the memoir, in the critical essay she considers the idea that feeling bad constitutes the lived experience of neoliberal capitalism.
Cvetkovich draws on an unusual archive, including accounts of early Christian acedia and spiritual despair, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian spaces created from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural analysis that accounts for depression as a historical category, a felt experience, and a point of entry into discussions about theory, contemporary culture, and everyday life. Depression: A Public Feeling suggests that utopian visions can reside in daily habits and practices, such as writing and yoga, and it highlights the centrality of somatic and felt experience to political activism and social transformation.
Finally a documentary about the amazing Fifth Column. A band of true outsiders who paved the road for Bikini Kill and Le Tigre and countless other bands, and who are just in general, really good artists who are not afraid of humor OR sensitive topics.
You can learn more info about how to see the film (which I am in very briefly) on the She Said Boom Facebook Page But I would be remiss if I didn’t also share my favorite Fifth Column song:
My ex-bandmate, Tobi (Vail) has been writing some great articles for emusic. Her writing has had such a huge impact on my life, and I’m glad to know that she is also answering the letters and emails she gets asking “How can I revive Riot Grrl?” with “Start a band! Do your own thing!” as it’s been frustrating for me to get these same emails. Of course I’m totally excited that people are still interested by punk rock feminism (or whatever anyone wants to call it) but I hate the idea of retelling the same old boring story as if it was a map for others to follow. It’s a new day, ready for new ways of thinking, new sounds, new blogs, new zines, new books, new activism. I like to study the past looking for the things that can propel me forward and the mistakes that hopefully, my generation, our generation, your generation can improve upon. Sure I fetishisize 70′s feminism. Sure I trace back addresses where the first NYC feminist meetings happened and walk there, maybe even with tears in my eyes, if I am gonna be brutally honest, but I am getting ahead of myself. I was talking about Tobi’s work!
Just today Tobi released a song called Free Pussy Riot in solidarity with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich who are currently serving two years in prison for their performance in a Moscow church. (see previous posts on this topic) Inspired by Free John Sinclair by John and Yoko, Free Pussy Riot was written for Tobi’s recent performance at Primera Persona at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.
On October 10 Pussy Riot’s appeal will be heard by a Russian court. To quote from Tobi’s solidarity statement she reads at the end of her song “Pussy Riot are organizing in Moscow but the struggle for self-determination of women, LGBTQ rights, gender justice and political transparency is an international one. ‘Death to Prison, Freedom to Protest’ Free Pussy Riot!” Feel free to distribute her song anywhere you like!
Rip van Riot Grrrl has finally packed her bags and moved into 2012. I seriously thought Twitter would be a total drag, but it’s actually pretty fun. So, yeah my grouchiness about it has subsided and now I am a tweeting fool. It’s just so hard cuz there are so many ways to communicate now! I’m not sure if you read my “It was Rape” post (see below) but it’s been on my mind lately. I feel embarrassed and a little scared about it, like I totally overshared. But, on the other hand I feel relieved to have written it all down and made it public. It’s like now it is just a list of facts and I can walk away from it. For some reason it made me think about a common criticism women artists get when they make work about their actual lives. They say “It’s not art, it’s just therapy” because of course women are just emotional and our art is never “real art”. As a response I want to say “Yes, some of the lyrics to songs I’ve written are partly therapy and that’s a good thing not a bad one”. AKA Fuck the stupid shit certain dudes say about female musicians. Singing ‘Star Bellied Boy’ , a song we wrote in Bikini Kill, took on a new therapeutic meaning to me after I was victimized by a male “feminist”. I sang it with all the gusto I had and it felt good to throw myself into it every night. A lot of songs I’ve written have been therapeutic to me in some way and I think that’s a positive thing. And some are just fun and some are political and some are random and I have no clue why I wrote them. (We’re mixing our record now so I guess that’s why I’m thinking about this stuff.) Anyways I’m blabbering now so I’ll sign off.
I know my last post was a bit of a bummer, but I have to say it feels good to tell the fucking truth, publicly. I think one thing that happens a lot that makes people who have survived this kind of thing feel crazy is that we have multiple bad experiences (often because we were groomed as kids to be victims) and rapist jerks and asshole boyfriends/girlfriends seem to just magically find us!!! Hmmm I wonder why? This makes us feel like we are somehow responsible and it’s really hard to unravel the entire ball of yarn…. Anyways, I just wanted to give a shout out to all the other survivors. The “It Was Rape” film got funded, partly due to the influx of donations by people who read about it on this blog. Just watching one of the trailers inspired me to tell my story, so it’s sure to be a moving, educational film. Thanks to everyone .
I know everyone and their dog is asking you for money right now, every indie band, filmmaker, and of course Obama, which is why I’ve tried my hardest not to link to a ton of kickstarters/indie a go-go’s etc… BUT my friend Jennifer is making a movie called ‘It Was Rape’ and she has less than 40 hours to raise $10,000.
This project is important to me for a myriad of reasons but mostly because I was raped by a stranger when I was 15. I never reported it because I was drunk and had accepted a ride from him. He said he was taking me home but instead he pulled onto the freeway and took me to his apartment. I tricked him into not doing certain things by acting like I liked him as I had a big instinct that he had not only done this before but that some girls may have not left his apartment alive. I’ll never know if that was true or not, it was just a gut feeling. I’ll never forget him throwing a box of kleenex at me after he was done. I could see he was trying to think of fake reasons to get mad at me so his violence towards me could escalate, but I stayed calm, even laughing and pretending I was excited for our next “date”. Even though I didn’t fight back in a traditional way, I DID fight back, it’s not a passive thing to read a situation and figure out the best plan to stay alive. I did it, I got out. I blamed myself for a long time and lived in fear for years that he would come back and finish me off.
I have a feeling if you’re still reading this you know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, it probably sounds pretty familiar, drunk teen taken advantage of by an older man…but try this one on for size. I was raped a 2nd time,ten years later, during my band Bikini Kill’s heyday. Strange as it may be to believe, I, the outspoken feminist who was in a militant punk band, was raped by a friend. Again I didn’t tell anyone, not even my band (at first) because I didn’t think anyone would believe me (the guy had read more feminist books than I had and seemed like the nicest person in the world) I was also nervous that if the few riot grrl types around at the time did believe me they might take matters into their own hands and run the guy out of town or something…..and that would’ve just made me feel even crazier and like I had lost all control over the situation. Because I was leaving for tour the very next day, I told myself what had happened was akin to a natural disaster, a tornado, I had survived it and was gonna just block it out, which I did for many years. I finally wrote him a confrontational letter and we agreed to meet and he admitted that he had been angry at me and basically acted that anger out in the worst way he could possibly imagine. It’s taken me a long time to get over what he did because he was not just a friend, he was my bestfriend.
So why am I sharing all this super depressing information with you now? Because this movie is important. If one girl sees it and feels less alone, it’s worth it.
If you can contribute just a dollar it would mean a lot.