Beth Warshaw-Duncan is the Founder and Executive Director of Girls Rock Philly and the Line Producer of WXPN’s The World Cafe.
“Oh Bondage, Up Yours” is one of the first songs that campers hear when they come to Girls Rock. A lot of them think they’re hearing something brand new. In our History Of Women In Music workshop, we show everyone X-Ray Spex’s Germ Free Adolescents; many campers see themselves in the teenagers on the cover—especially the one in braces. They laugh and hopefully feel more ready to see themselves on an album just the way they are.
Then everyone runs off to discover their own voices, and I wonder if we’ve really shown what a Big Deal Poly Styrene was (and will continue to be). She said—and screamed—what she needed to say about feminism, consumerism, anger, spirituality, and emotional authenticity. But her music and her life were always changing, making her legacy harder to pin down and even more admirable. She battled mental illness, she joined and left the Hare Krishnas, she raised a daughter (who now leads her own band). This is a woman who was hit by a fire truck and then wrote a New Age album (Flower Aeroplane); her new solo album, Generation Indigo, was released to critical acclaim in mid-March—only a month after she announced that she was battling cancer.
Poly was simultaneously politically active and full of love. Her earlier, angrier lyrics are getting a workout in the press now, but her most personally resonating quote, and the idea we most want to leave campers with, is one from The Guardian last month: “I’m quite discerning about what I get behind, but when I really get behind something, I give it everything.” —Beth Warshaw-Duncan
This Saturday, April 23rd, XPN Welcomes the 3rd Annual Fishtown Shad Fest to Penn Treaty Park. The free event is hosted by and a benefit for the Friends of Penn Treaty Park, “a community organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the beauty and usefulness of historic Penn Treaty Park.” From the website:
PURPOSE: To celebrate the historical and environmental significance of Fishtown, one of Philadelphia’s oldest riverfront neighborhoods, and energize the next generation to become involved in the future of the riverfront. The fest also raises money for the Friends of Penn Treaty Park, all income generated from the fest and all donations go to this Friends group. Last year over 8000 people came to the ShadFest and enjoyed numerous activities including live music, local arts & crafts vendors, environment education kiosks, kids activities, food, the Kenzinger Challenge Run, and much more!
The music lineup features performances by Girls Rock Philly camper bands (noon-12:45 p.m.), Shaking Through recording artist Springs (featuring Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken and Eric Slick, 1:15-2 p.m.), the West Philadelphia Orchestra (2:30-3:15 p.m), Spinto Band (3:45-4:30 p.m.), and Black Landlord (5-6 p.m.); the Kids Stage will feature The Lara & Joe Show, Rock To The Future, magician Matt Cadabra, a moon bounce, and WXPN Kid’s Corner booth with Kathy O’Connell. WXPN’s Dan Gutierrez will be broadcasting live from noon-5 p.m.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25
WXPN Welcomes Providence, RI’s The Low Anthem, which is touring behind its brand-new album, Smart Flesh. Former Low Anthem member Daniel Lefkowitz—who wrote the fan favorite “This God Damn House”—opens. The Low Anthem performs with Bobby and Daniel Lefkowitz at 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are $15.
Also playing: Michael Showalter at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, SOLD OUT); KFN; Revolver + Jac, When I Was 12 at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Flogging Molly + Moneybrother, The Drowning Men at Electric Factory (7 p.m., SOLD OUT); Creepoid + Invisible Days, The Vandelles, Lux Perpetua at Tritone (9 p.m., 21+)
Photo by John Vettese
2-Piece Fest 4 begins at 2 p.m. Sat., 2/26, at The Ox
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Why put up with multiple rock-star-wannabe egos and haul around a ton of music equipment when you could keep things simple and start a duo? This year’s Two-Piece Fest features close to two dozen local-ish acts who, for whatever reason, decided two musicians was enough. The massive lineup—which features Slutever, The Joint Chiefs Of Math, Hulk Smash, Best Friends, and Peter And Craig—might feel overwhelming; when you’ve got that many bands on one fest’s bill, excessive delays seem like an inevitability. But that’s just another one of the many benefits of being in a two-piece: You’re able to set up, play your set, and break down with a minimum of time and effort. The performances begin at 2 p.m. at The Ox; tickets to the all-ages show are $8.
Also playing: The John Byrne Band + Citizens Band Radio at World Cafe Live (9 p.m., $13-$18); Franz Nicolay + David Dondero at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $8); Do You Need The Service +Univox, The Better Letters at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27
WXPN Welcomes Steve Earle, who performs at Johnny Brenda’s tonight as part of a benefit for Witness To Innocence. (WTI is a national organization “founded by, led by, and composed of exonerated death row survivors” that seeks “to abolish the death penalty, to conduct self-advocacy campaigns to win just compensation for the exonerated, and to build a peer-support community of exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones; you can read more about the organization here.) Steve Earle performs at Johnny Brenda’s at 7 p.m.; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.
Also playing: “Three-Piece Fest” at Danger Danger Gallery (7 p.m., $5-$10); Folkadelphia presents Meg Baird + Arborea at Johnny Brenda’s JB’s (1 p.m., 7 p.m.); Blood Features + The Cobbs, Dressed Like Stolen Cars at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $5)
The summit will feature “[a]n evening of panels, speakers, training, networking and live music designed for staff, volunteers, allies, and fans of all-ages music venues and youth music organizations.” AMP says the goal is for participants to “[h]ear what your peers around the region are doing, learn how we can take collective action to advance the field, and strengthen young people’s access to the tools of participatory cultural production.” Other confirmed speakers include R5 Productions‘ Andy Nelson, Sugar Town’s Sara Sherr, Fredericksburg All Ages‘ Adam Bray, and Girls Rock Philly!‘s Beth Warshaw-Duncan; Grace Ambrose, who organized last week’s panel discussion with Kathleen Hanna and Sara Marcus, will moderate the discussion. As if that list of local names isn’t impressive enough, the summit will also feature performances by Philadelphia’s own Slutever and SGNLS. The sliding-scale admission of $10-$15 will also get you a copy of AMP’s book, In Every Town: An All-Ages Music Manifesto.
If you’re currently under 21, you probably don’t need us to tell you why all-ages shows are of critical importance to the local music community; the frustration and disappointment that comes with not being able to see one of your favorite bands perform live (because you’re not legally old enough to buy a beer from the venue) is likely a regular occurrence. And, if you’re 21+, it shouldn’t take much more than a quick reminder of that experience to stir up the old frustration. Needless to say, it’s an important cause, so you can expect plenty of reminders and other related coverage from us in the next week and a half.
As we mentioned this morning, tonight’s must-see “Revolution Girl Style Again” panel discussion (simulcast via streaming video at The Rotunda) is immediately followed by a Girls Rock Philly! benefit show. The lineup features three local acts—Trophy Wife, Cat Vet, and Slutever—as well as Providence, RI’s Whore Paint. I won’t even bother trying to tone down my unbridled enthusiasm for tonight’s discussion + concert one-two combo; February 8th has been circled on my calendar since the moment I first found out about the two events. Between the speakers, the musical acts, the venues, and the organizations involved, it promises to be an invigorating evening on multiple levels. So, basically, if you didn’t have any plans for tonight, you do now—and, if you had plans for that didn’t include The Rotunda, you should change them. Trophy Wife, Cat Vet, Slutever, and Whore Paint perform at 8 p.m. at The Rotunda; tickets to the all-ages show are $5 (all proceeds benefit Girls Rock Philly!).
If you’re a product of, inspired by, or simply interested in the Riot Grrrl feminist punk movement of the early ’90s and haven’t already picked up a copy of Sara Marcus’ Girls To The Front: The True Story Of The Riot Grrrl Revolution (released last September by Harper Perennial) you probably owe it to yourself to do so. And make sure to read it by February 8th, when Marcus—along with Bikini Kill/Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, Philly (by way of D.C.) musician and Exotic Fever Records co-founder Katy Otto, and Girls Rock Philly founder Beth Warshaw-Duncan—drops by the Kelly Writers House‘s Arts Cafe (3805 Locust Walk) on The University Of Pennsylvania campus for a panel discussion.
From the event organizers:
On Tuesday, February 8, beginning at 6:00 p.m., we’ll be celebrating and investigating all things Riot Grrrl. REVOLUTION GIRL STYLE AGAIN brings together a panel of national and local experts on this two-decade-old musical-feminist movement, a cross-section of musicians, writers, and activists featuring KATHLEEN HANNA, SARA MARCUS, KATY OTTO, and BETH WARSHAW-DUNCAN…Organized by this year’s Kerry Prize winner Grace Ambrose (C ’11), the event will culminate in a concert at the Rotunda, open to all. This event is part of Penn Women’s Week.
Author Sara Marcus will read from her critically acclaimed Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution and moderate a discussion among legendary Riot Grrrl musician Kathleen Hanna, activist and founder of Exotic Fever Records Katy Otto and the founder of Girls Rock! Philly, Beth Warshaw-Duncan. Topics will range from discussion of the panelists own participation in the movement to what women in music can and should be doing today. A concert at the Rotunda (4014 Walnut) will follow, featuring Philadelphia bands Trophy Wife and Cat Vet, as well as Providence’s Whore Paint, with all proceeds benefiting the Girls Rock! Philly organization, which encourages teenage girls to pick up instruments and start bands.
Full details (including speaker bios) can be found here. Seats are extremely limited at this point, so you should RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (215) 746-POEM.
Musically speaking, there’s no one else quite like Attia Taylor in the Philly scene right now. The electro-pop artist (and Girls Rock Philly! graduate) deals in catchy, deconstructed audio collages—but what makes Attia unique is the joy she injects into a typically clinical and detached genre. Her songs bubble over with bliss, exhibiting a singular sense of discovery and wide-eyed wonderment that practically shouts, “Wow, look what I can do with all these sounds!” Hence, we’re spotlighting “Wonder The Wonderful,” a track from her most recent EP, Short Stories And Small Glories. (Both Short Stories and last year’s Dear Universe are available as free downloads from Attia’s Bandcamp page.) Attia Taylor performs with Vintage Kicks, Hemming And Hawing, and Velvet Crayon, Tuesday, December 14th at North Star Bar; tickets to the 21+ show are $7.
This just in from Girls Rock Philly! (which, earlier this month, wrapped up its 2010 camp with a record-release show at Johnny Brenda’s): The music and mentoring nonprofit organization is now accepting applications for its second annual Ladies Rock Camp, which will take place at Freire Charter School next February, culminating in a showcase performance at Tritone on Monday, Feb. 21st. The tuition fee of $400 will pay for one girl to attend next summer’s Girls Rock Philly! camp—which we probably don’t have to tell you is one of the most awesome initiatives in the city.
Ladies Rock Camp is open to women ages 19 and up who are ready to rock out to get the full rock camp experience. Lady rock stars will have the opportunity to learn a new instrument, improve existing skills, collaborate, write songs, attend music workshops and network with other women musicians. Campers will start a band and perform in the end of camp performance to showcase their rock ‘n’ roll skills. Throughout the weekend, the camp will also feature workshops with topics related to being a lady rocker in addition to providing an opportunity for participants to network with other women musicians in their area.
You can find more—including online registration info—at the GRP website.
Did you miss the Girls Rock Philly! CD-release show at Johnny Brenda’s over the weekend? If so, they just posted a couple of videos from the performance on their site. The album, The Key of G(irl): Girls Rock Philly 2010 Camper Band Compilation, is available for download via emusic.