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Check out scenes from Ladyfest Philly’s workshops and shows

Photo by Bora Chung | BoraChung.com
Photo by Bora Chung | BoraChung.com

Last weekend Ladyfest Philadelphia took place at The Rotunda and various other locations around West Philadelphia. More than just a music festival, this celebration of women in the arts and activism presented a spectrum of events from bike repair workshops to self-defense courses. After the jump, check out an assortment of images from the weekend care of Key contributing photographer Chris Sikich and Ladyfest documentarian Bora Chung. Continue reading →

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What Philly’s ‘Ladyfest’ Means for Women in Music

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Being a woman in the music and arts scene has never been easy.  Even today, despite advancements towards gender equality, countless barriers to female empowerment exist. In honor of Ladyfest Philly—hitting our city this Friday through Sunday—we talked to Ladyfest organizers and musicians about specific challenges they’ve encountered—and how Ladyfest aims to chip away at the prejudice.

“When I first began to play [guitar], I found boys to be effortlessly intimidating,” writes Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster over email. “I had no confidence in my playing because I didn’t have quite as many strong reference models.  It took me a long time and a lot of sweat to get past those feelings of inadequacy.  If I didn’t actually enjoy playing so much, I probably would have quit.”

It’s hard to imagine a guitarist as skilled as Paternoster (who was named the 77th greatest of all time by Spin magazine) feeling anything but confident in her abilities. Yet the New Brunswick, NJ shredder—whose band headlines Sunday night at Ladyfest—is but one of thousands who’s overcome cultural and structural challenges to find her place in the scene. Ladyfest aims to combat these challenges by fostering a positive environment for lady rockers and fans—through music, arts, and workshops—and will hit Philly this Friday through Sunday, June 7 through 9.

A grassroots organization formed in 2000 in Olympia, WA, the first Philly edition of Ladyfest took place in 2003. Ten years later, a new group of organizers (with some old faces) decided to bring it back.

“While living abroad, I watched from afar as many of my friends played, attended, and organized Ladyfest Boston,” says Grace Ambrose, a Ladyfest Philly Committee member, and DIY booker for various Philly spaces, who was inspired to bring the celebration to her city.

“I had met Bryony Beynon, an amazing feminist punk organizer in London (who is reading at Ladyfest!) and she made me think about my own network of rad ladies making rad things happen back in Philadelphia,” Ambrose says. ” I wanted a way to activate that network, in one massive way, to make people sit up and pay attention. Shortly after I moved back to Philly, I called the first meeting and was amazed by the response. Most of the women who participated from the very first meeting are still involved.” Continue reading →

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Get ready for Ladyfest with a mixtape featuring Amanda X, Attia Taylor, U.S. Girls and more (happening in West Philly on 6/7-6/9)

 

Trophy Wife
Trophy Wife | Photo by John Vettese

The ball keeps rolling for Ladyfest Philly, a three-day event taking place around West Philly in June.  Organizers of the festival recently shared an hour-long mixtape showcasing the stellar line-up and including contributions from local favorites Attia Taylor, Trophy Wife and Amanda X alongside national acts Screaming Females, U.S Girls and a dozen more.  The festival, which is in its tenth year and celebrates women in arts, culture and activism, will also offer workshops on topics like “Amps, Pedals and PAs: Demystifying Electronics with Girls Rock Philly” and “Self Defense: From Eye Contact to Eye Poking.”  Tickets, information and an interactive schedule can be found on the Ladyfest website here.  Stream the festival mixtape below and pick it up in the physical form of a cassette tape at Ladyfest; see the track listing after the jump.

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Listen to “Clover,” a new song from Philly’s Bad Braids (playing Ladyfest benefit 4/20, tour kickoff 4/27, album out 5/1)

BadBraidsHaunting indie-folk project Bad Braids is releasing its latest long player, Supreme Parallel, this spring via Haute Magie Records, and this a handful of new songs appeared on the label’s website to tease the full set.

“Clover” begins spare and spacious, very akin to the vibe the band had when it appeared on Folkadelphia last autumn, or when it performed for Out of Town Films in a bathtub at Germantown’s Rigby Mansion. Singer-guitarist Megan Biscieglia plays a minor key guitar line, multi-instrumentalist Mike Bruno creates a humming ambient underbelly. But as the song progresses, new textures are introduced – uplifting vocal harmonies, a chord change into a loosely poppy refrain. The song is at once distant and deeply introverted, yet a warm and expressive spiritual journey – “Hopes make you later, dreams take you farther from the sun, I’ll guide you somewhere.” The intensity builds as the fervent drumming and tambourine comes in, concluding in some nether-realm between Kate Bush and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

Look for the entire LP to be released on Haute Magie on May 1st. Bad Braids has two local shows of note this month; on April 20th, it plays the Ladyfest Philly benefit at Little Berlin, and on April 27th it returns to Rigby Mansion for a joint record release / tour kickoff show with Mary Lattimore. Listen to “Clover” below.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Cayetana

Relatively new faces in the Philly DIY scene, Cayetana crafts focused, passionate indie-punk nuggets exploring a broad spectrum of subject matter – from city living to old age. “South Philly” is an incisive, observational look at rowhome life that’s a world away from the trendy Passyunk Ave strip; “Miss Thing,” a nod to singer-guitarist Augusta Koch’s grandmother, is a moving reflection aging (the lyric “at the end of your life all you’ll eat is ice cream” is at once humorous and heartbreaking). The band just signed to Tiny Engines Records and is looking to release its debut full-length later on this year. This weekend, it plays a benefit show for Ladyfest Philly at Little Berlin featuring Bad Braids and the Girls Rock Philly allstars. Information on the all-ages show can be found here; stream and download this week’s Key Session below.

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Trophy Wife, Screaming Females, US Girls and more on Ladyfest Philly lineup (happening from 6/7 to 6/9)

Trophy Wife
Trophy Wife | Photo by John Vettese

Ladyfest Philly, a celebration of women in the arts and activism, announced the full lineup of musicians and workshops for its three-day event from June 7th to June 9th. Among those performing are local power duo Trophy Wife (pictured), New Brunswick noisemakers Screaming Females, Philly native Attia Taylor, new punk three-piece Amanda X, Toronto avant-pop artist US Girls, electronic artist Void Vision and many more.

Workshops include two from Girls Rock Philly – “Amps, Pedals and PAs: Demystifying Electronics” and a drumline – one on bike repair on the go from Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Philly Weekly’s Tara Murtha leading a talk called “Victim Blaming in the Media: What It Is and What You Can Do About It,” to name a few. Participating venues include The Rotunds, Locust Moon Comics and Movies and Airspace Gallery, and proceeds will be split between two organizations: Women in Transition and Project SAFE.

Read the full lineup after the jump, and get ticket and weekend pass information at the Ladyfest Philly website. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Girls Rock Philly present Ladyfest Philly Benefit with Cayetana, Bad Braids and more (at Little Berlin on 4/20)

LFBGirls Rock Philly student group Shark Tank will host a show at Little Berlin on Saturday, April 20th with Cayetana, Bad Braids, and more.  The event has been organized by Girls Rock Philly after-school program participants, with the group of teenagers handling everything from booking the bands to promoting the show and playing live in two opening acts, Wrong Castle and Barracuda Club House Band.  The concert will benefit Ladyfest Philadelphia, a summer event that celebrates women in arts, culture and activism.  More information about the show can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Below, stream “Mountain Kids” from Cayetana.

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Watch videos from Ladyfest Philly’s Galentine’s Day Cover Band Benefit

On Saturday night, South Philly arts space Cha-Cha’Razzi hosted a benefit concert for Ladyfest Philadelphia, an event taking place at The Rotunda June 7th through June 9th celebrating women in arts, culture and activism. The Galentine’s Day Cover Band benefit raised $1,200 for the organization and featured groups of Philly musicians playing cover sets spotlighting the music of The Breeders, Bikini Kill, Electrelane and more. Check out a video recap of the benefit in the player below.

On deck for Ladyfest Philly is a benefit dance party at Eris Temple on March 8, a Karaoke benefit at Tabu on March 21, and a Little Berlin organized by Girls Rock Philly campers on April 20. The festival is taking artist submissions through February 28th: the lineup will be announced on April 1, and a companion cassette compilation will be released to coincide with it.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes The Spinto Band to Johnny Brenda’s, Arctic Splash at Kung Fu Necktie, Cold Roses at MilkBoy, Parquet Courts at Voyeur for Making Time, Galentine’s Day Cover Band Show at Cha-Cha’Razzi

XPN welcomes The Spinto Band to Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  Boasting a new album in Cool Cocoon and a viral-y popular video in “What I Love,’ the Delaware natives have had a busy few months leading up to this hometown-area show, perhaps best exhibited by their coverage in The New Yorker and on NPR.  As the band points out in this interview with The Key, their generally upbeat, happy sounding music often has much deeper, sometimes melancholy lyrics.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Language Problems and Alec Ounsworth can be found here.  Watch the video for “What I Love” below.

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Ladyfest Philadelphia to return in summer of 2013; kickoff karaoke fundraiser tonight at Tabu

Ten years after its original incarnation celebrated women in culture at venues across the city, Ladyfest Philadelphia is returning for another four days of music, arts and activism in summer of 2013. The grassroots festival spun off of the original Ladyfest, which happened in Olympia, Washington, in 2000; that festival, in turn, had its roots in the riot grrrl feminist punk movement of the early 90s. Similar events have popped up in cities from Los Angeles and Chicago to London and Amsterdam. While traditionally offering lots from the punk and DIY music scenes, the  Ladyfest movement encompasses a range of genres and disciplines: folk music to hiphop, visual art to spoken word and politics, all produced by women, all with a strong focus in feminism and equal rights – regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.

Tonight, local concert promoter, writer and DJ Sara Sherr hosts a karaoke party at Tabu in Center City, the first fundraising event for Ladyfest Philadelphia 2013. Sherr is involved in organizing the current Ladyfest, was part of the original local event in 2003 and began writing for local news publications in the 90s when riot grrrl first emerged onto the scene. Also involved is Grace Ambrose, who works heavily with the local independent music and arts scenes, promoting events at venues like South Philly’s Cha-Cha’Razzi.

I talked to Ambrose and Sherr this week about the upcoming Ladyfest, and Ladyfests past; check back to The Key next week to read the full story. In the meantime, the kickoff fundraiser starts tonight at 9, the cover is $5, and you can get more information here. The next Ladyfest organizers meeting is next Tuesday, December 11, in West Philadelphia – email ladyfestphilly@gmail.com for more information.