Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Riot Grrrl Collection: Edited by Lisa Darms

Angry pissed off Riot Grrrl punk was the anthem of a particularly mundane “color in the lines” period of my life. When I was in grad school I would sit alone in a little lab room, entering data or running stats, and Bikini Kill and Calamity Jane would blast through the shitty speakers. One wall of the room was bright orange, for some unknown reason, and I managed to write thousands of words in APA style while Riot Grrrl angst bounced around the bright tiny room. 

Now, years later, my mind is building creativity. I have abandoned that world of data entry for one of nerdy writing and slam poetry and mail art. Yet the universe keeps building infinity loops. Round and round. And so, the Riot Grrl movement has come back again. This time, in the form of The Riot Grrrl Collection, an archival collection of zines and writings and goodies edited by Lisa Darms. I noticed this collection on the ever exciting new materials shelf at my local library and had to take a look. 

The book is a carefully curated collection of zines, pamplets, letters, and lyrics from the Riot Grrl movement. It comes from the personal papers of women like Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman and is an excellent example of the archivists value at documenting the less tangible moments of a historical movement, in the thick. 

This collection speaks to the feminist movement, and the creation of a space where women feel safe. It is easy to look at the times around us and label our times as progressive. The Riot Grrrl movement shows that the current progress is built on the marginalized foundation of the women who came before. 

Awareness of street harassment through websites like has been growing, but lyric drafts from The Riot Grrl Collection show that punk rock icons like Kathleen Hanna were ruminating on street harassment twenty-five years ago. 

hair on your face and glasses that hid your eyes 
you slow down at the stop light 
you start to stare at me 
and this happens, a thousand times 
and this happens, a thousand times 
why is your favorite pasttime 
making me feel like i’m pinned to wax 
why is your favorite hobby 
reminding me that i’m being watched 

your eyes  
and your half smile 
look like 
they will eat me 

your eyes 
and your half smile  
look like 
they will eat me
- Draft Lyrics, [Hair on your face and glasses that hid your eyes}, Kathleen Hanna, circa 1989. The Kathleen Hanna Papers 

I would like to believe that we have made progress when it comes to domestic and relationship violence, yet reading the accounts in the Riot Grrrl Collection, I feel like they could be written by my friends today. Relationships often find themselves built on a skeleton of power structure and violence. On page 55/56 there is a story titled “The Tribulation” about a woman’s struggle with a boyfriend beating and forcing her to participate in sexual acts with one of her friends. Similarly, a story on page 89 documents a woman’s slow infatuation on her waitress and the eventual witnessing of a man acting abusive towards her crush. 

The discussion of the sexualized nature of power struggles comes up again and again. Sometimes it speaks to the larger conversation, outside of the confines of our individual relationships. 

Do I shut my own mouth, or is there a cock down my throat? And do i simultaneously have my cock down someone else’s throat? Do i? Do you?
-Zine, Girl Germs no. 3, Molly Neuman and Allison Wolfe, circa 1992. The Molly Neuman Riot Grrrl Collection.  

In BIKINIKILL #2 a clip discusses revolution. 

A belief in instant revolution is just what THE POWERS THT BE want. That way we won’t realize that WE ARE THE REVOLUTION. It’ll look so hard and instant and far off, someday, someday, that we won’t even try to enact it right now.  

-Zine, excerpt, Thorne no. 2, Kelly Marie Martin, 1992. The Kelly Marie Martin Riot Grrrl Collection. 

The Riot Grrrl Collection reminds me that the revolution is gradual. That it is building. That change is building and that what is now mainstream (catcalling = street harassment, domestic violence as a topic of conversation) was mainly the fodder for the absurd angry feminist zines twenty-five years ago. Reading through the zines and pamplets and letters of this movement allowed me to better understand the gradual errosion path that progress takes. It is not instantaneous, one song or one poem or one zine will NOT change the world. But it is setting the foundation for the next generation of thinkers and doers. It is the drop that someday will become the roaring river. 

It also influenced my perception of zine creation and compilation. Lisa Darms did a beautiful job editing the collection. It is inspiring. 

Overall, I encourage any angry feminist, be you young and spiteful or old and saggy, to read through this collection. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I am...

I am this.

I am a shirtless paperback,
thumb thickness of well thumbed pages,
no title, no smiling author.
Just smoked stained shimmers,
and slivers,
of stranger's lives.
I am the glued binding showing it's teeth,
capitalistic illegitimacy,
whose words read the same.

I am a 200 calorie cliff bar,
snagged at 12:47 pm,
swallowed quickly,
not quite a meal,
but enough to settle stomach lining shudders.
I am never enough to sit satiated,
Harlequinn happy tryptophan.
But enough to tide a hungry man over.

I am the five shots in my seven chamber 38 special.
Steady swagger chin up,
unsure enough in this concrete maze,
to leave two trigger tugs,
of noncommittal shrug.
I am bullets in the gun,
but gun tucked out of sight.
Smiling politely,
shoulders back,
while hands shake in hoodie pockets.

I am this.
Inverse educated idiot.
Knowledge without a publishers mark.
A feast without five stars.
Five sevenths committed to tomorrow.
I am never all in, but always in.
Naked fractured commitment.
I am this.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Today has been a day of:

soaking up hot showers, my bones are still not use to this cold.

frying up bacon with brussel sprouts. Dash of minced garlic, and I am in heaven.

fixing couscous. Specifically whole wheat couscous with pomegranate and shrimp. My supper tonight, both our lunches tomorrow. (His with pretzels on the side, mine with more brussel sprouts, because bacon is delicious.)

drinking a jelly jar of white zin. Again, my bones are still not use to this cold.

anticipating a mailbox full of goodness

contemplating good things to come. I am just around the bend from great big changes. The sort of changes that require lots of before and after pictures, and lots of hours of peeling and painting and scrubbing.

I hope all your worlds are as gloriously delicious as mine, but with a few degrees tacked on the thermometer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frosty Mornings...

The chickens are tractored right out near the brassicas right now. When I went out to feed the ladies this morning I realized that there was a real solid frost last night. Beautiful, but a little scary.

Luckily, it looks like they survived this round. Plus, as a bonus the cold killed some of the cabbage-pillers. Hopefully we will have broccoli and brussel sprouts, if they can survive just a little longer. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Farmers Market of the Ozarks

Farmer's Market of the Ozarks meets every Saturday out on the southeast corner of town. They have delicious goodies year round. They are also pet friendly, so I often take Baggins when the work schedule allows. It is amazing how affordable local healthy produce is when you take out the middle-grocer.

This week's haul:
Kabocha - 2.00 - Echigo Farm
Brussel Sprouts - 2.50
Smoked Gouda - Springhill Dairy

Pork Cutlets - 7.00 - Real Farm Foods

Overall, great additions to my table this week. The brussel sprouts have already made it onto two plates, and the cheese is going to disappear in no time.

Even Baggins managed to get himself a treat, a big ol' smoked cow ribcage from Real Farm Foods. Happy doggy.

Can't wait to see what we get next week.


Today is Martinmas, a traditional harvest festival that has traditionally occurred across Europe.

You can read up on Wikipedia about all the details, the short version is that it is a Catholic holiday that combines a harvest feast with a Saints Day.

The main features of the celebration are massive harvests and slaughters as well as walks where small children go door to door seeking treats while carrying lanterns. (Picture is Wikipedia Commons
Bild 194-0273-38.)

I love the lantern projects you can find. Frontier Dreams has a precious tutorial for a bright paper lantern they made this year.

I have a soft spot for harvest festivals, yet Thanksgiving in the United States feels tainted by the sins of my forefathers. Martinmas is a holiday that I will keep in mind as years pass and traditions need created.