Alagan’s Post 5/21

After reading Sasha Frere-Jones “A Paler shade of White,” I immediately thought of Arctic Monkeys “Dancing Shoes.” Frere-Jones complains about the lack of rhythm and feeling in indie rock. She, however, only focuses on the more folk-influenced bands like Arcade Fire. She largely ignores a vast number of other indie bands that actually have focus on rhythm and have a level of intensity in equal to rock bands of 70s and 80s. Frere-Jones ignores bands like Arctic Monkeys, the Strokes, and the Vines who were more  influenced by the Clash, Oasis, and in the case of Arctic Monkeys, Roots Manuva (a British rapper).

After reading Carl Wilson’s semi-rebuttal to Frere-Jones, I was surprised that he said that indie rockers don’t really sing about sex. It made me think of “Sweater Weather” by the Neighbourhood because they’re obviously singing about sex. That being said, I think that the current generation really doesn’t focus as much on sex as in the 70’s and 80’s because we are much more sexually liberal. We are comfortable with our sexuality enough that we don’t have to sing about it and we don’t treat it as a big deal. Being a generation that had a high number of divorced or single parents, we focus on building meaningful relationships and the folksy indie songs reflect that.People still write and sing about sex, but it isn’t so focused on getting some (not all the time anyway). Excuse me for the “armchair sociology.”

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Jessica’s DJ Mix Table

In the article by Sasha Frere Jones, “A Paler Shade of White” he talked about how a lot of rock musicians got influence from blues artists. Many white artists back in the day were getting most of the credit than the black artists and were noticed more. A perfect example of this in which the author mentioned is the song “Twist and Shout” made famously by the Beatles was in fact a song by the Isley Brothers who were R&B musicians. Some famous rockers like Aerosmith came together and did a collaboration with hip-hop artists like Run DMC for the song “Walk This Way.” A song that came to mind when I read that was “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi featuring MGMT. Kid Cudi is a well know hip-hop artist while MGMT is an American psychedelic rock duo. The two came together and did a cool rendition fusing both of their genre’s music together.

In the article by Sean Nelson, “Let’s Not Get It On”, he talks about how there is no denying the fact that  rock n’ roll and sex are linked. ‘Rock n’ roll’ actually means “sex”.  Many artists in the 90’s sang about sex in their songs such as, Sonic Youth with their album “Dirty” which features Kim Gordon’s voice on “Swimsuit Issue” and “Drunken Butterfly” which had a creepy sexual harassment/ seduction tone to it. Pavement was another band of the 90’s who sang about girls a lot. Bikini Kill also released a song titled “I like Fucking” which basically says it all in the title. They were not being shy with that one. A band that comes to mind for me during the 90’s who sang about sex and were pretty obvious in their message they were getting across like Bikini Kill was, was The Bloodhound Gang with their song “The Bad Touch”. They are an American band which started as a hip hop group but branched out into other genres including, punk, rock, and electronic rock as their career progressed. This song was really big in the 90’s when it released and it is pretty much their most known song.

 

Jeanne’s Mix 5/21/2014 An Alternative to An Alternative: Heroic Prison Guuuuurllls

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Is race embedded in music and related expressive practices in particularly powerful ways.  Does music mark race? Or does music reproduce the traces of race, thereby perpetuating the racial imagination itself.

Ronald Radano and Philip V. Bohlman,  “Music and the Racial Imagination

Neither Emily White’s “Revolution Girl Style Now” (LA Weekly July 10-16), nor Edith Kaeh Garrison’s “Feminism-Grrl Style! Youth (sub) Cultures and the Technologies of the Third Wave” (Feminist Studies 26, 1 (2000) open up spaces for an alternative voice within alternative rock other than predominately white 3rd Wave ‘Revolutionary’ feminist/artists such Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, Riot Girls, and Riot Grrrls. What seems to be missing from their criticisms is how race, gender and class intersect to reproduce the racism embedded in alternative rock in the 1980’s.

Garrison’s theoretical critique, cites Ruth Frankenberg’s “tool kit” as a metaphor for oppositional technologies,” which Garrison defines as a “political praxis of resistance woven into low tech, amateur, hybrid, alternative subcultural,” represented by the“Riot Grrrl’s” punk movement (p 151) whose name, she says, is, “partially derived from a phrase of encouragement popularized by young American black women in the late 1980’s: “You go, guuuurlll!”(Gilbert & Kile, “Surfergrrls: Look Ethel! An Internet Guide for Us”, (1996).

Where are the guuuurllls and why are they excluded from the feminist 80’s liberal movement? *Ruth Frankenberg’s, “The Social Construction of Whiteness,” 1993, suggests that there is an “evasion of color and power consciousness which permeates daily life” for white 3rd Wave feminist. She explains how these women narrate elaborate efforts not to see race and assume that they are colorblind.

Patricia Hill Collins, “Black Feminist Thought”, 2000, goes further to admonish white feminists for both evasion and complicity because it allows them to “pay lip service to the need for diversity, but changing little about one’s own practices” (6).  As a result of 3rd Wave subterfuge Angela Davis (The Meaning of Freedom” Open Media, 2012) argues that women of color now “constitute the fastest growing sector of the imprisoned population, and among women prisoners, women of color constitute the fastest-growing sector.” She goes on to pose the question if “I am also implicated in the continued patterns of racism, I ask not only how do I help to change those whom I hold responsible for the structures of racism, I ask also: How do I change myself.” Deconstructing internalized patterns of oppression necessitates listening to the Guuuuurllls voices filling the racialized prison landscape through the ceaseless crossing of the African Diaspora.

Angela Davis speaks as a revolutionary ‘political prisoner’ during her 2 year California incarceration

Davis refers to Bessie Smith “Sing Sing Prison Blues”, 1924 Jazz Legend in “Blues Legacies and Black Feminism”, 1998 (p 336)

The “Negro Prison Songs/ Negro Prison Songs / “Black Woman-Murder’s Home-Jumpin’Judy from The Mississippi State Penitentiary; A Selection Historical Recordings from Parchman Farm 1947, recorded by Dr Harry Oster, a US musicologist.

Contemporary Global Political Prison Reform Music Star Zee performs “Nar Yu Right” in a female prison in Freetown.“Nar Yu Right,”means “Know your right” in Krio, one of the local dialects in Sierra Leone.

(*Donna Haraway in the Guardian, July 2007, wrote the Obituary of British-born sociologist Ruth Frankenberg, who died aged 49 of lung cancer. Professor Frankenberg did groundbreaking research on how race shapes our lives. She taught a Gender Studies Class at the UofW in 1987 during my undergraduate years. She was a brilliant and gracious teacher. Her first book, “The Social Construction of Whiteness,” is still in my library and I continue to refer to it for its relevance to our contemporary moment.)

 

 

 

Reconstruction of the Punk Narrative: WWR (un)Conference

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 The speakers included Jessica Mills, Alice Bag, and NighTrain. Here are the women sharing their experiences in the world of punk and the audience intently listening in the background.  Taken by Yasmin Habib  4/26/14 Bush School Community Room

The speakers included Jessica Mills, Alice Bag, and NighTrain. Here are the women sharing their experiences in the world of punk and the audience intently listening in the background.
Taken by Yasmin Habib
4/26/14
Bush School Community Room

Audience members share their experiences with racial inequality and the lack of a more diverse punk world.  Taken by Yasmin Habib  4/26/14 Bush School Community Room

Audience members share their experiences with racial inequality and the lack of a more diverse punk world.
Taken by Yasmin Habib
4/26/14
Bush School Community Room

After the event I witnessed new friendships forming that truly transcended the segregating racial lines. Each is inspired by the other’s story of racial tension and this is what brings them together.  Taken by Yasmin Habib  4/26/14 Bush School Community Room

After the event I witnessed new friendships forming that truly transcended the segregating racial lines. Each is inspired by the other’s story of racial tension and this is what brings them together.
Taken by Yasmin Habib
4/26/14
Bush School Community Room

The following photo essay attempts to document and reveal the ways in which the Women Who Rock (un)Conference of 2014 has provided a space to reconstruct and reclaim the popular narrative of authenticity and inclusion in Punk Rock. The conference achieves this by including the excluded narratives of the multifaceted women of punk who have been marginalized and by bringing it back to where punk had it’s start: the community. My hope is that the documentation of this type of community building can assist in the reconstruction of a more authentic and holistic punk narrative; one which recognizes these women as “agents of musical history and cultural change”.

 History of Punk Rock & Criticism of the Colorblind Narrative

When tracing the popular historical narrative associated with punk rock, there is an emphasis on the idea that punk was the inclusive art form welcoming whoever wanted to be a part of it. It was a response to the political tensions of the time. This is the story we hear in the documentary entitled “Women in Punk”. In the 60’s and 70’s, mainstream music was certainly entertaining, but it seemed to lack awareness and was becoming more and more disconnected from the realities of the time. People were beginning to lose faith in the government and the world was changing rapidly. Punk was the revolution. It often served as a commentary on U.S foreign policy and was used to organize protests against various social and political dilemmas in western society. It was authentic and received much of its influence from the underground and the community. What made it so appealing to people was that it strayed away from the status quo and in fact seemed to challenge it by dismissing the aesthetically pleasing and the “put together”. According to this narrative, punk rock attempted to give those who were marginalized, especially women, a platform to make music their own way by their own rules. It was sexually liberating for women because punk focused on their music not their sexuality. In the world of punk, women were no longer seen as sex objects but rather, as figures of power. Women could be bandleaders in groups full of men. Female artists such as Patti Smith became the first to inform punk and they challenged the objectification of the female body by carrying a “tomboyish” attitude. Their style was androgynous and attitudes powerful which was unusual for girls at the time. Punk was not focused on being glamorous, punk was empowerment. And in this way, it is said, the punk movement welcomed whoever wanted to be a part of it.

But here is where we find the paradox behind this popular punk narrative. As Mimi Nyugen points out in her essay titled “ It’s not a White World: looking for Race in Punk”, even in this self-claiming inclusive art form, White hegemony is present. Or as Nyugen herself would say “Whitestraightboy hegemony organizes punk”. Whiteness is still accepted as being neutral and any real discussion of race/gender/sexuality is seen as divisive and goes against the “progressive” nature of punk. The popular narrative adopts a colorblind stance. On the one hand, punk exists on a platform, which welcomes the marginalized, yet it goes on to say “ but only if you provide a certain, acceptable type of individuality”. Acceptable to whom? As Nguyen points out in her article, the misguided stance of colorblindness ignores the fact that “ individuals operate within a context of uneven social relations.” If punk is supposed to be in touch with the times, it cannot dismiss the consequences of these uneven social relations. In order for punk to be truly progressive, it is important to take a critical look at this popular narrative which is still underlined by white privilege even in it’s “neutral” stance (for whiteness is neutral in this case). To be truly empowering, punk must recognize all forms of marginalization and allow for the critical discussion of these forms of marginalization in our society. Their must be a recognition of the attachment of privilege to punk, white privilege that is. There must be a reconstruction of this ambitious yet ironically dismissive popular narrative of punk.

This is where the Women Who Rock (un)Conference of 2014 comes in and reclaims a more holistic narrative of punk authenticity.

WWR & The Reconstruction of the Punk Narrative

Although the sun was as vibrant as it could ever be that Saturday morning, and the birds cheerfully sang songs to remind me spring had at last arrived in the Northwest, I found myself too busy cursing the bewildering boulevards of Seattle to take any notice. It was the morning of April 26th and the final event of the Women Who Rock conference was taking place at the Bush School community room. After 45 minutes of navigating dead ends and multiple detours, I finally ran into the “ Spiking the Honey” event sign in front of the building. Now to be quite honest, when I first saw the schedule, I had no real interest in sitting in on a talk about the “ Power of the female in the punk rock world.” Although the content itself seemed intellectually stimulating, I was more so interested in the Jam session and the Film Festival that would take place at the Washington Hall that Friday. I wanted the lights and the glamour and I figured this way, I could get a few action shots and some exciting content for my project. But my schedule was limiting, and so there I was rushing to make it to the closing talk of the WWR (un)Conference. Never did I expect I would end up witnessing so much healing, empowerment, and community building in one small room.

I walked in on a discussion of marginalization in society and how that was the very reason punk was formed and the very thing that brought the community of punk rockers together. The panel in the front consisted of Alice Bag, Jessica Mills, & NighTrain. These were women from diverse backgrounds, of different ages, and some were even mothers in bands touring the country. The event was intimate as the audience sat close to the panel and had plenty of opportunity to directly interact with the guest speakers. When I entered the room, it was the story NighTrain, a female punk rock band made up of four black women of different ages and backgrounds, which caught my attention. Here they were challenging the dismissive nature of the popular narrative of punk just with their presence, and more so with their stories. The members of the band were revealing the challenges they faced touring the U.S as women of color in a punk band. They discussed the racial tensions they faced and how much of a sacrifice it was to be away from their children for months at a time. This new narrative recognized the multifaceted lives of these women in punk. It was not just about the music and the foreign policies; it was about the very real struggles of these diverse women here in our immediate communities.

But the WWR conference provided more than an opportunity for the musicians and guest speakers to share their stories. It also provided a space for those sitting in the audience (the community) to participate and share their untold stories. It reclaimed the original narrative of punk being born out of the underground/the community and integrated punk with the people. As one of the members of Nightrain revealed dealing with the lack of acceptance they faced in southern church towns, and the racial tensions they had endured on tour in these conservative towns (as black women endorsing punk music), one audience member immediately spoke up. In tears, she revealed her own experience as a white woman born in these conservative small towns and how much she struggled with being told that she could not be around people of color. This was all she had known yet even so, she still could not accept the segregation being promoted by her own. She was the misfit, the one that went against the norm and she found acceptance in punk where it was all right to be the “outcast” and to celebrate diversity. I looked around the room to see hands and sleeves wiping faces only to realize that I too was emotionally moved by this woman’s display of courage. It was the vulnerability she allowed us to see, this same vulnerability we have all felt at different times in our lives yet were too afraid to express.

Our racial history is uncomfortable; no doubt about it. But here was a display of how it was possible to create a safe space that would allow all sides to share their stories without the fear of being attacked. The WWR (un)Conference was challenging the popular notion that punk rock should “transcend” race/sexuality/gender and reconstructing this narrative to include the untold stories of those who have been marginalized in these ways. It was challenging the misguided notion of a colorblind punk and was instead reclaiming the popular narrative of punk being the inclusive art form and living up to it. True healing and transcendence requires bringing stagnant and painful energies to the forefront and honestly addressing these tensions.

Ultimately, with this thought in mind, I finally understand the importance of my role in documenting this form of community building. If we, the community members, do not document and archive our untold stories, they will remain unheard. I too have a responsibility in accurately depicting and sharing the reclaimed and reconstructed punk narrative.

-Yasmin Habib

Alagan Mohan Photo Essay

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1. Unconference Altar, taken by Alagan Mohan at Washington Hall Seattle WA April 25, 2014

At the Women Who Rock (WWR) unconference, there was an altar set up honoring women. It was a powerful representation of what WWR stands for.    WWR, like the altar, honors women who achievements would be lost if not for the efforts of WWR members documenting and archiving their work. The altar honors all those artists who have never made it big and have been ignored by the mainstream narrative. An example would be Memphis Minnie, who wrote the song “When the Levees Break” (Davis, 160). Her song was popularized by Led Zeppelin. The song has become one of Led Zeppelin’s best known songs. The mainstream narrative focuses on Led Zeppelin’s version because of their “Rock God” status and mainstream appeal. The mainstream narrative mentions Memphis Minnie in passing as the writer, but it glosses over her version of the song. Led Zeppelin took credit for the song and robbed Memphis Minnie of the fame she was due for writing the song”(Davis, 160). The WWR Altar is meant to honor women like Minnie and to remember their accomplishments were even if no one else does. This reflects the WWR’s mission for the unconference. The unconference displayed the impact women have in many styles of art. WWR provided a venue for women to display their talent and receive exposure they do not get in the rest of the art industry. It is important that WWR continues its mission to promote and archive women in music and in other arts. Without it, a critical part of our understanding of rock history would be lost.

Many of the artists who developed the sound of rock n’ roll are ignored by the mainstream narrative of rock history. It pays lip service to the blues and gospel, but ignores people who were involved in that type of music. It paints over Big Mama Thornton and Sister Rosetta Thorpe, so people might think Elvis came up with “Hound Dog” all on his own. The people will have no idea about where the song is coming from.

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2. Alaia d’Alessandro taking a picture, taken by Alagan Mohan at Washington Hall Seattle WA April 25, 2014

This reminded me of a conversation I had at the mix market with Alaia d’Alessandro. She was one of the volunteer coordinators for WWR. We talked about her project Phonic Earth. She went to places like the Faroe Islands around the world to understand how the people in these places experience music. Alaia wanted to know whether people in various parts of the world experience music differently. She had to study the culture and interviewed people in the music scene to get a better understanding of why these people have a certain taste in music. If she just listened to the music alone, Alaia would have no background to glean any insights from her research. In the same way, there needs to be an archiving of the lesser known artists who have been washed out of the main rock narrative. They might not be as famous as other artists, but their music provides valuable insights into where rock music came from. Not just the riffs and the licks, but also what themes and issues caused rock to be formed? By largely cutting out and summarizing the history of “pre” rock n’ roll, the rock narrative leaves substantive gaps. The mainstream story of rock becomes hollow.

That hollowness not only threatens our understanding of history but our understanding of rock music’s ethos. Rock is often seen as a mode of expression where people have equal rights to be individuals. This was certainly touted in genres like punk. The Hollywood punks bragged about their scene being an equal society. When Alice Bag spoke about the Hollywood scene and said “a common assertion ….that East L.A. punk developed after the Hollywood scene became closed and unwelcoming” (Habell-Pallan, 249), her remarks were attacked and called “punk revisionism.” Even the punks would not show acceptance to a narrative other than the one they crafted. The Hollywood punks wanted to be known for their equality, yet they did not give others the right to critique them. Instead of accepting the critique, they attack those who do not hold to their train of thought. It puts into to doubt how much individualism is really respected in the music industry. The rejection of certain people from the rock narrative because they tell a story you do not like damages our view of narrative. It seems to lack legitimacy.

A true rock narrative cannot ignore an artist’s contribution because it does not seem to fit in with the narrative. Though not every musician or artist is an innovator, every musician or artist contributes to the narrative with their work. Every musician wants to leave their distinct mark on the narrative. To remove someone’s work from the narrative is akin to denying that person existed in the narrative at all.

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3. Jacque Larrainzar gives talk, taken by Alagan Mohan at Washington Hall Seattle WA April 25, 2014

It is similar to the ancient Mexican theory of death. As told by Jacque Larrainzar at the unconference, the ancient Mexicans believed that everyone died three times. The first two deaths had to do with the corporeal body, but the third death was the memory of the person. The memory a musician leaves behind is their music. That is their legacy. By appropriating it and ignoring it, it is like taking the memory away and in a way, destroying the musician’s creative essence. The musician is eventually forgotten as one of many. It is soul crushing.

WWR is great as it recognizes those who would otherwise be lost in the noise of big rock groups. They have created a new archive, separate from the one that is so common in the mainstream. This allows them to take control of the narrative being told about contemporary art and music. No longer is the narrative just about the bands that make it. Though they do hold a place in it, WWR acknowledges that these people are standing on the shoulders of hundreds of smaller groups who have slowly transformed the musical landscape.

WWR acknowledges groups from many genres and displays in their archives a more complete picture of the transformation of music. The mainstream rock narrative has many holes and one might be confused about how there suddenly so many genres of music. The more inclusive narrative, created by WWR, leaves no doubt in your mind how a genre like German electronic metal might come to be.

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4. Tarot reading at WWR unconference, taken by Alagan Mohan at Washington Hall Seattle WA April 25, 2014

It is important therefore to support the efforts of WWR and those groups like it. They ensure that people will not be forgotten in the ever increasing narrative that is popular music. However, it is more than that. WWR shows a greater respect for creativity and all types of art. The members strive to make a community where a person can be truly individualistic. You are not expected to think the same way as anyone as long as you show respect to everyone. The WWR unconference gave off a true rock ethos and developed a narrative that anyone can be a part of. Though, the artists showcased were women, the vibe was not just empowering women but to everyone who came to experience it. I feel that if nothing else, the WWR’s most important role is supporting the talents of individuals. Giving artists a sense that there is truly a community behind them and that in the end, their talents will not have gone to waste.

Tags

Picture 1: honor, homage, for women

Picture 2: archiving, necessity, WWR

Picture 3: sugar skulls, death, heritage

Picture 4: alternative, spirituality, creativity

Footnotes

Davis, Erik. “When Mountains Crumble to the Sea” pg 161-163

Mahon, Maureen. “Listening for Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton’s Voice: The Soundof Race and Gender                   Transgressions in Rock and Roll” pg 3.

Habell-Pallan, Michelle, “Death to Racism and Punk Rock Revisionism.” pg 249.

http://www.concerthotels.com/100-years-of-rock

http://www.phonicearth.com/#!about1/cswo

Heber’s Midterm Photo Essay

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I, Heber Garcia, give WWR Group 2 permission to use any of may WWR (Un)Conference photo’s for their Mid-Term Papers

WWR has my permission to use these photo’s.

On April 25th, 2014, I attended the Woman Who Rock Conference for the very first time. I had never gone to an event such as this before, so I didn’t know what to expect when coming in. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect because of my lack of understanding of concepts such as women empowerment and appreciation. I knew about these concepts, but never truly understood what they meant and looked like. I think the way I was raised played a huge role on how I used to perceive woman and their “roles”. My mother didn’t work, and was a stay at home mother. She didn’t drive, nor did she make any big decisions in my family. She cooked, cleaned, and assisted. She was never the person with power and from my point of view it looked like she didn’t mind it. Growing up I thought all of that was normal. Women were to stay at home and take care of the children, cook dinner, and clean the house. Their identity was placed in the image of what many cultures promote. Women are not comparable to men in the same manner; therefore they must perform certain duties. My perception has since then changed, and I’m glad that although I once perceived woman in a different manner, I was able to learn what was wrong with that old perception and allow myself to be educated to what is right, and not what society or others may say.

 

The Woman Who Rock Conference provided me with a true and vivid insight on how a society should honor and perceive our women. A gender that has battled through countless vigorous battles just to be able to be placed in the same category as males has proved that a lack of un-appreciation has slipped through their efforts of gender equality and understanding. Women may eventually resolve an issue, but because our society has still not adapted to a universal understanding of gender, another problem rises up and prevents any sort of well-deserved celebration. There are always bad things going on in the world, I get that. But everyone deserves to be happy. That is a universal right. Our world seems as though that may never happen, but if we took things one step at a time, if everyone worked together regardless of our differences, then at least we can say that we’ll get there someday.

 

This conference was one of those steps. It may not have been a place where any issues of gender equality were solved, but it sure brought a place of peace for people that may have never experienced it before. The conference hall somehow allowed me, personally, to enter a room with no fear of judgment, discomfort, or worry. Instead, I was open-minded and totally accepted. No one had to tell me that. I simply just felt it.

 

I went to the conference alone. I purposely decided not to bring anybody. Not because I didn’t think they would like the conference, but simply because I wanted to go in with MY current understanding and then leave with MY new outlook on gender and women. When I bring others into an environment I still myself am not entirely educated about, I tend to push back on what I truly feel out of fear of judgment or stupidity. Allowing myself to engage in the music, dancing, and celebratory atmosphere the conference provided me with permitted a stress-free and honest environment. Ironically, one main purpose of the conference itself was to do just that. Provide a safe place to feel all these emotions without any shame or setback. For a while it didn’t resonate with me that just because I was a guy and did not relate to women struggles as many of the women there did, I was still able to share the same environment as them and thru that I was able to relate. It eliminated a perception I unknowingly had, and I was able to learn something that anybody else could.

 

When first stepping into the conference hall, I did however feel a little discomfort. I was one of maybe 6 other males in a room with dozens and dozens of women. I realized the cause of this discomfort, and right away I knew that I was going to leave with a very deep understanding. I had already failed what I already knew was wrong. Categorizing our differences of gender is not exactly a bad thing, but when it created a discomforting feeling I knew what I had to learn.

 

I stopped myself and changed my approach before finally settling and sat down in a chair. I glanced around the room and noticed the many different shapes and sizes, colors and souls. Everyone on a different path, yet at this moment we were all on the same crossroad. The conference went on and I questioned every act. Why the short movies? Why the singing? Why the dancing? Why was the audience reacting? What did these acts showcase what I didn’t already know and appreciate? Such questions raced thru my mind. While I did not have the answers to why all of this happened, other kinds of questions began to pop up. Why were women not considered to be the same as men? Why did some risk their lives everyday when in contrast a man did not have to? I know I don’t have the answers to everything, but I knew that this was a step in the right direction. Sometimes living in the moment provides a gateway to a clear understanding. This is how my photos helped capture that goal.

 

Women Dancing

Photo info: Photographer: Heber Garcia. April 25th, 2014. WWR Conference Washington Hall Seattle, WA. Women dancing traditional dance. Tags: Womenwhorock, conference, dancing, dance, traditional

This picture moved me because I interpreted it as the struggle women suffer and are currently suffering. As a society we have failed to promote and equal interpretation of women. Whether that be creating the norm that women are to stay at home or the role that they should be teachers, our perception of who women are and what they are capable of is never truly exalted. This dance not only presented a powerful performance, but a message that this sort of injustice will not be tolerated. There was a lot of stomping. The dance was performed in pairs, with many of the women switching positions to include all those who share that burden society has placed on them. Most of the women wore shoes that made a loud thump with each step. I took it as a bold statement. They wanted their much-deserved presence to be known, and no doubt they did. I saw a performance filled with joy, and a symbol of women empowerment.

After this performance, I decided to get something to eat. I got up and turned to see vendor-selling food. I asked the vendors who they were and what they were raising support for. The two girls behind the table told me a story about how they were on a mission to stop human trafficking. Immediately I thought about the place we were in, and how while we were celebrating today, we still didn’t want to forget the ongoing issues still present and evident in the world today. Human trafficking and sexual abuse are huge issues we as humans should not tolerate. I was so humbled to hear their story and their dedication to spread the awareness of human trafficking. Vendors that contribute to fight the wars are what make me truly appreciate the social and political warriors of our time. The Women Who Rock Conference upholds the integrity these activists have and encourage the rest of us to do the same. Not by forcing anything down our throats, but by merely showcasing people who are truly dedicated with a huge purpose.

 

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Photo info: Photographer: Heber Garcia. April 25th, 2014. WWR Conference Washington Hall Seattle, WA. Women selling food to raise support against human trafficking. Tags: Womenwhorock, conference, food, protest, peace, support, fundraise

My last biggest take away from this conference was no doubt the gender-neutral bathrooms. In all my life I have never heard or experienced such a thing until that very night. I went to the bathroom and had an experience I will never forget, for better or for worse. I walked to the urinal to do my business when suddenly, an African-American women walks right in, smiles, and goes into the stall right next to me. It was just she and I. Both in the bathroom at the same time doing the same thing. So many thoughts raced thru my head. Does she feel just as uncomfortable as I do? Does she think this is weird at all? I went over to a sink to wash my hands. As soon as I turned the faucet, the women came and did the same. No words were exchanged in that time. Only gestures and smiles. I looked over at her while drying my hands. She looked back and smiled. Her eyes gave a warm welcome. I could tell that she understood that I felt uncomfortable. I don’t know how, but I did. Her glance at me somehow reassured me that it was okay. It was okay to feel different. It was okay to feel awkward. It was okay to feel alone. I left that bathroom with a totally new outlook on gender as a whole. I thought I knew what it was like to be different, but it wasn’t until that moment of gender differences where I noticed that thousands of people who question their gender and sexuality are constantly being placed in these sorts of situations. Because of the society we live in and how unique everyone is, not everyone can truly feel comfortable. There is always something holding others back. Always something nudging them. Freedom is confined to a person’s interpretation, not a universal understanding.

 

 

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Photo info: Photographer: Heber Garcia. April 25th, 2014. WWR Conference Washington Hall Seattle, WA. Gender Neutral sign outside of bathroom door. Tags: Womenwhorock, conference, gender, equality, peace, different, experience

 

I felt so awkward and different I didn’t know how to react. I thought about the people that experience this everyday and my heart just broke for them. Although I was able to get over my discomfort, sadly that is not that case with many others. There may not be much we can do to help all those stuck in situations like this, but we can be a person of influence to our neighbors. We can, as people, allow others to be themselves. We can all give back what we are unknowingly carrying. We can all work together to promote peace and love. We can all work together, to bring happiness to all. I, can.

Jeanne’s Photo’s 5/16/2014 WWR (Un)Conference 2014

 

WWR HAS MY PERMISSION TO USE THESE PHOTO’S

 

WWR 2014 Washington Hall Rozz Therrien and Leah Michaels who presented their film “Rock, Rage & Self Defense: An Oral History of Seattle’s Home Alive

WWR 2014
Washington Hall – 4/25/2014
Rozz Therrien and Leah Michaels who presented their film “Rock, Rage & Self Defense: An Oral History of Seattle’s Home Alive

 

WWR (un)Conference Washington Hall 'Day of the Dead' Alter with all its color and symbolism. I asked several children to show me their contribution to the altar and then I asked each of them if they understood the meanings associated with their sparkly 'feminized' sugar skulls. They assured me that they did by suggesting that it 'is a good way to remember family and people you love after they die'. These children have a life learning advantage attending the Women Who Rock event. It’s about us, them and who these children will be inspired by from the past that will bring them into a fuller ‘becoming’.

WWR (un)Conference
Washington Hall
‘Day of the Dead’ Alter with all its color and symbolism. I asked several children to show me their contribution to the altar and then I asked each of them if they understood the meanings associated with their sparkly ‘feminized’ sugar skulls. They assured me that they did by suggesting that it ‘is a good way to remember family and people you love after they die’. These children have a life learning advantage attending the Women Who Rock event. It’s about us, them and who these children will be inspired by from the past that will bring them into a fuller ‘becoming’.

WWR (Un)Conference 2014 Washington Hall: "Fandango"

WWR (Un)Conference 2014
Washington Hall: “Fandango”

 

Improvising New Communities with Bodies in Motion Roundtable Moderators:  Michelle Habell-Pallan, Sonnet Retman Panelists: Martha Gonzalez & Deborah Wong discuss community building through the Fandango Obon Project; Gayle Sherrie Tucker discusses Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) developed by Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening Institute; Gaye Theresa Johnson highlights forms of collaboration and coalition between Black & Latino that reconfigure music; Mako Fitts Ward, co-founder of Women Who Rock (un)Conference"

Improvising New Communities with Bodies in Motion Roundtable
Moderators:
Michelle Habell-Pallan, Sonnet Retman
Panelists: Martha Gonzalez & Deborah Wong discuss community building through the Fandango Obon Project; Gayle Sherrie Tucker discusses Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) developed by Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening Institute; Gaye Theresa Johnson highlights forms of collaboration and coalition between Black & Latino that reconfigure music; Mako Fitts Ward, co-founder of Women Who Rock (un)Conference”

Heber’s blog post

Listening to “LA Punk to Banda Rap” definitely changed my perspective on punk rock in general. Honestly, I was so ignorant to the genre that I didn’t even realize other cultures associated with it besides whites. This audio commentary really showed me the presence latinos and chicanos have in not just the punk rock scene, but the general music scene as a whole. Although i personally don’t find punk rock appealing to listen to, understanding the genre through personal hardships have definitely changed my perspective on the genre. In previous posts I mention a lot about how reflecting on struggles and persevering through them can tell the best story through music. Especially when mixing the music with cultural elements, anyone who appreciates music regardless the genre can listen and absorb something more than just a story.

I really like that latinos associated with this genre are not afraid to stand up and defend their roots. there are tons of social issues going in within the chicano culture that a lot goes unnoticed by everyone else. Music is a great way to release that information while also stating a stance on the issue. What better way to understand these issues than from a personal story affected by it? Speaking out on topics like the struggles of undocumented workers are great ways to spread a message and gathering support.

 

 “Latinos in the Garage” described the influence Latinos had in the early rock scene.  I wasn’t aware that the majority of big hit artists such as the Beatles and even Nirvana had many of their samples influenced by latin music. When listening to their music you only hear the instruments and sound, but not necessarily where that music originates from. But searching for the latin sound doesn’t take very long at all!  “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles is a great example of that Latin influence. Throughout the song you can hear the riff give off a Latin sound, which surprisingly is quite common in much of the music from that time.

Jessica’s Stream A Individual Blog Post

In the article “Rock The Nation” by Roberto Avant-Mier, it was really interesting to learn about all the Latin influence in music. I didn’t realize it had such in impact with other artists. He mentioned Shakira and Ricky Martin in the beginning and how they blew up in the states. I remember being young and hearing Ricky Martin’s song, “Livin’ Da Vida Loca”. It was really big in the 90’s but he ended up being a one hit wonder with that song since that is the one song people identify him with. It was interesting that they thought Shakira was going to be the next Madonna. I don’t think she quite hit that status in America but she was big when she first started out with her hit, “Whenever, Wherever”. She sort of disappeared from the scene but being on the hit TV show the Voice has gained her more recognition. I was never aware the influence that Latin music had on other artists such as, the song “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers in 1962. I have the cover of that song by the Beatles on my iPod and I never noticed that but now I will listen more closely. Latin even spilled over in the rock scene which surprised me such with the song “Sympathy for the Devil” which was based on the mambo and Van Morrison’s song, “Brown Eyed Girl” which I am really familiar with is based on the mambo too and I never realized that.

I listened to the excerpt from Women With Attitude and it was crazy to hear that in 1959, 14 year old Mexican American Rosie Mendez Hamlin wrote the melody for “Angel Baby” and became a national hit in 1961. It took years for her to gain song writing credit for ‘Angel Baby”. This song influenced a generation of girl groups that came after her. I had never heard of her but I was so impressed that by the age of 14, she wrote a song but it seemed ridiculous that it took years for her to get recognition for it. It was interesting to learn about the Eastside singing sound which is a mix of Mexican genres and African American vocalizing. In the 1971 hit, You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt she mixes country, R&B with gospel harmonies. I have heard this song before but I never caught all of those genres that are prominent in that song.

Alagan’s Blog Post 5/14/2014

After reading Avant-Mier’s “Latinos in the Garage” and listening to the American Sabor sound story “L.A Punk to Banda Rap,” I was greatly impressed by the influence Chicano musicians had on rock music as described in both stories.

            In “Latinos in the Garage,” Mier described the influence Latinos had in the early rock n’ roll scene. He first described the late 90’s scene when the media was describing the “Latin craze” as a wave of Latin musicians became popular. He tried to refute that by showing the influence that Latino musicians had throughout rock history. I was really impressed by the list of artists he mentioned as being influenced by Latino music. Everybody from the Beatles to Nirvana had some experience with Latin music and that directly appeared in their work. You can especially hear it in the Beatles’ cover of “Twist and Shout.” The riff definitely gives off a Latin groove vibe, which I noticed  in many other songs of 60’s as well.

            “L.A Punk to Banda Rap” showed me that Chicanos have had a steady presence in the music scene especially those protesting the status quo. From Alice Bag to the lead singer of Rage against the Machine, Chicanos have had much influence in music associated with standing up against authority. It displayed that chicano rock groups are not anything new. It is just now that the mainstream is starting to notice them.

            Both stories have changed my view of how current rock n’ roll was formed. I used to wonder how bands like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones suddenly came up with a new sound that revolutionized music. After reading these stories, I understand that their sounds were just a result of the evolution of music that had been played for centuries. They gave a slight twist to music was constantly be changed by musicians at the time.