Tagged: Beth Ditto

Dammit, Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, America's sweetheart; image courtesy of villagevoice.com

At the risk of sounding aloof, I’ve been ignoring Taylor Swift for some time. Readers might notice that I haven’t said a peep about her beyond an observation about how she might be a continuation of the girl group tradition after she hosted SNL. When the VMA debacle happened, I didn’t care. I thought Beyoncé was classy about it, and I thought Kanye was right in his opinion, if wrong in execution (seriously, “Single Ladies” is one of the best videos of all time, and perhaps the most iconic of its decade). I thought Swift seemed a little unnecessarily entitled when she was gave her acceptance speech later in the broadcast, but other than that I thought very little about it. 

For a while, I actually didn’t know who this Taylor Swift person was. First I thought she was on The Hills. I work under the assumption that any famous white person on MTV is a Hill. 

Just so we're clear, none of the girls in this heterocentric male gaze imagining of a slumber party are Taylor Swift; image courtesy of nydailynews.com

Then I saw her take some Southern kid to the prom on MTV. Then I found out she was a country singer from Pennsylvania who loved Def Leppard and covered Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which didn’t help her cause. Then I heard the pop version of “You Belong With Me,” promptly motivating me to listen to the slightly twangier original. From here, I reduced her to “country Avril” and went about my business. 

 

Cover to the "You Belong With Me" single (Big Machine/Universal Music Group, 2008); image courtesy of buzzworthy.mtv.com

Swift, not unlike Depeche Mode in their own way, may be a good gateway artist into more interesting and challenging music. Being a pre-teen Depeche Mode devotee led me to Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and Nick Cave’s various incarnations (admit it, DM fans: your band is at best a singles act; only Violator and maybe Black Celebration are essential in an otherwise mediocre catalog). Likewise, Swift might lead fans to The Dixie Chicks, Neko Case, Rosie Flores, Janis Martin, and Wanda Jackson. But my opinion of Swift is, “fine, she’s young and plays a guitar and writes her own songs (with Liz Rose) . . . but I’m totally bored by her.” 

 

Kristen at Act Your Age and my friend Asha forwarded this Autostraddle article to me. Asha asked me what I thought about it, and an outpouring of opinions bubbled up. Apparently I can get my screed on over a musician I have no personal investment in. But as I watched her wide, ordinary Grammy performance with Stevie Nicks (who sounded ridiculous singing “she’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers,” BTW) and yelled at my television when she gave her folksy “we’ll tell our grandchildren about this” Album of the Year speech, I discovered that I do have a personal investment in her fame. So here we go. 

I’m pretty much in line with the writer and have brought up Swift’s privileged upbringing, pedantic songwriting, normative femininity, her handling of the VMA debacle, and inauthentic authenticity when talking to other people about her. 

I agree with the writer about how there wasn’t really anything to hate about Taylor Swift until she started racking up important awards. I get her appeal, but I have no personal investment in her career. She writes inoffensive love songs you’d hear on the CW or romantic comedies women are supposed to love (like Valentine’s Day, which stars Swift and features her music). 

 

Above all, Swift’s music is inoffensive to the point of offense when you factor in its success. When I think about Swift’s age alongside the teenage output of acts like Schmillion, Roxanne Shanté, ESG, Mika Miko, Björk’s work in KUKL, and some girl in her bedroom whose music I have yet to hear, I’m far more interested in that music. It’s weird and flawed and brave and inspiring. It’s really easy to forget about Swift when this music is also available. I wish more people would take the time to find it.

 

 

I’d like to point out that the Album of the Year Grammy isn’t as important as the writer suggests, nor should it be to you. In the grand tradition of award ceremonies and canons, the Grammys have long esteemed mediocrity and blandness. Sure, some cool people have won. But lots of boring and past-their-prime people have also won. And some great artists haven’t won Album of the Year but continue to make enduring music, as a Jezebel writer pointed out at the end of a recent article. 

I can also counter the writer’s closing paragraphs, which are pretty hyperbolic. I’m not sure how much of a punk Lady Gaga is, or what, for that matter, the value of the word “punk” means when you can apply it to Vivian Westwood couture, coffee table books, and Hot Topic. That said, I too am inspired by mainstream female pop stars who explore and own the complex dimensions of their sexuality, particularly P!nk, Janet Jackson, and Christina Aguilera. I only wish there were more of them, or that Gossip’s Beth Ditto or M.I.A. sold enough records to qualify. 

Beth Ditto: my kind of pop star; image courtesy of brooklynvegan.com

I don’t really take issue with Swift being a weak singer, in that I don’t think evaluating singers in terms of their technical abilities is always a fruitful exercise. I’d be happier with her being a weak singer if she did something interesting with her voice, but I basically feel like she’s doing karaoke when she sings. This could have a charm to it if her phrasing and sense of dynamics weren’t also really obvious. And she often acts out lyrics in a way that I find insulting to the audience. Sure it’s a continuation of the girl group tradition. But do you really need to mime picking up a phone to let listeners know that you’re talking on the phone with some boy? Is it your way of helping out your international fan base? Or is just so you can remember the exact words that comprise the trite rhetoric you’re selling? 

Thus, if we have to make problematic either/or value judgments, I think it’s better to evaluate singing not as good or bad, but as present or absent. Lots of artists lack technically proficient or “pretty” voices, but get you with their commitment to creating sound and the feelings behind it. Likewise, lots of singers have pleasant voices, but sound like they’re thinking about checking their e-mail or getting on a plane. So, I actually take issue with how removed Swift sounds from her music. And then I really take issue with how she sings about romance with a disingenuous approximation of sustained wonder. For me, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard does something similar and it drives me up a tree. Add some faux-authentic lyrics about ripped jeans, pick-up trucks, sneakers, and faded t-shirts and I don’t think you’re emoting so much as lying

That said, I think this quote is a little insulting: “Swift simply hasn’t had the life experience and doesn’t inherently possess the emotional maturity to create great art.” It smacks a bit of “she’s just a girl; she hasn’t experienced life yet.” As women who work with girls, Kristen and I include Swift in our music history workshops. We don’t do this as fans, but because we know she means a lot to many girls, some of whom are just learning how to play music or are picking up instruments for the first time. Some of you might be reading this now, and I totally respect your preferences and value your opinions. You may be die-hard fans, or you may grow out of her music and find something else. You may believe in the kinds of fairy tales Swift trades in, though hopefully you’ll come to them with a revisionist bent like Lady Gaga, Bat for Lashes, or St. Vincent

Whatever you choose, all I hope for as an older, cranky lady who doesn’t like Swift’s music is that you never stop discovering new sounds as you develop your own. And I promise never to bore you with stories about how awesome and progressive my pop idols were in comparison to your music, because no text is ever above inquiry. Swift is problematic, but so is Björk. As I have faith in your awesomeness, I have no doubt that you’ll come up with something that’ll blow me away. And if you wanna bitch about Swift and turn that rage into something completely new and original, I’ll be here to listen.

“Rock and roll and the truth”: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

The Stains -- bassist Tracy (Marin Kanter), vocalist Corinne (Diane Lane), guitarist Peg (Laura Dern); image courtesy of history.sffs.org

It’s crazy that the movie that is the subject of this post only came out on DVD in 2008. Director Lou Adler and screenwriter Nancy Dowd‘s modest feature made its cinematic debut in 1982 (note: Dowd was credited as Rob Morton, a pseudonym the Oscar winner used from time to time — I wonder if having the illusion of a man write the script got the project off the ground). It starred Diane Lane, Ray Winstone, Laura Dern, and Christine Lahti. It featured The Clash’s Paul Simenon and Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Steve Jones. It went on to influence riot grrrl and has been referenced by other musicians (see the music video for Mika Miko’s “Business Cats“).

And yet the first time I saw this movie was in a class screening. It was during the final days of grad school before the DVD’s summer release. The version I saw was a laserdisc transfer, and included 15 seconds of static from when the person recording the movie flipped the disc. Nutty, right? Kinda informs why I’m a feminist and have an ambivalent relationship with having to dig for representative media texts that I like. I’m proud of it but irritated by it at the same time. If it gets translated into snobbishness, it’s really righteous indignation.

The plot is as follows. Lane plays Corinne Burns, a teenage orphan who has to figure out how she and her sister Tracy (Marin Kanter) can support themselves after being fired from her jill job. While staying with her aunt Linda (Lahti), she starts scheming ways to start a pirate radio station that will broadcast “rock and roll and the truth.” She ends up convincing her sister and cousin Jessica (Dern, whose character prefers to be called Peg) to start a band called The Stains. After catching British punk band The Looters, a fictitious rock band fronted by Billy (Ray Winstone) and manned by bassist Simenon, drummer Cook, and guitarist Jones, Burns’s purpose is clear. She can’t just be in the audience, some chick in the crowd among pregnant teens with nicotine habits and folks squandering their youth at the piss factory. She’s gotta get The Stains on the bill. Like so many rock legends before her, she’s gotta get outta this place if it’s the last thing she ever does.

Corinne Burns becoming rock star Third Degree Burns; image courtesy of fashionista.com

At first, Corrine tries to appeal to Billy as a fan, who is otherwise occupied with a groupie. She is then approached by The Looters’ road manager, a Rastafarian named Lawnboy (Barry Nichols) and gets The Stains booked as the opening act. It seems as though Lawnboy needs his own insurance, as the top-billed act are a has-been dinosaur rock outfit appropriately called The Metal Corpses. They’ve got a heroin addict guitar player in tow. They’re also fronted by a real charmer named Lou (played by Tubes frontman Fee Waybill). You can tell what kind of guy he is when he recounts a tryst with an older groupie acquaintance — apparently she’s as good as she ever was, but that damn kid of her’s would not stop crying and interrupting their “time” together. Class act.

Anyway, The Stains become huge and cultivate a legion of die-hard girl fans. Corpses’ guitarist Jerry Jervey (Tubes’ keyboardist Vince Welnick) inevitably dies of an overdose. This gives Burns an opportunity to spin the story and create her own mythology. Apparently Jervey loved her. She couldn’t reciprocate and he took his own life. This lie turns Burns’s band into a full-blown media sensation. Which is good, because their first gig doesn’t go so well.

But this clip, which features “Waste of Time” (penned by Barry Ford), explains why The Stains garner both an on- and off-screen feminist following (note: to preserve this image, don’t see Streets on Fire as it features Lane playing a rock star damsel in distress). The music suggests post-punk and indie’s lo-fi sensibilities and politicized amateurism. The message is blatantly feminist, and delivered through a girl’s plain-spoken sneer. This girl has as much use for pants as Lady Gaga, but her visible panties don’t mean that she puts out. She’s also equipped a replicable look and quotable opinions about how she doesn’t give a fuck about patriarchy. A star is born, and she’s after your daughters. They call themselves Skunks.

A legion of Skunks waiting to see The Stains; image courtesy of photobucket.com

By the way, if either of the dude-friends who run the Lab want to create a Stains t-shirt, I reckon you’d have a sell-out item on your hands. I think the design should include the caption, “They’ve got such big plans for the world but they don’t include us.”

Also, make sure to add YACHT’s cover of “Waste of Time” to your next mix.

Once The Stains break, The Looters bristle at just how much they’re being overshadowed by the opening act, especially since they’re just a bunch of girls (or “birds,” since they’re British). But Billy also seems impressed with Burns. He eventually seduces her, though I doubt the genuineness of his attraction as it seems more like a power grab. He wins her over by teaching her his band’s song “Be A Professional,” a song about refusing to join the army. But their romance is promptly ended by Burns when up-and-coming act Black Randy and the Metro Squad threaten to knock The Stains off the bill. The romance is over, but she takes his song as a souvenir.

Jilted Billy nearly ruins the band by revealing Burns to be a fraud after she becomes too big for him (she becomes a superstar in a little over a week). However, her fans come through for her in the end, making The Stains a tremendously successful pop band just in time for the advent of MTV. But something tells me they’d be pressured to change the name. Some label exec would try to convince them that “The Stains” wouldn’t look good on a poster with “The Go-Gos” and “The Bangles.”

Corinne faces the dreaded ex while Billy confronts the girl and legend; image courtesy of 24hourpartypooper.wordpress.com

The ending is as good a place as any to address that while I like this movie, it’s far from perfect. There’s the rushed storyline that also requires a considerable suspension of disbelief. There’s the unfortunate romantic coupling between the two leads that feels completely unnecessary and without much motivation. Some of the dialogue doesn’t work and the young cast’s performances tend to be mannered. And the ending casts a dark pall on the rest of the movie. It confirms that the girls totally sold out. More essentializing sorts might read this ending as a self-fulfilling prophecy, that The Stains became what Burns pegged one disinterested female concertgoer as: just girls waiting to die.

Join the professionals on MTV; image courtesy of flickr.com

However, I read the ending more as an indictment on how punk became new wave and how bands like The Talking Heads, The Go-Gos, and Blondie were recast by major label record executives in the process. “Be a professional, join the professionals” on MTV, as “you’re gonna be one anyway.” And when you consider that the movie was made at new wave’s zenith and the cable network’s infancy, it’s a pretty damning ending that I think is in keeping with punk’s cynical, incredulous take on human nature.

Of course, it must be acknowledged that many riot grrrls and their contemporaries who may have been inspired by this movie became professionals too. Queercore legacies Kaia Wilson and Tammy Rae Carland ran Mr. Lady for many years. Miranda July makes movies. Carrie Brownstein works for NPR. Beth Ditto has a clothing line. Kathleen Hanna is an archival subject. Johanna Fateman runs a hair salon. Of course, these are enviable jobs and social positions that work toward resisting patriarchal culture. Professionalism doesn’t have to mean compromise, but it does insure a constant process of negotiation.

But just as this movie is about young women trying to negotiate when to hold on to integrity in the working world, it is also about how they interact and influence one another. Thus, female mentorship informs much of the movie’s narrative.

The Stains are considered role models for their audience. Some commentators believe this be to their fans’ detriment, as the skunk hairdos, extreme make-up, pantsless get-ups, and disinterest toward marriage and babies assuredly will lead to wickedness (thus predicting the moral panic later waged against Madonna and her fans). Most folks who hold this opinion are male. Billy clearly espouses this opinion because he’s jealous of The Stains’ success, feels taken advantage of by Burns after she steals his song, and thinks very little of this emergent aggregate”s collective intelligence. News anchor and affirmed sexist Stu McGrath (John Lehne) thinks The Stains, and Burns in particular, are bad influences. He also seems of the opinion that they sure are sexy and naughty, which echoes how British television personality and first-rate drunk Bill Grundy seemed to feel about Siouxsie Sioux when she sat with The Sex Pistols during their infamous interview.

However, journalist Alicia Meeker (Cynthia Sikes) loves The Stains. She’s excited and inspired by their story. She also plays a part in their success by providing them coverage on local television as well as sticking up for them on the air. She’s quick to point out that these girls aren’t delinquents or degenerates. Instead, she sees them as self-sufficient individuals. She makes no bones about her partiality, and does little to hide her seething contempt for McGrath, with whom she shares a news desk.

Jessica’s Aunt Linda is interesting as well, though misses an opportunity to be a mentor. At first, she seems resistant to her daughter and nieces’ rebellion, and later dismissive of their success. But in a devastating scene that unfolds for both the band and the viewer on a television screen in the display window of an appliance store, it’s revealed in an interview that Linda is proud of them and wishes she was more encouraging. Worse yet, Linda knows all too well what it’s like to grow up in a household peopled with family members who didn’t believe she could amount to anything.

This admission makes an early scene when Linda is first introduced particularly poignant. We meet Linda in her front room, giving herself an at-home manicure with a girlfriend. The ladies break out in an a capella rendition of Carole King’s anthemic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” Linda nails the song’s high harmonies, but no one hears it. Even the girls ignored it at the time. I wonder if they reflect on it later. I hope they carry on in her memory.

“Everybody loves three”: Britney’s new single

britney-3

Cover to 3 single (Jive, 2009); image courtesy of thehollywoodgossip.com

Maybe Britney Spears doesn’t seem like someone I’d cover here. In truth, if we have to do the bullshit either/or, good/bad preference thing, I’m totally Christina Aguilera over Britney Spears. Except for that time when “Dirrty” first came out and I was bummed out that Xtina decided to celebrate sluttiness. Then I recanted and celebrated the sluttiness too, though with weird feelings about how Aguilera selectively channeled her Ecuadorian roots by playing up the spicy Latina, only to later highlight her whiteness in subsequent reinventions.

But the music video for Britney’s new single “3″ from her second greatest hits compilation recently debuted on the Internet. Also, I have to say that I actually like Spears’s music. “Toxic” was a neat little jam. Blackout was a pretty fun, dark pop record despite and because of its context (you might remember that Britney was in the tabloids a bit in 2007). And I haven’t really listened to Circus, but the hits have been fun. The older she gets, the edgier and less kid-friendly she becomes. Sure, the producers have a hand in all of this, and perhaps there’s some unfortunate credence to Tom Ewing’s analogy between Spears and Twin Peaks hardened, debased, tragic beauty Laura Palmer. But I still like Britney. And maybe like Rihanna, another beauty with a cyborg’s voice who seems to look and sound even more edgier after her own travails, I root for her.  

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Rihanna and the Met Ball (May, 2009); image courtesy of gofugyourself.com

Like the South Park dudes, I have sympathy for Britney Jean. 1) She was raised to be a pop star, 2) she became a pop star when she was really young and probably didn’t get to grow up in a normal environment, 3) suddenly people started making fun of her for not seeming very cultured or politically aware because she spent all of her life becoming a pop star, 4) she had a headline-making break-up with some boy who later told everyone that he took her virginity, 5) she is perceived as damaged goods while his star continues to rise, 6) she makes a lot of bad personal decisions, 7) she gives birth to two boys in quick succession, 8) she suffered through post-partum depression and perhaps bipolar disorder in public, 9) people made fun of her supposedly chubby post-pregnancy body, 10) then her handlers make her over for real and magically all is well again.

I really hope that’s true. She’s 27, a cursed age for rock and pop idols. I hope she makes it to 28. And, like Carrie Brownstein, I hope she gets to make friends with fellow Southern girl Beth Ditto, who has packaged herself as a proudly fat and queer sex symbol and vocal powerhouse. It also makes me glad that I know almost fuck-all about Lady Gaga’s personal life. I’ve pro’ed and con’ed her, but I like that I know very little about her off-stage persona. I’m assuming she took a note from Britney. I’m also hoping Britney took a note from Beyoncé.

But let’s get to “3″ and its video. It’s dirty. It’s all about threesomes. And, unlike earlier Britney singles, this one doesn’t hide behind a lot of innuendo. Stuff I like about it.

1. Um, is this song already a hit at gay bars across the world? It’s about to be.

2. I kinda love how unclear (and thus potentially queerable?) the groupings are in this song. The reference to “Peter, Paul, and Mary” seems to suggest some boy-boy-girl action. In addition to loving that the stiff, pious folk trio are name-checked here, I hope that the two boys in the trio tend to each other’s needs as well as Britney’s. Based on the video, the trio could also be three ladies. While the video is totally vulnerable to the heterosexual male gaze, there is no tired two girls for every boy situation explicitly being offered up here.

2A. I hope Britney’s queer fanbase comes up with all manner of pairings and positions when they bring this song to life. 

3. While I hate the slowed-down, ballad-y bridge where Britney suggests (once again) that “what we do is innocent,” nothing is meant by it, and this could just be a twosome, I like that she slyly sneaks in that it might also be fun to turn the duet into a trio or even a quartet. Britney’s grin really sells it.  

4. I’ve always liked Britney’s Southern accent and her military dance moves.

Stuff that’s icky.

1. Britney’s white leotard when she’s next to the chorus line of female dancers. Her white blondeness is exacerbated by the women’s black outfits, which racialize and subordinate them alongside the pop star. I hated Ciara and Justin Timberlake’s similar music video for “Love Sex Magic,” but at least I felt like Ciara was dancing with the chorus line rather than having them orbit her. 

2. Product placement. Duh, she’s a brand. But does she really have to apply her Fantasy perfume at the beginning of the video? Or, for that matter, does she have to spritz on some Curious at the beginning of the “Circus” music video? Oh, she does? It’s probably in her contract? Gross.

3. While I like that her trimmer figure hasn’t sacrificed her curves, I never really thought she had any weight to lose.

4. The “livin’ like this is the new thing” lyric is problematic because it kinda sounds like a sales pitch. Ugh. I guess a queer poly love jingle isn’t the worst thing, but still. Queer love, polyamory, and threesomes are totally not the new thing. They’ve been identities and expressions of desire probably since the beginning of time.

5. Since configuration of the threesome is deliberately ambiguous in the Diane Martel-directed clip, I wish the star played with male drag. Didn’t she seem to have butch potential when she shaved her head? Doesn’t it seem like part of her career makeover is to make her normatively feminine and sexy again? But that’s so boring. I’ve long thought that Britney’s thick neck and broad shoulders could make her a potentially good looking drag king, perhaps convincing as Mariah or her ex-boyfriend. She could at least oscillate within the butch-femme binary like Ciara did in “Like a Boy.”

Thoughts?

“Shines like the real thing, real thing, real thing . . .” Gossip’s “Dimestore Diamond”

Cover to Music for Men (Columbia, 2009), note drag king cover subject is drummer Hannah Blilie; image courtesy of indieelectrorock.blogspot.com

Cover to Music for Men (Columbia, 2009), note drag king cover subject is drummer Hannah Blilie; image courtesy of indieelectrorock.blogspot.com

I’m assembling my thoughts on Anna Sui’s Gossip Girl-inspired clothing line for Target. Since I might bitch about synergy, normalizing skinny, gendered body types for young consumers, and the great malling of America at some point in that post, I thought I’d post a wonderful alternative to these at-this-point rote grievances by highlighting Gossip’s “Dimestore Diamond,” a new song off their soon-to-be-released Songs For Men. You can listen to it here (oh, and should you choose to click on the NPR link, maybe say hi to Lightning Bolt, Dead Man’s Bones, Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down, La Loup, and BlakRoc).

In this very sexy, rocking song that does a great job bridging the band’s bluesy origins with its more recent new wave leanings, a woman (who may or may not be engaged in the world’s oldest profession) is praised for her ability to maximize the fashionable potential out of thrift store togs, cut her own hair, and make her own clothes. Who says you have to rely on high-end fashion or commercial retailers to put together a fly outfit? Here here!

Also, given that “everybody knows” the things this diamond does to please, I can’t help but wonder if she lives in a small town. Perhaps I’m projecting Searcy, Arkansas — the band’s hometown origins – onto the song, but it’s hard for me not to read the song’s narrative as being informed by issues of class and place. This brings a few things to mind for me.

1. In a Bust interview, lead singer Beth Ditto talks about growing up a working class, closeted Southern girl and how, if she hadn’t left her hometown, she may have stayed in the closet, gotten pregnant, gotten married, and lived a lie. 

2. As a tangent, Ditto’s interview also makes me think about Kurt from Glee, FOX’s new dramedy that is starting to get really good. In last night’s episode, Kurt finds himself as a place kicker for his school’s football team, as well as coming out to his butch, widowed father — all because of the power of Beyoncé (and man, talk about a text that plays with lip syncing, dis/embodiment, trying on identities, and drag — put your hands up, Winona Ryder). These are two brave acts from a young man who (at least for now) finds himself stuck in Lima, Ohio.

3. And finally, taking points 1 and 2 together, I wanna give a hug to all the closeted kids I knew in high school who didn’t feel safe with who they really were then (and maybe some still don’t). I hope wherever you are, you’re shining like the real thing.

Post-Cinemakids Monday rad list

So, I’m still a little brain-drained from working on Cinemakids this weekend. I helped a group of nine-year-olds make a short movie about skatin’ dudes and pie fights (or, more accurately, walked them through the basics of making their own movie, tried to keep them positive and focused, sometimes mediated arguments, and sometimes provided them with Oreos). It was fun and if you want to see the movie “Team I Want Some Pie” made, along with the other participants, the screening is on November 7th.

And sometimes being a little brain-drained is good. It’s inspiring. And because today is Monday and we might all be a little slow getting back into our weekly routine, I thought I’d make a quick list of rad stuff I’m stoked about or inspired by. Feel free to share your rad lists as well.

Sadie Benning. Thanks to grad school and Kill Rock Stars, I know who this is. Benning is my go-to “girl filmmaker,” however essentializing that term may be. But I kept thinking about her work all weekend and how, if you have a vision and a Fisher-Price camera, you can start making movies at any age (an experimental filmmaker parent may also help, but not necessarily guarantee inspiration). If you don’t know her work, I highly recommend looking at some of her shorts. You can also watch her work in Julie Ruin’s “Aerobicide” music video.

On that tip, Molly Schiot has made some great videos too. Might I point you in the direction of Mika Miko’s “Business Cats” and Sleater-Kinney’s “Entertain”? Also watch the interview footage Schiot put together of Pat Place and Cynthia Sley of Bush Tetras talking about being tuff feminists on the lower East Side in the early 80s. This interview plus a recent screening of Downtown ’81 convinces me that I’m not tough enough to have lived in New York and the early 80s, and neither are most people of my generation. These women lived “Too Many Creeps.”

Oh hai Jane Campion. I’m looking forward to seeing Bright Star. Additional points of interest for apparently configuring Fanny Brawne as a proto-punk fashion icon.

Haters be damned, I still wanna see Jennifer’s Body. The reviews aren’t in, but I think we can assume I’m still going to see Whip It! next month as well.

Karen O, music supervisor of Where The Wild Things Are. How is Spike Jonze’s new movie not going to be awesome? Regardless, I know the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman’s musical contributions to the movie will necessitate its own post. Can’t wait for it to come out!

Dolly Parton box set – We’re getting closer to its October 27th release date! This release comes out mere months after Archeophone released their Sophie Tucker anthology.

The Gossip are coming to ATX next month, two days after Parton’s box set is released. Yet another reason why October is for winners. We can only hope that Beth will pull out the wig and cover some Dolly.

I missed Mad Men last night because I was cheering on the KOOP Kilowatts. I suspect others may have missed last night’s episode too due to the Emmys (or at least had to back-and-forth it). Regardless, apparently Betty and Don’s angsty eldest daughter Sally discards a Barbie doll her mom gives her in last night’s episode. Ugh, you totally don’t get my ten-year-old girl needs, mom. Season three has been Sally’s season, in my mind.

Oh, just wait for my teenage rebellion, mom and dad -- Sally Draper makes cocktails; image courtesy of flickr.com

"Oh, just wait for my teenage rebellion, mom and dad" -- Sally Draper makes cocktails; image courtesy of flickr.com

Oh, on that tack, I need to rewatch season two and see the documentary on women’s liberation that was included in the DVD set. For more on the subject, Mary Kearney just wrote a great Flow column on it. I wonder how Sally will be impacted by these changes.

I recently bought Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love at Cheapo. Yes, that does mean that I listened to “The Big Sky” on my drive to work.

I have been pairing this with Julie Ruin’s “Valley Girl Intelligensia,” bringing us back full circle to grrrl germs.