A History Of All-Girl Bands And The Rock World That Tried To Keep Them Out

It was 1964 and singer Genyusha “Goldie” Zelkowitz had a problem. The all-girl band she formed in 1962 with drummer Ginger Bianco, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, had a major label record contract and an upcoming Las Vegas stint ― but the bassist, Nancy Peterman, had just told the band that she was pregnant. She’d formed an attachment to the organist of a band they’d been performing with; things had taken their natural course. In the 1960s, birth control for unmarried women was still illegal in certain states. Roe v. Wade was not yet a glimmer in the Supreme Court’s eye, and an attempt to get her an illicit procedure fell through. The situation was unsurprising, and the conclusion was unfortunate: Peterman had to leave the band.

Zelkowitz, who now goes by Genya Ravan, practically explodes with laughter remembering the incident now, 50 years later, during a phone conversation. “She kept saying she was ‘so lonely’!” Ravan hoots. “Had I known I would have bought her a vibrator.” A vibrator and a career, or a sexual partner and parenthood: That’s a choice The Beatles likely never had to make.

For Ravan, who was determined to make it in the music business, settling down wasn’t an option. After forming Goldie and the Gingerbreads, she saw the branding benefits of keeping the lineup all women, to capitalize on the exotic appeal of an all-girl rock ’n’ roll band. But over the years, they lost members, and it was difficult to fill all the parts in the group with women.

“A lot of the girls that were canned down the line … they wanted to have a family, they wanted to have children,” said Ravan. “There’s no room for that here.”

Womanhood used to usher women off the stage in fairly obvious, biological ways. But it’s 2017. Seven years ago, Pink put in a rousing performance at the American Music Awards while expecting a baby. In February of this year, Beyoncé performed gravity-defying moves during a Grammy performance while pregnant ― with twins.

Nonetheless, pockets of the music world remain startlingly male. Our greatest pop stars today might be women, but in instrument-heavy rock ― indie, punk, metal and beyond ― the standard-issue band is still a group of three to six guys. Less common: a group of male musicians with a female vocalist, or even a female keyboardist or bassist. Least common: a band comprised primarily or entirely of female musicians.

The music internet periodically offers up listicles of all-women bands to check out, which feature a common core cast of incredible indie groups: Hinds, Ex Hex, The Prettiots, Chastity Belt, Warpaint and so on. Plenty has been written about the the chart-topping pop-rock sister group Haim, but even in a diverse musical landscape of EDM, hip-hop, pop and hybrid music, a wide variety of all-male bands still flourishes. Why is the all-female band relatively elusive?

One might be tempted to blame women as a group. Perhaps we’re biologically uninterested in playing electric guitar, much like advanced algebra and video games. Maybe there simply aren’t girls out there with the chops and dedication to succeed. But ― much as with mathematics and video games ― a closer look at the picture suggests that the problem isn’t that women are rejecting rock. It’s that rock is rejecting women.

But how is the music world fencing women out? Picking on the visible gatekeepers is easy, and in many ways fair: Record labels, magazines and music festivals don’t tend to give women artists an equal platform. Last year, a HuffPost analysis of the gender breakdown of acts at 10 major festivals over the past five years found that the vast majority of performers were male. “[A]ll-male acts make up the overwhelming majority of festival lineups, ranging from 66 percent of all performers (Outside Lands and Governors Ball) to 93 percent (Electric Zoo),” HuffPost Women’s Editor Alanna Vagianos concluded. An LA Times piece on Coachella’s specific problems with women noted that, at the time it was written, only one female act had ever headlined the festival, out of over 40 headliners in its history. 

Music media seems little better. In 2016, KQED Arts pointed out in December, exactly zero women made the cover of Rolling Stone ― no Beyoncé, no Rihanna, no Alessia Cara, no Hayley Williams. Women who do snag coverage by major outlets routinely see their musical chops downplayed in favor of their sex appeal, or wind up relegated to special women’s issues or listicles.

The problem, though, starts way before the point when the organizers of Coachella or Bonnaroo are scouting acts, and before magazines are picking out cover models. This isn’t an excuse for their paltry lineups of female artists; it’s just to say that there are other pressures guiding tastemakers toward men and guiding women to give up rock stardom.

Bands made up of all women are rare not because of a lack of talent, dedication or interest, but because women have been siphoned out of the pipeline at nearly every step of the way.

Getting The Band Together

For young boys, forming a crappy band is as elemental a part of growing up as playing baseball, or quitting the baseball team to spend more time smoking pot. If you’ve ever known a handful of teenage boys, you probably know at least one who’s been in a jam band inspired by Phish, or a dude rock band inspired by Dave Matthews, or an indie rock band inspired by Weezer. Guys in bands stand to benefit from male bonding, creative self-expression, and cultivating a rock god image to attract romantic interests. As Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers told Billboard in 2016, “Even before success, pussy was number one … I wanted to hook up with hotter girls.”

The flip side, however, is that this gendered adolescent experience rarely includes a space for girls to be anything but doting audiences and, at worst, “pussy.”

To me that was just kind of a given, guys were always starting bands and playing guitar in their bedrooms,” Allison Wolfe, the former lead singer of riot grrrl band Bratmobile and, most recently, Sex Stains, told me. She grew up in Olympia, home of artsy, crunchy Evergreen State College in Washington State, in the midst of the burgeoning ‘90s DIY punk scene. “I went to a lot of punk shows and saw guys playing. Olympia and Eugene were cool, not super macho like a lot of other places, but it still made me feel like I couldn’t really be a part of it.”

Suzie Zeldin, of the indie band The Narrative, spent her teenage years attending hardcore shows across the country, in Long Island, New York, that were packed with both male and female fans ― but vanishingly few female artists. “It was pretty rare actually to see a girl onstage,” she recalled.

And this was in the late ‘80s to early aughts. Decades ago, when rock ’n’ roll was really taking off, the scene was almost entirely male. “You go back to the ‘60s, and you’re talking about the dark ages of women in music, because the light that you’re putting out, there’s nothing to reflect it back,” said June Millington, co-founder and lead guitarist of the pioneering 1970s band Fanny. “You had to have the courage to walk into that cave that was completely dark.”

Her bandmate, drummer Alice DeBuhr, was blunt: “We didn’t think of ourselves as the beginning of or part of a tradition of women musicians. Because there weren’t any.” 

As with any boys’ club, some determined and talented women have always fought their way in. But bands aren’t just about individual moxie. Forming a band requires collaboration. As a teenage bassist in Australia, music writer Anwen Crawford, author of a New Yorker article titled “The World Needs Female Rock Critics,” wanted that classic, adolescent band experience. The only problem? “I could never find other girls to play with, in those crucial years when you’re forming bands,” she told me. “Your teacher is likely to be male, your peers are likely to be male. It’s quite isolating.”

Just playing with her male peers wasn’t a solution either, she pointed out: “The boys around me didn’t really take me seriously, or thought I was a novelty.”

For many years, and even, to some extent, today, women who did seriously pursue rock music were less likely to find a thriving community of female peers to play with. Female stars like P.J. Harvey, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks, Crawford noted, typically ended up as solo artists or the sole women in mostly male bands. After Goldie and the Gingerbreads disbanded in 1967, Ravan joined a mostly-male band and later built a solo career.

The creeping, pervasive assumption that little boys learn drums and grow up to be rock stars while little girls play Barbies and grow up to be groupies can isolate and stifle young girls who do pursue music, or it can simply delay their start. Many talented female musicians don’t begin their careers until early adulthood, at the age when young people are exploring who they really are outside of their rigidly defined peer groups. By then, many of their male peers have been mucking around with their instruments and amateur bands for a decade ― but that gap isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.

Augusta Koch, the guitarist and vocalist of the pop-punk band Cayetana, readily admits that she “didn’t know how to play guitar” when Cayetana was born five years ago. Koch and her bandmates were all out of college and dreaming of starting a band when they met at a party in Philadelphia. They decided to join forces and polished their skills together, through years of intense solo and band practice.

Mindy Abovitz, drummer and founder of Tom Tom Magazine, started her first band in college, not long after she’d surreptitiously begun to learn drums. It would have made zero sense to be in a band with a guy at that time, because all my guy friends who were musicians had been in bands since they were 12,” she told me.

“I played music in school band, clarinet and bass clarinet, but it wasn’t until much later that I thought I could do something like be in a band,” recalled Bratmobile’s Wolfe. “But I think I was very lucky to grow up in Olympia.” In the midst of a music scene that prided itself on counter-culturalism and anti-professionalism,anyone could do anything, and it would be considered music,” she said.

Wolfe went to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon, but many weekends she’d return to Olympia with her friend and future bandmate, Molly Neuman, to hang around the music scene. They met Kathleen Hanna, then a student at Evergreen. Wolfe began to notice that women around her were forming their own bands ― and not cute, smiley bands. One day, the summer before college, she peeked into Hanna’s art gallery, Reko Muse, and saw a band rehearsal in progress. “There was Kathleen, onstage,” recalled Wolfe, “and she was just yelling at the top of her lungs, with her veins popping out of her neck, and her face was all red … It was really confrontational, and intense.” Hanna’s band, Bikini Kill, ended up becoming early supporters of Wolfe and Neuman’s nascent group.

Wolfe and Neuman wanted to be involved in the scene ― they were already referring to themselves as a band around Olympia ― but they didn’t actually begin writing and performing music until a friend asked them to play a show he was booking. Despite Bratmobile’s slapdash beginnings, their first show was a rousing success.

“I don’t think it would have happened outside the Olympia scene, because I don’t think we would have had the encouragement,” she admitted. “People would have laughed us off the stage. But instead we had Bikini Kill there cheering us on.”

Keeping The Band Together

Getting an all-girl band together is a magical achievement, but it’s only step one. Rock bands are notoriously fragile things. Internal power struggles, ego trips and artistic disagreements tear many of them apart. For women, though, the stress of fending off inappropriate behavior, condescension and disdain rooted in their gender often ends up compounding the ordinary struggles faced by every band.

Having overcome years of overt or implicit discouragement to choose a musical career, female musicians face exhausting assumptions: That they don’t understand their own gear or craft; that, if they came later to mastering the art form, they are perpetual amateurs; that they’re just hanging around the scene to get male attention. Cayetana’s drummer, Kelly Olsen, pointed out that “women getting into relationships with musicians… get looked at in a very different way than men that do. And I know that we have been judged by who we date, like, you’re just doing that to get close to this band. And it’s like, actually, no! I have my own self and my own power in my own scene.” 

The assumption, however, generally remains that women don’t belong onstage unless they’re accompanied and overseen by men. Lydia Night, the teenage frontwoman of The Regrettes, caught the rock fever early ― she’s been playing guitar since the age of six and has not only attended years of music classes but performed in several bands. Nonetheless, she’s noticed, sound technicians often assume she can’t handle her own equipment. The sexism is difficult to ignore thanks to one simple fact: The band has one male member, drummer Maxx Morando. “We’ve met so many amazing sound people,” she told me, “but we’ve met so many annoying sound people who just assume that … oh, of course Maxx knows how to set up his drums, but she must not know how to set up her amp.”

Though many of the women I spoke to said that they felt respected and appreciated by their male peers in the industry, the spaces men make for themselves aren’t always welcoming. Women might be left out of bands and tours by men who want to keep the fratty vibe, or who don’t want their significant others to worry about infidelity. “Tour buses are definitely places where women get excluded,” Abovitz said, referencing a situation she’d recently advised another female musician about. “They don’t get hired. They just get left off.” Her acquaintance and the other woman in her band weren’t invited on a bus due to this reasoning; in the end, they had to drive themselves separately for the entire tour.

When it’s not the men directly involved in the industry, it’s the press. Music journalism, a field that was carved out and is still largely populated by white men, has historically been hostile at worst, and patronizing at best, to female artists. “The assumption [was] that interviewers and other people could treat us with condescension and that was the norm,” says Millington. “That condescension was pretty lethal, because it can come at you in so many different ways, even the subtle ways cut ― at least 50 percent, 60 percent or more of the time, the condescension had to be there even if [critics] said they liked us.”

Critics and journalists might cover a girl band with a tone of surprise that a group of women could even play competently, or fixate on the band members’ sex appeal and gendered characteristics.  

Plus, female artists were played off each other, creating the impression that in the massive rock universe, there was only room for one woman star. “It was never about the music,” Raven remembered of her early reviews. “They always had to compare me with somebody.” Usually, the times being what they were, that somebody was Janis Joplin. In 1969, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau described her as “this group’s resident Janis Joplin” in a review of Ten Wheel Drive, a jazz-rock band she joined after Goldie and the Gingerbreads broke up. Joplin comes up yet again in his review of one of her solo albums, “Urban Desire,” in addition to the accusation that “she oversings.” (Christgau’s oeuvre is a trove of chauvinistic criticism, which is rarely subtle; he takes pains to graciously judge that Fanny’s “execution is competent enough.”)

In the early days of rock ’n’ roll, even audiences who presumably showed up to enjoy these shows were sexist by default. Millington and DeBuhr both vividly recalled one particular compliment from male listeners that seemed to dog Fanny throughout its run: “Not bad for chicks!”

No matter where they performed, “that was the best compliment we could get through the early ‘70s. Isn’t that incredible?” Millington told me. “And we almost always smiled and said ‘Thank you.’” Worse, Fanny often confronted the assumption that they couldn’t play their own songs. “I can’t remember how many times people asked us, ‘Who were the male musicians playing on the album?’” DeBuhr remembered. To a group of women who practiced and performed tirelessly and who took pride in their music, this question was particularly galling.

In the punk era, disdainful audiences could be more aggressive. Wolfe half-seriously insisted that her nearsightedness and poor hearing protected her ego from the vitriol of sexist crowds. “A lot of the time I was saved by the fact that I couldn’t see or hear what was going on in the audience,” she said. After Bratmobile’s second show, Kathleen Hanna met them offstage and asked if they were OK. Unbeknownst to them, some “scary metalhead dudes” in the crowd had been hollering death threats at the band throughout their set.

Harder to ignore: An incident at a show during Wolfe’s time in the late-’90s band Cold Cold Hearts, when a man grabbed her ass while she performed. “I actually started laughing, because it was just too shocking,” she said.

Some women involved with the music world saw a relatively egalitarian, non-threatening environment, at least in specific scenes. Punk historian Gillian McCain, co-author of the oral history Please Kill Me, pushed back on the idea that the early punk scene could be sexually exploitative. “The girls were enjoying their sexual freedom as much as the boys were,” she wrote in an email. “None of the women we interviewed saw themselves as victims.”

But there’s no denying that some women in the music industry have been victimized, and that the experience can directly affect their careers. Pop star and songwriter Kesha, the most infamous recent example, follows in a long line of women whose voices were snuffed out thanks to male exploitation. Due to her ironclad contract and current legal battle with her former producer, Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual and other abuse, Kesha is reported to be sitting on at least 22 new songs she’s not allowed to bring out. 

In 2015, the original bassist of The Runaways, Jackie Fuchs, accused the band’s late manager, Kim Fowley, of raping her soon after she joined the band in 1975. She quit in 1977. In a HuffPost Highline feature, Jason Cherkis documented multiple alleged victims of Fowley’s sexual violence, primarily Fuchs and Kari Krome, a precocious songwriter Fowley began grooming at just 13 years old. By the time Cherkis spoke to Krome, some 40 years later, she had been out of the music business since her teen years, instead writing boxes full of unpublished lyrics. “[S]he couldn’t shake the idea that Fowley never believed in her talent, that he only wanted to sleep with her,” he wrote. “She ended up abandoning her dreams of becoming a successful songwriter.” 

Though it’s impossible to say how many women’s careers have been stunted or destroyed by sexual predation, even those who remain and succeed continue to face gendered criticism and abuse. With few other options, women musicians often embrace determinedly nonchalant attitudes toward their harassers and critics. “It’s hard to play a show when someone screams ‘you can’t play guitar’ or ‘you’re hot,’ but at the same time,” said Koch, “we try to not let it ruin us.”

During the riot grrrl movement of the ‘90s, women on the scene tried to find safety in solidarity. After the butt-grabbing incident at her Cold Cold Hearts show, Wolfe remembered, “The amazing thing is I didn’t have to do anything. It was a girl power show; all the women bounced him out in two seconds.” By urging “girls to the front” and forefronting feminism, riot grrrl created a safer space for women in rock ― at least temporarily.  In other times, in other cases, playing through the pain simply led to burnout. “I left Fanny in ‘73, because I was just tired,” Millington told me.

When women aren’t kept out of rock genres through sheer discouragement, exclusion or harassment, the malleable nature of the genre can also be used against them. Women artists may be edited out of the rock annals simply through gendered perceptions ― what men play is rock and what women play is pop. Nowhere is this more evidently the case than with black women, who, like black men, often find themselves reflexively categorized as R&B simply because of their race. As Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos wrote in 2016, the white appropriation of rock has been so total that it “box[es] black performers into R&B and soul categories no matter how genre-bending they are.”

“Though largely forgotten in our whitewashed annals of history,” LaTonya Pennington wrote in The Establishment, “black women helped create the genre of rock, which has its roots in blues, country, jazz, gospel and R&B.” Just as many pioneers of rock were black men ― Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Bo Diddley ― many of the early female pioneers, like “Godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, were black. White women were also often complicit in undercutting black women performers. The first recording of “Piece of My Heart” was performed by Erma Franklin ― known as an R&B singer ― yet it was white singer Janis Joplin ― known as a rocker ― whose rendition rose to fame.

The contributions of black women have been routinely swept under the rug and written out of rock history. But Pennington, Spanos and other critics have seen black women reclaiming their place in the rock genre in recent years, from undeniably rock acts such as The Alabama Shakes (fronted by vocalist and guitarist Brittany Howard) to indie darling Santigold to, yes, Beyoncé.

In “Lemonade,” the pop icon dabbled in country and rock ’n’ roll to great effect. “Beyoncé… provided one of the year’s most memorable rock moments with ‘[Don’t] Hurt Yourself,’” Crawford argued. “Here we have a song by a black woman artist (Beyoncé), who has not typically been ‘seen’ as a rock musician, which appropriates white rock masculinity in order to emphasize that the origins of rock music (in the blues) lie with black women, whose music was, in turn, appropriated by white men.” The all-important visuals work fluidly with the song to reinforce this message, she added. “The film clip … which begins and ends with a young black woman sitting behind a drum kit, makes literally visible this lineage of largely disregarded and historically invisible black female musicianship.”

Passing The Torch

With all the obstacles and forms of discouragement women in rock have faced over the decades, rock is no longer the coolest nor freshest genre. Does it even matter how inclusive it is to women anymore? Crawford, though she qualifies that it’s important for women to have equal opportunity in any genre, suggests women look elsewhere. The masculinization of the scene has been so entrenched, and the genre itself seems so archaic, that she “wouldn’t necessarily advise [a young woman today] to pick up a guitar. I think of rock music like the realist novel ― it’s fun, people are still doing it, but why?” And though “other genres have their own problems,” she pointed out, there’s a less lengthy and calcified history of exclusion to undo. Women have been making huge amounts of exciting, boundary-pushing music in electronic music, in pop and beyond ― rock just hasn’t been as welcoming.

Conversely, McCain downplayed the severity of the obstacles faced by women in punk rock ― though the punk scene was predominantly male. “Unfortunately that’s the case in a lot of vocations,” she wrote in an email. “I think there were barriers to both men and women making it in punk music! […] In some ways the women may have held an advantage as far as getting more media attention.” McCain cited breakout female stars of the era, from Patti Smith to Tina Weymouth, who remain popular today. As Ravan realized in the 1960s, being a woman in a man’s world could be a great marketing tool.  

Still, staking a visible claim to rock music isn’t just an ego trip for marginalized artists: It clears the path to stardom for those that follow. Not only does it make it easier for audiences and critics to conceptualize, for example, black and female artists as rockers, but it helps future musicians to avoid the derision, harassment and sense of alienation that has afflicted many.

Even today, women deal with gendered belittlement and abuse on tour. But audiences have seen enough female rock musicians to mitigate the level of scorn faced by individual artists. Where Fanny and Goldie and the Gingerbreads often felt like their gender was so unusual that it was simply treated as a gimmick ― the only reason people bothered to book them as opposed to the many male bands ― women who are currently early in their music careers see a more diverse scene. Night told me that The Regrettes perform alongside “a lot of women … super badass women.”

Zeldin has also toured with a number of bands with one or more woman. “There are a lot of bands that have at least some female presence. It’s nice to see that happening more and more,” she said.

Part of the more welcoming environment for women and gender non-binary individuals in rock has to do with changing norms, like a better understanding of the harm caused by sexual assault. Recalling her time in Fanny in the ‘70s, DeBuhr describes a scene that was not only permissive of male urges, but that lacked a language to talk about it critically. Though sometimes she felt deeply uncomfortable with the sexualized atmosphere, she told me, “At the time, I don’t think we called it sexual harassment … It was creepy, I didn’t like it.” Creepy behavior might still be fairly common in the music industry, but women musicians do have the vocabulary to talk about it. Take music publicist Heathcliff Berru, once a power player in the field. He fell precipitously from grace after a raft of female musicians and industry professionals ― most notably Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors ― publicly accused him of various forms of sexual misconduct.

Even the idea that women can be rebels and artists as well as homemakers, mothers and playthings needed to emerge over the past few decades. Not only were the first all-girl bands were presented as gimmicks, they were often presented as sexualized ones. Fowley notoriously positioned The Runaways as a clique of sexy jailbait rather than serious musicians ― and that’s a temporary brand at best.

During high school, in 1960s Iowa, DeBuhr played in a girl band called Women. (“We were a gimmick,” explained. “That was the attraction, it was all girls.”) While at an Iowan club, teenage DeBuhr saw a female drummer in a jazz trio. The drummer was older, “maybe 40,” she recalled. “I said, ‘I will quit when I‘m 30. I won’t be an old lady playing the drums.” She did end up hanging up her drumsticks not long after Fanny broke up. Now, she says, she regrets it.

To a young DeBuhr, that solitary, middle-aged woman drummer may have seemed like an oddity at the time; the lack of visible female rock icons inevitably perpetuates the assumption that women don’t belong onstage, unless they’re go-go dancers or sultry vocalists. Even serious bands like Fanny and the Gingerbreads faced pressure to go onstage scantily clad ― which they resisted to varying degrees.

Perhaps the most important evolution has been the determined, serious incursion of women into the genre, a genre that at first seemed to have no place for them. Though Ravan and Millington cite a few forerunners as inspirations ― Etta James, Lillian Briggs ― they saw their own music as something different. They were playing rock ’n’ roll in bands, just like the boys.

Today, budding musicians have a pantheon of women rockstars to draw inspiration from and emulate. “When I was five, my dad took me to a Donnas concert … and I just fell in love with it,” Night told me. “The turning point for me ― I think I was 10 ― my mom took me to see a movie about the drummer of Hole. I started listening to a lot of Hole, Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland.” 

A push for mostly all-women bands may be unlikely today because, in a more inclusive scene, female musicians see less of a need to huddle together. When Night initially fell in love with The Donnas, she longed to start an all-girl band; now, she says, she doesn’t even think about gender when forming a band. Zeldin, who has always worked with male musicians, felt the same. “I’d totally be down to do a girl band,” she told me. But she wouldn’t be motivated to do sojust because it would be all girls.”

The success of “girl rock” can come in waves. For groups like Fanny and Bratmobile, being all women was part of the point; at those times, it felt like both safety in solidarity and a way of making political statement. “If the whole point was giving voice to girls, then yeah, we wanted to play with other girls,” said Wolfe. After the overtly feminist, but flawed, riot grrrl scene faded, punk and indie rock seemed to contract around men again.

“I feel like riot grrrl ended in the mid-’90s, and by the late-‘90s there was a lot of backlash,” said Wolfe. “Suddenly there were a lot fewer girl bands in the punk scene, and it was like, what happened?” The backlash to riot grrrl, which she concedes had its own problems, still felt “like sexism. Or just dissing feminism.”

Though juggernaut all-women bands like Sleater-Kinney arose from and survived riot grrrl, they were more the exception than the rule. By the early aughts, critics were commenting on the almost startling sexism of the ascendant emo and punk scene. Andy Greenwald’s Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo noted the dearth of women on popular emo labels, as well as the overtly resentful and objectifying view emo artists took of women: “Now emo songwriters were one-sided victims of heartbreak, utterly wronged and ready to sing about it, with the women having no chance to respond.”

In an essay on emo misogyny from her 2015 book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, titled “Where the Girls Aren’t,” music journalist and critic Jessica Hopper remembered growing up in the era of riot grrrl. “For me, even as a teenage autodidact who thought her every idea was worthy of expression and an audience,” she wrote, “it did not occur to me to start a band until I saw other women in one.” Watching female fans at emo shows where all-male artists sang about cardboard-cutout women who had hurt them, she thought, “I don’t want these front row girls to miss that. I don’t want girls leaving clubs denied of encouragement and potential.” 

The clock couldn’t simply be turned back to the 1950s after the riot grrrl era ended, though. Bikini Kill records were still out there. We knew about the Bangles. Zeldin, who grew up frequenting the emo and hardcore scene, took the rarity of women onstage at those shows as a challenge. “I think that’s probably partially what drove me to do it, aside from having the inclination,” she told me. “It was more like ― I don’t see girls doing so let’s do it.”

Abovitz, who launched a whole publication to cover female drummers, believes fervently in the power of modeling. “There’s this sort of thing that every female drummer I know does: Go out and play a show not just for herself, but for every other female drummer,” she said. “You just want to do it, so that people will get over it already.”

The scene already looks less homogenous than it did 10 years ago, despite the daunting machismo of the aughts. Earlier generations of women musicians have sought to further their gains by promoting their own legacies, and even by educating new generations. Millington started the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) with her partner, Ann F. Hackler, in 1986. The institute runs rock camps for young girls, among other initiatives to support women in music. Camps like the IMA’s have begun to bear fruit ― like Night’s The Regrettes, formed by three girls and a boy who met in an LA School of Rock.

Though the genre has put up walls against women for decades, women have refused to stay out ― and the more they refuse, the more open the music industry becomes to all women.  

You gotta keep writing songs that speak out about this stuff, or keep being in bands, or whatever it is that you do,” said Wolfe. “Being there, inserting yourself in a space that isn’t common for women to be.”

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In ‘Captured,’ People In Prison Draw The ‘People Who Should Be’

Charles and David Koch are the CEO and VP of Koch Industries, respectively. Joseph Acker is an incarcerated artist currently serving a 10-year sentence. Acker doesn’t know the Koch brothers personally, but he drew them as part of a project called “Captured.

Started by Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider in 2016, “Captured” attempts to shine a spotlight on what its creators deem are “crimes masquerading as commerce.” By asking incarcerated artists to draw the CEOs, VPs and chairmans they believe should be behind bars, they hope to inspire other people to consider a world in which the highest levels of corporate leadership are held personally responsible for the illegal actions of their companies.

“If we put poison in a glass of your drinking water, and you got sick or your children had birth defects because of it, we would certainly be hauled off to prison,” Greenspan told HuffPost. “But when a corporation does it on a large scale, if anything, they’re given a fine. […] It’s kind of just the cost of doing business.”

“So we started thinking,” he added, “it’s interesting when you have the veil of a corporation around you, it’s almost like you’re exempt from […] behaving within the law.”

Greenspan and Tider recognized early on the power of juxtaposing the circumstances of incarcerated artists with the “rap sheets,” as they call them, of corporate leaders accused of various misdeeds.

In Acker’s case, he’s serving 10 years in prison for receiving stolen goods, possessing altered passports, and possessing body armor as a felon. The Koch brothers, “Captured” asserts on its website, have yet to see prison time for bribing their way into securing contracts in Africa, India and the Middle East; selling millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran; bribing judges and legislators; propagating mass deception by funding climate change denial groups; polluting American’s air, water and climate; and rigging Congress.

“What we thought would be interesting is to juxtapose the two: People who are in jail, who society has already deemed to be criminals, whether it be for murder or for theft or for burglary or manslaughter. And put them up against companies who are really committing the same kinds of crimes,” Greenspan said. “So we display each piece of artwork with a ‘rap sheet’ ― a ‘rap sheet’ for the incarcerated artist and a ‘rap sheet’ for the companies and the crimes they’ve committed over the past couple of decades.”

”Captured” wasn’t easy to get off the ground. In order to get in touch with the various incarcerated artists who took part in the project, Greenspan and Tider originally reached out to the prisons and prison wardens themselves, to no avail. Eventually, they got in touch with an art therapy program coordinator who couldn’t help them on the record, but agreed to bring a letter from the two men detailing the project to the prison she worked with.

“She couldn’t promise it wouldn’t be in her pocket the day she visited the prison and fall out of her pocket in the art room,” they explained.

Next, Greenspan and Tider turned to eBay, where they found a group of incarcerated artists selling portraiture ― images of Elvis or Madonna or other famous people. They contacted the eBay sellers, who tended to be family or friends of the incarcerated individual, who would facilitate contact with the actual artist.

“Once we got there, the project sort of went viral in the prison system,” Tider added. “An inmate would tell another inmate, even in other prisons, and we were able to get a lot of artists that way.”

To arrange for the actual portraits in “Captured,” Greenspan and Tider began by offering artists a selection of five to 10 corporate leaders they could draw. But because of the limited means of communication, and the delays that come along with using traditional snail mail, they felt it became more feasible if they just chose a subject for each of their participating artists.

So Greenspan and Tider would create a dossier on the proposed subject, with images to draw from, background on the associated company, and information and case materials on the “crimes” committed, and send it to the artist. If the artist agreed to draw the person, the project moved forward. If they didn’t, they could offer them a different person.

“All the incarcerated artists knew the aspects of the project and the context of the project,” Greenspan added.

He and Tider warned them about the attention the project could draw and the subsequent blowback that could affect an inmate’s chances at parole; some of the individuals involved were on death row and felt little regard for those potential consequences. Moreover, each artist was compensated fairly for their work. “Captured” paid the artists $100 (based on an estimation that the average rate for a prison portrait was $30), covering any fees associated with services like JPay.

Online, “Captured” includes links to contact information for the incarcerated artists, allowing fans of their work to reach out if they so choose. 

“Corporations maintain that they have the same rights and freedoms as individuals. That’s kind of a reframing of a corporate entity that has no conscience ― it’s now being considered a person,” Greenspan noted. “Yet we’ve got actual people in prison who are treated like subhumans. By putting contact information there, by showing their artistry ― we’ve seen people go, ‘Wow, there’s a person behind this.’”

“Captured” also takes physical form. Last year, Greenspan and Tider sold 1,000 “Captured” books, donating all proceeds to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The timing couldn’t have been more ideal ― they’d included a portrait of Rex Tillerson, currently the secretary of state in President Donald Trump’s administration, in the series. This year, they have plans to release 1,000 more copies, and although they don’t know yet where the proceeds will go, they’ve been thinking about groups like the Brooklyn Bail Fund or organizations working on prison reform policies and lowering prison populations.

“When you see something like Rex Tillerson become secretary of state, a man who’s worked for a company with decades-long abuses of the law ― what it’s done to our environment. It’s troubling,” Greenspan said. “But we’re not telling you that it should be troubling, we’re asking you to at least consider it.”

“One of the big goals was to redefine things in people’s minds,” Tider concluded. “If you consider corporations anew, and you consider the things that they’ve done, you might come out with a different perspective on them. Likewise, it’s the same for the inmates. If you thought of inmates as people who were very different from you, you might see the beautiful artistry they do and think differently.”

Welcome to Battleground, where art and activism meet.

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Kate Walsh Thinks ’13 Reasons Why’ Should Be Mandatory Viewing In Schools

13 Reasons Why” is Netflix’s latest buzzed-about show, sparking dialogue about suicide, mental health and sexual assault among teens and their parents. 

The series, based on the 2007 book by Jay Asher, tells the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who takes her own life after facing numerous traumatic experiences in high school. She records 13 tapes to give to the individuals who she says played some sort of role in her death, leaving her friend Clay (Dylan Minnette) to uncover the harsh reality behind her heartbreaking decision. 

The show sheds a light on important issues rarely tackled on screen, but conversations around the subject matter have been mixed. Some believe it presents the truth to teens who might be unaware of what’s happening around them in the form of entertainment. Others, including experts, have said the show “glamorizes” suicide with its graphic scenes depicting death and rape. But creator Brian Yorkey and the show’s writers purposely chose to include those hard-to-watch moments to spark awareness about situations going on in our world every day. 

“Facing these issues head-on — talking about them, being open about them — will always be our best defense against losing another life,” writer Nic Sheff wrote in an essay for Vanity Fair. “I’m proud to be a part of a television series that is forcing us to have these conversations, because silence really does equal death.”

Star Kate Walsh, who plays Hannah’s grieving mother on the show, echoed those sentiments in an interview with HuffPost on Build Series Monday.

“People have been reacting differently to showing Hannah in the act of suicide and all the other sexual assault scenes, rape scenes. But Brian was intent on making sure there was nothing romantic or mysterious that anybody could project on to this to make it some dreamy, gothy or some romantic Ophelia moment,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of this idea in the mystery and the shame and the secrecy of suicide that no one talks about, that you can project this idea that it’s all going to be peaceful and blissed-out … [but] to really deal with depression and mental illness and these huge issues and show what it really looks like if someone tries to take their life ― it’s ugly and it’s really hard and it should be seen.”

Walsh went on to say that watching “13 Reasons Why” should be “mandatory in schools,” as it opens up discussion about the weighty issues many people face day in and day out. 

“Parents and teachers and students [should] watch this and have conversations about sexual assault, about bullying, about LGBTQ issues, race issues, gender issues, suicide, depression and mental health, because largely in our country as we see now, it’s still in the shroud of shame or silence,” she said, “So to really see it for what it is and talk about it and get people help, [we can] prevent it.”

There’s no doubt the series is tough to watch, but as Walsh says, it gives children the chance to be honest with each other and their parents about the content they’re consuming and how they’re reacting to it. As most of us know, high school is not always an easy place to be, especially in this social media age where bullying is skyrocketing

“I think [parents] should watch it with their kids and I really do think it should be mandatory in schools to watch this and talk about it and have education around it,” Walsh concluded. “Unfortunately, a lot of kids’ lives were lost before schools started having conversations and awareness, and communities started having dialogue about it. As long as anything is shrouded in shame or secrecy, nothing good can come from it.” 

Watch Kate Walsh’s full interview on “13 Reasons Why” below. The show is now streaming on Netflix.

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High School Teachers Are Using Dystopian Books To Explore The State Of America Today

The adage about the trend has become as ubiquitous as the trend itself: dystopian books are everywhere, and their popularity doesn’t seem to be waning.

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, sales of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale spiked. The latter story is seeing a resurgence not only because its feminist themes resonate with the set of readers who partook in January’s Women’s March, but also because the story is getting a shiny, new TV adaptation, out this month from Hulu.

Stories like Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” and their ilk ― the “Divergent” series, the “Maze Runner” series, and “The 100” series ― are not only popular on screen, but in American classrooms, too.

Which isn’t to say the subgenre doesn’t have its decriers. In an interview with HuffPost, science-fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin shared her thoughts on the appeal of dystopias: “People are scared, so they want to read fiction where they can be scared without any real reason to be. To sort of play at being scared instead of being really scared. I don’t read that stuff.” She’s not alone; The Hunger Games was among the most-banned books of 2010, 2011 and 2013.

But educators Judith A. Hayn, co-author of Teaching Young Adult Literature Today, and Elizabeth Majerus, co-author of Can I Teach That?, both argue that dystopian stories are uniquely useful in high school settings, where the texts can serve as jumping-off points for broader political conversations, and where students are otherwise unlikely to see themselves represented in the characters they read about.

I think part of what resonates for younger readers is that it’s often a younger protagonist who’s facing the crises brought on by older generations.
Elizabeth Majerus, author of “Can I Teach That?”

“I think part of what resonates for younger readers is that it’s often a younger protagonist who’s facing the crises brought on by older generations,” Majerus told HuffPost. “They’re facing these issues that they’ve inherited, and I think a lot of kids can really relate to that. It’s always exciting for a young person to read about a hero who’s also a young person, but particularly a hero that is faced with rectifying the social, environmental and political catastrophes that came about well before they were born.”

This year, Majerus is teaching a course at University High School in Illinois designed around utopian and dystopian societies in fiction. Her students read a bevy of essays about utopias and dystopias, then they ventured to create their own utopian classroom by electing which fiction titles they would read.

“Teaching a class that pretty much started a couple of weeks before the inauguration of Donald J. Trump definitely was a much more interesting, relevant, complicated ― but also exciting ― experience. It feels much more relevant,” Majerus said. “We’re at a point in American history where the things that we as a people do right now ― it feels like it does have an effect on the future, and whether we go down a road toward continuing democracy, and whether we go down a road that feels more dystopian.”

Hayn, who teaches teacher education at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, agreed. “I think that students feel that anger and frustration that they sense from outside the classroom, and they bring that with them,” she told HuffPost. “Even the very young have been very troubled, I think, by what is going on.”

Both Majerus and Hayn said that dystopian stories provide one avenue for discussing today’s political climate, without doing so in a contentious, head-on manner, and without engaging with their own personal viewpoints, which, they agreed, should be kept out of the classroom.

“I would hope that an English language arts teacher would be able to do that, say, ‘Do you see any contemporary issues in the world around you now?’ and lead the students to make some of those observations,” Hayn said. “I think we have an obligation to include the political, so that students understand why we got to where we are now.”

Majerus adds that reading stories that engage with political content, but through stories with individual characters and individual motivations, can add extra context to headlines that students are likely reading.

“When they get to really step inside the shoes of a person ― even if it’s a fictional person, but it’s a really well fleshed-out character ― they are more challenged to consider other perspectives, and to see the human stories behind the headlines,” Majerus said. “I think when a student reads a story that articulates an experience that they’re not familiar with, it can challenge some of their assumptions.”

The site for her class links to Margaret Atwood’s recent essay about her novel in the New York Times, in which the author wrestles with whether she considers the story a feminist one. (“If you mean a novel in which women are human beings — with all the variety of character and behavior that implies — and are also interesting and important, and what happens to them is crucial to the theme, structure and plot of the book, then yes. In that sense, many books are ‘feminist,’” the author writes, herself adding nuance to the conversation around the title.)

That said, both educators see the value in sharing stories from multiple mediums with their students, including not only fiction and news, but movies and TV shows, too ― whichever outlets kids are already getting their media from, so that they can think critically about what they’re already consuming. And, with dystopian books, there’s a wealth of cross-genre content available. Majerus is sharing a 1990 adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale with her class ― a film is easier to fit into the allotted time than a series, she said ― and hopes to compare the choices made by the author and the director. 

“I think we have an obligation to include the political, so that students understand why we got to where we are now.”
Judith Hayn, author of ‘Teaching Young Adult Literature Today’

“I love watching a film after students have read a book, because you learn a lot about a book by analyzing the choices a filmmaker makes,” Majerus said. “What parts to include, how you bridge those gaps. Those choices are extremely rich for conversation about the book. Whether students agree or disagree with aspects the filmmaker focused on, how they feel about things that were left out.”

So, watching movies in English class can be much more than a fallback plan for underprepared teachers; it’s also a means of keeping the classroom relevant to the world beyond it.

To this end, Hayn thinks dystopian books are generally a better choice than the established canon, which, she points out, comprises mostly white male writers.

“We can go on and on about the value of that, and whether or not it’s a good thing, but students do not tend to see themselves in those pieces,” Hayn said. “They’re not there at all. And particularly if they belong to groups that have no power, that are underrepresented in society and certainly underrepresented in literature.”

A chapter of her book Teaching Young Adult Literature Today focuses on reaching disenfranchised groups of young readers, and she thinks contemporary YA stories ― dystopias included ― take a small step in the right direction as far as representation is concerned. True equality is yet to be achieved, but these stories instill the idea that change is possible.

“It’s also the comfort of seeing people succeed, overthrow and create a new world,” Hayn said. And that might be their greatest strength, and most alluring quality: dystopian books are, ultimately, about individual strength amid governmental havoc, and hope amid trying times.

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All The New Shows To Screen Or Skip In Spring And Summer 2017

There’s a reason networks often save their weakest fare for the time of year when more people are less likely to spend their evenings indoors.

Of course, that’s not always the case, since “Game of Thrones” is scheduled to make it’s much-awaited return this July

But when it comes to new shows, you can bet networks generally save the worst for last. In the coming months, viewers can look forward to some stellar series this spring (including ”The Handmaid’s Tale,” “American Gods,” “GLOW”), while they’re more or less better off embracing the warm weather and misplacing their remotes by the time summer hits. 

APRIL  

“Girlboss,” April 21, Netflix 

With allegations that former Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso was accused of creating a “toxic” workplace, it’s easy to see why the lead character of Netflix’s “Girlboss” is so incredibly unlikeable. The question, however, is why would anyone want to spend a significant amount of time watching her?

“Girlboss” is loosely based on Amoruso’s memoir of the same name and tells the story of how she began her vintage clothing eBay shop, before it became what we now know as Nasty Gal.

The show stars Britt Robertson as 23-year-old Sophia, a college dropout who works menial jobs and yet can somehow afford a studio apartment in San Francisco circa 2006 ― and damn is it ever hard to watch. Sophia is petulant, whiny, and often just flat-out mean. What’s worse is that the series rarely gives you a reason to root for her. Characters don’t always have to be likable, but there has to be at least some reason to follow a person through their journey. With “Girlboss,” there’s nothing here.  

“Great News,” April 25, 9 p.m. ET, NBC

”Great News,” the new workplace comedy from executive producer Tina Fey, can’t be described as great or even good.

The show follows Katie (Briga Heelan), a wallflower of a producer at a cable news program called “The Breakdown,” and her overbearing mother (Andrea Martin), who manages to land a job as as the show’s intern. Hilarity ensues, right? Not so much.

The show’s jokes just repeatedly fall flat, though surprisingly it’s Nicole Richie as a super-hip if slightly vapid co-anchor who actually shines brightest.  

“Genius,” April 25, 9 p.m. ET, National Geographic 

What do you really know about Albert Einstein aside from the fact that he developed the theory of relativity? National Geographic is willing to wager that you know very little.

“Genius” is an anthology series from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer about the lives of those deserving enough to be deemed as such, and Season 1 kicks off with none other than Mr. E = mc2 himself.  

Based on Walter Isaacson’s book Einstein: His Life and Universe, the show stars Johnny Flynn when Einstein was a student in Zurich the 1890s, and Geoffrey Rush, as his older counterpart against a backdrop of the rising anti-semitism in 1922 Berlin, Germany.

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” April 26, Hulu

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” is by far the best new show debuting in the spring and summer season. Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, if you don’t already have a Hulu account, you’re going to want to sign up for one today.

Set in the not-too distant future where a fundamentalist Christian regime rules over the former United States, now known as the Republic of Gilead, women have been stripped of their rights and any sense of life as they once knew it. Elisabeth Moss stars as Offred, a woman who is forced to bear children for high-ranking men and their wives, after environmental problems cause widespread infertility issues. 

The series is a chilling reminder of how quickly the Republic of Gilead could become a reality. 

“Dear White People,” April 28, Netflix 

If you liked “Dear White People” the movie then you should probably watch it again, because the 2014 film from writer/director Justin Simien is far better than Netflix’s 10-episode series.  

That’s not to say the series adaptation is a failure by any means. The show is still a smart and sharp take on the complex issue of race relations, and is definitely worth checking out. 

The series picks up where the film left off in the aftermath of a racist blackface party, which has left a campus divided. Episodes are told and then retold through different student’s perspectives, which requires some commitment by the viewers since that format can feel awfully repetitive. 

 “American Gods,” April 30, 9 p.m. ET, Starz

“American Gods” is absolutely the weirdest and most mind-bending new offering this season. Starz’s visually-stunning new drama is based on British author Neil Gaiman’s 2001 fantasy novel of the same name and requires total suspension of disbelief. 

In this America, gods live among us mere mortals. There are two types of gods ― old and new. The old are the ones you’ve read about in myths and were brought to America by faithful immigrants centuries ago, while the new gods have gradually replaced the old ones and were born out of our modern obsession with media and technology.

As war brews between the gods, an ex-con named Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) finds himself caught between the two sides.  

MAY

“Anne with an E,” May 12, Netflix 

Netflix’s “Anne with an E” is easily one of the most charming new shows. Yes, this is yet another adaptation of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved children’s novel Anne of Green Gables, but it’s far the best. 

Amybeth McNulty stars as Anne Shirley, the young orphan who never stops talking and comes to live on Prince Edward Island with elderly siblings Marilla (Geraldine James) and Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thomson).

While you may have read the book a 100 times as a child, Netflix has managed to reenergize the story for modern audiences without betraying its source material. If anything, “Anne” digs deeper at some of the darker elements that Montgomery glossed over in the novel, and is a thoroughly binge-able experience for all ages. 

“I Love Dick,” May 12, Amazon 

You may have already watched the pilot episode of Amazon’s new series “I Love Dick,” based on Chris Kraus’ 1997 novel.

The show stars Kathryn Hahn as a filmmaker in an unhappy marriage, who follows her husband (Griffin Dunne) to his writing residency in Marfa, Texas, and becomes completely infatuated with a professor named Dick (Kevin Bacon).

“I Love Dick” is the latest show from “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway and is an intentionally uncomfortable yet humorous examination of human sexuality and the female gaze. 

“Downward Dog,” May 17, 9:30 p.m. ET, ABC

From ABC comes “Downward Dog,” a sitcom about a dog named Martin and his owner Nan (Allison Tolman), a woman struggling to get ahead at work and make sense of her personal life. 

The show is told from Martin’s perspective’s via his internal monologue, voiced by Samm Hodges. The series is inoffensive enough if you can stand to listen to Martin, who is the male incarnation of a droning Valley-girl in canine form. 

 “Twin Peaks,” May 21, 9 p.m. ET, Showtime 

Showtime didn’t provide any screeners for “Twin Peaks,” which is returning as a limited series 24 years after David Lynch’s original version ended.

Because of this, we can only tell you what you probably already know: Lynch will direct the entire series and you can expect to see many familiar faces, including Kyle MacLachlan, who returns as FBI Agent Dale Cooper. 

JUNE

“I’m Dying Up Here,” June 4, 10 p.m. ET, Showtime

Showtime’s new drama “I’m Dying Up Here” is a look at the lives of stand-up comics trying to make it in Los Angeles in the 1970s ―  and you’ll be tempted to heckle if you can muster the strength to make it through a full episode. 

Yet another show based on a book, the series is inspired by William Knoedelseder‘s 2009 nonfiction work I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy’s Golden Era and features an ensemble cast including Ari Graynor, Melissa Leo, Clark Duke, Michael Angarano and RJ Cyler.

“GLOW,” June 29, Netflix 

Even if you’d rather do just about anything else than watch professional wrestling, you really shouldn’t discount Netflix’s new original series “GLOW.”

Inspired by the real story of the 1980s women’s wrestling league “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” “GLOW” is one of the most enjoyable shows to debut this season. 

Alison Brie stars as a struggling actress desperate to make it in Hollywood, giving one last shot at her dreams when she auditions for a series about female wrestlers. Featuring an outstanding and diverse cast, the series hilariously tackles issues of racism, stereotyping, sexism and sisterhood in the world of women’s wrestling. 

JULY

“The Bold Type,” July 11, 9 p.m. ET, Freeform 

Freeform’s “The Bold Type” is inspired by Cosmopolitan and its editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, and it’s the perfect show for summertime viewing. 

Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee and Meghann Fahy as three friends working at Scarlet Magazine, the show follows the young women as they navigate their careers and personal lives in New York City.

This show is exactly what you would expect from reading Cosmo ― not a bad way to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine. 

“Midnight, Texas,” July 25, 10 p.m. ET, NBC

The remote town of “Midnight, Texas” seems to be the supernatural center of the United States with witches, ghosts, assassins, angels, psychics and other creatures calling it home. But there is entirely too much going on. 

Based on the trilogy series of the same name by author Charlaine Harris, “Midnight Texas” follows Manfred (François Arnaud), a psychic who can communicate with the dead, as he arrives in Midnight and befriends fellow outsiders like himself. 

AUGUST

“The Sinner,” Aug. 2, 10 p.m. ET, USA

USA’s “The Sinner” is a different kind of thrilling mystery that finds Jessica Biel starring in a TV series for the first time since her days playing Mary Camden on “7th Heaven.”

Biel plays Cora, a young mother who commits an unspeakable act of violence against a stranger at the beach. There’s no question that she did it. The only question is why. Bill Pullman also stars as a detective obsessed with uncovering Cora’s motives.

As the series delves into Cora’s past and pieces together what happened that day at the beach, chances are you’ll be just as obsessed. 

“Weekend Update,” Aug. 10, 9 p.m. ET, NBC

Saturday Night Live” is on hiatus this summer, but Colin Jost and Michael Che will fill the void with “Weekend Update” ― a 30-minute, primetime version of the long-running segment. With “SNL” seeing some of its highest rating in years, Jost and Che will keep things going in August and make sure you’re on top of all the news that can be satirized. So basically everything.

“Marlon,” Aug. 16, 9 p.m. ET, NBC 

Marlon Wayans stars in what’s supposed to be an update on the classic family sitcom, but this isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. 

“Marlon” is loosely based on Wayans’ real life as he plays a wise-cracking, over- protective yet immature father to two precocious kids (Amir O’Neil and Notlim Taylor). He also appears to share a too-close relationship with his ex-wife (Essence Atkins). 

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Robert Pirsig, Author Of ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance,’ Dead At 88

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Robert M. Pirsig, author of the influential 1970s philosophical novel “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” died on Monday at the age of 88, his publisher said.

William Morrow & Co. executive editor Peter Hubbard said in a statement that Pirsig’s wife Wendy had confirmed his death at his home in Maine “after a period of failing health.”

Published in 1974 after being rejected by more than 100 other publishers, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” was the father-son story of a motorcycle trip across the western United States. Loosely autobiographical, it also contained flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

The book quickly became a best-seller. Pirsig said its protagonist “set out to resolve the conflict between classic values that create machinery, such as a motorcycle, and romantic values, such as experiencing the beauty of a country road.”

Born in Minneapolis, Pirsig had a high IQ and graduated high school at the age of 15. He earned a degree in philosophy and also worked as a technical writer and instructor of English before being hospitalized for mental illness in the early 1960s.

His philosophical thinking and personal experiences during these years, including a 1968 motorcycle trip across the U.S. West with his eldest son, Christopher, formed the core of the narrative of the novel.

Pirsig worked on the sequel, “Lila: An Inquiry into Morals” for 17 years before its publication in 1991. The story traced a sailboat journey taken by two fictitious characters along America’s eastern coast.

Pirsig lived the last 30 years in South Berwick, Maine and is survived by his wife Wendy, two children and three grandchildren. His son Chris died in 1979.

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Do You Know Where Your Clothes Come From?

Have you ever considered where your clothing comes from? No, not the brand name, but the workers who stitched together your outfit at a tremendously small wage. Fast fashion brands like H&M, Nordstrom, GAP, and Forever 21 depend on vastly underpaid workers (as little as $4/hour) to make clothing at alarming rates to meet consumer demand.

Most fast fashion brands can’t afford to be ethical, but you can. As today is Fashion Revolution Day, we urge you to consider the implications of your clothing choices. Today is designed to draw attention to the fact that much of the global fashion industry is opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging.

The fashion industry desperately needs revolutionary change. While we all love fashion, our clothes shouldn’t come at the cost of people or our planet. So, check out the video above from Remake. Perhaps it will help you reconsider how you consume clothing. There are ethical fashion brands out there, but you have to make the choice to seek them out. That’s what real change looks like.

For more on how you can make a change with your clothing head over to Fashion Revolution Day’s website. It’s a valuable resource for information, activism, and how you can get involved.

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Everyone Missed Something In Those New ‘Game Of Thrones’ Photos

Few things are as great as knowing something before you’re supposed to. It’s the same feeling you get from yelling at Steve on “Blue’s Clues” about what the clues actually mean. He’s giving you that blank stare, not because he’s actually staring into a camera lens and can’t hear you, but because you’re a total boss.

Jon Snow will never have that feeling. Jon Snow knows nothing. However, we might know something new about him and where “Game of Thrones” is going. It’s all because of this photo:

After HBO released Season 7 photos, including this one of Sam and Gilly, fans have been frantically trying to decode what Gilly is reading.

Now, apparently, they have.

As reported by “Game of Thrones” fan site Winter is Coming, Redditor itsjayrr pointed out that the page seems to be out of George R.R. Martin’s book The World of Ice & Fire, which tells the history of Westeros. The passage talks about Azor Ahai, the person who’s supposed to save everyone.

See it here:

Upon our own inspection, it does seem like key words in the image do match up with the text from the book.

On the page from The World of Ice & Fire, we hear about “The Long Night,” a time when winter supposedly lasted for a generation. Then, a hero known as Azor Ahai came along to help rid the land of the White Walkers. A prophecy tells of the return of Azor Ahai, sometimes used interchangeably with the term The Prince That Was Promised. Either way, this legendary character is seen as the person who will ultimately save Westeros.

The paragraph further emphasizes the importance of the prophecy within the “Game of Thrones” universe and makes us wonder: who will be Azor Ahai?

Is it Dany? Is it Jon Snow? Someone else? The debate can go on and on.

Kit Harington told HuffPost that he didn’t care if his character, Jon Snow, is the Prince or not, which is probably for the best. If the page Gilly’s perusing is from The World of Ice & Fire, Snow has bigger problems.

Something is coming to “Game of Thrones,” and it ain’t winter … 

It’s Ice Spiders.

Oh what a tangled ice web we weave …

Following the revelation about the book, we checked out our own copy of The World of Ice & Fire.

When you look at the specific section of text, it’s easy to notice that the rest of the page has a reference to the White Walkers using giant ice spiders. There’s even a picture of White Walkers with the spiders. If the book Gilly is using is some version of The World of Ice & Fire, continued reading will reveal the same. 

Giant ice spiders have already been mentioned on the show. Old Nan told Bran about them back in Season 1, saying the White Walkers’ spiders were as big as hounds. 

Are the spiders coming? Time will tell.

But, yeah, duh, why not? 

If this book on the show is being looked to as fact, Sam and Gilly better hope they have Hagrid from “Harry Potter” coming to help. That dude loves spiders. Ron will probably want to stay home.

Ice spiders are coming.

“Game of Thrones” Season 7 premieres July 16.

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An Artist Tells The Story Of Her Rape Through Thousands Of Tally Marks

At first, Shannon Mackenzie’s “Rotatio” appears like a vast mandala of tally marks, arranged on a white wall in a six-foot wide circle. Look closer, however, and you will notice words embedded within the tallies, softly vying for your attention.

“His kiss was a bomb,” reads one. “I blacked out,” another. Together, these gasps of written texts tell a story ― the story of when Mackenzie was raped. 

“When I first imagined the piece, actually making it felt like one of the scariest things I could do,” Mackenzie wrote in an email to HuffPost. “I was afraid to tell people what happened. I was afraid to share it with people I loved. I was afraid to use his name. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to finish it. At the same time, I knew that not making it would hurt me even more.”

Mackenzie began sketching and participating in drawing exercises following her assault as a way to alleviate stress and anxiety. The simple action of applying thousands of tick marks, one after another, became, for the artist, a means of survival, a reason to keep going and keep marking. One night, the artwork she’d subconsciously embarked upon revealed its final shape: a conglomeration of simple tally marks stretched into a dark orb of uniform markings. A shadowy circle, whose edges were already bleeding beyond their allotted edges. 

“The circle has always been a powerful symbol,” Mackenzie said, “representing a whole, feminine energy, cycles, the universe.” She was particularly influenced by a Thomas Moore quote, which she shared: “All the work on the soul takes the form of a circle, a rotatio.” 

For 33 hours over the course of two weeks, Mackenzie participated in the meditative ritual of applying mark after mark, sprinkling in the painful details of the night she was attacked. She includes the name of her rapist in the piece, a decision not rooted in revenge, as the artist explained, but in her desire to tell her story without shame or censorship, relieving herself of some of the weight of the abuse she’s continued to carry. 

“Its creation was about storytelling, but only to those who wanted to hear the story, to read it,” the artist said. “It was a way for me to finally share what happened to me so that I could stand on it and justify its reality in my life.” 

Many of the people who saw the piece in person, Mackenzie recalled, didn’t even realize that language was buried amid the lines. They took in the image as a whole but did not absorb the entirety of the narrative and the strength it required.

At the end of the performance, Mackenzie painted over the outcome of her work with white paint, marking the piece’s conclusion with a blank canvas, a new beginning. The only record of the piece lives in a short documentary Ian McClerin made of the piece in 2015, also titled “Rotatio.” 

Initially Mackenzie never intended the piece to be viewed by a large public audience; it was her project, her story, her healing process. But McClerin, who documented the piece from start to finish on film, encouraged Mackenzie to share her story, “take the leap,” submit to film festivals and reach out to a wider viewership.

“To be completely honest, I made this piece with no expectations of feedback beyond the small group of people that saw it in person,” Mackenzie said. “I was terrified of what the feedback might be. And now, I am blown away by the responses ― so much positivity, from individuals who I’ve never met to people in my own community, that have been able to reach out to me in collective support. The feedback and the entire process has truly changed me life in a way that I never could have imagined.”

Under four minutes long, McClerin’s short film has now been viewed over 80k times on Vimeo. The simple image of a floating circle infested with tally marks speaks to the universality of the pain of being a survivor of rape. The language interspersed throughout reveals the individuality of every unique instance.

Mackenzie’s ritual was a monumental purge ― a rejection and ejection of fear, of shame, of painful memories, of fragments of old self, of silence. “There is a saying that you get out as much as you put in,” the artist says in the video, while painting over her labor-intensive creation, ruminating on its lasting impact. “This is post-traumatic growth. This is something you carry forever, regardless of how it affects you.”

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You Can Now Download And Use The Fonts Of Your Favorite ’90s TV Shows

If you’ve longed to write “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” fan fiction in the exact font the iconic ‘90s horror anthology used for its logo ― well, dedicated SNICK follower, your time has come.

Thanks to this website, you can write all the teenage campfire drama you want, in the Benguiat Bold typeface you’ve come to love. In fact, you can even read a bit about the font’s origins, and other typefaces destined for ‘90s TV show stardom, thanks to typography expert Alexander Tochilovsky, the design curator of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography in New York City.

“The ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ logo is an interesting one,” he explains on the site. “While it’s seemingly very simple with the oval and a clip art like hand, the decision to use this particular typeface is slightly more sophisticated. Conceptually, though, it fits the show perfectly and has the right feel for the intended audience ― especially with the ‘glow in the dark’ vibe it carries.”

Not interested in Tochilovsky’s breakdown of “AYAOTD?” font? (For shame.) How about his take on the “Frasier” typeface? Or “Rugrats”? Or “Fresh Prince”? Or “Twin Peaks”? 

The list goes on. Tochilovsky’s got a whole host of downloadable fonts on the site, courtesy of interactive content creation platform Ceros, along with blurbs that let you know that Gabriel Weiss’ “Friends” font is hand-drawn, and that the “Law and Order” typeface is called Friz Quadrata Std Roman, while the “90210” font is Newhouse DT SuperCondensed Bold. 

Typography devotees, go ahead and enjoy a little bit of nostalgia with your dose of design.

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