OG Feminist Rockers Frightwig Still Blazing a Trail

Categories: DIY, Interview

Photo by Claude Shade
Frightwig today: Deanna Ashley Mitchell, Cecilia Kuhn, Mia d'Bruzzi, and Eric Drew Feldman
Unless you were into very underground punk in the early '80s, you probably don't know Frightwig--but you should. They were perhaps the first all-female DIY punk band, and they blazed a trail from San Francisco across the U.S. in the name of feminist rock 'n' roll. Along the way, they influenced younger musicians like Courtney Love and Bikini Kill, planting an early seed for the riot grrrl movement that followed in the '90s.

The chemistry of Frightwig has changed a bit with Eric Drew Feldman on keys, but singer and bass player Deanna Ashley Mitchell, who turns 56 Tuesday, remains an outspoken fighter for women's rights. She's leading Frightwig in an East Coast crusade that kicks off Monday, Sept. 8, at The Knitting Factory (with Jane Lee Hooker also performing) and culminates in the We Are Women Constitution Day Rally next weekend in Washington, D.C. We spoke to Deanna about women in music, women's rights in America, and male strippers.

See also: How Not To Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide

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Vivian Girls Remember: Pizza! Wild Puppies! Jean Jackets!

Vivian Girls, breaking up after 7 years; photo by Arnaud Bianquis
This weekend, The Vivian Girls play their very last shows ever. Their band was born in Brooklyn, so it's fitting that they're going to wrapping things up, there, too, with a pair of shows: one Saturday at Death By Audio and one Sunday at Baby's All Right.

The Vivian Girls: Katy "Kickball Katy" Goodman, Cassie Ramone, and Ali Koehler (originally Frankie Rose) were a big part of Brooklyn's now officially 100% dead DiY scene. Silly, punky, approachable, enjoyable, and strangely super appealing to young teenagers, the band was the absolute best of what Brooklyn had to offer in those days (2007 ~ 2010). The picture on their Wikipedia page is from Market Hotel, for god's sake.

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You Can Now Lease 285 Kent For the Low, Low Price of $8,000 a Month

Categories: DIY

Where will you put your first soiled couch?
Fans of music scene exclusivity were dealt a Severe Blow a couple weeks back when the lights went down for good at 285 Kent, the Williamsburg DIY warehouse hub of cultural cool. No more shows. No more disgusting bathrooms. No more drunkenly making out with strangers of questionable hygiene on couches of questionable hygiene. No more... anything. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel: 285 Kent can now be yours. You'll just need $8,000 a month for rent. Let's take a look at what you get for your money.

See also: "DIY Will Never Die": An Exit Interview with 285 Kent's Ric Leichtung

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"DIY Will Never Die": An Exit Interview with 285 Kent's Ric Leichtung

Categories: DIY, Interview

(Photo by Maria Sherman)
Eugenics Council at 285 Kent on November 8th, 2012.
On December 19th of last year, Ric Leichtung announced via Twitter that Maria Minerva's performance at 285 Kent that night might be the Williamsburg venue's last. Though the news devastated many in the New York music community, it wasn't all that surprising: rumors that Kent was closing had been floating around since the NYPD raided the space on Leichtung's birthday in September. The nature of DIY spaces, which operate on the fringes of legality and rapidly gentrifying, expanding neighborhoods, has always been transient. "They're usually only around for a couple of years, so to a certain degree it's business as usual," says Leichtung. "It's a ticking time bomb where either the landlord could manipulate tenants into moving out or the developer or anyone else would just as easily snap up the property. It's an impending doom over the neighborhood."

See also: Maria Minerva - 285 Kent's Final Show - 12/19

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What You Know About Them Texas Boys? The Return of Screw York City

Categories: DIY

League of Extraordinary Gz
Back in April of '06 walking Texas rap encyclopedia Matt Sonzala embarked on a cultural exchange program with New York fashion-icon-in-the-making/DJ Roxy Cottontail. Houston hip-hop was having a moment: Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Lil Keke, Devin the Dude and more all burst out of the humid air in the Dirty South with a force that took the world by surprise. Paul Wall had the Internet goin' nuts, and for a time there the whole world was All Candy Coated everything -- 25 Lighters, Wood Grain, Tippin', Sippin'. Sonzala would bring Houston artists to New York, and Cottontail would in turn bring NYC's finest to Houston for night's they cleverly called "Screw York City." Over a span of two years the two brought a host of Texas talent -- Rapid Rick, Devin the Dude, Lil Keke, Chingo Bing, Michael Watts, DJ Chill, Mr. Rogers - to packed clubs on the Lower East Side, nearly 20 shows in all. Tonight, after a five year break, Screwston is back in the city with an impressive lineup of Texas' best.

See also: Will Long.Live.A$AP Be the Biggest Houston Rap Album of 2013?

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Nude Beach Rock Lulus Tonight For Free

Categories: DIY, Previews

Even though I've never laid eyes on them, it's easy to recognize Nude Beach's Chuck Betz and Ryan Naideau at the Williamsburg coffee shop where we meet. Ripped leather jackets and Germs pins stand out against carefully sculpted hippery. Vocalist Betz, with his bed-head buffount hair-do, is a dead ringer for the Clash's Mick Jones. He says that The Clash are one of their primary influences-- you can hear that all over their latest release II. It's a jangly rock and roll record, closer to "Rudy Can't Fail" or "Train in Vain" than the currently unavoidable garage-punk sound. The record's initial pressing of 500 copies sold out almost as fast as it was picked up for re-release by Other Music.

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David Byrne Endorsed Javelin Throw Down on Bold New Album Hi Beams

Categories: DIY, Interviews

Tom Van Buskirk, the thoughtful Los Angeles-based half of polyglot pan-tropical duo Javelin, has some mixed feelings about social media. "When I follow someone on Twitter and all I get is a barrage of RT's or straight-up PR shit, it kind of offends me, and they never know. It's just funny that we put all this stock in a little interaction." It's partially the subject of the song "Friending"--which is, yes, a Facebook reference--off Javelin's forthcoming record, Hi Beams, coming out in March on David Byrne's Luaka Bop imprint. The other idea for the song came from Van Buskirk's teenage brother and graffiti enthusiast in New Zealand, who once boasted he was friends with a famous tagger in New York. "It took me a minute to realize that he meant Facebook friends," he tells me over the phone. "It's a strange world we live in."

See also: Last Night We Were Literally on a Boat With Keepaway, Javelin, and a Newly Five-Year-Old Music Slut

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Saxman Jon Irabagon Goes Metal On Your Ass, Avant Style

Categories: DIY

Pride, Barr, Irabagon: I Don't Hear Nothin' But the Blues (and the Metal)
New York City saxophone pioneer Jon Irabagon -- award-winning composer, group leader and sideman -- is lounging around on the grimy, sticky couches at West Village jazz 'n' rec hangout Fat Cat, about to blow groovy horn action for swinging bop army Fat Cat Big Band. Irabagon is celebrating the fresh launch of his own label (Irabbagast Records), reveling in its release of the second Outright! record (the wildly adventurous quintet he fronts), just returned from playing gigs with intrepid ax goddess Mary Halvorson, and sometime next year, three(!) records from buddy Moppa Elliot's Mostly Other People Do The Killing will hit the streets via the Hot Cup label.

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Mason Jar Music Navigates The Sea In Between Tonight

Categories: DIY, Film
Photo: Sasha Arutyunova

After lugging rigs, cameras, a mandolin, a guitar, a snare, a cello, a violin and as many microphones as they could carry out to a spot in the middle of the woods, a handful of musicians and filmmakers found themselves standing in complete and total darkness. The generator they had also carried had run out of gas, which posed a bit of a problem: they needed it to run the lights they'd use to illuminate Josh Garrels, a Portland-based singer/songwriter, and seeing as they were stuck with all that gear in the remotest of locations for the acoustic set, heading out to the closest gas station wasn't exactly going to work. The production crew broke out their flashlights, glancing the curves of the instruments and the earnest faces of the musicians with an eerie glow, but not for long: in the middle of "Fire By Night," the bulbs strung between the branches above, lit up. Everybody cheered, those at the mics stood up and those with the flashlights sat down to enjoy the performance of one of the most aptly named songs of the shoot.
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Bushwick's Party Xpo To Reopen as Renovated XPO 929

A long time ago in a Bushwick far, far away

Party Xpo, an uncommonly resilient DIY space nestled under the J/M/Z tracks, has magically withstood two years of logistical hassles. After opening in January 2010 with a typically cantankerous Japanther benefit show, local law enforcement took notice of the place, paid a few visits, and the space wisely went dry. Then the site's previous tenants--a party-supply store business whose still-lingering "Party Expo" signage inspired the spot's name--not only demanded the current occupants remove the marquee (above), but change the venue's name. The result was Party XPO.

Now, after enduring two tumultuous years of police raids, dry shows, and one especially memorable Wu-Tang video, the Bushwick storefront has evolved again--this time into a "beautiful and safe venue, bar, and practice studio" with actual bathrooms, a "smoking coffin" bar, and a (supposedly/hopefully) forthcoming liquor license. Plus, cats!

From an e-mail circulating sent by one of the space's longtime organizers, Jonny Aquadora:

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