The First Permanent Wave

What better way to boycott the excessive brawn and all-out ridiculousness of that disturbing patriarchal institution known as Superbowl Sunday than to attend a domestic violence benefit with an all-girl cast of musicians and artists and blood-free (vegan love!) baked goods?

The first event in what is set to become a regular series, Permanent Wave at Brooklyn’s Death by Audio was one of the highlights of my recent trip to New York.

It started in November. Amy Klein, of the band Titus Andronicus, posted a few tweets that went something like this:

“Some days, you wake up so angry you have to spend three hours watching Bikini Kill on Youtube before you can face the rest of the world.” Nov. 2, 2010

“Hello, I am starting a feminist movement. First NYC meeting next week.” Nov. 29, 2010

Those tweets morphed into (besides a hearty donation to the Center for Domestic Violence in Brooklyn) this:

Emilyn Brodsky: dreamy, quirky, confessional, narrative, poetic, more than a little mac-and-cheese awesomeness. A girl and her ukulele and a nervous habit of talking too much, which betrays a more deep-rooted nervous habit of thinking too much. Yet somehow that nervousness is underscored by the general impression that she thinks she’s pretty great. (My guess is, she’s a leo.) You should think she’s great, too–because she is.

Noon:30: dreamy, seductive, dark, nostalgic. New York meets New Orleans meets D.C. By which I mean, they’re from D.C., they’re as big band grimy-eclectic as New Orleans,  and they remind me of New York in the late 90’s, when everything was electric lounge, tangible buzz, koncrete jungle, sex and trip hop, Tricky, Esthero and early Roots. Urbana as exotica, as pornography, as messy creation. The city is pulsing, breathing—heavily.

(FYI– The recordings I’ve listened to online don’t do their live show justice…)

Plastiq Passion: Is the name not enough reason to love them? (And is the name a Cure reference or a toy reference, or–in being a specific Cure reference–both?) A band (half) full of girls that look like boys that look like girls that look like boys…which is to say, these ladies’ androgeny and their power-poppy punk rockness is HOT. Take a stance and keep breaking drumsticks, ladies!

Struck me: The poet Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai talked about how we should support and encourage victims of violence, and difficult as it is to say ‘hey, I’m a victim,’ it’s even harder to say, ‘I’m an abuser.’ Then she said, “Hi, I’m Kelly and I’m a victim AND an abuser.”

Because maybe we are the abusers, the perpetrators of violence in a relationship. Not in the oh-I’m-so-annoying-I-obviously-deserve-this way, but in the way that we are actually violent. We yell. We throw things. We hit and punch and lash out. Or, in my case, we write on walls with permanent marker and then laugh as our loved one scrubs it off with Comet.

Healing the victim is good, yes, but healing the perpetrator is just as important—so that there will be no more victims. Or, as Emilyn Brodsky sings, “We are all forgivable, and lovable, and YES. We are all the best, and all the worst, and all a fucking mess.”


2 thoughts on “The First Permanent Wave

  1. Pingback: Amy Klein Of Titus Andronicus Talks Riot Grrrl, Rock Camp, And Lady Gaga · NYU Local

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