Oregon festival empowers girls, promotes Planned Parenthood, anti-domestic & sexual violence groups, more

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lucia

Photo via Fullbright Company blog

One of my favorite things about having taught and directed shows at a (public) performing arts high school is keeping in touch with my favorite students after they've graduated. Lucia was one of the brightest, sweetest, quirkiest-in-a-good way kids I had, and recently surprised me with a Facebook message or nine filling me in on what she's been up to recently.

I was so impressed that I asked her to write up a post. Who knew she'd end up combining her entertainment skills with politics?

This... is so cool:

The Slabtown Grrrl Front

By Lucia Fasano

When I moved to Portland, Oregon, in the Fall of 2012, part of the allure was the nostalgia of the Riot Grrrl Movement that started in the Pacific Northwest in the 90’s, along with grunge. As a young, female musician/comedian, the Riot Grrrl Movement really called to me. It was a stark contrast to 90’s pop music and girl groups, a rebellion against societal norms of how girls are supposed to act, behave, and especially perform. I was hoping to catch a glimmer of this feminist punk rock wave when I moved to Portland, and I found that people were looking for the same thing.

At the time, I was barely 20, and barely allowed in the venues that I played at. Turned out that Doug Rogers, the new owner of Slabtown, was doing his part to bring real punk rock back to Portland. He filed for licenses to make his venue all-ages. After expressing mutual interest in feminism and creating a venue that was welcoming to all, he had his booker, Melissa Meszaros, reach out to me about helping her put on an all-ages, all-inclusive music festival to revive Riot Grrrl in April. Reaching out to the community, the event became much more.

With important Portland women’s shelters being closed down due to lack of funding, and executive director of the Oregon Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence stating that Oregon shelters are funded at less than 50 percent of what they need, we wanted these issues to be prevalent in the festival, as well as responding to the attacks on women’s reproductive health in America by promoting Planned Parenthood and local feminist community center, In Other Words.

The event, known as “The Slabtown Grrrl Front” became a 4 day music festival with over 25 bands, comedians, spoken word, an art show, video-game demoing for a local riot grrrl themed game, body positivity clothing swap, belly dancing, zine workshops, young volunteers, and more, with ticket proceeds going to performer’s choice of Planned Parenthood, The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, In Other Words Feminist Community Center, and Bitch Media. The running theme? Empowering girls.

The Slabtown Grrrl Front was a big success when it came to bringing in money for feminist causes, but to me, the true sign of success were the performers who told me that they’ve never felt more like they belonged at a show-- and the men who said they’d never seen all-girl bands that rocked that hard before, and wondered why bands with women don’t get more notoriety in the music business. Other shows have been organized by people who met each other at the event, for similar causes. A SoCal Grrrl Front is in the works, inspired by us.

Intersectionality between cultures and movements, helping challenge gender inequality in the art and political landscape, from rock and roll to video games, by promoting feminist causes and artists is my passion and the goal of the Slabtown Grrrl Front, as well as reaching out to the youth in our community and letting them get involved with politics that affects them and their peers, their local art scene,  and create the healthy media they want to see. If we don’t do it, someone else will do it for us-- and they won’t have our best interests at heart.

The Slabtown Grrrl Front will be back in Portland next year, welcoming artists and activists everywhere to join us.

If you're interested in volunteering at the Slabtown Grrrl Front for 2014, please contact Melissa Meszaros at melslabtownbooking@gmail.com or luciacfasano@gmail.com.

Links:

The Slabtown Grrrl Front’s Facebook Page

Lucia’s Pages:

Facebook

When My Eyes Are Closed (Demo)

Some press for Slabtown Grrrl Front Fest 2013:

Coverage in the Portland Tribune

Interview in Willamette Week:

Fullbright Company blog

Mention in Portland Mercury

And just for fun:

"I Love The Lord!" by Lucia Fasano

Lyrics:
I love the Lord,
I love the Lord,
But does the Lord- love the Lord?
I love the Lord,
Yes he's a dream
But does the Lord have low Self-Esteem?
The Ten Commandments
Kinda sound like
Affirmations
He'd say in his mirror
That he was given
By a life coach
So he'd feel
Hotter and thinner
I love the Lord,
I love the Lord
But does the Lord
Love the Lord?
I love the Lord,
Yes he's a dream
But does the Lord have low Self-Esteem?
"Thou shalt not have no other gods before me"
He kind of sounds like my ex-boyfriend Tony
I guess if I was all high and mighty
I'd still kind of get jealous and clingy
I love the Lord,
I love the Lord
But does the Lord
Love the Lord?
I love the Lord,
Yes he's a dream
But is the Lord eating his feelings?

girl power

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