Update: Recording of Barnard Panel Talk on Women in Rock and Metal

I meant to share this back in June, but of course so many things were happening. I was conferencing like a fiend, researching, and finalizing my new job status! On top of that, Vish and I were visiting pre-schools for Ella. Afterwards, summer hit, and all I could think about was fiscal close procedures at work and how to plan for Ella’s birthday.

So with all of that finally behind me, I’ve now have a tiny bit of relief in my schedule and am trying to get back on the horse with blog posting. Some of you might remember that back in May I co-moderated and organized a panel at Barnard College about women in the rock and metal music scene here in NY. It was panel born out of my thesis research. And although I posted about the wonderful shout-out we got from the online magazine, The Tempest, I wanted to share the recording that my husband did of the event.

So without further ado – here’s Part 1 and 2 of Women in Rock and Metal Music.

Panel speakers were: (from left to right) Charlotte Price (co-moderator), Joan Jocson-Singh (me!!), Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom Magazine), Laina Dawes, (music journalist), Justina Villanueva (photographer), and Cristy Road (artist, musician & zinester)
Disclaimer –  In Part 1 you can hear a bit of my daughter’s babble, but it’s only for about a minute and half.

It gets better. Enjoy!

Part 1

 

Part 2

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Shout-out from the Tempest

Lovely writer, Esther Merono Baro, over at the Tempest website wrote up a nice re-cap with quotes from last week’s panel that I organized on Women in Rock and Metal @ Barnard College.  5 women in punk and metal who give zero f*cks about their bitch face

I was glad to see folks enjoy our talk and get insights into the work we do. Hopefully this can become something we do annually!

And here’s some photos from the slideshow I put together of our panelists (some photos courtesy of Justina Villanueva). Unfortunately, Kristen Korvette wasn’t able to make it.

 

Panel talk: Women in Rock & Metal Music

flyer-womenrockmetal

Join the Barnard Library for a lively discussion on gender, race, violence, and acceptance in the NY rock and metal scene with panel speakers Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom Magazine creator/editor), Kristen Korvette (creator of feminist website Slutist), Laina Dawes (author of ‘What are you doing here? A black woman’s life & liberation in heavy metal‘), Justina Villanueva (photographer & artist), and Cristy Roads (punk musician, zinester, & artist).

Moderated by Columbia University librarian and metal scholar Joan Jocson-Singh, and Barnard Library’s own performing arts librarian Charlotte Price, this event is open to everyone. Check out the Facebook event

Here’s the event page over at Barnard college:
http://library.barnard.edu/events/Women-Rock-Metal-0

Many thanks to Justina for designing this web flyer!

Upcoming Metal Music Conferences, Panels and CFP’s – 2016

heavy metal
Yes I know I’ve been MIA but there’s plenty of reason! Night school, work and metal music events, have taken over. To make up for my absence, I thought I’d compile a list of upcoming metal related events.

emp_pop_conference_2016

There’s the very cool EMP Pop Conference taking place next week from April 14-16 in Seattle. I’ve been wonderfully invited to speak as part of a roundtable called, Noise Breeding Silence- Heavy Metal Voices along with my colleagues, Laina Dawes, Jeremy Wallach, Ester Clinton, Kat Katz and Steve Waksman. Steve is actually the moderator, so you know it’s going to be a great talk! For those of you who don’t know his work – Steve is a professor at Smith College in Massachusetts and wrote the seminal books – Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience and Ain’t the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk. 

grimposuimAlso taking place next week for NYC locals is the traveling Grimposium – a touring festival that brings musicians, journalists and academics together to showcase and foster discussion on all things metal, coordinated by Vivek Venkatash, professor and metal scholar at Concordia University. This latest event is called, The Sign of An Open Eye: Grimposium 360 and will be taking place on April 14th in Brooklyn at MINY Media Center by IFP. Register here.

clap back

On April 30th, we also have Women CLAP BACK in Music and the Arts at The New School taking place from 10am-5pm. Several women involved in the local metal scene here in NY will be there, like the wonderful Laina Dawes! I’ll be helping with moderating the panel called, Navigating Race and Feminism in the Music Industry.
And of course I’ve got to plug this – I’ll be co-moderating an evening talk on Women in Rock and Metal Music at Barnard College the evening of May 4th, 2016 (registration and info page COMING Soon).

Below is a description of the event – ALL ARE WELCOME!

Women in Rock & Metal Music – 
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016, 7 PM – 9:30 PM @ Barnard College – Julius S. Held Lecture Hall.

Women have had an increasingly steady presence as performers, fans and supporters of rock and heavy metal music, although previous studies have emphasized these spaces as predominantly masculine and white. In the 21st century, women still face challenges in participating and negotiating this historical gendering of space. While New York City is quite often perceived as a product of its own bubble of exceptionalism; race, sexism, and authenticity remain problematic areas of discourse for many women who take part in these musical scenes.

An evening with Women in Rock & Metal Music seeks to address these issues, exploring how women of varying ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and sexuality, so often marginalized, navigate their participation and construct spaces of liminality through their art, musicianship and voice.

Please join us for a lively discussion and exploration of gender, race, violence, and acceptance in the NY rock and metal scene with panel speakers – Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom Magazine Creator/Editor), Kristen Korvette (Creator of the feminist site -Slutist ), Laina Dawes (Author of What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal), Justina Villanueva (Heavy Metal photographer and artist) and Cristy Roads (Punk Musician, Zinester and Artist).

In addition to these US-based happenings – there are other, just as amazing, conferences coming up – especially abroad. There’s the Bournemouth University Metal Conference on Metal and Politics, being held in the UK on June 3rd as well as the Modern Heavy Metal Conference in Helsinki, Finland – June 30 through July 3rd. You can register for MHM here.

Also in the UK, is the Dark Leisure and Music Symposium taking place at Leeds Beckett University on September 16, 2016. There’s still time for submission as the deadline is May 15th.

Back in the US, we got the Metal in Strange Places conference taking place in the Fall at the University of Dayton on October 21st – 23rd! If you remember from my previous blog posts, I presented my thesis work on Women in NY’s EMM scene at the 2014 conference in Dayton where I met some of the most awesome people in metal academia.

Proposals for Metal in Strange Places are due by April 22nd.This year’s keynote speakers are Gabby Riches, whose book Caught in a Mosh is a great resource that I’ve referenced in my own work and Tracy Reilly who will be talking about intellectual property and entertainment.

As for CFP’s – here’s a list of current and ongoing calls for conferences, journals etc.:

Metal Music Studies (Intellect)
The deadline for submissions for 3.1 is September 10, 2016
The deadline for submissions for 3.2 is December 10, 2016

IASPM’s page for CFP’s (International Association for the Study of Popular Music UK and Ireland)
Various deadlines and CFP’s

19th Biennial ISAPM Conference – Additional CFP’s

Shifts and Turns: Moving Music, Musicians and Ideas – 39th National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia Adelaide, Australia (November 30 – December 3, 2016)

3rd International Digital Libraries for Musicology workshop New York, NY (August 12, 2016)

Society for American Music, 43rd Annual Conference Montreal, Québec, Canada (March 22 – 26, 2017)

That’s all I got for now!

 

War on Women

Here’s a recent article that was published over at the Washington Post called, “Rape, street harassment and trolls. This punk band has a song for that” about the hardcore band War On Women and Feminism. It’s both an interesting and discouraging article about what female musicians face in the punk, hardcore and metal music scenes and goes on to speak about the band’s origin and experiences performing. In particular, like the article’s title suggests, band lyricist and vocalist Shawna Potter talks about fans’ reaction to her as a woman performing and her experiences of harassment.

War-On-Women-2014-1024x819WOW_logo_original-600x154

It’s sad to say, but Potter’s experiences are really no different than what many of the women I interviewed here in NYC spoke about. Even though a majority of metal news sites, commenters, and bloggers in the blog-o-sphere might argue differently, these moments of violence, mistreatment and racism still occur. It’s very much a “still happened, even if it didn’t happen to you” kind of thing.

I am glad to see articles like the Washington Post one being published because these issues of rape, racism, and sexism still are and should be ongoing discussions, lest we forget– see what I did there? –But seriously… the discussions shouldn’t stop at just media highlighting white women of more noticeable bands – there needs to be a focus on the intersectionalities occurring – women of color, of ethnicity, of varying gender identities etc.

And before folks get all uppity about there not being enough bands with women of the intersectionalities I just mentioned, you can just look to bands like NY’s Castrator or the site Female Vocalists of Extreme Music– the name implies only vocalists but it really includes a very in-depth listing of bands worldwide with women as musicians & vocalists.

Women in Metal Music – A Reading List

Ever since I got my hands on Kim Gordon‘s book “Girl in a Band,” I’ve been thinking about reading lists with female musicians- especially the lack of books and materials about female metal musicians. With all of the gender and metal research I’ve been doing, I found myself sadly unsurprised that there wasn’t very much commercially-written about female metal musicians in terms of bands, memoirs or biographies. I’m not quite sure why that is, considering that I’ve come across so much scholarly work by women in metal studies and I’ve met so many awesome musicians who are women.

In any case, I thought it would be helpful for me and other folks to have a reading list of more commercially-known books written by or about women and metal. I’m not sure if I’ll end up creating a list in Amazon’s Listmania but I might make an ongoing page here on my blog.

I also plan on compiling a scholarly list of articles, papers, and books written by female academics writing in metal studies, since much of my own thesis work has referenced women like Sonia Vasan, Gabrielle Riches, RoseMary L. Hill, RoseMary Overell, Jasmine Shadrack, Sarah Kitteringham, Kristen Sollee, Heather Savigny, etc. There’s lots more!

Below is a list I started compiling via my very random searches through Amazon as well as books that have been recommended to me during my research. By no means is this list comprehensive. All the books are available on Amazon, just follow the links and grow your library collections!

And yes.. compiling such a list appeals to the librarian side of me.

  1. Baulch, Emma (2007) Making Scenes: Reggae, Punk, and Death Metal in 1990s Bali
  2. Bond, Jaclyn (2009) The 100 Best and Absolute Greatest Heavy Metal Albums in the World, Ever
  3. Clerk, Carol (2002) Diary of a Madman: Ozzy Osbourne: The Stories Behind the Songs
  4. Dawes, Laina (2013) What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal
  5. Ford, Lita (2016) Living Like a Runaway: A Memoir
  6. Giroux, Annick (2010) Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook
  7. Herron-Wheeler, Addison (2014) Wicked Woman: Women in Metal from the 1960’s to Now
  8. Hughs, Jill (2014) Not Just Tits in a Corset
  9. Kajzer, Jackie, Lotring, Roger & Weiss, Mark (2009) Full Metal Jackie Certified: The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the ’80s and the True Stories behind Their Lyrics
  10. Leggett, Carol (1985) Heavy Metal Bible
  11. Mape Ollila and Olga Pohjola (2006) Once Upon a Nightwish: The Official Biogrpahy 1996-2006
  12. Napoleone, Amber C. (2015) Queerness in Heavy Metal Music: Metal Bent
  13. Nolteernsting, Elke (2002) Heavy Metal: die Suche nach der Bestie
  14. Phillipov, Michelle (2014) Death Metal and Music Criticism: Analysis at the Limits
  15. Purcell, Natalie J.(2003) Death Metal Music: The Passion and the Politics of a Subculture
  16. Roccor, Bettina (1998) Heavy Metal: Kunst, Kommerz, Ketserei
  17. Roccor, Bettina (1998) Die Bands, Die Fans, Die Gagner
  18. Roxx, Rita R. (2012) Once Upon a Rock Star: Backstage Passes in the Heavy Metal Eighties- Big Hari, Bad Boys
  19. Weinstein, Deena. (2000) Heavy Metal: The Music and it’s Culture, Revised Ed.
  20. Weindl, Dina (2006) Musik und Aggression: Untersucht anhand des Musikgenres Heavy Metal
  21. Weiermann, Ursula (2010) Heavy Metal: Entstehung und Entwicklung
  22. Yseult, Sean (2010) I’m in the Band: Backstage notes From the Chick in White Zombie Heavy Metal

Death’s Metal Maiden: The Portrayal of the Grotesque Female Body on Extreme Metal Album Covers

I’m taking a much-needed break from writing my actual thesis and instead looking at the art produced for extreme metal music albums. In this way, I feel like I’m paying homage to my first love in academia: art history.

I recently came upon an interesting CFP on my blog feed from the University of Winchester. This upcoming summer, they are holding a conference on Death, Art, and Anatomy and put out a call for papers on any research having to do with the following topics:

  • Death and art
  • Anatomy and death
  • Anatomy and art
  • History of anatomy
  • History of death
  • Religion and anatomy
  • Religion and death
  • Medieval and early modern death beliefs and practices

It got me thinking, and I started to explore the idea of how some extreme metal album art could be an extension of the medieval concept of grotesque realism.

So I began reading and discovered previous research making this claim by author and Professor Karen Bettez Halnon. In her paper, Heavy Metal Carnival and Dis-alienation, she examines the use of grotesque realism in performance, lyrical construction, and the appearance of bands like Gwar, Slipknot, and Cradle of Filth. Although these bands are not all categorically extreme metal, it made me think about controversial extreme metal cover art that has been produced in the past few decades.

Referencing philosopher and critic Mikhail Bakhtin, Halnon defines grotesque realism in relation to her study as a form of “heavy metal carnival,” whereby the noise of commercialism is dismantled and transgressed by heavy metal’s ability to challenge societal norms of conduct, dress, taste, morality and civility (Halnon, 2006). What this encompasses is a fandom and culture that encourages the obscene and bizarre, disassociating it from general musical audiences that would favor more socially-accepted styles of popular music, visual art and fashion.

As an example, she cites the band Gwar, who spray their “slaves” (the audience) with red-colored water (symbolic of blood) and other bodily fluids, effectively enacting a spectacle of grotesque through fantastic and fictional displays of human dismemberment, torture and beheadings. On its most base level, this spectacle transgresses the limitations of real and fantasy for participating fans. Like Halnon believes, “the display signifies the creative life-death-rebirth-cycle”. (Halnon, 2006)

GwarWithin the paper, Halnon echos Bahktin’s own definition of grotesque realism as:

“Eating, drinking, defecation, and other elimination (sweating, blowing of the nose, sneezing), as well as copulation, pregnancy, dismemberment, swallowing up by another body—all these acts are performed on the confines of the body and the outer world, or on the confines of the old and new body. . . . The grotesque image displays not only the outward but also the inner features of the body: blood, bowels, heart and other organs. Its outward and inward features are often emerged into one.” ([1936] 1984: 317–18)

Does this not sound like extreme metal to you? Hanlon goes on in her paper to talk about inversion within the heavy metal carnival. What really caught my attention was the following:

“The carnival-grotesque is not only exposing the deep (hidden, vile, disgusting), interior aspects of anatomy but also what is spurned, spoiled, stained and hidden in the body politic. Inverting the ordinary devaluation, invisibility, or “symbolic annihilation” of those positioned at the bottom of (social) hierarchies (Larry Gross quoted in Gamson 1998:22)”

These two statements mark further evidence of the grotesque for lyrics constructed by extreme metal bands like Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, or Deicide. However controversial the works of these bands and bands like them can be construed, it made me curious to explore the imagery depicted on albums of this nature.

Furthermore, I wondered if the often violent and horrific covers of extreme metal albums were indeed an extension of both the medieval grotesque and heavy metal carnival, then what research, if any, was being conducted specific to the treatment of women, so often depicted in controversial images flagging the albums.

If I decide to write a paper for this conference, I think it will broadly speak to the use of grotesque imagery on extreme metal albums as a form of intentional aesthetic and then move more specifically to the depiction of women, particularly the thematic imagery of Death and Women on covers.

\m/ –Hail Metal– \m/