The word “Girls” is no longer a pejorative in the punk world, but when it comes to being on stage, there’s still a stigma that must be fought. The luminaries featured in Jen Larson’s new book, HIT GIRLS: Women of Punk in the USA, 1975-1983 (Feral House), helped define the genre, and they are so much more than their gender, which is the point.
Women and queer folk were more important to the development of punk, and hence rock music in general, than they have ever been given credit for and it’s only due to documentarians like Larson (also a musician, writer and teacher) that the record continues to be set straight. Clearly, in 2023, it is still very much needed.
With sexist media moguls like Jann Wenner in the news recently for diminishing the contributions and cerebral depth of female music makers, this focus on regional bands and national musicians feels refreshingly celebratory and wide-ranging. Jen B.’s subjects (Niagra, Texacala Jones, Stoney Rivera, Mish Bondaj, Alice Bag, Nikki Corvette, Penelope Houston, to name a few) share experiences of discrimination, struggle and success from their days on stage and in clubs. Their stories are seen alongside rare and never-before seen images in the book, both of which illustrate their cultural impact.
Actress/singer Ann Magnuson, who wrote HIT GIRLS’ forward, will be on hand for a discussion with Larson, who will sign the book and discuss it on a panel with Pleasant Gehman (Screamin’ Sirens, The Ringling Sisters, Honk if You’re Horny) and Ginger Coyote (White Trash Debutantes, Punk Globe)– two LA legends LA Weekly has worked with, known and loved for decades– plus Genny Body of the L.A. band Backstage Pass.
At the Philosophical Research Society, 3910 Los Feliz Blvd.; Fri., Sept. 29, 7 p.m. prs.org; $15
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