I sometimes feel like at this point in my life I have no other purpose than to write, draw, photograph, and make films about my feelings and thoughts. When another teen girl figures out how to do this just right, I just want to applaud (*snaps fingers for eternity*). Thats why you MUST tell everyone to leave you alone for 10 minutes while you watch the short film Teenage Girl World (8 minutes for viewing, 2 minutes for lying on the floor and thinking about your teenhood), which you can see above. Directed by 19 year olds Jianna Justice and Emily Johnston, the short features original thoughts from several girls, plus a hot theme song.
I had to strap myself down to write about Wes Anderson’s movie The Grand Budapest Hotel receiving one of the highest honors a film can get: its own video game!! Created by a group of designers at the NYU Gaming Center, the computer game Masquiard pulls its pastel aesthetic and plot from Anderson’s latest work. I’m so ready to get sneaky and unmask one gosh darn hard-to-catch government agent!
Zoë Kravitz covers Nylon‘s August issue and speaks candidly about growing up with her uber-famous parents, her experience of disordered eating, and her struggle with identity. The actress and Lolawolf lead singer also touched on being rejected for movie roles because she’s a woman of color. I especially loved how she describes developing a connection to herself and heritage. As a mixed-raced teen she, “identified with white culture, and…wanted to fit in,” as an example she speaks of loving Neil Young and rejecting hip-hop. But as she educated herself she came to understand that “Black culture is so much deeper,” than what is portrayed in mainstream media. She decided to diversify her social and cultural experiences, “I had to un-brainwash myself. It’s my mission…” Read the rest of her amazing interview and can we just all swoon over the cover real quick? Cool.
The journalist Jason Chekris published a story titled “The Lost Girls” on the Huffington Post. Before you click, just a heads up that this vigilantly and thoughtfully reported piece contains deeply disturbing descriptions of rape and abuse. It’s an extremely upsetting and difficult read, and if you think you’ll be triggered, please don’t click over. Take your time.
The article lays out the sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by Kim Fowley, the rock & roll producer and manager of the band the Runaways, during the 1970s. It details Fowleys exploitation of multiple teenage women, but it centers on the former Runaways’ bassist Jacqueline Fuchs (aka Jackie Fox)’s account of being raped by Foley. The brilliant teen songwriter Kari Krome (she discovered Joan Jett) also gives an account of Fowley sexually abusing her.
It has taken Jackie and Kari 40 years to tell this part of their story, and it’s clear why. Doing so at the time would have meant going up against the man who produced and managed their band; raising their voices as teenage girls in a male-dominated scene; baring their trauma in the face of a victim-blaming society (likely to the sound of crickets); attempting accountability and justice during Los Angeles’ glam rock era, when no one was talking about consent like they are now.
Kim Fowley was revered. He received numerous accolades for his work and cemented himself in rock & roll history. Shit, I even loved his work, and to learn about this violent tragedy means finding a shadow in the story of one of my favorite bands, and in rock & roll. Fowley died in January at age 75. He was a notorious creep, but I cannot assent to feeling unsurprised, or treating the news as shoulda-known-better, guilt-trip fodder. The harm he did to the survivors is still part of their lives, there is still deep trauma embedded in the history of rock & roll, and there is still accountability to be demonstrated.
I want all young women to have an awesome, fun-loving experience of rock & roll and underground cultures. I want girls and women to be able to be in bands and put out records and go to shows, in safety. To experience a sense of discovery, freedom, fun, and pure fucking love, in safety. I want all of us to understand consent, and to believe that when they feel something is not okay, is objectively not okay. I want all young women to know that their intuition is infallible, and that when we speak up about abuse we will be believed, trusted, and our experiences honored.
As horrifying as this account was, it has forced me to think deeper about my own universe, and the abusers in it. Accounts like these mean one hundred more accounts will come out and less space for the Fowleys of today to hide. I want us to shut those hiding spaces down and occupy them with truth and awareness. We do this by speaking and listening. When things come to light, there is healing, there is accountability, there is change.
Jessica Hopper at Pitchfork interviewed Jason Cherkis, the journalist who broke this story about Kim Fowley. The Q&A brings together some of the main points of Cherkis’ piece and gives some pointers on how to understand Fowley’s influence over the girls and the scene. He also emphasizes how difficult it was for Jackie and Kari to speak about the harm Fowley did them. If anyone in your life grills you with the insufferable questions, Why didn’t she say anything? Why didn’t they do anything earlier?, direct them to this piece.
Dylan Marron’s video series “Every Single Word” takes Hollywood films and edits them to include only the words spoken by actors of color. It’s the kind of project that makes me go, “YAY!” (What a great idea that communicates so simply and effectively just how under-represented people of color are in Hollywood), and “UGH” (it is depressing how short these videos are). The very worst is Marron’s edit of Into the Woods, with a grand total of ZERO words. As Marron says, “You’re asking me to believe that a giant is chasing you through the woods, but I can’t believe a person of colour is in the woods?” Up your game, Hollywood.
Everything in this New York Times story about two sets of identical twins who were split up as babies, ending up as blended sets of fraternal twins instead, is heartbreaking and fascinating. From the brief confusion when a girl thinks she sees her colleague at the butcher’s, to the gut-dropping moment Jorge Enrique Bernal Castro sees a photo of his double, William Cañas Velasco, and the grief that some of the young men felt at learning they were not genetically related to their families, the whole story is extraordinary and it really made me think about what family means and how we become who we are.
The digital artist Molly Soda speaks about her work in an interview with Galore Mag. Molly publishes her work (for free) primarily on the platform New Hive. Her work is interested in love, being a woman, and “wanting to feel connected even though you’re not sure who you’re connecting to.” In the interview above, she speaks candidly and thoughtfully about her personal vision of her work, and I love how she thinks about an internet existence that has become a part of all our lives.
When a person is arrested, typically they are sent to jail while they await trial. If the person can afford to post bail, they are usually released unless they are convicted at trial, at which point they enter the prison system. If they can’t post bail, they must languish in overcrowded jails for months, or even years, until they are given a trial date. And since bail is usually set in money, it’s very easy to see how the poor (mostly people of color) are disproportionately kept in jails. Riker’s Island jail in New York City has a reputation as an horrific institution rife with abuse and civil rights violations—a place so brutal that deaths are tragically commonplace.
New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan to keep people out of jail as they await trial. The plan would allow those awaiting trial for nonviolent and misdemeanor crimes to be exempt from bail so they can stay at home with their families and keep their jobs. As the writer Jia Tolentino notes, “bail reform is long overdue,” and an unfair bail system is just one of the many ways that low-income POC are kept inside the criminal justice system. I hope this new program will begin to correct this injustice.
The ambient musician known for excellent collaborations with other artists, Grouper, aka Liz Harris released a new song called “Motorcyle” from her dream pop band, Helen. Helen’s vibe is sunny and alive, but with Liz Harris’ signature misty vocals. If “Motorcyle” is any indication, Helen’s debut record The Original Faces is likely to be one the year’s best.
The musician Julia Holter announced a new record entitled Have You in My Wilderness and a video for “Feel You,” the album’s first single. Holter is one of my favorite contemporary musicians: She’s a multi-instrumentalist who composes each song as if it were a suite in a symphony. The video, which you can watch above, features her running through sparse settings with a very friendly dog. It makes me wish I had a little fur baby of my own. ♦