This song is inseparable for me from an early-’90s weekend I housesat on East Fifth Street between A and B for Daniel Fidler, who I worked with at SPIN magazine. (I was a 17-year-old intern, he was in his twenties and worked in research).
Daniel was really nice, loved Fugazi, and had a mother cat and a bunch of kittens nesting under his sink. I took care of them while he was in Israel. I also listened to the above song over and over at his apartment, and it made me feel better about a recent breakup with my first serious boyfriend. I liked staying there, listening to all his albums, reading his magazines, and pretending his studio was my own. I drank a lot of coffee. I did some light snooping.
Kathleen Hanna mentioned this great site about Riot Grrrl and its effect at the MoMA the other night.
Here’s its mission statement: THE INTERNATIONAL GIRL GANG UNDERGROUND compilation zine is a collection of stories, artwork, and critical work about DIY feminist cultural production and punk rock today, twenty years after the riot grrrl movement, and in the wake of its legacy.
They’re doing some great reflections on and deconstruction of ’90s feminism and zine culture.
When I was sixteen and reading zines I’d found on the floor of bookstores in NYC and carrying them around talisman-like through my high school hallways, I had NO IDEA other people all over the country were doing the same thing. I wish I’d know that then, but failing that it’s nice to know now.
Courtney in 1992
first let me say i love your blog. i when i was younger, i often feared the days when i would hear/read/watch someone saying the words, “back in the 90s”, but now that those days have come, i actually really, really love it. i was born in 1980, so by the time i hit my teenage years i was right in the middle of grunge, at the tail end of MTV actually showing music videos, knee deep in weekends at the mall, ripe to discover third wave feminism and the zine revolution. i found your blog as a link on kathleen hanna’s own, and after reading just a few entries i remembered exactly why riot girl punk, the diy movement, perzines, and records stores saved my life. it was something i needed, because sometimes when you’re 29, you wake up and all that idealism that had you marching in protest of the iraq war and forcing your dad to listen to bikini kill on road trips home from college gets flushed away in the soul sucking vaccuum of adulthood.
Courtney in 1999
i know exactly how i became a 90’s woman and i owe it all to the internet. my family got online early, and my parents encouraged us to use the internet – then a tangled mess of code, usenet groups, and bulletin boards – to entertain us while they were at work. i was a very sheltered, very smart child who lived in a house with a lot of rules that kept me cooped up inside with cable television and baby sitter’s club books as substitutes for friends. in early high school, i was starting to develop into a solitary, quirky, quiet girl who loved mystery science theater 3000, nirvana, and reading about the manson family when a bulletin board on the (i think) defunct prodigy internet service introduced me to some young ladies from all over the country who were into these things called zines.
Emily Rediker in Washington, D.C., just sent us the nicest email. She works on a web series created by Otessa Ghadar called Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden. It’s about high schoolers growing up in the 90s in Washington, D.C. They just started an eZine and the latest is a teen-mag-prom-issue-pastiche [PDF here]. Check it out!
I was just looking at the CNN homepage and thinking there is a kind of valley-girl chatter tone to a lot of the headlines. I credit the “Valley Girl Intelligentsia” of 90s zines with making the tone of discourse in media more casual. And I am not in graduate school, so I can just throw that out there and don’t have to prove it.
For three dollars, you can download Lisa Carver’s original, disturbing “Suckdog Love Booklet” from Nutmusic. There is horrific hate speech in it (Lisa famously performed with Jean-Louis Costes and Psychodrama), lots of talk about violence, and some gems of 90s music history.
In a SPIN interview reprinted here, Robert Christgau, says of Suckdog, “Why should anything you’ve said make me want to go see this group?”
Lisa writes on Nutmusic’s website something that puts the booklet into some context, and provides as lucid an explanation of Suckdog, extreme zine culture and the 90s vs. today as anything I’ve seen. Here’s how it opens: Continue reading