Pussy Riot’s Quiet Riot

 

Eve Ensler, Naomi Wolf, Camille Paglia and their contributions to Feminism’s New Wave aside, the Real Revolution is Streetwise.

From the Runway to the Street, the message is clear; we ain’t gonna take this (attack on our personal and collective freedom), sitting down.

When Dior sent message T-shirts down its Spring/Summer 17 catwalk, it was evident that the buzz on the street had not escaped the Designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri. In her debut Collection (as the first female artistic director), at the helm of the House, Chiuri demonstrated her Feminist chops. Things had changed.

The T-shirt’s soon hit the street where they started, completing Fashion’s cyclical evolution.

The street where everything starts, gave birth to this New Wave of Feminism, when during the 80s, the Guerrilla Girls began making their presence known on the streets of NYC. It was during the post-Punk, pre-Grunge ABC/No Rio and  Anti-Folk Era of Downtown Manhattan, when everything had fizzled out and gone dark, thanks to corrupt politicians and Real Estate Developers, including our current POTUS.

The Guerrilla Girls are feminist activist artists. Their anonymity keeps the focus on the issues; they wear gorilla masks in public and use “facts, humor and outrageous visuals to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture, undermining the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair.”

Their stealth revolution has not gone unnoticed and they have done over 100 street projects in cities all over the world since their early years during the Gentrification of NYC’s Boho Zone.

I’ve included the link to their site for more info on them, what they do and where they do it.

After the Guerrilla Girls, came the Riot Grrrl (Punk/Grunge) Movement. Begun during the 90’s in Seattle (and on the East Coast, in D.C.), but which quickly grew beyond its geographical confines and musical roots to create a vibrant “zine”culture and Web-based grassroots organization, complete with local Chapters holding meetings, “to end ageism, homophobia, racism, sexism and most especially, physical and emotional violence against women and girls.”

The Political climate needs to be just so for activists to foment change. Witness another New Wave Feminist Movement, Code Pink. Founded in 2002 as a grassroots effort to prevent the US war on Iraq, and to hold war criminals accountable. They actively opposed the continuing U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes. They can’t be missed as they  continue to do all the above, wearing bright pink at all the events where they make an appearance.

Many of these disparate (Feminist) forces are connected via women who go on the road to spread the word and to network and connect with other like-minded women gathered in towns, reservations, villages and prisons all over the world. Gloria Steinem’s book about her life on the road, chronicles this lifestyle. This Revolution has been a long time coming and although it is clearly viewed as dangerous and has been shut out of the Oval Office, it prevails. Seeds sowed by the Mothers of the Movement, Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis and all of the others, have taken root and continue to flourish and spread.

The March on D.C. to protest the inauguration of President Trump, was the largest protest in U.S. History. Not to mention the millions who gathered world-wide. We are not going away. Taking a cue from Code Pink (and our POTUS’ Pussy Grabbing comments), we were not going to be missed, either. Nimble fingers got busy knitting and crocheting, transforming “women’s work” into a political statement.

We’ve come a long way baby, since the 70’s or even the 80’s, before the Berlin Wall came down, when there was already a lot of cross-pollination between NYC and Berlin (West at the time). Many artists were going back and forth across the Attlantic, feeling the imminent change in the air. Perhaps Bowie and Eno had started it earlier, but when I lived in Manhattan, I knew many who were making that particular commute.

Artists from Eastern Block cities including Budapest. Prague (The Plastic People), and Moscow, traveled to and from NYC during the 70’s and 80’s, by which time there was a route mapped out, traversing lands and oceans, providing safe passage to erstwhile ex-patriots. The fires of Feminism had been stoked behind the Curtain.

Pussy Riot are the result of those early infiltrations, through the cracks in the wall, to the still forbidden territory beyond.

They are in essence, cousins of the Guerrilla Girls and Riot Grrrls, born in the wake of Glasnost.

Pussy Riot gained International attention when three of their members were tried for “hooliganism” and inciting “religious hatred,” on the basis of a “punk prayer” they performed in Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral.

 As punishment for their performance, called “Our Lady, Chase Putin Out!” the prosecutor demanded three years in a labor camp for each defendant. The women insisted that their act was artistic and political in nature – and clearly politics is why they were prosecuted –  as part of a broader crackdown by Vladimir Putin’s government.
Each was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On October 10, following an appeal, one of the women ( Yekaterina Samutsevich), was freed on probation and her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women ( Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina), were upheld. After serving 21 months they were released.

Founded in 2011, Pussy Riot (the band), says that they ” stage unauthorized, provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet, as well as reported widely by international media.”

Their lyrircal themes take on feminism, LGBT rights, continued opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator, and links between Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. And now with Putin and Russia’s alleged interference in our Election process, Pussy Riot’s message crosses borders and boundaries.

Pussy Riot has been on a speaking tour for the last few years, and on March 13th they will be here in New Mexico, appearing at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque (a second show added) due to the following night’s sold out show at the KiMo Theatre.

The  upcoming, very special Albuquerque shows will mark the (Actual) World Premiere of Pussy Riot Theatre, with their new original production “Revolution”.

The performance piece will be followed by a talk and Q&A. After Albuquerque, they will head to South By Southwest for the (Official ) World Premiere.

I’ve posted the info below along with links to Code Pink, Guerrilla Girls and, if you speak Russian, Pussy Riot’s Live Journal.

Revolutions happen where there is poverty, pain, hunger, oppression and only the rich ever gain, where basic needs are not met and freedom is threatened. Globally women are waking up to this fact and coming together peacefully, from the former U.S.S.R. to Standing Rock, to oppose Globalized Colonialism and the continued exploitation and abuse of women and children. As Hillary Clinton stated in Beijing all those years ago, Women’s Rights are Human Rights.

Feminism has become Fashion.

The Revolution is Now.

Join 516 ARTS, AMP Concerts and Tricklock Company for two nights of art, performance and activism, kicking off the 17th Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival and celebrating Women & Creativity.

MONDAY, MARCH 13, 8pm:

Pussy Riot Revolution
at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque


TICKETS: $17 / $22 / $27 (plus additional on-line fees)

Direct link for tickets:
http://www.ampconcerts.org/event/275441/pussy-riot-revolution

 

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