Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kuchen mit Rock

Merchandise table at Kuchen mit Rock; photo by Val PhoenixK9
18 January 2009

Kaffee, Kuchen, Kunst. Always a good combination, in my book. So, back to sunny Friedrichshain for an afternoon in support of the Ruby Tuesday Rock Camp, planned for the summer. This is a local version of the Girls Rock camps that have sprung up in North America, which offer girls the opportunity to pick up instruments and so increase their self esteem--stealth feminism, if you will.

And any doubts about the need for such an undertaking would be quickly dispelled by viewing the Girls Rock film which was screened (in part, more on that later). Filmed at a camp in Portland, Oregon, I believe, it focussed on a handful of participants taking part, as well as counsellors and tutors, who included rock luminaries Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto and sts.

The girls came loaded with baggage of problems at home, identity issues, body issues, and the general burden of living in a misogynist society. Quite a lot to get through in five days, but they threw themselves into forming bands, writing songs and getting to grips with playing instruments, while also exercising their communication and bonding muscles.

Sadly, we didn't get to see how it all turned out because the DVD froze 75 minutes in, but what was seen was gripping.

Also, on the bill was music from last-minute booking The Dropout Patrol, a duo with acoustic guitar and only one mic. This was an interesting exercise in working in less than ideal conditions but the songs came through strongly, an odd combination of amusing lyrics and earnest, understated delivery. Charming.

Equally beguiling was the performance art duo Julia + Julia, whose performance I only caught part-way through. Two women in red dresses reclining in their living room staging scenarios involving hysteria, science and smoking cigars as a way of debunking gender cliches. Hard to describe but I found it very funny.

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