My Review – The Punk Singer

For those that know me, it should come to no surprise that I love Kathleen Hanna. Without being too forward, lets just say; if I were a lesbian, I would want to have Kathleen Hanna’s lesbian babies.

I became a fan of Hanna’s back in her Bikini Kill days. Her seemingly sophomoric lyrics, coupled with her outrageously sweet persona truly struck a cord with me in the midst my impressionable teen angst days.  Through Hanna and Bikini Kill I became aware of the whole “riot grrrl” scene and the messages they were promoting. This idea that women can be powerful and have a real voice in society is what inspired me to begin writing.

With my clear disclaimer of bias out of the way, I was excited to see that IFC’s documentary on Kathleen Hanna – The Punk Singer, was available on netflix. I was really impressed with the film. Not only did it focus on Hanna specifically, but it also gave a lot of background on the feminist movement, riot girl, and other areas that Kathleen feels particularly passionate about.

“Because nobody has ever listened to me in my whole life and I have all this stuff I wanted to say”. -Kathleen Hanna

Birth of a Rebel Girl

The beginning of the film begins with an excerpt of an interview with Kathleen describing how she decided to start a band. She claims that one night while attending a writing workshop hosted by Kathy Acker, she was asked why she wanted to become a writer. Hanna states “Because nobody has ever listened to me in my whole life and I have all this stuff I wanted to say”.

That quote really resonated with me. It’s almost as if Kathleen Hanna, one of my greatest heroes, had channeled me, and was speaking my very thoughts there on screen in regards to my own reasons for writing.

Acker tells Hanna that if she wants to be heard then, she needs to stop doing spoken word and start a band instead. Heeding Acker’s advice, Kathleen goes home and decides to start a band. She is soon recruited into the band Bikini Kill.

Girls to the Front

Kathleen’s aggressive onstage presence, demanding girls to take dominance at their live stage shows in response to men assaulting or molesting women at other shows within the punk rock scene, along with her strong messages of women’s empowerment made the band – particularly Hanna, a clear target for scrutiny by the mainstream media.

Hanna claims that; along with the media focusing on banal issues such as the band’s clothing, attempting to write about non-fictional cat fights between her and other female performers, and writing outright lies about her, she was also the target of many hate letters. She goes on to say that one of her saving graces was letters she received from fans and other supporters.

Revolution Girl Style Now!

The members of Bikini Kill, along with another punk girl band Bratmobile decide that they have to do more to spread their message. The bands pooled their efforts into starting the “riot grrrl” initiative, publishing a monthly fanzine and conducting meetings to discuss personal and gender-specific topics. Riot grrrl spread across the country and young girls were inspired to start their own riot grrrl sectors. In spite of the mainstream attention and relative success of the band, Bikini Kill broke up in 1997. This was largely due to Hanna not being able to deal with the hate and criticism being directed towards her and her message.

Girl in Her Bedroom

Respectably, this did not completely discourage Kathleen from giving up on music. From her bedroom she wrote, recorded, and produced her solo album – Julie Ruin and later went on to found Le Tigre.

Le Tigre, unlike Bikini Kill, was less punk rock and more euro-beat inspired. Described as “political radical content you could dance to”, Le Tigre toured aggressively around the world. It was during this time that Kathleen started to often feel ill and depressed. She told her husband and band mates that she was ready to quit performing and that she had no more material worth writing about. There was much speculation and rumor surrounding this decision, until the truth was finally revealed. Kathleen was very sick with late-stage Lyme disease.

My Thoughts

Watching this film gave me a greater respect for Kathleen Hanna. Even when surrounded by critics, she was still determined to push on and do what she wanted to do. She never anticipated fame or fortune, she was simply a girl with a message and wanted to be heard.

I think fans would love how raw Kathleen is on myriad subjects, and comes off as so approachable. The interviews with her, along with friends, fans, and biographers are very intimate and really make you feel like you’re there having a conversation with them. Overall I give the film two thumbs up.

 

Broke Ass Vegan Gourmet – Teriyaki Noodle Bowl

Welcome to the first installment of my new series: Broke Ass Vegan Gourmet. As the title suggests, this is for all of us broke ass people out there whom also happen to be vegans. In spite of the rumors, living on a freelancer’s budget is not all it’s cracked up to be. Often times I find myself getting creative with meals in order to stretch my budget a little further. This can lead to some not-so-conventional recipes.

Ramen noodles. A staple for college students and broke ass people everywhere. With flavors such a beef, chicken, and shrimp, among others, a vegan’s first instinct would be to avoid them like the plague. Upon closer inspection of the ingredients, however, the noodles themselves are technically vegan. For this recipe we’ll be tossing out the seasoning packet, so it really doesn’t matter what flavor you get, just throw the cheapest ones in the cart

IMG_4633 Often times, when writers blog about their recipes they include some insightful or touching story to go along with it. The back story for this recipe doesn’t include summers spent at Grandma’s cottage or slaving away in the kitchen with my mother. The story about this recipe has its own unique charm. There I was standing in the grocery store – broke, vegan, and hungry. I had $20 to last until I received my next check and I also needed gas in my car. A quick google search revealed that ramen noodles (the noodles only) were vegan. I grabbed a pack along with a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and for the low low price of $1.98 I had lunch for the day.  I thought about adding vegetable broth, but I didn’t have any left. In a jam, I spotted some soy and teriyaki sauces in the fridge… and alas the broke ass teriyaki noodle bowl was born.

 

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Broke Ass Teriyaki Noodle Bowl

1 package ramen (any flavor, throw out the seasoning packet)

1 1lb bag of frozen stir fry vegetables

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

To begin, fill up a pot with water. Enough for the ramen brick and frozen veggies to float freely, but if you’re anal about measurements then around 8 cups should be sufficient. Bring water to a boil, then add in the ramen noodles and the entire bag of frozen stir fry vegetables.

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Continue boiling noodles and vegetables until noodles are soft and vegetables are hot (apx. 5-10 mins).

Drain the water and place the noodles back into the pot – or a large mixing bowl if you’re feeling fancy.  Add in the soy and teriyaki sauces. Mix well. Bon a Petite!

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This isn’t the type of meal that nutritional content is taken into consideration, but if you’re looking for something cheap, easy, and vegan then this is about as good as it gets. With the rising cost of produce, veganism can get rather expensive at times. Sometimes we budget conscious vegans have to get creative in our meal planning. I hope this article has inspired someone out there, and I hope to bring you other broke ass recipes in the future. Stay tuned!

 

An Ode to Lisa Frank

August is finally upon us. As summer winds down and the days become shorter this time of year usually means one thing for many people – back to school shopping. I can’t help but get a little nostalgic around this time of year. I remember being in elementary school, carefully milling over the school supply section of kmart or the now extinct Hills department store selecting only the best school supplies my parents’ money could afford me.

For elementary school girls in the early to mid 90’s this usually meant one thing – Lisa fucking Frank. Like a dayglow nightmare, she was there to separate the “cool” girls from the plain Jane solid notebooks, and no one at that time wanted to be plain Jane solid notebook. For those that don’t remember or never experienced Lisa Frank, it was the fillet Mignon of school supplies.

Similar to many fads Lisa Frank took the school supply world by storm, then vanished seemingly overnight. It’s been years since I’ve noticed even a pencil pack, that is until now…

ImageThere I was at the Dollar Tree grabbing a few notebooks and suddenly it appeared. A wave of nostalgia came over me, gave me a swift punch in the face, and now there was no going back. I wanted it… no I needed to buy this book of stickers. My entire childhood was right there for sale, and it was only $1.

As insane as it sounds I instantly needed to find more. I went to every drugstore in town hoping to find a folder, a notebook, maybe even a pack of pencils, but my search turned up nothing. Surly Ms. Frank must still exist, but where?

After getting home, perplexed by my find I decided to look it up. A quick google turned up her official website www.lisafrank.com A few items showed up on amazon and ebay respectively but otherwise, nothing.

If anyone has any leads on to where to find new or vintage Lisa Frank items, feel free to leave a comment.

Bonus: Here’s an example of what one of my many notebooks may have looked like circa 1994-95.

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Jake’s Candy Fun Pack

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I originally posted about this on my tumblr http://http://heatherlovesthings.tumblr.com but I felt that the true beauty of Jake’s Candy Fun Pack couldn’t truly be admired in that format, which is why I’m writing about it here.

Few things thrill and excite me as much as a surprise grab bag – or in this case fun pack. It could be a bag full of used catheters and 20 year old fruit cake and I’d still buy five of them. Something about the allure and excitement of random crap thrown together into a neat little package makes my eyes light up like a kid on Christmas morning.  Before I reveal the contents of the fun pack, allow me to provide some back story on it’s origins.

There I was, 11:30am at the Bargain Warehouse.  For those that have never experienced the Bargain Warehouse it’s a hodgepodge of overwhelming randomness. It’s not uncommon for a pile of mattresses to be neatly arranged next to a box full of random auto junk. Literally, their inventory is out in bins that sorting through has become a new favorite past time of mine.

Sorting through one of such random bins full of Jeff Foxworthy quote keychains and Scarface cigarette rolling machines I glance to my left and I see it. It beacons me over from on a display, yes an actual display in the Bargain Warehouse. Surly this was no ordinary fun pack, and the Bargain Warehouse made sure that such a fun pack would be look upon with the same prestige and honor the likes of Licensed Marvel wall mounted lights and Elvis barstools had.

Feeling as if I had struck gold I quickly throw the prized fun pack into my cart along with my other assorted purchases. I don’t know who Jake is but he must be a really fun guy. I couldn’t wait to get home and see what treasures were lurking inside.

ImageThe first thing I pull out of the bag is the candies.  From the looks of them these candies must have expired more than five years ago. Oversized generic pixie sticks, assorted gum, a mini gummy burger, mounds bar, and a green apple sucker, all the staples were accounted for. My kid brain made me eat the giant pixie sticks first. I needed to get a sugar rush as quickly as possible before unleashing the rest of my bounty.

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If there’s one thing Jake knows, it’s fun, and he sets the bar high in that respect. The latest fashion robot (fake Optimus Prime/transformer thing) and a paddle ball make it clear that Jake has a quality assurance with his fun packs that surpass all other fun packs that came before them.

ImageAs fun of a guy Jake is, suddenly the fun pack takes on a serious tone.  Just to prove to kids today that life isn’t all slightly outdated candies and unlicensed robots, Jake includes a book because knowledge is power. From the Lightning Reader series, and ego-boosting Confident 3 Reader, we have Mr. Smith’s Surprising Pet.  I don’t want to give anything away so if you haven’t read this one you might want to stop reading now, in fact you may have wanted to stop reading 4 paragraphs ago, but I digress. Mr. Smith’s surprising pet is a dinosaur. Yes, a real live dinosaur. I didn’t see that gripping plot twist coming either. I’m still in shock.