Friday, February 22, 2013

Riot Grrrl Archive to Be Published in Book Form

Since 2010, NYU's Bobst Library has been home to the Riot Grrrl Collection, "an attempt to document the evolution of the Riot Grrrl movement, particularly in the years between 1989 and 1996," according to the collection's home page

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Much more than a zine repository, the collection contains flyers, posters, photos, correspondence, journals, notebooks, artwork, audio and video recordings, and other items created by those active in riot grrrl, the largely white and young punk feminist movement that grew out of cities like Washington, D.C., and Olympia, Washington. Bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Heavens to Betsy combined music and politics in a way that infected and inspired legions of high school- and college-aged women, forcefully shaking them out of their suburban stupor.

The Riot Grrrl Collection, housed in the Fales Library & Special Collections room in Bobst Library, has generated plenty of publicity since its 2010 debut. Still most people who are interested in the collection are unable to come to New York City to access the primary source materials in person. So the Feminist Press, an independent nonprofit literary publisher that promotes freedom of expression and social justice, is putting out a book featuring reproductions of some of these source materials for a wider audience to appreciate.

Lisa Darms, senior archivist at Fales Library & Special Collections, NYU.
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In an interview with NYU Local, Lisa Darms, the senior archivist who created the Riot Grrrl Collection, said the Feminist Press approached her about the book a year and a half ago."It was their idea," Darms told NYU Local. "They heard about the collection and at first we had talked about just being a few zines reproduced in their entirety, and we worked with that idea for a while. When my editor started seeing the material, she was like, 'I want to add pages and you to do more excerpts and get more material out there.'"

Among the items included in the book, which is simply titled The Riot Grrrl Collection, are drafts of lyrics written by Kathleen Hanna (of Bikini Kill) - some for songs that were never finished - and a letter from Tobi Vail (of Bikini Kill) to Molly Neuman (of Bratmobile), sent in 1990 before they had ever met up in person. The Riot Grrrl Collection will be approximately 340 pages of material.

Asked by NYU Local what she wants readers to take away from the book, Darms responded, "I kind of have different agendas. As an archivist, I'm really concerned that it's objective and historically accurate. A part of me want[s] it to be used as a historical document. At the same time, I see it as a manual for teen girls. And then, you know, more generally my goal is to make the collection more accessible. With the book, people anywhere can see the stuff that's here."

According to Lisa Darms, the publication date for The Riot Grrrl Collection is mid-June. (Amazon and the Feminist Press state that the book will be released on May 14, 2013.) The forward was written by Johanna Fateman, who's played in bands The Troublemakers and Le Tigre with Kathleen Hanna.

For more on the book The Riot Grrrl Collection, go HERE and HERE.

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