and the lights fade on Session 1: Girls Rock Camp Wrap Up
With an amazing turnout and amazing performances at the Girls Rock Camp Showcase – Session 1 of Camp is officially over! Can’t believe how it all went by so fast! I had a wonderful time co-facilitating the Music History Workshop with Alyx, who posted her thoughts from the workshop on her blog. This time around the girls were eager to share their thoughts and expertise on artists and bands – and as usual – I walked away from the workshop having learned so much from the girls.
At the showcase Paige – who is on the Board of Directors for GRCA and acted as a counselor and Workshop Instructor this session – asked if we had talked about Cyndia Lauper with the girls. I mentioned that not only did we include her in our section on Pop Music, but we discussed her re-writing the lyrics to the hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and we included this song on the mixed CD handed out to the girls. Paige commented that later on in her workshop the girls begged to watch – and then re-watch – the video for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Paige pointed out how the video not only highlights girls’ homosocial bonds (yeah female friendships!) but also incorporates a variety of girls from different racial backgrounds and girls with various body types.
Reviewing the video over the weekend, I enjoyed looking at all the different looks the girls have even just in terms of fashion and hairstyles. Also something about Lauper’s expressive style in the video tickles me. Watching the video over and over my eyes kept focusing on her mouth – there’s something highly performative about the way in which she moves her mouth in the video – in some respects almost being over-expressive about her singing. Not sure what to make of this – but I like it and I’m glad the younger girls at camp gravitated towards it!
Another artist some of the girls are always interested in is Lady Sovereign. Alyx and I include her in the hip-hop section and every year – every session – we have girls ask if she’s on the mixed CD (she isn’t – but maybe next year we’ll get around to adding her). In googling the “biggest midget in the game” I came across this video she did when she was 17 or so. Released in 2002, the film is called X-ed and is described as an “educational film” by wikipedia. The story revolves around Jade Williams – played by Lady Sovereign – who is kicked out of school and leaves town in the hopes of pursuing her dream of becoming a DJ/hip-hop artist.
It’s unclear how much of the film is autobiographical given that Sov was kicked out of school when she was 15 and indeed became a hip-hop artist. In an article for news.com Lady Sovereign notes that while she shares similar backgrounds with Jade, the producers actually wrote the script before they even met her. However, it’s appears as though Sov could relate to the material – in fact she even recorded a song for the project. I’m curious as to how or why X-ed is considered an educational film and what sort of distribution this film received back in 2002.
Though some girls from camp may be Lady Sovereign fans I wouldn’t recommend showing this video to them, not because of questionable language or anything, but rather because the film is quite boring. Clocking in at 35 minutes there’s little to no character development and the narrative structure should have been tightened up a bit. Moreover – and this is the saddest part – there’s hardly any screen time devoted to Lady Sovereign’s musical talents. She mostly pouts a lot . . . oh and wears hoodies.
Before ending this post on Session 1 of Girls Rock Camp – I want to give a shout to 3 girls from camp who are now blogging. First up is Monica who blogs at Head First. Her blog focuses on musicians who are against animal cruelty and who promote vegetarianism. Next up is Nina who blogs at Shark Bait. Right now you can read Nina’s review of the latest album from Vampire Weekend. Finally on the Girls Rock Camp Blog, LaRessa discusses issues of style and conformity in the latest MGMT video.
And with that I say farewell to Session 1. If you or your friends missed out on the showcase you’ll have another opportunity with Session 2 this July. Camp runs from July 26 – 30, which means gearing up for more Music History Workshops (yeah!!), and the showcase will be on July 31st.