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Guide to the Lucy Thane Riot Grrrl Collection
ca. 1993-1995
 MSS.287

Fales Library and Special Collections
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Phone: (212) 998-2596
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Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Laura Newsome, 2010. Updated by Charlie Morgan, 2016.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 19, 2017
Description is in English.

Scope and Content

The Lucy Thane Riot Grrrl Collection predominantly consists of video and audio recordings made by Lucy Thane in March and April 1993, during the tour of Riot Grrrl bands Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear in the United Kingdom. It also contains video recordings of associated bands and people. The collection spans the years 1993 to 1995, and forms the raw footage from which Lucy Thane created the film It Changed My Life.

Bikini Kill (from Olympia, Washington) consisted of vocalist Kathleen Hanna, guitarist Billy Karren, bassist Kathi Wilcox, and drummer Tobi Vail. Members of Huggy Bear (from Brighton, England) were Niki Elliott, Karen Hill, Jo Johnson, Chris Rawley, and Jon Slade. The 1993 tour was organized by Liz Naylor, and was accompanied by a split Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear LP on Naylor’s label Catcall Records. On February 12th, less than one month before the tour began, Huggy Bear appeared on the television show The Word and, after protesting a feature on two American models known as ‘The Barbi Twins,’ were removed from the studio. The cover of the next issue of Melody Maker on February 27th was dedicated to the events of February 12th, describing it as a ‘riot.’

Dr Julia Downes describes Huggy Bear’s performance on, and ejection from, The Word as “a key controversial event that propelled riot grrrl into the British popular consciousness.” Subsequently, the March and April tour gained extensive, overwhelmingly negative, coverage in the UK press. This included "Rock Against Men Is Music To The Riot Grrrls' Ears" by Hester Matthewman in The Independent on Sunday on March 14th, and "Angry Young Women" by Caroline Sullivan in The Guardian on March 24th. On March 27th Anne Barrowclough wrote in The Daily Mail:

"They screech, they spit, they snarl, they swear. Every word they scream through the microphone is a prayer against men. When their music stops, you are left with a pounding head, buzzing ear drums and no doubt that Men are The Enemy. Meet the Riot Grrrls, the latest, nastiest phenomenon to enter the British music scene.”

The shows themselves were all sold out and were a transformative experience for many attendees. Jen Denitto of the band Linus has said that the tour “was probably one of the bigger events that would have promoted the idea [of riot grrrl in the UK].” Furthermore, Dr Julia Downes writes that it provided “crucial spaces for the introduction of strategies to resist and reorder gender power relations within British indie music culture.”

The March and April 1993 recordings consist of live concert footage, backstage footage, interviews with band members, post-show interviews with fans, and interviews with associated people, for example Liz Naylor of Catcall Records and members of the band The Raincoats. Additional recordings consist of footage of and interviews with the queercore band Sister George, and footage of and interviews with female musicians in San Francisco, as well as some unidentified, unrelated content.

Arrangement

Dated tapes are arranged chronologically, undated tapes are arranged alphabetically. All ambiguous dates are assumed to be in the British style, but may be incorrect (9/5/94 is assumed May 9th, but may in fact be September 5th).