All-inclusive feminist house show "Fem’ & Funky" will kick off at 9 p.m. Feb. 23 at local house show venue The Brickhouse.
The lineup includes Bloomington bands Andromedaughter, Gracekellie, Rosegirl and the Indianapolis band Sonora. The door charge is $5, with all proceeds going to Middle Way House, an organization that provides temporary housing, legal services and a wide variety of counseling and support to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
IU freshman Kiah Myers said she knows women and non-binary musicians are vastly outnumbered by their male peers here in Bloomington. She wanted to level the playing field.
Myers came up with the idea to organize "Fem’ & Funky," an event where everyone, not just men, can enjoy a house show without fear of hate or harassment. Myers said she has personally seen many incidents of harassment targeted at women in the Bloomington music scene.
“This lack of non-men performers really made me want to push ladies to the front,” Myers said.
She said she’s studied the history of riot grrrl and punk music, and while some of its leaders have been problematic and exclusive in the past, Myers hopes to employ its core message of putting performers who aren’t men the spotlight.
Myers proposed the idea of an all-inclusive, feminist house show to her friend, IU junior Grant Mitchell. Mitchell is a resident of The Brickhouse, located at 422 S. Grant St., where "Fem’ & Funky" will be hosted. Mitchell said he feels it’s the responsibility of everyone running a show to make sure no one feels unsafe.
“This is very unique for the scene, but I think it’s necessary,” Mitchell said of the show.
Mitchell said he’s excited to help feminist bands gain more exposure in Bloomington. He said he wants anyone who sees or experiences harassment at any venue should feel comfortable notifying those in charge.
Several benefit shows have taken place at The Brickhouse before. Proceeds raised in the past have gone to organizations such as UndocuHoosiers and environmental charities like the National Resources Defense Council and Friends of the Earth. The shows have raised thousands of dollars in the past, according to Myers. Mitchell said shows can attract crowds as large as 400 people.
Bloomington isn’t the only place where issues of exclusion and harassment need to be brought to light, Myers said. She said people need to separate art from the artist, an issue that has been prevalent even on the national stage with musicians such as Ryan Adams or even in film with directors such as Bryan Singer.
“We’re telling those affected that we don’t care,” Myers said of supporting abusive artists. “We need to be uplifting those voices and making music a safe place.”
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