Recap: "What It Feels Like for a Girl" at 92YTribeca



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Emily Gould and Supercute! Photograph: 92YTribeca
Emily Gould and Supercute! (Photograph: 92YTribeca)

Here in the Own This City section, we're somewhat obsessed with Marisa Meltzer's new book, Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, a thoroughly engrossing dissection of women in music in the 1990s (Bikini Kill and the Spice Girls are treated with equal importance, which is pretty great). Last night, during the "What It Feels Like for a Girl" event at 92YTribeca, bloggers, writers and a band of teenagers took the theme of women in music and ran with it, offering a series of often-hilarious presentations on what it means to be a girl who digs (or makes) music.

Each presenter picked a particular female musician as the central topic of their vignettes. Meltzer, who served as the MC (sort of), began the evening with a short discourse on one of the most divisive figures in music (and feminism): Courtney Love. Reading first from the Hole singer's 2006 book, Dirty Blonde (essentially a compendium of her journals and other snippets from her life), and then from her own book, Girl Power, Meltzer illustrated what, exactly, makes Love so controversial: She pretends to not give a fuck, but really, she does seek approval (but goes about getting in really weird ways). After that, writer Sean Fennessey talked about freaky rapper Nicki Minaj (choice quote: "I don't condone fucking and I don't condone any nonsense," from an XXL interview), and rapped—hilariously—an excerpt from a song that Minaj did with Usher.

The band Supercute!, on which I have an already-established musical girlcrush, performed songs in between sets, including a cover of Britney Spears's "Oops!...I Did It Again." They also pitched in during blogger Emily Gould's presentation, which began with a performance of one of the dirtiest songs ever recorded, Liz Phair's "Flower." While Gould read a cleaned-up version of the lyrics ("Blow Pop queen" subbed in for one of the song's more memorable lines), the girls of Supercute! sang a G-rated version of the song's backing vocals. ("Everytime I see your face/It takes me to a special place" replaced the original, more explicit lyrics). After that, Gould read an excerpt from her forthcoming memoir, And the Heart Says Whatever, which was also related to Liz Phair, but more about the sort of ennui that's specific to high-school students who are stuck in the suburbs. I could relate.

Finally, White Lightning blogger (and one of TONY's most stylish New Yorkers) Elizabeth Spiridakis gave a Powerpoint presentation on the inventive (and, let's be honest, totally bonkers) fashion of Lady Gaga, paying particular attention to the pop star's lack of pants, and her ever-present teacup. Spiridakis broke it up into sections, themed around high school ("Senior Year," etc.), showing how Miss Gaga has gone from wearing tacky leopard-print duds to the couture-clad crazy-pants that we know and love.

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