Tag Archives: J*Davey

Race, Riot Grrl, the Black Rock Movement, and Nirvana: The Teen Espirit Revisited Overflow

Teen Espirit Revisited

This all started with J*Davey.

The first sunny morning I experienced in San Francisco, right before I went to hang with the Wikipedians, I checked my email and was treated to a free download of Jack and Brook’s cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit“.

Little did I know that later in the year I would get a chance to try to contextualize the impact of Nevermind, and Nirvana, and I would do it in the pages of Spin thanks to my awesome editor Charles Aaron. (The magazine is on newsstands now, page 45, and in digital form.)

My pitch for a piece exploring the 90s, and cultural angst was accepted, and the opening paragraph of my pitch was so well received it ended up as the opening for the article. But when I sat down to research, I realized I was making some assumptions about writing on culture that weren’t going to bear out. And after interviewing J*Davey, Jeff Chang, Laina Dawes, Allison Wolfe, Simon Tam, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Frannie Kelley, and Felix Contreras, I realized I had an 8,000 word draft that had to fit into a 2,000 word space. So a lot of really amazing thoughts – especially thoughts that veered a bit too far from the angst theme we eventually settled on – ended up on the cutting room floor. What’s the deal with Generation X? What did NWA and Nirvana have in common? How did corporatization impact the grunge movement? Did the grunge movement push out black rockers? I could have written a dozen other articles based on the stories people told me, but alas, print has space limits.

Still, I wanted to share with you all a bit of the overflow. Fun quotes and discussions after the jump. Continue reading

I Have Met The Black Zooey Deschanel, and She Is Not Zoe Kravitz…

Zoe Kravitz

…but she might be at Zoe’s show.

Monday night, I headed down to Black Cat to check out the J*Davey show. In the back room, sans air conditioning, an entire room full of alternablack folks waited for Jack and Brook to hit the stage. While I was waiting, I noticed the sheer diversity of black womanhood represented. Afros, braids, wigs, weaves, relaxers, dreads. Heels, Chucks, ballet flats, Birkenstocks. Women dressed like Jack Davey spoke to women dressed like Nicole Ritchie. Women in wrap dresses and heels swayed uncomfortably on the hard cement floor.

The first opening act was a lost cause, so Boyfriend and I ducked out for a burrito break. But we made it back in time to enjoy the second opening act, Elevator Fight.

Since the only glimpse of Zoe I’ve had is her screen sulking through X-Men: First Class, I was interested in seeing her persona as a frontwoman.  Most of the pics of Kravitz have her associated with this ethereal, elven queen, semi-bohemian, flowy 70s glam.  At first glance, it is totally possible to assume she’s on that same train as Zooey.  Come on –  she even lives in Williamsburg, which is the Holy City of Hipster Madness.  But there’s still a few things that seperate the Zoes of the world from the Zooeys. Kravitz appeared on stage wearing a black knit cap over messy hair and a shirt about seventeen sizes too large – her other stage outfits have ranged from conventional to rocker chic.  At twenty-two years of age, it’s clear that the kid is still trying on her personas.  As Jack Davey blew bubbles from the side of the stage, Zoe screamed out her triumph about gay marriage passing in New York, pledged to marry Jack, took shots with her band, and babbled her way through song intros.  She came off as anything but whimsical, and her rich vocals complemented songs titled “Post Empire” and “New Pussy.”  There was not a ukelele to be seen, but she did do an impressive headbang with one of her bandmates.

By the time she started yelling lewd comments when Jack Davey mentioned the fan was “blowing into [her] mouth,” I figured that if Zoe ever was mistaken for a manic pixie dream girl, she’d probably punch that guy in the head and make off with his jacket. Kravitz can pull off the look like a champion, but the trope – and what the idea implies about who she will and will not be publicly – is far too limiting.

Earlier: Who Is the Black Zooey Deschanel?