Drop Dead Gore-geous

So, beauty pageants aren’t usually the kind of thing that get feminists excited(not in a good way, anyway)… but in Nottingham city, what would usually be unthinkable is actually happening; women of a feminist persuasion are ironing their silk sashes, polishing up their tiaras and rehearsing speeches on how they will make the world a better place ‘for the children’. The crucial difference here is that these beauty queens will also be a gruesome shade of green, dripping in blood and murmuring about brains.

The Drop Dead Gore-geous zombie beauty pageant/talent contest is the brain-child (mmmmbraaains) of the Ladyfest Nottingham team (hence the feminist link) and will be occurring, of course, on All Hallow’s Eve. Taking place at the marvellously named Spanky van Dykes, the night will consist of zombie contestants showcasing their talents (singing, dancing, fire breathing,whatever!) to win a cash prize and a professional photo-shoot… Although one assumes they don’t have to be zombified for the photo-shoot.

Perhaps I’m easily swayed by the presence of zombies (the addition of zombies to anything always cranks up the awesome-ness factor, IMHO) but I’m really enjoying the subversive twist on the beauty pageant theme. Let’s hope the zombies have fun displaying their more outlandish, gory talents and get to play around with the usual pageant formalities; “So, Miss Zombie Nottingham, why can’t a fifth humans locate America on a map?” “Because I ate their braaaains!”

All event details are here, so get yourself down there if you can. If I was in Nottingham, rather than donning a purple wig, tartan mini skirt and swearing profusely (can you guess who it is yet?) at some London based Halloween shindig, then I’d definitely be going along to see who will be crowned queen of the undead!

By: Sarah Barnes, 26.10.2010 | Comments (0)
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Tonight! Swallows and Amazons Life-Drawing Salon is Turning Japanese!

Tonight sees our favourite London life-drawing salon, Swallows and Amazons, looking to Japanese art and culture for inspiration; presenting models playing with stereotypes of Geisha and Samurai and encouraging artists to get creative with traditional inking techniques and Manga styles.

Get yourself down to The Victoria Pub, Mile End, from 8 o’clock to join in the flexing of creative muscles – Full details are here. Entry is just £6, which includes all the artistic materials you will need, and every penny goes towards Ladyfest Ten!

By: Sarah Barnes, 12.10.2010 | Comments (0)
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And the nominees are…

It’s been a good old while since I told you about The Girls Are’s quest to find some hot, new womanly musical-talent worthy of gracing the stage at this year’s Ladyfest Ten extravaganza. In a bid to bring us some fresh ear-candy, whilst also providing support to acts that are still a wee bit ‘green’, The Girls Are arranged their ‘Just A Girl‘ battle of the bands competition. Well, choosing the cream of the crop has been a long and arduous task but finally, today, the nominations were announced!

The six finalists bring all different flavours to the musical table; There’s eery gypsy folk from Birds of Paradise, jangly punk tunes from Amazon Molly, acoustic sweetness from Minnie Birch, staccato electro from GLDGRVZ, mellow grunge rock from She Makes War and frenetic post punk from Blue Cherrys. Phew!

With so many styles represented, it’s going to tough to choose a band to fill that all-important Saturday slot (supporting MEN, no less!)… but if you want to see all these exciting bands battle it out before your very eyes, then get yourself down to the Just A Girl live final on October the 23rd!  All the details are here, so go along and support your favourite!

By: Sarah Barnes, 08.10.2010 | Comments (0)
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You’ve got FeMail

Another day, another exciting Ladyfest Ten project to get involved in! This time, those creative types at Storm In A Tea Cup are hoping to get women (and men) from all over the world to participate via the medium of snail mail in their Postcard Project.

Whilst Ladyfest Ten, as an event, will be taking place this November in London, the aim is to celebrate ten fantastic years of the grass-roots female arts phenomenon that is Ladyfest. Since Ladyfest has been celebrated all over the world, it seems only right to invite those it has touched to contribute in some way. This particular artistic global outreach aims to bring together those Ladyfesters from around the world in a huge support of this very unique female focussed fest.

Feeling inspired? Well, before you starts scribbling away please bear in mind that there is a theme and that theme is ‘X’. As well as being the roman numeral for Ten, it is also the kiss sign… and in Norse mythology is the letter for GIFT (you really do learn something new everyday!)

Submissions can be in any medium- as long as it still passes for a postcard and fits through a letterbox then the rest is up to you! Perhaps even adorn your creation with one of these Women of Distinction stamps, shown above, for extra feminist brownie points… Just make sure you get it to the Ladyfest Ten team by October 15th – address is here.

By: Sarah Barnes, 03.09.2010 | Comments (0)
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Battle of The Girl Bands!

Yoohoo, all you girl groups out there! Whether you’re the next Le Tigre, Destiny’s Child or Shampoo, if you’re looking for your big break then now is the time to take off your head phones and prick up your ears…

Big supporters of women in music, The Girls Are, are running a competition for bands to battle it out for a coveted slot at Ladyfest Ten in November. The competition, Just A Girl, will be judged by women in the know from publications such as The Fly and Wears The Trousers, as well as Charlottle Richardson Andrews from the legendary The Slits.

Not only will the winning band be playing alongside some huge names at the festival, but the talented group will also receive radio airplay and feature as part of a Ladyfest Ten documentary. Find out all the T&Cs here, and then hurry to get your demo track in – the deadline for entry is the 8th of September! Good luck!

By: Sarah Barnes, 29.08.2010 | Comments (0)
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Have Your Cake and Eat It This Saturday!

I’ve just heard word of yet another fabulous fund-raiser for Ladyfest Ten!

Have Your Cake And Eat It is the love-child of two of London’s top creative organisations, Diy Womp and Storm in a Teacup, so a good time is practically guaranteed! Taking place this Saturday at East London’s George Tavern, the event is yet another in a fantastic string of shindigs that raise funds for the very good cause that is Ladyfest Ten.

Personally, I’m already sold on the cute Russian Doll flyer, but if you need any more persuading to attend then here’s what to expect:

A bargain at £5 on the door, the event kicks off with some genteel art appreciation at 6, with bands taking to the stage from 8. Need to know more? Click here!

By: Sarah Barnes, 16.08.2010 | Comments (0)
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Ladyfest Nottingham: Ready to Rock!

It was just a couple of days ago that I was getting over-excited about Ladyfest Ten announcing their festival dates, and yet here I am with yet more lovely Ladyfest news for you!  I’ve just caught a glimpse of Ladyfest Nottingham’s virtual flier – for their festival on the 10th of July – and I have to say it looks like a really unique and exciting event.

With rock metal from Scarlets Wake and grungy punk from The Smears and Grim Dylan (all in the Rescue Rooms from 4 til 10), Ladyfest Nottingham looks to be celebrating the deliciously vicious, darker side of Riot Grrrl (think L7 and early Hole!). Over in the performance venue (the Red Rooms, from 6 til 9) there will be potry and comedic performances and, perhaps controversially, rock pole dancing from Hell On High Heelz.

Now, pole dancing at Ladyfest events is not every feminist’s cup of tea and, honestly, it wouldn’t be my choice of entertainment (either to put on the schedule or to watch)… But I remember clearly the tension and turmoil involved in the organisation of Ladyfest Leeds when we were accused of being a ‘porn-fest’ for even considering having a pole dancer as entertainment and for hosting a very balanced discussion around pornography (For Ladyfest Leicester’s reaction, see the Wednesday April 18th 2007 blog entry here).

Such things as burlesque and pole-dancing are hotly debated in feminist circles but discussion and debate needs to be encouraged, rather than quashed. Hence why I am keeping an open mind about this particular addition to the Nottingham Ladyfest’s line-up… and I would be interested to see Hell On High Heelz’s routine and decide for myself whether it relates to my personal definition of feminism.

What I especially love about Ladyfests is how they deeply reflect the amazing women who work so hard to put them on, and Ladyfest Nottingham looks like a spectacular example of a really personal fest, and a rocking one at that!

Tickets are £5 in advance (from here) or £6 on the door, with all profits going to Roads To Recovery. More details are here, and don’t foget to follow the Notts Ladyfesters on Twitter so you can be kept up to date!

By: Sarah Barnes, 25.06.2010 | Comments (0)
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Ladyfest Ten Festival Dates Confirmed

Exciting news today as Ladyfest Ten confirm the dates for the festival! Get out your diaries now and mark down the 12th, 13th and 14th of November 2010, because something tells me this is going to be a fantastic event…

Ladyfest Ten will be celebrating 10 whole years of Ladyfests – the global, grassroots festival that celebrates and promotes female creativity. The three day event will be taking place around various North London venues, including The Relentless Garage.

Confirmed acts and ticketing details will not be broadcast until next month, but the organisers are promising an exciting and diverse programme of female-fronted music, arts, film, literature, comedy, craft, workshops and even sport! If you want to keep up to date with all the details as they unfold, then make sure you follow the Ladyfesters on their Facebook andTwitter pages.

Oh, and if you want to get involved, don’t worry – it’s not too late! The next Ladyfest Ten meeting will be at 7.30pm on Wednesday 30th June 2010 at the Southbank Centre. See the website for more details.

By: Sarah Barnes, 23.06.2010 | Comments (0)
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Ladyfest Goldsmiths kicks off on Monday!

Ladyfest Goldsmiths returns this year with a five day programme celebrating women in arts, music, film and more! The line-up looks amazing, with a great mix of workshops, film screenings, discussions, gigs, crafting sessions, and even the chance to get gaming with other girls.

Events kick off this coming Monday (the 22nd) and go on til Friday (the 26th) All events except the Ladyfest Band Night (on Thursday, definitely not one to miss!) are free, but donations are appreciated and will go to Women’s charities.

So that you’re nice and prepared, here’s the line-up in all its glory!

MONDAY

5pm Special Collections, ground floor, the library: Launch of the Ladyfest Art Exhibition – ‘In Her Shoes’. Free drinks and nibbles. (The exhibition will be open all week.)

5.30pm Special Collections, ground floor, the library: Where are all the Women in Art? Talk with artists Oriana Fox and Lydia Maria Julien.

7.30pm the Common Room, first floor, Students’ Union Building: Cabaret Night by the radical feminist collective Lashings of Ginger Beer.

TUESDAY

3-4.30pm Stephen Lawrence Committee Room, ground floor, Students’ Union Building: ‘Women and Direct Action’ workshop with NUS Women’s Officer Liv Bailey.

5pm in RHB308, second floor, main building: Film Screening Patti Smith – Dream of Life + discussion on Women in Music.

9pm the Stretch Bar, second floor, Students’ Union Building: Ladyfest Pub Quiz.

WEDNESDAY

12.30–4pm Stephen Lawrence Committee Room, ground floor, Students’ Union Building: Video Gaming Session.

4.30pm Stephen Lawrence Committee Room, ground floor, Students’ Union Building: Why I am a Fat Activist. Talk & Q&A with fat/queer activist Charlotte Cooper.

6pm RHB137, ground floor, main building: Pitbull Film Productions Short Films Screening + Talk by film makers Bev Zalcock and Sara Chambers.

7pm RHB143, first floor, main building: Performance Art with Justyna Scheuring, Bojana Jankovic, Nicole Dimitrakopoulou, Becky Fury, Kinetic Aesthetic.

THURSDAY

12–2pm Stephen Lawrence Committee Room, ground floor, Students’ Union Building: Crafternoon – come to do either tie dye, make-do and mend or knitting (or all of them!).

4-7pm the Common Room, first floor, Students’ Union Building: Ladyfest Live – Acoustic Afternoon.

5.30pm Stephen Lawrence Committee Room, ground floor, Students’ Union Building: Film producer and journalist Mandana Mofidi TALK.

7pm RHB139, ground floor, main building: Film screening of The Seashell and the Clergyman and The Smiling Madame Beudet by Germaine Dulac as part of Feminist Society’s Women Make Films film series.

9pm The Stretch Bar, second floor, Students’ Union Building : Ladyfest Band Night with happy punk tunes from BRACELETTES, skewhiff riot grrrl from WETDOG, superfun smoky garage rock from PENS and catchy steel-toed shoegazing from VERONICA FALLS. Girl Germs + DaftKunt DJ, feminist society & co. provide cakes. Tickets are £4 on the door, or £3 in advance at the Students’ Union Shop or online.

FRIDAY

12-4pm The Stretch Bar, second floor, Students’ Union Building: Jumble Sale and Craft Stalls.

4pm Special Collections. ground floor, the library: Last chance to see ‘In Her Shoes’ Art Exhibition as it closes at 5pm.

By: Sarah Barnes, 20.02.2010 | Comments (0)
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Design a Logo for Ladyfest Ten!

Ladyfest is in its tenth year… can you believe it!? Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!? To celebrate this milestone, a group of Ladyfest aficionados have got together to create Ladyfest Ten and celebrate in style with the biggest and best Ladyfest ever. Whilst plans for the fest are well on their way, the event is still without a logo… and that’s where you come in.

Ladyfest Ten want you to create a logo to be used on flyers, posters and everything Ladyfest related. The designer of the winning logo will be rewarded with two festival passes, as well as legions of adoring fans and life-long fame (okay, so only the first one is guaranteed…!). The only requirements are that the logo should read ‘Ladyfest Ten’ and that you should create two versions of the logo (one black and white and one colour).

Submit a .jpg or .tiff file of your design to ladyfestten.logo@googlemail.com before the 24th February with your name and contact details. Good luck!

(photograph by Sarah Barnes, from Ladyfest London 2008)

By: Sarah Barnes, 15.02.2010 | Comments (0)
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