Sara Century on Ladybug 2012, this November's Titwrench-style festival in Fort Collins
In response to the overwhelming success of Denver's Titwrench Festival -- the award-winning female-centric, three-day rock and noise fest -- local riot-grrrl icon Sara Century has been tapped to bring a version of the event to Fort Collins. Dubbed Ladybug 2012, the freshly minted festival is slated to take place on Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3, at GNU Gallery in Fort Collins.
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"There will be a broad range of genres," says Century. "We'll have Kitty Crimes, Night of Joy, and the Haircut -- a bunch of different stuff. We'll also be bringing in some performance artists and some surprise guests from Albuquerque."
After being contacted by GNU Experience Gallery currator Brendan Marshal to bring "a Titwrench-like thing to Fort Collins," Century says she was particularly enthused about expanding the whole women-rock-just-as-hard ethos and concept beyond Denver. "I feel like something like this is needed, particularly in smaller towns," says Century, adding that in Denver, "we know that it's okay for girls to play music, but that might not be the case in smaller towns."
While it may seem amazingly anachronistic that in 2012 there are still meatheads out there who feel that women don't have the chops to rock a stage next to their male counterparts, the obvious disparity in female to male musicians speaks not only to the need of events like Ladybug, but of the quiet misogyny that can often dissuade young girls from ever picking up an ax.
"It's something every teenage girl has to deal with," declares Century. "Whenever you're playing a guitar over at a friend's house, some boy is gonna come up to you and be like, 'Oh, hey, let me show you how to play that.' Even now, I still see sexism as a girl musician. I was on tour in Albuquerque recently, and over the span of ninety seconds, I was tuning my guitar and had three guys come up to me and were like, 'Hey, sweetheart, you need me to tune that thing for ya?'"
It's mindless knuckle-draggers like those who have been critical of events like Titwrench (or the Arizona event it inspired, FoxVag Fest), referring to those involved as militant man-haters who exclude male musicians at their erroneously inspired breastivals.
"If it wasn't necessary, we wouldn't do it -- we want to work ourselves out of a job," Century proclaims. "It's not like, Oh, we're gonna do this cool girls-only thing, and no boys allowed. It's a community-oriented festival that's intended to shine a spotlight on women in music. At no point has Titwrench excluded men -- male musicians will perform there -- and yet whenever somebody does a story on it, they have to talk about men. During the second Titwrench, The Onion ran an article titled 'Sarah Slater is no man-hater.' And it's like, why bring that up, especially in the title?"
For Century, her biggest concern isn't that Ladybug will be viewed as a militant feminazi convention, but as something with far more ominous sociological implications. "The biggest worry I would have is that it's viewed as the Special Olympics of music," she says, "like, you're not able to run in the real Olympics, so here's your Special Olympics." A small peek at the lineup thus far -- the Haircut, Kitty Crimes, Night of Joy -- should dispel any notion that Ladybug 2012 is some sort of junior varsity event.