Review: Double Dare Ya… A Riot Grrrl-inspired super zine!
Double Dare Ya
Always a pleasure to see Julia Scheele’s name on something new, but this is a touch different, a Scheele project with little of her actual art in it, just the odd illo. Instead, it’s Scheele’s idea, along with Sarah Broadhurst, a zine dedicated to the Riot Grrrl movement of the 90s and to the act of DIY publishing in and of itself as a movement.
Sure, it’s not a zine per se, being bigger, full-colour and way more professional than the black and white, photocopied and stapled little A5 thing you might remember, hell perhaps you might have made.
But it’s the ethos and idea that counts, zine making is alive and well in Double Dare Ya. Somehow, the fact it was crowd-sourced merely adds to the whole DIY ethos, so the spirit, passion and energy of the (mostly) female talent inside all speak to the zine idea perfectly. That it’s so good, so professionally done reflects more on the way publishing has changed as the years have rolled on. And boy oh boy, it’s a damn fine read….
Kathleen Hanna – art by Julia Scheele
Inside, there’s a fabulous mix of creators and ideas, words and imagery all on one theme but managing to say so much.
It’s impressive from the off, Julia Scheele’s foreward speaking of the passion behind Kathleen Hanna’s words, of the idea of connecting those bedrooms. But she also speaks of the failings of the Riot Grrrl movement, of its relative lack of awareness of privilege amongst those identifying as part of the scene. It’s something that is being addressed now, during this resurgence of elements of Riot Grrrl culture, more as an idea to move forward than anything else. As Scheele says at the end of her really well written piece ‘Some words on Riot Grrrl’:
“Riot Grrrl is so, so imperfect. It was wonderful, but Christ, it was hella shitty, too. Let’s not look at it as gospel, let’s not even try to revive it as a movement. But let’s listen to our rage and channel it into making something better, into learning and understanding. Let’s connect. Let’s discuss and disagree and even fight, but let’s not contribute to the dumb abuse we’re already facing. Let’s keep talking.”
Absolutely. And with Double Dare Ya, the conversation is flowing beautifully. There’s very little else to say in many ways. Does Double Dare Ya succeed in it’s goals of celebrating music and feminism and DIY culture in all their various forms? Absolutely. Is it full of a grand diversity of ideas and styles? Absolutely. Is it a good read? Absolutely. Job done I reckon.
Now, a few things I particularly loved…
Illustration by Eleni Kalorkoti
I knew Kalorkoti’s name from her cover of Reads Vol 2, issue 1, but this image was the trigger to send me to her site and really explore. Such a fabulous image, stylised yet simple, it really struck a chord (no pun intended at all).
Sisters by Lucie Ebrey
Another name I knew of, but haven’t featured yet on the blog. Ebrey’s a young artist working online mostly, her webcomic is consistently great – the Kolchalka influence quite obvious, but she’s off exploring her own style now as well. Sisters is a beautifully done two pager, speaking strongly of the power of both music and self-belief and how one can feed the other.
Her art here has something extra to what I see online, a real strength and solidity in her colours, a flow in her line, excellent work.
Beth Ditto / The Gossip by Sammy Boaras
I know Boras’ work through various contributions to anthologies but this Beth Ditto piece is way more full-on and in your face than she usually does, quite rightly capturing the personality and power of Ditto’s voice, her ideas, her words.
Illustration by Sarah Burgess
You know, I thought these were lyrics. I really did. But they’re not. I checked. Instead it’s Sarah Burgess delivering a double page of fighting back, of taking a stand, and doing so absolutely brilliantly, with a power tempered with her subtle lines, the rounded stylings of her art still delivering her message so powerfully. Loved this. Absolutely loved this.
Double Dare Ya worked for me. It really did.
Sure, some pieces were better than others of course, some felt too much, some tried too hard, but hey, such is the nature of both opinion and anthology. But taken as a whole, Double Dare Ya is a powerful marshalling of voices and a celebration of everything it sets out to cover. Scheele and Broadhurst have created something really impressive in Double Dare Ya, I can only hope that everything that follows from their new zine making collective ‘One Beat Zines’ is as good as this. I imagine it may well be.
Ending the book/zine there’s five pages of Hot Topic Cards, based on the lyrics of Le Tigre’s Hot Topic, paying tribute to inspirational women and men whose work influenced Le Tigre and Kathleen Hanna, from Nina Simone, Billie Jean King, Aretha Franklin all the way through to Julie Douchet and Sleater-Kinney. Some of the art for the cards here is simply ace, although the necessity of printing small takes some of the power away from them. I’d love to see Scheele and Broadhurst exhibit Double Dare Ya at some point, perhaps at The Lakes Festival or Thought Bubble next year? The full sized versions of the Hot Topic card set would be something mighty impressive.
Now, videos and music. Because reading Double Dare Ya made me revisit the music of both Bikini Kill and Le Tigre for the longest time. I spent a night writing this with Hanna’s music absolutely blasting out through speakers. It’s something to absolutely love…
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the title….
And should you feel like a bloody good watch, I have to recommend, along with Scheele, the recent documentary about Kathleen Hanna, ‘The Punk Singer’. Here’s an extended interview/trail….