We’re at the moment when, emotionally if not tracked on the calendar, summer’s just about over with one last spam, one last exhalation: Labor Day. Along with cookouts and family gatherings, days off (I mean, one hopes), that holiday is the home of one of my favorite new traditions in Columbus – FeMMe Fest. While it rose in opposition to a larger festival, in its inaugural year it was a fascinating showcase for everything I love about our town’s music scene. This year’s looks even bigger, better, and more diverse.
Time and other responsibilities got away from me so not doing a whole “Hey, Fred!” this week but here are some things I want to draw attention to at FeMMe Fest this week. We’ll get back to a wide lens next week but if you did nothing other than events around FeMMe Fest this week, you’d have a full damn week in every sense of that word.
FeMMe Fest runs September 3-September 6 and benefits BRAVO, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization. Below are personal recommendations, not a list of all acts playing. For the full schedule please visit http://femmefest.net
Film and Visual Art
Friday, September 4:
400 W Rich, 400 W Rich St. 6:30pm-8:30pm, $5 suggested donation.
Cinema Outsider. This film program is curated by Columbus multi-media artist and filmmaker Alexis McCrimmon which should make it a must-see; her work is vibrant, surprising, and striking and her connection and commitment to the society and the art world in Columbus and at large is fantastic. A list of films was not available when I wrote this but we’re promised work that will “challenge existing cinematic and cultural conventions, addressing issues of concern to queer, trans, and non-binary people of color and our communities.”
Saturday, September 5:
“Girls to the Front!” What the Rock?!, 1194 N High St. 12:00pm-8:00pm.
This is the art show I know the least about but I have the utmost faith in co-owner of What the Rock?! Heather Ziegler’s curation and anything named after Sara Marcus’s phenomenal history of Riot Grrl I’m 100% in favor of. Beyond a portion of proceeds from art sales going to BRAVO, 15% of all retail sales at WTR will be donated.
Emanate. Girl & Guy Republic, 32 W 5th Ave. Opening reception September 5 at 5:30pm, runs through Oct 24.
Laura Kuenzli of Rivet has turned her niche, fascinating toy store into one of the more consistently interesting, delightful galleries in town. For Emanate, she’s working on a larger scale with a cross-section of some of our best artists including Lisa Ragland, Kent Grosswiler, Taylor Hicks, and Lexie Holliday. A portion of art sales will be donated to BRAVO.
The Art of Meagan Alwood Karcic and Cassie Phillips. St. James Tavern, 1057 N 4th. 8:00pm-2:00am.
Michelle Hill, owner of the St. James, is one of Columbus’s treasures – running a terrific bar that’s immune to fads and nonsense, a rock even as the neighborhood changes around them, and one of the proudest supporters of great causes. The art show her bar is hosting features two phenomenal painters. Meagan Alwood Karcic, also of the bands Alwood Sisters and Velveteen, works in a variety of styles from watercolor to collage, but with an unflinching eye and unmistakable line – her work cracks open the world’s chest and lets you see its heart a little clearer. Cassie Philips is a commercial photographer who’s moved into painting and it’s gripping, dramatic work I really look forward to seeing in person.
Workshops Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N High St. Register here: http://www.femmefest.net/workshops.php
Saturday, September 5:
2:30pm: LGBTQI Culture and Community Conversation.
The introduction of workshops is one of the most interesting twists in this year’s Fest and I hope it continues and even expands. This session is a discussion led by BRAVO about how bias, even subconscious, can infect language and action and about the difficulties inherent in the LGBTQI community of reporting and getting help for partner violence.
1:00pm: Walking the Talk: Allyship and Accountability.
New Voices Cleveland leads this workshop about community accountability and challenges with allies. It can be hard to figure out how to be an ally without defensiveness and it can be hard to hold allies accountable when you see them step out of line – this workshop will offer tools and springboards for more discussion.
Sunday, September 6:
2:30pm: Beyond Betty and Veronica: Women and Inclusivity in Modern Comics.
Elissa and Tracy who lead The Circle here in Columbus talk about how gender representation has changed in comics over the years, how in many ways it hasn’t, and possible futures for the medium and related art forms.
1:00pm: Concepts in Intersectional Feminism.
If intersectionality isn’t at the forefront of our thoughts, we’re barely having half the conversation. This workshop, led by Bailey Laverty and Sarah Mamo, Co-Presidents/Co-Founders of the Intersectional Feminists Organization (at OSU), gives an overview of the underpinnings and concepts of intersectionality and discusses how to use these concepts in the real world.
A handful of bands I have no intention of missing but I, again, encourage you to see the whole lineup linked above. Like usual, bandcamp/soundcloud if I could find it, apologies if I couldn’t.
Time and Temperature. I’ve seen Val Glenn’s singer-songwriter project, sometimes with a band, Time and Temperature fully silence a loud bar on a drunk Friday night without ever raising her voice. Her evocative voice, crystalline guitar, and imagistic songs are one of the best things to ever come out of Columbus musically. (Ace of Cups, Friday, 11:30pm)
Cherry Chrome. It’s no surprise that Xenia Holm, daughter of two of Columbus’s finest – David Holm and Melanie Bleveans Holm – would have a leg up on people her age. It was a surprise how incredibly good her songwriting and vocals are and how great her band, Cherry Chrome – also featuring Mick Martinez on guitar and Amina Adesiji on bass along with Dave Holm on drums – already is. One of the bands I look forward to seeing most in town rich with hooks that will stick in your head and your heart, and still in High School. Already on their way to supernova status. (Ace of Cups, Friday, 9:30pm)
Funerals. Mollie Wells (formerly of the much-missed Cinema Eye) and Casey Immel-Brown make an atmospheric brand of noirish techno that effortlessly conjures moods and changes the vibration and temperature of a room. With Spacebar’s recently upped sound game this should be perfect for a Friday night. (Spacebar, Friday, 10:30pm)
Marlena Bowen. Bowen very recently hit my radar but she’s doing beguiling work I can’t wait to see translated live. Lo-fi tape effects and a love of drone merge to create something mysterious and fascinating, well-crafted songs that make you chase them. (Lost Weekend Records, Saturday, 6:30pm)
Dominique Larue. I write her up a lot here but it’s because she’s one of the best voices in local rap I’ve heard in a long time and an electrifying show. Whatever you’re doing on Saturday night, end up here. (Spacebar, Saturday, 1:00am).
Thunder Thighs. A singer-songwriter with a taste for the avant-garde filling that sweet spot for me better than anyone else in town since Jerry DeCicca left. Circular structures, gorgeous, raw, guitar and violin playing and incisive lyrics. The transition from this to The Girls! is the kind of whiplash that makes FeMMeFest so consistently terrific.
Melted Man. Surging, damaged electronic noise that still feels like it’s about the world, not a hermetic exercise. (Cafe Bourbon Street, Sunday, 10:30pm)
Cosmic Moon. One of the most interesting songwriting voices in Columbus music right now. Long, icy, tense songs backed by a harmonium and a rotating cast of other musicians (Cafe Bourbon Street, Sunday, 9:30pm).
Raw Pony. Another band I write up a lot but probably the best rock band in town right now. I saw them play with Memphis’ Nots a couple weeks ago for their 7″ release and they’ve broken through to a whole other level of taut telepathy. Muscular and finely tuned but without forsaking that beautiful rawness. If you love rock and roll in this town do not sleep on Raw Pony. (The Summit, Sunday, 10:00pm).