FINALLY. It’s a fortnight late, but I couldn’t not post about Ladyfest Ten. Rather than reviewing the whole event – there’s quite a few reviews floating around by now – I thought I’d just spotlight the best picks from my rucksack-hoard of discoveries.
For those for whom this blog is a First Foray into feminist websites, what is a Ladyfest? Well, they happen worldwide – here’s Wikipedia’s entry. Succinctly, they’re community-based arts and culture festivals focussed on women creating culture and campaigning for social change. The first one was in 2000 in the US; today Ladyfests go on all over the world. This one, my first, was the decade-marker!
Sarah J, Jenni and I pitched up on the Saturday afternoon with “Rest of the Fest” tix. I went for a wander in the stalls of the Lady Garden (you read that correctly). Hence, without further ado:
FIVE THINGS I FOUND AT LADYFEST
Fat Quarter: my issue 1. Glamorous brown BR Towers carpet not included. Sorry.
1. FAT QUARTER MAGAZINE
My friends, this thing is seriously badass. Give it your time. You won’t be disappointed.
- WHAT IS IT? Zines and self-produced magazines are a rich tradition in feminism, and they all come out to play for festivals. This was no exception – some doing the old school riot grrrl photocopied look, and some glossier efforts. This one, firmly in the latter category, really stood out. Only two issues in since its 2009 inception, it’s beautifully designed, full colour, and fun. I swear, if BadRep was a print magazine, we’d be aspiring to be like this.
- WHY SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION? BECAUSE. LOOK AT IT. YOU WILL SEE WHY. Someone I spotted on the BadRep Twitter feed pronounced them the rightful heirs to the gap left by Subtext, and I reckon they weren’t wrong.
- WHERE CAN I GET MORE? There’s a website here , they’re on Facebook here and editor Katie’s tweeting here.
FQ1 inside spread (I picked the comics page to show off. We're geeks.)
2. FOR BOOK’S SAKE
Like reading? Interested in feminism? You’re welcome.
- WHAT IS IT? In their own words, For Books’ Sake is an intelligent but irreverent website featuring books by and for independent women, including news, reviews, features and interviews. Focusing mainly on female authors (both upcoming and established), we review classic and modern books across both fiction and non-fiction. What really brought the coolness of this project home to me, though, was the moment I rounded a corner at Ladyfest and found myself standing smack bang in front of FBS writer Jess Haigh’s Travelling Suitcase Library, which is, essentially, a kind of Sisterhood of the Travelling Books – she hosts pop-up library sessions where the curious, interested and bookloving can meet, swap books, simply take books away (no membership necessary – it’s all done on trust), or talk books.
- WHY SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION? Because it’s a heartwarming project with serious soul, an open-arms approach to all sorts of writing from Penguin Classics to teen fiction, and an ethos of bonding people through books. Over the desk, Jess spotted me covertly eyeing Marilyn French’s The Women’s Room in a “man, I really should read that at some point” way, smiled, and said, “That book right there? The reason I became a feminist”. That caught my attention. Before long, Women’s Room and I were heading home together. Cheers!
- WHERE CAN I GET MORE? See above, or catch them on Twitter.
So what if everybody’s already heard of this zine. I am fashionably late to the party and you can all deal with it.
- WHAT IS IT? I didn’t want to write a post about the stalls of Ladyfest without including one full-on, photocopied, more old school-stylin’ zine. That zine – and choosing was hard – is Pamflet, who are a “post-everything london girl-zine made by anna-marie, phoebe & nick // photocopied pink n black since 2005“.
- WHY SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION? Because it’s good to have zines in your life. It’s good to put heart into your causes, hobbies, fandoms, to make your own soapboxes out of sticky tape, photocopier drums and internet. It’s the same vein of creativity-meets-sharing that leads people to make mixtapes (and if there’s not a post by me on the sheer joy of mixtaping at some point in the life of this blog, I’m Anne Widdecombe).
- WHERE CAN I GET MORE? Here (blog), here (facebook) and here (Twitter).
4. SHE MAKES WAR
Well, this one’s a bit of a cheat. You’ll have noted that we didn’t actually have tickets to the musical side of Ladyfest, BUT CONSIDER THIS PLUG MY ATONEMENT, for She Makes War, one of the acts that played, is awesome. And I’m making some noise about her here because while she wasn’t on a stall, I was blurting about her to Jenni while we were browsing the stalls, and besides, the Ladyfest buzz has since pushed me to buy her album, and that is what we blog editors call A TENUOUS LINK AND THEREFORE VIABLE. Yes.
5. EDUCATION FOR CHOICE
One of the few talks all three of us made it to, so I’m rounding this off with their call to action.
- WHAT IS IT? “The only UK-based educational charity dedicated to enabling young people to make informed choices about pregnancy and abortion.“
- WHY SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION? Because the amount of bogus “unbiased information on abortion” services out there is growing like mould in a petri, along with that worrying US trend for aggressive pickets like this. Sarah C tweeted just as we left the talk to say that she’d passed one herself whilst out in central London. Do not want.
- WHERE CAN I GET MORE? Find out more here (or read yesterday’s post by Sarah J here).