“You Are Her” Riot Grrrl Zine Show @ Goteblüd [Mini-Review]


Sunday afternoon found me in the Mission, checking out the interactive Riot Grrrl zine exhibit on its last day at Goteblüd, a zine store. Goteblüd is run by Matt (Wobensmith, formerly of Outpunk), who put together the exhibition with an eye for detail and a whole lot of TLC. Classic zines like Bamboo Girl, Bikini Kill, Girl Germs, I (heart) Amy Carter, and Jigsaw Underground were both on display and tucked messily into bins below the wall o’ zines, and to the right of the display there was a listening station where cassettes from around 2 dozen Riot Grrrl bands were available for perusal. Visitors were encouraged to handle the zines and make copies, free of charge. Needless to say, I just about died and went to heaven.

Probably my favorite thing from the whole show (aside from the box of queercore zines that Matt schlepped out of storage for me) was finding a zine by Nomy Lamm about her relationship to Judaism and her Jewish identity. I forgot to write down the name of the zine, but I did manage to get copies of a moving essay it contained that perfectly captures my own feelings toward all things Jewish and left-wing:

There is a saying that goes:

“Scratch a gentile & you will find an anti-Semite.”

Usually a sentiment found most often in the generation that survived the holocaust, the paranoia of a people who have witnessed the ultimate in hatred and persecution.

I find it so sad that, after getting past the very surface, I often find it to be true.

And in fact, I find your average leftist to be pretty damn anti-Semitic: looking down on Judaism as organized religion; stereotyping Jews as owning class; lumping us in w/ all other white people & speaking only of our priviledge [sic] while downplaying our history of oppression; making casual political references to Nazis w/o acknowledging the effect of Nazis on Jews; criticizing Jews’ loud mannerisms and “persecution complex” (we are loud, whiny, and self-centered); and then, of course, there is Israel…

And because I’ve had so many bad experiences w/ non-Jews’ assumptions & ignorance about Jews, I feel so guarded that I can’t talk about bad things about Judaism with them…

Like, there is total conservatism & closed-mindedness on the part of many Jews when it comes to Israel. For a people who have been kicked out everywhere since the very beginning, Jews have sure shut their eyes to Palestinian suffering…

Or, for example, the sexism that ran rampant at the Jewish youth convention (BBYO) I just went to…I’m afraid to talk about this w/ non-Jews because I’ve heard so often that Jewish men are so sexist & I don’t want to confirm the stereotype even though it may be true…

Or the materialism & unchecked wealth that is found in a lot of Jewish communities…

But it’s not like Jews as a whole are more conservative, more sexist, more materialistic or more wealthy than other Americans… Why do Jews as a whole have to be held up to a higher standard than others?

And why do I insist on trying to hold Jews to a higher standard?

Do I really think I’m gonna feel bonded with all Jews?

I feel guilty talking about this cuz I want goyim to understand why my Jewish identity is so important to me.

I don’t want them to bond w/ me in their stereotypes.

And there were literally hundreds more articles in zines that spoke to myself and others in a similar way. I hope that Matt knows what an amazing public service he’s doing by hosting a free show like this, where people can actually read and experiences these hard-to-track-down zines as they’re meant to be experienced. He’s practically the patron saint of zinesters.

Next time you’re in the Bay Area, you absolutely must check out Goteblüd and support Matt. Goteblüd has something for everyone: just this last visit, I was able to find zines about booking DIY shows (co-written by Megan of Condenada), getting records pressed, queercore bands, and masturbating cats. (Seriously.) Plus, Matt’s super-nice and will let you hang all afternoon if you want, just watching The Fabulous Stains and reading zines with him.

“You Are Her” may have seen its last day at Goteblüd, but word on the street is that the show may travel and that the next Goteblud show will be centered around SF’s Popstitutes. Keep an eye out for both…

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