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“you sure know a lot about music for a girl”

Posted on 05 September 2011 by Caryn Rose (0)

I was against the idea of wasting time and energy on a book launch party for my novel, B-sides and Broken Hearts, until I had the brainwave to use the occasion to invite some of my amazing friends to read with me, and then I suddenly liked the idea a whole lot.

So I invited Maura Johnston (Village Voice), Evie Nagy (, Judy McGuire (Dategirl columnist and author of How Not To Date), Devon Maloney (Billboard Pro) and Jillian Mapes (Billboard) and amazingly, they all said YES. I called it “You Sure Know A Lot About Music For A Girl” because part of the genesis of writing B-sides was that I was tired of books about rock and roll where the women didn’t know anything or were relegated to mixing drinks in the background, and because, even in 2011, WE STILL HEAR THAT KIND OF SHIT.

Maura read from her amazing piece about Ke$ha (which mentions Kathleen Hanna at one point, which upset some dude on Twitter so much he was calling for her to be fired). I was glad she read that piece, because it was classic kick-ass Maura. Evie read the very first piece of music criticism she ever wrote, about OK-Go, and critiqued it live. I thought it was pretty brave to stand there and not just read it out loud, but mock it openly. Judy read from her upcoming book “The Official Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll Book of Lists“: my favorite was the list about what sex advice you should NOT take from rock lyrics: “‘Pour some sugar on me?’ That’s just a breeding ground for bacteria.” Devon Maloney wrote an introspective piece about what it’s like to be a 22-year-old trying to write about music and some reflections on how we old people should be glad we had diaries with locks and keys and didn’t pour all of our early writing attempts into a Livejournal account. And finally, Jillian Mapes regaled us with the tale about how she learned about sex from Weezer. (When she was done, I just wanted to know if she was going on the Weezer cruise. The answer: yes!)

By the time it was my turn, I almost forgot that I still had to read, because I was amazed and humbled and excited about this quantity of smart women music writers in one place – and I could have doubled or tripled that number if time had permitted. Multiple people suggested that I do this again, and I have to say that I didn’t think that was the worst idea in the world.

Many thanks to my friend Kate Buenaflor (aka Kazual Shalita), for letting us monopolize the Soft Spot for a night, for the drink specials (that’s the Blue Electric up in the photo – you understand if you read the book) to all the amazing women who read, and to anyone who was able to make it out and support the event – THANK YOU. It was unbelievable to stand there and listen to you cheering everybody on.

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