Last Friday, the stars aligned over Manhattan to make my deepest darkest feminist dreams come true. I got the chance to see Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of the hit comedy series Broad City interview lady punk band Sleater-Kinney at the Ace Hotel for NPR. Autostraddle’s very own Portlandian Alley Hector accidentally won tickets to the event by answering some Sleater-Kinney trivia on Twitter, and I nabbed them because I desperately wanted to redeem myself in front of my idols.
You see, last July 4th my friends were over at my apartment in Brooklyn. Amidst our revelry, my friend burst through the door to show us a ridiculous (read: drunken) picture on her phone of herself and Abbi Jacobson — tongues out, eyes akimbo, in MY elevator. MY ELEVATOR. My other friend Quinn and I have this theory that Abbi and Ilana follow us around to develop the material for Broad City. I mean, we even look and act JUST LIKE THEM, but like, more intelligent… I’m hoping. For the next ten minutes, Quinn and I calmly debated (read: hyperventilated) the ethics of approaching our doppelgangers lest we all self-destruct.
Through some super sleuthing we deduced that we could find them smokin’ on the fourth floor community deck. Quinn tried to play it cool by asking them for a lighter, and I tried to crack a smile as every motor function in my body shut down until all I could do was giggle, snort and smoke. Quinn did all of the talking, and I did all of the keeping my trap shut in case some puke came out accidentally. We snapped a few pics for posterity and I steamrolled my way back inside where we both took a moment to literally convulse on the floor cackling in simultaneous shame and victory.
Fast forward to Friday night, Quinn and I had a second chance to see Abbi and Ilana again while they interviewed Sleater-Kinney. The Broad City duo made a very successful effort at gearing almost the entire conversation toward defining feminism and what it means to be successful women. Sleater-Kinney and the ladies of Broad City showered one another in accolades, with Glazer assuring Sleater-Kinney that they couldn’t have existed without them. One of the first questions asked was: “Does rocking hard equal gender equality to you?” which was received with a resounding “Yes, absolutely,” from Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss.
Asked about the evolution of the “Tribe of Sleater-Kinney,” Corin described 90’s era Sleater-Kinney as necessarily confrontational, and “Phase 2” Sleater-Kinney as evolving to be more inclusive, and chipping away at visibility for women in entertainment. Carrie Brownstein, rocking a very sexy cape/blazer deal that I have dubbed a “caper,” descended from the feminist heavens to eloquently define Sleater-Kinney as “the soundtrack to these tumultuous times.”
Importantly, I think they made it clear to Abbi and Ilana that feminism is not just an ode to the women who came before us, but an ever-evolving movement that dedicates itself to complexity — we should embrace the challenge of making feminism complicated, intersectional, and revolutionary.
Carrie discussed the difficulty of wearing the “vag badge,” and being pit against other female artists, decrying that only women, people of color and rappers get asked to crap on other musicians who revolve in the same orbit. “We want to be able to create our own adjectives,” she said as Janet jumped in to lament the fact that women’s music has been “ghettoized,” and is only talked about in comparison to other female musicians, even when the two bands have an entirely different sound.
And since I know you are very good girls and bois and already plan on purchasing their latest album, I thought I’d give you the inside scoop on what they’ve been jamming to and reading about and looking at. I will bore you with only these details:
What You Ought to Be Reading:
This belipsticked, golden throated goddess wants you to read Miranda July’s new book The First Bad Man. I’m sold. Seriously Carrie Brownstein could tell me to buy her dinner and I’d be like “No problem Carrie Brownstein. I’m a little tight for cash right now but you get that steak tartare.”
She also thinks you should read Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber, which is a dystopian space travel adventure novel. Incidentally, this is my favorite sub-genre of novel.
Carrie also thinks you should read Angelica Huston’s memoir, but did not indicate exactly which one, so for good measure, just buy them both. A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York was released in November 2013. Watch Me: A Memoir was released in November 2014.
Last but not least, Carrie lists James Baldwin as one of her all time greatest influences, specifically The Fire Next Time and The Devil Finds Work, which are both important texts in the black literary canon, but also timeless and relevant in “these tumultuous times.”
While Abbi had some troubles getting her questions in during the interview, she was at the ready with book suggestions for more introverted extroverts like herself. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was at the top of her list, as was Bad Feminist by our very favorite Roxane Gay.
Ilana does not read, but thinks you should listen to Amy Poehler‘s Yes Please on audiobook, which is guaranteed to make you look like a crazy person while you laugh your guts out listening to a book during your morning subway commute.
Watch It On Your TV Screen (okay, your laptop screen):
Carrie wants you to watch the comeback of The Comeback with Lisa Kudrow on HBO. Abbi thinks you should watch Transparent on Amazon Original Series, and not just because Carrie is on it, she swears.
For Your Earholes:
The ladies of Sleater-Kinney listed their greatest influences and — spoiler alert — they’re all kick-ass lady music makers:
Thinks you should get hip to Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. You can start by downloading their first studio album Confusion is Sex on Amazon. Then you can read Gordon’s memoir Girl in a Band when it comes out in February.
You can watch the interview over on NPR. Sleater-Kinney released their latest album “No Cities To Love” on Tuesday. Buy it on iTunes or on Amazon (Vinyl). You can watch new episodes of Broad City on Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30 c on Comedy Central.