2012 Women Who Rock (un)Conference: Vibrations of Love


2012 Photos Part 1
2012 Photos Part 2
2012 Photos Part 3


Alice Bag Bio Pic 1

Alice Bag was the lead singer of The Bags, the first female fronted punk band to play the Masque during the West Coast punk revolution of 1977. Violence Girl: From East LA Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story is the story of her upbringing in East LA, her eventual migration to Hollywood and the euphoria and aftermath of the first punk wave. Violence Girl reveals how domestic abuse fueled her desire for female empowerment and sheds a new perspective on the origin of hardcore, a style most often associated with white suburban males.

The proximity of the East L.A. barrio to Hollywood is as close as a short drive on the 101 freeway, but the cultural divide is enormous. Born to Mexican-born and American-naturalized parents, Alicia Armendariz migrated a few miles west to participate in the free-range birth of the 1970s punk movement. Alicia adopted the punk name Alice Bag, and became lead singer for The Bags, early punk visionaries who starred in Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization.

Here is a life of many crossed boundaries, from East L.A.’s musica ranchera to Hollywood’s punk rock; from a violent male-dominated family to female-dominated transgressive rock bands. Alice’s feminist sympathies can be understood by the name of her satiric all-girl early Goth band Castration Squad. Violence Girl takes us from a violent upbringing to an aggressive punk sensibility; this time a difficult coming-of-age memoir culminates with a satisfying conclusion, complete with a happy marriage and children. Many personal photographs energize the text in remarkable ways. – http://www.alicebag.com/http://alicebag.blogspot.com/

Medusa Bio Pic 1
– In the Los Angeles underground hip hop arena, Medusa is considered by many as the Gangsta Goddess of west coast Hip Hop. Hailed “the Angela Davis of hip-hop,” Medusa started off in Pomona, California as a 16-year-old pop-locker with a dance crew called the groove-a-trons. Her undying love for hip hop and pop-locking gave her talents a platform to win the Best Female Dancer in the 1st Hip Hop Dance Awards at The Palladium. Soon after high school, Medusa’s life changed for the worse after going to jail. Once she got out, she vowed never to go back. The pain she endured only made her stronger, and shortly after Medusa was born.

In 1999, Medusa released her first EP, “Do It the Way You Feel It,” which established Medusa’s fan base in the United States and overseas. Medusa’s success spread throughout college campuses across the nation, and she has essentially become a Goddess to the underground hip hop scene and artistic community. Medusa was the first artist in the LA hip hop scene to perform with a live band.

Coming up in the LA scene, Medusa honed her flair and skills at the Good Life Café and Leimert Park’s “Project Blowed” Workshop. She was part of a musical community that includes Jurassic 5, Freestyle Fellowship, Volume 10, Kurupt, WC, Black Eye Peas, Macy Grey, and Xzibit. Medusa has shared the stage with lyrical heavyweights such as Stevie Wonder, KRS-ONE, George Clinton, Dead Prez, Dave Hollister, Chali 2Na, Super Natural, Public Enemy, Blackalicious, Erykah Badu, Roy Ayers, Dilated Peoples, Speech, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Meshell Ndegeocello, Fishbone, MC Lyte, Bahamadia, and Blk Thought of the Roots. Medusa is also known as the “Top Cat” of the clique/band Feline Science. She received a Grammy with the band Ozomatli and LA Weekly voted Medusa “Best Hip Hop Artist” two years in a row. Medusa’s versatility has been compared to revolutionary artists such as Gil-Scott Heron and Lauryn Hill.

Medusa’s skills are not limited to music. She has exhibited her talents behind the scenes through film scoring and soundtrack production. Such credits include “Life Is A Traffic Jam,” featuring the late Tupac Shakur; Gridlock, a Vondi Curtis film; and the sitcom, “Moesha,” where Medusa appeared as Lady Lunatic. She wrote, produced, and performed “My Momma Raised a G” for the HBO film Stranger Inside in which she played the role of Leisha. Currently, she is a featured artist at Harvard University’s Hiphop Archive. Medusa continues to promote hip-hop seeds across the country in unparalleled numbers.

The Second Annual meeting of Women Who Rock continues to expand definitions of women, rock, hip hop, music, space, gender, race, class, and sexuality through a film festival, all day workshop, and collection of oral histories recorded at the conference. As we expand definitions, we create and support art, artists, organizations, and music that do the same. Our goal is to generate dialogue and provide a focal point from which to build and strengthen relationships between local musicians and their communities as well as educational institutions. In order to generate community building, last October we sent out an open call for workshops submissions that invited activists, scholars, musician, filmmakers, artist, media makers, and community members to help create the following: a film festival, art/music workshops, jam sessions, information booths, oral history projects and new forms mixing and mastering media and music.

On March 2 WWR will host a film festival free. On March 3 @ WWR will host a meeting built upon the workshop submissions from the community. All WWR film festival, workshop, and music events @ Seattle’s Historical Washington Hall are free and open to public. Children welcome!Participatory community music practice with Seattle Fandango Project & and local artist showcase. Attendees may participate in a oral history project documenting the histories of Women Who Rock in Seattle that will be hosted on-line by UW Libraries.Registration is free and open the public. Register to reserve your space @ https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/mhabellp/144086For more info click womenwhorockcommunity.org

Please don’t forget to register for the Women Who Rock:  Making Scenes, Building Communities Film Festival and Meeting. Registration for film festival and meeting is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Click here to register: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/summary/mhabellp/144086



We invite activists, scholars, musicians, filmmakers, and artists to submit proposals for topic-focused open workshops that will promote dialogue about women, music, and social justice, taking into account issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexuality.  Inspired by the influence of gospel singer and guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe and punk pioneer Alice Bag, we encourage workshops that explore the ways that Chicana and Black feminist thought have expanded “who” counts as women and “what” counts as rock.


This year’s theme asks us to consider the possibilities and limitations of space in relation to musical performance, production, expression, transformation, and community bu­­­­­­ilding.  We choose this topic to honor the space in which the conference will be housed this year: Seattle’s historic Washington Hall.  Located in the Central District, Washington Hall’s community and immigrant roots are deep.  This conference aims to honor the legacy of Washington Hall’s past performers and the Central District’s history of fostering music scenes and political organizing by exploring past and present spaces of women’s, queer and transgender musical performance.

Built in 1908 by the Danish Brotherhood in America, Washington Hall later became home in 1973 to the Sons of Haiti, an African American Masonic Lodge. All the while, from 1908-2001, the hall was used for musical and theatrical performances. The sonic vibrations of love generated by musicians and speakers such as Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Joe Louis reverberate in the building walls.  The performing arts organization, On The Boards, left its trace by hosting artists such as Spalding Grey, Meredith Monk, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones.  Washington Hall is now the new home of progressive, community-based arts organizations such as Hidmo, Voices Rising, and 206Zulu.  We have the opportunity to activate the building’s musical “vibrations of love,” created and sustained, enjoyed and shared across generations. How do these musical vibrations create a sense of home in a hostile environment, helping to disrupt, re-imagine and reinvent the social and physical structures that shape everyday life?


Washington Hall’s current renovation inspires us to think about the spaces we move in and the places where we make our dreams, desires, and hopes manifest.  Though the hall is an unconventional conference space, we see its renovation as an opportunity to access the building in creative and unexpected ways, using spaces like the balcony, hallways, dressing rooms, and kitchen as meeting areas. Given the rich history of Washington Hall, we ask potential facilitators to consider the relationship between music, identity and space.  What kinds of alternative or autonomous spaces are created by musical performance?  How do past musical performances and expressions reverberate and echo in the space of the present?  What echoes and reverberations of this history do we hear in particular musical scenes and spaces?  How do musical vibrations change the feel of a room?  How does music and performance shape and transform the dynamics of space, engaging tensions between community and gentrification, home and displacement, visibility and invisibility, voice and silence?


We model this year’s conference after the idea of the “unconference.”  The unconference is participant-driven; it transforms conventional ways of gathering.  By structuring the conference around participant interest, keyed to the theme of space, we set the stage for dynamic dialogue and fortuitous encounters.  We ask workshop facilitators to guide this experimental vision.  We are particularly interested in creative, non-traditional, and/or musical session formats.  The conference will also showcase and contribute to the Women Who Rock Oral History Project.


  1. We expect each workshop to begin with a presentation and/or performance of 5-10 minutes and then transition into a participatory workshop, driven by dialogue.
  2. Each workshop will run for 45 minutes.


  1. Names of facilitators, presenters and/or performers (along with other stage or nicknames)
  2. Name of organizations, institutions, or affiliations
  3. Your or your group’s bio (50 words max)
  4. State how you will participate (i.e. facilitator, musical performer, artist, scholar, activist, educator)
  5. A short, 250-word description of your topic or what your work demonstrates
  6. A list of the goals of your workshop and a plan for how you will achieve them.
  7. Proposals should be 500 words or less and include a description of the workshop format.
  8. Group and individual workshop proposals or performances will be considered.

Questions? Contact Michelle Habell-Pallan, Sonnet Retman, Monica De La Torre, or Lulu Carpenter at womenwhorockproject@gmail.com.

Free registration: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/summary/mhabellp/144086

Possible workshop topics include, but are in no way limited to:

 Performing Community:

  • The role of music scholars, critics, performers and archivists as well as Chicana and Black feminist theorists in crafting a feminist narrative of hip hop, punk, and indie rock
  • Women performers and the art of DJ-ing, breakdancing, rhyming, graffiti art, vocalizing and spoken word
  • Building community at the intersection of Hip Hop and Indie Rock
  • Autonomous women-focused art collectives (ex. Mujeres de Maíz)
  • Queer musical practices and interventions

 Sounds and Spaces:

  • Music making as a local site of feminist community-building (examples include Ladies First, Home Alive, B-Girl Bench, Seattle Fandango Project and others)
  • The role of performers, advocates, and educators in creating musical communities
  • Creating a space for building connections between women in hip hop, indie rock/punk, and alternative rock cultures that share a similar ethos but rarely connect
  • Connecting women who use music culture as a platform for pleasure and politics
  • Linking local music communities and transnational musical movements (de CAJónN Project , Afro-Peruvian percussion)
  • Musical and creative responses to immigration debates (SB 1070)
  • Creating spaces of autonomous music making and sharing
  • The role of community radio
  • Internet and social networking
  • Unexpected use of space and place for music making and listening

Communal Archives/Oral Histories:

  • The politics of the archive; the archive as a site of community-making and historical praxis
  • The archive as resource for performers, advocates, and scholars
  • The archive as foundation for digital online and museum exhibits
  • Presentation of oral histories

Collaborative spaces of production, performance, and distribution:

  • Use of digital technologies for in-home production and recording
  • Use of digital technologies for musical and scholarly collaboration
  • Music communities as a vehicle for public humanities

Please click here to submit your general proposals by November 15, 2011.

Click here for PDF version of call:



Learn more about the flow of WWR’s events.  Read orientation below or click Orientation_for_WWR_Workshop_Registrants.

Orientation for Women Who Rock’s Workshop Participant-Attendees:

We are thrilled that you will join us at the second Women Who Rock (Un)Conference, “Making Scenes, Building Communities,” March 2-3, 2012.  This year’s meeting is modeled after the idea of the “(un)conference,” a participant-driven form of gathering.  We intend to create an open structure through which transformative conversations might emerge.

This year’s theme asks us to consider the possibilities and limitations of space in relation to musical performance, transformation, and community bu­­­­­­ilding.  Each session in its own way will take into account issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class and sexuality.  By structuring the (un)conference around facilitator-led workshops keyed to the theme of space, we hope to set the stage for dynamic dialogue and encounters.  As we engage in conversations about women and music throughout the day, we hope to build community and make our own scenes in the process.

Conference Orientation:

March 2, Women Who Rock Film Festival, 6:30-9:30 p.m.,

            The Lodge Room, Washington Hall

On Friday evening, the official (un)conference will begin with the Women Who Rock Film Festival from 6:30-9:30 p.m., hosted at the historic Washington Hall located in the Central District.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the screening will begin at 7:00 p.m.

March 3, Women Who Rock (Un)Conference, 8:00 a.m.-Midnight

Washington Hall

On Saturday, March 3, the Women Who Rock (Un)Conference will run from 8:00am-midnight.  Registration and check-in begins at 8:00am and the opening session, “Getting in the Vibe” begins at 9:00 a.m.  In the spirit of building a collective conversation, we strongly encourage all presenters and participants to arrive in the morning by 9:00am to attend this opening session and (un)conference orientation. At the close of the day’s sessions, we invite all presenters and participants to come together to envision next year’s gathering.  The “At-A-Glance Schedule” and full program pdf can be downloaded at womenwhorockcommunity.org.

From 10:00-10:45 a.m. and 11:00-11:45 a.m., (un)conference participants will attend topic-focused workshop sessions that feature a broad range of participants including musicians, activists, writers, advocates, educators, and academics.  After a lunch break between 12:00-1:00 p.m., the (un)conference will resume with another workshop session from 1:00-2:30 p.m.  Please note that many of these sessions will be housed in open spaces in Washington Hall, so you may encounter ambient noise from other concurrent sessions.  Following a tea and coffee break from 2:30-3:00 p.m., seminal Chicana punk performer, Alice Bag, and underground hip hop legend, Medusa, will interview each other for our keynote event, from 3:00-4:30 p.m.  We will review the day’s sessions and envision next year’s gathering during our closing session from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Later that night, at 7:00 p.m., we will host an open mic, to be followed by the Ladies First Showcase at 8:00 p.m., featuring Militant Child and My Parade.  From 9:00-10:30 p.m., there will be a Fandango community jam to be followed by Ladies First’s DJ Vijou and dance/ B-girls to close at midnight.

The Women Who Rock Oral History Archive

The conference responds to the ways in which women’s participation in independent music scenes has often been downplayed or unacknowledged.  We are currently assembling the Women Who Rock Digital Oral History Project to archive the stories of women and women of color who have built community through the making of music in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and beyond.  The archive will be hosted by the University of Washington and made freely accessible to the public. If you would like to be interviewed for the archive, please visit the Radio Kiosk in the Ticket Booth on the second floor during the conference.

We hope you find this collaborative endeavor as exciting as we do!  We very much look forward to seeing you soon.


The Women Who Rock Collective


All events take place @  Washington Hall 153 14th Avenue Seattle, Washington 98122.   Events are free and open to the public.

WWR 2012 Program (Print Version Includes Film and Workshop Descriptions)

Click here to register for the 2012 UnConference: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/summary/mhabellp/144086



4 thoughts on “2012 Women Who Rock (un)Conference: Vibrations of Love

  1. I might just be missing the mark but just for some clarification:
    Does the general public, like myself, also have to register to go?

    By the way, Alice Bag told me about this.
    Now, I’m thinking of flying to Seattle just to check this conference out!
    Really excited.

    Thanks for putting all this on!

  2. Pingback: Women Who Rock [Un]Conference (Seattle/WA) « Women In Punk: Doc In Progress

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