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Let’s 🥖 get 🥖 this 🥖 bread 🥖

Did you know the federal minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers is $2.13? How about the fact that 70% of restaurant workers are women? What about the alarming rate of sexual harassment charges filed by women restaurant workers  — the EEOC has targeted the restaurant industry as the single largest source of sexual harassment charges, with a rate FIVE TIMES higher than any other industry.

It was such an invigorating experience to hear Jane Fonda (one of my heroes, and the person who inspired my own political & feminist awakening at 14), ROC United founder Saru Jayaraman, and more speak about #OneFairWage today, particularly because this isn’t JUST an economic issue. It’s a WOMEN’S RIGHTS issue. As Ms. Jayaraman said: “When you pay a sub minimum wage to an industry that is primarily made up of women, it indicates the value you place on women.”

Seven states have passed one fair wage (and saw a direct correlation between fair wages and a drop in sexual harassment charges); New York could be next. Seriously urge you to visit onefairwage.com for more info, because we all deserve a fair shot at securing the bag. ✊

Kim Gordon and the power of female rage

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A friend of mine recently told me the story of his one and only encounter with Kim Gordon. A few summers ago, he was playing with a band on a small European tour; their dates dovetailed around ones Gordon was playing with her then-new band Body/Head. The experimental noise guitar duo had yet to release a full album, but their EP and few shows — combined with the curiosity of seeing what Kim Gordon would do post-Sonic Youth — had people talking. One hot night on a rooftop in Germany, he and his bandmates finally got a chance to see what all the fuss was about.

He watched Gordon drone intermittently over the dissonance coming from the guitars she and bandmate Bill Nace played. It was slow, but built to a furor, Gordon desperately choking out random words and phrases like “the last mistress” as she wailed away on her guitar. When all was said and done, she was spent, barely able to leave the stage without some assistance.

“Wow,” my friend said, slightly confused by what he just watched. “Was she on drugs?”
“No,” one of his bandmates — a woman not much older than Gordon herself — shushed him. “She’s just very, very sad.”

I think about this story a lot. I think about how our anguish can be unleashed in music, and how an emotional release is easily expressed in a melody or a verse, but harder to comprehend in abstract noise.

I think about how Gordon’s feelings were so much easier for a woman to see and understand, while my friend later dismissed it as “college shit.” Of course Gordon was expressing pain, an intricate sort of pain and anger that many women, particularly as they age, could empathize with deeply in their bones. Gordon and her husband of more than 25 years, Thurston Moore, had officially divorced just months earlier. Their split had been messy, humiliating, and disappointing for many who had seen their lasting union as a beacon of hope, leaving them instead with a feeling that their idols had failed them. Her identity had morphed into one half of a couple, and here she was figuring out who she was on her own again.

Of course she was sad. Of course she was angry. And of course her complex grief continued to pour out in a furious manner on stage over the following years.

Read the rest on bed crumbs.

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In case you missed it: A fantastic new episode of the ’77 Music Club podcast is now live. It’s a special one — we interviewed iconic punk baddie Viv Albertine about an album that’s influenced her (Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits Pt 1) and learned so, so much in the process. It’s a great one. Tune in here.

Check out episode 4 of the ’77 Music Club podcast on Tom Tom Club

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The year is 1981 and pop culture is exploding around the world — Raiders of the Lost Ark premieres, the wreckage of the Titanic is found, and Lady Diana Spencer marries Charles, Prince of Wales. The music industry is coming out of one of its worst slumps in decades, dealing with the backlash against disco music, and tucked away at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas, bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads record their first album as Tom Tom Club.

The album will become one of the most popular post-disco dance records of the ’80s and gross more than any of the four albums Talking Heads had released to that point. It incorporates international musical techniques and influences, giving the songs a flavor that expands the post-punk art rock sound Tina and Chris had established with Talking Heads, and sets the tone for the new directions that they would take in their musical careers.

While this album can definitely be dated to the early ’80s, we are in love with how it simultaneously sounds fresh and exciting to millennial ears. In this episode, we explore the sound combinations that make this album the joyous thing that it is, discuss its legacy and relevance, and speak about why Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz are two artists who inspire us big time.

(I try to love all of our episodes equally, but I think this one might be my absolute favorite and our best one yet, so check it out.)

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