Monday, July 5, 2010

Read Local: Philly Girls Rock in Broad Street

It's 1993 and Kit is dating Dale, the front man for a struggling Philly band.  Despite the band's lack of success, he's already mastered the rock star persona.  He knows how to amuse his groupies.  Kit and Dale break-up.  Kit is devastated.  On her first post-Dale outing, she meets Margo, a woman who also dates a musician with similar skills.  After many martinis and the revelation that they're in the same situation, they decide (no, not to open a bar together but) to start a band together.
"You know," Margo said, "these people work in comic book stores and coffee shops and they feel so superior to people like us who have the nerve to get a nine-to-five job."  She shook her head in disgust.  "Just because they can wear an eyebrow ring to work they think they're fucking artists.  What gives them the corner on creativity?"
Kit and Margo do start a band; they get gigs; they're on the cover of the City Paper.  They experience more success than the old boyfriends' bands do, and faster too.  You know what they say: success is the best revenge.  But along the way, Kit stumbles--a lot.  Being single for the first time in years and being in a band gives her more and more opportunities to make bad decisions.  Sex, drugs, and rock and roll bad decisions.   As the band’s reputation grows, so does Kit's.  You start to wonder if this whole band thing was a bad idea.

I have to admit I wasn't expecting Broad Street to be as racy as it is.  What fun to vicariously experience all-nighters and one-night stands and wake up refreshed and guiltless in the morning! 

Kit and Margo develop a true friendship through some trial and error as they search for a reliable drummer and wonder what they really want out of this. Weiser captures the drama of putting an all girl band together in the mid-90s.  Here's a taste of Broad Street's feminist rock lyrics from "Slander You":

You go cruising down the Jersey shore,
Getting lucky with the local whores,
I don't care if what they say is true,
I just feel the need to slander you.

According to Weiser, she's putting the finishing touches on the sequel.  I'll keep you posted.  Until then try to catch her band The Tights playing a local gig.  Perhaps if you buy her a drink, she'll give you a hint as to what happens next.

Broad StreetWho should read this:  If you dated someone in the mid-90s who thought he/she was all that and a bag of chips.

Philly Shout Outs:  The Khyber, the Trocadero, Bacchanal's, Tower Records, Philly Record Exchange, Electric Love Muffin, etc.

Philly Cred:  Weiser and Carla Spataro are co-publishers of Philadelphia Stories literary magazine, PS Books, and they organize the annual "Push-to-Publish" Writing Conference, and the Writers Retreat at Rosemont College, etc.

Next up:  Mornings in Jenin.

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