Pussy Riot Olympia performing at Kitzel’s (September 14, 2012)
Last Friday, at Kitzel’s Crazy Delicious Delicatessen in downtown Olympia, my colleague at Saint Martin’s University and deli co-owner Irina Gendelman organized and hosted a mishmash of an evening celebrating the art and activism of Pussy Riot. The women who formed the group in Russia, as many have pointed out, found inspiration in the riot grrrl scene that has its roots in Olympia. So what better place to hold an event to honor them than here?
Everyone who came had a blast. Irina has a knack for cultivating a carnivalesque mood, and this time was no exception. The show featured a number of activists and performers, including local songwriter Mary Water, Seattle theater group Pasajer@s, and Pussy Riot Olympia, the anonymous collective that was formed earlier this year in solidarity with their Russian counterpart. Tobi Vail, the former drummer for riot grrrl band Bikini Kill, was also on hand to rouse the room with her punk spirit. And besides taking in the performances, the crowd joined in for sing-alongs of Vladimir Vysotsky’s “Wolf Hunt” (“Охота на волков”) and the Italian anti-fascist folk anthem “Bella Ciao.” No one’s political conscience was left unfired!