Got A Girl Crush
dotcom vol. 2
Got a Girl Crush /got/ /ey/ /gurl/ /kruhsh/ 1. An expression of a particular and wonderful type of affection, which is neither specifically about or with attraction. 2. A blog and a magazine about the badass accomplishments of women in hopes to inspire others to do the same. Vol. 2, 2016 @gotagirlcrush gotagirlcrush.com/tagged/gagc-originals
Kat Thek Interview & Photographs by Meg Wachter (megwachter. com) The longer you live in New York City, the more hardened, jaded, and skeptical you become, so it takes a lot to spark interest or curiosity in us! Meet Kat Thek: the intrepid mind behind pulltab fliers seen all over Brooklyn for the last year or so that are so far beyond your typical ads for guitar lessons or free kittens that it stops you in your tracks
from your normal commute to the subway to ask yourself and other passing strangers--what the f#¢K?! It started with Cat Hair Pills-described as “made from the finest free-range cats with only occasional antibiotic usage” with two cat options (lovingly listed as Cat A and Cat B) for you to choose. Next came CatHairPillsSport,“perfect solution for exercise, travel, and your most intimate moments.” I was convinced that this was definitely the makings of a
neighborhood art school student and would chuckle at them whenever these physical pop-up ads would present themselves. But I was sold at the humorous endeavors of the maker by the time Friends Forever Tampons appeared on our corner street lamp--insisting to let you friendship flow by two tampons connected by one string! At this point I appreciated the level of trolling and the amount of effort that went into these irreverent pieces of paper, and had to find out the source. My hunch that a woman was behind all of these was confirmed when Used Wax Strip Fortune Telling (the new tea leaves) debuted most recently. Turns out, she’s also my neighbor. A collector of many the curious item, I finally met Kat at her home on a atypically warm November night. She, of course, provided her own smoke machine. Hey Kat! Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your street art projects (or how you would classify your “advertisements”)? My name is Kat Thek. I offer goods and services via pull-tab fliers. Recent fliers include Cat Hair Pills, CatHairPillsSport, Friends Forever Tampons, and Used Wax Strip Fortune Telling.
Would you consider yourself an entrepreneur? An artist? A hoaxster? An entertainer? I’m a Carrie. How’s business? Which of your endeavors have garnered the greatest response/attention? Business is booming! In terms of response, each project has taken its own course -- Cat Hair Pills make a lot of sense online, Friends Forever Tampons have traveled well on twitter, and there is a need for Used Wax Strip Fortune Telling on morning radio (ed: and the local news). One of my favorite responses to Friends Forever Tampons was a Men’s Rights Group who was basically like, “SEE??!!?!”. It was nice to confirm some sort of hunch they’d been having about ladies wanting to share a tampon. Also, Cat Hair Pills have been the proud corporate sponsor for parties and album releases. What inspirations qualify to be made into a pull-tab fliers? I just think: would I like to see this product in SkyMall maga-
zine? If so, I make it into a pulltab flier AKA SidewalkMall magazine. First Cat Hair Pills, then Best Friends Tampons, and now Wax Fortune Telling--what’s next? I’ve got a few things brewing -- product wise, I have a working prototype of a revised Selfie Stick. It’s a traditional telescoping selfie stick, but the handle is an extremely realistic fleshy dildo. It’s perfect for doing your selfie, but it’s also great for taking your selfie because the dildo’s veins allow for an excellent grip. I also do a live game show called the Kat Game Thek Show that involves light-up helmets and obscene accusations. The audience gets to do lots of shouting and contestants get to throw drinks in each other’s faces. Mostly nobody wins, but I like to think it builds character. I’m also working on making a real life catdog. It’s not going great. Are there any ladies you are currently crushing on now? So, so many! A few: Maria Bamford Amy Sedaris Lisa Hanawalt
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Katja Blichfeld Tracie Egan Morrissey Maude Lebowski Miranda July Joan Didion + the entire band of Childbirth katthek.com @thekfast
Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams Interview by Sam Paul Photo by Amanda Stosz More often than not, Shannon Shaw looks timeless. She’s a larger-than-life blonde bombshell with winged eyeliner and perfect bangs. On other days, she wears gold suspenders that match the glitter that’s covering her face, her hair, and her out-
stretched tongue. She embodies the campy, punky, retro rock and roll that Shannon and the Clams performs. Shaw isn’t only striking in appearance. She’s got a voice that doesn’t just blow you away—it takes you for a ride. It’s the kind of voice that, like Shaw herself, transcends time and straddles eras. It’s only natural that Shannon and the Clams warps genre and decade. At first you think their gut-wrenching ballads about love lost would be a perfect fit for your cool Aunt’s re-
cord collection, nestled between the Ronettes and The Shangri Las, but then someone belts out a scream, or the punk riffs take over. Imagine a doo-wop group in ripped tights playing in a musty Oakland basement. Or imagine the perfect soundtrack to a John Waters’ film. Shaw, also a member of the famed queercore band Hunx and his Punx, met her original Clams bandmates Cody Blanchard and Ian Anderson at California College of the Arts. Later, Nate Mahan replaced Anderson. They released their first album, I Wanna Go Home, in 2009. The band gained a cult following quickly, charming audiences with their highenergy live shows, and raw and emotional songwriting. They released their fourth and latest album, Gone By the Dawn, this past fall on Hardly Art Records. They’ve been touring heavily since, and GAGC got a chance to see them at one of their soldout Brooklyn shows. SP: What was your first cassette tape? What were the kinds of songs that played in the background when you were a kid? SS: My first cassette was Frizzle Fry by Primus followed by Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits, No Need To Argue by the Cranber-
ries and Throwing Copper by LIVE. The background music was always oldies top 40 kinda stuff and 80’s country and a lot of Patsy Cline, Slim Whitman, Hank Williams, Roger Miller, The Cars, Willy Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins and Harry Belafonte. My oldest brother who I really looked up to listened to a lot of heavy metal like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slayer. SP: When did you start playing music? Why? SS: When I was 25. I was driven to do it by heartbreak and utter madness. SP: When did you discover punk? What were some of the earliest punk bands you listened to? SS: There was a Sesame Street song called “Wet Paint,” and I remember thinking that was punk when I was a kid. Also on Sega Genesis there’s a game called Streets of Rage 2 that has a lot of punk villains that I always idolized. Musically, it came later. My little brother, Paddy, and I had to share a room until I moved out of my dad’s house and so we would have to compromise on music every day. I remember discovering Dead Kennedy’s
cover of Viva Las VEGAS and playing it on repeat to get ready for school in the morning. I have a very clear memory of our morning ‘get ready for school songs’ because that was such a difficult but interesting time in my life. We listened to Sweet Leaf, White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane (which I consider punk) and a lot of Pure Guava and Chocolate and Cheese by Ween and Type O Negative’s Black Sabbath covers. My first punk band I felt like I had a solid connection to was Red Cross. We grew up in a tiny town with no punk scene at all. There was nothing to do but make your own entertainment. We made our own movies on VHS and HI8, and had a fake skate gang, and would put on dance parties whenever we could. I have to give credit to Hollywood Video’s cult classic section because, when all else failed, you could peruse the weird shit they had in there and become more worldly pretty quick. We found the box for Desperate Teenage Love Dolls and thought it looked shitty and funny and rented it. Little did we know we were about to discover this greatly hilarious homemade movie from the ‘80s made by and starring Red
Cross! They echoed what we had been doing in Napa for as long as I could remember except now they had a rad band too. After watching that VHS a ton of times and looking into Red Cross more and more I discovered a ton of other music (especially 80’s hardcore punk) and eventually started playing my own music. I think seeing young, zitty Steve MacDonald drinking beers in funny costumes singing old Coor’s Light commercials and acting in the silly homemade movie (joking very much like I do) made me realize that I was capable of making music. I met him a few years ago and told him this whole story and he was thrilled by it. He’s seriously one of my heroes, and is such a kind, talented, and down to earth person. SP: Shannon and the Clams really seamlessly and really successfully melds 50s and 60s doo-wop with punk undertones. How did you end up combining these two genres? How do you juggle them and make it work so well? SS: I just love both styles of music so much it has always felt really natural to write this way. Both genres speak to be with their unabashed emoting and yearning and rebelling. Early Misfits was probably one of my
biggest inspirations of all time. Not lyrically AT ALL, but the way Danzig loved Elvis and Roy Orbison so much as well as punk and melts them together... Static Age is pretty close to a perfect album. The first time I heard that album our friend who we called Little Satan loaned me the tape and told me I would like it since I loved Roy Orbison so much. I used to drive a 78’ Buick Electra and the minute I popped it in the tape deck I just kinda had the urge to drive. I seriously just cruised alone listening to Static Age and told myself that my life was changing the more I listened to it. That tape made me have every urge ever: fight/fuck/cry. Haha,
I feel so stupid typing that BUT ITS TRUE!!! SP: Because we’re called Got a Girl crush and we focus on the women we admire, could you tell me who some of your “girl crushes,” are? Who are the women you look up to or are inspired by, musically or otherwise? SS: Angel Olsen, Cat Labonne, Jessica Pratt, Rebel Wilson. shannonandtheclams.com
Katja Blichfeld Interview by Nadxi Nieto Photos by Meg Wachter Art Direction by Amanda Stosz Makeup by Kristen Ruggiero Special thanks to Russell Gregory & Jessica Hackel You may know Katja Blichfeld as the Emmy-nominated casting director of 30 Rock, but if you’re crushing on her the way we are, it’s most likely for her role as the co-creator, -writer,
and -director of the hilarious hit series High Maintenance. The web series, which just got picked up by HBO, follows “the Guy,” a nameless pot dealer, as he makes his delivery rounds, acting as a fly on the wall and entry point into the lives of potsmoking NYers. If you haven’t already tuned in, you can catch previous seasons on Vimeo before they move to their new home on HBO. We are crushing on Katja not only for her fine writing, casting, and directorial skills, but for her smart, funny,
feminist, and generous nature. Katja and GAGC met this fall for a walk in the park, a toke, a coffee at Annex in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and a chat about all things kind. *This interview has been edited for clarity. GAGC: One of the things we love about High Maintenance is the abundance of interesting and complex female characters. Even though it’s a short show, you still manage to pack a lot in. We get to see their vulnerability, and even when you’re poking fun at them, we see their flintiness and strength. As a female viewer it’s really nice to see a variety of female characters rather than the one-size-fits all cardboard characters presented by Hollywood or more established TV shows. Are the female characters based on different facets of yourself or women in your life? KATJA: Oh, sure. Yeah, I mean definitely. All the characters that we write end up being based a little bit on ourselves. When I write a female character I’m definitely transposing some of my qualities. I don’t think that I can help that, probably. But, particularly with these first nineteen episodes that we did, a lot of the female characters are actually
inspired by the actresses who played them. A lot of them are real life friends that inspire me in various ways. Like my sisterin-law, Bridget Moloney, who is someone I met almost ten years ago when she graduated college. I was so enamored with her as an actress. Every time I read a script, I was like, where can I cast this wonderful, delightful woman? You know, it’s funny that she eventually became my sister-in-law, but she was sort of the impetus for, well, one of the impetuses for creating the show, because I knew that we had access to her and I wanted to feature her, and I had cast her a bunch of times so I knew what she could do. So she really was crucial, sort of inspiring, in getting the ball rolling. But so many of the women in the show also have a special place in my hall of muses or inspirational figures. Hannah Bos, who is a pretty prolific playwright and actress, back in like 2007 made a web series called Mimi and Flo and it was a ChooseYour-Own-Adventure style web series. That kind of opened my eyes to the fact that you could do something that wasn’t just a two-minute joke driven thing for the internet. Also, my friend Candace Thompson who’s on the show, she made a really kind of out-there arty DIY web series called Other Peeps that
was really made on no money but utilized the skillset that her and her partner John have and their friends’ skillsets. And they basically picked up trash off the street and used it to craft set pieces and props and things like that. So that’s been super inspirational to me but I also just, in general, have girl crushes on all of these women! Like, besides the work that they do, y’know? Like Candace in particular, she’s somebody who, every time I see her I’m like, what are you wearing! What do your nails look like! What does your hair look like! I’m studying every element of her presentation because I find her to be so, uh, I don’t know. She’s just so wonderful at expressing herself fully in her physical presentation and her work. And also my friend Brenna Palughi who is on our show. She’s someone I saw perform ten years ago and just got a kind of girl crush on her. Like, this woman is the second coming of Goldie Hawn! Like, I wanna work with her, I wanna put her in something, I wanna be her friend! So what’s cool is a lot of these women have inspired me artistically but also they’re women that I was like, I want to be your friend. And then, made them my friends! [Laughs] Like, forced them to be my friend, basically! And created art around them, you know?
GAGC: That’s pretty awesome. I mean you get that sense when you’re watching High Maintenance, because it’s kind of an exercise in communal crushing. KATJA: Yeah! We feel that way! GAGC: Yeah, it feels also like a crush on New York City and the way we live here. There’s a certain New York thing where you’re always looking in other peoples’ windows, trying to see what it’s like behind the facade. And as women we walk out with a little bit of a suit of armor, so it’s refreshing to get to see behind the mask. And even when it’s poking fun at these characters’ vanity, the absurdity of their concerns, there’s always lots of love. There’s a sense of understanding that this is the human condition. KATJA: Thanks for saying that! We try, I think because we’re so hard on ourselves, Ben and I, ah, and so self-critical. I think that for us it’s important too. I think this is us sort of exorcising some of the self-hate that we struggle with sometimes as neurotic New Yorkers, and finding a place to have that unconditional love for our fellow city-dwellers and the city at large, and then hopefully ultimately ourselves through all of
idealized version of ourselves. So, it’s cool that it translates that way.
this. But I think we’re so, we’re so hard on ourselves so I feel like it’s definitely a little therapeutic. Also, it’s funny, I like the way that you described that, just the way that it feels like a crush on New York or a crush. You know, that’s only recently become something that we’ve noticed. We didn’t really set out with that intention explicitly, but we’ve sort of come to see over time, like, looking back over the body of work and hearing peoples’ comments, we’re like, oh yeah! We have really created, even just in the guy, this character who has this kind of unabashed appreciation for the weirdos! We wanted to create sort of this figure that’s benevolent and non-judgmental, like what we would want to be, an
GAGC: It seems like the idea of the compassionate weirdo is popping up in a lot of web shows. You mentioned Mimi and Flo, which I love, and also Broad City. All of these shows are helmed by women or are very driven by their women creators or co-creators. It seems like right now the web is an especially fertile ground for women who are trying to tell a different type of story. I imagine it’s much harder to go through the traditional channels. KATJA: I mean, I don’t think it’s difficult right now. I think we’re in a really cool time where I think special—I’m not gonna say special preference is given to women in the development world—but there is more of a desire for female-created and female-centric content and programming. I think every development person that I’ve interfaced with these last few years has been pretty explicit about their desire to nurture female talent so, you know, this just feels like something that’s been going on for a while. Broad City like, I’m glad you mentioned them because honest to god they are two of the most influential ladies to me. I met
them when they still had just the web series and met them as performers, you know, thinking maybe I would cast them in something and I think maybe their agent set up a meeting to meet me as a casting director, and I totally fell in love with them. Big, huge girl crushes all around.
fun! And I was sending them the first episode and the trailer and being like what do you guys think, is this anything, would you watch this?, and getting feedback from them. And Ilana has introduced me to a couple of people that have ended up being kind of crucial cheerleaders in my life.
And at the time they had their script at FX and were telling me about that whole process and I had just come off of watching their whole web series and I was just like I love you! And then I totally spent the next several months being like you have to hire me to cast your show! I was obsessed.
It’s funny to think of how things would have gone if I had ended up casting their show. Like, maybe this would never have happened! It’s like, oh! That wouldn’t have worked. It was one of those weird things, too, where I really was like stalking them like please hire me! And they’re like, we love you, we don’t even know what we’re doing, we just got this show! And then the FX deal went away, they went to Comedy Central, and actually we sort of followed in their footsteps after that. We got a deal at FX, the script deal, like they did, and it, similarly, fell through. When they passed on us we were very heartened by the fact that those two women went and got their show. It made us feel like there are second, third, fourth acts. It doesn’t just end when one executive tells you no.
I just wanted to work with them so badly. I knew it was there, something special that you just want to, like… it just radiates off of them and you just hope some of it falls on you, like some sparkle dust might catch on you and you can be imbued with their specialness or something. I don’t know! Or you just want to be their best friend! And, um, yeah I just laugh when I think back to when I was like please hire me to cast your show! Meanwhile was trying to make High Maintenance but had no direction and no real explicit goal for what it would be. We were just trying to do something
GAGC: It’s very important to be able to have those people either laterally or ahead of you
slightly…a few steps down the path. KATJA: Absolutely. GAGC: One thing both High Maintenance and Broad City deal with that I think is interesting, and this is definitely changing, is the historical cultural narrative of pot smoking. Primarily, that men smoke more pot, or that men buy more weed and women get it from their boyfriends or from an older brother or something. Both High Maintenance and Broad City dismantle that idea. Women aren’t just smoking with their boyfriends. They buy pot for themselves and their friends for a variety of reasons. Were you conscious of the fact that you were changing the cultural narrative when you were writing High Maintenance? KATJA: No. I would say anything pertaining to my weed agenda was a little bit selfish in the beginning. I remember when Ben and I were batting back and forth ideas of what we wanted to make something about. We knew we wanted to make a series. We did not know what it would be about. But when we were sort of brainstorming one thing I remember saying is whatever we do, the characters should be portrayed
as functional stoners. And, not even just functional but like, successful. Like, not even just scraping by but actually doing OK for themselves. Just because we felt like we were those people and we knew so many people who were and many of them were women. Many, many of my girlfriends are functional stoners and doing quite well for themselves. So I definitely had it on my mind, and I’m sure Ben did too, that we kind of wanted to put something out there that was normalizing marijuana usage and I’m sure a lot of it was pretty selfishly motivated so that like our friends and, well not our friends but our families would feel similarly about it. And to be honest it worked. We just didn’t know how much it would work. GAGC: Have you ever smoked pot with your parents? KATJA: Um, my dad has never smoked. No, my parents don’t smoke. And Ben’s parents don’t either but they know that we do. And we don’t have to hide. My dad accidentally took mushrooms because of us. GAGC: [Laughs] Oh, no! How do you accidentally take mushrooms? KATJA: If they’re in a choco-
late, andâ€Ś You know, it was in the day, and he thought it was a regular chocolate. It was in a freezer at my parentsâ€™ house. We had forgotten it, left it behind, and he ate it and then went about his day and 45 minutes later thought he was having a
stroke. But my mom knew that we had brought it for our own intended use, so when she sort of got him to run through the events of the day she deduced what had happened and was able to assure him that all was well and he was not having a
stroke and that he would be find in a few hours. And he kind of went with it, and it was pretty great. I wasn’t there, but I spoke to him on the phone because my mom emailed me and told me I should call, and he was laughing so hard. I’d never heard him sound like that before. He drinks beer and wine or whatever but he doesn’t try anything else mind altering. He’s never been a person who takes pills... GAGC: Oh, boy. KATJA: Or anything, so this was the first psychedelic experience he ever had and he was 74. And he had a blast, he laughed a whole lot, he saw some weird things. He doesn’t want to do it again, apparently, but he had a nice time. GAGC: Well, you only live once. KATJA: I feel pretty cool that I helped facilitate that experience. I think it’s cool that he got to have a perspective shift, even if it was just for five hours. GAGC: And it’s cool that he was able to roll with it. KATJA: Yeah! Absolutely. He was in a safe place, and I think that was probably good for him on some level. Why not shake it up every now and again! He
lives in a pretty small little town. So I think it was probably a good thing. Yeah, it was pretty funny. GAGC: I have to ask, what’s the first time you smoked pot? Was it with a girlfriend, was it with boys, was it by yourself? KATJA: Um, I’m trying to remember. The first time I smoked was with a boy, to impress him, I’m sorry to admit that but, you know, it’s a common story. And I didn’t get stoned. The next time I did get stoned. And it wasn’t to impress a boy. But it was with a boy who was a friend and we used to make triphop together… GAGC: Oh my god… KATJA: … and it was like that scene in the ‘90s, it was that. We were like let’s watch Bjork’s “Volumen” and be really stoned. Like that’s what was going on. And eating Del Taco late night drive-thru and that kind of a thing. And then I had a really terrible experience shortly thereafter where I ate a hash cookie in Copenhagen and it was one of those times where I had two, and you should have really only have half and a boy dosed me incorrectly and I had a terrible time and I thought I was dying at one point. I thought I
should call my mom. I didn’t do that, thankfully, but I thought I should call my mom and say goodbye. GAGC: [laughs] KATJA: I was just like, I’m gone! It was so weird. And then the next day I was still stoned. And convinced I had brain damage. I was a product of the Just Say No generation. I actually used to make anti-drug home movies with friends and stuff like that. It’s actually funny that I ended up doing what I’m doing. GAGC: Do you still have any of those? KATJA: My parents do. I really want to dig them up because they’re pretty funny. I think I kind of didn’t smoke again until my kind of early to midtwenties. And then I was able to handle my shit! I think I first started purchasing it on my own when I was 25. That was like the first time that I called somebody and bought it and wasn’t just mooching off somebody at a party. And to speak to what you were saying about how it seems to be very much just men and boys who are portrayed as potheads in film and TV, I think sometimes too that’s just because women are, it seems
like, I mean this is obviously changing, but it just has seemed historically like we have seemed more shy about disclosing our pot usage because we already have enough things working against us out there in the world. I think that we’re trying to overcome a lot of already annoying stereotypes and terrible holdovers from previous generations and I think that historically women have not wanted to give any ammunition for more oppression. I don’t know! I think there’s a, and this is maybe, this is not scientific or sociological, this is just my stoner ramblings but I just feel that I, when I’m representing myself out there in a professional workplace and wanting to seem the most sharp clear-headed, trustworthy, you know, an expert in my field, I want to feel like I’m being received in a certain way. And I have, on many occasions, thought that if I disclosed that I’m such a stoner that maybe I will be discredited somehow, or if I slip up and make a regular human mistake that someone might say, “She’s a stoner, so of course she forgot that or she messed that up,” you know what I mean? Maybe I’m not doing a great job at articulating it but I do feel like these elements kind of go hand in hand somehow. At least for me, personally. I didn’t
really come out confidently as a stoner until I was thirty. But that coincided with a lot of other things in my life—like when I felt confident in my career and I stopped calling my parents for any kind of help, like not even financial but just was like I’m going to figure out how to change that piece of electrical equipment and not going to call my dad, you know what I mean? My thirties were definitely this time when everything flipped and I felt more confident about who I am and owning my behaviors and my personality, and people can just fuck off if they don’t like that I’m a stoner.
sent me of a woman smoking a mammoth joint, and in doing so I had that pang, like, all of my professional contacts are going to see this. Are they going to think that I’m going to smoke pot all day and is that a problem? And how will that affect me. And it’s not even a picture of me smoking a joint! And even though I consider myself a fairly independent woman, I didn’t start buying my own weed until my thirties. And when I was living with my partner I would make sure that he bought the weed. I would go into the other room; I didn’t want to deal with it.
GAGC: I think it’s an interesting concept: “coming out as a stoner.” Because that’s the thing, whether on social media or whatever, friends who are female and very successful, they’ll absolutely post pictures of themselves with a bottle of wine or a table full of empty glasses and it’s sort of understood to be OK. Not one of them, and many of them are serious pot smokers, would post a photo of themselves with a joint.
KATJA: Oh, I’ve done that plenty of times in my life too. Oh, the man will just deal with it, or my boyfriend.
GAGC: In anticipation of this interview I posted a photo that Meg, GAGC’s co-founder,
GAGC: For me, and I know
for a lot of women, one of the things when I was living alone, was like, do I let a strange man into my apartment while I’m alone? Will my neighbors hear me scream if something happens! Whether that fear is wellfounded or not is another thing, but my dealer is a woman, and I feel way more comfortable having a female dealer. KATJA: Absolutely.
GAGC: And she’s a wonderful,
wonderful woman. She has the best haircuts, ever, always—super white blonde close-cropped hair. Not at all like Esme, who is a great send-up, both of female drug dealers and wannabe actor-types. Have you ever had a female dealer?
made. Our art team was amazing on that one and I was just like that’s all we did? We should have done a whole episode in this coven place, you know?
KATJA: Many of the people who deal to us are female actually. I have had the opportunity a couple times in life to do that job [be a dealer] and I considered it for like one second and then I was like no way! I wouldn’t want to go into stranger’s homes alone under this premise where you don’t feel like you can call for law enforcement necessarily. I don’t know, you’re both complicit in something illegal. It’s just very dicey prospect and I, ah, yeah. I have a few pretty badass lady dealers that come and I’m always just like Yeah! Hats off to you. You’re doing it. But I would be scared. Terrified. Yeah.
KATJA: She’s based on a lot of people. She’s a composite of like five people.
GAGC: So is Esme going to come back? Is there more in store for the Cannabitches? KATJA: I do want to see them again because I liked them so much and I felt like it was so brief the time we spent with them and that was also my favorite set that we’ve ever
GAGC: Is Esme based on a real person?
GAGC: Maybe you don’t want to insult anyone…. KATJA: Well, but she really is. Everybody from like a terrible Pilates instructor that we had to a terrible weed delivery person that we had to some people that maybe aren’t friends anymore. To maybe like every annoying
person we’ve ever met. I feel like we’ve all encountered those people who are like, I’m a life coach! Like you are the person that should not, you are the last person… [shakes her head]
GAGC: Do you think women should support female weed dealers? Is that like a feminist directive? KATJA: I would recommend my service, which I won’t do publicly for their protection. Yeah, I would encourage women to order from the service because why not support more female owned and operated businesses?
GAGC: Speaking of support.
I have to ask for all of the girls who have crushes on you right now and are trying to find a way to tell their own stories, what is one piece of advice you would give them in terms of finding a way to get their stories out there? KATJA: I’ve never taken a traditional path for anything, and I’ve never accepted the rules and regulations of something. I just haven’t. My earliest recollection of this is eighth grade and I just remember there was this science project and I totally didn’t do a science project. I was like, no. I don’t like any of
the science projects that you’re presenting to me, and I was really interested in fetal alcohol syndrome and I wrote a hugeass paper as an eighth grader on fetal alcohol syndrome and made this whole presentation, got a good grade, and I remember the teacher being like, you didn’t follow the instructions though, but they gave me a good grade. And I was like, alright but you can still skirt the rules and do it the way you want to and if you do it, if you do a good enough job, people might let you get by with that. And I’ve kind of just done that my whole life, I think. I’ve always just tried to find a way that is custom built for me to get where I want to go. I just don’t accept that there is only one way to do things. Like, if you want to tell stories, you don’t have to necessarily go to film school and have someone teach you how to do that. It is helpful and you will maybe get into the industry more quickly but it’s not necessarily going to make you a better storyteller. And I think a lot of people, especially young people, miss out on the resources that are just right in front of them that don’t necessarily feel like resources. Because they think that, you know, you think that you need a lot.
It’s a little intimidating when you think about approaching any sort of creative endeavor. I think, especially as a young person, you might feel like if you’re in a school environment you need to check all these boxes before you can get anything off the ground and I don’t know, I think maybe that’s more my generation. I feel like this generation right now… it’s like a generation of self-taught everything so, I guess I’m talking myself in a circle because I guess, really, the best advice is just do it! And to really believe that your narrative is worthwhile. I would say don’t think about what other people might want to hear. Or what story other people might be interested in. Create something you would want to hear, create something you would appreciate. And trust that your voice is meaningful. Like, your voice is valid and even if you’re young and don’t have a lot of life experience your experiences are still worthwhile and interesting and will be to somebody. GAGC: We talked a bit about your influences and the women that inspired you. Who is your biggest girl-crush in TV and movies right now. I mean, it can— KATJA: Oh god! Oh—Jenny Slate. Yeah. She’s my friend.
She’s another one of those people that I was like can we be friends, because you’re the best. She’s amazing! And I love everything she does. She just speaks and I feel delighted. And I’ll watch her do anything, listen to her read anything because her voice is amazing. Ah, so yeah, Jenny Slate is my biggest girl crush at the moment in TV and film for sure.
GAGC: One of the things I think that non-pot smokers find so confusing is how many strains there are and the names we give them, from “Girl Scout Cookies” to what was that “Sweet Cheeks” that you had on the show? So if you had to name a strain after Jenny Slate, what would it be? KATJA: [laughs] Ah, that’s a good one. How about “Kindest Bud”? She exudes kindness and warmth and is one of the most thoughtful people I’ve met in a long time. She also has a deep desire for other people to be kind. I relate.
GAGC: What would you want your strain to be named? KATJA: Oh my god, I’m always terrible at these questions. Hmm. For me and Ben, “Swiss Army Knife,” because we use weed for so many reasons:
brainstorming ideas, alleviating stress and anxiety, pain management, celebrating— the list goes on.
GAGC: Nice! And before we let you go, what’s next for High Maintenance? KATJA: Well, next we’re about to start shooting. We’re just finishing up writing the episodes right now and we start shooting at the beginning of October, and I’m super excited. Our crew just exploded and is bigger than it was last summer. Which is exciting, and people are getting paid real money to do these jobs which is the most exciting thing of all.
GAGC: That’s the New York
KATJA: And then all of these wonderful people that have been slaving away all these years, it’s just so cool to be like, fill out your time card! Get paid! Plus this—I was going to say pipe dream but I want to actualize it: we really want to go to Hawaii this summer and rent a house for a couple of months and write
the next season. I actually have a couple of ideas for some features, some screenplays that I’m sort of halfworking on while I’m doing
this. And that’s what’s next! GAGC: That sounds divine. Thanks, Katja! We can’t wait to see what you do next. helpingyoumaintain.com @kblichfeld
Gazebos Interview by Tea Leigh Photos by Sami Harthoorn Call it fate, call it fortune, call it the all-wise guiding-goddess Hand of Rock ‘n’ Roll, because any way you cut it, Gazebos was meant to be. Ever since the motley quartet of Seattle music-scene lifers came together in 2014, Gazebos has been a shining beacon of the city’s live-music landscape, their performances raucous and cathartic and hilarious, uniting the tribes under a banner of unabashed and unabridged
fun. Now finally!Gazebos have an album out, their debut for Hardly Art Records, and nobody will be surprised that Die Alone is not the existential bummer the title suggests. Gazebos rages against the forces of postmillennial, pre-midlife anxiety and Die Alone is the soundtrack. --Hardly Art Records Have you all been musically inclined since you were wee babes? What was the moment it clicked for you and you knew you’d all be little badasses? Shannon Perry (singer): Ha! I
have been playing instruments and making music since I was young, yes. As far as the moment that I realized I was a “little badass,” I’m still patiently waiting for that magical moment to occur. TV Coahran (guitarist): My dad was in rock bands and practiced in the garage. I didn’t do piano lessons or anything but I got him to show me some guitar chords when I was 12. And he had a Tascam tape 8-track I used to play with. I think it cost $1000+ at the time. New tech :) Whats the weirdest/grossest thing to happen on tour so far? I need details. Shannon: Hmmm.. Uhhhh.... I think the grossest thing is just the typical lack of a lot of private bathroom time, which leads to a lower standard of personal hygiene. TV: Shannon (Gazebos) and Cody (Shannon & the Clams guitar/vocals) got stuck in a snowstorm between Denver and SLC and couldn’t make it to the show in time to play. Everyone else was in Clams’ big van and we took different highways accidentally. I learned how to play 14 clams songs in the back seat on the 7 hour drive and got to play guitar with them that night.
With like pages of chord notes taped all over the stage. “I think my existential crisis is more digestible for both me and the audience with a little smile attached to it. Not that the smile is contrived, it’s just that life is ridiculous and sad and funny and thrilling all at once, and I try to reflect that.” Have you always had this playful dynamic that comes out in your videos & live performances? How do you keep up your lively energy when speaking very plainly of entropy like in the song ‘Boys I Like’? Shannon: I think that I’ve always had some level of playfulness in any art that I’ve been involved in, whether it’s in a band, or in tattoos that I’ve done. I like to put a wink in most things, because humor is one of the only ways to cope with the strangeness of existence. I think my existential crisis is more digestible for both me and the audience with a little smile attached to it. Not that the smile is contrived, it’s just that life is ridiculous and sad and funny and thrilling all at once, and I try to reflect that. TV: I dunno. That song is really quick and upbeat and jumpy. Maybe the death-obsessed lyrics
are a good contrast. Whats the most difficult/enjoyable thing about collaborating visually versus musically? Shannon: For me, the most difficult part of musical collaboration is giving up some creative control. I’ve got strong opinions, and it’s hard when the vision is shared, but I think TV are similar in this way and I have found a nice level of sharing that involves a mutual contribution of vibes. As far as collaborating visually, we don’t do a lot of collaboration in that regard, we just make music together! And he is kind enough to let me take a lot of lead with our visual aesthetic, because I’m a visual artist at my day job as a tattoo artist. I think we ultimately have fairly different styles in a lot of ways, but it’s the combination of that styles that creates our band, and we can appreciate that and make room for each other stylistically. Hasn’t ceased to be exciting to make new music with him yet, and I look forward to making more!
You all have been in a ton of bands. What are some moments in those bands that helped influence the success of Gazebos today? Shannon: I’ve been the lead singer in 3 out of 4 bands that I’ve been in, and I think this is the first time I’ve really realized more of my potential as a vocalist, as I’m just feeling more free to express myself honestly. It took me until my 30’s to become this comfortable with myself, and I’m having a blast shouting into the void. It’s very cathartic! TV: I learned a lot of new chord tricks from playing shows with R. Stevie Moore and learning how to play his songs.
Most of your lyrics seem to have a wonderfully twisted duality. Can you talk about your writing process and what influences that nihilistic twang the most?
ding. Uhh put extra thought and effort into making something that hasn’t already been done a bunch of times. Everything already HAS been done but try anyway.
Shannon: I don’t think I’ve ever done an interview where I didn’t use the phrase “existential crisis” less than twice. There’s just no way around it for me. It’s the basis of most of my lyrics, the way I dress, the art I make, and so forth. I’m just not entirely sure why I’m on earth. Or why anything exists, I guess. All of my experiences are seen through that lens, and it just takes over when I’m writing lyrics... plus during many casual conversations. I’m still waiting to grow out of this affliction, though I’m afraid I might lose my muse if I did. Who knows. We are all going to die, so we might as well be as happy as we can while we’re here. Which is really just a long way of saying “YOLO”, I guess.
hardlyart.com/artists/gazebos valentinestattoo.com @shannoneperry
Lastly, some folks think it’s lame but I think it’s paying it forward and nice: What advice might you have for other hard working creatives? Shannon: Be yourself and work hard! TV: IT IS LAME... just kid-
Weaving the Future: A conversation with weaver Soraya Shah and Natalia Krasnodebska, co-founder of Lady Tech Guild Interview by Natalia Krasnodebska Film Still Images by Sara Kinney In today’s tech savvy world,
“luddite” refers to someone who is opposed to new technology. The term stems from a rebellion by English textile workers in 1811 protesting new power looms they feared would end their livelihood. I’ve been
working with various emergent technologies dependent on computing since 2008--so I’m hardly a luddite--but I was surprised to learn the link between weaving and software, which drives all the digital manufacturing I love and use. In 1801 Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a power loom that could base its weave (and hence the design of the fabric) on a pattern automatically read from punched wooden cards. Jacquard’s technology was revolutionary to mill owners, but more importantly it became the basis of code. Code, at its simplest, is just a system of symbols representing something. The punch cards created a system for placing individual threads in a fabric; a few enterprising people saw the potential beyond thread. Across the channel, English
mathematician Charles Babbage was working on a steam driven calculating machine, the ultimately doomed ‘Analytic Engine’. He used Jacquard’s punch card idea to rework his machine. He even named components of it the “Store” and the “Mill”, which we now know as the “memory” and “CPU” of a computer. His friendship with Ada Lovelace led her to writing programs for the still unbuilt machine and being credited as the world’s first computer programmer. Drawing on their ideas, American Herman Hollerith further advanced computing and ultimately founded a company based on his findings. That company was IBM and it would start the computer revolution. While IBM didn’t invent the personal computer (the honor belongs to Apple’s Steve Wozniak), it was the first to bundle it with software and thus put the power of technology in the hands of individuals. Computers, and their software, have become ubiquitous parts of our lives, and the pace of technological revolution increases at an exponential rate. People marvel at smartphones, the internet, virtual reality, 3D printing and all that they can do to help advance the human race. Alongside this wonder is an attendant niggling fear that tech-
nology will take over our lives with Artificial Intelligence, the singularity and a robot uprising. We are seeing a worldwide return to appreciation for the artisanal, handcrafted, and seek connecting with objects around us. We love meeting the artists and makers and learning the story of their “one of a kind” items. We then snap artfully arranged pictures of a unique hand-thrown porcelain using a...smartphone. We carry the power of a million of Charles Babbage’s Analytic Machines in our pocket. And we use them to Instagram brunch. Instagram may not be fully using the technology’s potential. But what is? How do we harness technology to serve us beyond apps? Can we combine our love of art and our love of technology? To unravel this question, I went to the source. I went to talk to a weaver. Soraya Shah is an accomplished handwoven textile designer and Vice President of The New York Guild of Handweavers. Her weaving studio is based out of Studio Four NYC, a carpet, fabric and wallpaper showroom and design studio. For the past 11 years Soraya has been working closely with interior and architectural designers to weave custom and bespoke textiles for
their interior and architectural projects. All of her goods are hand woven here in the USA. Natalia: Your studio is so beautiful! What do people think when they come in here? Soraya: Seeing the process allows people to appreciate the fabric I make in a different way, they ask Wow people still do this by hand? With my loom set up in the showroom, I’m able to sell fabric but I’m also able to show how it’s made, which adds a lot of value and consideration when clients are looking to order custom pieces. It was important to us to set up the weaving studio in the showroom as it helped to answer clients inevitable also a defiance to
our industry. People want everything fast, cheap and easy. I’m sitting here hand weaving
to say art takes time; beauty is expensive. Wait, it’s worth it.
N: I’ve been trying to understand the link between weaving and computing. If code is a system, what’s woven fabric? S: Weaving is the concept of taking thread and creating a grid like structure with it. Woven fabric is a cloth made up of two groups of threads, the warp and weft. These two groups interact
with one another at 90 degree angles, the grid. This type of fabric is produced on looms by weavers. N: Like this one? This isn’t a Jacquard loom? S: No. Weaving has actually been around since before biblical times. Before floor looms like this, there were frame looms and backstrap looms. Then came the Jacquard looms. My loom is a Compu-Dobby loom. Dobbys were originally created in the 1840’s, in part to simplify the Jacquard process. This one has 24 harnesses and is computerized. Like the various 3D printing technologies, different methods of weaving give different results. A Jacquard loom gives you control: you can create shading, curves and even organic shapes because each warp thread can be controlled independently. The Dobby loom was developed in part to get it done faster and cheaper. There are a lot more limitations to what you can create, which I personally like. For me, structure is the foundation of everything. N: I agree, limitation helps creativity. But going back to this loom, it’s a really complex machine! How do you get 24 individually threaded harnesses
to become fabric? S: I code it, I tell the loom what to do. First, since my loom is computerized I’m able to use a program to design and block out thread interactions to create the pattern I want. As well as the pattern, as I design, I am mindful of structural stability too. N: How does technology influence your process? S: I couldn’t do what I do without the technology but I don’t think it could exist without me either. I draft the pattern and write the code so my loom and computer can communicate, but I power the loom with my body. I throw the shuttle, beat the weft in, my feet operate the treadles which drives the interaction between the loom and the computer, through a solenoid system trig-
gered by my treadeling. I’m the translator. The process begins with cones of yarn and a warp that I make by hand. I use a warping board to measure out yardage and the width of what I’m going to make. The warp then gets threaded on to the loom, through the reed and through the heddles. I use my hands and my bodyweight to comb out knots and which allows the yarn to wind on smoothly. Once the yarn is wound on to the loom and threaded through it, I tie the ends onto a dowel connected to the front of the loom and balance out the tension by making knots. I then turn on the loom and the computer and start to weave. As a weaver I respect every thread and every part of the process. That is how you make precise cloth. Add to that an even beat - that’s the hand of
a master. That’s weaving. N: How did you get into weaving? S: As a child we used to drive up the Otavalo markets when I lived in Ecuador, that is where I saw tapestry weaving for the first time. To me, those textiles looked like drawings made with thread. After that everywhere I lived, cloth was something that stood out to me. How it varied from culture to culture. I moved to the US when I was 19 to study Illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design but I found myself drifting into other disciplines and ended up in a Fibers class and never looked back. I had an incredible professor named Doris Louie, she said it before I even knew it: “You’re a weaver”. In the middle of college, my grandfather died. I was devastat-
ed, and weaving helped me deal with the grief. I went to his funeral in Trinidad and was in awe of the hundreds of people that attended, all people that his life left an impression on. I thought about how threads, as they are woven into fabric, leave an impression on each other. When I take fabric apart, I’m seeing fabric become yarn again, but those yarns are left with the impressions of each other on them. That’s so fundamental to people, to our history, our culture, and our stories. We change each other, every interaction leaves an impression. Cloth is the ultimate representation of that. Cloth holds our history. N: That’s beautiful. With your weaving, you seem to be making order of our chaos, both literally and figuratively. Are you weaving yourself?
S: There is always a piece of me going into the fabric. I am chaotic! Even before I started weaving, I was always drawn to the things that disgust and disturb me. I can not tell you how many fabrics I’ve made based on one color that grosses me out. It might be a color, a fiber, a pattern or an idea that doesn’t sit right with me. I have to find a way to make it beautiful. Ultimately for me, the draw was defiance. Everything I make is a form of defiance. I’m impatient and have short attention span, I’m terrible at math. Everything about weaving requires patience, attention, time…math. Speaking of math, what drew you into creating the jewelry you make, which then led you to using 3D printing to create it?” N: While studying goldsmithing I was reading the “Poetics of Space” and was drawn to the idea of negative space. I started making a lot of thin, precise shapes. Unfortunately, the human eye is incredible, if my line was even a fraction off, you could tell it wasn’t straight. I made a lot of wonky squares before I realized my technical expertise needed another 40 years of practice. Ultimately your eye is better than your hand. Around that time, I read about
this emerging thing called 3D printing. I taught myself to 3D model and signed up for the beta test of a company called Shapeways, who were kind of like Kinko’s for 3D printing--using expensive industrial machines and making them available to the public. I sent them my 3D file, and they sent me back a precise, perfect 3D print. When I unpacked that first 3D printed piece I was transfixed. This was exactly what I imagined, what I had designed, and that to me was the magic. The head of our department, Robert Baines, was worried that this technology would destroy jewelry as a field. But to me the technology was just a tool, like calipers, or a saw. He taught us to be craftspeople, and the importance of designing for the body. Inherent in our design process was the wearer and the method of production. Today, the RMIT jewelry department is still going strong, and they now incorporate 3D printing as a method of production alongside traditional techniques. 3D printing let me combine art and technology, and gave me the precision I was lacking. As I got to know more about the process I was able to work with the machine more, and I admire people
who are really taking advantage of it to push the boundaries of art and design. People like Jessica Rosenkrantz of Nervous System, Iris van Herpen, Bathsheba Grossman, Anouk Wipprecht, Francis Bitonti and Bradley Rothenberg. The artists that use 3D printing in creative and novel ways have artistic vision AND they master the technology, and so bend it to their will. Soraya, you do that too! By programming your loom, you combine art and technology, and you take advantage of the process. This takes time and patience, because if you don’t understand the process you can’t take advantage of it. In both our fields, we rely on the machine to automate only part of our process. You mentioned that the loom you use was designed in the 1840s and it hasn’t changed much. That’s the same with jewelry using fire since 2BC; both our techniques are basically unchanged since they were invented. The challenge now is to incorporate digital techniques, the same way we have incorporated previous tools as a human race. I’d argue that technology is just another tool in an artist’s hand.
S: Exactly! What changes is the “translator”, the artist. Faced with the same technology, the same tool, an artist today does something different than an artist did ten years ago. Weaving is an ancient craft and it’s important to honor the history of the process. I always feel new, like I’m just dipping my toes in the weaving pool. It makes me humble, but also drives me. I’m an artisan, I’m not reinventing weaving, but I am injecting traditional woven pattern with Soraya flavor. N: So what is the point of artists if we have intelligent machines? S: We power the machines. We build them, we tell them what to do. When we worry about technology taking over our lives, let’s not forget where the power lies. N: So you, the artist, are actually integral to this technological process? S: There is always an element of the artist’s hand in weaving, even in computerized weaving machines, because they are threaded by hand; there are people running the machines. There is a misconception that mills just “make” complete fabric or products.
N: We have the same misconception in 3D printing, that the machines “make your ideas come to life”. The 3D printing industry has been selling this dream “If you have an idea we will make it a reality! You can have whatever you imagine, right now!” and it’s misleading. S: Right! That’s only half the story. The artist makes the blueprint, then executes the plan and oversees production by the machine. The machine just does what I tell it to do. If you design without thinking of production, it won’t work. Good design is nothing without good production. To be a good artist you have to have vision and talent, to do production you have to have the technical skill and to be a true craftsperson you need an understanding of both. -We live in a fertile time for art and technology collaborations, but they are not new. From the camera, to silkscreen printing to virtual reality, technology changes how art is made. Artists have been an intrinsic part of technological evolution. Occasionally, it’s embodied in
one person like Leonardo da Vinci: an artist who also gave us some useful inventions. Today, it’s people like Soraya Shah. Far from being at odds with each other, the divide between (wo) man and machine is getting smaller and smaller; Soraya and her loom embody the “increasingly meaningless standoff between hand and machine”. Perhaps Instagram photographers are the best expression of the Analytic Machine after all. If we want to harness the power of technology, place it in the hands of artists. As Soraya put it: “Technology is just a tool. What are you going do with it? The artist is everything.” bynatalia.com @ladytechguild @shahwiththat
#GAGCoriginals Original content from gotagirlcrush.com Kat Thek Shannon Shaw (Shannon & the Clams) Katja Blichfeld Shannon Perry (Gazebos) Soraya Shaw Natalia Krasnodebska
gotagirlcrush.com Volume 2 is a compilation of all #gagcoriginals interviews old-school zine style: Kat Thek Shannon Shaw (Shannon & the C...
Published on Jul 12, 2016
gotagirlcrush.com Volume 2 is a compilation of all #gagcoriginals interviews old-school zine style: Kat Thek Shannon Shaw (Shannon & the C...