Ice anglers rescued after ice sheet breaks away from shore.
I was skating that ice 48 hours ago, so I’m going to crawl under my bed now.
The story of Peggy and Pegeen Guggenheim, as told by the Situationist painter Ralph Rumney, reads like Shakespeare: court intrigue, backstabbing, madness, and suicide. Rumney’s book The Consul provides a critical point of view on this fraught mother-daughter relationship cracking up at the cutting edge of the art world.
Born Eliane Papai around 1935 in Spain, Eliane married her way into a couple other last names; she is mostly referred to as Eliane Brau, using the last name of her second husband. I think of her simply as Eliane, in deference to her singularity. Below I argue that her role in the “Letterist” movement of early 1950s Paris has been diminished; conversely, the achievements of the Letterist men have been overblown. It has been too easy to write her off as a passive “muse” for these men who indeed loved her fiercely. She deserves parity. Sadly, unlike her lovers, there is a distinct lack of information about her on the internet. I cannot even determine if she is still alive. Eliane is an invisible icon.
My favorite musicians are women. Who’s the coolest member of the Pixies? Kim Deal! You don’t even have to think about it for a second. And my favorite genre is indie rock. Indie is not major label, and not pop enough to score strings of giant hits. The term is frequently applied to punk-lineage garage-y guitar bands, but not exclusively.
The past few years I’ve discovered many indie chick rockers and all-female bands. Here are some highlights. This (not comprehensive!) list showcases indie women who play guitar or bass, either solo or in bands, who have been active in the past five years. Therefore many of my classic faves have been excluded — for instance a suite of 1980s and ’90s rockers. I will write about them one day, but here the focus is on contemporary artists.
My descriptions are fleshed out with links to music videos, interviews, rig rundowns, and live performances. Consider this part one of a projected series as I have more to write about, including Duluthians who will get their own essay. Here goes — some of my indie rock guitar goddess she-roes:
The recent passing of Eddie Van Halen reminded me of a favorite topic: the musician as inventor. I refer to the invention of objects, techniques, and concepts. It’s invention in the service of an art form. For instance, musical instruments are invented, then shaped with further inventions which make additional modifications possible. Musicians have always been inventors. Here are some of my favorite examples.
Rock and Roll Itself
The invention of rock music, with its pedigree of blues, gospel, and so on, is these days commonly attributed to Chuck Berry in the early 1950s. Berry produced the musical mutant that would conquer the world when he combined rhythm and blues with country and western guitar licks, then packaged it with guitar solos and other showmanship. His signature duck walk may be considered a lasting invention, still in use by Angus Young of AC/DC who credits Berry for, well, everything. Berry was influenced by Sister Loretta Tharpe, whose 1944 song, “Strange Things Happening Every Day,” is sometimes considered the first rock record.