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Is it possible to be a fan of both subversive punk rock and pop music's biggest current star? Author Sara Marcus thinks so. She recently wrote "Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution,"" the first book to document the history of the underground, feminist, punk music movement of the 1990s. Turns out, though, she now also admires Lady Gaga.
“I have to say, even though I’m not a fan at all of Lady Gaga’s music, I really have a lot of respect for the way that she’s using her celebrity as a platform to be a beacon of hope to the freaks and the misfits among today’s teens and adolescents,” Marcus said. “You don’t see very many mainstream artists speaking specifically to those kids the way that she does.”
Marcus celebrated the release of her book Saturday night at the Williamsburg venue and bar, Bruar Falls.
Growing up in the midst of this feminist punk scene inspired Marcus to write the book. Having the support of Riot Grrrl superstar and former Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna (who is married to Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz) sure didn't hurt, either.
“[Hanna] told me that she was really glad I was the one doing this,” Marcus said. “So that was really helpful and really encouraging.”
Marcus also said that while thousands of scholarly papers have been written about this generation of underground music, she wanted to be the first to write a narrative book about it, in order to make sure everything was captured correctly.
“It just seemed like if I didn’t write it based on the experiences of me and the people that I knew, someone else was going to write the book,” Marcus said. “And they would write it about this distorted idea and the real power of [the movement] was going to be lost.”
While she had an array of legendary sources for her book, Marcus says her favorite was a woman connected to and a big fan of the Riot Grrrl scene, but whose name was never in the headlines.
“Mary Margaret is in the book from the beginning right through the very end,” Marcus said. “She let me into her life in this profound way that it influenced the way that I approached the book. She instilled me with this great sense of awe and humility and the responsibility I had to honor the lives and experiences of everyone in the book. It really set the tone for everything.”