A Talk with the Guerrilla Girls, in Midd this Thursday
Clarification (11/16/10): in 2001, the Guerrilla Girls split into three groups, of which Guerrilla Girls on Tour is one.
The Guerrilla Girls, a troupe of masked female performers, invade Middlebury this week. Active since the ’80s, Guerrilla Girls members have staged feminist protests and poster campaigns, most famously attacking the under-representation of women in the artistic canon. Members maintain anonymity by wearing gorilla masks and taking the names of important women in history. This Thursday in McCullough, the Guerrilla Girls on Tour will stage a free performance of Feminists Are Funny, “a fast and physical romp through the works of some of the most prominent and amusing women of the 20th century” that includes selections from the Girls’ repertoire of past and present campaigns and street-theater actions.
MiddBlog: Do you get paid to be part of Guerrilla Girls on Tour? It must be hard to have another job while touring. Do you have a Clark Kent (or Selina Kyle — Catwoman) dayjob?
Aphra Behn/Julia Child: We all have day jobs. One of us is actually Catwoman. We get paid a stipend while on tour as we feel it is important for women to be paid for their work. But the work we do as activists i.e. protesting, making posters, etc., is all volunteer work. We put any money that Guerrilla Girls On Tour makes (which is not a lot) back into the company. None of us makes a living at this. Check out www.ggontour.com for more info on Guerrilla Girl On Tour members.
Posters and street performances show art and messages indiscriminately, but with a show like this, only people who want to come will come. Do you ever worry you’re just “preaching to the choir” when you do college shows?
Yes. That’s why we recently began streaming our performances live so that anyone not “in the choir” can see them. www.livestream.com/ggontour. We won’t be streaming our Middlebury performance but you can see others on our livestream site.
In a similar vein, could you give a couple of reasons why someone who isn’t a self-proclaimed feminist should come to this event?
Because it’s funny and full of facts about sexism that are so pathetic they are hilarious. Because in “Feminists Are Funny” Julia Child and Aphra Behn do a Lady Gaga parody. Because they might get a free banana.
How do you think Middlebury ranks on the feminist-friendly scale compared to other colleges?
Can’t say as we are not there yet. But we’ve been doing our research on the very blue state of Vermont – and your reproductive rights report card grade is excellent (A minus).
The Guerrilla Girls’ focus their efforts on the art world but have been known to talk about other issues (like the Iraq War). Is it a good or bad thing to try to tackle multiple controversial issues at once?
It’s a good thing because when you put an issue aside it tends to fade from peoples minds so we’ve got to keep as many in play as we can. We love to multi-task with issues and consider ourselves good at it. But some people really don’t like this. They want us to stay on one subject. Sorry, what was the question again? I was making a poster about “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” and I lost my train of thought.
Who’s your favorite artist alive right now?
Justin Beiber. (kidding). We love all living artists. We recently got to meet Yoko Ono and she’s very cool.
What are you hoping to get out of your performance at Middlebury this coming week?
A good soy latte and more twitter followers. @GuerrillaGsOT. We hear that Vermont is the soy latte capital of the world and where one is able to achieve twitter whale status.
What will you do after the show? (There are only 2 bars in town, so you might have to keep your masks on or hide out somewhere more private.)
We’ll hit both those bars without our masks. But we won’t do anything obvious to blow our cover like order banana daiquiris.
Feminists are Funny: 7:00 Thursday. McCullough. Free.