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FEBRUARY 6TH, 2015 A BI-WEEKLY WEBPAPER ISSUE 52
An interview with Russian punks Fanny Kaplan
/ by Nina Mashurova

I must've started searching for Russian feminist punk bands in fall of 2012. I was crashing on my dad's couch in South Brooklyn after a transient period of couchsurfing, marooned there by Hurricane Sandy. I missed Boston. Following Occupy & Boston's first Ladyfest, the buzz of a nascent activist consciousness crept into town, and it seemed like things were starting to fall into place.

Just before leaving Boston, I helped organize a "Pussy Riot Benefit" with some friends—a basement show featuring rad feminist punk and hardcore bands. Monetarily, we probably raised a very tiny drop in a very large bucket, but it was fun to organize a feminist punk show with friends. Most of all, I was excited that people were suddenly talking about Russia. Having been born in St. Petersburg and maintaining an interest in Russian culture I wasn't surprised that the country could produce rad music or rad activism, but I was genuinely surprised first about the feminist angle (in my experience, Russian culture allows little flexibility in gender roles and regards "feminism" as a dirty word), and second, that Americans noticed and cared.

That fall, as Nadia and Masha got shipped off to prison camps in Siberia, South Brooklyn tried to recover from the storm. My dad and I spent a lot of time in the same apartment engrossed in separate laptops, separate internet missives. He followed Russian news bloggers closely and would update me on troubling developments. A rise in protofascist nationalism, censorship, religious zealotry, increased intolerance towards LGBTQ populations and ethnic minorities. Putin's motorcycle gang militia. The Magnitsky Act. Talking about Russia so much implicitly directed my Soundcloud dives Russia-bound. I wanted to relate, I think, but I also must have desperately wanted to find proof that there was inspiring art being made in every political dystopia, that Russian punk feminism didn't live and die with Pussy Riot.

Over the following year I fell down the rabbit hole of related and unrelated media: A YouTube documentary about Moscow street punk; a screamo band called Nasty Taste with a memorable Hard Candy-like violent hitchhiker revenge music video,

wide-eyed romantic bedroom pop by songwriter Dasha Shults; gorgeous brooding shoegaze by Moscow couple Glaswen, a punk webzine called Sadwave. I first heard about Fanny Kaplan from a flyer for an event at a Moscow cafe in August 2013, put together by the label Temniwye Lowadki (Dark Horses). The event description asked the question, "Is there a riot-grrrl movement in Moscow?" and hoped to answer in the affirmative.

Fanny Kaplan, named after a woman who tried to assassinate Lenin back in 1918 because she thought he was hurting the revolution, is a trio of inspiring women who live in Moscow and play new wave/coldwave synth-and-drum driven postpunk. Their songs are dark, anxious, urgent; their lyrics figurative and poignant . They released the 4-song siyaniye nits EP in 2012, then the plastilin full length in September 2013. Their web presence was frequently tagged "riot grrrl" and they've been vocally supportive of other female bands and musicians. This was the band I needed to find. . .

Why DIY artists should care about this week's net neutrality developments

If you are tuned in to conversations about independent media or preserving the open internet, "net neutrality" is probably a term you've heard thrown around in various contexts over the past few years. And this past week, you probably saw even more posts everywhere about how net neutrality is on the verge of being "reclassified under Title II" and how that this is a "huge victory". But what does it all mean and why is this potentially a radically huge "win"?

WAIT WHAT

If you're just tuning in, "net neutrality" is the basic idea that internet access should be the same for everyone. It means that Internet providers (corporations like Verizon and Comcast) should treat Internet traffic the same.

There are some people who think it would be a cool idea for corporations to be able to pay for "fast lanes", or accelerated speed to their sites. But that sort of corporate influence over Internet access would destroy what makes the Internet useful and in ways, even kind of liberating. In a fucked up world without net neutrality, big companies would be able to pay for their sites to load faster than other sites. Verizon and Comcast would be able to block or slow down your access to sites they viewed as a threat to their corporate interests.

Right now, that's not how the Internet works. So that means you can access an ad-free DIY publications like The Media (this website) as fast as you can access mainstream big-money publications. You can get to your favorite punk distro's website as fast as you can get to a major label artist's. In a world without net neutrality, this would change via the hands (and pockets) of cable companies.

Last January, a federal appeals court struck down the FCC’s Open Internet rules of 2010, which supported net neutrality. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler proposed new laws to could have allowed "slow lanes". It was a generally bleak moment and it seemed like he had clearly sided with the cable companies. It . . .



WEEKLIES


by Lei Jia
Blue Monday.





by Faye Orlove
Never forget.






by Victoria Ruiz
Like saying goodbye to a home.



by Jolie Maya-Altshuler
Seasonal depression.



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