Reading Performance: Mascha Alechina (Pussy Riot)
We are in the middle of the decade of rebellious women, and Pussy Riot are among their greatest idols. They are the vociferous and lucid icons of a rebellion calling for furthering and combating Putin’s dictatorship in particular. The activist, author, and singer Mascha Alechina is one of the most famous representatives of the eleven-member collective from Moscow, not least because she was sentenced to two years in Russian prison and camp after instigating the Pussy Riot “punk prayer”.
From the beginning, Pussy Riot have been the epitome of artistic guts and sheer willpower, a skill that deserves to be brought to light as much as possible.
Maria Alechina will read from her punk novel, “Tage des Aufstands” (Riot Days) as part of the ”Ich Brauche eine Genie” event series. The text is a shocking inventory of the Russian prison system, as well as a touching and clairvoyant story from the golden days of revolution. Maria will interact with the audience after her reading, and answer questions.
Live music: Maike Rosa Bird
Maike Rose Bird has perfected the balancing act between protest songwriting and pop. Her beloved acoustic guitar melodies interplay punk with melodious guitar hymns, as she draws her audience into a mesmerizing vortex of pure feeling. In 2010, she became the star of the indie and singer-songwriting scene overnight. In 2015, she suddenly lost her desire to play any further concerts. Now, she’s back – and already on the cover of the current issue of TIP magazine.
Until now, she has only spread her records via her website. And indeed, in this mysterious seclusion, her fifth album (arguably one of her best), “Anything I want”, has emerged out of the ether, via Bohemian Strawberry (distributed by Broken Silence). Its exquisitely subtle, soul-touching songs are now presented live from their appearance at the Genius Gala: optimistic protest anthems putting their angry smiles to the test at the expense of the Machine.
Live music: Sewing Machine Duet
The Sewing Machine Duet, based out of Berlin/Munich, makes music with sewing machines — enough said. They are the Einstürzende Neubauten of the feminist era, so to speak. While whirring an uncannily original “Velvet Underground sound” out of these machines, Lisa Simpson (Agente Costura) and Stephanie Müller (of beißpony) do not rely on them to set the entire scheme of their set, but sing their own songs over these sounds with arresting melodies.
Stephanie is the “Ari Up on the Sewing Machine”. The beißpony percussionist and songwriter boldly encounters friction surfaces, forming a perfect marriage of scratching crash signals with gentle vocals and toy sounds. Lisa, a woman of choice, examines the sound of her sewing machine in the footsteps of John Cage. Sewing machines: finally an instrument of pop music, redeemed from their undeniable female tradition.
Without spoiling the upcoming event too much, one thing is for sure: the Sewing Machine Duet will sew a gift outfit for Mascha Alechina live on stage! But what it is will remain a mystery until then, even to the Duet themselves…after all, the decade of rebellious women is infamous for new styles and ingenious surprises.
Moderated and musically curated by:
Kerstin and Sandra Grether / Doctorella
The sisters Kerstin and Sandra Grether, of Berlin-based new-wave rock band Doctorella, are considered the “thought leaders of pop feminism in Germany”. (TAZ). Since 2016, they have operated the Bohemian Strawberry record label, which presents the “I need a genius” even series. They are also well known on the scene as writers (Kerstin: “Zuckerbabys”, “On a day for red shoes”), authors (“Spex”), Riot Grrrls (“Parole Trixi”, Sandra), and opinionated activists.
The “I need a genius” event series is sponsored by Musicboard Berlin GmbH, and will be presented by Bohemian Strawberry Records, Jungle World, Kaput Mag, amSTARt, and Zigzag.
Ich Brauche eine Genie: Popkultur, Feminismus, Protest. Vol. 3
21.04.2018 | Doors 20:00 CET | Start 21:00 CET
Kantine am Berghain | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin