Tuesday, Nov. 9, UT played host to a special guest, author Sara Marcus. Her book “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution” was the topic of discussion.
Marcus started off by reading an excerpt of one of the narratives, changing her voice to suit characters and even screaming the lyrics featured.
For those who are unaware of the Riot Grrrl movement, it was an underground feminist punk movement that quickly spread through the Pacific Northwest in the early-to-mid-’90s. It consisted of bands that addressed issues such as domestic abuse, racism and female empowerment.
Marcus couldn’t help but dance along as she played her audience samples of some bands that would be considered part of the revolution, the most famous including Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. She even added some little-known facts about the artists. For example, Kurt Cobain is known for advising his fans to listen to Bikini Kill instead of Nirvana.
Marcus got the idea for the book when she realized it was going down in history as a fad or fashion of the time period. She presented pictures of an oversized bulletin board covered with scrap papers held up by tiny bits of masking tape. It gave all her information in order, based on people, place and time period to make a timeline.
“I felt like I was a tailor using pins to piece together a jacket — my writing was the seams holding it together,” Marcus said. “No matter what I wrote, I kept coming back to the same conclusion: Music, politics and time could not be talked about in isolation; they were always connected, always.”
She felt that telling stories was a time-tested way to keep people’s attention.
“It seduces readers by giving them this voyeuristic quality of being inside the character’s consciousness,” Marcus said.
She even shared some personal stories about how she was involved with Riot Grrrl during the mid-’90s. Even though she was only about 17, she would attend rallies and even made her own magazines to pass out or sometimes sell for a dollar.
 “It was great. The reading was engaging, as she addressed not only the politics but also her writing process,” Karla Wozniak, professor in art, said. “I thought it was really interesting to go to an event in a different area of study than my own.”
Marcus concluded her presentation with a question-and-answer segment that stirred up some ideas in the audience. One of the most memorable comments came from Kaitlin Malick, senior in sociology and African studies, when she referenced back to the Slut Walk featured on campus a few weeks before.
“I feel like this book was a more complete manifesto than our slut walk was,” Malick said. “The theory was there but not the total practice. Now there is not even a theory to it.”