Pussy Riot 11/7/16, Los Angeles

Dates: November 7, 2016

Location: Regent Theatre, Los Angeles

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The Russkies are on a Putin-baiting, talkin’-loud U.S. tour (details HERE, including a stop this week at BLURT’s western getaway), and on Nov. 7 in Los Angeles, they baited pretty much everybody. Check the videos following the photo gallery – if you dare, particularly if the last week was, er, a trying one for you….

TEXT & PHOTOS BY SUSAN MOLL

Author and activist Carol Hanisch astutely observed that the personal is political—an axiom that holds as much water today as it did in 1969– and there’s no one more familiar with the concept than the Pussy Riot. The world watched, aghast, as its personnel were whipped, beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned for daring to engage in public protest. Russia’s most famous musical dissidents visited the Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles on the night before the most bizarre, ugly, sad, painful and disillusioning election this great nation has ever witnessed, a dumpster fire, a slow-motion freeway pileup, a national shame that delivered an even more shameful verdict.

Artist and activist Shepard Fairey moderated the conversation between Maria “Masha” Alyokhina of Pussy Riot; Alexandra “Sasha” Bogino, a reporter for Mediazona, the band’s own independent news service; Sergey Smirnov, Mediazona’s editor-in-chief; and Allison Wolfe, who cemented her place in riot grrrl immortality as a member of Bratmobile. Wolfe, now a student of journalism and vocalist for the east-L.A. indie foursome Sex Stains, voiced her admiration for her comrades’ many sacrifices. “I think a lot of us take for granted what we don’t have to deal with,” she admitted. “It’s not like any of us riot grrrls ever thought we were at risk of going to jail.”

Ticketholders griped about the 45-minute delay; it was a work night, after all. The event was billed as a “conversation” so Pussy Riot didn’t perform (we held out hope until the very end, though.) The questions posed them were rambling and trite, and there was nary a balaclava in sight. For an event for a group that released a single called “Straight Outta Vagina,” there was sure a lot of dick talk: Artist Petr Pavlensky, who aired his grievances with Russia’s political situation by nailing his giblets to the cobblestones paving Red Square; and the giant phallus that someone painted on a drawbridge in St. Petersburg. (It remained fully erect for four hours.)

Smirnov presented the trailer for the forthcoming Pussy Riot documentary Act and Punishment and discussed the dangers Russian journalists face, which are legion: kidnappings, car bombs, imprisonment and worse. The President-elect’s festering animosity towards the “dishonest” media, coupled with his bromance with Vladimir Putin, is more than enough to give the American press pause. As Alyokhina said, before ending the night on a vote-for-Hillary note, said, “I feel that I need to give support, which I received, to other people who need it.” At this, a time of unprecedented hostility towards women, the conditions are ripe for the emergence of fourth-wave feminism. As America trades one national nightmare for another, we forecast a new crop of Pussy Riots to set free the rage of civil anger. After all, patriarchy is boring.

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Below: Sasha Bogino and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot, plus Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile/Sex Stains):

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Petr Pavlensky and his nutsack:petr_pavlensky

Screen shots from trailer for new documentary:

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