Grlz Night collective hopes to engage marginalized groups with First Time’s the Charm event
“Relationships and connections make all the difference, but I think it is important to put [yourself] there, to say ‘Hey this is what I’m into!’ and as soon as you do that, it makes it so much easier to find people who are into the same thing,” said RM Livingston, the founder and co-organizer of “Grlz Night,” a local group hoping to put the focus on marfinalized groups in RVA.
“Grlz Night” is a group in Richmond that aims to create encouraging spaces for women, people of color, LGBTQ persons, etc.
What started in 2013 with a few women being invited to Livingston’s apartment has grown exponentially.
“We have 218 people in the Facebook group, at first it was about 13,” Livingston said. “I think that we’ve expanded our vision of what we are capable of. I think we’ve all grown as people.”
The collective hosts shows, produces art and prints a quarterly zine. As an avid fan of punk shows, Livingston saw a need for a less heteronormative environment, and Grlz Night has been trying to combat homogeneity among crowds ever since.
“There is just a lot of straight, white people,” said Livingston. “I felt like I was having the same conversations over and over again. I was looking for more in my relationships.”
Grlz Night has allowed Livingston to find the conversations they were looking for.
“I’ve been really inspired by all of the people I’ve meet from Grlz Night and all of the people who are excited about what we’re doing and who want to get involved,” said Livingston.
While inspired by the people who have been involved and the relationships that have developed as a result, Livingston still acknowledges the severe lack of diversity in the Richmond music scene.
In order to combat this issue, Grlz Night has created and organized First Time’s the Charm, a show for bands that are representative of marginalized groups. The show will exclusively feature eight bands playing their first show.
“I think it’s really important to not only have women, people of color, and queer people running shows, but also on stage and in the crowd,” said Livingston. “Most bands are still straight, white guys. I think that makes it harder for women, queer people, and people of color, to just take up instruments, and get on stage. It’s such an ‘in crowd’, a ‘boys club’ thing.”
The idea to host a show like ‘First Time’s the Charm’ was inspired by a group in Philadelphia.
“Harris Mendell of Sundials came to me and said ‘Hey, they did this thing in Philly, would you be interested in putting on one here?’” Livingston said. “I was really excited when he came to me with the idea and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’”
The show will coincide with the release of the group’s spring zine, “The Great Unknown.” The groups first zine was released in October, 2014.
“I put together a group zine and we had it at last year’s Richmond Zine Fest,” Livingston said. “That’s kind of where this really got started and kind of turned more into a more socio-political thing… We’re trying to do it quarterly. We’ve only done two so far; however, it feels like we’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Grlz Night is always looking for more people to get involved. As a welcoming, safe space, the group is always open to those who bring new viewpoints.
“We don’t really have any kind of membership requirements,” said Livingston. “If people want to get involved just talk to us on Facebook, email us, or come to a meeting or a show. There is always stuff that we need help with. Even if you just want to help come up with things…We want way more perspective and varying people to get involved.”
“I want to make sure that we are getting our message out to a bunch of different spaces so that everyone who wants to access it knows about it,” said Livingston.
‘First Time’s the Charm’ will be on June 20th, 9pm – 1:30am at Strange Matter. The spring zine, “The Great Unknown,” will be released and for sale the same night.
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