THEIR TOUR VAN got snagged with a speeding ticket. Only a dozen brave souls bought their logo-adorned panties. And initially, no one would give them a sound check. But Effloresce remain enthusiastic about their trip to Ladyfest Midwest where the Minneapolis-based rock trio--Alexandra Hope on guitar, Scott P. Fremont on drums, and Vicki Jenkins on bass--offered their trademark sound of guitars that are alternately saber-toothed and vaporous, and vocals that are heady and expressive. When the crew returned from Chicago, we talked to Jenkins about the highlights and high jinks of Ladyfest.
CITY PAGES: How was your road trip over to Chicago? I hear you got stopped along the way?
VICKI JENKINS: Scott recently gave Alex and I the Bad Girls' Guide to the Open Road to help us prepare for Ladyfest. Unfortunately I didn't get up to the chapter that explained eight different ways to talk your way out of a speeding ticket. So when I saw the state trooper, I was in a panic. I knew I was busted when she said, "Visa, MasterCard, or Discover?" Two hundred dollars later we found the guidebook and decided we should have tried the Plea to Poo. This is supposedly the best scenario to present if you haven't passed a rest area in 20 miles or so. The book explained that your attitude should be embarrassed, desperate, and in agony. Tears: not necessary.
Explanation: Tell the officer how embarrassing it is for you, and that you need to find a restroom or will have a serious messy problem. Talk about bad chili. Oh yeah, and Scott was happy to tell me that the woman's name was Officer Calk. [Vicki pronounces it "Officer Cock," laughing a bit.]
CP: What was your favorite act at Ladyfest?
JENKINS: Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to do all of the scheduled events at the festival. We focused the majority of our time on seeing new music. We did catch the end of Cynthia Plaster Caster at the Empty Bottle, though. It was very cool to see a legendary figure in rock 'n' roll. [Editor's note: Clever choice of words. Is the "legendary figure" the sculptor herself, or the male essence of Jon Langford?]
CP: What was your own performance like at the Congress Theater?
JENKINS: For me the actual performance was a bit surreal--it felt strange to release all of the energy of months of planning within 20 minutes. I think I also felt a bit anxious about the audience response because it was our first out-of-town show. But we all had a great performance and were well received. I left the stage feeling empowered.
CP: What happened when you met Le Tigre?
JENKINS: Well, I have these days-of-the-week underwear that inspired me. So I made iron-on underwear with "Effloresce" on the front and "Ladyfest Midwest" on the back. We had seen Le Tigre earlier in the week at Loring Park and I gave them a pair of those, mmm, what should I call them, panties? After we performed at Ladyfest, we saw them backstage and they said, "Hey, you're the girls who gave us the underwear!" It would be so cool if Kathleen Hanna wore Effloresce panties to her next performance!
CP: Why is having a festival like Ladyfest important?
JENKINS: The purpose of Ladyfest was to promote women of diverse backgrounds working in the creative arts. In my opinion, it is important for these types of events to exist, whether they are gender-based or not. It allows people with similar goals to support each other in a collective force. Ladyfest was a great opportunity for us to get outside of our immediate surroundings, forget about our local involvement, and listen to female performers of all genres: heavy metal, hip hop, rap, rock, pop. We got a chance to see some of our role models, and were honored to be role models for the next generation of rocker chicks.
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