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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 8, 2006

Guys definitely are invited to GiRL Fest Hawaii

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Local band The Malcognitas, above, and spoken-wordsmith Rachel Kann will take part in The Sexy Smart Party Saturday night at the rRed Elephant. The party is part of GiRL FeST, which aims to prevent domestic violence against girls and women.

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Today through Sept. 17

Events, event times and venues vary.

Events are for all ages unless otherwise specified.

For a complete listing of Girl Fest events, workshops, panels and films, see www.girlfesthawaii.org.

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Local talent Paula Fuga is part of GiRL FeST's Opening Night Concert this evening at the rRed Elephant.

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Boys are welcome at Girl Fest Hawaii. Wanted, even.

"We've always been inclusive of men. But it's a little bit easier now because the community understands that we're an inclusive movement," Kathryn Xian said of the social service organization/arts festival whose mission is ending violence against women and girls through education and art.

"We're Girl Fest because that's our priority. But the equation to end violence against women also includes men and boys. That's why they're so important to us."

Girl Fest kicks off its third annual weeklong slate of film, music, art, spoken word, dance, conferences, workshops and lectures tonight. By enlisting diverse media and diverse personalities and genres within these media to offer education and positive representations of women, Girl Fest hopes to change the kind of peer and pop culture that has fostered what Xian described as apathy toward violence against women and girls.

"Girl Fest is a lot of things. We wear many hats," said Xian, who calls herself the nonexecutive director of the event. "We do a lot of public-awareness so it is an attention-raising organization. That's very important because women as well as men young people, especially need to learn that asking for help is not a bad thing. It's a strong step (and) show of strength. The perpetrators are the ones that should be ashamed.

"We try to teach that message through art, and just constantly trying to influence youth through various media."

This year, a men's panel discussion "Fathering Strength, Forgiving Fear" (6 p.m., Monday at The Center for Hawaiian Studies on the University of Hawai'i-Manoa campus, free) will address men's roles in ending rape, sexism, homophobia, misogyny and abuse of women and girls worldwide. Male musicians, artists, dancers, poets, filmmakers and speakers will also be involved in all aspects of Girl Fest programming.

Xian is happy to have them on board for Girl Fest's third go-round.

Fact is, "they're not enough," Xian said of the number of men involved. "We're lucky to get a lot of really good representations of men especially men of color and men in the public eye that are brave enough and secure enough, really, to speak out against it."

A complete and detailed listing of Girl Fest programming and workshops is available online at www.girlfesthawaii.org. All workshops and events (except for Girl Fest's closing night party) are for all ages.

Here are 10 Girl Fest events (outside of the fest's weeklong slate of informative workshops and panels) that you should check out:

  • The Girl Fest Hawaii Art Gallery (now through Sept. 30, The ARTS at Marks Garage). A collection of local female artists working with a variety of media addresses the theme "Women Overcoming the Body."

  • Comedy and the Rock (7 p.m. today, The ARTS at Marks Garage, $8). Comedians Alix Olson and Ali Wong, and indie folk musician/poet Pamela Means perform. "Ali Wong is so raw and so funny," said Xian. "She's this short, petite Chinese powerhouse with a potty mouth, but a good message. She's totally un-P.C. (and) totally unrepentant about it."

  • Opening Night Concert (9 p.m. today, rRed Elephant, $10). Performances by Cali-based singer/songwriter Jennifer Johns, Paula Fuga, Lapaz and spoken-word artists Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Jocelyn De Leon, Selah Geissler.

  • Rachel Kann's "Get Your Poem On" workshop (11 a.m. Saturday, The ARTS at Marks Garage, $5-$10) and "The Outcast," her one-woman live story "throwdown" (6 p.m. Saturday, The ARTS at Marks Garage). Gain some spoken-word advice from poet and performer Kann in a morning workshop. Then at night, listen to her go on about a recent love affair, drag queens, psychic Kinko's employees and other stories from her life.

  • The Sexy Smart Party (8 p.m. Saturday, rRed Elephant, $10). Live performances by X-Factor, The Malcognitas, Slanty Eyed Mama and spoken word from Rachel Kann and Bridget Gray are the prelude to a set by SoCal-based electro/crunk/bluegrass/rock/ragga/etc. collective United By Sound. "This is a band that I think is definitely going to make it," said Xian. "Their sound is super unique (and) just so tight and amazing. We're really excited to introduce them to the Ho-nolulu public."

  • The Girl Fest Open Mic (7 p.m. Sunday, The ARTS at Marks Garage, donation). Step up to the mike to do some slam, or just step up with some words or music for the girls. It's not a competition. Just sign up for some stage time. Selah Geissler hosts. DJ Rebel Girl spins.

  • Film Festival (nightly, times vary, Thursday-Sept. 17, the Ho-nolulu Academy of Arts' Doris Duke Theatre, $6). Films made by or for women screen nightly. The fest's featured premiere is director Byron Hurt's "Beyond Beats and Rhymes," which explores representations of gender roles in hip-hop and rap. Hurt will host a Q&A after the film's screening, 6 p.m. Thursday.

  • Bands Against Violence (8 p.m. Sept. 15, Anna Bananna's, $5). Girl Fest rocks into its second weekend with reggae from Citizen Fury, rock from Dolls Till Daylight, rockabilly from The Hell Caminos and hear that train a-comin'? local Johnny Cash tribute band Psycho Billy Cadillac. Think the Man in Black with an even heavier sound and you get the idea.

  • Anna's Unplugged (9 p.m. Sept. 16, Anna Bananna's, $7). Pamela Means and Alix Olson return to the Girl Fest stage, with acoustic sets by local musicians The Girlas and Johnny Helm. HawaiiSlam master Kealoha hosts.

  • Closing Night Party (8 p.m. Sept. 17, Bar 35, free before 10 p.m., $5 after, 21 and older). Say goodbye to all the girls (and all the boys) with all turntablists all night. Sisters in Sound's Toki and Chia, DJ Primmitiv and Brooklyn-based house head DJ James Vincent spin until 2 a.m.

    Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.