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Photo by Anthony Pidgeon
Photo by Anthony Pidgeon
03/22/2018

Pussy Riot at Doug Fir Lounge 3/20/2018 / Review

By Lisa Helfer // Enter Pussy Riot...Baklava-clad in day-glo vests and jackets. Laptops pushed out beats to the packed-in crowd while the group performed in front of a large video screen with swirling images and text. 

Pussy Riot billed their first-ever United States tour as a political rally instead of a concert and they weren’t kidding. Instead of an opening act, on Tuesday, March 20 at the Doug Fir Lounge, Portland chapter members of the Democratic Socialists of America and the Socialists Alternative Organization took to the stage with signs and voices and primed the crowd. Glitter-painted young spokeswomen eloquently denounced Trump and Putin, patriarchy, capitalism, fascism, racism, the Parkland shooting, taxation inequality, sexism, and the KKK.

To hear millennials discuss Syria, Yemen, the evils of Northrup Grumman, DACA, and the dire need for universal healthcare and childcare in such detail gave me hope for the future. Their solution? A steady and patient collection of mass power required for nonviolent civil disobedience. Liberal hearts were pumping…then…enter Pussy Riot…Baklava-clad in day-glo vests and jackets. Laptops pushed out beats to the packed-in crowd while the group performed in front of a large video screen with swirling images and text. 

At times, band leader Nadya Tolokonnikova appeared on stage alone and vocalized along to electropop beats. Anonymous members of the group appeared on stage for additional numbers. They performed “Organ”, "Make America Great Again", "Police State", and “Straight Out of Vagina.” 

Highlights included a video game on screen showing Pussy Riot vs. the church vs. Putin on horseback. The famous words on screen that led to their 21-month imprisonment in Russia were featured as well. “Virgin Mary please become a feminist.” “Virgin Mary please get rid of Putin.” These women take their politics, music, and art to audiences worldwide and put it in a format that is packaged, but not without a heavy “act now. be the change” message. 

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Comments

Cherie Kirschbaum

So vivid. Thank you for sharing this.

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