April 15, 2008

A videoflash so you appreciate SDS and the New Left

During World War II, women ran America. They built the planes, ships, and equipment to win the war. They built the economy that pulled the country out of the Depression and then emerge as a new Superpower. For the first time they integrated into the work force, the military, and the society. They were expected to give all that up at the war's end. Having tasted freedom, many Americans refused to surrender for themselves what they had been fighting for abroad. The Civil Rights movement, the farm rights activism of Cesar Chavez, the Counterculture, Stonewall, the American Indian Movement, and Feminism are the children of that democratic spirit of freedom for all.

Birtha's first album shows an apt metaphor; a 1948 jukebox being shook righteously with their music. Mothers from WWII wanted more for their daughters. That hope flourished in the 60's and 70's when their children rose to the challenge of bettering society. It's a shake-up that reverberates to this day.

Since we are the sum of our memories and experience, the diner herein reflects that mutual arc. Included are idealized women in pin-ups by such artists as Alberto Vargas and Joyce Ballantyne (who was her own model; 00:42); the real Rosie the Riveters and Wendy the Welders who made the country stable; the integrated work forces that opened up the future of civil rights; the Japanese Americans who were interned in concentration camps by their own nation; and the Counterculture opening all the doors of progress. Free your spirit...

About BIRTHA: In the mid-60's, bassist Rosemary Butler was in The Ladybirds, an all-female band who toured opening for The Rolling Stones. She hooked up with guitarist friend Shele Pinizzotto in the Los Angeles psychedelic group, The Daisy Chain. By the early 70's they became Birtha, with keyboardist Sherry Hagler and drummer Olivia "Liver" Favela. Fanny had just broken through as the first all-female rock band making major label LPs. Dunhill Records responded by pairing Birtha up with Gabriel Mekler, producer of label mates Steppenwolf. Their especially hard, heavy sound provoked the infamous ad campaign, "Birtha Has Balls", which shocked Playboy so much they wouldn't print it. But the T-shirts were a smash. "When (Birtha) played the 1972 Rockingham Festival, members of Alice Cooper, Fleetwood Mac and the James Gang all chose to wear them for their own sets," writes reviewer Mrs. Ahab, "and revelers could clearly see the logo disappear from view as Alice left the arena hanging out of a helicopter still sporting his Birtha shirt. " Billboard gasped, "they project more power and drive than most male groups," with astonishment. Birtha made two albums but despite touring with the hardest and playing harder, they didn't break through and broke apart. Almost immediately on their heels would be The Runaways and the Punk grrrls to carry the torch.

Shele Pinizzotto (guitar, vocals)
Rosemary Butler (bass, vocals)
Sherry Hagler (keyboards)
Liver Favela (drums, lead vocals on "Free Spirit") http://www.myspace.com/birthasite http://www.myspace.com/rosemarybutler http://www.rosemarybutler.com/


(All rights reserved by the copyright owners. Fan-made video to promote the artist.)
tym stevens
Category: Music

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