What started as a podcast featuring the bands of my friends and their friends has now turned into a platform for LGBTQ musicians and our allies to get their music out into the world. With a year's worth of weekly podcasts under our belt, Homoground has grown into a full-fledged media company that books and promotes events and artists. By using music and other creative forms of media as our main driving force, we hope to make people more aware of social issues and things that affect them and the people around them.
On Mondays, we kick off the week with a fresh mixtape created by bloggers, activists, DJs, filmmakers, etc. Every Thursday, we feature new and independent musicians on episodes of our podcast, which are available via our website and iTunes. Throughout the year, we book shows and events in various cities to take our online efforts into the physical world. Music had a large role in forming our identities, especially growing up in small, Southern towns. So it only makes sense for us to create a way for others to access the things we didn't have access to as teenagers.
Our latest project, Feminist Playing Cards, is a custom deck of playing cards featuring more than 52 musicians illustrated by 14 artists. The cards feature musicians from different generations and genres: Tori Amos, Joan Baez, Edith Piaf, Joanna Newsom, Nina Simone, Patsy Cline, and many more (you can see examples of illustrations of these musicians in the slideshow below).
It is important for us to preserve the history of these musicians, who have not only contributed great music to the world but have also contributed to the advancement of women's rights. Some of these musicians were the first women to make accomplishments in their respective genres. Still others led a life of activism and community organizing. For example, Tori Amos co-founded the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), a toll-free help line in the U.S. connecting callers with their local rape crisis center.
By combining feminist ideas with music and art, we are putting our own stamp on something that has been around since the ninth century and documenting our own history, which is often neglected. Throughout history, playing cards were largely controversial. The style of the deck varied tremendously depending on the culture and its access to technology. The images on early card decks featured only men, reflecting the dominating role they had in the royal courts. Even today, many cultures still do not include a queen or any female in their decks, and men dominate many poker tables. A Google search for "women playing cards" brings up a link to purchase "Nude Women Playing Cards" as the first result. Even the pin-up cards that I came across portray women as sexual objects and "often depict[ed] idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like."
The artists involved in the project include Emily Henderson, Andrea Rae Georgas, Ramsey Beyer, Lauren Denitzio, Liz Prince, Marissa Paternoster, Clare Brown, Jacki Sullivan, Brandi Lee, Cristy Road, Ginny Maki, Citizen A, Tressa Patten and Kay Kelley. Many of these artists are heavily involved in their DIY communities and have contributed immensely to the feminist movement through various outlets, including music, zines, and of course their artwork.
From the beginning, this has been a very collaborative project. Each artist was given the freedom to decide on the musicians they chose to draw. Since we're limited to a certain number of cards, we can't include everyone in the deck, but we have definitely listened to suggestions and tried to implement them where we can. This is just our first deck, and if all goes well, who knows what we'll have in store for you next!
We are currently raising money on Kickstarter to produce and manufacture these cards. You can help us turn this vision into reality by visiting our Kickstarter page.