War on Women’s Shawna Potter talked ‘Making Spaces Safer’ at The Strand (pics)
War On Women, the incendiary feminist hardcore band who released their brilliant second album Capture The Flag in 2018 (one of our top 50 albums of the year), have had a busy 2019 so far, recently dropping a new music video for the title track of the album and touring Australia with Converge and the East Coast with Jawbreaker. They will soon be embarking on 3 weeks in the UK and Europe with the equally fiery Petrol Girls.
Meanwhile, frontwoman Shawna Potter has been even busier. In between the band’s tour schedule, giving workshops to venues and workplaces on harassment and making their spaces safer, and repairing amps and managing Big Crunch Amp Repair & Design in Baltimore (which is owned by WOW guitarist Brooks Harlan) she found time to take the themes she teaches in her workshops and compile them into a book called Making Spaces Safer which was released by AK Press earlier this month. Following the conclusion of War On Women’s Midwest/Canadian run with Bad Cop/Bad Cop on Friday at Montreal’s Pouzza Fest, and a Boston show with Frank Turner on Saturday, Potter immediately began a 5 date book tour, also in Boston, on Sunday (5/21).
Potter’s second book tour stop was Manhattan’s Strand Books on Monday night (5/20), where she had a discussion with writer and musician Meredith Graves about the book and her work as an educator and activist. When asked why she decided to compile the text, Potter stated that she got the inspiration after hosting daily workshops on the 2017 Warped Tour and that her goal is a “radical and interpersonal approach to safety,” because “we can’t rely on the people in power to protect us.” Citing the rise in police violence specifically against people of color and and transgender women in recent years, and that often police can escalate a situation, she posited taking a DIY approach to safety, asking “what if we don’t need police?” Prior to the publication of the full length book, a pocket guide was released in 2018 and distributed by AK Press and at War On Women shows.
A Q&A and signing session immediately followed, where Potter answered questions and engaged with the audience. She was warm and inviting as she signed books and took time to chat with everyone. When asked in the Q&A if she would ever consider running for public office, she scoffed and said “no way!” then went on to explain that she loves the work she does too much and loves to educate people at a grassroots level with her workshops and in War On Women (and also would not want to involve the money necessary to run for office). Asked by Graves towards the end of the discussion what she wants as the biggest takeaway from the book, Potter stated “everyone has the power to make a difference”
War On Women begin their UK tour with Petrol Girls on 5/31 in London. Before that, Potter has a couple more book tour dates left, at Baltimore’s Red Emma’s 5/23 and Washington DC’s The Potter’s House 5/28. See all of War on Women’s upcoming dates below.
Making Spaces Safer is on sale now.
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WAR ON WOMEN: 2019 TOUR
May 31 New Cross Inn New Cross, UK
Jun 01 The Bread Shed Manchester, UK
Jun 02 Temple of Boom, Leeds, UK
Jun 03 Glasgow Autonomous Space Glasgow, UK
Jun 04 Redrum Stafford, UK
Jun 05 Cavern Club Exeter, UK
Jun 06 The Green Door Store Brighton UK
Jun 07 Magasin 4 Brussels, Belgium
Jun 08 AZ Köln Cologne, Germany
Jun 09 Booze Cruise Festival Hamburg, Germany
Jun 10 Kantine Nuremberg, Germany
Jun 11 Underdog’s Prague, Czech Republic
Jun 12 Kulturzentrum Schlachthof Wiesbaden, Germany
Jun 13 AJZ Bahndamm Wermelskirchen, Germany
Jun 14 Juha West Stuttgart, Germany
Jun 15 Le Gibus Club Paris, France
Jun 16 Le Farmer Lyon, France
Jun 17 Le Qwertz Lausanne, Switzerland
Jun 18 Werk21 Zürich, Switzerland
Jun 19 EKH Vienna, Austria
Jun 20 Kapu Linz, Austria
Jun 21 Glockenbachwerkstatt Munich, Germany
Jun 22 Kulturzentrum Bollwerk 107 Moers, Germany
photos and writeup by Kate Hoos