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Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

I was at 242 in the beginning and it was one of the few places I really felt agency, as a young woman in the mid to late 1980s. I'm so sorry and not surprised to hear that wasn't everyone's experience. In the beginning it was a venue for all kinds of music and happenings, many of which we got to design and program ourselves. My friends' all girl band Ice 9 got their start there, mentored by scene legends Miss Bliss and by Jane Sanders and Kathy Lawrence, of the Mayor's Youth Office. I did weird performances there, taught younger girls. I debated then-Gov Dick Snelling about US aid to Nicaragua and El Salvador on the stage (wild!). I did see a lot of boys play a lot of hardcore there, and I'm sure some of those experiences reflected the sexism of the scene and the larger world. Over time, the city's support for 242 as a teen-programmed space dwindled and it became, increasingly, an all-ages hardcore rental venue. I wonder if that loss of agency for young women and girls corresponded in some part to an increase in the kinds of experiences described here. It's also likely I haven't fully remembered or dismantled the worst of my own days, or that I experienced some privilege in that setting that others didn't. When we hear experiences that are different from our own, sometimes it's good to listen rather than rush in to correct the record. The record has space for a lot of truths. I really appreciate what Peg is saying about not shutting down the author of this story and others, but really listening to learn how we can build more inclusive spaces and programs for kids in the future that truly honor the best of 242.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Selene Colburn on 12/04/2016 at 11:08 AM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

Hi Everyone...I want to respond thoughtfully to what I am seeing in all the comments here. I commented on this article, and from my heart. I've been getting notifications when anyone else comments as well, and have seen that different women have had different experiences at 242, and of course there were many incarnations of 242. I want to be sure that we as a community don't shut down the women who DID have negative experiences there. The comments I've been reading are very similar to what I have read when a woman says she's been assaulted and other people just don't believe or validate her experience. Other women have been shaming the woman who wrote about her experiences in the article and shaming and even making fun of
some of the other commenters. I think it's IMPORTANT to voice the positive experiences that many women had at 242! But I think it's important to tell our stories without shaming or invalidating other women's stories. My take on the comments all around is that if you were pretty involved in the 242 community...on the board or doing programming or going daily or weekly, you were treated as an equal. It seems that some who were just going there for a show once in a while or to play music may have had other experiences...and they are all valid.
I'm very happy to read all the great POSITIVE memories women have of 242. It's inspiring for the way a NEW 242 could be envisioned! xoPeg

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Peg Tassey on 12/04/2016 at 10:23 AM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

You're kidding me right? I spent the majority of my teen and early 20's at 242, before moving to NYC. Soooo sorry that you weren't coddled and wrapped in clouds to keep you safe from the "boys" moshing. It's a hardcore show! You clearly were at the wrong shows. This article makes me sick. How dare you!

3 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Jodi Stone on 12/03/2016 at 9:23 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

Needle in a haystack, here! I'll be playing today, filling in with my friends' band. They asked me in large part because they wanted females in hardcore/punk to be represented. (For the record, anyone who wanted a say in the lineup was welcome at the open meeting they held. All you had to do was show up.)

I wish you had talked to more women before you wrote this column so that it could have been more well-rounded. I started going to shows 20 years ago, and was heavily involved in the scene for 10. I played in bands, worked the door, and served on the advisory board and programming committee. I experienced more empowerment, freedom, and support at 242 Main than I did almost anywhere else in life. I felt safer there than walking down Church Street. I had negative experiences too, but they were always due to outsiders coming in to the community, and I was surrounded by men and women who were there to back me up with words and with fists.

Speaking of fists, when you speak of getting punched in the face, is it safe to assume that "being in the way of male agression" is code for "standing too close to the mosh pit?" Because if so, I vented plenty of female agression in the pit over the years and took and gave many hits and bruises. And when I fell in the pit, there was always a hand to pull me up and make sure I was okay.

I thank you for sharing this perspective; these are important voices to hear and issues to consider. But if you were going to talk about women's experiences at 242 Main, I wish you had included a larger sample group of women who were deeply involved in the community. Believe it or not, there were quite a lot of us, and I am not alone in feeling like this piece does not represent the full scope of our experience.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Martha 1 on 12/03/2016 at 11:30 AM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

This is not journalism. This is a weak editorial piece at best. Please devote your magazine space to more worthy and accurate voices. What a waste of a read.

2 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by THEkat on 12/02/2016 at 10:50 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

Peg Tassey - this is awesome! It's awesome in that it's a capsule in time, a version of the club/era I never went to, and the steady throb-metal is so clearly a predecessor to what I was listening to not four years later as a young teenager. So rad. So cool that you have this on Soundcloud.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jess Martin on 12/02/2016 at 10:33 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

What has struck me the most is watching my (male) 242 friends evolve into the very football player-types I went there to avoid, reliving their 'glory years' with undying, pathetic passion. Gross. That being said, some badass women took the stage there in the 80s (Strange Flesh!) and seeing them had a huge effect on all of us. Also, that was a very multiuse space back then, with art classes, poetry readings, and coffeehouses - not everyone who wants to celebrate 242 had the 'punk rock experience' but that history is much quieter. To me, those were the best days, when we all crossed paths at different events and respected each other's different interests.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by vtsavage on 12/02/2016 at 10:13 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

Reading this story made me very angry at first, how could these ladies sat such bull crap about my 242 home? I practicality lived at 242 in the 80's and early 90's and never felt like it was a "Boys Club". I never felt "Unsafe", just the opposite! Everyone at 242 was my family, somewhat disfunctional sometimes but always looking out for one another. No one could touch one of us without the whole family coming to their rescue.
This family is still tight after 30 years so I feel nothing but pitty for these ladies in this article . Maybe it's just a different generation , your 242 is not my 242.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by msstinkerbell on 12/02/2016 at 9:39 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

Amelia Devoid, I wrote a song about it in 1990. Here it is and it's called "Boys Club"...This is for all the women that felt like they shouldn't have been there, I wrote this song for us, and I played it to mostly male crowds at 242 many times in the heyday of 242 Main. And at Border, Toast, and then Metronome. Recorded in 1991 a very interesting time in the music scene here. At that time I was the only women fronting/writing/booking for a really loud rock band of all men. I never felt unsafe, and the guys in my band were good to me, but I often felt unwelcome in "the scene" and until I opened my mouth and started singing...lots of male musicians didn't take me seriously. So I played loud and I played hard and made a big ass noise that no one could say they hadn't heard. I had a REALLY good time.
So Amelia and friends... ROCK ON. Hope you enjoy this song, it's for you and for all of us who KNOW what it feels like to watch the Boys Club do their thing.…

If for some reason you can't hear it here, you can go to

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Peg Tassey on 12/02/2016 at 4:47 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

I agree with a lot of what you say here. As a (then closeted) trans woman and queer, that environment felt toxic as hell sometimes. Depended on the show. But yeah. A lot of why I stopped going. Just such a macho culture.

I too am disappointed by the lack of representation at that show. I know one cis gal playing bass as a fill in. And me, a trans woman fronting Spies In America.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jessica Pierce-LaRose on 12/02/2016 at 3:41 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

I attribute my entire womanhood to 242. Okay, maybe that's an oversell, but this story makes me feel really sad for the women who experienced the club after my time there. I was a regular from probably 1996 to 1999/2000, and did not feel at all the way Amelia Devoid said she and some of her friends did. I felt like it was MINE. All mine. Just by merit of choosing to, I got to serve on the weirdly consensus-run board, and learn all about nonviolent communication and active consensus-based decision-making, all of which favors all voices over the loudest shouters being heard and incorporated. I met the first shaved-headed girls in my life there, and spent hours hanging out in mixed crews, not exactly divided by gender, but not-not, either. I don't recall an us-them sense there, and it's nothing close to how brutal the rest of the word is in real-life. At 242 I got to be doorman, and ran the kitchen, frying vegan fries, and later, used the space to run community groups or alt-film screenings as a college student. It always felt like mine, and I think because of the sense of equality - yup, mosh wounds - I felt more like a human than I did like a girl. Which is the problem, if you're at a homogenous school district growing up where sportsy and preppy is the only way to be, or you're miserable. I loved how it was when I was there, dragged any female friends I had out there, and I hope as many other girls/women got that sense too. PS. Thank you for the Avail poster! I gotta queue that up...

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jess Martin on 12/02/2016 at 2:43 PM

Re: “Playtime: 242 Main — Farewell to the Boys' Club

"Please correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that there is not a single female musician in the bunch and if there is, she is a needle in a haystack."
You might want to double check that line up.

As a female musician, I have definitely experienced sexism in the music scene. But there has never been a time when I've personally felt unsafe or discriminated against at 242. In fact, all of my experiences there have been very positive. Maybe it's just because I've experienced a different time with different people. I can't speak to what it was like prior to around 2009 or so.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Meghan Burke on 12/02/2016 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Dykes to Watch Out For: Pièce de Résistance

So welcome!! to see this. I think Alison Bechdel makes the best drawings, well comparisons are odious, but those drawings are so specific and witty about the people I see around, the haircuts, the actual drawing of the faces, just wildly good. Plus the political and verbal content, dynamite. Is this just a one time thing or will there be more?? I also like Peter Schumann's visual stuff, posters and more. So clear and legible, dare I say formal elements are not ignored. but the details, that spunky little girl, they all slay me. I feel much better in these dark days.
When i taught Drawing at Johnson State I had my classes look at her work right along with Van Gogh, Daumier, Titian, Goya, the Alice in Wonderland drawings, by Sir John Tenniel, Faith Ringold,Clark Derbes, and and on into the ocean of fabulous visual art. Thank you Pamela Polston, the whole paper is a treasure, much better than what i can find in Amherst, MA area where our daughter lives.

Posted by Marjorie Kramer on 12/02/2016 at 9:11 AM

Re: “Meet the Vermonter Who Gets Paid to Analyze Fantasy Sports

Fantastic article!!!

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ken Crites on 11/30/2016 at 5:05 PM

Re: “Book Review: Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, Sen. Bernie Sanders

Long after the blatant myth of "Bernie Bros" has been disproven, Kevin Kelley insists on perpetuating it. Nice "journalism."

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jane on 11/28/2016 at 9:52 PM

Re: “WTF Is Richford's 'Mystery Spot'?

You want mystery spots? Has wikipedia got the article for you:…

(Nothing from Vermont there, however.)

Posted by DW Brooks on 11/28/2016 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Dykes to Watch Out For: Pièce de Résistance

I've owned every comic for years spreading the insight to many over the years. Truly happy to have more to enjoy. Thank you

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Candy Kruzhzoda on 11/28/2016 at 11:46 AM

Re: “Dykes to Watch Out For: Pièce de Résistance

"I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter"

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Emily Cox on 11/28/2016 at 5:30 AM

Re: “WTF Is Richford's 'Mystery Spot'?

If you ride up the Cog Railway at Mt Washington you can experience a similar optical illusion. As you sit in your seat your brain tells you that "up" is along your spine, through you head, and then toward the ceiling. However if your conductor walks down the aisle between the seats you can see him/her tilted about 30-45dg away from you, even though they are obviously straight-up vertical.

Posted by Nichael Cramer on 11/27/2016 at 2:43 PM

Re: “WTF Is Richford's 'Mystery Spot'?

The Canadians make money on their weird spot--it is called Magnetic Hill and is a tourist attraction --with plenty of tourists--around the Bay of Fundy

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Katherine Brown Pond on 11/27/2016 at 1:13 PM

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