Monday, July 30, 2012

More than a Woman: A Short Ode to My Mother (feat. Bob Dylan)

Press play.

I'll keep this ode short because there are more things to say about my mother than I can even think of right now. And self-editing is the worst. 

Today is another day that my mother must keep my family together, because if she doesn't, who will?

She moved here before she turned 23 to be with my father in Oklahoma. When I say here, I mean the U.S., sure, but I also mean a geographical location halfway across the planet from the country and culture she grew up in. Leaving her family, she also left a land soon to be torn apart by a revolution, by foreign invasion, missile misfires, cultural suppression and good ol' religious oppression of women.

Growing up, my mom wore mini skirts and knee-high boots. There's a photo I've seen of her standing in water on a shore of some sort. She wears jeans rolled up into clam diggers and a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up. She stands arm in arm with several of her eight siblings.

My mother left a beautiful family (that I miss with every breath although I've only them a handful of times) to start a new family, or rather, a new branch of the Alishiri clan. And she got stuck with us --my nuclear: my dad, my sister and I.

My father's rheumatic fever as a child lead to his rheumatic heart disease now. His two mechanical valves force him to ingest handfuls of medicines every day, three times a day. I love my old man, and I don't want to see him like that. But that's the reality of poor health care and lack of health care altogether. Some people don't get to be healthy again.

Today my mother goes with Ali to Mayo Clinic for more, even more testing. This time it's because his primary doctors don't know how his medications are making his blood pressure drop very suddenly. If it drops too suddenly, his heart will stop.

Zari Alishiri is driving the four-plus hours to be with the man, the person, the human being that has been her family here from the moment she stepped off the plane. She was "fresh off the boat", married at 19 and ready to give her life a go in America. Now she's spent more time living in the U.S. than she in Iran, and you can tell by the way she gets mad when she sees some women in hijab. "We don't have to do that here," she says in some variation. "Some people are very old fashioned."

In high school when my music tastes really started to expand, I received a copy of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Volume 1-3 from the first guy I ever kissed. I don't know how many times she borrowed that set. She thought the songs were nice.
They are.

So here's to the woman that gave birth to me, let me eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while and still loves me. After all of it, after seeing the good and the bad, she's still down.

Mom, you're more than a mother to me; you're an amazing woman.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More than a Woman: To the Woman Who Got Me into Music

C.L.A.P. is proud to introduce our third blog column, "More than a Woman" by Shieva Salehnia. As Shieva states:

“More than a Woman” is music-oriented writing from a self-identified female perspective. It seeks to present woman as subject and object, artist and promoter, appreciator and creator. It’s also about sweet music made by and for sweet ladies.

A big thanks to Shieva, Ryn and Karoline for their contributions! We can't wait to see what more they have in store for us! If you have an idea that you think would be great for the C.L.A.P. blog (or zine!), contact us at! We'd love to have you!

To the Woman Who Got Me into Music By: Shieva Salehnia

I dislike women sometimes. More specifically, I dislike female musicians. More than the musicians themselves, I dislike the characteristics many females personify and are accepted by a large audience because of.

Some women musicians are innocent children, whiny cherubs, prepubescent warblers with snot plugging their noses. They sing high and nasally, like no one ever told them to open their airways, or taught them how to open their throats.

Some play into the innocent thing a little too much, pulling in a crowd of 30-something year old men that would love to bang a high schooler but can’t get over the negative social connotation and legal repercussions. Robbing the cradle is easy when the girl’s legal.

I have a lot of opinions about music because of my older sister Sonya. She’s four years older than I am, and a million years more experienced in certain fields of music knowledge and appreciation.

When we were kids, I remember her listening to and adoring Green Day. She was just old enough to feel the sad pangs of their selling out to MTV and major labels. Success was a dirty word, Sonya taught me.

I learned from her outcast callousness, and her “tomboy” attitude and dress. She wore her hair short in high school, combining oversized t-shirts and combat boots. Kids asked if she was a lesbian and called her a freak. By the time she was a senior, the most popular girl in school told her she admired my sister’s ability to not give a fuck.

When I tried to take in her punk rock footsteps, I failed miserably by her standards. My favorite pop punk bands and my cheery disposition weren’t badass enough for her. Looking back I wasn’t badass. I was lost. But we all get lost sometimes. How else are we going to find ourselves?

While entering my preadolescent chrysalis to one day emerge as a butterfly, my sister was falling deeper in love with Kurt Cobain, Fugazi and The Dwarves. She convinced my parents to take her to concerts in the cities, and worried about things like having her period at a show and getting trampled by mosh-pitting dudes.

I was never really into going to shows where the music warranted moshing or skanking, but loved the music from afar. At 13, I was still too young to know the power of a great live set, to seek the euphoria of seeing my favorite bands play in person. Dancing to music on CD brought me more joy than I could have imagined. My awareness of things called “music scenes” was non-existent. I was a lamb in the woods, strutting along to Weezer and Sarah McLachlan.

The older I’ve grown, the more I’ve come to appreciate my sister’s experiences and fuck-off attitude about music. New Found Glory? *scoff* *eye roll* Pop music is stupid.

My intake of musical varieties is greater in breadth than hers, but no one matches her knowledge of 80’s and 90’s punk. She dabbled in grunge, hardcore, and 60’s and 70’s punk, but I still could beat her in a war of words over R&B, country, rap, and the nuances of every Bob Dylan era.

Her tastes overlap with mine: we both dig the Velvet Underground (although I do more than she does), David Bowie (Who doesn’t dig David Bowie?) and surprisingly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Disclosure: I don’t know how much she actually digs them, but I do still have a CD copy of “By The Way” I stole from her. Good album: I’m not really into them either.)

Our mutual love for vintage clothes has kept us discussing something in those moments when my love for Prince and Lady Gaga doesn’t cut it as fodder for conversation.

Passing on a lack of sympathy for the musically daft, Sonya’s self-righteousness shines through me if I’ve had a few drinks –although I’ve recently started to control that.

Perhaps that all-knowing mentality is what makes me so critical of female musicians. It saddens me that they don’t know better. I feel like they should, simply because they’re women. They should understand that it took a lot for us to even get our voices heard in the conversation, and that we should use that platform for something more than acting –a and singing –like children.

Maybe that’s just me projecting my fear that no one will take my creativity seriously because I’m a woman. Needlepoint and quilting are fine as along as I’ve finished my chores and taken care of the kids first. I can be famous as long as I’m sexy, as long as I play into some weird, perverted stereotype men want to see on stage and are willing to pay the money to see.

More than a woman, I’m a musician and an appreciator of music. My sister taught me that. She’s more than a woman to me.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Transmission Lines- our night sky.

There's space for more creativity in our understanding of science, resources, and energy, and it's time we demystify the systems ad phenomena we see daily. Transmission lines will work to bring you science related topics relevant to your everyday life, on every scale imaginable. This means everything from describing where your energy resources come from to showing you what happens when you turn a faucet on. If you've got a topic you're curious about, the door's always open to suggestions!

I don't pay much attention to the stars in the city. Between streetlights and neon signs, they don’t draw a lot of attention to themselves. But there are those nights in February when I'm walking home late, and I look up, and Orion's so clear and sharp in the sky that I have to stop for a second, breathless either from the scale of it all or because it's a horrific twenty below outside and I'm dicking around outside.

They rise and set like the sun, moving across the sky throughout the night as the Earth rotates about it's axis. But which constellations are visible to us change a little every day, and certain stars sink out of sight when you move radically North or South.

So why are there different constellations for our different seasons, and what are we really looking at? 

Click on me to see what I have to say!

So, it’s pretty simple. Shitty analogy time- you are the Earth, and you’re in a square room with four windows, each on a different wall.  As you walk to each window, you can see different neighbors (creep.) and a bit of what you could see in the windows on each side of you. But each time you turn around to look at the one on the opposite side, your. . .  really bright floor lamp blinds you and can’t see to the other side.

And here's a star chart for the month of July in the northern Hemispheres. I didn’t make this one. I sourced it from outer space universe.

I'd like to make a note that this is the Greek constellation system, which dominates the western culture. Though it's what I've been trying to get familiar with, it's definitely not the only one, so check out how rich with history and stories sky culture is. This is a link to wikipedia, and I'm only a little bit sorry.

Happy gazing!

(Some sources:Graphic based off of Cornell university FAQ-- 
And this helped answer some of my questions)

A Fashion Scene Over South

"I won't let the actions of hateful people detour or distract me. I will continue on my path to loving myself, and others. But most importantly, to continue my happiness." - CeCe McDonald.

Find your happiness and support CeCe at A Fashion Scene Over South tomorrow, July 20 at 7 p.m. Friday night plans can easily fill up fast, but make room in your fabulously busy schedule for this event featuring talented local designers and performers. Scrumptious delights from The Twisted Sister House of Hunger to fill your belly during the show. Danceable space and tune-age provided to shake your booty after. The event takes place at Cafe Southside in Minneapolis. The address is 3405 Chicago Avenue for those who need an exact address. Buy your tickets (suggested starting donation $7) here, because we all know you're going. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hey! It's the 50's again!

I just came home from going to a really sweet show (Cadette/Heavy Cream/The Coathangers at the Triple Rock), saw some awesome all lady bands, and talked to great people. It's late and I am a bit famished, so I make a bean burrito and open my Sunday New York Times (I am very busy and a bit behind in my reading) to find this article.

 Having just recently been through my own debacle of negotiating a relationship and what it means to say "I do" with all the complexities that it entails, I was intrigued. I was also intrigued as several years ago, my inclinations against marriage as my own personal path were boosted by a BBC special I saw while in Canada about the future of our society—and how part of it was that fewer people would get married, and, in fact, more people would live transient lifestyles, in commune-like settings, raising their children with all the various adults that came through their doors. I have been further intrigued by the data that suggests, despite the growing numbers of people I know in my personal life that choose to walk down the aisle, that fewer people are electing to get married.

 Unfortunately, the three page plus color spread of this article* decided to take a "no duh" fact—that households with two incomes are more stable, make more money, and thus, are able to "provide" better for their children—and summarize it by making the assertion that the thing that really keeps increasing numbers of lower-educated, single mothers from achieving a decent wage, and a happy quality of life, is that they haven't gotten married. In fact, the one woman he (naturally, the author of this article is a man) utilizes as his "case study" for the "unmarried, single mother" category, has found herself in what appears to be abusive relationships that she decided to leave.

Instead of condemning these deadbeat men for acting like spoiled children and alieving themselves of any sort of responsibility for either the children they have spawn or the relationships they are in, the blame falls, surprise, surprise, on the woman. We are told of the single mother's sad struggle, how she uses her federal tax return to pay for six months of rent and the sole Disney trip her family goes on (after being jealous of her boss, the case study example of the "happy, married woman", for being able to afford a lavish (and fucking stupid) trip to the commercial hell that is Disneyland every year), how she slumps in front of a half-watched episode of Friends, while her boss's kid gets to do things like be in boy scouts. The difference, the article/he explains, doesn't have to do with job inequality, lack of education (although this is a marker for this statistic), or the fact that our SOCIETY DOES NOT VALUE WOMEN AND THEIR STRUGGLES, but that it has everything to do with the, as the author puts it, "6-foot-8-inch man named Kevin," the betrothed of married woman case study.

 So....let me get this straight. On one hand, we have a woman who was fortunate enough to find a man that she (apparently) loves and cares for her and has decided to make it official by getting married. On the other hand, we have a woman who has had a string of bad relationships, and decided to go ahead and have her three children, with the promise that her rocky relationship would blossom into something better. It's not their fates, or any other number of choices or circumstances that has lead to their glaring income inequality (and the scary future that awaits her children as laid out by New York Times infographic!). No, it has everything to do with a "6-foot-8-inch man named Kevin"and a marriage license. In fact, it is getting married that leads Kevin to really "get serious about his life." Because, you know, if only the abusive, shitty boyfriend would have gotten married, then he would have become a stand up dude.

 Chew on that for a while.

 *Totally heteronormative, btw.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

About RYNsights

This world is way too intriguing and diverse for a new blogger like me to be able to limit writing about a one, cohesive subject. Power to the people who can! Instead, RYNsights will be my platform to cover all the things that inspire, anger and excite. Prepare for a little bit of food porn, a lot political and cultural rants and raves, but not sports. Never sports.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Excuse Me for Not Smiling. Wait. Excuse You!

We here at C.L.A.P. are proud to present the first of our many fabulous regular column postings—this one being from regular C.L.A.P. contributor Ryn Gibson. Ryn will be sharing her observations about the world in her blog column "RYNsights." We can't wait to see what Ryn, and our other columnists, have in store! If you have amazing stories/insights/opinions to share and are interested in contributing to the C.L.A.P. blog, either regularly or as a one time deal, just email us at! We'd love to have you!

 RYNsights: Excuse Me for Not Smiling. Wait. Excuse You!

If conditions are right (temperate sunny weather, lack of stress inducing moments during the day), I’ll give a nod and a half-smile to passerby on the street. Not a big deal, just a recognition that yes, I see you fellow human. Whenever I don’t perform this perfunctory greeting, usually a man is ready to command, “smile! Life can’t be that bad.” Your lovely little tip makes you seem presumptive, sir. Granted, I’m not rocking tragedy at the moment, but some of us are/have. Also, who cares if we aren’t? Smiling 24/7 is insincere and obviously painful.

I notice you don’t share your insight with the surrounding males. Not as eager to catch a grin from them I see. Well, stranger, your comment then makes me (and my other young female friends you direct your comments towards) think you are a creepy lil perv. This is not a stance against smiling at strangers, but a pledge. We don’t appreciate your veiled sexist remark and consequently won’t perform as expected. It’s not ‘a feminist thing’, it's humanism. Either tell the elderly man walking his cat to smile too or don’t say anything at all (because, really, what you’re saying isn’t nice. It’s rude.) 

- Ryn Gibson

Saturday, July 7, 2012

101 Reasons Why Creative Ladies Are Powerful

C.L.A.P. (Creative Ladies are Powerful) thinks we all need more reminders about how great and powerful creative women are. Because of this, we are working on compiling 101 reasons why creative ladies are powerful—and we want your input! The final list of reasons will be featured on a special addition print, available for sale on C.L.A.P.’s Double Peace Etsy site and at C.L.AP. sponsored events. Each contributor will receive a FREE copy of the print, as our thanks to you!

Submissions will be accepted through the CLAPzine tumblr, as comments on this post and through email (email submissions to with the subject "101 submission").

Submission guidelines:
1. One submission per person
2. Text only, please
3. Send your mailing address to to get your free copy

Friday, July 6, 2012

Get your hair braided! Help those suffering from domestic abuse! The Mighty Swell's "We Appreciate You" party and preview sale! This upcoming Monday, July 9th, our favorite occasional vintage shop will be hosting an event from 5-8 in which all proceeds go to benefit The Domestic Abuse Project.

In addition to being able to pick up the newest, brightest issue of C.L.A.P., you can get first dibs on items that are slated to be unveiled at the shop's upcoming summer sale (July 14-15), experiment with new braided hair styles courtesy of The Hive Salon, and enjoy Prairie Vodka cocktails (damn this migraine elimination diet!) and delicious treats! It's, like, the perfect way to start your week!

You can pick up your tickets for the event here. Hope to see you there!

Summer 2012 Issue "Weird Things" is out and about!

Simple, lovely stamped covers in three color options!

That's right! The newest issue of C.L.A.P.—our "Weird Things" issue—is now available! Laid out by the fabulous Titi Phan, the Summer 2012 issue features weird articles about topics like Paula Cole, open relationships (do's and don't's), expectations, feet, procrastination, being a storm chaser, and more! We also have some of our regular goodies including a couple creative exercises, a mix tape listing by Jen Hughes of Hot Roxx, a hair-do, Dear Sheila, a comic and more! 

Titi's fabulous table of contents

This issue is available for sale at both locations of Everyday People Clothing Exchange, and on our Double Peace Etsy site, with more locations to come! It will also be available at the upcoming Mighty Swell events (including their July 9th Appreciation Fundraiser pre-sale, and their July 14-15th sale-sale) and the July 16th Coathangers/Heavy Cream/Cadette show at the Triple Rock in Minneapolis! Want to carry copies of C.L.A.P. at your shop, business or organization? Just contact us at!
Paula as you have never seen her before

A simply "mad" hair style, by Jen Hughes, laid out by Lisa Luck

Wanted to contribute to this issue but just didn't have it in you to come up with something weird enough? Have no fear! Our Fall 2012 issue will be themed "Peace, Love and Happiness"! Submission deadline is Sept. 1st! Contact us at if you are interested.