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Explore the life of a Latina-American artist known more for the circumstances of her death than the content of her character and genius
Explore the life of a Latina-American artist known more for the circumstances of her death than the content of her character and genius
121 backers pledged $7,821 to help bring this project to life.

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ART, ROCK and REVOLUTION: And the Punk Grace of Mia Zapata project video thumbnail
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Art, Rock and Revolution:  

Please support the development, research and publication of this unique 270 page book.  Along with the text are illustrations by renowned northwest artist, Pat Moriarity (just friends) and unpublished photos and images from letters, handwritten lyrics and music.  I intend to have a draft completed by December 2018. The research takes me from Mia's hometown of Louisville, KY to Emiliano Zapata's home state of Morelos, Mexico to check out the familial association to General Emiliano Zapata and search for cultural links. The educational component will also require travel to Mexico which can be followed by KS supporters via blog.  The project budget also includes a laptop and publishing software. The educational program based on the book is detailed below and my require  Mexico education and I.T. consultants.  Please note that contributions are not tax-deductible, but we have some amazing rewards set up for your contributions, starting at $10.00. Please check them out!

Photo by Jackie Ransier
Photo by Jackie Ransier

A few teaser details of the book....

I was just 18 when Mia asked me to join her scrappy little punk band, "The Sniveling Little Rat-faced Gits" after seeing The Dead Kennedys play Antioch College in 1985.  Our fully formed band moved to Seattle in August 1989 where we found ourselves at ground zero of a nascent  burgeoning rock music scene and shortened the name to, The Gits.  As the story goes, we moved into a big house together, "which became the center for our many activities". The Gits stood out in Seattle as one of only a handful of groups with female members and fewer with women lead singers.  We knew that Mia was a good singer in the context of the bands that were our peers at the time. I didn't then realize how incredibly special she was, even when compared with rock legends of all time. 

We referred to playing in The Gits as “our mission” and we were zealots. The mission was to bring straightforward, smart, melodic punk music, and specifically Mia's lyrics and incomparable voice, to whomever would listen. Whether performing for ten people or 1000, we played as if our lives, and indeed the lives of everyone in the audience depended on the success of the mission. 

Mia was never cognizant of how deeply she influenced her fans, artists and women musicians with her songs. She inspired a wave of widespread grassroots organizing and activism focused on combating sexism and violence. 

No rock and roll memoir would be compete without wild road stories. On tour with The Gits, the reader will encounter David Bowie, Beck, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Joan Jett and many others. Humor was woven into the fabric of The Gits world.  At times it was difficult for me to keep up to keep up with the apolitical social commentary and bazaar non sequitur.  

by Jen Miko,  San Francisco 1992
by Jen Miko, San Francisco 1992

I think Mia explored her spiritual connection to the past through art, painting large canvases of Emiliano Zapata from old photographs. I explore Mia's Mexican heritage and storied link to Emiliano Zapata.

Stage 2

On completion of the book, 100 copies will be donated to a classroom in Morelos, Mexico (home state of Emiliano Zapata) and a classroom in Oakland, home to a large population of marginalized Latino youth and their families. 

A class of Mexican and American high school students will breach the residing politically motivated xenophobia, and the absurd building of walls, to discuss differences and similarities of Emiliano and Mia Zapata as well as their lives within their own communities.

Similar to the mission of Zapata’s Revolution and The Gits Mission, this project celebrates and honors the people who endeavor to make the world more livable and beautiful; across class lines, borders and boundaries: children, teachers, artists, musicians, travelers and mom's. 

Help me complete a work befitting a great American artist, and of course her beloved band. 

Don't forget to write.

I thank you for getting this far with me and I welcome your input, comments or questions. Meet me at the Art, Rock and Revolution Facebook page!  

Risks and challenges

It is necessary to reclaim the narrative of Mia's life to focus on the grace of her life, not her death. My book wraps up prior to the night Mia was murdered. There are hundreds of crime and murder mystery shows, podcasts and web articles that portray Mia as a hapless martyr for victimized women at best; a fetishized stalking victim at worst. Those who may question the need for such a project are free to express their sentiments. However, this is a memoir and a historical correction, not another pop culture expose.

Every effort will be made to contribute accurately to the wiki of the musical contributions of The Gits and the enduring legacy of Mia Zapata the artist. The book is meant to inspire and reclaim an exploitive narrative, not perpetuate it.

This project has been a labor of love for me. With any love interest there are gratifying rewards and emotional risks. Stepping back in time to explore in depth details of some of the best and worst experiences of my entire life is one thing, while broaching sensitive subjects with Mia's family and friends, is quite another.

It is extremely emotional for me to delve into the subject matter without wondering... Why?...What if?...How can I? ...
I listen to Mia's voice on the record to clear my insecurities and I keep writing. Support from Kickstarter donors and other supporters have been invaluable and I am so grateful.

Engaging with a classroom in the State of Morelos, Mexico poses challenges. I believe strongly in taking the project to this level.
My experience as a social worker in largely Latino communities in Oakland public schools and hospitals, along with my Spanish fluency, will be beneficial as I work with the teachers to implement a curriculum based on the book. This forms the bases of a interactive intercultural exchange between the two classes will no doubt foster Latino / American understanding and peace.

Your help through the Kickstarter platform will raise the visibility of the project with publishers and hopefully folks will step up.
I am prepared, however, to self-publish if necessary. I plan to complete the transcript by December. Let's Go!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    THE GITS sticker and Patch

    The classic logo hand screened vinyl sticker.

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Digital Copy of book

    Receive a Digital Edition of the book as soon as it is released.
    A surprise right to your email address. I hope you like it.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Art, Rock & Revolution T Shirt

    Cotton fitted T. (an size)A.R.R. logo back, The Gits logo front

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Art, Rock and Revolution logo drum head

    A.R.R. logo gold and black on usablde 14 inch snare drum head (signed) plus digital copy of book

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    GITS and M. Zapata solo mix tape or cdr

    Selected by the author (the drummer) 15 songs including never released songs featuring Mia. With original art. Request songs you love or leave it to me.

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    Reward no longer available 12 backers
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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    EVIL STIG CD plus digital copy of book

    Joan Jett joined THE GITS to produce this album (CD only). Donated by Carianne Brinkman and Joan Jett.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Cotton fitted Hoodie

    Good Quality zip hoodie (any size)A.R.R. logo back, The Gits logo front. (w/ secret pocket)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Skateboard deck with art +Digibook

    Original art by Boston/ LA based musician Carissa Johnson. Also get a digibook!
    Look for photos of skate deck options in Update #4!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    First Print Edition Book

    Signed copy of initial pressing of the book. Signed by author and Illustrator. I hope you like it.
    Limited edition of 25

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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    Produce your band +digi book

    I will play drums and/or produce you or your band's recording. (Some restrictions apply.) Much flexibility. Contact Steve to discuss.

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Funding period

- (20 days)