No one prepared you for Lipstick Conspiracy…..these are the girls your mother warned you about…..an extraordinary experience.
— Jenny Sherwin, CURVE magazine

Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance

Riots Acts: Flaunting Gender in Music.
Riots Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance.

Challenging an audience’s assumptions about sex and gender dates back to the earliest days of rock & roll, from the lustful hip-shaking of Elvis Presley to the confident but effeminate style of Little Richard. But a new generation of musicians is pushing the boundaries farther than ever before; on the independent music scene, transgender performers are achieving a new level of visibility and acceptance, and filmmaker Madsen Minax profiles a handful of transgender artists bubbling up from the underground in this documentary. Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance In Music Performance features performances from Systyr Act, Coyote Grace, The DeGenerettes, and Lipstick Conspiracy.  Riot Acts was an official selection at the 2010 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

–Excerpt from the N.Y. Times Review of Riot Acts, by Mark Deming.

Check out the film.

..rough-around-the-edges pop music…approaches sexual politics with humor and spunk.
Julie Sabatier, Portland JustOut

After decades of dabbling in nonsurgical genderf@#k, rock ‘n’ roll finally has its first all-[trans] band…..a glammy ’80s dance party…..and a sincere desire to blow your mind.

David Schmader, Seattle Stranger / Portland Mercury

…layered with a rebelliousness and playfulness that carries [a] distinctive and subversive tone through.

Chris Jarvis, Gay Fresno.com, 2006

…the wallop of a regular ’80s-style chick-rock band…..Josie and the Pussycats, all grown up.

Rachel Swan, The East Bay Express

Glitter, sneers, and ridiculously high heels are abundant, as are raging keyboard riffs and catchy lyrics.

San Francisco Weekly

Wicked Textures – Guitar Player Magazine

Press Photo for the release of A Perfect Alibi, May, 2006. Sarafina, Marilyn, Tori and Shawna. Photo by Larry Utley.
Press Photo for the release of A Perfect Alibi, May, 2006. Sarafina, Marilyn, Tori and Shawna. Photo by Larry Utley.

Lipstick Conspiracy’s trio of guitarists employ different rigs to drive the band’s ’70s-inspired sleaze rock. Sarafina Marachino plugs a Gretsch G3140 Historic Series into a Carvin SX200 combo, Shawna Love uses a Les Paul and a Fender Super Reverb, and Marylin Mitchell plays a Stratocaster through an ADA preamp, an ART Multiverb, a Tubeworks Mosvalve power amp, and two ADA cabs loaded with Celestions.

Wicked Textures, by Buddy Saleman, Guitar Player Magazine, July 2006.

Click here for the whole article.

The Fabulous Five, by Rachel Swan, East Bay Express, Oct. 2005

Lipstick Conspiracy. The cover of the East Bay Express photo. "The Fabulous 5", by Rachel Swan. Oct 2005. Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.
Lipstick Conspiracy. The cover of the East Bay Express photo. “The Fabulous 5”, by Rachel Swan. Oct 2005. Photo by Anthony Pidgeon.

Shawna Love has an enviable talent for driving in stiletto heels. On a recent Saturday, she’s driving through a quiet, suburban neighborhood in South Hayward that looks as if it burst out of a Sears, Roebuck catalogue and hasn’t been touched in fifty years: All the houses are squat, ticky-tacky things with manicured lawns, window boxes, and identical American flags hanging in the windows. She squints out her passenger-side window, skeptical that one of these stucco boxes actually belongs to her friend Kari, who fronts the all-tranny-girl rock outfit Trans Central Station — a spinoff of Shawna’s own band. Kari is hosting a barbecue and jamboree, and Shawna is dressed for the occasion: dark, smoky pantyhose, a black sequined dress to go with her heels, lipstick the color of cabernet.

She parks in front of a Pepto-Bismol-pink house whose only distinguishing features are the plastic flamingos on its front lawn. A cat jumps on the roof of the car and climbs through the window onto Shawna’s lap, trying to claw at her stockings. A woman with poofy hair and culottes scurries over to scoop the critter up, apologizing profusely. Her eyes widen a little when she sees Shawna. “Oh, you must be a friend of Kari,” she stutters.

The Fabulous Five, by Rachel Swan, East Bay Express.  Click here for the whole article.