Grrrls Night: An interview with host, Jess Meoni

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Times-Tribune article (2018), which revisited the  Grrrls Night

In a brief statement, what is Grrrls Night about?

Grrrls Night is about celebrating local women in variety of performance arts such as music, poetry, spoken word, comedy, and theater. The name is taken from the phrase riot grrrl.

What is your main goal/message for Grrrls Night?

My main goal for Grrrls Night is to provide women with a platform for their creativity and expression. I want the performers to find comfort and relativity in the support and community of this event, but most of all, I want these women to showcase their talents at regular open mic nights to demonstrate they can perform anywhere.

How long have you been hosting Grrrls Night and how has it evolved over time?

Grrrls Night started in 2015 at Ale Mary’s as a sporadic yearly event feature. Sometimes we did it consecutively, sometimes not. I wanted to keep people on their toes and not make it super predictable. I always enjoyed and encouraged new performers, although we still have a substantial veteran base to the event. Grrrls Night started as a response to a personal puzzle in my mind as to why men always outnumbered women at regular open mic nights. I couldn’t figure out why there were not more women out there playing bass, singing, writing jokes, or reciting poetry. I knew they were out there, I just did not understand why they weren’t on the stage. The format of the event has essentially remained the same, with only slight variation in the timing. Sometimes, this was the first space where a girl performed and she was encouraged to move onto other events. Some nights I had up to 20 girls perform, other times only 10 or so, but every time was a cathartic experience.

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Grrrls Night, Photo credit:  Daring Damsel (2016)

How do you think Grrrls Night has provided a safe space for local NEPA female performers, such as writers and musicians?

Although I do believe Grrrls Night creates a space where women feel liberated with their thoughts and musings, I never intended to establish a space where women are patronized or coddled. I wanted Grrrl Night to be a base that women can build from, take that confidence, and showcase their talents anywhere possible. I think these women have proven they are bold with their words and actions, and they impress me every single time. So many come back time and time again and you can see their craft grow before your eyes.

Are there any future plans for Grrrls Night?

I have wanted to make a more comprehensive mixed CD or Spotify playlist of their work to promote.

For this Grrrls Night, the featured performers will be the following:

Mandalyn Rose
Monica Noelle
Angelia Petrillo
Kenna Carey
Amanda Rogan
Ali Pica
Lucy Katherine
Alex Kijek
Isabel Anderson
Stephanie Marie Santore
Algid Leah
Jami Kali

This Grrrls Night will take place this Friday, September 21, 2018 at Bart and Urby’s located at 119 S Main St, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18701 from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For more info, check out the Grrrls Night Facebook event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/236032480382130/

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