Girl About Town had the opportunity to ask their other favorite gal about town Sara Sherr about her latest Sugar Town show, her 7th anniversary party this weekend at The Tritone, and the history of Sugar Town, Look for more in part two--a highlight on the 7th Anniversary bands!
Girl About Town: Do you feel lucky to have worked with so many visionary women artists over the past seven years?
Sara Sherr: Yes, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do a night like Sugar Town in Philadelphia and continue to get so much respect and support. I can't play an instrument or sing beyond a karaoke night so I sort of live vicariously through all these women when they perform. I'll never get tired of seeing a woman bashing away on a set of drums or shredding on guitar.
What was the very first Sugar Town show, and what and/or who prompted the idea for it? Was it a success?
The very first Sugar Town show in January of 2001 was with Sarah Dougher, Kara Lafty of The Jane Anchor, and Cynthia G. Mason. It was inspired by a birthday party that I threw in December of 2000 where I DJed my fave female artists with some friends, and the DJ's that joined Sugar Town were Idolator's Maura Johston, City Paper's M.J. Fine, and of course, Maria Sciarrino, who went on to start Plain Parade with me. Lisa Cohen, who booked the Balcony at the time and played in Lisa Christ Superstar and Savage 3D, gave me a night, and taught me how to book shows (and how not to, ha)! Before I did Sugar Town, I was and still am a music critic, which was inspired by so many great female artists of the early 90s: Liz Phair, The Breeders, Bikini Kill, PJ Harvey, etc. In the mid to late '90s, Nicole La Greca (a.k.a. DJ Lucky 7) used to do a similar party at Silk City called Fur Salon. When Sugar Town started, there was an explosion of rock DJ nights but most of them were men, the majority of indie promoters were male, and most of the bands getting attention in Philadelphia were, and still are to some extent, your typical indie rock dude bands. Even though I don't remember the exact number of attendees at the first Sugar Town, there was excitement about it (among both genders) because it was just something different.
Tell us about some of your past and present favorite lady rock n' rollers that have graced the stage for Sugar Town.
God, there are so many. The highlights for me were booking the Yeah Yeah Yeah's before they blew up, the Tsunami reunion, the debut of Thee Minks (one of the most underrated bands in town in my opinion), and this year, Bitch, The Shondes and Lesbians on Ecstasy. But really, I feel like all of my shows are special. I know that sounds like a cliche, but there are so many fantastic promoters and great places for bands to play right now, I'm honored when they continue to say yes to me.
What would be your dream showcase of women rock n' rollers--one night only!
I can't afford my dream bill. But if I could, where to begin? For starters: Joan Jett, Wanda Jackson, Sharon Jones, Lil Mama, Missy Elliott, a Lilliput or ESG reunion, MIA, Santogold, Goldfrapp. Plus the countless Philly artists/bands that I still haven't had yet like Meg Baird, Sweatheart, Pony Pants, Gang, Scary Monster (of course) and The Shalitas (who are Philly-Brooklyn, I guess).
Your Sugar Town mix-tape begins with the song ________ what are the next four tracks to follow?
Oh, only five songs? "Identity" - X Ray Spex "Demirep" - Bikini Kill "Typical Girls" The Slits" "Cherry Bomb"- The Runaways And then I guess I'd have to include Nancy Sinatra's "Sugar Town".
What or whom inspires Sara Sherr?
Things that inspire me: The Fuse and Make Yr Break parties, my fellow performers in the Dumpsta Players, watching people go crazy at my karaoke nights, bringing people together and making them smile.
Where do you see the future of Sugar Town heading?
I'm hoping that there will be so many female performers and musicians in Philadelphia that Sugar Town might not be necessary anymore, but it will always be fun.
What is your favorite thing about Philadelphia?
My favorite thing about Philadelphia is its size, just small enough where I can book a night at a club or ride my bike around town, and large enough that I'm always encountering a new person, place, or thing.
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