Controversy takes the stage

Local bands rock for the right to choose.

Sally Hedberg

What: NARAL pro-choice MinnesotaâÄôs Rock for Roe Benefit Show

Who: Teenage Moods, Sorry OK, Bouncer Fighter, Kitten Forever

When: Jan. 22, 8 p.m.

Where: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S.

Cost: $12/$15 at the door

 

There are two sides to every story. And when the story is abortion rights, those opposing sides evoke some passionate responses. This Saturday, in the spirit of active nonviolence, those on the pro-choice side of things will fight the fight with guitars at the Cedar Cultural Center in a National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League benefit production featuring Twin Cities bands.

NARAL is a Minnesota pro-choice nonprofit that seeks to lobby, complete electoral work, educate and push for change involving anything that impedes a womanâÄôs right to choose.

âÄúIn the current political climate it is very possible that we could be taking steps backwards,âÄù NARAL Director Linnea House said. âÄúThis concert is a way to have fun, but also to educate people so hopefully theyâÄôre motivated to get involved.âÄù

ThatâÄôs certainly the aim of putting on a production thatâÄôs geared toward young adults, who comprise much of NARALâÄôs members and participants. In addition to the roster of sets from hyped local bands like Teenage Moods, NARAL will be providing informational context regarding the benefit, which appropriately falls on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

âÄúWhether itâÄôs putting on a concert like this or having a happy hour downtown or being on Facebook or Twitter, weâÄôre doing everything that we can to be everywhere where young people are,âÄù House said.

What was originally planned as a showcase of Anti-Civ records morphed into Rock For Roe through the ardent political enthusiasm of the musicians themselves.

Though the Cedar will be hosting the event, they respectfully assert that as a venue and a nonprofit in their own right, their political stance on abortion rights remains neutral.

âÄúWeâÄôve definitely caught some heat from a few of our donors, but what we do in these situations is just explain to them that the Cedar is not taking a position on a particular subject that theyâÄôre feeling controversy about,âÄù Cedar director Rob Simonds said. âÄúItâÄôs up to the artists.âÄù

All of the artists involved, including local punk outfit Kitten Forever, are extremely committed to the cause and are thrilled to be part of the effort.

âÄúI hope thereâÄôs a lot of awareness that comes out of this,âÄù bassist, Laura Larson said. âÄúI hope that having an event like this will make it important for people our age.âÄù

Though the abortion debate isnâÄôt likely to dissipate anytime soon, the energy and commitment from local artists and lobbyists really does hold the possibility of making the fight important to the people that it affects most.