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Pink anti-patriotism: F— the USA at the Pink Place

Five local hardcore bands played at the DIY venue in Como to benefit the Autonomous Yurt Union and express collective rage over the state of the nation.
Image by Daye Stager
At the F— the USA event, Pink Place invited attendees to “Come rage with us.”

Editor’s Note: This article contains explicit language.

Over one hundred people crowded into the fenced-in backyard of the Pink Place house on Saturday following the Fourth of July. They were brought together by loud, churning electric guitar and even louder expressions of anger toward the United States and the forces of oppression it is said to foster.

The Pink Place, a house venue in Como, hosted an event called “F*ck the USA,” a five-set concert featuring local hardcore punk bands. 

All proceeds from the event went to the Autonomous Yurt Union (AYU), a housing justice collective that builds yurt-inspired structures for unhoused people across the Twin Cities. Yurts are circular domed tents with a lattice framework historically used in Mongolia and Central Asia. 

“Yurts make winter in Minnesota survivable,” AYU wrote on their Open Collective page. “With a wood stove and heavy-duty tarp, yurts can make a life or death difference in sub-zero temperatures.”

For Griffin Baumann, Pink Place resident and event facilitator, making “F— the USA” a benefit concert for AYU was a no-brainer.

“It was very, very recently that the Supreme Court made it essentially illegal to be homeless,” Baumann said, speaking of the June 28 decision allowing cities to ban people from sleeping and camping in public. “I didn’t have any doubts about supporting AYU before, but it’s very much like, goddamn, this is even more important because of the bullsh*t that happened last week.”

A masked Baumann plays guitar for Shit Dumpster at the F— the USA event hosted by Pink Place. (Image by Daye Stager)

AYU was not the only mutual aid organization the Pink Place hosted that night. Community Kitchen MPLS and Southside Harm Reduction also tabled, handing out pamphlets and other resources.

Everything on the Southside Harm Reduction table was free, from “I carry Narcan” buttons to lollipops to opaque brown plastic zip bags of Narcan itself.

“Southside Harm Reduction Services works within a harm reduction framework to promote the human rights to health, safety, autonomy, and agency among people who use substances,” Southside Harm Reduction says in its mission statement.

Fundraising Leader Ash Monk said Southside usually tables at other house shows, raves and community events in the Twin Cities, but “F— the USA” was their first Pink Place event.

“We’re really excited to be here to support Autonomous Yurt Union, but also bring safe-use supplies for people and create access to that here,” Monk said.

While tabling, Monk was dispelling urban myths about fentanyl to an attendee, such as videos of police officers overdosing through touching the substance and marijuana flower being able to be laced with it.

“The power of suggestion is really strong,” Monk explained. “But you can only overdose on fentanyl once it enters your bloodstream.”

Monk further explained burning fentanyl destroys it, meaning it cannot be ingested via smoking marijuana.

The actual music was a pumping, blaring mix of five local hardcore bands, all with clear anti-establishment themes in their music.

During their set, the Twin Cities hardcore band Sh*t Dumpster led a chant of “All cops are f—cking bastards,” which was enthusiastically followed by the crowd.

Sh*t Dumpster, for whom Baumann also plays guitar, played their sardonically creative banger “Man Squirrel,” which they explained is a spin on actual superheroes, like Batman, who help the police.

Baumann removed his ski mask for his head to be shaved live on stage, which was met with encouraging chants of “Bald” from the audience.

Baumann gets his head shaved live on stage while performing with one of his bands, Sh*t Dumpster, at F— the USA. (Image by Daye Stager)

Other standouts included “fuzzed out punk” band Birdcop from Rochester, Minnesota, whose anti-bigot anthem “Proud Boys” had the moshpit churning, and Twin Cities hardcore girl group Slut Intent.

Lead vocalist of Slut Intent Katy Kelly balanced anger and lightheartedness during their set. It was apparent through their powerful stage presence that the group loved playing together, but they also jumped at the chance to play for something more than themselves.

“I didn’t even know this was a benefit show until (Pink Place) formed the group chat and I was like, ‘Thank God,’” Kelly said. “I’d rather the money go to people who need it way more and that aren’t f—ing free in this country than us.”

Slut Intent performing at F— the USA. (Image by Daye Stager)

The attendees and performers at “F— the USA” were mostly young. It is only natural, given that major economic and political events form political views at a young age, a process which made young people lose faith in the American dream, “with its individualistic promise that your destiny is in your own hands,” according to the Atlantic.

Generation Z and Millennials have survived two recessions and a pandemic and are now at the forefront of social justice movements, being punished harshly for it.

“We should always be saying ‘F— the USA,” said a young attendee who requested their name not be included in the story. “We should always want change. Having a place to say ‘F*ck the USA’ makes it empowering.”

Corrections: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated there were four bands and Slut Intent was the closer. There were five bands and Hurt You was the closer.

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