"Some people make computers in their garages," said Maei Flowers in an interview. "I make ways to help causes." Flowers heads the Girlstock Project, a collective of artists, musicians, dancers, and chefs that works together each year to put on a hefty fundraiser called Girlstock. She may joke about being a hobbyist gluing together events in her garage because the collective isn't a legal nonprofit, but as the days count down to the tenth annual Girlstock event, it's clear that her role entails more than hanging up a few streamers.
The beneficiary of Girlstock changes annually. "The one central theme that ties them all together is trying to make the world a better place," she said. In past years, she's chosen to target food injustice through City Slicker Farms, domestic violence through Casa de las Madres, and youth homelessness through Youth Engagement, Advocacy, and Housing.
This year, the funds will go to Bay Area Girls Rock Camp (BAGRC), a local nonprofit that offers weeklong programs that teach girls how to form a band, write a song, and perform it — in addition to imparting other implicit lessons on female empowerment and self-acceptance. Flowers was fully convinced that the organization deserved the benefit after she attended its Women's Rock Camp, which offers a similar experience for women who are nineteen years or older. "I really found that I learned a lot from that experience around those concepts," she said. "It is clear that they are absolutely teaching those skills to young women."
Flowers' primary goal is to help causes that count, no matter how heavy their areas of focus are, but she's excited this year to partner with an organization that does fun and uplifting work. In fact, BAGRC and Girlstock are a complementary pairing, as two organizations that celebrate female creativity through music while also serving the community. But Flowers is clear that Girlstock is an event for everyone, not just women and girls, which is why the slogan is "Everybody has a little Girlstock inside."
The two-day art and music party will start off at the Temescal Art Center (511 48th St., Oakland) with a silent art auction, an art show, and performances that include spoken word, music, and burlesque. Participating artists include Page Hodel, Jeremy Novy, and Cha Levias, and all of the art sale proceeds will go directly to BAGRC. Day two will take place at Leo's Music Club (5447 Telegraph Ave., Oakland), and showcase three local bands: Bones of a Feather, Mental 99, and Snow Angel. Closing act Bones of a Feather, a collaboration of queer musicians of color, will surely be delivering the girl power — frontwoman Julie Indelicato has a tendency to belt with unapologetic force, as women ought to at Girlstock.