Bikini Kill shows! Art show! Graphic novel news!



Mecca Normal is thrilled to be opening three Bikini Kill shows in March – Olympia, Seattle, Victoria. We’re doing a “sea legs” show in Vancouver on Feb. 29th. Jean will have paintings at all shows.


Live in Montreal 1996 released last year

Jean Smith promo image

Jean Smith solo painting show at Land Gallery in Portland May 9 to June 7, featuring the $100 USD (11 x 14″) series. Mecca Normal will perform at the opening May 9.

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900+ SOLD – mostly from Jean Smith’s regular FaceBook page

Sales started going through the roof after The Jealous Curator mini review in 2017.

Interview with Jean about selling her paintings to raise money for the Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change.

“All sales above my $1000 USD monthly expenses go towards buying property and opening the facility which will be legally bequeathed to an activist art group yet to be named. Friend me on FaceBook to see new paintings almost daily. Lately I’ve been selling up to 50 paintings a month.”


David Lester is becoming the go-to artist for historical graphic novels. His remarkable, world-class style is being praised by reviewers for its ability to enliven meaningful narratives that often serve as cautionary tales.

1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg Strike (Between the Lines, 2019) by The Graphic History Collective and David Lester has been short-listed for the Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. The book has been translated into French and German.

David is currently working on graphic novels that illuminate the lives of radical abolitionist Benjamin Lay and Emma Goldman.

500th Painting SOLD!

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No Hat #347 800

200+ $100 USD paintings currently available

Jean Smith painting website


The Art of David Lester

April 22, 2017

Normal History: The Art of David Lester our weekly column, a collaboration for Magnet Magazine. Illustrations by David Lester with  captions that can turn into short stories by Jean Smith. Every week a  Mecca Normal song to hear or download.

Opening for The Julie Ruin

More Mecca Normal videos and photos from the three shows we played with The Julie Ruin in October, 2016.

Feminist Punk in 33 Songs

Mecca Normal’s “Man Thinks Woman” (1987) made the cut with a great write-up by Douglas Wolk for Pitchfork’s story of feminist punk in 33 songs. Posted August 8, 2016.

“Mecca Normal break rules like they never noticed them in the first place. The Vancouver-based duo of singer Jean Smith and guitarist David Lester are anarchist-feminist activists and constant experimentalists, implying a rhythm section with negative space alone. Always an intense presence onstage, they’ve become the most tenacious of D.I.Y. road warriors, touring and recording for 32 years now. In the early ’90s, they popped up on most of the biggest American indie-rock labels (Sub Pop, K, Matador); by their 25th anniversary, they were on the road with a performance-and-lecture project called “How Art & Music Can Change the World.”

Smith’s lyrics often foreground her political perspective; their anthem “Man Thinks ‘Woman,’” released in 1987, started out as a barbed dissection of gender normativity: “Man thinks ‘woman’ when he talks to me/Something not quite right.” The song kept expanding its radius from there, encompassing both bitter poetics and a disarmingly funny account of a drunken makeout gone weird. Kathleen Hanna has cited Smith as an early inspiration: “When I saw her,” she told The Fader, “I was just like, that’s it. I’m done. I’m sold.” – Douglas Wolk

“Man Thinks Woman” Super 8 film by David Lester


“Oh Yes You Can!” 3 song 1987 K Records IPU 004

Artifacts from recent and related media


Shameless Magazine’s review of Jessica Hopper’s book “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic” is a conversation between Nyala Ali and Laura Friesen.

“Hopper’s section Females collects her reviews of female musicians who, in different ways, shake up listeners’ expectations of what women performers should represent.

SWF, 45: Mecca Normal’s The Observer” is an album review that reflects on The Observer as a confessional narrative, and how it plays with and against expectations of what a 45-year-old single white female should sing about.

Hopper does seem really interested in ideas surrounding women’s songwriting – I’d say that all of the artists in the Females section are invested in rewriting not only the content but the purpose of confessional narratives. St. Vincent consciously refuses to give us the whole story, whereas Jean Smith of Mecca Normal turns these stories on their heads to expose the vulnerabilities of the people she’s singing about, these deficient men that she’s met through online dating. I really appreciated that she didn’t really internalize any of their shit, so to speak.”


Postcard from Kathleen Hanna to David Lester, 1991

Excerpt from an article called Sisters Outsiders The Oral History of the Bikini Kill E.P. by Jessica Hopper in BBB Magazine (London, UK) 2013

Excerpt from a 2011 Spin Magazine article called Sisters Outsiders The Oral History of the Bikini Kill E.P. by Jessica Hopper

Record Store Day

Horses Records, Vancouver, B.C. on RSD 2015

Video by Wendy Atkinson