Things We Love: Picks from Kathryn Keister

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Kathryn Keister is an Aquarius sun, Aquarius rising, Sagittarius moon, agender queer depressive musician (check out Plastic Heap), activist, vegan baker, grassroots organizer and DIY promoter in the Old North. Empowerment of marginalized folks, particularly queer and trans people, makes their heart sing. Kathryn is the key organizer ofOUR SCENE, a Grrrls Rock Columbus fundraiser that randomly creates bands for a one-night-only performance made up of volunteer musicians or blossoming musicians-to-be who don't identify as straight, white, cis men in order to build up commonly unheard voices in the DIY music community. The final showcase is slated for 6 p.m. Sunday, May 29 at MINT, 42 W. Jenkins Ave. $5 suggested donation, and all ages are welcome.

Seizing the means of production (co-operatives and collectives)

I'm a baker, owner, and board member at the worker-owned co-operativePattycake Bakery in Clintonville, and I can't imagine ever going back to a conventional workplace. A co-operative is based on mutual trust and respect, not a typical boss/worker dichotomous hierarchy. It feels incredible to own my labor in a supportive environment where I truly feel like my co-op partners and I care about each other and our common values, not just the bottom line.


Teenagers, especially trans or gender-variant teens and teen girls, are so goddamn powerful and amazing and most of them don't even realize it. We've all been there: being a teenager is hard! I've been a volunteer withGrrrls Rock Columbus since the summer camp kicked off in 2014. I'm so thrilled to again take part with this year's camp, which concludes on June 25 with a performance open to the public. I love being able to help teens realize how strong and capable they are just by embracing their individuality and letting themselves create freely.


OUR SCENE is a project very near and dear to my heart because I'm super passionate about the DIY ethos of the Columbus punk scene I participate in, and the idea that making music and art is for absolutely everyone - not just those in positions of societal power and privilege. Punk is all about disrupting the status quo, and, to me, that's seen most in how we can challenge dominant power structures of race, gender identity, sexuality, ability, etc. in mainstream music circles. There is no right or wrong in punk; it's a genre built to embrace the freaks and weirdos of the world. Take up space and make some noise. Just do it!

Radical Softness

A phrase coined by feminist artist and poetLora Mathis, "radical softness" is the idea that "unapologetically sharing your emotions is a political move and a way to combat the societal idea that feelings are a sign of weakness." I'm a strong advocate for creating visibility and representation for people battling chronic mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD and other "invisible illnesses" that people often don't know how to talk about. It's okay to feel like you're not okay.