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Our revolution

Former KAOS indie-rock DJs reunite

The Evergreen State College’s KAOS radio staff were part of the region’s music revolution. Photo courtesy of The Evergreen State College

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Olympia has a lot of different stereotypes, a lot of which are not too far from the truth. Yes, they drink too much coffee, and IPAs. They do have a nude beach on The Evergreen State College campus, and I think Olympia pulls off the dreadlock look better than any other area in the Puget Sound. These are just some of the ways Olympia shines bright in their own beautiful, tree hugging way. One thing I think that gets overlooked about Olympia is the deep-rooted history. Why Olympia became the "weird" place where tree huggers congregated. Why they celebrate art and music as often and as freely as they do. The answer is because it's a part of their lifeline. Olympia has been the showcase for art and music for generations, and it's growing all the time.      

Starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s was the start of a music revolution in Olympia, and it all started with a nonprofit radio station at The Evergreen State College. KAOS (still on air today) isn't your average radio station. Since the station was born, 80 percent of their music is from different artists in Olympia. The community, especially, took notice, and the Riot Grrrl Movement was born. Riot Grrrl is a band that started the underground feminist punk movement. Their lyrics covered a lot of controversial issues such as domestic abuse, sexuality and racism. They had a voice, and at the time it was the farthest thing from quiet. Now Riot Grrrl is not only a piece of our history, this movement inspired bands like Bratmobile, Excuse 17, and Huggy Bear.

Saturday, the Washington State History Museum presents "A Revolution You Can Dance To: Conversations with Evergreen Alumni," hosted by former KAOS DJ and Evergreen grad, Diana Arens. For a few short hours, the museum will be hosting a sort of family reunion for some of the indie-rock DJs from KAOS. Some of these people haven't seen each other since they earned their alumni spot at Evergreen. Part of the evening is going to be a candid conversation between the 17 of them, and will conclude with an acoustic set by Chris "Sandman" Sand, a meet-and-greet, as well as a tour of the exhibit. This is a golden opportunity to see the role that Olympia played in the music scene, and see first-hand a piece of history you might not have known about.   

"A Revolution You Can Dance To: Conversations with Evergreen Alumni," Saturday, 2-4 p.m., free with museum admission or $5 program only admission,  Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.3500,

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