I was in my 26th year teaching in an all-girls environment. I didn’t seek my first job at a single-sex private school because I believed strongly in such an education. I took it because it was one of scant opportunities in an economically challenged city into which I had married. As you could imagine, however, the advantages of such an education were internalized over the quarter century of my first-hand experience.
This is important to understand before telling you about how I came to meet Genyusha Zelkovicz, a woman who not enough who should appreciate women in music have heard of, even when going by her professional names—Goldie or Genya Ravan.
I was attending a national conference in Philadelphia on an unseasonably mild but rainy February weekend. Consistent with my usual MO, I decided to arrive a day early and take in whatever interesting local event might be available. I came upon the World Café schedule. As luck would have it, there was a show that evening on the edge of the Penn campus venue. Although I had never heard of the featured artist, I had already decided to go.
|Goldie (top) and the Gingerbreads|
As I began to research Genya Ravan, it became clear that this would be a great person to see and talk with. She was, after all, the leader of the first true all-girl rock group (in that they all played their own instruments) to sign on a big label—a fact lost on most. Goldie and the Gingerbreads scored a semi-hit with “Can’t You Feel My Heartbeat?” in 1963 (you may better remember the Herman’s Hermits version). She went on to join a very good fusion rock band called Ten Wheel Drive in the 70’s and later had a string of solo efforts, while being a regular a CBGB’s and producing Dead Boys and Ronnie Spector. After a supposed battle with substance abuse (take a number), she was making the next level of her comeback. Genya was tapped to host a Sirius Radio show by Steven Van Zandt, and she had released a book and companion CD which are brilliantly combined as an eBook available on iTunes, called “Cheesecake Girl.” Both text and music create the autobiographic account of her immigration from Russia as a young girl, through work as a “cheesecake” model, her music career and the rollercoaster ride it all has been.
|Genya and the band|
|Genya and the author|