Tuesday, October 04, 2005

D.C. Superhero: An Interview with Katy Otto

By Matt Dineen

How do people pursue their passions, the things that keep us going, while simultaneously surviving in a capitalist society? Katy Otto is one of those modern day superheroes that is truly following her dreams and getting by pretty well in this crazy world. Not only does she run a DIY record label and play drums in the fantastic rock band Del Cielo, but she is also the Director of Grants and Community Outreach for the DC-area Empower Program. She’s also been known to help organize, among many other things, the annual Visions in Feminism Conference and Lady Fest. Katy is an inspiration to all of us, and a living example of what a better society could look like. I had the chance to speak to her at this year’s National Conference on Organized Resistance (NCOR) at American University.

When people ask you, “What do you do?” how do you usually respond to them?

Well, professionally I work as a grant writer at a non-profit that’s a gender violence prevention program that works with youth. But I have a lot of other projects that take up a lot of time too. I play drums in a band, Del Cielo, that I love a lot, and I run a little record label with my friend Sara called Exotic Fever. I like to do projects and organizing. I think who I am as a person has been shaped by the community I grew up in—the punk community in DC. It has been very important to my organizing and has been my source of energy. And I like writing.

Tell me more about this grant-writing job. Do you enjoy that work? Is it a full time thing?

Mhm. I’ve been there for 6 and half years, two as an intern in college. I like it because I was a journalism major and it’s a way to combine some of my writing skills with interest I have in social justice work and particularly work around youth development and violence prevention, gender socialization. So, I like it.

Nice.

It can be stressful. Being a fund-raiser isn’t always a laugh riot. Especially in the current economy, and because we are not an abstinence-only organization. And under the Bush administration those kinds of organizations are experiencing a much better situation [than us] in terms of funding available and tax cushions because of certain laws. So that sucks.

Yeah. Well, do you think you would continue to do this kind of work even if you weren’t getting paid for it? It obviously incorporates some of your interests but is the main function just the income that it provides, so you can support yourself?

Well, no. I don’t think that’s the main function although I certainly wouldn’t be able to devote the same amount of time to it if I wasn’t getting paid because I have to pay rent and bills. But part of my work is helping to co-facilitate a teen girls group and help mentor them and that’s the most rewarding part of the job. They organize a teen girl conference. They do public speaking, and community organizing and education. They’re just 10 amazing young women. That’s such a rewarding piece of the work. For the amount of money that people in non-profits get paid it’s usually other things fueling you to be there. But grant writing is not a stroll in the park.

Can you talk about living in the DC-area and how that affects your lifestyle? How did you choose to live here and make this your community?

I really love living in DC for a number of reasons. Because we’re in such a politically volatile world climate it’s very energizing to live in a place where a lot of really atrocious policies and decisions are being made. It makes it so that you do not escape. Politics and international relations are very much at the forefront of people’s minds here. And I think that’s important for people who are interested in social justice because it keeps you alert and active and responsive as long as that’s where your heart is. There’s also a really large resistance community here and a pretty diverse one. So that’s nice because growing up it was easy for me to learn about these kinds of issues. Also, there’s a lot of non-profits that do youth development work. There are hundreds in DC. And the punk and independent music community is really thriving and there are people who are older than me who helped mentor me when I wanted to do things like start a label. There’s just a lot of infrastructure for projects. It’s also interesting to live in a place that’s essentially a colony, with DC not being a state. It’s a very embattled place in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of spirit here.

Can you talk more about the dilemmas you’ve faced trying to work on all these projects that you’re passionate about while being able to pay rent and getting by?

Well, the nice thing about the label is that it’s successful enough now that a lot of the expenses of running a label are covered because we have a catalog of releases that does fairly well. I think I still lose some money each year on it, but it is able to be an active project because of the exciting attention people have paid to the releases. So that’s helpful. And also having the label in partnership with my best friend Sara. That’s helpful because we share the burden of the work, the financial burden, and we also share the excitement and the interest. With the band it’s been cool because we’re a very, very intentional DIY band but we’re also very active and we work really hard on our band and have been a band for 4 years. So when we travel we don’t lose money because we work really hard. When we’re on tour we try not to have days off. We go to the record stores in town and try to sell our cds. We’re very diligent about it. We plan things very far in advance to try to make sure they’re done really solidly and really well. So that’s nice because it’s definitely not making money or anything, but it’s not costing us money to do. So that’s nice. Although I’d love some equipment. I’ve got the same drum set I’ve had since I was a very little lady. (laughs)

I don’t know…coffee is a really good fuel for your projects. I drink a little too much of it. And I live in a group house with 3 very supportive men. I think living in a group house can be really awesome especially when people share interests. It just makes it a lot easier to do things like shows in DC because there is a network of people. I did a show for NCOR Friday night and literally an hour before I was like, “Man, this is gonna be a tiring night.” But then people called and were like, “How can I help? Can I do the door?” I don’t think that happens everywhere. A lot of times if I’m organizing something like a show I’ll be in a pretty visible role, but I’m not the only person that’s worked on it. So I try to make sure people get credit where credit’s due.

Does the group house arrangement cut down on your cost of living?

Greatly. Especially for this area because we live in a house that’s cheaper than most houses and we’ve also converted a 3 bedroom into a 4 bedroom. Otherwise, this area is brutal. But my rent is $300 a month, which in this area is pretty unheard of. That’s really the only way to live that cheaply here. Oh, and we eat together a lot too. Not all the time but we just share things in general. It cuts down on bills. We’re able to get things like cable that if we lived on our own none of us would be able to get. That’s kind of cool. At first I was like, “No! No cable.” But it’s kind of nice because then we don’t go to Blockbuster anymore. We can just watch Direct TV movies.

It seems like that’s part of this lifestyle where you can be able to have more time to pursue projects if you don’t have to work as much.

Yeah. My work has been really supportive of my touring too. The summer before last, because I had been at my job so long, I was able to take a sabbatical. So I had a 6-week tour and I was paid for all 6 weeks of work even though I wasn’t there. But that’s only a once every 5 years thing. I think at non-profits because you’re working so many long hours there are things people will do to make sure that the morale is high.

If you had the opportunity to live off your label and your band would you do that? Would you quit the job you have now?

I do have a dream of one day to be able to just do the label. The band is a little harder to think about. It would be amazing if we could do that, but what’s most important for me about our band is that all 3 people in the band always feel that they’re in positions they’re totally comfortable with. To me, that’s a pretty radical thing as a band of all women that the most valuable thing about the band is all three members’ opinions and nobody outside of that has any more say in what that looks like. So that makes it really hard because you think about some of the things that need to happen in order to get to that point. I know some people don’t believe that it’s possible for anyone to ever survive off their band without booking agents or really high profile, somewhat corporate-influenced record labels and things like that. Or people say, “Only if you’re Fugazi.” Well, I think there are other ways of people making that a reality. But it’s not a part of my ambition with my band because I feel like the process and the things that I gain from it are so much richer than that could ever be. I mean, if it just happened—sure. (laughs) I’m a very process-oriented person.

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2005 (#34) issue of Clamor Magazine. To learn more about Katy Otto's projects check out The Empowered Program, Exotic Fever Records and Del Cielo.

38 comments:

darrelammons79002589 said...

I really enjoyed your blog. This is a cool Website Check it out now by Clicking Here . I know that you will find this WebSite Very Interesting Every one wants a Free LapTop Computer!

fund raising said...

entertainment fund raiser - Good News. Now your group, school or church can make money with its own giant fund-raising Internet Shopping Mall!

Anonymous said...

http://www.adquity.com

Classifieds for our community. Buy, sell, trade, date, events... post anything. Adquity Classifieds.

http://www.adquity.com

Danny said...

Katy Otto is such a rockstar. Her mind is absolutely AMAZING. How lucky are those that get to know her and call her friend.

Anonymous said...

酒店喝酒

酒店消費

喝花酒

粉味

暑假打工

寒假打工

酒店經紀人

酒店現領

禮服店

酒店pt

酒店兼職

台北酒店上班

酒店兼差

台北禮服店

酒店上班

酒店打工

台北酒店小姐

酒店經紀





台北酒店經紀

酒店經紀公司

打工兼職

打工兼差

酒店行政

酒店資訊

酒店藝名

台北酒店

酒店日保

Anonymous said...

An Original recording of a Lady GaGa Song was Discovered this morning with no traces of where it came from.
Some say that it was found in GaGa's Record Label's headquarters.

More info at http://ladygagaunreleased.blogspot.com

Free Download of the single at http://tinyurl.com/gagaunreleased

star said...

You have done it in the past; everyone you know seems to be able to do it. Take it down a notch, be okay with it, be just friends.But I don't care if it makes other people comfortable. I have finally gotten to a point in life where I learning how to make me comfortable, even at the cost of the comfort of others, at the cost of your comfort.
greetings

Cialis online

zercath said...

Great site,this information on buy viagra really helped me , I really appreciate it.Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.

Anonymous said...

酒店經紀 酒店打工 酒店工作 酒店上班 酒店兼差 酒店兼職 打工兼差 打工兼職 台北酒店 酒店應徵 禮服酒店 酒店 經紀 打工 兼差

vuong said...

恵比寿 賃貸
溶解処理
伊丹賃貸
債務整理 大阪
教員採用試験
川口 不動産
東大宮 不動産
和光 賃貸
ロレックス 修理
婦人靴
脱毛 東京
離婚 相談
株 投資
ハワイ航空券
水栓
オフィスデスク
ホームヘルパー
センチュリー21 埼玉
新聞折込チラシ
老人ホーム 川崎
バイク駐輪場
バイク保管
歓送迎会 会場
サイト売る
債務整理 茅ヶ崎
サーモシェイプ 効果
港区 土地
福生 不動産
折込広告
水道修理
脱毛 渋谷
大田区 土地
調布 不動産
八王子 不動産
水道屋
オメガ オーバーホール

gaohui said...

The holidays are a time ed hardy of getting together with friends ed hardy shoes and family, attending elaborate ed hardy clothing parties, and other exciting events ed hardy clothes that involves dressing up in stunning ed hardy store wardrobes. If you ed hardy Bikini are pregnant during ed hardy swimsuits the holidays, it does not ed hardy Caps mean that you are unable buy ed hardy to look fabulous and ed hardy swimwear stylish. Now, an expectant ed hardy sale mother has many styles of chic ed hardy glasses maternity clothing that allows cheap ed hardy her to show off her baby bump Christian audigier while looking spectacular.

Anonymous said...

MraOhu [url=http://onnrainnmcm.com/#00634]MCM[/url] HucYoq http://onnrainnmcm.com/ DkrHgr [url=http://mcmsenmon.com/#09366]MCM 店舗[/url] FzgWuu http://mcmsenmon.com/ BngIdr [url=http://ninnkimcm.com/#18424]MCM 店舗[/url] TsbQps http://ninnkimcm.com/ LoyVsu [url=http://kaidokumcm.com/#91996]MCM 韓国[/url] XvlXkp http://kaidokumcm.com/ SrtKts [url=http://manzokumcm.com/#61499]MCM 店舗[/url] MdtWgl http://manzokumcm.com/ NbiMuy http://chloenihon.com/ UukQps [url=http://chloenihon.com/]クロエ[/url] WkiAfi http://louboutindendou.com/ FilHid [url=http://louboutindendou.com/]クリスチャンルブタン ブーツ[/url] CguTlz http://guccisenmon.com/ RyeGkv [url=http://guccisenmon.com/]GUCCI ハンドバッグ[/url] QnmIzm [url=http://mcmhannbai.com/]MCM キーケース[/url] PlmWin [url=http://mcmhannbai.com/]MCM 長財布[/url]

Anonymous said...

Ai FcM SbB stAT f http://oakleyten.com/ NqbAo Aoa Hdo Shj ImqFe [url=http://oakleyten.com/#095327]オークリースノー-ゴーグル[/url] No IoT XmO sdRT o http://gucchidendou.asia/ VilYr Kld Uuf Txa ZjoTt [url=http://gucchidendou.asia/#026418]グッチ 財布 レディース 人気[/url] Gk ShO WaG kcZH z http://susumeviton.com/ WdkQt Cvt Dlo Bjk RluJm [url=http://susumeviton.com/#204690]グッチ アウトレット 佐野[/url] Px CzG MrZ hfGA t http://kireikuroeb.asia/ YfqYa Mrr Iop Naj BvaCq [url=http://kireikuroeb.asia/]バッグ chloe[/url] Kk LiS RwP rdYK g http://oakleymanzoku.com/ TkqDq Gtg Jyz Zyu JpsCr [url=http://oakleymanzoku.com/]Oakley アウトレット[/url] Ok CpB LvR zzMD g http://kousinkuroeb.com/ Ofc IOo Odv Ina YtgYy [url=http://kousinkuroeb.com/#005273]シーバイクロエ 財布[/url] Ka ThY WtX nfHJ l http://guccinihon.asia/ KstTl Zpp Qfl Fhk LqjGo [url=http://guccinihon.asia/#545165]グッチ 時計[/url] Gi YkU AiL ehQR n http://vitonsugure.com/ PwmHj Kut Phx Bvw OonPi [url=http://vitonsugure.com/#557696]グッチ 長財布 メンズ[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hd JvK SrU gkIH x http://kakakuviton.com/ Yzk BRrq Vmv Jti WyhLs [url=http://kakakuviton.com/#100121]グッチ 時計[/url] Jv RpZ SzF xdKN s http://cyuumokukuroec.com/ SrrSt Epw Kpz Whh KhpOt [url=http://cyuumokukuroec.com/#097249]クロエ 香水 メンズ[/url] Bz DoC NjW wtTE p http://gekiyasuoakley.com/ Zvq DEpu Mxj Owe BhxMw [url=http://gekiyasuoakley.com/#583327]オークリースノー-ゴーグル[/url] Ei IpQ EuZ tmLT z http://dendoukuroeja.com/ SfzPm Lcf Ykf Dxs KgrPs [url=http://dendoukuroeja.com/]クロエ 財布[/url] Cq PuT TyS ahSD w http://gucchidendous.com/ CmqVb Rrq Pho Qsq DoaKk [url=http://gucchidendous.com/#666840]グッチ キーケース 値段[/url] Dz WiL JgF kiNK y http://oakley2013jp.com/ CkrTq Spb Efo Css LqxNg [url=http://oakley2013jp.com/]Oakley アウトレット[/url] Sd CaC IuG dzMS d http://rippakuroeb.asia/ UqlLj Bpi Wbl Eic HpvVb [url=http://rippakuroeb.asia/]クロエ 財布 リリー[/url] Yo OfO WyN xsXR w http://vitonkousin.com/ ZejFz Ffg Qfe Lny FvuGd [url=http://vitonkousin.com/#046678]グッチ 財布 二つ折り[/url]

Anonymous said...

It's an remarkable post for all the internet visitors; they will take advantage from it I am sure.

Here is my website; 財布トリーバーチ

Anonymous said...

Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your
site, how can i subscribe for a blog website?
The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

Feel free to visit my website :: chloe バッグ

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
How can I resolve my complication?
That I could not connect the LaserJet 1018 printer to my PS tried every little thing
and I then reinstalled the printer motorist and it wont operate's. if they aren't visiting support a printer,
it must be on the box.

My web-site :: xerox phaser 8560mfp

Anonymous said...

Please sir, deliver me the vedio clip on how to use printer for pcb.
Many thanks.

Also visit my web page - Http://icctour.net

Anonymous said...

beautiful, Everyone loves that blue using the oxidised silver

Visit my blog - ,jewellery deals online

Anonymous said...

Any ideas for platinum?

Have a look at my web site: silver Jewellery cleaner

Anonymous said...

If you are going for most excellent contentѕ like me, only go to see thiѕ ωеb ρagе daily for the reasοn that it offеrs feаturе contеnts,
thanks

Revіew my website - sign in for facebook

Anonymous said...

I must say i covet diamonds and sapphire rings!!!!!

Check out my page: ,jewellery discount vouchers

Anonymous said...

Download file configuration HP LaserJet P1005.

My site: xerox phaser 8560 toner

Anonymous said...

This іѕ reallу intеresting, Yοu're a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

my page - facebook business account

Anonymous said...

#7 is very dreamy-find it irresistible!
#8 makes me feel
as if I'll possess a anxiety attack! So glad it absolutely was a low priced fix.

Here is my site ... ,cheap pretty earrings

Anonymous said...

Wonderful text, We're browsing back more regularly in search of up-grades.

my site: danon jewellery online

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually know what you're talking about! Bookmarked. Please also discuss with my website =). We may have a link trade arrangement between us

Also visit my web blog xerox 8560dn printer

Anonymous said...

Hellο Dear, are уou truly visiting this web sіte regulaгly, if so thеn you will dеfinitely tаke nice eхperіence.


My web-sitе myspace login (messages.mywinesense.com)

Anonymous said...

I am curious to find out what blog system you have been working
with? I'm experiencing some minor security issues with my latest site and I would like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?

Feel free to surf to my blog - pilgrim jewellery stockists edinburgh (http://den6v2yoeh.centerblog.net/)

Anonymous said...

I have a 51in Samsung plasma that i worked hard to get & only had it a few the
months.A remote flew out of my daughters hand & cracked
screen.The bottom of t.v. has lines & colors now.I have a
two year warranty but they said they wont fix it.Is it
over for my t.v. or can i do something?

Feel free to surf to my web page: LG 42 LS56 Series ()

Anonymous said...

I remember a few months back looking over something regarding
exactly how Adobe Photoshop has some sort of built in unit that is used to
known money that you could be attempting to scan into the application, and obstruct it.
I have actually never attempted it myself to see if this operates, however it is not
much of a leap to picture it could additionally secrety
inform someone that you are browsing cash ...

Feel free to visit my weblog ... xerox phaser 8560 ink
sticks *http://shullo.com*

Anonymous said...

An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your web site.

Also visit my web-site; xerox 8560mfp d

Anonymous said...

I was really amazed to look over that this worked with a
Lexmark, but I Googled the E210 and it looks practically identical to the Samsung ML-1210 .
.. So I suspect there are some inter-manufacturer similarities that I was not familiar with.



My site ... xerox phaser 8560 ink

Anonymous said...

I am not sure where you are getting your information, however good topic.
I needs to spend a while finding out more or
figuring out more. Thanks for magnificent info I was searching for this information for my mission.


Here is my site xerox 8560 mfp

Anonymous said...

Yes, Chad has actually given the standard details.
Many thanks!

Take a look at my site; Xerox phaser 8560 printer

Anonymous said...

Really when someone doesn't understand then its up to other
viewers that they will assist, so here it takes place.

Here is my web site - pulsa murah jakarta

Anonymous said...

Good day! I could have sworn I've been to
this web site before but after going through some of the articles I realized it's
new to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

My web page ... emergency mold damage restoration services Columbia South Carolina ()

Betty Felix said...

“Dо you wаnt to have a unіԛuе buѕіnеѕѕ? I саn offer іt tо уоu! I саn dеvеlор thе creative, іntеllесtuаl and tесhnісаl аbіlіtіеѕ nесеѕѕаrу tо work іn the business industry; Make іt wonderful, Make іt dіffеrеnt. Make іt thе best!”