By Lianna Hubbard
Artist Beatriz Monteavaro grew up lip-syncing the Go-Go’s and practicing her drums to their hits. She stayed a fan throughout art school, incorporating the band into her work, even painting them into her stories.
She was as surprised as anyone that exhibiting with the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery would make her preteen dreams come true.
Monteavaro played with Go-Go’s co-founder and guitarist Jane Wiedlin in the gallery on Jan. 16.
“I’ve got to figure out new life goals,” Monteavaro said after the show. “I was sitting behind Jane Wiedlin playing the drums. It was amazing.”
Wiedlin played guitar and sang while Monteavaro’s friend Stephanie Taylor rounded out the trio with her bass. The group played the Go-Go’s hits, including “We’ve Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” and “This Town.”
“I’ve always loved the Go-Go’s; they’ve stayed close to my heart. They were one of my favorite bands when I was 12. It’s an important age,” Monteavaro said. “They were great role models. They helped me see I could be in a band.”
The exhibit began with photos of Monteavaro’s teenage room, filled with posters of ‘80s heartthrobs and, of course, the Go-Go’s.
Before the show Wiedlin purchased Monteavaro’s mixed-media drawing of the Go-Go’s swimming in technicolor waters.
The piece is one panel of the artist’s comic-book style Go-Go’s story, full of secret volcano lairs, vampires, and villains.
In it the band rides in on their iconic water boards, adorned in white feathers, to perform daring, last-second rescues of other ‘80s pop culture icons.
“I fell in love with her work,” Wiedlin said. “I want to collect her art. I love her. It’s fun, and weird, and colorful, and original.”
Monteavaro does more than draw stories. Her Vacation exhibit in the Rauschenberg Gallery displays collages, self-portraits, and snapshots of her own life.
“I have a bunch of flyers,” Monteavaro said. “I have some of the Go-Go’s work. I have a couple of Holly Hunt’s stuff.”
Holly Hunt is the doom metal instrumental band Monteavaro plays in with her husband.
Science fiction is also common in the Vacation exhibit. The first pieces in the exhibit are drawings of TIE Fighters and Emperor Palpatine from “Star Wars.”
“I like the great expanse, I like space ships, and aliens, and light speed. I like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ equally,” she said. “I also like ‘80s science fiction, when they’re pretending something grand is happening, but it’s really just a guy in a costume. It’s other worldly.”
Monteavaro’s interests often cross over. She hides the Go-Go’s icon in galactic backgrounds of her science fiction pieces and pits the band against classic movie monsters in her narrative work.
The Go-Go’s heroism inspired not only Monteavaro’s stories but her life as well.
Monteavaro volunteers as a drum instructor at the Miami Girls Rock Camp Worldwide, a branch of the national organization that hosts weeklong camps where girls age 8 to 17 learn to play instruments and perform.
“It’s important to help girls learn self-confidence. There’s not a lot of women in music,” Monteavaro said. “The Go-Go’s are still one of the only all women groups to get to the top of Billboard and that was in the ‘80s. There’s a need.”
The Miami camp was founded by Taylor, who played bass in the Thursday night gallery performance.
Monteavaro inspires women of all generations. Over the years, she’s played in 11 bands.
“Playing to an audience and being one of the only women on stage, people would come up to me afterwards and tell me how happy they were to see me and that they were considering taking up music. I would say ‘yeah, find an instrument and go up there. It’s for us too.’”
Monteavaro wasn’t the only Go-Go’s fan at the gallery Thursday night Student Emily Wingenroth, 23, brought a Go-Go’s album with her for Wiedlin to sign.
“It’s from my parents. I’ve listened to it 100 times,” she said. “It’s music that makes you feel good and it’s nice that it’s made by women.”
Wingenroth also enjoyed Monteavaro’s punk-rock inspired art.
“I’m always excited with women in more edgy spaces because it’s not where we’re expected to be,” she said.
Monteavaro brought in a few new fans that night.
“That was one of the coolest musical experiences of my life,” said student Mitchel Goerke. Goerke hadn’t listened to the Go-Go’s often before the show.
Monteavaro’s music could only be heard Thursday night, but her Vacation exhibit will be on display until March 28.