It’s girls’ night out, no boys allowed.
That’s what the sign over the Lower East side rock venue, Arlene’s Grocery, will read tonight, when the Hasidic all-girl rock band Bulletproof Stockings hits the stage.
The bands two lead members are drummer Dalia Shusterman, 40, originally from Maryland, and vocalist/keyboardist Perl Wolfe, 27, from Chicago. According to the Wall Street Journal, both women left their traditional Hasidic homes as teenagers before returning later in life to their spiritual roots.
Following the stringent Orthodox law that bars women from performing in front of men, they have playing at mostly women’s universities or private shows until now. Their band was even the subject of a documentary, “The Bulletproof Stockings,” which screened at last year’s DOC NYC film festival.
But their debut at Arlene’s Grocery is a huge step, and their biggest gig yet. The venue holds 110 people, and Shusterman and Wolfe are determined to have standing room only. They took to the streets to amass a list of women committed to attending the breakout show.
Convincing Julia Darling, manager of Arlene’s, to exclude gents for the evening wasn’t easy.
“Julia was pretty skeptical,” Shusterman told the NY Post. “Turning away half the audience isn’t something that’s ever been done. They had to really think about it.”
Shusterman explained that what they're doing isn't "anti-men."
"We're trying to build more environments where girls can be themselves, to cultivate who they're meant to be," she told the WSJ.
Shusterman and Wolfe describe their music as “Hasidic alt-rock,” a mix of classical, blues, jazz and rock. The inspiration for their band name came from the thick, opaque stockings worn by many Hasidic women.
Though performing for an all-female audience is still viewed skeptically, the rocker-chicks are confident the trend will catch on.
“Right now, it’s a little bit of a novelty,” Wolfe told the Post. “But we see it becoming a new movement.”