Black Flamingo speaks with Joy, the founder of Mamapalooza -- A Festival for Women Who Rock, about her sensational new festival about her sensational band, the Housewives on Prozac, and about how music can change your life.

What made you start this Mamapalooza?

I started Mamapalooza three years ago, because it seemed like the next logical extension to my band, Housewives On Prozac. As a mother of four kids, I knew the importance of being able to express myself creatively, WHILE I raise my kids. My band encourages other women to get up and dance, make noise, dress up, play drums, whatever - during our shows!

I believe in living loud and large, and totally expressing your individuality. Motherhood is ONE of the very important roles we play in life, but it's a pretty selfless, difficult job, and us sista's need to lock arms, sing proud and support each other.

So, in a more formal setting, I wanted to offer opportunities to other Mom-Rockers to get up and strut their stuff.

How long has it been in existence?

First Mamapalooza took place at The Cutting Room, NYC in 2002, featuring mom-rockers, belly dancers, a seventy two year old ex-rockette, comics, and poets.

Where will it go?

I want Mamapalooza to go national. Its ultimate goal is to become an organization that goes to local communities and helps other women, organize their own Mamapalooza Festivals. All proceeds from money raised at these events will eventually go towards building the first ever Museum Of Motherhood, with at least one fem-based humanitarian aid organization involved. Yeah!

Why is is so important for the female human?

Women, and in fact all individuals, tend to get bogged down the more 'responsible' we get in life. The heavier the burden, the heavier the spirit. Because of my own experiences with LUPUS, near-death, and a kidney transplant, I feel the burning need to help liberate, and uplift the 'stuck' part of each of us.

Life is really short. We're here to live, grow and celebrate this short time we have to love, dance and sing, in human form. (Sorry this is getting esoteric.) But, I'm a believer in the ultimate power of creativity as a healing element in any life. I know it was in mine. I'm just trying to do my bit on the planet, and offer up what I've learned from my own personal struggles with illness, despair, chemotherapy, and struggles as a mother.
Music saved my life. Literally. The kids are beautiful gifts. Inspiring. Infuriating. Necessary. Music is the essence of my unchanging core-soul!

Where do the kids fit in?

Well, we wouldn't be mom-rockers without kids. We'd just middle aged, musicians living the hard life, and stuck somewhere in a twenties mindset. Somehow, mom-rockers juggle the best of everything. We're very FULL. We move forward in our lives, accepting some pretty big challenges, and we stretch the paradime of what it means to be a fab-shakin'-kick-ass-babe, well into our what? Sixties, seventies, eighties? My band, Housewives on Prozac, is built for age; We just get funnier and fatter. Ha! Our kids are our inspiration. They're who make us who we are. They're the grounded beautiful center of our extraordinary lives. We wouldn't be Mom-chicks without them. We'd just be chicks. Hopefully, we're teaching them something about remaining true to their creative selves too! Eh!

07.04 * SUMMER *

Can we have the best tutors and education progams while we are touring the world? Can we have benefits? Will Mamapalooza be the next super hero for world peace?!

Yes, Yes, Yes...It's GROWING BABY!

Last words from Joy:

I started my band, Housewives On Prozac, after being diagnosed with LUPUS. As an ex-downtown-art-rock-come-disco-diva with an old MTV video hit, and two records on the dance charts, I knew somewhere in my bones, that the difference between living and dying (That dramatic) was connected to creativity and 'art'.

Music has always been my medium of expression. After marrying and giving birth to four children successively (Now ages 9-15), I'd taken a huge leap away from my fundamental essence, moving to the suburbs and playing the part of earth-mommy to these beautiful little babies.

However, almost immediately after my diagnosis, subsequent hospitalizations, and trip thru chemotherapy, songs started coming to me. At first, I ignored them. They kept coming. It was only after I opened to them, their messages, and the incredible power of a 'personal destiny', that I began to really heal, and come into my unique life-journey/sense of purpose.

During these very intense years of healing, from 1994-2000, which resulted in a kidney transplant, and the breakup of my marriage, I learned that, for me, music was equal to survival and happiness.

I try to bring a message to all my audience members! Life is very short. I ask questions. Are you here, on the planet, being your brightest, most positive, illuminated self? Are you doing what your absolute soul-passion requires? Because Motherhood is a role. A beautiful role, but it isn't a complete identity. Every person has some special gift to impart to their children. Some incredible talent, wisdom or passion...Mine lives inside the music, the performance of it, and the magic that happens between me and my audiences, and band members.

Keeping active, vibrant, sexy, dynamic and ALIVE, is the BEST message I can give my kids. By feeding my soul, I'm able to feed theirs.

Its hard, balancing everything. But, what isn't difficult?

I'm not sure the ROLE of motherhood, has changed ALL that much since my mother was a mother. Women today, especially artists -- we kinda have the power-suit, strap on a briefcase thing, under control -- are actively seeking to expand their own definitions of what being a 'good' mother means. Art doesn't necessarily equal big bucks; so bringing together a) The job of motherhood - underpaid, underappreciated ...Ha, ha...and b) artist, not exactly the most acclaimed profession, unless you're super successful, is a true challenge.