Jen Smith is a musician, artist and zine editor.
Jen Smith is credited with being the inspiration behind the term "Riot Grrrl". While living in Washington D.C., she wrote to Girl Germs editor Allison Wolfe about the riots happening in her city, predicting a "Girl Riot" for the upcoming summer. Olympia, Washington residents Allison Wolfe and Girl Germs co-editor Molly Neuman relocated to Washington D.C. that summer after having formed the band Bratmobile, and asked Jen to join the band. As written about in Bikini Kill zine, Jen proposed they do a zine called "Girl Riot" which would serve as a networking forum for young women. Molly Neumann began the zine, which was released under the title riot grrrl, with contributions by Jen, Allison, and members of the band Bikini Kill, who had also relocated to Washington D.C.
At the end of the summer Bratmobile members returned to Olympia and Jen Smith stayed behind to begin her own zine, Red Rover. A number of issues were released during the 1990's, before Jen began a new zine, an off-shoot of Red Rover called Another Lo-Fi Xtravaganza. This zine also became a small label called Lo-Fi Xtravaganza, issuing cassette releases by artists such as Wandering Lucy. At the same time, Jen Smith started a band with Donna Dresch, which they called Rastro!, releasing a couple of vinyl 45" singles.
After this band, Jen relocated to Olympia, Washington, where she recorded with the band Dub Narcotic and hosted the Cha-Cha Cabaret, which resulted in a CD release on K Records. It was around this time that she published her next zine Josephine was a Diva.
In the 2000's Jen Smith relocated to San Francisco, where she joined up with ex-Washington resident and bassist Seth Lorinczi (formerly of Circus Lupus) and drummer Julianna Bright (formerly of The Electrolettes) to form the band The Quails. The group also released their own zine called Quail Hunt, notable for its hand silk screened color covers. The band made a point of taking zines by their friends on tour with them across the U.S. The Quails released three CDs and toured with Sleater-Kinney before coming to an end.
Jen Smith also produces art work and has had a number of shows. She is one of the artists whose work was shown in the exhibition The Zine Unbound: Kults, Werewolves and Sarcastic Hippies in California.
In 2008, the feature film The Lollipop Generation by G.B. Jones was released, featuring Jen Smith in a starring role, along with zinesters such as Jena von Brücker, Vaginal Davis, Joel Gibb, Johnny Noxzema, Gary Fembot and Anonymous Boy.
- Third Wave Agenda, edited by Leslie Heywood and Jennifer Drake, University of Minnneapolis Press, 1997
- The Lollipop Generation, directed by G.B. Jones (2008)