You Should Know… Brianna Burdetsky

Photo by Samantha Cooper

Wearing leather is just how Brianna Burdetsky rolls. The 22-year-old George Mason University grad is a fan of punk rock, 1970s punk rock in particular.

But the Fairfax native dreams of being a science fiction movie screenwriter. For now, she’s an intern at the Jewish publication, Moment magazine, where she writes pieces focusing on her

What’s your history with Judaism?

I have one Jewish parent but I wasn’t raised Jewish, and as I got older it was something I became more interested in. I’m not a religious person but the other aspects of it — the culture, the history, the language — those kinds of things are interesting to me.

You’re interested in music, too.

I’m a huge music fan, my whole life. I tried to play a couple different instruments as a kid but none of them really stuck. So, instead, I started collecting vinyl records as a teenager. I started
listening to a lot of music of all different kinds. But a lot of it from the ‘70s. I really like ‘70s punk rock and glam rock.

How did you become interested in punk?

I became interested as a teenager. You have the so-called rebellious teenage phase. High school in particular was kind of a rough time, because I was a good student. It was a drag and a lot of work, so it was around that time, junior, senior year of high school, the energy punk gave me kind of helped me through the whole end of high school drag.

It continues to be one of the things that energizes me and I love the politics of it and the energy of the music itself. I love how it challenges the status quo, how it is the anti-capitalist and feminist, and more recently, increasingly queer.

You wrote about the Jewish history of punk rock for your internship. Are you working on any more music pieces?

I’ve been not really focusing on a particular project. I have one that I started, but didn’t go anywhere. I’ve been looking into doing more music articles, maybe interviewing more artists, things like that. Nothing is set in stone.

What’s work like? What was your most interesting day?

The most interesting days are the days when I’m writing. I’m sure you can imagine.

One of my favorite parts of writing is when I’m interviewing people. I think that’s so cool. Like for the punk article I got to interview this really cool woman named Vivien Goldman who was a punk rock journalist in the ‘70s. Hearing about her firsthand experiences was so cool,
especially for somebody who did not live through the ‘70s.

I definitely prefer the longer features where you get to sit with the content for a while and really read about it. I have a long metro commute, so I bring books to get into the subject before I get to work. I love to really immerse myself into topics that interest me

How do you feel about your work getting edited?

More often than not it’s really helpful. I think [my editors] are really good at making sure I produce something that’s legible and not just my brain dump on a page.

What’s your favorite band?

It’s so hard to pick just one. There’s one band I really like called Roxy Music. They were a British band in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. They were kind of similar to David Bowie, in that vein. I got into them from hearing their music in a film, actually.

I got really into the British glam rock which led me into punk rock as well.

What is your dream job?

Right now, I’m pretty content in magazine writing. But ultimately my dream job is to be a screenwriter.

What got you interested in that?

I first got into the idea of screenwriting because of sci-fi. I was huge “Star Trek” fan as a teenager and that kind of made me see the impact it had on other people. And how people were so were into it and developed new technology because of it. I wanted to write something impactful like that.

Is it your favorite sci-fi franchise?

Yes, by far.

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