The much anticipated feature length documentary on Riot Grrrl queen, Kathleen Hanna was finally released end of November 2013 and since has taken the riot world by storm. The Punk Singer began as a Kickstarter project that was created by documentary director, Sini Anderson and takes a look at feminism, riot grrrls and Hanna’s life, both past and present.
Riot Grrrl culture transformed third wave feminism in the late 80’s and 90’s as young women found their voices through music. This culture lies close to TMB’s heart, because it has helped to shape what feminism is today.
If you haven’t seen it yet, then here’s 5 reasons why you absolutely MUST:
1. The documentary is full of awesome archival footage
There is nothing better than seeing Hanna commanding a stage and doing her thing. The film features 20-year old footage that shows recordings from the early days of Bikini Kill, as well as backstage antics and interviews. You get a glimpse into the atmosphere Hanna created at her shows with attitude, attire and voice.
2. It’s packed full of interviews with amazing female musicians
From Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) to Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), Anderson interviews a number of ladies who contributed to changing the punk scene. They all discuss how Hanna’s Girl Revolution Style Now, was.. well, revolutionary! Hanna’s mantra of “Girls To The Front” changed punk shows forever and influenced woman to adopt the DIY attitude towards music.
3. Hanna opens up about her illness, so people get a better understanding
Hanna was diagnosed with stage 3 lyme disease in 2005. It was in early 2005 that her health took a turn for the worse and she make the decision to leave her band at the time, Le Tigre. She explains how it actually took a long time to diagnose the disease and footage in the film shows her daily routine with medication, which gives people a better understanding of what she went through, and still goes through.
4. The documentary gives good insight into her life with Adam Horovitz
Hanna met Adam Horovitz in the mid-90’s and initially kept her feelings under wraps, because he was a rapper in Beastie Boys. She was worried about what fans would think of her dating someone who had written and rapped lyrics that contradicted her lyrics in her band at the time, Bikini Kill. In the film, she discusses how she met Horovitz and how he supported her through her diagnosis with Lyme disease.
5. You get to see interviews with past band members
Hanna’s fans hearts will sing at the sight of some old video footage, as well as interviews with members of her old bands, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Kathi Wilcox, Johanna Fatemen and JD Samson without a doubt played a huge role in the success of Hanna’s first two bands. All three contribute to the documentary and talk about their love for Hanna, as well as old memories.
The documentary is just simply awesome, because you get an access all areas into Hanna’s life. If you’re a fan of Riot Grrrl, then you will agree that Kathleen Hanna is one of the most influential and interesting women in Riot Grrrl culture throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s. Screenings are taking place across the US and more info. can be found here. Alternatively, you can rent the film off the US iTunes store.