"The Punk Singer: a film about Kathleen Hanna" opens in San Francisco on Dec 6 at the Roxie Theatre. Sini Anderson's excellent documentary follows the trajectory of Hanna’s career. The film recently won the "Lena Sharpe Award For Persistence Of Vision Presented By Women In Film" at the Seattle Film Festival in June.
Hanna, one of the voices of the "Riot Grrrl"movement of third wave feminism, recalls in this new doc that her band used to have to spend the night on the floor, on the road, and that their van was a gasket away from ruin. Her first band 'Bikini Kill' was founded after 14 women were assaulted at a rock concert. The band asked the women to come to the front and the guys to move to the back. If women were hassled they were allowed to sit on the side of the stage.
"Bikini Kill" performed for eight years. The hectic band life prevented personal time and it was a factor to the breakup. Hanna kept going with a new band "Le Tigre", and currently has a new band, "Julie Ruin", which was completely sold out at Slims in September.
Kathleen Hanna's lyrics and powerful voice are inspirational for many women, especially her brazen attitude and feminist message.
In 2005 she stopped playing when she discovered she had late stage Lyme disease, the subject of Sini Anderson’s new doc "Sick".
"The Punk Singer" is artfully constructed and edited in an explosion of sound with music and creative touches that makes it stand out from the crowd of music docs out there. Most of the footage was shot during breaks of a tribute show to Kathleen Hanna at the "Knitting Factory" in Brooklyn where 21 women showed up to play covers of Hanna's work, including Joan Jett.