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12 Jan 2014

Home Video Review: 'The Punk Singer' Shines a Much-Deserved Spotlight on Kathleen Hanna

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Kathleen Hanna is featured in The Punk Singer. Kathleen Hanna is featured in The Punk Singer.

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to Bikini Kill or Le Tigre. This documentary from Sini Anderson takes a look at the career of Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of both those bands (and the currently formed The Julie Ruin) and her gloriously feminist roots.

There’s a lot I didn’t know about Hanna. She’s married to Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys (who features prominently in the film); she had to go on a performing hiatus in 2008 due to a Lyme-disease diagnosis; and she’s far more charming and introspective than her Bikini Kill vocals imply. Through interviews with Hanna, Horovitz, Joan Jett and various band associates, Anderson gives Hanna the sort of spotlight she truly deserves. I love movies like this—films that reintroduce you to great personalities and great music.

After watching this (or perhaps before), check out Hanna’s latest album with The Julie Ruin called Run Fast. It features some of her best work yet.

The Punk Singer is now available at online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

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