As direct and candid as its subject, director Sini Anderson's "The Punk Singer: A Documentary Film about Kathleen Hanna" profiles this outspoken feminist's life. This includes her late 1980s days at Evergreen College, the formation of Bikini Kill with Hanna as the lead singer, her step away from performing in 1995, and her empowering involvement with Riot Grrrl.
Along the way we learn about the Le Tigre album, Hanna's marriage to the Beastie Boys' Adam Horovitz, the album and project Julie Ruin, and Hanna's eventual diagnosis with debilitating Lyme disease. Several elements distinguish "The Punk Singer"; among them, the numerous interviews with Kathleen Hanna from her earliest days to the present; interview footage with members of the bands and her husband; and, especially, performance footage from Bikini Kill to Le Tigre to a recent tribute in Hanna's honor with her on stage.
Her influence and her bands' impact on the punk music scene take center stage several times, including influence on Kurt Cobain (and a run in with Courtney Love), Hanna's assertive feminist voice and her involvement with other women's issues. Co-producer/director Anderson keeps the pace lively, the film informative and entertaining as she knits together concert footage with comments from a who's who of punk rockers.
The St. Louis premiere of "The Punk Singer" is at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 27th, and Saturday and Sunday, March 1st and 2nd.
This same weekend, Friday night only, February 28th at 7:30 p.m. the experimental video "Obscure Relatives and Prepositions" screens, followed by a Q&A with director Brian Allen. Running under an hour, Allen's work beautifully, rhythmically blends still black-and-white and color photos with black-and-white and color video, live action with animation with text written on the screen. As mesmerizing as it is provocative, it encourages looking and listening with fresh eyes and ears in a rewarding immersion in this video experience.
For more information on either of these programs, you may call 314-968-7487 or on the web at: Webster.edu/filmseries.