The Punk Singer – Kathleen Hanna – Documentary


The Punk Singer (2013) is a documentary about punk singer Kathleen Hanna (a pioneer of the riot grrrl movement, Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin, The Julie Ruin). The documentary goes through her beginnings in the pacific northwest punk scene, development of her socio-political consciousness, her relationship with feminism, the struggles and triumphs of her music career and life. The Punk Singer features appearances from:

  • Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock), Beastie Boys, husband of Hanna
  • Tamra Davis, Film, Music, and TV Director, introduced Hanna and Horovitz
  • Billy Karren, lead guitarist of Bikini Kill
  • Kathi Wilcox, zine writer, bandmember of Bikini Kill and The Julie Ruin
  • Johanna Fateman, zine writer, bandmember of Le Tigre
  • Sadie Benning, videographer, bandmember of Le Tigre
  • JD Samson, visual artist, bandmember of Le Tigre
  • Lynn Breedlove, punk musician, LGBT activist, writer
  • Jennifer Baumgardner, feminist writer
  • Kim Gordon, bassist for Sonic Youth, punk music producer
  • Carrie Brownstein, guitarist/vocalist in Sleater-Kinney
  • Corin Tucker, guitarist/vocalist in Sleater-Kinney
  • Jen Smith, riot grrrl zine editor, punk musician
  • Ann Powers, music writer
  • Joan Jett, rocker and music producer
  • Allison Wolfe, zine writer, punk musician
  • Tavi Gevinson, founder of Style Rookie blog and Rookie Mag
  • Leo Galland MD, Lyme disease expert

With a strong vision of who was going to be included in a documentary about herself, Kathleen Hanna asked The Punk Singer director Sini Anderson to not feature Thurston Moore of Sonic YouthIan MacKaye of Fugazi, or Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening, even though she likes their work and respects their opinions, saying

“I love those people but I did not want them in the movie because they’re always used as the experts in terms of ’90s music and punk rock,” Hanna said. “And I want women to be the experts. I don’t want these male experts to come in to make it legitimate.” [LA Times]

The Punk Singer: A Film About Kathleen Hanna (2013)

Bonus Videos: 

Totally Biased: Kamau Bell Interviews Kathleen Hanna (addressing issues of women of color and the riot grrrl movement)

Kathleen Hanna Talks Music, Feminism, Interior Design, Softball & More on The Interview Show

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