PBS to Air "Women Who Rock" on Nov. 18
Mon, 14 Nov 2011 13:41:27
Calling all XX chromosome owners!
The daunting odds, the guts and grit, and the talent required by women rockers to make it to the top of their field all come to life in PBS Arts from Cleveland: Women Who Rock, a performance documentary that chronicles and celebrates female musicians from early groundbreakers to contemporary powerhouses. Premiering Nov. 18 at 9:00 PM EST on PBS (check local listings), Women Who Rock is part of the first PBS Arts Fall Festival, a multiplatform event anchored by nine films that highlight artists and performances from around the country.
Mixing interviews with key women musicians and live performance footage, Women Who Rock features the stories of trailblazers like Bessie Smith, Ma Raney, Mother Maybelle, and Mahalia Jackson as well as contemporary stars Darlene Love, Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Bonnie Raitt, Cyndi Lauper, Wanda Jackson, Mavis Staples, Deborah Harry, and Kathleen Hanna of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Also featured are songwriter Cynthia Weill and journalists/critics Ann Powers, Nelson George and Holly George Warren. With this list of participants, how can you miss it?
Cyndi Lauper, known for her smash hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," will host the program.
The program breaks the female influence on rock and roll into distinct eras, starting with the music's blues roots in the 1920s and '30s. It travels forward through time, telling stories of key musicians from each proceeding era, including rock and roll's emergence in the 1950s, the girl group and counterculture era of the '60s, disco and punk in the '70s, celebrations of empowerment and fun throughout the '80s, into today's predominance of women in pop, and much more. The film reveals the ever-morphing role of female performers, and shows how today's singers were influenced and inspired by their forebears.
The film is punctuated by photos and artifacts from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. (The Museum currently features a related exhibition, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power, which runs through February 2012). The film chronicles women in several music genres whose work not only brought down the house in their time but also broke down barriers, struggling to obtain artistic and economic equality with their male counterparts.
"The story of women in rock reflects larger changes in women's status in our culture," says Dr. Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Although women have been essential to rock and roll – as performers, businesswomen, writers, fans – their role has often been downplayed or ignored. Our exhibit, and this film, tell these stories, encourage discussions about them, and inspire young artists. We are thrilled to partner with PBS on this documentary to further examine these dynamics and bring this groundbreaking exhibit to a larger audience."
Will you tune in?