Kathleen Hanna is best known as the feminist front woman for groups like ‘90s punk band Bikini Kill, the dance-punk trio Le Tigre and now The Julie Ruin.

She became a feminist icon and outspoken face of the riot grrrl movement (an underground feminist punk rock movement that originally started in the early 1990s) until an undiagnosed illness stopped her in her tracks back in 2005.

The Punk Singer, a documentary from Sini Anderson, follows the life of Hanna with never-before-seen footage and intimate interviews from over 20 years. The film is currently showing at The Showroom in Asbury Park. Full schedule at

Hanna was originally opposed to the idea of making a film about herself. But eventually she decided it was time to start recognizing her accomplishments, most importantly how she inspired thousands of women both through her art and by speaking out as a feminist.


In a recent interview with, Hanna said, ”My original goal in the ‘90s, after I found feminism and I was the first generation in my family to go to college, was to spread this information that feminism was still very much alive, and that you can’t believe the media telling you that it doesn’t need to exist and that it doesn’t exist. So, to have other women tell me, “You helped me get interested in my history and in the history of activism, ” that makes me feel so important and so amazing. It doesn’t even matter how much I’ve affected the culture, or how many people have had that personal experience. That one woman coming up to me makes me feel like my job is done. As an artist, I don’t think you can get a higher compliment or obtain a higher level of success than that.

After years of suffering with an illness her doctors couldn’t figure out, it was determined she had Lyme disease. Two years ago she began the long and painful process of recovery.

“When I had the diagnosis, I got on the train to go home and I was just crying because I was so happy.  And then, the treatments started and I was so miserable.  A lot of the time, the treatment is worse than the disease.  It’s a lot of the same drugs as chemotherapy.  It was funny to be on such a high and be like, “I can cure this!  This can be cured!, ” and also be like, “This is the worst thing.” I just went through the worst two years of my life, but I also played shows, went on tour, finished an album, and this movie was finished.  So, I feel like pretty happy with where things are at.”

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