Kathleen Hanna (born November 12, 1968) is an American singer, musician, artist, feminist activist, pioneer of the feminist punk riot grrrl movement, and punk zine writer. In the early-to-mid-1990s she was the lead singer of feminist punk band Bikini Kill, before fronting Le Tigre in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since 2010, she has recorded as The Julie Ruin.A documentary film about Hanna was released in 2013 by director Sini Anderson, titled The Punk Singer, detailing Hanna's life and career, as well as revealing her years-long battle with Lyme disease. Hanna is married to Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys.
In 2006, Hanna married Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys in a civil ceremony in Hawaii, after being a couple for nine years. The songs "Capri Pants" by Bikini Kill and "Just My Kind" by The Julie Ruin are written about her relationship with Horovitz.Hanna suffered from Lyme disease for six years before it was correctly diagnosed. The disease forced her to enter a three-month course of treatment in 2014, resulting in canceling live performances with her band the Julie Ruin. By June 2015, tests revealed that she was Lyme-free.
Hanna was born November 12, 1968, in Portland, Oregon. At age four, her family moved to Calverton, Maryland; as Hanna's father changed occupations, the family moved several more times.Hanna first became interested in feminism around the age of nine, after her mother took her to a rally in Washington D.C. where feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke. In a 2000 interview with BUST magazine, Hanna recalled: "My mom was a housewife and wasn't somebody that people would think of as a feminist, and when Ms. magazine came out we were incredibly inspired by it. I used to cut pictures out of it and make posters that said 'Girls can do anything', and stuff like that, and my mom was inspired to work at a basement of a church doing anti-domestic violence work. Then she took me to the Solidarity Day thing, and it was the first time I had ever been in a big crowd of women yelling, and it really made me want to do it forever."Hanna's interest grew when her mother checked out a copy of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique from the library. Their involvement in the women's rights movement was done quietly during Hanna's childhood, due to her father's disapproval.Upon her parents' divorce, Hanna returned to Portland and attended Lincoln High School. After high school, she relocated from Portland to Olympia, Washington, to attend The Evergreen State College in the late 1980s. During this time she worked as a stripper to pay her tuition. "My parents didn't go to college. I felt lucky [to attend]." While at Evergreen, with fellow student and photographer Aaron Baush-Greene, she set up a photo exhibit featuring the pair's photography, which dealt with sexism, violence against women, and AIDS – issues that were heightened for Hanna when she volunteered for SafePlace, a domestic violence organization. However, the school administrators took the photos down before they had the chance to be viewed, an act of censorship that prompted what Hanna refers to as her "first foray into activism": the creation of Reko Muse, an independent feminist art gallery, with friends Heidi Arbogast and Tammy Rae Carland.Hanna began doing spoken word performances that addressed sexism and violence against women. Eventually, she abandoned spoken word in favor of music after a conversation with one of her favorite writers, countercultural icon Kathy Acker. Hanna recalled,Acker asked me why writing was important to me, and I said, 'Because I felt like I'd never been listened to and I had a lot to say,' and she said, 'Then why are you doing spoken word—no one goes to spoken word shows! You should get in a band.'Hanna then formed a band with Arbogast and Carland, called Amy Carter, which put on shows before the art exhibitions.
Movies & TV shows
They are the first all-female band to play their instruments. The Go-Go's is the first album to make history. The rise to fame of a band born in the LA punk scene who became a pop phenomenon is chroni...
1 TV show
Featuring original interviews with America’s punk pioneers and the U.K.’s most notorious bands, alongside a seamless blend of rare and unseen photos, gritty archival film and video, a crackling soundt...
Tour Without End
TOUR WITHOUT END (Twenty-One Portraits and a Protest) stars the legendary Wooster Group founder Kate Valk and Jim Fletcher (The NYC Players), and includes musicians Kathleen Hanna, Lizzie Bougatsos (G...
The life and career of rock n' roll icon Joan Jett from her early years ripping it up onstage as the founder and backbone of hard-rock legends The Runaways, to her long time collaboration with Kenny L...
Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution
The subject of a documentary is Queercore, the cultural and social movement that began as an appendage of punk and was distinguished by its discontent with society's disapproval of the gay, bisexual, ...
Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk
Over 30 years of the California Bay Area's punk music history is chronicled in Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk. A group of artists, writers, organizers and musicians created a petri dish th...
When she falls in love with John, a married man, she derails her plan to have a baby on her own. When you suspect your man and his ex wife are perfect for each other, what do you do?
In Search of Margo-go
In 1994, Jill Reiter began a feature starring Kathleen Hanna, called IN SEARCH OF MARGO-GO. Her playful synth-punk romp re-envisioned NYC club culture as an acid-hued comic book, equal parts LIQUID SK...
Myrna the Monster
Adult life in Los Angeles is like any other 20-something.
Revolution, Riot Grrrl Style
Today, we see a new style of feminism springing up everywhere - young, provocative and radical. To get their message across, these women have decided to rely on rock music! While the Pussy Riot shock ...
Wonder Women!: The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Feature documentary exploring the concept of heroic women from the birth of the superhero in the 1940s to the TV and big screen action blockbusters of today. Heroic role models are important in childh...
She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column
Documentary about the groundbreaking queer feminist art band Fifth Column, who were at the centre of Toronto’s influential Queercore scene in the 1980-90s.
From the Back of the Room
Although it is often credited with spurring the "third wave" of feminism, Riot Grrrl seemed to be a blip in the media. Riot Grrrl paved the way for the more mainstream "girl power" phenomenon. The fil...
Kill All Redneck Pricks: KARP LIVES! 1990-1998
This film is a biography of a friendship. Set in the indie rock utopia of an evergreen forested Olympia Washington of the early 90's, this film chronicles the journey of the love of three friends from...
Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour
WHO TOOK THE BOMP? LE TIGRE ON TOUR follows iconic feminist electronic band Le Tigre on their 2004-2005 international tour across four continents and through ten countries. Supported by a community of...
Filmmaker Kerri O'Kane's incisive documentary tracks the inception and ascent of Seattle-based post-punk band the Gits, whose rise to prominence was cut short by the shocking rape and murder of their ...
Don't Need You - The Herstory of Riot Grrrl
A documentary film that tells the story of the origins of Riot Grrrl in the American independent music scene of the 1990s, and how this feminist movement evolved into a revolutionary underground netwo...
Julie Ruin - Aerobicide
The band Julie Ruin has a music video that criticizes the cynical music marketeers of corporate America. The " Girls Rule (kind of) Strategy" is the kind of criticism that targets campaigns aimed at w...
For a brief window of time, a record store called Revolutions Per Minute was open from the summer of 1992 to the beginning of 1998, that specialized in rock and punk music on independent labels. This ...
The Judy Spots
These five short videos introduce Judy, a paper maché puppet who ruminates on her position in society. Like Judy, of the famous Punch and Judy puppet duo, Benning’s Judy seems to experience the world ...