Janis Joplin Has A Little Piece Of My Heart
There is a new film about Janis Joplin, the extraordinary vocal star of the 1960s who tragically died at the young age of 27, called Janis: Little Girl Blue. I was privileged to attend the Boston area première of the film at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, preceded by live music and followed by a question and answer period.
Kate Russo is a Boston-area musician who was recruited to sing with Big Brother and the Holding Company in the 1990s because she sounds much like Janis. While she never knew Janis personally (Janis died the year before Kate was born), she brought a bit of Janis to the band during her tenure.
Kate played a half-dozen or so of Janis’s most beloved songs, including ‘Mercedes Benz’ on which she asked the audience to accompany her! Other songs were ‘Piece of my Heart’ and ‘Down on Me’. This was the ideal way to start the evening.
Once Kate finished her set, the audience settled down to watch the film, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am not a film critic (nor do I consider myself a music critic – I am fortunate that I go to see music I want to see and therefor do not usually find things to criticize), so this piece will speak only to my feelings as I watched the film.
I loved that the film did not attempt to portray Janis as a perfect human being. I walked away from the show feeling that she was merely looking to be loved and accepted. She never achieved that which she sought.
Listening to some of her friends who were interviewed for the film, I sensed that they knew her better in death than in life.
The film was partially pieced together from Janis’s letters. It was a smart way to help viewers get a more balanced picture of Janis. The director is Amy Berg, who directed a number of documentaries including Deliver Us From Evil. I wish she had attended the show because I think her perspective would have added to my enjoyment of the film and understanding of Janis.
The evening ended with a brief question and answer period with Kate, Robin Lane, and Tim Jackson who performs with Robin. Many people left before the Q&A started, so there were not a lot of people to ask questions of the panel. It felt unorganized – the third person on the panel was never introduced.
They talked about Janis and the film and had time to entertain only a few questions.
The film is worth seeing by people who saw Janis perform (I did not), wish they had seen her perform (I do), or like her music and are interested in the person behind it.
Thanks to Callanan and Klein for the ticket; all opinions are my own.
Posted on January 26, 2016, in concert photos, concert reviews, movie reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Amy Berg, boston, concert photos, concert review, Janis Joplin, Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue, Kate Russo, Regent Theatre. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.