Janis Joplin: She wouldn’t bend or break

Janis Joplin.
This film is littered with awesome examples of Janis Joplin's powerful stage presence.

Janis, Little Girl Blue
Directed by Amy J. Berg

Janis Joplin, the gravel-voiced Queen of the San Francisco psychedelic music scene, may seem a bit dated to today’s listeners. But this documentary shows just how important she is.

Born into a conservative family in a Texas back-water, she discovered early that she was different. Her sexual feelings towards other girls cut her apart from the rest of the KKK-drenched society.

Her bisexuality was never accepted in Texas. She was subjected to bullying and social ostracism, the stories of which are heartbreaking when retold in the film, even after all these years.

But Joplin refused to bend or break. She wore her pain on her sleeve and turned it into her art — it was the furnace of her intense, blues-infused rock singing.

Starting out with Big Brother and the Holding Company she went on to lead the Kosmic Blues Band and finally the Full Tilt Boogie Band. 

This film is littered with awesome examples of her powerful stage presence and reminiscences from friends and lovers, none of whom have a bad word to say about her.

Tragically cut down from an accidental overdose in 1970 aged just 27, Joplin exemplified individual integrity lived out in a rotten society. She carved art out of pain and won the adulation of millions of people.