Change Your World-NOT your Body

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Doing Woman Different: Janis Joplin

On this day in 1970, the great legendary vocal spirit that was Janis Joplin, died at age 27.
Joplin was born in Port Arthur Texas, a conservative town to equally conservative parents. Early on Joplin felt herself to be a "misfit." As a teenager she fell in with a small group of other misfits and through them discovered "the blues."

In high school Janis was often called "pig", "freak", "nigger lover" and "creep." In 1960 she graduated and later enrolled at the U of Texas in Austin, for a time. The college paper ran a profile article on her in '62 titled "She Dares to Be Different" stating "She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levi's to class because they're more comfortable, and carries her Autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song it will be handy." But with difference comes fear and dissent, she was voted by frat boys as "Ugliest Man on Campus."


Joplin left small minded Texas for hippified free spirited San Francisco where she found two major components that would dominate her short life, her voice and drugs. One lifted her up beyond her lonely misfit feelings and lack of connection, the other, buried those feelings in a host of temporary drug induced highs-until her last breath she never stopped chaser either.

Joplin's sharp rise to fame began in 1966 when she caught the attention of the band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She worked with Big Brother for several years before forming the Kozmic Blues Band and later the Full Tilt Boogie Band, performing at such iconic music events like Monterey International Pop Music Festival and Woodstock.


Francisco
Francisco
Francisco
Francisco




Janis's last studio album was simply titled Pearl (her nickname), released a year after her death-to 4X platinum acclaim with the well known much loved single Me and Bobbie Mcgee.

Janis Joplin did woman different, in how she carried woman, how she presented woman, even in how she sang as woman. It wasnt a popular move, but it made her popular. Joplin however had the keen insight to know that popularity didnt protect her against the loneliness that had dogged her through out her short life “On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people, then I go home alone.”And beyond that insight Joplin lived her life on high-transfixing/transforming, bulldozing and paving the way for future misfit girls with the promise of a life less lonely for having Janis as a Star in our personal skies.

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1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed this, Dirt. You do some fine writing here. Also enjoyed the piece on Sexton. Thanks!

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