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Film director Oliver Stone.

Two collections of Oliver Stone's films have been released on DVD, including the films: Any Given Sunday, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Heaven and Earth, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, The Doors, Nixon, Talk Radio, and U Turn. The collections include extended scenes, trailers, and directors commentary.


Other segments from the episode on February 16, 2001

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 16, 2001: Interview with Oliver stone; Interview with Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman; Review of the film "Pollack."


DATE February 16, 2001 ACCOUNT NUMBER N/A
TIME 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM AUDIENCE N/A

Interview: By policy of WHYY, this information is restricted and has
been omitted from this transcript


Interview: Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre discuss
their new group and Hanna's influence on girl groups of today from
her days in the band Bikini Kill

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

My guests, Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman, are co-founding members of the
band Le Tigre. The band just released a new EP called "From the Desk of Mr.
Lady." Here's the first track, "Get Off the Internet."

(Soundbite of "Get Off the Internet")

LE TIGRE: (Singing) It feels so '80s, or early '90s, to be political. Where
are my friends?

Get off the Internet!

I'll meet you in the street.

Get off the Internet!

Destroy the right wing.

Get off the Internet!

I'll meet you in the street.

Get off the Internet!

Destroy the right wing.

GROSS: Music by Le Tigre.

The riot-grrrl movement that started in the early '90s produced girl bands
with a punk sensibility and a feminist attitude. Kathleen Hanna and Johanna
Fateman of Le Tigre were important members of that movement. In the days when
Hanna fronted the band Bikini Kill, she was considered one of the founders of
the riot-grrrl movement. The movement spread through 'zines as well as music.
Johanna Fateman writes 'zines about music, art and culture.

Le Tigre is touring in Japan right now. From their ...(unintelligible) first
CD, here's a song called "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?"

(Soundbite from "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?")

(Soundbite of birds, guitar)

Ms. KATHLEEN HANNA (Le Tigre): We've talked about it in letters, and we've
talked about it on the phone. But how you really feel about it, I don't
really know.

(Soundbite of synthesizer)

Ms. JOHANNA FATEMAN and Ms. HANNA: (Singing, in unison) What's your take on
Cassavetes? What's your take on Cassavetes? What's your take on Cassavetes?
What's your take on Cassavetes?

Ms. HANNA: Misogynist.

Ms. FATEMAN: Genius.

Ms. HANNA: Misogynist.

Ms. FATEMAN: Genius.

Ms. HANNA: Misogynist.

Ms. FATEMAN: Genius.

Ms. HANNA: Misogynist.

Ms. FATEMAN: Genius.

Ms. FATEMAN and Ms. HANNA: (Singing, in unison) What's your take on
Cassavetes? What's your take on Cassavetes?

GROSS: Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fateman, welcome to FRESH AIR. Let's start
with "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?" Why don't you tell us how this song
came about, particularly the lyric?

Ms. FATEMAN: Hi, this is Johanna. Well, with "What's Yr Take on
Cassavetes?," it was kind of a series of incidents or coincidences that led to
this song. I work at an art gallery, and there was a group show of visual
artists sort of grouped together based on the filmmaking practices of
Cassavetes. And so I was reading all the stuff about Cassavetes. And,
meanwhile, Kathleen and Sadie--well, you should tell this part, Kathleen.

Ms. HANNA: This is Kathleen. Sadie and I happened to hook up in Paris,
France. It was very glamorous. And we wanted to go see a movie, and what was
playing but "Husbands" by Cassavetes. And we went to see it and we just had,
like, all these conservations about, you know, `Is the misogyny in this movie
calling attention to, sort of, like, white middle-class men's, like, spiritual
vacancy, and stuff like that? Or is it just being a part of it?' Because we
both felt really gross after the movie, but we also loved it in this weird
way. And when we started talking about how many different kinds of art and
music we feel that way about, that it's, like, they're something really icky
about it, but we still are attracted to it. And how can you constantly be
negotiating that in your mind about everything as a feminist. And so we
started writing that song.

And then, we also wanted to bring up the point of me, Sadie and Johanna's sort
of intellectual friendships with each other. Because at the beginning of the
song, there's, like, a girl in a telephone booth. You can hear sea gulls and
stuff like that in the background. And we've kind of set it up to be a
typical, you know, Shangri-La type thing, where, you know, one girl's calling
another, you know, and being, like, `Oh, I love that man so much. I'm going
to die without him,' or whatever. And then it's really one woman calling
another being, like, `What do you think about Cassavetes? I really need to

GROSS: Well, I think it's really ambitious to write a song about your
ambivalent feelings about a film director, your ambivalent feelings about
certain art. It's hard to write a song about that.

Ms. HANNA: Not for us. That's what we talk about all the time.

GROSS: Well, it's certainly not typical to write a song about that.

Ms. FATEMAN: I think that's part of what we wanted to do with the song, was
to overturn that expectation that it was going to be about typical pop song
fare of, you know, love relationships or whatever, having a good time at a
party or what--I don't know, whatever common themes are. So we wanted to
address this idea of, like, what's a critique and what's a participation.

GROSS: Kathleen, you're considered one of the originators of riot-grrrl
music. I think most artists really hate labels. So let's start with--are you
comfortable with that expression?

Ms. HANNA: I'm definitely comfortable with being labeled a `feminist
artist.' Like, I kind of hate the fact that everybody's so freaked out about
being labeled. I'm sick of reading it in everybody's interviews. You know,
every single interview is, like, `Don't put me in a box. I don't want to be
labeled.' And it's--like, I'm really happy when I see people who are, like,
`I'm a lesbian, and I'm really proud of it.' You know what I mean? And,
like, `Go ahead, label me, because that's something that, like, gives other
people pride and gives other people a feeling of inclusion.' So in terms of,
like, feminism I'm definitely down to say I'm a feminist. Riot-grrrl is a
specific branch of feminism, but I wouldn't call myself a riot-grrrl just
'cause I don't go to meetings anymore.

GROSS: What was it when you were involved with it, and what was its meaning
for you?

Ms. HANNA: It was sort of, like, you know, '70s feminist art groups a lot,
with a certain, like, outreach element of, like, you know, doing actions like
being involved in protests and stuff like that, and planning benefit shows
for, like, rape crisis shelters, helping out individual women in the sort of
punk music scene, skill sharing, stuff like that. It was really--it meant a
lot to me. I mean, it was a really exciting time when it started in DC just
to be a part of these meetings and see these girls who had never been in a
room only with women before, you know, saying things that maybe they'd never
said and saying things, certainly, that I'd never said to anyone.

GROSS: Well, I'm wondering if, you know, having started out with riot-grrrl
music, if you felt that some of that music was appropriated by mainstream
groups and by mainstream pop culture, say groups like the Spice Girls or TV
shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Ms. HANNA: I don't think the music was ever appropriated, because probably to
mainstream listeners, it's just too confrontational and unlistenable and has
too many cuss words in it. But it definitely--I think certain people who are
interested in graphs and charts and marketing saw that bands like Bikini Kill
and Bratmobile and now Sleater-Kinney were making, you know, a living on
small independent labels with absolutely, like, no advertising money, you
know. And, like, if we're able to do that, they were like, `What if we put a
whole bunch of money behind something that sort of takes the content out of
it, takes the abrasiveness out of it and, yet, has this sort of, you know,
"girl power" message, or whatever, and put that into the world? We could make
a lot of money.'

And, you know, whatever. All the `Girls Rules' T-shirts started happening,
and we--a lot of riot-grrrls used to write stuff on themselves, you know,
like, names that were, like, derogatory towards women, like on our arms or on
our stomachs if we wearing a short top, sort of as a commentary.

GROSS: Like `slut.' Like you had `slut' on your stomach.

Ms. HANNA: Yeah, like, stuff like that. And it was sort of--part of the
original reason was when I started being photographed, I felt like I was
silenced by the photograph. You know what I mean? Like, I would get my
picture taken and they could write absolutely anything over it, under it,
whatever. And now it's kind of depressing because I'm, like, `Oh, I was
beating people to the punch.' You know what I mean? Like, `Oh, that's what
men are going to think if they see me, and so I'm going to beat them to the
punch by writing this and say, "I know you're thinking that,"' which I think
was interesting for a minute, but I'm not kind of interested in that thing

But the basic point is that then they start having T-shirts that said `slut.'
And who are the people who own these companies? Probably men--Do you know
what I mean?--who are making money off of this, like, now pseudorebellion and
whatever. I just find it annoying and boring, and I don't spend a lot of time
thinking about it. I just kind of keep working. And if there are, like,
five-year-old girls who get sort of a feminist type vibe off of the Spice
Girl's girl power, great.

GROSS: My guests are co-founders of the band Le Tigre, Kathleen Hanna and
Johanna Fateman. We'll talk more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

(Soundbite of music)

GROSS: Let's get back to our interview with two members of the band Le
Tigre, Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman.

Now, Kathleen, I read--and you can tell me if this is true--that when you were
in school, you starred in a production of "Annie."

Ms. HANNA: Yes, that is true. I was Annie. My school couldn't really
afford props and sets and stuff, and they also had to have something with a
male lead to be fairer, I guess. So it was sort of a combination of "Annie"
and "Oliver." I don't know how they did it. And then it was, like, I had a
stuffed dog instead of a real dog for Sandy. It was really bad.

GROSS: So did you have to sing "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow"?

Ms. HANNA: I sure did.

GROSS: Now that's a really different kind of singing than the singing you're
doing on your records now.

Ms. HANNA: Not really. I mean, the thing that's interesting is when I first
started out, or whatever, everybody said I sounded like Polystyrene from X-Ray
Specs. And I had never heard her. And then I listened to X-Ray Specs, and I
was like, `Oh, it's because we both project.' Like--and I learned that from,
like, my many years of children's theater. And I always wondered if Polly
also had done a little, you know, "Annie."

GROSS: A little theater in her day?

Ms. HANNA: Yeah.

GROSS: See, I thought you meant when you started singing in "Annie," people
said that you sounded like Polystyrene. I thought that was pretty funny.

Ms. HANNA: Oh, I wish.

GROSS: Yeah. I'm going to play something, Kathleen, that you did with the
band Bikini Kill early in your music career. And this is called "Rebel
Girl," and it's considered, like, one of the anthems of riot-grrrl music.
And tell us something about writing this song.

Ms. HANNA: Well, I lived in DC at the time, and there was just a lot of
excitement 'cause women's groups were starting and there were a lot of bands
there. And--I don't know. At that point, I didn't feel like I had to write
songs. I just felt like I had to reach up into the air and grab them. And
this was one of the ones I sort of reached up into the air and grabbed. It
was, like, a scene of people wrote it. I didn't really write it. I just was
the person who actually put the pen to the paper.

GROSS: OK. This is "Rebel Girl," Bikini Kill, featuring my guest, Kathleen

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. HANNA: (Singing) That girl thinks she's the queen of the neighborhood.
She's got the hottest Jag in town. That girl, she holds her head up so high.
I think I want to be her best friend. Yeah!

Rebel girl, rebel girl. Rebel girl, you are the queen of my world. Rebel
girl, rebel girl. I think I want to take you on, I wanna try a new approach.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. HANNA: (Singing) When she talks, I hear the revolution. In her head,
there's revolution. When she walks, the revolution's coming. In a
(unintelligible) what is the revolution?

Rebel girl, rebel girl. Rebel girl, you are the queen of my world.

GROSS: That's "Rebel Girl," from the band Bikini Kill, that my guest Kathleen
Hanna used to be in. And Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman are my guests.
Their new band is called Le Tigre.

You've both talked about the importance of feminism in your life and in your
music. How were you exposed to that? And I'm wondering if your mothers were

Ms. FATEMAN: My mom's a feminist, definitely. I mean, I grew up in Berkeley,
California, which, you know, is a university town and sort of famous for being
a place where, you know, radical politics are and are talked about. So I feel
like I was exposed to radical ideas when I was really young.

GROSS: And Kathleen?

Ms. HANNA: I grew up in suburbia--in various suburbias. My family moved a
lot. We moved every, like, three years. My dad worked for the union, for
Local 669, pipe fitters and welders. And my mom has always been a nurse at
various, like, mental health facilities. My mom was kind of, like, a secret
feminist. Like, she didn't really--you know, it wasn't like we had, like,
any Bohemian friends or--you know what I mean? Like, pretty much the books in
our house were, like, romance novels and detective novels. But my mom worked
in this sort of, like, clandestine domestic violence shelter, and I didn't
remember this until a couple of years ago. I just remember her kind of
sneaking out of the house to this--I think it was, like, an Episcopal church
that had a, you know, crisis phone line thing in the basement, and she would
go there every so often and do that.

And she got Ms. magazine, and she took me to Solidarity Day in DC when I was,
like--I don't know--10 or something, and we saw Bella Abzug speak. And all
these women were wearing, like, T-shirts that said, you know, `A woman needs a
man like a fish needs a bicycle.' I was just caught up in the total frenzy of
it, as, like, a little kid being like, `Look at all these women,' and it was
like the outside world, you know. And the fact that there were all these
women banding together and, like, yelling stuff, it just really had an
impression on me, and hearing Bella Abzug speak was like--I couldn't believe

GROSS: A lot of girls, when they're preteens, go through this phase of--it's
the `Oh, he's so cute' phase, where, like, you listen to music and you're
supposed to have, you know, `Oh, he's so cute' fantasies about the guys who
you're listening to and so on. And I'm wondering if you ever related to music
that way. For example, now, you know, like, if you see clips of, say, an 'N
Sync concert, it's almost all preteen girls in the audience, and they're kind
of screaming and, you know, obviously having all these really important
fantasies to them about the guys who are in the band. Did you relate to music
that way at all when you were 11, 12, 10?

Ms. FATEMAN: I was, like, six or something, I was really into Donny Osmond.
That was my first concert. And I went and I screamed myself totally hoarse.
But, you know, I think I really wanted to be Donny. That was the real issue
going on. I wasn't like--and, I mean, I actually wrote more love letters to
Marie than I ever did to Donny, because I was really kind of obsessed with
her, but I felt like it was more acceptable to channel my, you know, fake love
energy into Donny. But I was also really into Tony DeFranco and the DeFranco
Family and would imitate his singing style, along with the records.

GROSS: Do you think about the impact of your music and your presence on stage
might have for your youngest fans, what it might mean in their lives?

Ms. HANNA: I thought about it once in Italy with Bikini Kill when there were
these, like, seven-year-old girls sitting by the monitors. I just thought,
`Oh, they're going to be in therapy when they're, like, 35,' `And there's this
girl and her face is all red and she was screaming these crazy things, and
people were saying she's a man-hater and I don't know. Is it a dream,
Doctor?' But I just think I would really like to have been young and gone to
a concert and seen Jo on stage singing and playing keyboards, and I would
really like to go to a concert when I was younger and see me in all my beauty
and sexual glory and fabulous singing style on stage. So I get really happy
about it. You know, I think that people are pretty incredible and that they
don't really need me to become amazing people, but if I'm someone there who
reminds them that they're really cool, then that's great.

GROSS: I'm glad you mentioned your sexual glory. What kind of sexual energy
do you want to communicate on stage? Because that's often a really important
part of pop music and of concerts.

Ms. HANNA: I'm just, like, a really sexually powerful person in general.
Maybe that's a, you know, bragging thing to say, but it's like, I get what I
want, and I have a good time, and it's like I really get annoyed--well, I got
annoyed in Bikini Kill when it was like--it was never women that said this
stuff. It was always guys who were like, you know, `Well, how can you be a
feminist? Because, like, you're sexy,' and it's like, I'm sexy when I'm
eating a veggie burger, you know what I mean? So, like, what am I going to
do? Like, just turn it off? Am I being really funny, Jo? I have to brag.

Ms. FATEMAN: No, it's fine. I mean, it's never gone down this road in an
interview before.

Ms. HANNA: You haven't been to some of the interviews where I've gone down
this road.

Ms. FATEMAN: I guess not.

Ms. HANNA: No, but, I mean, I think it's like we're all, like, totally sexual
beings and it's like, I really hate the idea that if you're a feminist or
something, you're supposed to shut that off, because people see that as
antithetical to your politics or something, and that's ridiculous.

GROSS: Well, Kathleen Hanna, Johanna Fateman, I thank you both so much for
talking with us.

Ms. HANNA: Thank you.

Ms. FATEMAN: Thank you.

GROSS: Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman are co-founders of Le Tigre. From
their new EP, here's a track called "They Want Us To Make a Symphony Out of
the Sound of Women Swallowing Their Own Tongues." You may recognize a voice
that's sampled on the track, Ray Suarez of public radio and TV.

(Soundbite of "They Want Us To Make a Symphony Out of the Sound of Women
Swallowing Their Own Tongues")

Unidentified Man: Well, what about...

Mr. RAY SUAREZ: What is it that younger women are pushing up against? They
would seem to have a list of options to choose on--choose from, a set of ways
to construct their own identity that takes in everything. It's just a vast
smorgasbord. The options are not as narrow as they might have been 30 years
ago. So where does the problem lie now?

LE TIGRE: Um, um, um, um, I think that--um--and um--and um--and um--and
u--u--u--um--and u--u--um--um--and u--u--and it--and it--and it--and it--and
it--'cause it there--um--and it--and it--'cause it there--there--and um--
obviously--'cause it there--and um--and um--'cause it there. Third wave girl,
mm-hmm; third wave girl, mm-hmm; third wave girl, mm-hmm; third wave girl,
mm-hmm; third wave girl, mm-hmm; third wave girl, mm-hmm; third wave girl,
mm-hmm--and um--'cause it--and um--'cause it--and um--'cause it--obviously--
and um--and um--there--and um--and um--'cause it's there--obviously--and
it--'cause it there--um--u-u-u-um--u-u-u-um.

GROSS: Coming up, a review of the new movie "Pollack." This is FRESH AIR.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Review: Movie "Pollack"

Two stars of the movie "Pollack" received Academy Award nominations for this
week, Ed Harris for his role as the painter Jackson Pollack and Marcia Gay
Harden for her portrayal of Pollack's wife, the painter Lee Krasner. Ed
Harris also directed the film. "Pollack" is opening in many cities this month
and next. Film critic Henry Sheehan has a review.

HENRY SHEEHAN reporting:

If you know anything at all about the abstract expressionist painter Jackson
Pollack, there's no real reason for you to go out and see "Pollack."
Continuing the trend that surfaced in Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat" and James
Ivory's "Surviving Picasso," "Pollack" has little to do with painting as

The focus instead is on celebrity melodrama. Although actor-director Ed
Harris' filmmaking style turns out to be rudimentary, he does manage to open
the movie with a shot that eloquently compresses his interests. It begins on
an issue of Life magazine with a photo spread on Pollack. The magazine is
being held in the hand of an unknown woman who, in slow motion, begins to make
her way through a crowd of people in what turns out to be an art gallery. She
finally ends up in front of Pollack, who gives her an autograph and then looks
up and off into the distance with a sphinxlike gaze.

Since we're in an art gallery, there are some paintings in the shot, though
they are only fuzzily glimpsed in the background. For what we're about to see
is a tale of the painter as rock star, the boozing and womanizing figure
beloved of a thousand adoring magazine profiles.

The movie opens in 1941 with Pollack living in Manhattan and on the eve of
both his artistic breakthroughs and public acclaim. We see him as he meets
and marries fellow artist Lee Krasner, played by Marcia Gay Harden, and passes
through a final figurative stage in his art. Finally, at a Long Island
hideaway far from the city's boozy distractions, Pollack discovers the drip
technique that would secure both his contemporary fame and artistic

To express all this, the film falls back on the hoariest of bio pic cliches.
It depicts Pollack's drip technique as the consequence of an accidental spill.
Krasner delivers clumsily scripted potted descriptions of Pollack's influences
and developments and the critic, Clement Greenberg, played by Jeffrey Tambor,
occasionally heaves into sight to pronounce on the modernism of it all.

But "Pollack" does tell us something about the Motion Picture Academy and the
upcoming Academy Awards. Here's a clip of Oscar nominees Harris and Harden.

(Soundbite of "Pollack")

Mr. ED HARRIS ("Jackson Pollack"): Let's make a baby.

Ms. MARCIA GAY HARDEN ("Lee Krasner"): No.

Mr. HARRIS: No? Am I missing something here? Am I missing something?

Ms. HARDEN: We can't.

Mr. HARRIS: We can't?

Ms. HARDEN: My life is full enough with you, Jackson.

Mr. HARRIS: Wait a minute, wait a minute, where are you going? Don't walk
away from me. We're husband and wife. I want to have a baby, our baby.
That's what the--that's what the progression of things is about. That's what
the union is about.

Ms. HARDEN: That's not what the union is about.

Mr. HARRIS: Well, what else is there?

Ms. HARDEN: That's not what it's about, Jackson.

Mr. HARRIS: For me.

Ms. HARDEN: The vows don't stipulate baby.

(Soundbite of something crashing)

Ms. HARDEN: I am not going to bring another life into that. We are
painters, Jackson. We don't have any money. We don't get by. We struggle.
But you are a great artist. I believe in Jackson Pollack. There's you and
there's the painting and you--you need, you need, you need, you need.

SHEEHAN: "Pollack" doesn't just fulfill the conventions of a Hollywood artist
biography. It's also a guide to the sort of overacting the academy eats up.
Like a bat to a bug, the movie relentlessly swoops down on the most
melodramatic aspects of Pollack's life, particularly those moments when he
expressed rage or Krasner announced her frustrations. Each time Harris and
Harden cut loose with theatrical explosions that are more geared to reach the
second balcony than to actually expose complex and creative personalities.

When not shouting at the gallery gods, Harden spends much of the movie
fussing. Not a prop goes by that she doesn't handle. Since Harris directed
the film, he doesn't have to do much to attract the camera's attention.
Frequently he goes into a freeze, standing still and pulling that 10-mile
gaze. Invariably the camera finds this posture irresistible and rushes up to
record it.

It's possible to make a good film about a painter. There's Alexander
Korda's "Rembrandt" and Vincente Minnelli's "Lust for Life." But those
films connected at least as much with the artist's work as with the biography.
Harris is fatally distracted by Pollack's life, or at least the parts that
glitter with the tinsel of picturesque suffering.

GROSS: Henry Sheehan is film critic for the Orange County Register.


GROSS: I'm Terry Gross.
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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