Watch Janis Joplin’s Final Interview Get Reborn as an Animated Cartoon

Four days before her death, Janis Joplin spoke with Howard Smith of the Vil­lage Voice in what was to be her last inter­view.

Their con­ver­sa­tion has been res­ur­rect­ed as a four minute ani­ma­tion for PBS Dig­i­tal Stu­dios’ Blank on Blank series. The car­toon Janis bears a close resem­blance to Glo­ria Steinem, an uncom­fort­able fit once the top­ic turns from her sad­ness at crit­i­cal rejec­tion to the sis­ter­hood’s alleged with­hold­ing of affec­tion.

Smith hits his sub­ject with some lead­ing ques­tions that smack of the myr­i­ad ways Wom­en’s Lib was dis­tort­ed by even the lib­er­al media of the time: “It seems to both­er a lot of Wom­en’s Lib peo­ple that you’re so upfront sex­u­al­ly,” he mus­es.

No need to take that one at any­thing less than face val­ue…

Joplin allowed her­self to be led, toss­ing off sev­er­al state­ments that ani­ma­tor Patrick Smith faith­ful­ly illus­trates. (In my opin­ion the wound­ed female drum­mers rock far more than preg­nan­cy and vac­u­ums, his short­hand for “set­tling.” )

When lat­er, Joplin timid­ly asks if “all that $#*% I said about chicks” sound­ed bad, Smith reas­sures her that no, she said what she want­ed to say. Per­haps he got what he want­ed her to say.

As com­menter hey­itsmoi observed on YouTube, “It’s always both­ered me when peo­ple ask suc­cess­ful women to com­ment on how some oth­er women don’t like them. I’ve yet to hear a suc­cess­ful man to be asked why oth­er men don’t like him, even though there’s sure to be plen­ty. Women seem to con­stant­ly be put in this defen­sive posi­tion where they can’t answer the ques­tion with­out mak­ing it sound like all women are jeal­ous beasts who can’t han­dle that some woman made it, and that’s sim­ply not true.”

If you’re left feel­ing vague­ly queasy, I sug­gest “Stilet­to Pow­er,” Blank on Blank’s take on Lar­ry Gro­bel’s 1994 inter­view with Far­rah Faw­cett. Gro­bel’s approach seemed to have been one of turn on the tape recorder and then get out of the way. Mis­sion accom­plished. The result­ing mono­logue is as fero­cious as it is fun­ny.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ani­ma­tions Revive Lost Inter­views with David Fos­ter Wal­lace, Jim Mor­ri­son & Dave Brubeck

Remem­ber­ing Janis Joplin: Some Clas­sic Live Per­for­mances and Pre­views of a New Joplin Musi­cal

‘Beast­ie Boys on Being Stu­pid’: An Ani­mat­ed Inter­view From 1985

Ayun Hal­l­i­day has fond feel­ings for both of the women fea­tured in the above arti­cle . Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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