Radical Act: A Documentary About Women Who Rock Tex Clark

Radical Act: A Documentary About Women Who Rock Tex Clark
In the summer of 1995, Tex Clark (then a final-year university student) embarked upon a trek across the U.S. to document the burgeoning role women were playing in the underground punk and indie rock scenes. The resulting film, Clark's final undergrad project, was Radical Act, a no-frills, 40-minute interview and live-footage compilation. It was screened at the 1996 Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, but shortly after, Clark started law school and the film was forgotten, virtually unavailable outside of the director's occasional friend and family living-room screenings. Now, Portland, OR-based documentary distributor A Million Movies a Minute (founded by Erin Donovan, a one-time employee of seminal indie label Kill Rock Stars) is giving the documentary new life with its first DVD release. Radical Act plays like a zine: a wonderfully rough, pre-internet artefact with handmade charm; it was shot on video and features these feminist rock icons explaining the personal and political motivations, and effects of forging a path at that time and place in mind. The interviews, including larger era idols Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre), Melissa York (Team Dresch, the Butchies) and Kim Coletta (Jawbox), as well as Austin hero Meg Hentges (Two Nice Girls), plus journalists and authors, are lengthy and articulate reflections on, primarily, gender and sexual identity, and the live footage is, appropriately, front row rough. A director's commentary is available on the re-release as well, making clear the impact the film had on Clark, who is now putting her law degree to use as a public defender in Portland. The legitimate low-budget production of the 15-year-old doc does carry a feeling of homemade trustworthiness, but, years later, importantly remains undated in effectively conveying the fundamental ideology. (Independent)