There have been a lot of Women Who Rock during the past nine decades or so. Now the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland is giving them their due.
This weekend the shrine opens a Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power exhibit that will honor more than 60 female artists on two of the museum’s floors, showcasing outfits, instruments, handwritten song lyrics and other memorabilia.
“It’s something we’ve talked about for a while here,” says Jim Henke, vice president exhibitions and curatorial affairs at the Rock Hall, but he adds it’s current events that have accelerated that process.
“You look at the charts today and women have a pretty dominant role,” Henke explains. “We wanted to look at the fact that women have had a pretty key roll in rock ’n’ roll going back to the 1920s ... but they often didn’t get much credit for it. We thought it was a good story to tell.”
The exhibit starts with the likes of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith — who recorded blues before any of their male counterparts — and country pioneer Mother Maybelle Carter. It tracks eighty years, right up through today and Lady Gaga’s childhood piano. Also on display are gowns, a poster and lyrics from Aretha Franklin and dresses from the Supremes.
With Women In Rock the Rock Hall is also instituting a video booth that will allow attendees to record their feelings and thoughts about the exhibits — presumably, not all dudes talking about how hot they think some of the artists are.
The exhibit opens Friday, May 13, with a concert featuring Cyndi Lauper, Darlene Love, Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson and others taking place Saturday, May 14. For hours and other information, call 888-764-7625 or visit www.rockhall.com.
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