Out In Sight

Gender bias and the FBI's eyes can't keep Janis Ian down

Or at least matched in intensity by today's maverick chick singer-songwriters with musical chops and "revolution, grrrl-style" on the brain.

In fact, on Ian's 1998 Windham Hill release, Hunger, Ani DiFranco produced a track. The original "Rude Girl" (the name of Ian's publishing company) hooked up with the "Righteous Babe" (DiFranco's record label) when Ian heard DiFranco's "Not a Pretty Girl" and wrote her a fan letter. "I said, 'I think you're having my career,' " Ian says with a laugh. The two began corresponding.

Her kinship with DiFranco and other female artists, young and old, brings things full circle for Ian, who finds that such relationships give her a sense of history. Fearless and passionate in her life as well as in her art, the activist Ian has nothing to hide. "You either lead a life where things are hidden or out in the open," she says. "I guess that's what I decided."

Janis Ian performs Friday, March 3, at Hamman Hall at Rice University, 8 p.m. Buddy Mondlock and Michael Smith open. Tickets are $25. Reservations are recommended. For more information, call (713)660-7500. A 20-minute meet-the-composer lecture/discussion on the music industry will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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