Janis: Little Girl Blue (Home) She sounded like a black woman singer but she was born into a middle class family in the conservative town of Port Arthur, Texas in 1943 – a town that had a strong Klu Klux Klan branch. Janis did not fit in, as a girl who opposed segregation and did not conform to the 1950’s narrow view of femininity. Music, and discovering she could sing, gave her an escape route out of Texas to California and the growing counterculture of 1960s America. In this powerful documentary we hear Janis’ own voice through the letters she wrote to her family and friends. And although she did find success in her short career, she died in 1970. Janis paid a high price for trying to become herself: a strong woman in a very macho music industry.
Sylvia Pankhurst: the best of the Pankhurst clan. You can find out more about her in Sylvia, a one woman play that was originally written in 1987, which is on at Wortley Hall, Sheffield on 24 February at 7.30pm. Sylvia, unlike the rest of her family, really addressed the major issues that affected working class women not just the vote but also poverty, unemployment and ill health. Her politics were socialist and she opposed the First World War, supported Irish independence and anti-fascist struggles. She lived in a free union with her anarchist lover Silvio Corio and refused to get married when she had her son Richard at the age of 45.
Further info see
Find out more about her by reading Sylvia Pankhurst Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire by Katherine Connelly. Buy it at
Justice for Domestic Workers, a charity which supports domestic workers who come here on visas and work in private houses. They are slaves: suffering all kinds of abuse and often locked inside the employers’ houses for years. Support JDW’s work and donate at
out about the Levellers and Diggers at the Wakefield Socialist History Group on 13 February 1pm at the Red Shed, 18 Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1. The speakers are Ian Brooke, Steve Freeman and Shaun Cohen. Kitty Rees is chairing. All are welcome and there is a free light buffet (plus a bar with excellent real ale). Further details about the group see
At Northern Life, an exhibition by Mossley artist Chris Cyprus at Tameside Art Gallery 16 January-23 April 2016. Chris works from a studio in Woodend Mill in Mossley and his wonderful evocative paintings reflect his love for his local area of Lancashire and Yorkshire. He says, “I paint what I see, and what I see is disappearing.” I love his pictures because they are not sentimental about people or places but do reflect a realistic view of local northern life. He portrays people in a respectful way and I love the vivid colours and landscapes. Further info see
some classical music. This time it is the double bass played by the Halle’s virtuoso section leader Roberto Carrillo-Garcia. It’s a lunchtime concert with free entry on 18 February, starting at 13.10pm. Further details see