Move Over

No conversation about gifted women who careen into an early grave because they can’t live with themselves is complete without Janis Joplin. Sometimes that conversation focuses so hard on being on a bumpy ride to hell, it begins to overshadow the part about being gifted. Joplin didn’t exactly leave behind a huge library of work, and after so many years, there’s not much left to discover. It can seem like the handful of hits are over-familiar oldies radio fodder, just another cheap touchstone for boomer nostalgia. But it’s still striking to see the sheer ferocity of her performance, even in the antiseptic environment of a TV studio. She reminds us why we remember her. She was somebody who really didn’t have any better place in the world except on stage.