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PRETTY IN PUNK


DIY franchise ani difranco sets off her own folk implosion

scanned by alan storm
it's a chilly autumn night in ney york city's lower-way,way lower- 
east side, home to "one-woman acoustic punk band" ani difranco, and 
i'm here to return a chain-link dog collar she left behind at the 
photo shoot. difranco greets me at the door of her third-floor walk-up 
with a beguiling smile and a stern Stoli-and-cranberry. "thanks," she 
gushes, taking the collar and looping it around her provocatively bare 
midriff, instantly transforming it into a really cool belt. "i wear it 
just to set off the security alarms in airports. the strip search, the 
anal probe-i live for it," she deadpans.

difranco likes to make a scene; she's been at it since the age of 
nine, when she'd stun crowds of barflies with her Beatles covers. 
after spending much of her adolescence pounding out tunes in local 
buffalo dive, difranco put out her first album on her own label at the 
tender age of 19. since the, RBR has sold over 175,000 cds-no thanks 
to mtv,radio airplay,or major distribution.

difranco's now all of 25, and her seventh and latest release, NAPG, 
has solidified her heroine status among female fans and critics alike. 
it offers her typically frank, soul-bearing approach to topics like 
abortion, bisexual impulses, and-as the title suggests-body-image 
baggage. "i always get asked questions about, well, not being a pretty 
girl," says difranco, who, in person, is actually sexy as hell. "i've 
become the spokeswoman for ugliness everywhere-and it's been so 
harsh."

in a perfect world, difranco would be a spokeswoman for DIY chutzpah. 
it's her kick-ass live hoedown, complete with stage dives, that has 
propelled the constantly touring difranco's record sales. punk meets 
folk, you're thinking, now there's an interesting concept. but hey, it 
works. "people expect my kind of in-your-face approach from a punk," 
difranco says,"not from some chick with an acoustic guitar. i prefer 
the power that comes from walking on stage with a little piece of wood 
and really trying to communicate with people. for me, that's more punk 
rock than just making a lot of noise."

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