Anything Boys Can Do, is a gritty portrait of female punk and alternative musicians in 1990s New York City. Released in 1996 by filmmaker Ethan Minkser of the Antagonist Arts Movement, the young women in this film infiltrate the Lower East Side and other artsy haunts of Manhattan with performances that are way beyond underground. Even the band names (except for the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black) might be unknown to anyone but New York scenesters of the time. The NYC alternative punk girls of the ‘90s were known for extremes in message and looks. They weren’t family or celebrity friendly like today’s “punks.”
The girls from “Thrust” perform what looks like a “secret” show in a parking lot, playing thrashy music and simulating sex acts while partially clothed. Tribe 8 plays rough pro-lesbian, pro-feminist grunge, Sexpod, perhaps the most musically adept band in the documentary, has a lazy, bluesy tinge to their songs. Kembra Pfahler of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black performs topless in her signature horror movie make-up and body paint, growling/screeching/singing and engaging in all types of antics. She does a headstand while a member of her troupe cracks an egg over her vulva. By the time this happens, we’re so immune to the noise and nudity it’s neither shocking nor titillating. It’s just part of the show. Actually, I think I’d be shocked if I ever saw Kembra onstage with her breasts fully covered. This 71-minute film delves deeply into the aspects of the bands' struggles with making it in the male-dominated music world as well as some of their personal struggles. This isn’t documentary “lite” – it really gets under its subjects’ skin.