By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on June 17, 2023)
The biggest surprise in Alison Elwood’s engaging portrait of Cyndi Lauper is the thoughtful, articulate, and soft-spoken woman who reflects on her life and career; a far cry from the goofball New Wave Judy Holliday shtick that defined her public persona. By the time her slyly feminist anthem “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” put her on the map in 1983, she’d already been toiling in the music biz for over a decade (mostly fronting cover bands; it was interesting to learn that she was once a backup singer for Patti LaBelle). She freely admits that the graph of her career is a classic roller coaster, but it turns out she’s more of a polymath than one might suspect and has never compromised her vision. I confess losing track of her post-80s output, but I came away with newfound respect for her ongoing dedication as an artist and an activist.