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Updated Oct 18, 2013 - 8:15 pm

Women are rocking history at Phoenix museum

(Martha Maurer/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Nearly a century of music history is on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The exhibit, "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power," looks at the long and tumultuous history of women and music.

Created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the exhibit at MIM, which opens Saturday, showcases more than 70 artists ranging from the 1920s to today.

The exhibit, composed of photographs, instruments, original hand-written lyrics and stage outfits along with concert posters and videos, takes the music lover to intimate places of music history, and the women who made them. It runs through April 20.

"Along the way you see increasing control by women who have taken over their careers," said Cullen Strawn, the museum's curator. "Moving away from not only being singers, but instrumentalists, songwriters and then taking roles in the music industry itself," he added.

The exhibit brings to life the history of artists of Billie Holiday, Maybelle Carter, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, Cher, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Britney Spears, to name a few.

"A lot of musical instruments are on display," Strawn said. "Outfits, primarily. That's been an important part of the stage persona that these artists have created."

One controversial outfit on display is the meat dress Lady Gaga wore during the 2010 Video Music Awards. "Influence beyond having fans. Power to create social change," Strawn said of the singer/songwriter/performer's impact.

The exhibit explores decades of creativity and innovation, and includes the roots and evolution of rock and roll, and the birth of disco, punk, and pop.

MIM is also hosting a concert series featuring rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson and Ronnie Spector from the 1960s hit girl group Ronnie and the Ronettes. There will also be an interview series with artists.

Listen to Martha's report on Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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