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Girls Rock!

Teaching young gals to rock delivers more than just kick-ass tunes.

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Arne Johnson and Shane King's loose, on-the-fly doc follows four girls through their five-day stay at Portland, Ore.'s chicks-only Rock Camp. The camp, founded by female rockers, seeks to teach young women ages 8-18, many of them hampered by self-esteem issues, that it's OK to rock out, to express anger, frustration, joy and their new-found sense of empowerment through shrieks at the mic or gnarly guitar shreds. Naturally, personal problems can't be solved in a week, and our larger culture still can't quite accept women as equal players in the male-oriented rock biz, but the filmmakers still capture a handful of triumphs. These victories may be small, but with luck, they could be life-changing. Girls Rock! is a fun film for fans of documentaries about intense, off-beat kids. Of course, you'll root for the gals, but as an older music-head, I was a little depressed that, in 2008, such a girls-only camp is even needed. Starts Fri., May 23. Harris [capsule review]

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