The Alamo Drafthouse’s own Zack Carlson, in conjunction with his friend Bryan Connolly, has put together the most necessary reference book in the history of cinema: a complete guide to every punk appearance in a movie. Called Destroy All Movies, the book is an exhaustive survey of every film featuring a mohawked or bespiked punker, from Repo Man to Hannah and Her Sisters. It’s a really amazing work, and it’s a book that you’ll be picking at for months and months.
To celebrate the release of Destroy All Movies from Fantagraphics, Zack has been doing a screening tour, and this weekend he’s coming to Los Angeles where he’s doing a two day stop at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater. It’s a full out assault with punk docs as well as seminal punk movies, and special guests galore. Here’s the line up, direct from the Cinefamily website:
SATURDAY, NOV. 20
4:15pm - TV Party Tonight: Punks On The Small Screen By the late ‘70s, punk rock’s ripple effects had invaded exploitation films and documentaries around the globe, and it didn’t take much longer for Hollywood studios to sink in their hooks. The final blow, however, came when sitcoms, cartoons, soaps and Afterschool Specials introduced their candy-colored variations of punks to an ill-prepared home viewing audience. Soon enough, Grandma was scratching her head while the heroes of “CHiPs” educated America on the art of slamdancing, and the cartoonishly inaccurate portrayals of these seemingly sci-fi savages burned themselves into the collective consciousness forever. Tonight, we hearken back to when the TV industry broadcasted New Wave straight to the grave, with clips from forgotten goldmines (The Dickies vs. Don Rickles on “CPO Sharkey”!); treasured classics (“Quincy”, anyone?), legendary instances of punks in news broadcasts (think Black Flag on “Entertainment Tonight”), and all 45 minutes of the seldom-seen Afterschool Special The Day My Kid Went Punk. Fern Field, director of The Day My Kid Went Punk, will be here to introduce the film!
6:30pm - Times Square (director Allan Moyle in person!)
The defining youth street epic of the colliding ‘70s/‘80s, featuring music by Gary Numan, Roxy Music, The Ruts, Patti Smith, Ramones, Talking Heads and more! Two teenage New York City girls—one a politician’s daughter, the other a street urchin—run away from a mental ward together and forge a relationship on the sketchy streets of “the Deuce”. They soon link up with DJ Johnny LaGuardia (Tim Curry) and form an underground punk rock band, which becomes a hit with the city’s disillusioned youth after their volatile songs are played on LaGuardia’s show. But will the girls’ reckless youth be their own undoing? One of the first teen movies to feature predominantly punk and new wave music, Times Square was helmed by Allan Moyle, who later went onto craft other fun films with wall-to-wall great soundtracks like Pump Up The Volume and Empire Records. Skillfully, capturing the distinct essence of post-’70s New York, Times Square wonderfully immortalizes the famous district of decay that has since been transformed into the characterless mega-mall we now know today. Allan Moyle will be here at the Cinefamily for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Allan Moyle, 1980, 35mm, 111 min.
9:15pm - Class of 1984 (director Mark L. Lester in person!) & “Destroy All Movies” Mondo Mix!
One of the most vicious and hateful exploitation movies of the ’80s, and one that’s more entertaining than a 50-pound bag of armageddon! Whether you’re into punk, viciousness, vengeance, or have just always fantasized about seeing Michael J. Fox getting stabbed, this is one you cannot miss. A rabid pack of rampaging punk teens run our schools, our drugs and our prostitutes. Brutality and decadence are everywhere. Enter novice teacher Perry King, who’s forced to violently turn the tables on the bloodthirsty gang before their trashwave swallows the town alive. Class of 1984 is a perfect exploitation film: it’s relentlessly seedy, overflowing with assault, suicide, racism, drug use and crime, crime, CRIME!, all of which is perpetrated by minors. But beyond all this, there’s a bitterly absorbing air of human helplessness and leather-clad heartlessness that makes this movie the flat-out best in its genre. If you don’t go, we’ll chain-whip your ass to dust. Director Mark L. Lester will be here in person for a Q&A after the film—and the program kicks off with an insane Mondo megamix of punks on film (curated by Zack Carlson and edited by Everything Is Terrible!)
Class of 1984 Dir. Mark L. Lester, 1982, 35mm, 98 min.
midnight - D.O.A.
A verité exploration of punk rock’s awkward adolescence, and one of the most important documentaries of the genre! The heavy, meaty D.O.A. features a bevy of awesome performances by the likes of X-Ray Spex, Generation X and the Dead Boys, fly-on-the-wall footage from the Sex Pistols’ ill-fated ‘78 U.S. tour (including a hilarious stop in Tulsa, where a bible-thumper’s raised banner alliteratively contrasts Johnny Rotten against Jesus to prove that punk is indeed an export from the fiery pits), and an in-depth survey of kooky London scenesters. Director Lech Kowalski provides a more objective view than Wolfgang Büld’s Punk in London, or Penelope Spheeris’ mighty The Decline of Western Civilization, as he establishes a tangible, humorous division between the bands and their devotees, especially noticeable where the Sex Pistols are concerned; in all, that group is given star billing but painted as a festering symptom of punk’s uprising, destined to implode before their veneer of feral social terrorism could fade with time. Ultra-rare and raucous as hell, D.O.A. is both a priceless live document, and a fierce jab into the eye of established punk orthodoxy.
Dir. Lech Kowalski, 1980, 35mm, 90 min.
SUNDAY, NOV. 21
2:00pm - Urgh! A Music War
This legendary concert film is the cinematic equivalent of a tried-and-true mixtape: a non-stop whirlwind of great bands spanning the new wave/punk gamut. In 1980, director Derek Burbidge filmed jam-packed bills in L.A., NYC, London and France, to capture in a Woodstock-ian presentation the bands on the cutting edge of rock and synthpop: Devo, Dead Kennedys, X, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Gang of Four, The Police, Wall of Voodoo, Klaus Nomi, Gary Numan, OMD, Pere Ubu, Magazine and more. Rarely were these bands—some of whom existed a very short time—afforded the full lavish film shoot treatment, which makes Urgh! the definitive close-up peek at some of the most furious underground groups of the era. It’s also an intriguing snapshot of the era’s fans, decked out in period gear and acting extra-wacky for the camera! Our 35mm screening of the 90-minute U.S. theatrical version of Urgh! is followed by a presentation of deleted footage found in the international version!
Dir. Derek Burbidge, 1981, 35mm, 90 min
4:30pm - La Brune Et Moi w/ Shellshock Rock
Two vastly underseen films celebrating the early punk rock diaspora! Considered a “lost” film until its very recent re-discovery, La Brune Et Moi is a whizz-bang tour through the Parisian punk underground, co-starring Pierre Clementi (The Conformist) and a long list of energetic Gallic bands like Metal Urbain, the Go-Go Pigalles and Astroflash. In 1980, director Philippe Puicouyoul “borrowed” the production gear in order to clandestinely knock out this paean to one of the high points in the history of French rock ‘n roll. With a threadbare plot, the film is really an effervescent excuse to showcase the best ‘n brightest of the scene at the time, which it does with flair.
Next is Shellshock Rock, the firey 1979 account of the Belfast, Ireland scene. “This lyrical [punk] snapshot offers a perspective we rarely see—a geniality behind the camera and a rather adorable innocence in front of it. The members of The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and Rudi are dealing with a different world than their more famous counterparts in England. These Protestant and Catholic rockers are looking more to avoid political trouble. Could this be punk rock as escapism? Shellshock Rock makes no effort to orientate the viewer; there are no subtitles to help non-Irish ears with that Belfast brogue, nor is anyone identified, yet we understand everything emotionally. It paints its subject from an emotional palette of look, feeling and atmosphere, and we become deeply involved across the span of geography and time.” (The Washington Post)
La Brune Et Moi Dir. Philippe Puicouyoul, 1980, digital presentation, 50 min.
Shellshock Rock Dir. John T. Davis, 1979, digital presentation, 46 min.
7:00pm - The Slog Movie w/ Desperate Teenage Lovedolls (director & star in person!)
Join punk lifers Dave Markey, Jennifer Schwartz and Jordan Schwartz as they treat us to two of their seminal Super-8 battle cries from the early ‘80s L.A. underground! Plus, we’ll be screening other surprises from their We Got Power film gang, so shave your head, stab your parents and come on down!
First up is the wildly underseen The Slog Movie, presented in its incredible full-length version. Beyond the chaotic live footage of bands like Fear, TSOL, Circle Jerks and Sin 34, there’s a rarely captured bashfulness in the local punk teens, shying away from the lens, sipping their sodas at Oki Dog until the cops arrive. Markey’s documentary style is more personal than traditionally structured, careening between shows, conversations, hamming and accidental moments of awkward hilarity. The subjects treat Markey as an equal; it’s clear that this film could only have been made by someone in, from and dedicated to the scene it covers. Next is Dave’s hilarious, reckless and outrageously ambitious Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, a funhouse mirror reflection of the rags-to-riches and rise-and-fall stories happening across the then-already-devolving L.A. punk landscape. Jennifer Schwartz and Hilary Rubens play best friends combing the city to complete the lineup for their band The Lovedolls. The girls sleep in abandoned buildings, practice their songs on stolen equipment, and run afoul of Venice gang The She-Devils. Featuring a who’s-who of ‘80s L.A. backyard filmmaking!
The Slog Movie Dir. Dave Markey, 1982, DigiBeta, 59 min.
Desperate Teenage Lovedolls Dir. Dave Markey, 1984, DigiBeta, 60 min.
10:00pm-2:00am - “Destroy All Movies” afterparty @ Part Time Punks
After the fest comes to a raging close, join us at DJ Michael Stock’s Part Time Punks @ The Echo, starting at 10pm! “Destroy” weekend passholders get in free, or, bring your Cinefamily ticket stub from any show over the whole weekend and get in for $2!
I can’t wait! It’s going to be a great weekend. For tickets, visit the Cinefamily site. See you guys at the Silent Movie Theater this weekend.