Current & Upcoming Films
DEBT BEGINS AT 20/DOWNTOWN 81
After the much-hyped filth and fury of the initial punk movement almost instantly combusted or codified, things got much more interesting. In the halcyon pre-internet days, regional scenes were allowed to grow and develop their own identifiable and often highly idiosyncratic sounds, word of one another’s development spreading slowly through fanzines and small mail order distributors. Lucky for us, there were also cameras laying around, and the rare films in this series provide an invaluable snapshot of one of the most exciting – and one of the most loosely-defined – periods of music in the 20th Century. THIS MUST BE THE PLACE is your highly opinionated guide to viewing these creatures in their native habitats.
DEBT BEGINS AT 20
Filmed in dour, totally appropriate black-and-white (much like that other paean to the Pittsburgh existence, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), DEBT BEGINS AT 20 is a completely charming and accurate portrait of how artistically-inclined punk and synth enthusiasts in smaller regional scenes made the screechy, caterwauling tuneless tunes we’ve grown to fetishize. And why did they do it? Because they were bored out of their minds. – Bret Berg, Destroy All Movies Dir: Stephanie Beroes. 16mm. 1980. 50 mins. 7pm
Jean Michel Basquiat is your cash-strapped guide around downtown Manhattan circa the end of the world, or more accurately 1981. It looks like a neutron bomb went off, and the only living creatures left are the weirdo, omnivorously post-everything musicians and artists hiding in stark lofts, cramped apartments and moldy nightclubs. This movie is an embarrassment of riches: watch DNA shred through “Blonde Redhead”, see James White & The Black’s aggro no-wave soul revue live on stage, plus Debbie Harry, Tuxedo Moon, Kid Creole & the Coconuts and more. DOWNTOWN 81 is, simply put, the coolest. Dir: Edo Bertoglio. Written by Glen O’Brien. 35mm. 1981. 73 mins. 8:15pm