THIS MUST BE THE PLACE: END OF THE UNDERGROUND 1991 – 2012
First show: July 25
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE: THE END OF THE UNDERGROUND 1991 – 2012
Friday, July 25 – Sunday, July 27
Since 2012, the Roxie shines a summer spotlight into the darker crevices of the musical crater left in the wake of punk rock. All good things must come to an end, and with that, our final installment of THIS MUST BE THE PLACE examines the final outer reaches and fading echoes of an underground corrupted up by predatory record label advances, a mining town after the gold rush, a culture of scarcity and samizdat rendered obsolete by the almighty Internet.
Scene-by-scene, we’re working our way through what happened, from New York to Louisville to San Francisco to LA to Memphis and back again.
It was fun while it lasted!
Friday, July 26
1991: THE YEAR PUNK BROKE – Some were quick to yell “Sellout!” and some were clear-eyed enough to know it was simply financially untenable, but in 1990 post-no wave college-rock heroes Sonic Youth signed to DGC. With their major label debut GOO in every record store across the globe, they traveled to Europe for a tour of festivals. They brought along two parties that, in retrospect, anchored them to the DIY past and $$$ future – the first was filmmaker David Markey, the LA-based pioneer behind crucial scene documents such as THE SLOG MOVIE and DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS; the second was a Seattle band called Nirvana that was about to release their own DGC debut called Nevermind. 1991: THE YEAR PUNK BROKE features totally incendiary performances by both Sonic Youth and Nirvana at the peak of their powers, plus Dinosaur, Jr. (performing the all-time best version of “Freak Scene”), Gumball, Babes in Toyland, the Ramones and more! Dir: David Markey. 1992. Digital. 99 mins. 7:15pm
HATED: GG ALLIN & THE MURDER JUNKIES – GG Allin, born Jesus Christ Allin in rural New Hampshire in 1956, was an American rock and roll singer and performer. That’s a sentence you could read to your grandma or your young nephew and it would pretty much make sense. The fact of the matter was that GG Allin was a singer and performer, yes, but his singing and performing involved stripping naked, attacking the audience, throwing his own shit, and “singing” about topics ripped from the pages of a musty box of moldy spank mags kept in the woods. He was in and out of jail, never not completely fucked up, and dead before the movie was done shooting. He was also, to be fair, a beloved figure of rock and roll rebellion to a handful of true believers. Oh, GG! Debut movie from Todd Phillips, who went on to direct OLD SCHOOL and THE HANGOVER! Dir: Todd Phillips. 1993. 90 mins. 9:15pm
WHAT’S UP, MATADOR? – To the budget-minded burgeoning rock fan in the 1990s, label comps were a cost effective method of measuring what rocks, what rots and what rules. (How many PUNK-A-RAMA comps are in YOUR closet?) The coolest, by far, was a VHS released by Matador Records in 1997 featuring barely-seen three minute masterpieces from Guided by Voices, Pavement, Chavez, Yo La Tengo (directed by Hal Hartley!) and more from their unfuckwithable 90s stable. The wrap-around segments – a kid’s show explaining the ins and outs of independent record labels – are massively entertaining and directed by Chavez co-guitarist (and current writer for HBO’s Silicon Valley) Clay Tarver, who will be joining us for a conversation via Skype. Dir: Clay Tarver. 1997. Digital. 70 mins. 11pm.
Saturday, July 27
IS IT REALLY SO STRANGE? – One of the reasons we put this series together was our general fascination for pre-internet dissemination of trends, styles and thought from one region to another, message-in-a-bottle style. A sterling example of this would be one Stephen Patrick Morrissey and his relatively late-in-life legion of Hispanic fans and obsessives. In East L.A., there are club nights and even a cover band catering to this demographic of fans whose deepest feelings are articulated by a gloomy Mancunian. Dir: William Jones. 2005. Digital. 80 mins. 6:30pm
FUGAZI: INSTRUMENT – Full disclosure: this is one of my favorite movies of all time so I am going to try and describe it as impartially as possible: From their earliest practices, filmmaker Jem Cohen was essentially embedded with the band, filming (on Super 8, 16mm and video) every show, practice, hotel room, sweaty crowd and recording session. He and the band spent five years editing the footage into INSTRUMENT an impressionistic, shifting portrait of one of the best and most important rock bands in history. Dir: Jem Cohen. 1999. Digital. 110 mins. 8:30pm
BAY AREA AVANT ARCHIVES – We’ve reached out to our network of citizen archivists to craft a kaleidoscopic survey of the weirdest/coolest/rockin’-est stuff the Bay Area has had to offer in the last fifteen years or so. From basement shows to outdoor fests and everything in between. Check back in soon for more gory details! 10:45pm
Sunday, July 28
HALF-COCKED – A nominally fictionalized narrative about a group of kids who steal a van-load of equipment and embark on an ill-advised and seemingly infinite tour, HALF-COCKED really serves as a sort of yearbook and eulogy to the Louisville, Nashville and Chattanooga scenes the movie draws from and celebrates. All of the unjustly forgotten greats are along for the ride: the movie stars Ian Svenonius and members of Rodan and the Grifters, and the soundtrack includes Unwound, Polvo, Smog and more! Dir: Suki Hawley. 1994. 16mm. 90 mins. 5:45pm
BETTER THAN SOMETHING – Jimmy Lee Lindsay, Jr. started putting out bedroom punk screeds on Goner Records in his native Memphis in the late 90s under a variety of names and projects, but mostly under the nom de guerre Jay Reatard. Before the wider world learned his name, before he was even thirty years old, he was gone. Filmmakers Alexandra Hammond & Ian Markiewicz spent a humid week with him in Memphis, shooting footage for an electronic press kit. The footage was re-purposed into a proper documentary after Lindsay’s passing, and the result is one of the most heartfelt and intimate music documentaries of recent vintage. Dirs: Alexandra Hammond & Ian Markiewicz. 2011. Digital. 89 mins. 7:45pm
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS – He designed a PA for legendary Rhode Island noiseniks Six Finger Satellite, he defined the sound of modern dance rock with his production of The Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers”, he put out a bunch of Black Dice records – ladies and gentleman, Mr. James Murphy, probably the first and last guy to name check Royal Trux while performing at Madison Square Garden. In the span of just ten years, LCD Soundsystem went from a smirking home studio recording project to a rafters-shaking cultural force. Then they did something unheard of – they quit while they were ahead. This movie is a document of their Irish Wake at Madison Square Garden. We play this one REAL loud! Dirs: Will Lovelace & Dylan Southern. 2012. Digital. 108 mins. 9:30pm
Plus VIDEO MIXES, Q&As + SURPRISES AT EVERY SCREENING!
$18 per program!
Programmed by Mike Keegan and Gina Basso. Special thanks to Dave Markey, Todd Phillips, Clay Tarver + Matador Records, Matt Grady and Jem Cohen
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE: END OF THE UNDERGROUND 1991 - 2012: Upcoming Showtimes