Entries tagged with: Decline of Western Civilization

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by Bill Pearis

Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. enjoying a smoke and a cocktail in 'Decline II'
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years

BAMcinématek will be presenting "Indie '80s" from Jul 17--Aug 27 at BAM Rose Cinemas, featuring a wide variety of off-kilter American cinema classics from the Reagan Years. The series features a number of music-related films, including two on the opening night (7/18): Penelope Spheeris' hedonistic, highly entertaining documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years and Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise which stars Lounge Lizard John Lurie (who did the score) and Richard Edson (Sonic Youth) and the omnipresent use of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You."

Other music-leaning films in the "Indie '80s" series include: groundbreaking 1982 hip hop doc Wild Style (8/27); Beth B's paranoid punk thriller Vortex starring Lydia Lunch (8/10); John Moritsugu's obscure 1989 punk satire My Degeneration (8/19); 1980's Blank Generation starring Richard Hell and Andy Warhol (7/30); Bruce Weber's 1989 Chet Baker documentary Let's Get Lost (8/9), and highly-quotable mockumentary This is Spinal Tap (8/14).

There are loads of non-music films in the series, too, such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, River's Edge, Blue Velvet, Hollywood Shuffle, Ms. 45, My Dinner with Andre, Sex, Lies & Videotape, Sidewalk Stories, Trouble in Mind, and documentaries Sherman's March, The Thin Blue Line, Roger & Me, Seventeen, Swimming to Cambodia. BAM's "Indie '80s" schedule and a few trailers are below. Tickets are on sale.

Continue reading "BAM "Indie '80s' film series: 'Decline II,' 'Spinal Tap,' 'River's Edge,' 'Let's Get Lost' & more"


As mentioned, Penelope Spheeris' essential, long-out-of-print Decline of Western Civilization documentary trilogy is finally getting a DVD/Blu-ray release on June 30. The first one (the punk one) is also screening as part of BAMcinemaFest on June 19 at BAM Rose Cinemas with a Q&A with Spheeris after. Tickets are still available.

They've just announced an afterparty for the Decline screening, happening at Rough Trade (doors at 11:30 PM) featuring an local indie "all-star" band -- including Steve Marion (Delicate Steve), Mike Johnson (Dirty Projectors, Glass Ghost), Michael Bloch (Here We Go Magic), Brian Betancourt (Hospitality), and Andrya Ambro (Talk Normal, Gold Dime) -- performing X's debut album Los Angeles in full. There's also VHS-loving New Jersians Citizen Blast Kane who will be covering songs by Black Flag and Circle Jerks. There may be surprise guests, too.

The Decline afterparty at Rough Trade is free with your BAM screening ticket, or it's $7 without.

Meanwhile, the real X will be here in August for three nights at City Winery.


The BAMcinemaFest returns for its seventh annual year from June 17-28. They'll have the NY premieres for several films, and there are a few pretty cool special events too.

On a music-related note, beloved punk documentary The Decline of Western Civilization is getting a new restoration and that will be screened alongside a Q&A with director Penelope Spheeris on June 19 at BAM Rose Cinemas. The initial film, which includes footage of Black Flag, Germs, X, Alice Bag Band, Circle Jerks, Catholic Discipline, and Fear, was released in 1981. That was followed by 1988's equally indispensable Part II: The Metal Years that followed LA hair metal scene (KISS, Alice Cooper, Poison, Ozzy Osbourne, WASP...and Lemmy), and a third film on '90s "gutter punk" (Final Conflict, Litmus Green, Naked Aggression, The Resistance). The first two have been out-of-print (and highly bootlegged) since the '90s and the third one was never released on home video at all. Happy day: the whole series is finally getting released as a DVD/Blu-Ray box set on June 30 via Shout! Factory. The box set will feature newly-restored 2K prints of the films plus outtakes, lots of deleted scenes and commentary tracks by Dave Grohl.

A non-music but still very cool special event happening during BAMcinemaFest is a screening of cult '90s film Kids, which turns 20 this year. (And also notable to indie rock nerds since Lou Barlow did the soundtrack.) The screening happens June 25 at BAM Rose Cinemas, and there will also be a Q&A with some of the main cast members, including Chloe Sevigny (Jennie), Rosario Dawson (Ruby), Leo Fitzpatrick (Telly) and. Screenwriter Harmony Korine and director Larry Clark will be there too. Sadly neither Justin Pierce (Casper) or Harold Hunter (who was also Harold in the movie) will be there, as we lost both of them years ago. (Justin to suicide in 2000 and Harold to a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2006). Though as New Yorkers may know, there's a park named after Harold in NYC, and for the past 8 years October 11 has been Harold Hunter Day. The Harold Hunter Foundation was also launched in 2007, and its "goal is to harness the power of skateboarding to transform lives."

Another cult '90s film, Richard Linklater's Slacker, will get an outdoor screening during the fest at Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 25.

And one more music-related event: A screening of Les Blank's Leon Russell documentary, A Poem Is A Naked Person, which was filmed from 1972-1974 but not publicly released until this year, on June 27 at BAM Rose Cinemas. It got its world premiere at SXSW, and this will be its NY premiere. It looks like Criterion will be putting it out on home video at some point.

Tickets to BAMcinemaFest go on sale to BAM members on May 26, and to the general public on May 29.

Check out the full list of films, with a clip of a Darby Crash interview from The Decline of Western Civilization and the disturbing fight scene in the park from Kids, below...

Continue reading "BAMcinemaFest 2015: 'Decline of Western Civilization' (soon on DVD/Blu-ray), Q&A w/ cast of 'Kids,' & more"

by Bill Pearis

Will Oldham and Colm O'Leary in 'New Jerusalem'
New Jerusalem

When not making records, Will Oldham has been known to act occasionally, most memorably in the 2006 indie drama Old Joy, though he has roles stretching back to John Sayles' 1987 film Matewan. His latest is New Jerusalem and his first starring role since Old Joy. The synopsis:

Sean, an Irish immigrant to America, returning from military service in Afghanistan, finds his heart and mind in disarray. He befriends IKE, (Will Oldham, in his first leading roll since Old Joy) a strong willed Evangelical Christian, who endeavors to ensure the fragile Seanʼs salvation. A meditation on mutual need and frailty, New Jerusalem explores the allure and limitations of modern utopian belief.
You can watch the trailer for the film below. New Jerusalem opens in NYC today (11/30) where it is showing at Videology in Wiliamsburg though December 6. Tickets are on sale. Co-star Colm O'Leary will be in attendance at tonight screenings, and at Saturday's (12/1) screenings will have O'Leary, director Rick Alverson and producer Courtney Bowles. If you can't make it to one of the screenings, New Jerusalem is also available to download via iTunes and other digital outlets.

In other Videology news, I am helping progam (and host) the bar/cafe/theater's new Music Mondays series which kicks off this Monday (12/3) with Penelope Spheeris' essential 1981 L.A. punk documentary Decline of Western Civilization which remains unavailable on DVD (as does it's hair metal sequel). We're pairing Decline with the infamous "punk rock" episode of NBC series Quincy, "Next Stop, Nowhere," which has to be seen to be believed. Trailers and clipsfor both are below. The screening starts at 9:30 (New Jerusalem shows at 7 PM) and is FREE. We're still figuring out the rest of the schedule for Music Mondays (and how often they'll happen) but Videology's screening schedule is here.

And speaking of Rick Alverson, it's one of two movies he currently has in theaters, the other being The Comedy, which BrooklynVegan presented a free screening of a few weeks back and opens in Austin tonight. It will also be showing at Videology from December 14 - 20.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy (aka Will Oldham) recently put out a Christmas song and has live shows coming out too.

Trailers and clips from New Jerusalem, The Comedy, Decline of Western Civilization and the "punk rock" Quincy episode are below.

Continue reading "Will Oldham stars in 'New Jerusalem' which opens in NYC this weekend"