If you read enough rock journalism, sooner or later you’ll find some reference to the anarchistic spirit of punk rock, and the big question, Where Did It Go? — as if it’s something that might be caked with dust mites, long lost behind the fridge. Or has it been handed down through the ages to the current crop of three-chord bruisers? Or did it evaporate into the beery, safety-pinned mist after the last real Pistols show, in San Francisco? Or maybe it simply devolved into a deadened culture, where hairstyles and clothes and music barely merit a sarcastic Big Wow.
Apparently, it’s now something to be documented and celebrated, given a new XXX offering from Vivid Alt called Circa ’82, featuring a soundtrack by vintage L.A. (sorry, Hermosa Beach) scene vets Circle Jerks. A Ken Burns–ish attempt at pornumentary it’s not, but the movie — directed by Dave Naz of the ’80s punk band Chemical People — takes its boffing background from that era’s punk ethos, with the endorsement of ex-Germ Don Bolles and Keith Morris of said Jerks, both of whom appear in the period carnal piece, albeit fully clothed.
Naz, Bolles and fellow Germ Lorna Doom were on hand circa last week to toast the release of Circa ’82 at the Hyperion Tavern — a Silver Lake watering hole known until recently among lads with a butch bent as Cuffs — where the sweaty shoebox-size room played host to revelers of both the sex and rock & roll communities.
Aside from the obvious, mainly masturbatory thrust of the movie, Circa ’82 does actually attempt to deliver a taste of back-then realism but — somewhat surprisingly — not in any trad hardcore sense.
“I think this movie is all about origins in an innocent time,” offers star Ashley Blue, a comely, conservatively dressed young woman who could pass for a top-dollar paralegal. “It’s about being young, circa ’82. Right on the verge of being a full-fledged adult. I think people have gotten it wrong when they say it’s about the hardcore punk scene. It’s not about bike-chain necklaces and Mohawks. It’s about suburban kids, and they’re full of angst, and they wanna fuck.”
Talk about realism.
At age 27, Blue (the main squeeze of director Naz) is the only sex-performing cast member born before 1982, but so what? Was Cate Blanchett born in Elizabethan England? For Blue, the whole thing was a learning experience. “I take a lot of punk and the music influenced by it for granted,” she reveals, holding hands with Naz outside the club. “Like Dave used to draw Fear shirts because they didn’t have shirts you could buy, and they were his favorite band. To me, that was unheard of. That’s like thinking of a time before the civil rights movement. I just can’t even conceive of a time when there weren’t band shirts.”
Despite the matter-of-intercourse, no-holes-barred action in Circa ’82, Naz’s directorial vision was based on visual subtlety. “The references and the dialogue are from that year, and the girls’ clothes are all vintage, but they’re not really punk-rock clothes, because I didn’t want to make it a cliché, with the chains and the ripped pants and the clothespins,” says mild-mannered Naz. “To me, that’s kind of cheesy and overdone.”
Inside the bar, petite blond porn sweetie Lexi Belle — a lass with two and a half years in the industry under her tightly cinched belt — is sardined by the crowd. She looks nearly cherubic, could be your younger sister. But she isn’t. When was she born?
“Totally ’87! Whooo!” she squeals, indicating the sheer awesomeness of that year. Her character in the film? “Umm, I think I was a virgin?” (She was.)
Did she learn anything about punk music from her role? Belle ponders the question: “I didn’t get into rock until a couple years ago,” she explains. “I like hip-hop. And house.”
On the other end of the spectrum is Don Bolles himself, a trim 50, dome clad in his trademark furry headgear, suitable for a Russian gulag sentry. When it all started, Bolles was there, drumming for the Germs; now he’s a happily scarred warrior who lived the ancient dream. “I guess it’s about punk rock,” he says of the movie, in which “me and Keith Morris had to throw these kids who were wearing Germs and Dickies and Circle Jerks T-shirts out of a record store. They were like me in ’77, ’78. So we were the authority figures. It was fun.”
Forget about jerks, talk about full circle. And as for the spirit of punk, has anyone actually checked behind the fridge lately?