According to New York music-scene pioneer Richard Hell, “punk” stands for two things in our culture. First, “the possibility of pride and haven for kids rejected as worthless,” and second, for “unhinged, violent, criminal threat to all of society, and every decent person.” In real life this may or may not be true — definitely not in Warped Tour–era 2010, we think — but Hell is in fact referring to punk rock in cinema, as chronicled in the bombastic new book Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film. Hell wrote the foreword to the massive tome dedicated to hard-core motion picture and TV movie treachery, lovingly (and — heh heh — hatefully) compiled by writers/editors Zack Carlson and Bryan Connolly. The pair bopped into L.A. this weekend for a boisterous blitz of events marking the final stop on the Texas-based authors' book tour.
Cinefamily and Don't Knock the Rock presented a slew of spit-soaked celluloid to celebrate the guys' L.A. appearances at the Silent Movie Theatre, including screenings of such classics as Class of 1984 and Desperate Teenage Love Dolls along with docs like D.O.A. and concert films like Urgh! A Music War, and even a little “TV Party Tonight” tempestuousness — like all 45 campy minutes of the ABC After School Special The Day My Kid Went Punk. Unfortunately, they didn't offer full screenings of the now-legendary “punk rock CHiPs” or “punk rock Quincy” eps, because (as the authors told me at their Wacko signing in Silver Lake) the book only chronicles single movies or specials, not series. We say Volume 2, exclusively for the tube (sitcoms, dramas, morning TV?), is a must!
SLITS AND BITS
Missed Destroy's after party at Part Time Punks at the Echoplex but after getting the full scoop on PTP's December schedule, we'll be punking out again soon: Dec. 12 they bring back their much-beloved Smiths/Morrissey Tribute Night with guest DJ Jose Maldonado (Sweet & Tender Hooligans), and on Dec. 19, a very special gathering in tribute to recently passed Ari Up of The Slits, featuring the gals from Weave, Swahili Blonde, Rainbow Arabia and Soft Boiled Eggies performing together (Echo Park post-punk supergroup–style) the Slits' Cut LP (in its entirety). The guys from Dub Club/Punky Reggae will join DJ Michael Stock, and many of Ari's friends, fans and family are expected to attend.
In related news, Don't Knock the Rock creator/esteemed director Allison Anders tells us she's working on another punk movie herself. Titled Strutter, she says, it will complete her and Kurt Voss' Border Radio trilogy and will feature young L.A. musicians and donated locations. There's a Kickstarter drive (kck.st/9CoCax) to raise production funds; pledgers can score handpicked gift bags by Duran Duran's John Taylor, Sonic Youth, Ethan Coen, Edgar Wright, Dinosaur Jr. and others.
Minuteman, fIREHOSE-r and sometimes-Stooge Mike Watt turns in what Destroy All Movies' Carlson tells us is one of his all-time-favorite punk performances in Raymond Pettibon's 1989 film Sir Drone (first shot: Watt applying mascara above his safety-pinned cheek), but we're thinking his performance this past Sunday at Liquid Kitty's Punk Rock BBQ (coincidentally the same weekend as the Destroy events) was even more impressive. The guy's on crutches, after all. Still healing after an injury suffered while playing bass with The Stooges this summer, Watt and his current band The Missingmen (all dressed in Japanese Jinbei shorts and tops … and it was chilly, too!) played the party late afternoon. They have no more L.A. dates booked anytime soon, but you can catch Watt's other band, Hellride, featuring Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction) and Peter Distefano (Porno for Pyros), at the Central Social Aid & Pleasure Club in Santa Monica on Sat., Nov. 27.
L.A.'s old-school growlers Legal Weapon (more coinky: They're on the sound track for Dudes, Penelope Spheeris' post-Suburbia effort starring John Cryer and Flea, which is featured prominently in Destroy) ripped the place apart afterward. Weapon's Kat Arthur was oft called the Janis Joplin of punk, and her vox Sunday was as powerful as ever. Lawndale, The Black Widows, Fatso Jetson, Exxtras and, later, Carlos Guitarlos also played. It was the perfect punctuation (exclamation point!) to the filmic freakiness of the week.
RED, WHITE AND WIGGED ALL OVER
One of the freakiest chicks we know (and we mean that in the most complimentary way) has to be Wig Out! creator Jean Spinosa, who celebrated her birthday and the fifth b-day of her hair-raising party with a “Red & White Ball” at The Mezz inside downtown's Alexandria Hotel on Saturday night. It was very Christmassy — and kinda White Stripes convention–like too — what with all the candy cane–colored clothing and holiday hairdos, not to mention the festive new lighting inside the deco-dreamy Mezz space.
It's her party and she'll wig out if she wants to, which in this li'l lady's case meant having hundreds of friends in animal masks tease and taunt her as she danced in the center of the room. The funky stompin' of Quasar & the Bamboozled began the festivities, which included Wig Out's signature cabaret procession, this edition devoted to the hostess (who also goes by the charming performer name of Jean Natalia). A couple highlights: Michael Lucid (aka worldofwonder.com's roving reporter Damiana Garcia) crooning the Golden Girls theme, and the amazing HR Muff N' Stuff's original tune about rainbows, which completely blew our mind. Though it had nothing to do with Witchie-Poo, Jimmy or his magic flute, it almost made up for our having missed Sid & Marty Krofft's screening of the full-length H.R. Pufnstuf movie at the Aero Theatre earlier that day. The flick, by the way, just came out on DVD, and ya know what? We think it's pretty punk rock.