Wednesday, June 14, 2006
punk's making great strides, starting physical therapy in the fall
Punk's Not Dead at Silverdocs isn't finished, director Susan Dynner made perfectly clear before the film. The sound wasn't mixed, and there's clearly editing and cleaning up still to be done.
Thoughts and incoherent rambles n such (mostly constructive* criticism because I am grumpy:)
a. If you decide to make a film on how "main" punk (discluding any hardcore underground basement scene/15-year old GG Allin disciples that are consistently kicking around and might continue to do so until the end of time) has changed/morphed since it's inception, I really feel for you- it seems like an impossibly wide swath to cover. Make two films, but to bounce from 1979 to Rancid and then to The Voids seems - I dunno, off. There are large time holes in strange places. A more balanced movie would cut some of the old crusty folks off (sorry; although they are more interesting and have great stories, I don't think Dyner was looking to make a documentary on the history of punk music) and really search out some punk bands who were around but floundering in 1986. They're out there.
b. The film seems disorganized (I know! That's so punk!) It would have been nice to have it more clearly segmented (a section on corporate sponsorships/Vans Warped tour/etc. is interesting and handled pretty even-handedly, but kind of gets lost and muddled in the middle of the film, with no real start or finish.)
That being said: 600 hours of footage! They have SIX HUNDRED HOURS OF FOOTAGE. I cannot even begin to comprehend how you start editing that down into a reasonable film.
Did Hot Topic founder need to be interviewed at two or three different places through out the movie? One inclusion of her in the "corporations are evil and you are all sell outs" chapter should have been plenty.
Speaking of interviews. The creator's interview philosophy seemed v. foggy- More pointed questions probably would have been helpful in taking care of #1b above. Although Dynner and team are never shown on film asking anything, I assume they had specific questions to ask. At points, however, it appears they just gave free reign to their closest friends to talk about whatever they so desired. (Charlie Harper (UK Subs), Dick Lucas (Subhumans).)
SIGH. Totally content related and nothing to do with movie production: You can fight forever over what is "punk" and what is "pop-punk" and whether kids these days are really punk if their lyrics involve their girlfriends and schoolwork and unicorn poop instead of British politics and govt corruption, but "punk?" It's just a word. And we all know (I hope) that words only carry meaning when you assign meaning to them- I think punk's already ben assigned. I also tend to think of words as personal things- everyone's thoughts on what a particular word means are a little different. For myself, personally, the word "punk" incorporates some sort of DIY aesthetic. When that DIY business model disappears, then the word "punk" really isn't applicable anymore. Then, the music becomes something else. Lots of genres have roots in older music genres - punk-influenced, pop-punk, etc. When did being labeled "pop-punk" become a bad thing?
Some of the most coherent thoughts on this came from Chris Morris (HR), who talked about music writers absolute need to a. assign a genre and b. compare sounds to previous sounds.
I know I'm not making a lot of sense, but in a nutshell: you can label music whatever you want. Doesn't change the sound that comes out of the instruments. So why get worked up when someone tells you you aren't "punk?" Well, you aren't "punk." You have a tour bus and millions of dollars, and THAT IS OKAY. The world is actually quite happy for you. But don't get upset then when yr musical hero says you aren't what you set out to be. Take your pop label willingly. Embrace it! Love it! Roll in the money! Buy big houses and yr girlfriend new boobs! OWN THE SHIT OUT OF IT, My Chemical Romance!**
Funniest scene: Brian and Allen of the U.K. Subs attempting to list every member of the band since 1976. I stopped counting after 15 or so, and apparently so did they.
Oh, man. Props for the old "Donahue" footage on punks and cured "ex-punks" that Dynner used. Hilarious. The fact that rill life actual WOMEN were occasionally featured: (Voids, Texas Terri, Stormy Whats-her-name: tour manager who has aged into like, the sweetest looking woman you've ever seen) - so best. Also great was the video that Dynner accepted from "punks heard 'round the world": apparently she asked for anyone/everyone to send in video of their bands harrd at work - they received tape from Indonesida, Russia, Croatia, Japan, Italy (!?!), Australia, etc. etc. etc.
The best was a punk group from Iceland, who I love. If anyone remembers the name of this group (It was something like Mornijardiin or something) please let me know. Viking punk! I am so into that!
Others: A kind of fun little sequence on the Adicts, Fat Mike (in person at AFI Silver Spring! And probably went to the afterparty ftring the Goons! Which we were so punk we SKIPPED, that's how punk we are), lots of Sum 41, some Green Day here and there, and a 3-second blink-n-you'll-miss-it Billy Idol appearance. ALSO. Shane West is in the credits, as is Juliette Lewis, but it seems that they both belong to the 598 hours worth of cutting room floor.
Guacamole with the press! The ever-charming CS made an appearance, I consumed two Blue Moons and 13 baskets of chips in what is now being called "Disneyland." Seriously, have you been to Silver Spring lately? It's the weirdest place. There's a EGG-BASED CHAIN RESTAURANT in between the Ann Taylor and Barnes N Noble or whatever that I'm kind of fascinated with.
* Okay, maybe not all that constructive. But they're still editing. It has potential, believe me.
** My Chemical Romance - unintentionally the funniest and saddest part of the entire film, like crying clowns.