This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Documentary shows that punk is far from dead

PUNK’S NOT DEAD (Susan Dynner, 2007)
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave. at Second St.
Friday, July 6, $10, 10:45

Director Susan Dynner examines the past, present, and future of punk rock in the fast-paced documentary Punk’s Not Dead. Punk rock broke wide open in the mid-to-late 1970s, as pierced and tattooed fans packed small, sweaty clubs to have the Sex Pistols spit on them and other bands scream about anarchy and chaos, railing against the establishment that had brought them Vietnam, suburban sprawl, bloated arena rock, and an uninspired mainstream society. Bands such as Bad Religion, the Damned, Social Distortion, Minor Threat, and UK Subs used shrieking guitars, killer drums, and a nonstop verbal barrage that, as Dynner points out, never went away; thirty years down the road, many of these bands are still together or have re-formed, appearing in underground clubs and on indie records. Punk influence saw a revival in the 1990s, with Nirvana, Green Day, and Rancid all hitting the charts, but the film argues that the current wave, which includes such groups as Good Charlotte, My Chemical Romance, and Sum 41 and stores such as Hot Topic, is more market-friendly pop punk than the real deal. Among those sharing their opinions on what qualifies as punk are Black Flag’s Henry Rollins and Greg Ginn, X’s John Doe, Circle Jerks’ Keith Morris, Rancid’s Tim Armstrong (who also coproduced the film), Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, the Subhumans’ Dick Lucas, Social D’s Mike Ness, and members of dozens of bands both old and new. The biggest revelation is the Adicts, a British band that has been doing it their own way, with the original lineup, for more than thirty years now, still bucking the system and attracting a whole new generation of fans. Punk’s Not Dead also includes snippets of hundreds of songs that will send you poring through your record collection to find those old gems you haven’t listened to since you were in college. Sham 69’s “If the Kids Are United” fabulously sums things up over the closing credits. Punk’s Not Dead is screening July 6 at 10:45 at Anthology Film Archives as part of the inaugural CBGB Festival. The festival runs July 5-8 at venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn and includes a bevy of concerts, film screenings, panel discussions, and other special events being held in honor of the classic Bowery club that hosted cutting-edge, alternative, punk, and indie bands from 1973 to 2006. Among the groups participating in the festival are Sick of It All, Redd Kross, Reggie Watts, Quincy Mumford & the Reason Why, JD Samson & Men, PS I Love You, DJ Jonathan Toubin, Lissy Trullie, the Van Allen Belt, LA Guns, Sic F*cks, the Virgins, and Michael Cerveris & Loose Cattle, and that’s just on Friday.

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