Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flyer - Wednesday June 25th, 2014

Show Review – The City's in Flames
Toronto Public Library, Fort York Branch
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

This was an event put together because of World Pride with films by punks in the LGBT community or films about people in the LGBT community. The line up of shorts was put together by Don Pyle in what he described as a loose knit fabric of punk and LGBT and art worlds colliding.

Troublemakers (1990)
The first film was by GB Jones of Fifth Column who wasn't able to make it. But Caroline Azur of Fifth Column did say some words about the film on her behalf which included that the actors in the film did all the things that happened and were even arrested for some of it. She also said that they were inspired Suzanne Naughton's film on the Viletones that is shown later in the program because that was the first time they saw punk and Toronto in the same film. This inspired Fifth Column to make their own films. John Porter, also on the program spoke about how Fifth Column made their own films and showed them at a place called the Funnel. GB Jones' film is a serious of scenes that show young punk kids played by Fifth Column and Bruce La Bruce and their friends getting up to all kinds of mischief. The scene opens with some shoplifting which is particularly funny if only for them standing below the Shoplifters will be proecusted sign. The death star like security camera is particularly a period piece and is equally amusing. Bruce La Bruce has one of his nipples pierced which is sure to get a reaction. And there is some raccoons who make an appearance at the end which is in the house that Fifth column lived in at the time and as we learn from Caroline was the old New Rose store, which is the punk store that Margarita Passion ran and was refered to as the Viletones clubhouse.

How Many Fingers? (1981)
This is a music like video for one of the Government songs. Andrew Paterson the band's guitarist and singer and creative mind behind the band was at the screening to explain the videoand he is one of the best speakers deeply immersed in theory behind the art. He called this a musical video as opposed to a msuic video because the band saw it as a critique of the music video format. At the time the music video format was coming into popular use and shows were popping up for teenagers of band's songs which was around the tiome that Much Music was coming into being. Andrew points out that the space that Much Music would occupy housed some great affordable production houses for students at OCA like Trinity Video. Ironically, Much Music would kick those people out. Lots of Toronto's hardcore scene was recorded at the studio space on this building. But the song itself was inspired by George Orwell's “Nineteen Eighty Four”. How many Fingers has a reference in the book and is a space where liberalism meets fascism which is an argument I hear being made about the original punk scene in which the idea was to push liberalism as far as it could go until that fascist underbelly struck back. Well Paterson plays a game show host or contestant that doesn't repeat the correct number of fingers that the host is suggesting he is holding up and in a way tests the power of suggestion. Later Paterson plays a fascist like priest who orders a teacher to burn a book in front of a student while laughing maniacally. Book burning certainly suggests the facsist era practises. The film has institutional settings and is very sophisticated for a piece of this medium. I was glad to have seen it even if we missed part of it. And the song itself incorporated some dub in it which harkend back to Gang of Four and Public Image types of experimentation.

I'm Not in Love (2011)
This short takes two guys dressed in drag doing some very homo erotic things to a song by 10CC in a way that is contrary to the pessimistic message of this hit from the 70's. And they use elements of karaoke by way of performance.

Beyond the Screams (1999)
This is a film I am very familiar with as I own a copy of it. I bought it at a Chicago Fest when it forst came out and have watched it several times. But Martin's setting of the tone of the film helped me understand much more about the film. In the late 90's bands started popping up all over the United States that sang in Spanish. These were punk rockers who were sons and daughers of people who immigrated to the US who spoke Spanish as their mother tongue. These bands were partially reacting to the anti immigration policies of the time and one of the participants in the film, Jose Palafox who played rums in Bread and Circuses. He made a film called “New World Border” which cpatured some of that anti-Latino sentiment in 2001. He was in Beyond the Screams and I had forgotten how bad things were. The idea of the film came to Martin when he had to put together a thesis project for his Photography Discipline at the University of Chicago. He decided to do a film. Martin also sang in Los Crudos prior to this and they had been touring and seeing these bands starting up throughout America. In Chicao there was band's like Youth Against and Sin Orden who represent the new wave at the end of the film. In New York there was Huasipungo. In L.A. there was Life's Halt. Arma Contra Arma, Kntra Attaque, Subsistencia, Sbitch, Logical Nonsense and Michelle who was the drummer in Spitboy. Didn't they do a split with Crudos? Martin looks back at some of the scenes in South America referencing Ohlo Seco and Colera which harken back to the early days in punk. But he also looks at what America had to offer and discovers a scene that comes out of East L.A. Which is refered to as the East Side Rennaisance and including bands like the Zeros, the Bags, the Plugz (Repo Man soundtrack), and the Brat. The film starts out with one of the most jaw dropping scenes of a Los Crudos show in Mexico City that as the songs starts the camera pans back and as far as the eye can see are punk rockers at an outdoor show losing their shit to the Crudos song just launched into. The scene ends with Martin explaining the meaning behind “We're that Spic band”. It was as inpiring today as it was when it came out.

Will Munro's Dirty Load (2007)
This is a short that I didn't know existed. Matt interviews Will Munro at the end trying to get at some of his inspired activities. Will describes his underwear art. There are scenes of Will Djing and some vids at Vaseline. But there is so much more to Will story and I strongly recommend that people read Sarah Liss's book “Army of Lovers” for a more full account. That shouldn't take away from the fact that this is a touching tribute to a out queer punk who changed our scene for the better.

An Afternoon at New Rose with the Viletones
I have seen bits of Suzanne Naughton's film in Colin Brunton's latest “The Last Pogo Jumps Again”. The bits are stunning. Suzanne explained that she was a film student at Ryerson making a film called “Mondo Punk”. The film shot at the New Rose was supposed to be supplemental footgae to this film. She instructed the cameraman to shot cut aways so that she could edit it into the “Mondo Punk”. It was 800 feet of raw vintage toom follery at the New Rose in black and white, which looks like a punk rock house party with large sized posters from the time decorating the walls, all kinds of punk gear on display and an outline of a dead person on the floor that Leckie lies in. Leckie hams it up for the camera, Freddie Pompeii says a few things. Margaritta Passion is in the film along with Tank who plays some pinball whiule drinking Black Label. It is a precious time capsule for sure.

The Dishes at U of T (1977)
TV Ontario is a public broadcaster and back in the 70's they filmed live bands as part of their mandate to capture local artists. One of those bands was the Dishes who could be one of Toronto's first punk bands. They played the 3D show at OCA which is often refered to as the first local punk show in Toronto. They wrote “Rebel (Unorthodox)” for the Viletones. They released two singles and created that missing link betwen the glam and the punk scene. Don Pyle described their Roxy Music style which is seen in this live show outdoors at the University of Toronto. Don said this must have played at least 60 times on TVO and was able to get a DVD of the video from Steven Davies just before he passed away.

John Porter also had some footage on 8mm of the Dishes. He also had some footage of a show that Fifth Column performed at making up a sound track to his films he projected at the Funnel. Reportedly the songs are unreleased.

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