A couple weeks back, Bikini Kill reissued their very first demo tape from 1991, Revolution Girl Style Now, via the band’s own record label. You’re probably about dried up after drooling over those three previously unreleased tracks included on the reissue and all the killer old photos of Kathleen Hanna and the band that emerged across the internet as a nod to the occasion. But get ready to salivate anew, coz we did some time travel of our own and rifled around (as gently as possible) the Kathleen Hanna Papers.
If you’re feeling a little sapped of Kembra Pfahler these days tell your beating heart shut up and be still. While we’ve been sitting around waiting to see Kembra’s follow-up to last year’s Future Feminism exhibition, NYU’s Fales Library has been getting busy canonizing the badass feminist, performance artist, and lead singer of shock rock group The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. The library recently acquired Kembra Pfahler’s archive, adding to the Downtown Collection– a galaxy of archives and what Director Marvin Taylor says is “one of the largest collections about punk rock anywhere.”
This week is your last chance to see The Punk Singer on the big screen, and you should definitely, definitely catch this cool doc about Kathleen Hanna – one of the most visible and outspoken figures of the Riot Grrl movement – before it leaves IFC Center and Nitehawk on Thursday.
The film’s archival footage of Hanna’s band Bikini Kill – not to mention its interviews with Kim Gordon, Hanna’s bandmates in Le Tigre and her husband Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys – filled us with so much nostalgia for the ‘90s (when Courtney Love was so, so much nuttier than she is now) that we were inspired to check out the Riot Grrrl Collection at NYU’s Fales Library.
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Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library
It has probably reminded this self-deprecating and essentially very private man why he dropped from the public eye to begin with. The tension between his introversion and the will to perform has always been Hell’s biggest conundrum. And what better way to help relive that dichotomy than a book tour? Maybe it’s a form of therapy. We have the feeling he would rather chew glass.
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Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.
The East Village was a very different and much more dangerous place in 1978. But it was still a shock to everyone on the Downtown scene when Johnny Blitz, the Dead Boys’ drummer, was stabbed in a fight on Second Avenue. Street violence isn’t quite what it was in those days, but one thing hasn’t changed: the problem of musicians and medical insurance, or the lack thereof. To help meet Blitz’s mounting medical bills, the CBGB community rallied with a four-day event, the Blitz Benefit (please, don’t call it “Punk Woodstock”). With a t-shirt created by the Ramones’ design guru, Arturo Vega, and more than 30 bands performing, it was a heartfelt outpouring of help and money for one of our own.
Billy Blitz, Johnny’s brother, recalled being just a teenager when his brother was stabbed. “I was in Cleveland so it was all new to me,” he said. “When I got to New York for the benefit, Stiv Bators [lead singer of the Dead Boys] and Tish Bellomo picked me up. They were shooting moons out the car window on the way to the club. I couldn’t believe it!” Keep Reading »
The Local is pleased to launch a regular column in which Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong sift through their voluminous archive of punk-era concert footage as it becomes part of the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library. They’ll share their favorite stories and clips along the way.
Pat: On a hot sticky night in July, 1975, I began videotaping punk bands at CBGBs. It was during the CBGB Rock Festival of Unrecorded Bands, with 40 groups that formed the core of the nascent music scene downtown. I was part of Metropolis Video, a video collective of eight, most of whom worked at MCTV’s public access department. That first night, we shot Blondie (still doing some covers, like the Velvets, Femme Fatale), the Talking Heads on their third or fourth gig out of RISD, and the Heartbreakers, a downtown super group with Richard Hell, who had just left Television, and Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan of the Dolls. It was their first Manhattan date. It was exciting and we shot now and then for about a year but the center would not hold and the collective dissolved.
Luckily, I met Emily Armstrong and after a night seeing Patti Smith at CBs, she agreed to work with me and a new partnership was formed. Our first band was the Dead Boys in 1977 and we continued for the next four years, often at CBs but also at other clubs like Max’s, Hurrah’s, Mudd Club, and Danceteria.
Emily: Now 32 years later, N.Y.U.’s Fales Library is making everything new again. The Downtown Collection is preserving and restoring the Nightclubbing archive of nearly 100 musical performances, 20-plus interviews, video art projects and more. It will be available for scholars (yes!) to rifle through and enjoy. I hope they do – I know I did. Keep Reading »