emily armstrong

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Alone At Last : Slip Into a Booth and Prepare to Be Seduced

(Film still via "Alone at Last", Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong)

(Film still via “Alone at Last”, Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong)

“At that time in New York things were really wild,” Emily Armstrong recalled of the ’70s punk scene. She and her partner, Pat Ivers, are old school East Village types– they truly lived the Downtown era, and lucky for us they documented over 100 shows at CBGBs, filming bands like DNA and unbelievable moments like Iggy Pop covering Frank Sinatra for their weekly TV show, Nightclubbing. After NYU’s Fales Library acquired their archive for the Downtown Collection, thousands of the duo’s film reels were digitized and, for a time, were part of a weekly column at B+B.

Alone at Last emerged out of that archival effort and now, after more than 30 years since the artists last saw them, the 1981 black-and-white vignettes featuring 52 people who were prompted to seduce the viewer, will be shown at Howl! Happening. The video series captures the last breath of the freewheeling ’70s Downtown scene right before AIDS hit. “People who have seen it feel that it’s a very interesting depiction of that culture, that moment, because it was truly a moment. Soon after it was shot, people realized what AIDS was. So having a lot of sex for pleasure was completely redefined: having a lot of open sex was suicide. Things really changed, really fast.”

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This Week at the Newsroom: Screenings of How to Act Bad + Nightclubbing

This week at the Bedford + Bowery Newsroom: bang your head on the punk rock! These two screenings pair some of our favorite documentarians with the outré — and outrageous — musicians they’ve filmed over the years. As always, the events are free — just let us know you’re coming via the Facebook event links below.


howtoactbad_longflyer_revised_Angelo(2)How to Act Bad + a q&a with Dima Dubson and Adam Green

Last time we saw Adam Green, the singer-songwriter who co-founded of The Moldy Peaches, he was installing a giant cat sarcophagus in an East Village window and plotting a papier-mâché remake of “Aladdin” starring Macauly Culkin. If that made you wonder what makes the man tick, then you’ll definitely want to catch Wednesday’s screening of “How to Act Bad,” a documentary that follows Green over the course of two years, offering a candid and often comical look into his paintings and sculptures, drug experimentations, filmmaking and romantic dysfunctions. After the screening Green himself, along with filmmaker Dima Dubson, will be on hand to teach you how to act bad.

FRIDAY, OCT. 4, 7 P.M.

NIGHTCLUBBING_edited-1Nightclubbing + a discussion with the filmmakers and musicians
Consider this a killer warm-up to next week’s CBGB Festival. Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong spent the late ‘70s filming performances at places like CBs, Mudd Club and Danceteria, and amassing an archive that’s currently being digitized for the NYU Fales Library’s Downtown Collection. Readers of Bedford + Bowery have seen clips from Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the NYC debut of the Dead Kennedys, and even Iggy Pop covering Sinatra. On Friday, you’ll see rare gems from the Nightclubbing archive like you’ve never seen ’em before — on the big screen, with the sound turned up. After the screening, Ivers and Armstrong will chat with Richard Boch, an artist and writer currently working on a memoir about his nearly two years working the door at Mudd Club, and Pat Irwin, a founding member of The Raybeats and Eight Eyed Spy who later joined The B-52s and currently scores TV shows and movies for Showtime, HBO, and others.

All events at the Bedford + Bowery Newsroom, 155 Grand, off of Bedford Ave.

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Nightclubbing | The Dead Boys

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong are sifting through their voluminous archive of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library. Here’s this week’s trip down memory lane, starting with a word form Jeff Magnum, bassist for the Dead Boys.

Stiv Bators (Credit: Emily Armstrong/Nightclubbing)

Stiv Bators (Credit: Emily Armstrong/Nightclubbing)

I was working in a record store, it was horrible. Farmers would come in demanding John Denver, or say, “Do you have that record they play on the radio…” But at least there was Rocket From the Tombs. They were the only good band in Cleveland in the early 1970s, and I went to see ’em play a lot! I heard they were breaking up but they were playing one last gig (Bators and Cheetah were gonna start a new band). I went to that last gig and I walked up to Cheetah, who I never met, and told him, “I’m the bass player yer lookin’ for!” That new band was called Frankenstein (Bators, Cheetah, Blitz, Zero, and me).” [In 1976, the band left for New York without Magnum, and booked a gig at CBGBs. They came back for him, and returned to the city as the Dead Boys.] We went on this 20-hour car ride, the whole time them telling me how great it will all be, that they had a place and that we would be playing at the greatest club in the world. I got to the club and said, “What a shit-hole.” But it became our living room. We were there every night and when we played, we kicked ass.— Jeff Magnum

The Dead Boys held a special status at CBGBs. They were managed by the club’s owner, Hilly Krystal, and played there more than any other band. More →

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Nightclubbing | A Night at CBGBs

Nightclubbing | A Night at CBGBs

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.

The Nightclubbing archive.

The Nightclubbing archive.

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. More →