Pretty in Punk 

The PFA has a parade of them in June.

There's no punk like an old punk. Sheena is getting on a bit — the punk rock sensibility first took hold more than thirty years ago. But the late-'70s "no future" zeitgeist has proved remarkably durable, and now the Pacific Film Archive is enshrining the moment with a short, quick, brutal four-night series: Louder, Faster: Punk in Performance. PFA video curator Steve Seid, who programmed it, admirably insists on films and videos made during the punk era only — no nostalgia like Sid and Nancy or End of the Century allowed. So we get punk performers caught in the glare of their original notoriety, without considered afterthoughts by slumming intellectuals.

Rarest and most noteworthy of the bunch is Target Video, a compilation of perfs by Flipper, Dead Kennedys, the Nuns, Negative Trend, and other local Bay Area punk rockers by artist Joe Rees, aka Joe Target, who ran a San Francisco studio and excelled at capturing musical footage in the raw, like the Cramps playing Napa State Hospital or Crime's gig at San Quentin. Rees appears in person at the June 19 screening. Want national? Try Ivan Kral and Amos Poe's The Blank Generation (1976), with the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, etc., cavorting at CBGB and other NYC venues. It's accompanied by a pair of shorts and filmmaker Mindaugis Bagdon, this Thursday, June 5 (8:30 p.m.).

Penelope Spheeris, director of The Decline of Western Civilization, shows up at the PFA to introduce it on June 26. The theatrically released 1981 film documents the Los Angeles punk scene, with music by X, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, et al. On June 12, catch an overview of punk with the emphasis on London in Lech Kowalski's D.O.A., featuring the heavyweights: Sex Pistols, Clash, Stiv Bators and the rest of the Dead Boys, Generation X, and the godfather himself, Iggy Pop. Before the movies, visit BAM and get in the mood with Bruce Conner: Mabuhay Gardens, an exhibition of photos by artist/filmmaker Conner taken at the legendary Fab Mab in North Beach, epicenter of Northern California's punk scene.


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