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The Decline of Western Civilization

  • Nowadays 56-06 Cooper Avenue Ridgewood, NY, 11385 United States (map)

Maysles Cinema Wednesdays at Nowadays Presents: 

Introduced by members of Brooklyn based punk band HVAC.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

John Heyn and Jeff Krulik, 1986, 17 min
Judas Priest is the best. That's pretty much the undisputed sentiment in a certain Maryland parking lot amongst the partyers and concert-goers in 1986. Heavy metal fans from around America have converged outside a now demolished concert arena to get wild before the legendary metal band takes the stage and they are more than ready to share to share their fandom in this short film. There's a rumor that this cult classic became a favorite on the Nirvana tour bus. Some consider it a VHS era viral video.


The Decline of Western Civilization

Penelope Spheeris, 1981, 100 min
The first film in Penelope Spheeris’ iconic Decline Trilogy places itself in the middle of L.A.’s circa 1981 punk scene and in so doing becomes a repository of stark punk commentary on music, philosophy and life in the squats and venues that made up the stomping grounds of their late 70’s rock-and-roll overthrow. Filmed over the course of 1979 and 1980, The Decline of Western Civilization captures performances by some of the most influential punk bands to date including Black Flag, Fear, Circle Jerks, X, and The Germs. But perhaps even more lasting than the iconic performances and interviews is the frank approach the film takes with the people on the scene. Germs’ Darby Crash cooks eggs, Alice Bag of Alice Bag Band gets in a fight, and fans and musicians alike explain what it feels like for people to be afraid of you on the street. Accused of "glorifying these heathens" and quickly banned from screening in L.A. when it premiered, Decline has withstood many of the same upturned-noses as its subjects and lasts today as an albeit pallid document of a countercultural revolution that in many ways was just learning to walk.

Earlier Event: June 30
Teen Producers Academy Showcase
Later Event: July 12
Gimme Shelter