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Remembering CBGBs

Burning Down the House

from myspace.com/nycpunk

I realize the few screenings for this movie soldout quickly so I’ll share my feedback for anyone who missed it, as I just saw it last night. Although I hate long, intellectualized movie reviews, I found I have more to say than I expected.

First of all, due to the fact that this movie hits New Yorkers on a more emotional level than anywhere else, I’m extremely surprised and disappointed that I saw no attention paid to this film on NY1, the Village Voice or the papers…..especially after the onslaught of coverage or support upon the club’s closing. It’s a special movie that deserves more.

The filmmaker Mandy Stein is the daughter of Seymour Stein (Sire Records), a native New Yorker with a lifetime’s exposure to the Ramones, etc., and also made “Too Tough To Die (tribute to Johnny)”. The post-movie panel included Tommy Ramone and Chris Frantz (THeads), but I found more interest in what Jesse Malin and Trigger had to say about other NYC club closings and the sad state of affairs, as well as Mandy’s insights on Hilly (& Muzzy).

As the title suggests, the movie focuses more on the politics and the emotions of CBGB’s latter situation, as opposed to hours of live concert footage (though it certainly includes some). And if you happen to have spent years there, it’s disturbing to watch the place being torn apart, and watch Hilly’s health deteriorate. The ending brought back to me all the frustration and anger we dealth with, towards Muzzy and Mayor Bloomber’s inability to negotiate.

Thanks to Mandy for making this documentary which will stand the test of time as a historical account of a universally important rocknroll era, not just a club. It’s a witness for those who never made the trek there, and certainly puts ‘closing’ rumors and questions to rest.

Unfortunately there’s no distribution deal for this film yet, but as soon as any more viewings or a dvd become available, you’ll be sure to know here! I’m sure some of you will find yourselves in cameos.

On a personal note I once again want to thank Kabi, Little Steven, Tommy Ramone and Blondie’s members for their constant support to Hilly and CBGB, when so many others who started there could not be “found”. As well as the CBGB employees and Mandy. You rock.

More info: myspace.com/cbgbmovie

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