at the Tribeca Film Festival

Patty Astor in a Still from Celine Danhier's BLANK CITY, 2009

Last night, Laura and I were privileged to attend the world premier of Celine Danhier's BLANK CITY at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film is a beautifully directed documentary montage about the underground cinema scene in New York in the late '70s and early '80s. The soundtrack features a great selection of music from that era by Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Contortions, DNA, Theoretical Girls, my old band The Dance, and many others. The narrative is carried by a series of fantastic interviews with many of the key players in No Wave cinema and music, including Amos Poe, Jim Jarmusch, Lydia Lunch, Beth & Scott B, James Chance -- and an incredible collection of film clips from long lost archives -- films so obscure that they may have only been shown once in somebody's apartment, but were nevertheless at the forefront of the fiercely iconoclastic creative groundswell of that moment in New York. Danhier's film gloriously and accurately portrays the scene's gritty, dangerous, druggy adrenalin, and while convincingly asserting the truth, courage, and historical importance of all those uncompromising projects, also erases any trace of nostalgia for that time.