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The Blank Generation



Louder, Faster, Shorter

Louder, Faster: Punk in Performance

Thursday, June 5, 2008
8:30 p.m. The Blank Generation
Ivan Kral, Amos Poe (U.S., 1976)

Mindaugis Bagdon in Person
Featuring Talking Heads, Blondie, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, Wayne County, and others


Sometimes a filmmaker has instincts aligned perfectly with the moment. Such is the case with Amos Poe, a downtown denizen who entered the New York punk scene as it was just rearing its howling head. With camera in hand, Poe began capturing this new wave of bands at dank venues like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. Poe had a great guide: Ivan Kral, bass player for the Patti Smith Group. Together, they made the prototypical punk portrait, The Blank Generation, mating a slapdash style of zooms and shock lighting with starkly original stylemockers like Television and Blondie. A babyfaced David Byrne sings “Psycho Killer,” Joey Ramone electrifies with “Shock Treatment,” the ever-wiggy Wayne County holds court with “Rock ’n’ Roll Enema,” and, at the center of it all, Patti Smith drones with acid tongue a wily cover of “Gloria.” The “blank” in this Blank Generation would be short-lived. It was soon occupied by a music that was anything but vacant.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Richard Hell. Photographed by Poe. (55 mins, B&W, 16mm, From Amos Poe)

Preceded by shorts:
Deaf/Punk (Richard Gaikowski, U.S., 1979) records the strange intersection of the punk scene and San Francisco’s Deaf Club. Between the sound and the silence, the Offs perform. (8 mins, B&W, 16mm, PFA Collection)
Louder, Faster, Shorter (Mindaugis Bagdon, U.S., 1979). “Punks Against Oppression!” gathered at the Mabuhay in 1978 to listen to the Avengers, Dils, Mutants, Sleepers, and UXA play a benefit. This is Bagdon’s rowdy record of that seminal show. (17 mins, B&W, 16mm, PFA Collection)

• (Total running time: 80 mins)