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Louder, Faster: Punk in Performance

Thursday, June 19, 2008
8:30 p.m. Target Video
Joe Rees (U.S., 1978–88)

Joe Rees in Person
Featuring the Nuns, Crime, the Avengers, the Screamers, Negative Trend, Dead Kennedys, the Mutants, Flipper, and others


Don’t mistake Target Video for a discount venture. There was no better outfit capturing the sonic suffrage of San Francisco’s punk scene. For one drastic decade, 1978 to 1988, artist Joe Rees, known for a spell as Joe Target, documented hundreds of punk performances at venues around town and at his own studio at 678 Van Ness. These performances were then collaged with shock-troop tactics—bombs detonating, flags flapping, disasters galore, and every kind of found visual convulsion. Target’s compilations were not about the scene—they were energized extensions of a vital underground that also included art and performance, such as Diamanda Galas’s banshee presence and the machine mayhem of Mark Pauline’s Survival Research Labs. Many of the most remarkable moments of punk’s infancy survive because of Target’s untiring reflex to record: Crime at San Quentin prison, the Cramps at Napa State Hospital, the Mutants at the School for the Deaf. Right on Target.

—Steve Seid

• Photographed by Rees, Jill Hoffman, Sam Edwards, Jackie Sharp. (Total running time: c. 120 mins, Color/B&W, Mini-DV, From Target Video)