Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Posts Tagged ‘music documentary’

1 September 09: Live at The Smell @ The Downtown Independentt

Posted by Christina on September 2, 2009

live-at-smellSo, The Smell is a pretty legendary venue out here in Downtown LA. The bands, the art, the people – everything about it was perfect for the live show scene of LA. All it needed was its own documentary and man, did they get one. They screened it last week at the beautiful Downtown Independent.

L.A. Record: Live at the Smell @ The Downtown Independent

Some volume issues during a performance on screen render the crowd restless. Murmurs ripple through, speculating and questioning.

“Can’t hear a fucking thing!” cuts through the darkness, crass and unconstructive.

“Well, you should’ve been there!” retorts another faceless voice, more lighthearted. By the end of the film, he couldn’t have been more right.

The Smell first opened its doors in 1998 and to this day is the only Los Angeles venue heavily DIY in nearly every aspect. Dedicated to the purveyors and connoisseurs of music and art, the Smell is run by the artists whose work decorates the walls, by bands who schedule their own shows and volunteers who love art. It’s a community spot welcoming creative minds.

Michael Fierstein, of Static Aktion, has been working with club owner Jim Smith for over five years now, setting up shows and loving every minute. He’s brought some great acts to the Smell, a magic he used to make their documentary film about the legendary venue, Live at The Smell.

“I love The Smell, it’s my home,” said Fierstein, who produced the film. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jim Smith and it really was an honor that he would trust me to oversee a movie about the Smell, using The Smell’s name.”

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15 October 2007: Strummer not ‘Lost in the Supermarket’

Posted by Christina on March 7, 2009

joe_strummer_ver2I had the chance to attend a screening for this film and pitched the idea to cover it to the paper. I’m glad they took it because it would have been a real waste if an interested crowd of college students – like the ones at UCI – were left in the dark about such a great documentary.

New University Newspaper: Strummer not ‘Lost in the Supermarket’

Strummer not ‘Lost in the Supermarket’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 41, Issue 4 | Oct 15 2007

In the early 1970s and 1980s, the Clash revolutionized the meaning of punk and the purpose of rock ‘n’ roll. Band frontman Joe Strummer was at the head of that permanent change, becoming the paragon for bands who formed for a cause, and not just because the manager of some small-time, sidewalk sex shop found the perfect pieces to the perfect punk puzzle.

Before the Clash exploded on to the scene, Strummer was a gypsy-hippy hybrid, learning guitar in the London underground and a part of the squatting scene amongst British youth. He was an art student with aspirations to become a cartoonist and fronted the bands the 101ers and the Vultures.

Even before that, he was John Graham Mellor, a good student who played kick-the-can with his two older brothers in whatever exotic locale his career diplomat father was sent to that year. He had an interesting palate with which he would build his experience with the Clash.

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30 April 2007: The Face to Face of Keith’s ‘Punk Rock’

Posted by Christina on March 5, 2009

80432_lgI had the chance to see the documentary Punk Rock Eats Its Own: A Film About Face to Face at the Arclight in Hollywood, stay for the Q&A and review the film.

New University Newspaper: The Face to Face of Keith’s ‘Punk Rock’

The Face to Face of Keith’s ‘Punk Rock’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 40, Issue 26 | Apr 30 2007

When Face to Face arrived on the punk scene in the early ’90s, they used what probably initially made them want to become rock stars: the radio. When KROQ got a hold of Face to Face in the early ’90s, they must have played this Victorville, Calif. band’s single ‘Disconnected’ to death.

Yet Face to Face remained unknown, growing in fame through an underground network of fans, while the likes of new-school pop-punkers Blink 182 and The Offspring flew off the charts. The impact Face to Face had on the genre, however, is more telling in today’s music sphere than ever before, an achievement far greater than 15 minutes of pop-punk stardom.

‘Punk Rock Eats Its Own’ was screened as a part of the American Film Institute’s Music Documentary Series, which showed several documentaries and notable films from a wide range of musicians covering a spectrum of genres, from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ to a film about the Buena Vista Social Club of Cuba. Most notably, the series featured films depicting the musical artistry of the likes of Metallica, Radiohead and Tupac, and even included ‘This is Spinal Tap.’

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25 September 2006: ‘American Hardcore’: Firm in Its Message

Posted by Christina on March 2, 2009

american_hardcore_ver2This article was my reemergence back into the article-writing scene. I was fed up with my long hiatus and welcomed the work more than ever this second time around. I had a chance to go to the screening for this documentary and pitched the idea to the section. They took it, and I was back.

New University Newspaper: ‘American Hardcore’: Firm in Its Message

‘American Hardcore’: Firm in Its Message
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 40, Issue 2 | Sep 25 2006

American hardcore first sprouted teeth in the coastal towns of Southern California. The music reacted and built upon Punk and focused on anger and incredibly quick playing.

The scene in the early 1980s was a result of all the pent-up anger, all the societal pressure that turned ugly, raging prepubescent coals into the tattooed and pierced diamonds of hardcore.

‘American Hardcore’ is a documentary that showcases this phenomenon.

‘I hate my boss, I hate the people that I work with, I hate my parents, I hate all these authoritative figures, I hate politicians, I hate people in government, I hate the police. And now I have a chance to be with a bunch of my own type of people, and I have a chance to go off and that’s basically what it was,’ said Keith Morris, original vocalist for Black Flag and Circle Jerks.

The film exhibits 60 bands, including Black Flag, The Germs and the Bad Brains, and their rise in the hardcore punk scene across the United States.

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