Day 8: X: The Unheard Music – Film at Arbor Brew Company
This documentary was listed as starting at 8:30 but in reality it started at 9pm. Normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal since it was at a bar but since I quit drinking after I got a kidney infection a month ago and couldn’t find anyone to go to this event with me it was a recipe for a super awkward half hour.
I spent the time trying to come up with a Presidential trivia game for Liz’s Valentine’s Day/President’s Day party. I’m not sure how the game will work exactly but I came up with some pretty good questions.
Anyway, the movie finally started a little after 9. I didn’t realize that it was a part of a fundraiser for WCBN, U of M’s college radio station (which is totally something I theoretically support, even if I didn’t actually buy anything to literally support them).
The film was called X: The Unheard Music, and it was about the Los Angeles punk band X. X is one of those punk bands that kind of transcends the punk genre. They were completely grounded in the Los Angeles punk scene at the same time I think they were more arty and cerebral than a lot of the other well known bands to come out of the area.
The movie was really cool. It was fun and irreverent. It combined vintage video clips, interviews with the band members, videos, and performances. Being something of a punk rock historian my favorite part was the footage of the Masque (an infamous and short lived LA punk club) after it closed and the interview with its proprietor, Brandan Mullen who was wearing a crazy long fake beard for some hilarious reason.
One thing that I thought they would address in the movie but didn’t was X’s part in the seminal 1981, punk documentary the Decline of Western Civilization. I had read interviews with Exene, the singer of X, where she talked about being very unhappy with the bands portrayal in Decline. Given that Unheard Music took a very negative view of media and commercialization I thought they would address this, but they didn’t.
I did think the end of the film dragged a little. A lot of the end of the movie was music videos and footage of performances. I was much more interested in the interviews and the history than the performances. If I just wanted to listen to X I would (and I do). And if I wanted to watch performance videos I would, since that’s what youtube is for (well, that and funny cat videos).
Now it’s super late and I’m going to post this, typos and all, and go to bed. Hopefully, I’ll have some punk rock dreams.
I think I’m sitting out tomorrow but Katie will be at this week’s Penny Stamps lecture at 5pm at the Michigan Theater.