Top 5s from Razorcake 113: The Muffs: RIP Kim Shattuck

Deb Frazin Photo Column—Crisis Actor

Tony Knox from Crisis Actor puts on a monthly punk show called “Band Practice” and the final show of the year was HELLFIRE-HOT!

Lorien Lamarr Photo Column—Fresh

Fresh (London, U.K.) writes pop punk with emo-styled confessional lyrics accented by angry snarls and melodic gang vocals with some indie pop influence mixed in. It’s bright. It’s energetic. It’s raw. It’s fresh.

Joanie Lindstrom’s Loud Rock for Late Risers by Daniel Makagon

Boston has been an important city for punk, hardcore, and indie rock, and the city has also been home to a broad spectrum of radio stations playing alternative music. Joanie Lindstrom discusses the unique qualities of the longest-running punk radio show in the United States.

Webcomic Wednesdays #408 by Eric Koucheravy

Click Read More for full size.

Featured Record Reviews from Razorcake 113: Tomar Control, Charles Albright, Duderella, Fetish, Friend Of My Youth, Radioactivity, Snuff, Snuggle!, Subhumans

Deb Frazin Photo Column—Reckling

Two kick-ass Reckling shows in four days was the perfect prescription for me this week.

Anthony Mehlhaff Photo Column—The Freakees

Slipknot, Ghost, and now The Freakees: The next generation of masked rock and roll can be seen in a DIY shithole near you, if you live in the land O’ shit, aka L.A.

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, Directed by Pamela B. Green

This excellent documentary begins on shaky ground with a quick-fire montage of industry big-timers and indie heroes engaged in talking head interviews. The gist of this segment suggests a lot of industry insiders and intellectuals have not heard of pioneering filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché. The film asks: “How could such an important filmmaker not be known?” Here lies my only contention with the film: it struggles to present itself as a mystery unnecessarily.

Guy-Blaché’s memoirs were published in 1996. She is the subject of several books. She had a retrospective at The Whitney Museum of Art in 2010. Every year since 2012, an award is given in her name at the Golden Film Festival. She’s not a household name, but she hardly wallows in obscurity. I embrace the film’s contention her work was not taken as seriously as her male counterparts, but I also believe filmmaking in general was not taken seriously nor was it well-documented as it could have been during this crucial time of its infancy. And like many filmmakers working from the early nineteenth century through the 1920s, much of Guy-Blaché’s footage has literally disintegrated. Only about a third of her films survived.

But the film settles quickly and begins to write Guy-Blaché into the tapestry of film history. This aspect of the story is rich enough to carry the film. It provides an invaluable opportunity to categorize and observe her surviving work. Director Pamela B. Green makes the case for Guy-Blaché with compelling use of footage, interviews, and an excellent timeline moving the film forward at an entertaining and informative pace.

Guy-Blaché is widely believed to be the first director to make a narrative film. She also holds the distinction of being the first filmmaker to use an all African-American cast, although the result is objectionable, thematically, by today’s standards. She is also credited as first filmmaker to use close-ups, hand-tinted color, and synchronized sound (although the film never fully qualifies the contention she was the first to use close-ups). She also started Solax Films, snapping up the title of first female head of a studio. A sign on the studio wall is one of her prime directions to her actors: “Be Natural.” It was Guy-Blaché’s philosophy.

What is most astounding is all of this happened over an approximately twenty- year career. By the 1920s, film production was relocating to Hollywood, California, and Guy-Blaché encountered setbacks that pushed her studio (and much of the film business in Fort Lee, New Jersey, an early hub for film production) out of business. Guy-Blaché moved to Paris to find work, but struggled and eventually gave up or lost interest. “Why?” is a mystery Green chases to a logical conclusion. Guy-Blaché disintegrated into history like her fragile celluloid catalogue. She was a pioneer whose work would further an industry that certainly turned its back on her. This film does a first-rate job of telling her story. –Billups Allen (Zeitgeist)

Blood and Steel, Cedar Crest Country Club: Streaming, Directed by Michael Maniglia

In 1986 a group of kids built a giant halfpipe in a country club in Centreville, Va. The project was funded by one of their dads who owned the country club and even set them up with an architect to make the ramp perfect. The frosting on the cake was that the ramp had sheets of steel opposed to plywood for the top layer. It even had an apartment and a garage built under the decks. For years the Cedar Crest Country Club (aka the CCCC or The Crest) became a destination spot for skateboarders and punk bands from across the country. People moved to the area just to be closer to this Mecca of a ramp.

This documentary covers the closing of the skateparks and the destruction of wood ramps that lead to this project. How a bunch of frustrated kids who had nowhere to skate took the initiative and used their blood, sweat, tears, and happy-go-lucky dad’s money to build the ramp.

We hear testimonials by Ian MacKaye, members of Gwar, and many others on what it was like to play on a ramp in the middle of the woods to hundreds of sweaty kids. You get to see actual footage of bones being broken during some rowdy “snake sessions.” Other than those incidents, the punks, skaters, metalheads, and even country bumpkins got along just fine at the tent-filled grounds of the CCCC.

It’s a good documentary with a lot of archived videos and photos from CCCC’s five-year run. It would’ve been nice if the doc went into more detail on why the patrons just stopped showing up. But then again, if it was any longer than ninety minutes I could have seen myself getting bored. –Rick V. (Subterra Films)