Friday, October 04, 2013

Border Radio (DVD)

I arrived in LA in 1979, so caught the last year or two of the hip punk rock scene in small clubs before things deteriorated into horrible, boring hard core (which helped me move into the garage scene, but that's another story). I got to see bands like X, the Blasters, the Flesheaters, and hundreds more in dive bars like the Hong Kong Cafe (which appears in the film - very nostalgia inducing!), Blackies, Club 88, etc., but I never got to know most of that crew. There was a real clique with these bands, and many members worked together in side projects and, obviously, hung out at parties, as well as shared stages. This film, while essentially portraying a fictional story, also documents this scene, with actors including John Doe, Phil Alvin, Chris D. (Flesheaters/Divine Horsemen) and music from their bands, as well as other locals such as the Lazy Cowgirls, Green on Red and Los Lobos.

Co-directed by three UCLA students, Kurt Voss, Dean Lent, and Allison Anders, the movie is filmed in black and white and contains some truly lovely shots of Southern California and Mexico. The story is pretty flimsy and not very linear, and the acting has been described as "ramshackle", but it is a nice remembrance of these days. Funny to see just how shabby most of these early punk rockers dressed (not in what was to become the punk uniform, but just in torn jeans and t-shirts), but the music is undeniably good. Besides the aforementioned, we also get bit parts by Iris Berry, Texacala Jones, Eddie Flowers (of the Gizmos/Crawlspace) and many more, as well as some great location shots.

The DVD includes a number of extras (which I haven't seen yet), including a "making-of" and some deleted scenes. Very cool for fans of the early LA scene.