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Joe's Pub to Screen "Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC"


originally published: 06/29/2022


(NEW YORK, NY) -- Joe’s Pub will host Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC, a documentary premiering in NYC and open to the public on Wednesday, July 20 at 9:30pm. The film originally premiered at the Dock of the Bay Film Festival in San Sebastián, Spain on May 5, 2022, where it won the Judges Special Mention award and will be released worldwide on November 25. 

Nightclubbing is the first documentary about the renowned New York City nightclub Max's Kansas City (1965-1981) which had an indelible impact on the world of music, fashion, art, culture, and the creation of the New York City Punk Rock scene. As legend Alice Cooper puts it: "A million ideas were launched back there," referring to the Max's Kansas City famous backroom where Andy Warhol held court with artists, actors/actresses, assorted criminals, and various musicians, including the New York Dolls, The Stooges, and the highly influential Velvet Underground. Max’s was also an early safe haven for the city’s LGBTQ+ crowd including Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, and Jackie Curtis, and was presided over by trans DJ Wayne/Jayne County.

"We are thrilled to host the Nightclubbing and Sid screenings this summer," says Alex Knowlton, Director of Joe's Pub. "There’s a powerful through-line that links Max’s Kansas City to so much of the art that graces our stage, from the artists themselves to their influences to their impact. Max’s was a place where artists could share ideas, inspire one another, let loose, and be fully themselves. That spirit inspires our team at Joe’s Pub, and we look forward to invoking Max’s Kansas City in our room on July 20."

The film features unique archival footage and exclusive interviews with Alice Cooper, Jayne County, Billy Idol, Lenny Kaye, Steve Stevens, Elliott Murphy, Sylvain Sylvain, Penny Arcade, Alan Vega, H.R., Dr. Know, Harley Flanagan, Bob Gruen, Jay Jay French, Jesse Malin, Peter Crowley, Jimi LaLumia, Neon Leon, Leee Black Childers, Marty Thau, Ruby Lynn Reyner, Frank Infante, Jimmy Zero, Cynthia Ross, Peter Jordan, Donna Destri, Sonny Vincent, Mickey Leigh, Phyllis Stein, Phil Caivano, Denise Mercedes, Nick Marden, John Holmstrom, Louis X. Erlanger, Steven Blush, as well as exclusive live performance footage from Wayne/Jayne County & The Fast, Elliot Murphy, Johnny Thunders & The Senders, The Heartbreakers, The Testors, Bad Brains, Ruby & The Rednecks, The Stooges, Dead Boys, and others.

Filmmaker Danny Garcia proclaims, "This story of the birth of THE coolest nightclub that helped birth Punk Rock in New York City is told by the people who were there. It is highly authentic."

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 Producer Mike Schnapp adds, "I'm personally excited to see the mostly untold history of Max's Kansas City and its importance in the fostering of the New York City Punk Rock scene being unleashed on the world." 

Over the years, the club’s clientele included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Joan Baez, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Janis Joplin and many more. Max’s was also where David Bowie first met Iggy Pop — who ended up bloody and being taken to the hospital (by Alice Cooper) after a particularly lively performance. It’s where Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious played his last shows, backed by members of the New York Dolls and the Clash. It’s where Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen were signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis; where Bob Marley and the Wailers played their first American shows; where Debbie Harry waitressed; where the fledgling Beastie Boys first fought for their right to party; where Madonna first got an early taste of the city’s nightclub scene.

JOE’S PUB, a program of the Public Theater, was named for Public Theater founder Joseph Papp. Since it opened in 1998, Joe’s Pub has played a vital role in The Public's mission of supporting artists at all stages of their careers with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe's Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, continuing its commitment to diversity, production values, community, and artistic freedom. In addition to one-night-only concerts and multi-night engagements, Joe’s Pub is home to the annual Habibi Festival, which hosts artists representing contemporary and traditional music of the SWANA (Southwest Asia/North Africa) region, and The Vanguard Award & Residency, a yearlong curation series that celebrates the career, and community, of a prolific and influential artist—including Nona Hendryx, Judy Collins, Laurie Anderson, and Barbara Maier Gustern. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe's Pub presents over 700 shows featuring artists from all over the world and hosts over 100,000 audience members annually. Beyond public performances, Joe’s Pub also leads artist development programs like New York Voices, a commissioning program that helps musicians develop new performance projects, and Joe’s Pub Working Group, an artist-led development and collaboration cohort. Current commissioned artists include Daniel J. Watts & Nick Blaemire, Liza Paul & Bahia Watson, Sunny Jain, Vuyo Sotashe & Chris Pattishall, and treya lam. Joe's Pub is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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