It's official! Alternative Tentacles will be releasing the dvd version of the long-awaited "924 Gilman" film directed by Jack Curran and his Scarred Films outfit. Subtitled "Let's Talk about Tact and Timing," the documentary includes interviews with tons of people, including Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Rancid, Offspring, Jesse Michaels, author Wendy-O-Matik, & your AT Mail Male Jesse Luscious. There's also many live performances, including Operation Ivy, Fleshies, Pansy Division, Screeching Weasel, The Frisk, and Ted Leo And The Pharmacists. Some of the proceeds will go directly to the 924 Gilman collective.
"It was my goal from the beginning was to avoid having a scripted narrator (a good tool but the easy way out). After hours of editing and reediting I think it worked.
This documentary features interviews with past and present volunteers that represent most all of the positions required to keep 924 Gilman St. running. (Booking, Security, Stage Managing, Coordinating, Storekeeping, Meeting Secretary etc...). These are the folks that make everything else possible. Let's hear it for the volunteers!"
Jack Curran's documentary captures the collective sweat condensing on the walls of 924 Gilman, the legendary Berkeley, California punk rock club. The film's message is that the band, audience and staff are all equally important to the success of the show.
The history, inner workings, and impact of the club are revealed through interviews with Seminal artists that include Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Lars Frederickson, Matt Freeman, Dave Scattered, Jesse Luscious, Sweettooth, and author Wendy-O-Matik.
The live performances shown in the film give you a small sense of what it is like to attend a show. Performances by Operation Ivy, Pansy Division, Fleshies, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Against Me, Jason Webley, Panty Raid, Screeching Weasel, Pinhead Gunpowder, Dominatrix (Brazil), D.S.B. (Japan), and Atom and His Package.
Jack Curran, Director said, “I made this film in hope that people in other towns, across the U.S. and the world would be inspired and empowered to start a club of their own.”
Jack Curran got the idea to make a documentary about well-known Berkeley all-ages cooperative venue 924 Gilman Street (commonly referred to as Gilman Street) from two sources: his College of San Mateo film Professor Jay Rosenblatt and the skateboarding documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys."
"One of the first things he taught me was to film what you know," Curran says, "so you don't fake it and it's not so much homework. It'll come across as sincere. I wanted to film something, and I thought Gilman Street would be a great thing to document." Although Curran is resolute that discussing his film is not tantamount to discussing himself, he does allow that he was in a band that played Gilman Street. It's hard to imagine any young Bay Area punk musician in the '90s not playing there. The list of iconic rockers Curran interviews includes Jello Biafra, Ian MacKaye, Lars Frederiksen, Matt Freeman, Dave Scattered and Sweettooth. The film includes performances by Operation Ivy, Pansy Division, Fleshies, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Against Me, Jason Webley, Panty Raid, Screeching Weasel, Pinhead Gunpowder, Dominatrix, D.S.B. , and Atom and His Package. One of the first decisions Curran made was to veto any voice-from-God documentary narration. The story is told through interviews and concert footage. "It's important for me to have volunteers and musicians tell the story," he says, "because I don't think one person should speak for the place." Curran didn't want to speak for Gilman in an interview either, but he did say he could attribute the venue's success (it's been around since 1987) to the things that haven't changed. It is totally volunteer run. It's members only (although membership dues will run you just $2 a year). It is all-ages and no alcohol is served. Through twice-monthly meetings, issues are raised and duties are divvied up. It's an idealistic operation that has lasted. For touring musicians, it offers the rare opportunity to play outside the usual club scene. "It's so much better than what they normally have to deal with. Shows are usually about money and alcohol sales -- and there aren't that many all-ages shows, because you barely make any money off of kids," Curran says. For those who believed in the ethics behind Gilman Street, it was a great place to play. "You'd barely make gas money but that wouldn't matter," he says. Gilman Street has been the model for other venues -- such as New York's ABC No Rio in lower Manhattan -- but Curran hopes that his documentary can further encourage young people who are sick of being shut out of rock shows because they aren't a source for alcohol revenue. "I had this idealistic dream -- we were hoping to inspire kids in other towns to do something similar. By laying it out, showing how each aspect of running the club goes and how simple it is, we could show it was possible," he says. "So touring bands next summer would have an easier time."