924 GILMAN STREET
Let's Talk About Tact And Timing...
DVD - $15.00
Director Jack Curran's debut feature, 924 Gilman Street, is an ambitious documentary that chronicles the 21-year history of the volunteer-run, all-ages venue in Berkeley, California and captures a music scene still thriving today on creativity and a sense of camaraderie.
In 924 Gilman Street, Curran crafts an intimate portrait of a small punk venue that continues to foster a vital music scene, and most importantly, a sense of hope that punk principles and practices can build a successful, long-running community.
Founded in late 1986, 924 Gilman Street is a DIY punk venue operated solely by volunteers. While many music venues, DIY or not, have succumbed to urban gentrification, and while punk culture became co-opted by the mainstream, 924 Gilman has survived and is still going strong.
The interviews & live performances show the synergy of band, audience, and venue that makes this a special place. The feature film is 86 minutes long, and the DVD extras include a short film with operational details of Gilman, plus a clean classroom audio version. All Region Compatible NTSC!
People interviewed in the documentary & the short film:
Lars Frederickson (Rancid)
Matt Freeman (Op Ivy, Rancid)
Adrienne Droogas (Spitboy)
Richie Bucher (Sweet Baby)
Jake Filth (Filth)
Jesse Michaels (Op Ivy)
Lawrence Livemore (Lookout! Records)
Mike Kirsch (Fuel)
Eric Yee (DWK, US Thugs)
Ted Leo (The Pharmacists)
Paul Curran (Onion Flavored Rings)
Ken (Gilman security)
Dan W (Left Off The Dial Records)
Jerme Spew (graverobber)
Sweettooth (Lil' Runt)
Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker)
Dick Lucas (Subhumans, Citizen Fish)
Naoma (Gilman booker)
Jake (Gilman booker)
Alex Knoll (comedian)
Jocyelyn (Capitol Punishment)
Dale (Capitol Punishment)
Jesse Luscious (Blatz, Frisk, AT mail male)
Ariel Awesome (Gilman Co-Head Coordinator)
Al Blotto (Blottos)
Will Sedition (Acts Of Sedition)
Dave Scattered (ex-Head Coordinator)
Chris (Gilman security)
Wendy O Matik (Gag Order, author)
Chuck Goshert, PhD (Monsula)
Andy Asp (Nuisance)
Anna Joy (Blatz)
Dolf (Trust Zine)
Band performances included in the documentary include:
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Delightful Little Nothings
The Damage Done
Atom & His Package
"While on a personal level I tend to agree more with the sentiment expressed in the ANTiSEEN song "Hippy Punk," I can't help but admire the tenacity of the collective of determined punks who run what might be the most well-known still operating punk rock venue in the world (R.I.P. CBGB's), 924 Gilman St. located in Berkeley, CA. Although the club hosts a lot of bands many people love but I absolutely cannot wrap my head around, the documentary thankfully moves beyond the music to shed light on the behind-the-scenes aspect of collective that operates the venue as well as tracing it's history.
First-time filmmaker Jack Curran eschews the traditional narration you get in so many documentaries, but has no trouble conveying a clean, linear narrative through interviews with those involved in Gilman then and now. While a lot of the Berkeley PC-ness, whose aura seemed to envelop Gilman for a long period of time, has subsided to a large degree, the basic elements of hippiedom assumed by the folks who run the place is clearly still in force. I'm not saying this is a good or bad thing, but it's still very much a true collective; one that in many ways is not really that different from a local food co-op, a community bank or an Israeli Kibbutz.
The Gilman Street Project started as an experimental, volunteer run punk-oriented venue on New Year's Eve 1986-'87; but by the middle of 1988, the late Tim Yohannon (founder/creator of MaximumRocknRoll and one of the co-founders of Gilman) declared the 'experiment' a failure and walked away. Undaunted, some of the other people who worked there and saw not only it's potential but it's already established position as an anchor for the entire Berkeley scene decided to close it down for a month, re-organize everything, and reopen with a wider variety of music and performances. With the exception of that month, Gilman has continuously run shows every Friday and Saturday night for 20 years now - pretty damn impressive no matter how you look at it. With what's probably the third generation of people coming up through the ranks and running the place now, it's not surprising one person mentions regularly seeing ten and twelve year olds at shows. Overall it's very engaging film that, despite the often crappy music, will probably prove to be an important documentary over time."
- B-Movie Buffet
"It's a funny thing to see the punk generation grow old. In America, raging against the machine must be done either ironically or moronically, unless you really want to be shot at from helicopters. The myriad movements inspired by punk survived largely by becoming institutions. These days, resistance has been relegated to a mere fashion statement. Punk is now a charming phase for white kids to go through.
So there's something bittersweet and nostalgic about watching Jack Curran's documentary 924 Gilman St.: Let's Talk About Tact and Timing, about the world-famous Berkeley punk venue, which first opened its doors in 1986. The film details the origins of the venue and its early years under the umbrella of MaximumRocknRoll magazine, featuring first-hand accounts interspersed with footage of more recent performances of bands like Ted Leo & the Pharmacists and Pansy Division, filmed by Curran and crew. That the all-ages venue is still open 22 years hence is testament to the tenacity of its volunteers, who book the bands, clean the toilets, and negotiate for its existence with the City of Berkeley. Gilman changed the punk rock world by barring bands deemed homophobic, sexist, racist, or on major labels.
Punk historians and archivists will appreciate being able to put faces to legendary punk names and voices like Op Ivy's Jesse Michaels and Fugazi's Ian MacKaye. The film, distributed by Alternative Tentacles, does a reasonable job of explaining what makes Gilman so special."
- East Bay Express
"Late this August, Alternative Tentacles released a full-length film documentary on the venerable Berkeley all-ages punk institution, 924 Gilman Street. The debut from director Jack Curran, 924 Gilman St: Let's Talk about Tact and Timing features interviews with notable East Bay mainstays like Matt Freeman of Rancid and Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy, those who played the Gilman, like Ted Leo, The Offspring, Against Me!, Jello Biafra and Ian MacKaye, as well as Gilman's volunteer staff. Portions of the proceeds from the film go to benefit 924 Gilman Street.
Through these interviews and clips of live footage from Fleshies, Pansy Division, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Pinhead Gunpowder (Billy Joe Armstrong's pre-Green Day gig) and Operation Ivy, Curran explores the music scene that Gilman sustained and that in turn sustained Gilman, and the sense of community that remains today at the 21-year old venue...
An interview with Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy dives into the main topics of the film: how Gilman changed the punk scene and the reasons for its longevity. The film then walks the viewer through the acquisition of the space, the importance of finding a landlord that supported the venture, the brief but crucial involvement of Maximum Rocknroll under Tim Yohannon, the $40,000 worth of work that went into making a blank warehouse the Gilman that everybody knows and loves, equipped with sound and stage and those infamous graffiti-covered walls...
Key points are raised, such as how Gilman taught punk kids that it was OK to be responsible, which led to trust and the building of community, Gilman's practice of being on good terms with the surrounding neighborhood at all times, and how they had their asses covered from the beginning with their papers in order and a solid bureaucratic foundation. Also the fact that there can never be another 924 Gilman - even if people in other cities start a venue based on the same ideas, that runs the same way, it will still reflect that individual community, just as Gilman reflects the East Bay.
More than the legacy of this particular place and the East Bay music scene it helped spawn, the notion that a successful, long-lasting and productive community can be built on punk principles is perhaps the most poignant part about the film. After live footage of Against Me!, 924 Gilman Street concludes with a nod to Tim [presumably Yohannon] and a thank you to all the thousands of volunteers who have helped keep Gilman Street open for the last 20+ years."
- Performer Magazine