August 8, 2013

There's A New Feature Film This Fall All About CBGB

In 2006, the infamous rock club on the Bowery CBGB closed after a 30 year plus run, an eternity for a New York nightspot.  The space is famous not only for it's disgusting bathroom (now sorta on view at The Met) but also for the bands it broke; Blondie, Television, The Ramones, Talking Heads, and Patti Smith, who closed it down with a final set on the evening the music died.

This fall, there's a new feature film about CBGB and it's equally infamous owner Hilly Kristal. The trailer debuted online yesterday at the Hollywood Reporter's website and it features Hilly (played deliciously by Alan Rickman) and tons of celebrity band impersonators. The Rickman stuff looks great, the bands...could be iffy. The nutty Hilly and the "decor" of the joint were always the real interest of that place. I went to CBGB a few times in the '90s and I have to say the hype was a little much to live up to. As the tag line for the movie says "50,000 bands and 1 disgusting bathroom" and that kinda sums it up. So there were maybe 20 legendary bands that came out of the joint, another 200 or so really good bands if you're generous and maybe 300 bands that didn't suck. So that leaves the other 49,480 bands to deal with. Which meant that if you were invited to see someone's band at CBGB, do the math.

Anyway, it looks like they've rebuilt the Bowery on a backlot for this movie as that current stretch of NYC street is unrecognizable from it's grungy "heyday". In fact, the CBGB is now a John Varvotos store. Times they have a changed....