The Chatterbox had to be one of the best clubs in San Francisco during the mid 80's... In fact I would have to say The Chatterbox would be in my top five clubs of all time.... The club hosted bands such as NOFX, White Trash Debutantes, The Jackson Saints, Motorcycle Boy, Stevie Stiletto, Osgood Slaughter, Haunted Garage and the Man who helped name the club Mr. Johnny Thunders.
This DVD features live footage along with interviews by the people who help make it happen.. Produced by the Woman behind the club Ms. Alfie Kulzick and Edited by Wayne Schotten.. Running time is 117 minutes and is available at www.chatterboxbar.com
For people who went to The Chatterbox it will bring back fun memories.. As Alfie- herself so perfectly put it
"When you could work part time and PARTY FULL TIME in San Francisco... Those day's are gone for good..."
For people who did not get to go it will help you see just what YOU MISSED!!
GINGER COYOTE / PUNK GLOBE
SF music scene vets will no doubt fondly recall the days of the Chameleon Lounge bar which was located on Valencia Street a few blocks away from aQ. It was a beer-soaked and black velvet painting festooned underground rock haven through most of the '90s. These days that spot is now occupied by a considerably less gritty and tattered bar called Amnesia. However, you'll score super duper old school cred points if you can remember the venue that predated the Chameleon... The Chatterbox!... even more so if you have some first hand memories of your own! And if you do happen to have some of your own then you're probably in this documentary, aren't you?
Most of us here at aQ were either still underage back then and/or hadn't made our way to the Bay Area yet. So unfortunately we weren't privy to the club's glory years circa 1986-1990, but we all can now catch a time machine-esque sneak peek via this film. Just shy of two hours long, it's packed with plenty of live rawk footage and vivid grass roots interviews galore with the likes of Hewhocannotbenamed, Boom (of Boom & The Legion Of Doom), Ginger Coyote, Blag Dahlia, Gary X Indiana, among many many others. It seems like they left no stone unturned, interviewing everyone and his dog! It makes for a wildly colorful patchwork of recollections! And it gives equal love to the music acts, the staff and the patrons, conveying the beloved neighborhood bar's strong sense of community, and offering a vivid raw glimpse of the late '80s SF music scene.
The dvd's layout and content really captures the feel of a well-worn zine from back in the day. Y'know, cut'n'pasted together with love and very rough around the edges, almost like it was assembled in the wee hours at the Kinko's on Market Street (back when it was open 24 hours). Plus a highlight of the dvd's extras is a 'jukebox' with tunes by Dwarves, SF Dogs, Jackson Saints, Short Dogs Grow and ten others!
The Chatterbox as the best rock and roll venue in San Francisco. It was just a little dive bar run by a rocker chick named Alfie, whose intent and vision created a very special place for many great local and out of town bands to play and a close knit group of hard partying rock and rollers to adopt as a home away from home and develop a memorable scene.
About five years ago Alfie Kulzick wrote a book, Chatterbox Biography of a Bar San Francisco 1986-1990, which told the story of the bar from beginning to end. For a lot of people it encapsulated a rich and wild period of time that they were grateful to have documented, adding a bit of form to a drunken wild blur that many can’t believe they actually got through alive or need to be reminded of some of the details. The book was met with a very enthusiastic response from the folks who were a part of it, and I think this prompted Alfie to create an actual documentary using film footage of live performances from the club and conducting interviews in 2007 with many of the musicians, bartenders and regulars that defined this vibrant, wild, unpretentious, hard and fast scene.
I was thrilled to learn that Alfie decided to hold the first official screening of this documentary at The Eagle Tavern. I arrived to the bar a little bit late for the 9pm screening and I was a bit unsure if the event had been properly publicized. But ultimately word of mouth proved very effective, because the place was packed with basically everyone. It was a real reunion of a real scene that brought people out who I haven’t seen in years, and they hadn’t seen each other in years, and they had often never seen a lot of the footage of themselves performing in their bands of so many years ago. I saw my co-worker Doug Hilsinger as a skinny kid playing drums in a band called Jill The Witch. I finally saw some live footage of Papa Wheelie, a Chatterbox favorite whom I never saw but I know two of the members. I couldn’t believe how Betsy the vocalist totally tore it up, just like many people had told me. Not only can she sing, but I got the impression from some of the interview subjects that she can drink more and better than most and then perform!
The screening was lots of fun and the material was pretty captivating in such an informal bar setting with people milling about and talking to old friends. It wasn’t until I took my copy home to watch that I began to realize what a skillfully constructed and inclusive documentary Alfie had created. The interviews were done with confidence, and she seemed to bring out the best in her subjects, pulling up long forgotten and hilarious anecdotes and matching live footage with interview subjects in a then and now way. The Eagle was filled with an ebullient crowd of folks reuniting after many years, honoring a rock and roll scene they were very much a part of that Alfie had lovingly documented. It totally kicked ass on any high school reunion I ever went to or heard of.
DON BAIRD SF BAY TIMES
After I got past my own narcissism, I was elated, awash in the sands of time. Then, by the end, exhausted and a little sad.
My favorite part is the tour of the box that ends with Mark on stage (with a shot of Robo too). It gives a great feel for the cohesiveness of the scene. Man, we were all hair farmers. Ending with Bruno singing "live like an animal, die like a vegetable" that was my mantra, my own declaration of hubris. Awesome.
Thanks for doing it.
Tom Pitts SHORT DOGS GROW
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