Hot on the heels of that hideous punk-themed Met Gala (as if Madonna needed any prodding to wear a fishnet body stocking) comes the announcement that CBGB, the legendary dive of a Lower East Side music venue that closed in 2006, is having a birthday of sorts this fall. Across 175 venues, from October 9 to 13, the massive festival includes 525 bands, 100 film screenings and 40 workshops/seminars. The prices, however, are not 1970s-stabilized.
You could try to avoid this behemoth, which will be headwquartered at The Landmark Sunshine Theater, but it may actually be easier not to. Still, with badges ranging from $50 for early birds up to $375 for walk-ups, you may wonder just what you’re getting. Films are being pushed pretty hard, it seems, with at least 40 of them premiering—too bad most won’t be true “punk” films in the John Waters sense, rather more of the rock-and-roll documentary navel-gazing that’s as interesting on screen as it is when a baby boomer is relating those tired anecdotes in person.
But that’s okay! Watch your nostalgia-soaked bootleg concert footage. It’s just continually funny, the need for people to stamp the CBGB trademark on everything remotely related, decades after the brand really peaked. You want to know what I think of when I hear “CBGB”? A dude in college who went on and on about how he played an opener set there in, like, 2002, and was therefore “a part of history.” And he was. Just not the interesting part.