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pogo2posterFINAL2The Last Pogo Jumps Again studies the evolution of Toronto from small town to big city and it’s pop/counter-culture lifestyle during the early and mid-70s.  It centers around the first wave of Toronto punk rock and new-wave music, from the Ramones playing the New Yorker Theatre in ’76 through the police shutting down Teenage Head and causing a riot at the Horseshoe Tavern’s infamous “The Last Pogo” concert in December 1978.

London had the Sex Pistols, New York had the Ramones, but Toronto had a punk movement all it’s own.  The Toronto landscape by the late ’70s was forever changed with the infusion of the DIY/Punk/Alternative Culture(s) movement.  Six years in the making, The Last Pogo Jumps Again successfully explores the whys and wherefores of what was arguably one of the most exciting but misunderstood movements in Toronto’s history.

The DVD contains the 204 minute documentary, plus over a 100 minutes of added material, and a snazzy 24-page booklet.  Check the Shop for details on where you can purchase it.

The Last Pogo (1978) is the documentary that chronicled the last punk rock show at the Horseshoe Tavern when it was run by legendary Toronto promoters The Garys (Topp and Cormier) featuring The Scenics, Cardboard Brains, The Secrets, The Mods, The Ugly, The Viletones and Teenage Head. The Last Pogo was released on DVD in 2008 to great reviews.  Available at the Shop.

All the Young Dudes

Steven “The Dog” Leckie at The Last Pogo, photo Edie Steiner

With the dog days of summer coming on, Pogo Post Production is revved up and ready to go. We’re whittling away at the hit list of those that still need to be interviewed, plus a couple more we’d like to check in with again, and going over miles, whoops, kilometres of footage, inching, whoops again, millimetering towards our release date of March 2009, an editing epiphany, or complete mental breakdown, whichever comes first.

Up this weekend is authoring the DVD of the re-release of The Last Pogo, the original 26 minute film (Colour! 16mm! All singing! All dancing! See people smoking in a bar!) scheduled to hit your very favourite record store this October. Only seen publicly once in the last 30 years (and many times privately on bootleg VHS versions) the DVD will be comprised of The Last Pogo, some recently restored footage of The Scenics from 1977, and a commentary track featuring original Viletone and member of The Secrets (amongst others) Chris Haight. For whatever insights into the scene and the bands that the esteemed Mr. Haight offers up, it’s worth it just to hear his infectious laugh. Through the magic of digital editing, whenever Chris makes a comment you’ll see his face pop up in a box in the corner of the frame. (On a geeky filmmaker note, this kind of thing would have cost thousands of dollars back when we made The Last Pogo, and it’s only because of digital that it’s now possible. You’d also have had to rent a Steenbeck editing system — the size of a Smartcar — and be cramped in some room downtown. Now we can be cramped in some room uptown, the whole editing system on our lap, and if you slip a twenty into the hard-drive, cheap thrills galore). Flashy retro graphics by John Pearson, the guy who did the very cool titles for the original film, and a wee booklet of liner notes, this snazzy package is the ideal Christmas present. Or Hallowe’en present. Or Kwanza, or Hannaukah, or birthdays, weddings, stags, golf-dates, chance encounters, one-night stands, etc. We haven’t finalized the details yet, but ideally you’ll be able to pick this up for the low low price of $19.78. For the mathematically impaired, that’s not even twenty bucks! All proceeds will go towards replenishing the “This Used to be Ollie Brunton’s College Fund, LOL”, which has been hit hard since we started this project a couple of years ago. (In 2006 he was on his way to be able to afford a university degree; as of today, a half-semester of Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Technique at George Brown College).

While we’ve slowed down on the interviews of late (life gets in the way), we’re still well at it, buster. This weekend Ricky Swede from The Poles checked in, and we’re hoping to catch up with that iconic band sooner rather than later. We here at Pogo H.Q. remember many an awesome Poles show and the show they put on with The Viletones and The Dead Boys at the New Yorker stands out in particular. (P.S. If anyone could shoot us a jpg of the awesome poster of that concert, many brownie points will be sent your way). Director Brunton recalls the show both vaguely and vividly, the vivid moment being when he was dispatched by The Garys to fetch the slow-to-leave-the-dressing-room Dead Boys. A friendly yell down the stairs was answered by only a grunt, but minutes later they came up the stairs. “What took you so long, you’re supposed to be on stage?!”, asked Brunton. “Blowjobs”, replied a Dead Boy, then Cheetah Chrome chimed in with “Hey, we can’t go on stage with hard-ons, man”. They then limp-dicked their way through the lobby, down the aisles, and up onto the stage. Wicked awesomeness ensued.

Speaking of wicked awesomeness, one of the stongest local artists who helped document the scene was photographer/artist Edie Steiner, who checked in this weekend wondering what’s what and who’s on first etc.. Edie’s going to hunt through her thousands of photos and see what she can find from the Toronto 1976 – 1978 punk period. (See photo above). Living on the Toronto waterfront (and apparently in a large bottle of formaldehyde or something — she hasn’t aged a bit) her current bio reads: Edie Steiner is a Toronto filmmaker, photographer and educator whose work is shown internationally. Her award-winning films are presented at film festivals, in arts and education venues, and broadcast on Canadian television, and her photography is commissioned for publication and exhibited in art galleries. She has published original music with international collaborators, for films and radio. Community activities include board of director and committee positions for arts and community organizations. Ms. Steiner is currently a doctoral candidate in environmental studies at York University, Toronto, with a research focus on relationships between the arts and environmental thought. Check out Edie’s stuff on your internet machine at ediesteiner.com.

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