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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.

Mansquito

mansquito

In the early eighties, when Last Pogo director Colin Brunton was doing anything to get his foot in the door of the film business, he worked as a production assistant on a rock video for the band Toronto, with SFX courtesy of a dry-ice machine and starring a cat (one of Brunton’s duties was to go to one of those suspect meat stores down by Regent Park that opened at six in the morning to buy cuts of beef filet and liver to treat the cat, who by the way, the entire crew wanted to strangle by the time the shoot was over.)  The video, like most “rock videos” was forgettable, but with one exception:  working with director Tibor Takacs.

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Toronto;  courtesy canadianbands.com.

You see, this was fun because Tibor was doing what Brunton wanted to do:  make films and shoot stuff.   Not coddle kitty cats or fetch coffee or drive cab.  This was The Dream.   And somehow in some mysterious way Tibor was doing it — and still is.   Sure, you can smirk at the artistic short-comings of making a rock video, let alone one for a band called Toronto, but you gotta know that back in the early eighties, there wasn’t much of a film/TV industry in Toronto period.   It wasn’t all government handouts and tax credits.   You had to be a bit more clever than that.   And going out and make a  feature film?! That bordered on heroic.   Boners up!

metal messiah still

Still from Metal Messiah:  courtesy/copyright Tibor Takacs

And Tibor Takacs and Stephen Zoller had done just that with their debut feature film Metal Messiah.  Shot in 1975 and finally completed in 1978, Metal Messiah featured future Cardboard Brains lead singer John-Paul Young and would’ve starred The Viletones’ Steven Leckie, but things didn’t work out.

“Did you know that in 1975 Steven Leckie was  cast as the lead in our play Metal Messiah?  Regrettably after several weeks things did not work out and we had to move on.  It was this initial contact with Steven that prompted his invitation for us to manage the Viletones several years later.”

Now in L.A., Takacs has continued to work rock steady for the past thirty years, helming TV movies with awesome titles like Mansquito and Megasnake and Ice Spiders, as well as the box-office hit The Gate, and tons of episodic TV.

We got in contact with Tibor a couple of days ago, and it’s clear that our list of last-minute interviews for the feature just grew by another body or two.

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Toronto 1977:  soft core porn, Star Wars, and The Viletones.  Image courtesy Tibor Takacs.

Soon after Metal Messiah Tibor and Stephen formed MM Productions, and began the unenviable task of trying to manage Last Pogo alumni The Viletones and The Cardboard Brains.  And another penny dropped:

“…a big scene in Metal Messiah was shot there (Club Davids) a year or two before we introduced punk to the gay club. While shooting the film we made friends with Sandy the owner and when the Viletones were basically banned or kicked out of every venue in Toronto we had to set up our own.  Zoller and I convinced David’s to let us have the Club on slow nights, we get the door they get the bar. At first it was just for the Viletones but then we invited other bands and it grew from there till we staged a big New Years bash and the place burned down. I remember spending the whole night stomping on burning cigarette butts that people just threw on the hardwood dance floor.  I guess I missed one, “ wrote Tibor in an email to us.

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Toronto Star newspaper clipping courtesy Vince Carlucci (and the Toronto Star.)

Happy Birthday, Tibor.

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