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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.

More Buildings about Food and Songs, Part One


The B-movie Caged Heat was shown often at Gary Topp’s The Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre in Toronto in the mid-seventies.  Written and directed by Jonathon Demme, with an original score by John Cale.   Demme would go on to direct (among many films), The Talking Heads‘ concert film Stop Making Sense.


John Cale would play the New Yorker (Gary Topp‘s new venue) theatre in February of 1977, fanning the flames that the Ramones had sparked four months earlier when they kick-started the “punk” scene in Toronto on September 24, 1976 on the very same stage.   Cale was (and still is) a living legend, and did not disappoint.   He ended his blistering set on his hands and knees, gathering up mike and amp chords in his mouth, crawling off the stage, hundreds of pounds of amps and mikes falling and trailing behind him, pure anarchic and hilarious theatrics, feedback humming and screeching, until finally hiding behind the curtain stage right.   The Wizard of Fucking Oz.    And the packed house might have collectively thought:  “Whoa.  We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.”


The first encore was Cable Hogue, and then This Heart of Mine.   The Ballad of Cable Hogue was a 1970 movie directed by bad-ass genius Sam Peckinpah that was also shown often at The Original 99 Cent Roxy.   Cale would later write Honi Soit (qui mal y pense), which could be translated, more or less, as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,”  the cut-line of the movie.  Or more accurately, “Evil be to him who thinks Evil.”


The Talking Heads would play their first gig in Toronto at A Space, artistic home of agit-prop theatrical group The Hummer Sisters and soon-to-be band The Government, fronted by the enigmatic talent Andrew Paterson.  Their second gig was at OCA, home of emerging bands like The Cads, Oh Those Pants, The Dishes, The Doncasters, The Eels (soon to evolve into The Diodes) the seeds of Johnny & The G-Rays and more.   The third gig Talking Heads in Toronto, and the first that including keyboardist Jerry Harrison, was at The New Yorker.  Upstart unknowns The Scenics would get the coveted opening slot, much to the disgust of other bands who felt that they deserved it.   The Scenics made as many fans as enemies that night.


The New Yorker Theatre, before the stage was built, courtesy Toronto Archives.

To be continued…

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