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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.

Talks Cheap

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Hand-drawn handbill by John Pearson; 1973; courtesy Mark Moore
We couldn’t make this movie — The Last Pogo Jumps Again: A Biased And Incomplete History Of Toronto Punk Rock Circa September 24 1976 To December 1 1978 — without the generous help of, well, pretty much everyone who was into the scene, a scene that arguably started in the pot-smokey confines of Gary Topp’s subversive Original 99 Cent Roxy Theatre in the mid-seventies, throughout the vibe of alternate art venues like A Space, the anarchistic leanings of The Ontario College of Art (when Roy Ascott ran it), the mutually tolerant Toronto gay community, the stylish conceptualism of art group General Idea, and on and on. The people and stories that thread the story of Toronto punk are big and rich.

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Reconstructing Futures, copyright 1977, General Idea
It all came together in late 1976, when New York’s finest, The Ramones, managed by the brilliant Danny Fields were booked by the New Yorker‘s Gary Topp to play Canada for the first time. And for the next two years, the best of the best of NYC bands hit town, and it seemed like every week a new local band was coming together. If you were there, you know what a dense fabric it was; if you weren’t, there’s a ton of people trying to let you know, not the least of all us, and in a few months we should be done with this. We’re itchin’ to get it out to the world.
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The Santa Claus parade in Toronto 1976 by filmmaker John Porter; copyright John Porter, natch
For the past four years, as we’ve been putting this project together, not a week has gone by when we haven’t had a knock at the door of Pogo H.Q. or a message through the Internet Machine from someone who was part of the punk rock movement in 1976-1978, offering up more evidence by way of handbills and photos and super-8 footage. And music. Tons of music. And as hard-edged and attitude-filled as those days were, its been a smooth ride, (with the exception of one fucking douchebag who shall forever remain nameless.)
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You have no idea how boring Toronto was just before the punk scene.
So just this week, Big Thanks to Mark Moore for sending over old Roxy theatre handbills; Theresa Adams, who sent us some rare photos of The Existers; the Ramones’ management for reassuring us all was cool; Andy Meyers from The Scenics who correctly pointed out that the version of the classic Demics tune New York City we had on the site wasn’t the really good one, and so we’ve replaced it with the better version from the EP Talks Cheap, when the guitar duties were still handled by Rob Brent; Molten Core for more reassurance; Iain Staines from The Demics who chatted us up; Michaele Jordana and Doug Pringle of The Poles who said, yea, sure, we’re still into it, let’s get together; Steven Davey for some good fact-checking; and of course Gary Topp, for letting us take a peak at his amazing collection of stuff.

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