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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.

The Last Pogo: Just like The Last Waltz, but with different bands

Chris Haight at the NXNE screening

Chris Haight at the screening of The Last Pogo at NXNE, June 2008.

We’re making plans to get The Last Pogo out on DVD by December 1 this year, the 30th anniversary. Since the original Pogo is but a scant (yet action-packed and aurally exciting) half-hour, we’re going to beef up the DVD to a full two hours with “extras” and a couple of “easter eggs”. We can’t tell you what the easter eggs are going to be (for the non-tech-savvy of you, an “easter egg” is a hidden extra usually found while clicking around the main menu) but one of the extras will be a commentary by original Viletones’ guitar-player Chris Haight. What’ll make this a bit different than most commentaries is that a tiny head of Chris will float in the corner of the screen while the rest of the screen is filled with The Last Pogo. Chris’ commentary is hilarious: at first he can’t remember that he was even there, but then proceeds to make some great comments on the bands and characters you see in the film, including himself in The Secrets, the band of ex-Viletones who on the night of the Pogo were also playing the Beverly Tavern, and literally had to run down Queen Street to hit the stage in time. And the adrenalin shows. Another extra will be some recooked studio footage of The Scenics, with the audio juiced up by Scenic Andy Meyers.

We’re aiming for a suggested retail price of … $19.78 (get it?!), which is also the new price for our snazzy retro Last Pogo t-shirts (once the webmaster gets the PayPal thing figure out). Stay tuned for more info on where you can get the DVD, and of course, all the news that’s fit to print on the progress of the sequel — and reason for this blog — THE LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN.

In addition to all the people we promise to interview, but haven’t gotten around to yet (Steve Koch, Nora Currie, Patrick Lee, Anna Borque, Johnny Garbage Can, Isobel Harry, Gary Cormier, Stephen Davies, MIchael Jordana and more…it’s hard to keep track), we’ve recently been contacted by Evan Weber of The Wads who will wax poetic on all things Wad-ish at some point in the future, and we hope to make return trips to chat with Steven Leckie, Gary Topp and Gary Pig Gold.

We’ve also been contacted by an old buddy who might be able to unearth some old video of The Ugly from 1978, as well as recorded interviews with the likes of the Viletones and Teenage Head. He just has to convince the ex to let him in the door. Fingers and other things crossed.

And if that ain’t enough, kultural king Gary Topp has found a 32-year-old reel-to-reel recording of his band Corvettz, featuring drumming by Chris Massingham and “bass playing” by Pogo director Colin Brunton. Truly underground, they never made it out of the basement of the New Yorker theatre, where they were legends in their own minds with a hit song “Let’s Roam”, and a killer version of “Hava Nagila (sic?)”. The only way Topp could top that discovery was by coming up with a new “cut line” for The Last Pogo: “Just like The Last Waltz, but with different bands”.

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