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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.

Voodoo Punk Smackdown

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Callum Keith Rennie screams at Maurice Dean Wint in Curtis’ Charm

“It’s time to shine your shoes, it’s time to comb your hair,” ’cause there’s a double-bill (described by Eye Magazine as “scrappy“) at the Art Gallery of Ontario tonight, Tuesday October 20: John L’ecuyer’s Curtis’ Charm and our very own The Last Pogo will be screened at Jackman Hall, presented by TIFF CInematheque in a program called Toronto on Film.   $10.14 for non-members
members/students/seniors are $5.90

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Not the real cover of the heroin memoir Use Once And Destroy, by John L’ecuyer

Curtis’ Charm is a tight seventy-five minute adaptation of the late great Jim Carroll‘s short story of the same name.  Blending fantasy and reality, and shot in glorious black & white, Curtis’ Charm is about the low-living high-life of heroin addict Curtis (played by Maurice Dean Wint from Hedwig & The Angry Inch) and ex-junkie Jim (Callum Keith Rennie from Hard Core Logo, natch) who tries to help Curtis ward off a voodoo curse inflicted upon him by his mother-in-law, no shit.  Ex-Headstone and current Movie & TV Star Hugh Dillon plays a White Trash Thug, and a gritty Toronto plays itself.

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Real Haitian voodoo priest;  photo by Frank Polyak

Getting the opening gig that night is The Last Pogo, and they’ll be using a nice clean 16mm print (remember 16mm kids?) that’s only been used once at the NXNE screening in 2008.  Prior to that, The Last Pogo had been screened at local legend Reg Hartt’s Cineforum, and in a hilarious blunder of epic profuckingportions, booked to open for — wait for itRichard Pryor:  Live in Concert at the original Cineplex at the Eaton’s Centre (it was pulled after two weeks because of “violent, negative reaction.”)

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Handbill for Reg Hartt’s Cineforum in 1979.  If you look closely, you’ll see that the punk in the picture has a hard-on.  Reg was convinced that this detail would subconsciously attract women to the screening.

The idea was that…uh…they were both concert films, right?  So like, buses full of African-Americans tourists from Buffalo and Detroit would dig the musical stylings of  White Punks on Dope, right?  Not so much!   Brunton remembers going to a screening of it and sitting in the packed audience behind a couple of ladies, eavesdropping on this gem:  “What the hell is this shit?!  They otta pay us five bucks to watch this shit!  Fuck this, I’m goin’ for popcorn!”

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The Last Pogo had only been on for about, oh, five minutes; the appearance of Viletone Freddy Pompeii was the last straw.  Little did they know the film went on for another twenty minutes.  For the remainder of the screening Brunton and his pal pretty much had the auditorium to themselves; everyone else was at the snack bar.  Gabba gabba hey-o!

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The original flyer by John Pearson.

Filmmakers John L’Ecuyer and Colin Brunton will be in attendance to introduce the films and sell some swag.   Immediately prior to the screening, they’ll be hanging out at the side door smoking butts and glad-handing suits in a pathetically blatant attempt to engage deep-pockets in conversations about money (and how to get it!) for a variety of totally interesting and culturally important yet not-so-mainstream projects they’re individually working on.

The fun starts at nine.  Jackman Hall is in the AGO, 317 Dundas Street West;  use the McCaul Street entrance.    

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The original press release written by Gary Topp, badly rewritten by Colin Brunton

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