Cleveland’s Screaming: New Doc Looks at 80s Punk Scenes

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A new version of Cleveland’s Screaming, a documentary about the 1980s Cleveland/Akron hardcore punk scenes, will premier 9:15 p.m. Saturday, October 6 at Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Blvd.). The flick was directed by Brad Warner, the Zero Defects bassist turned Zen monk and filmmaker. The film screened in Cleveland last year, at the Jigsaw Saloon and Stage in Parma, where an enthusiastic crowd made it hard to hear the movie. Now, in the relative serenity of the theater, you can see an improved version that Warner says is substantially different and features new interviews. The flick includes interviews and live footage of ClePunk bands like Zero Defects and the Dark, in addition to pictures and clips from visiting hardcore luminaries like the Misfits and MDC. Following the recent collapse of a distribution deal, Warner has no news about a DVD release, but he’s working on it. The doc will play again Friday, November 9, at the Beachland Tavern . Live sets by Zero Defects, the Cheap Tragedies, and others will follow. Warner will speak at the Akron Public Library’s main branch (200 S. Main St., downtown Akron) Wednesday, November 7, talking about Zen and his iconoclastic, punk-rock approach to the philosophy, as detailed in his new book, Sit Down and Shut Up. Warner’s approach to life isn’t all watercolors and platitudes, though; he told Scene why homegrown punk was so vital. “Hardcore punk was a local thing,” says Warner. “Every scene was very much an entity unto itself. They were influenced by the other scenes, of course. But each area produced its own variations. A lot of times we were able to read about bands from other areas, but we didn't have any way of seeing or hearing them. So we just imagined how they might sound and went with that. “Also a lot of the participants in the local Akron/Cleveland scene didn't really care much for the larger scene,” Warner adds. “In ODFx, I know that neither I nor our drummer Mick Hurray (Mickey X-Nelson) ever listened to hardcore bands from outside our own area. So for me, Starvation Army and the Offbeats were huge influences, while I'd never even listened to Black Flag or Husker Du. I think the movie is unique in that it really focuses on one specific time and place. I don't believe you can understand hardcore unless you do that. I'm waiting for people in other areas to make their movies.” - D.X. Ferris
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