Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New-York Premiere of "Died Young Stayed Pretty" at IFC Centre !!!!!

Died Young Stayed Pretty, the DIY film about DIY art of rock-posters will have its New-York Premiere at IFC Centre (323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street) on Friday 17 July. Eileen Yaghoobian, Director of the film, will be here in person. Do not miss it !!!!

Eileen Yaghoobian was interviewed in the first issue of Vicious Vitamins. Here is the interview if you want to learn more about this truly underground art practice:

Can you please introduce yourself and explain how you came up with the idea of a documentary about gig posters art?

My name is Eileen Yaghoobian and I directed Died Young Stayed Pretty. My movie is about rock posters and the people who make them. The film opens a window onto a group of talented artists who try to use the tools of graphic design to shock and inspire. In 2001 a renaissance happened in the rock poster world spurred on by the launch of Clayton Hayes' website, a web portal that catalogues all the rock posters made from 2001 onwards. My film captures this creative comeback of rock posters. My interest in the posters lies in the cultural dialogue that lives in them. The idea came at a dark time in my second brother had died and I was living in his place. To cheer me up, an old friend (Michael Humphries) sent me a link to and I instantly connected to the imagery. The way the Rock Posters re-envision all cultures. A Turbenegro poster presents Elvis as a gay sailor! A post-apocalyptic city surrounds bunnies walking into a bonfire for an Andrew Bird show. M&M's as the ultimate hero because they can walk into a building in flames to save people because they only melt in your mouth! They're fireproof! Bullets shot through a big red target on a poster printed on metal. The target equally symbolizing the Japanese flag for the band Teengenerate, a Japanese punk band playing on Pearl Harbor day! Twisted stuff!! And beautifully powerful. I decided to go for it, and made a feature film with out of pocket money! I took a risk, and lone - wolfed the project...travelled solo for three years filming on location from Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Seattle, Providence, Calgary, and all across the USA and Canada. Kinda like a band on tour. I tried to match the energy of Rock, and equally cut my film like a Rock Poster.

The gig posters scene is niche made of thousands of artists and independent printers. On which criteria did you select people that feature in your film?

I love the way imagery used in Rock Posters to represent rock n roll. People think that if you make a film about rock and roll, and pop culture and art that it would be an easy combo for entertainment, but actually it was really hard to make it work as a feature length doc. Maybe in a short it could sustain itself, but It was difficult to keep the pace and I sweated over that in editing, cutting down 200 something hours of footage. With a film like this, you can easily get caught in the traps of the glitter and gloss of rock and roll. If you're not careful it can sink you! I had enough material for four docs, but I chose to go with what I love most about music and rock posters. My movie is about the community of poster makers and the cultural dialogue that lives in the posters. The poster makers are like Dr. Frankenstein. Their posters are built from past memories and experiences. Like Frankenstein, the posters are made of found or dejected fragments; a ruin made up of ruins. They alter pieces of other people's forgotten dreams into a poster for a rock band. They create a "monster" (a new artifact) that has to deal with the living again. And that "monster's" quest and function is to promote rock and roll! Ultimately the goal of a poster is to be cool and Frankenstein is super cool!

Emails/internet, gentrification of urban spaces and increasingly precarious music business are challenging poster art. Is it something that you came across while meeting all the artists and people involved in poster art?

I think we're saturated with it! I think information is so fast and so readily available, and it can disrupt isolation and the need for a creative bubble. For example, Poster Makers, hypothetically, will at a certain space in time, avoid pink like the plague because of its recent use or overuse. The collective subconscious is rampant and more calculated now. But what's lovely is that regardless of all of these things, the poster makers post their ideas, loves, passions, voices, views, and politics on a telephone pole; advertised illegally, strewn in urban landscape. These personal pieces of propaganda become part of the street, and erode with the street; stolen and attacked by people, and broken down by weather and time. They live short lives, placed in odd circumstance, and they're really only there for the purpose of a rock show! Pasted to gritty surfaces they reshape space; it's beautifully powerful!

In the meantime, is it true to say that those challenges have actually increased the quality of the posters produced - probably as they were less promotional tools and more collectibles...?

Yes, because in most towns it's illegal to poster. Posters once had functionality to them; they were made cheaply as B/W fliers, Xeroxed and stapled to a pole on the streets. Now, if you can say, they have an "underground" existence online. Before, the posters were made for one show for one night and maybe a 100 people saw it. But now they are archived on this site and the world can see the poster. Because of this, they have become valuable collectible items; they're hand done, color silk screened. Art Chantry in my movie talks about posters as artifacts, because they're considered advertising for a show, they can't really be "art". After the show is over and the band breaks up what's left is an artifact. Funny enough, the process is very archaic and archeologists they are the collectors of the golden era, of our Modern times. The poster artists are an ultimate paradox: a powerless subculture with power. They are powerful because they are thieves of their past; they steal and appropriate from popular icons, ad makers, and illustrators from old magazines, acting as "gods" to engineer a band's image. They have learned a powerful way to communicate through promotion and advertising, but they use their skills to promote a band they love. They are true fans.

I see in all the people interviewed in your film a kind of Resistance: resistance to commercial rational of art and music business, resistance because their passion for both their art and the music community they belong to is the most important thing. Do you have this feeling when standing back and thinking about all those people?

Yes their passion for art and music is what drives them, but as far as resistance goes it really depends, subversive celebration is inherent in poster culture. I love the fantasy of the "Underground." I wanted to see if it existed, and to see if the feelings derived from posters mark out a physical space in comparison. Where is "off the radar?". Art Chantry speaks in my movie about a Dead Kennedy poster, and that they're name alone caused a mass reaction of people tearing the poster from the street. The power of artists to reevaluate culture, and throw it back in its face has been stolen back by the power structure. Chantry says that being President (referring to Bush) is the new punk. That he's put into office to destroy the culture around him and that he's the ultimate punk! Tom Hazelmyer, talks a lot about that in my it's the death of innovation and the coolest thing a kid could do now is wear a brown shirt and walk around...simple and plane... Anyway punk is in the malls now! But he does say that he things rock posters are the new punk!!!

What's next for your film: festival, international distribution, DVD release? And for you: another film maybe?

A UK distribution is coming soon in the Fall! DVD is released in Canada and coming soon internationally! OMG! I'm so excited about my next's a narrative and I've been collaborating with a writer in Portland for the last year and half. It's a Gothic love story about an extraordinary young woman who is a survivor and comes to terms with her extraordinary-ness!!! She is a tenant of Dr. Peter, who is as old as Satan, and a taxidermy Doctor. His old house is filled with his obsession, his collection of the native animals of the region. He comes from another world, like a pulp fiction novel from the 30's or 40's. Anthony is the boy she thinks is cute, an anti-heroic western man! He's a pizza delivery boy and he's repulsed by her flaws but something happens and.... Well more to come soon! And this one hopefully will be made with financing!!! No more out of pocket productions... But hopefully people will like it enough to want to help me with my next movie!

April 2009

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