August 20 2014

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Punk’s Not Dead—And It’ll Soon Be On DVD


A trip down memory lane today had me thinking about punk and grunge in the early nineties. Following the spate of designer departures, we at were remembering one of the nineties’ most trumpeted (after the fact, at least) layoffs: Marc Jacobs’ firing from Perry Ellis, following his grunge-inspired Spring ’93 collection. Hindsight’s 20/20: Today, Jacobs is near-untouchable, and that particular collection has gone down in history (or is it infamy?) as one with enduring appeal. Of course, as much credit as Jacobs deserves, he had a little help. I’m thinking of his friends in the actual grunge scene at the time, the ones whose thrifted-or-lifted, tattered-and-layered sensibility helped refine his vision. People like Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (above, with Courtney Love) and Thurston Moore—longtime friends of Jacobs—as well as legendary grungesters like Kurt Cobain and J Mascis. They all make up the cast—if you can call it that—of the groundbreaking music doc 1991: The Year Punk Broke, which has, somehow, never made it onto DVD. That is, until this coming fall. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dave Markey’s documentary, about Sonic Youth and Nirvana’s 1991 European tour, the film will finally make its way to DVD in September (with extras including commentary by Markey and Moore and a 42-minute film of SY/Nirvana performances). It’s about time. 1991 has long been VHS-only, sending appreciators without VCRs (myself included) to YouTube for our fix. Until the DVD does hit stores this fall, that’s still your best bet, and where you’ll find SY’s performance of “Teenage Riot” from the movie or Gordon and the gang mugging for TV and fooling around (“You promised me there’d be no interesting people in the front row!”). Twenty years on, nineties style is having something of a moment. Once today’s designers get their Netflix queues around this one, can a New Grunge look be far behind?

Dept. of Culture