The original NYC punk scene is getting the documentary treatment. Directed by Danny Garcia, Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC tells the story of the legendary club Max’s Kansas City, where, alongside CBGB, New York punk was born.

Director Danny Garcia (Rise and Fall of The Clash, Looking For Johnny, Sad Vacation, Stiv) is back with a new feature-length documentary contemplating Max’s Kansas City’s historic importance to the musical landscape of NYC. Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC is the first to focus its lens on the legendary landmark with regard to its role in influencing music, writing, art, and all-around creativity and cultural development in the early days of the burgeoning New York punk rock & roll scene of the 1970s.

CBGB is synonymous with NYC punk rock, but there were in fact two establishments essential to those beginnings. MAX’S KANSAS CITY, though it’s renowned in its own right, is the lesser cited venue of the two in that specific context in conversations about the origins of the genre. In the famous “back room” area, characters like William S. Burroughs and Andy Warhol held court regularly with endless entourages comprised of artists, musicians, actors, photographers, writers, socialites, and other hangers-on.

Performances by an endless list of future icons like the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Marc Bolan, Suicide, the Ramones, the Heartbreakers, Sid Vicious, the Stray Cats, Blondie were a nightly thing.

Nightclubbing features rare performance footage of Iggy & The Stooges, New York Dolls, Sid Vicious and Wayne/Jayne County as well as classic performances from Johnny Thunders and the  Heartbreakers, and unique archival footage and exclusive interviews with Alice Cooper, Jayne County, Billy Idol, Steve Stevens, music journalist/Patti Smith Band guitarist Lenny Kaye, late New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, Warhol muses Penny Arcade & Ruby Lynn Reyner, Suicide’s Alan Vega, Bad Brains H.R. & Dr. Know, Stimulators’ Denise Mercedes, Nick Marden (and their then-12-year-old drummer, future Cro-Mag Harley Flanagan), Twisted Sister’s Jay Jay French, D Generation’s Jesse Malin, Blondie’s Frank Infante, Dead Boys’ Jimmy Zero, Stiv Bators’ girlfriend Cynthia Ross, Mickey Leigh, Shrapnel/Monster Magnet’s Phil Caivano, Punk Magazine founder & Ramones album cover illustrator John Holmstrom, Mink Deville’s Louis X. Erlanger, American Hardcore author Steven Blush and many more.

The documentary will be screened on a tour around the world, including North American dates this summer which will pair it with “Sid: The Final Curtain,” a documentary short on Sid Vicious’s last show Featuring unseen footage of Sid in concert as a solo artist at Max’s Kansas City nightclub, and specifically his final show on September 30, 1978.

Gary Topp And CIUT Present Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC plus Sid: The Final Curtain

Monday, August 15th Paradise Theatre, Toronto – Two screenings 7pm and 930pm. Tickets here.


About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.