Amos Poe, Alphabet City, 1984 (still). Courtesy the artist
This retrospective program will present two films by No Wave pioneer Amos Poe. Both films were made within a fifteen block radius of Houston and Bowery, conjuring a kind of cinematic portrait of his turf. These films will make visible the physical, architectural, cultural, and emotional change on the Lower East Side. Alphabet City is a time capsule of the Lower East Side’s last months before gentrification, while Frogs For Snakes is a noir-esque romp of ’90s ambitiousness and rabid posturing.
Friday December 7, 7 PM: Alphabet City (1984)
Saturday December 8, 3 PM: Frogs For Snakes (1998)
The career of Amos Poe (b. 1949) is inextricably linked with the birth of American punk, the No Wave movement, and the downtown New York art scene. In 1975, he codirected Blank Generation: The Birth of Punk with Ivan Kral, producing the first document of the burgeoning New York punk/New Wave scene, with performances by Blondie, Pattie Smith, and the Talking Heads. His 1978 film, The Foreigner, defined the No Wave genre through its celebration of B-movie textures, avant-garde tactics, and the auteurism of the French New Wave. Throughout this era, Poe acted as director of TV Party, a public access television show hosted by Glenn O’Brien and Chris Stein that featured appearances and contributions from a variety of downtown artists, musicians, and performers, including Fab Five Freddy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and David Walter McDermott.