Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Goes Punk

Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman Karen O. performed at this years Oscars, and was nominated.

Singer-songwriter Karen O did, for the first time, perform the Oscar-nominated original song “The Moon Song” for a global television audience on the Oscars, show. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, aired on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC. “The Moon Song,” with music by Karen O and lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze, was written for the film “Her,” directed by Jonze.

Karen O is the lead singer of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which has released four albums among more, three of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards. She previously co-wrote original songs for the soundtrack of Jonze’s 2009 film “Where the Wild Things Are,” receiving a Grammy nomination for the featured song “All Is Love.” Karen O has performed on numerous other soundtracks, including those for “Frankenweenie” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “I’m Not There.”


Trent Reznor of nine inch nails did of course, appear and win in an earlier year for Social Network. This is not a reflection that punk rock or the industrial music scene is turning the way of the mainstream, it simply shows that the mainstream is finally getting a little bit better taste. In keeping with that fact, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts The Oscars, are showing some very cool music related films this month, as follows.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years; played on Friday, April 4, 2014, 7:30 pm Special guests included Penelope Spheeris and Riki Rachtman.

A new 35mm print was screened for part two of Penelope Spheeris’ three part documentary on the music scene. Part one and three cover the punk scene, and this one, part two covers metal, thus, the reason this one is being screened first. As stated by The Academy, “Penelope Spheeris delves into the clubs and bars of late 80’s Hollywood to reveal the absurd heights (or lows?) of rockstar debauchery in Part II of her Decline of Western Civilization trilogy. The Metal Years finds marquee hard rockers Ozzy Osbourne (from Black Sabbath), Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) and Kiss’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley sharing the screen with such aspiring acts as Odin, London and Lizzy Borden. Interviewing her subjects with disarming candor, Spheeris documents the booze-fueled braggadocio and lurid theatrics of musicians blinkered by their aspirations to achieve platinum-certified immortality. Throughout her 30-year directing career, Ms Spheeris has worked in both studio pictures, and independent productions. The Decline trilogy, which began in 1981 when Spheeris filmed Los Angeles’ punk scene, remains an indelible landmark of American cinema.” (1988, 93 minutes, color, 35mm, Directed by Penelope Spheeris; with Aerosmith, Kiss, Megadeth, Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne and W.A.S.P.)

The Decline of Western Civilization; played Friday, April 18, 2014, 7:30 pm. Special guests included Penelope Spheeris.

The Academy says, “Director Penelope Spheeris’s blistering depiction of the early 1980s Los Angeles punk scene remains a classic in the cult film canon (…)” “Spheeris’s groundbreaking documentary captures some of the scene’s most seminal bands at their sweaty, ferocious peak, onstage and off. From O.C. hardcore progenitors Black Flag and The Circle Jerks to Hollywood heavyweights X, and The Germs, and the seminally provocative Fear, Spheeris offers a mosher’s-eye view of the era’s greats. Ms. Spheeris also grants ample screen time to the fans and fellow travelers of this ‘high speed, high volume’ scene, interviewing them with unflinching directness. (1981, 100 minutes, color and black and white, 35mm, directed by Penelope Spheeris; with Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs and X.”

Subnormal Magazine states, “If you have any punk cred at all, you will own this, as well as part three, if not at least having seen them. These films are the like the video bible of punk rock.”

The Decline of Western Civilization: Part III; played on Friday, April 18, 9:40pm, with a new 35mm print.

According to The Academy, “Penelope Spheeris returns to the punk scene she first documented in 1981 and finds new bands equally as inflammatory as their predecessors. The powerful final chapter in Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization trilogy again not only focuses on these newer underground bands – including politically-charged Naked Aggression – but also the concertgoers and club owners that sustain them.” Spheeris pays special attention to their fans, particularly the young and homeless “gutterpunks.” Raised in broken homes, they live drink to drink, squatting in derelict Hollywood buildings and panhandling, or “spanging,” on Hollywood Boulevard to get by. Subnormal magazine states, “We have obviously seen all of these films by Penelope Spheeris; in the theatre, and also way back when on VHS, and met her many years ago. At the time we met her in Chicago and saw these films with some other punk rockers, she stated that she hated the mainstream Hollywood work she did. She said she loved the punk scene, loved the people, and loved the music. She said if she could just do that type of stuff she would, but that she has to pay the bills and pay for the film production which was not cheap. She also stated that she hated ‘Wayne’s World’, and said the film sucked and she only did it for the money, which she said, officially made her a sell out. We here at subnormal actually like ‘Wayne’s World.’ So anyway, Penelope, Party on!” 1998, 86 minutes, color, 35mm, Directed by Penelope Spheeris; with Final Conflict, Litmus Green, Naked Aggression and The Resistance.

The Location for the screenings were at The Bling Theatre (we mean…Bing Theater): Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Subnormal magazine reports that the films are rare, but clips can be found online or at select indie video stores that still carry VHS, which the films were pressed on. Other punk film documentaries of note are “Another State of Mind,” and “The Year that Punk Broke” among more.

This content is copyright, 2014, The Hollywood Sentinel, all rights reserved, and where noted; copyright 2014, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with kind courtesy from the Academy. The office of The Hollywood Sentinel and affiliates do not endorse any advertising that may appear on or in connection with this story.

Subnormal magazine states: The Decline of Western Civilization video clip is stolen from a girl on YouTube who stole it from somebody else who stole it from Penelopee Spheeris. If you have a problem with that – punk off.