‘Nightclubbing,’ Documentary About Legendary New York Venue Max’s Kansas City, Screens Next Month

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“Nightclubbing,” the first-ever documentary about the legendary New York City nightclub Max’s Kansas City, which from 1965 through 1981 was a hotbed for the city’s rock, glam, punk and new wave scenes, has announced a series of screenings across the globe in July and August.

The film — the full title of which is “Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC” — will screen along with another doc from Chip Baker Films, “Sid: The Final Curtain,” which is a brief documentary about the late Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious’ final concert, which took place at Max’s.

“Nightclubbing” is the sixth music documentary from Spanish filmmaker Danny Garcia (others include “The Rise and Fall of The Clash” and “Rolling Stone: The Life and Death of Brian Jones” about the group’s founder and original leader). It premiered at the Dock of the Bay Film Festival in San Sebastián, Spain last month and won the Judges Special Mention award.

The full screening schedule appears below.

Legendary singer and Max’s Kansas City veteran Alice Cooper — who signed his contract with Warner Bros. Records at the club — says, “A million ideas were launched back there.” He’s referring to the club’s infamous back room, where Andy Warhol held court and artists ranging from Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground to David Bowie and the New York Dolls first made their mark.

Max’s is where Bowie first met Iggy Pop — who ended up bloody and being taken to the hospital (by Alice Cooper) after a particularly lively performance. It’s where the Velvet Underground played their final concerts in the summer of 1970, and where Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious played his last shows, backed by members of the New York Dolls and the Clash. It’s where Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen were signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis; where Bob Marley and the Wailers played their first American shows; where Debbie Harry waitressed; where Bowie saw Springsteen opening for another artist in 1972 and became such a fan he would cover three of his songs; where the fledgling Beastie Boys first fought for their right to party; where Madonna first got an early taste of the city’s nightclub scene.

Over the years, the club’s clientele included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Joan Baez, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Janis Joplin, Nancy Sinatra, John Cale, Brian Jones, Todd Rundgren, Sid Vicious, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty, Divine, Jack Nicolson, Dennis Hopper, Al Pacino, Federico Fellini, Stanley Kubrick, Mel Brooks, John Waters, Twiggy, Halston, Bianca Jagger, Betsey Johnson, Williams, William S. Burroughs, Sam Sheppard, Timothy Leary, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz and even New York Mayor Ed Koch.

Max’s was also an early safe haven for the city’s LGBTQ crowd including Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis and presided over by transsexual DJ Wayne/Jayne County.

It’s all covered in “Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC,” with archival footage and exclusive interviews with Alice Cooper, Jayne County, Billy Idol, longtime music journalist/Patti Smith Band guitarist Lenny Kaye, late New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, Warhol superstars Penny Arcade and Ruby Lynn Reyner, Suicide’s Alan Vega, Bad Brains H.R. and Dr. Know, D Generation’s Jesse Malin, Blondie’s Frank Infante, the Dead Boys’ Jimmy Zero, Punk Magazine founder and Ramones album cover illustrator John Holmstrom and many more.

The film features rare footage of Iggy & the Stooges, New York Dolls, Sid Vicious and Wayne/Jayne County as well as classic footage from Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers.

Also on the bill is “Sid: The Final Curtain,” a short film documenting Vicious’ last live performance at Max’s Kansas City in September of 1978, featuring rare live footage and interviews with those who witnessed it.

“Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC” and “Sid: The Final Curtain” theatrical film screening schedule for 2022:

Saturday,  July 9th – Mockingbird Cinema -Birmingham UK
Sunday, July 17th – Regent Theater – Arlington, Mass. (Boston area)
Wednesday, July 20th – Joe’s Pub – New York City
Thursday, July 21st – Colony Theater – Woodstock, N.Y.
Sunday,  July 24th – The Black Cat – Washington DC
Wednesday July 27th – Texas Theater – Dallas, TX
Wednesday July 27th – Metropol – Dusseldorf, Germany
Thursday July 28th – The Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
Saturday July 30th – Lichtblick – Berlin, Germany
Sunday July 31st – The Balboa Theater – San Francisco
Wednesday August 10th – Trylon – Minneapolis MN
Monday August 15th – Paradise Theater- Toronto, Canada
Thursday August 18th – Philly Moca – Philadelphia,  PA
Monday August 22nd – Hollywood Theater – Portland, OR
Tuesday,  August 23rd – Theater @ The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
Thursday August 25th – Roverstad – Oslo, Norway
Thursday August 25th  – Violet Crown Theater – Austin TXThursday August 25th  – Violet Crown Theater – Santa Fe NMThursday August 25th  – Violet Crown Theater – Charlottesville VA

More screenings to be announced.