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Downtown 81


Photo courtesy Zeitgeist Films
Downtown 81
Edo Bertoglio, 1981/2000
Fri, Mar 29, 2002 7 PM
Sat, Mar 30, 2002 7 PM
"An extraordinary real-life snapshot of hip, arty, clubland Manhattan in the post-punk era."--Variety

"Basquiat is a joy to watch! He floats thought the movie with cool grace and unflagging energy, heÌs a natural in front of the lens."--Artforum

Downtown 81 stars the legendary New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Although a central figure within the Downtown music and art scenes of 1981, the charismatic 19-year-old painter, graffiti artist, poet, and musician had yet to have his first exhibition. And although it's not a documentary, the film captures that potential and presents a romantic, magical version of the moment.

Only completed in 2000, when missing materials were gathered and postproduced, Downtown 81 has emerged as a uniquely evocative time capsule of a long-gone scene. Featuring Deborah Harry, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and DNA, with additional music from Melle Mel, John Lurie, Lydia Lunch, Suicide, Vincent Gallo, and Basquiat's own band, Gray. (72 mins.)