Thursday, June 10, 2010

Club Foot: Moving In The Direction Of History Artifacts from SF's Art Punk Cabaret

Opening Night (photo: Ellen Curley)

The world is changing all around us! To continue to thrive as individuals, we must look ahead, understand the trends and forces that will shape our lives in the future and move swiftly to prepare for what's to come.

One can only guess at the driving forces behind the cross-country odyssey from Albany, New York to San Francisco that birthed the Club Foot. When founders Richard Kelly, JC Garrett, Cindy Buff, and Richard Edson arrived in the city's Dogpatch district, punk rock was just reaching its peak in the Bay Area. It was 1979, and the actor/politician of the moment was Ronald Reagan. The need for a not-for-profit performance space for aspiring Surrealists was absolutely clear.

The San Francisco Public Library is offering a step back into this world with the exhibit, CLUB FOOT: Moving in the Direction Of History - Artifacts from SF’s Art Punk Cabaret, on view June 5 - Aug. 5, Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Music Center, Fourth Floor, Main Library.

For eight years in an old storefront on Third Street, Club Foot hosted a wide range of performances – from the heavy hardcore of Black Flag to avant-garde luminaries such as Diamanda Galás. But this was no commercial nightclub. Club Foot proposed that we are all consumers and producers alike, erasing the line between audience and stage. Bands were not booked to simply sell beer. Artists not only ran the show, they may have been living under the stairs. It was do-It-Yourself by necessity.

Richard Kelly, one of Club Foot’s main cultural agents, infiltrated half a dozen ensembles and inspired many to start their own. In 1980, he produced the legendary compilation album that captured the Club’s trademark eclecticism: emphasis on the experimental, somehow strangely ground through a populist filter. Kelly’s sudden death at age 28 marked an end to the Silver Age of SF punk.

This exhibition offers a rare glimpse into one of the Bay Area's longest running underground venues and unearths many oddities and relics from the private archives of JC Garrett and Cindy Buff. Never before seen in 30 years. Dig it.

Related Program

Moving in the Direction of History: Films and Performances from the Club Foot Archives, Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m. Koret Auditorium,

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