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'Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains' @ Silent Movie Theatre 09/07/08

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On Sunday night, as part of the “Don’t Knock the Rock” film festival at Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre, there was a special screening of “Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains.”

Originally released in 1981, “Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains” is the story of two young sisters (Marin Kanter and Diane Lane, playing the lead role as Corrine Burns) who team up with their cousin (Laura Dern) to form a punk band call The Stains. As the girls learn how to play, they inspire a whole army of young women. The movie also features Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, Paul Simonon of The Clash and Ray Winstone, who plays the male lead.

Overall, the movie is a charming portrayal of a young woman’s meteoric journey into stardom and cult status. A teen-aged Lane plays the lead with precision, grace and simmering intensity. You can see the blossoming talent here. Ah punk rock girls, you gotta love them! -- as artist Daniel Clowes described, the awkward, cute, suburban misfit girls and not the modern crazy, homeless junkie runaway version. As the Stains influence leagues of other girls in punked out fashion and do-it-yourself aesthetic, the theme of female rugged individualism still resonates. It’s not surprising that the movie became an influential work that inspired the Riot Grrrl subculture of the ‘90s and other musicians. Winstone, who was also in the beginning of his noted acting career, is brilliant in his surly role.

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Diane Lane, who remains just as vibrant and lovely as ever, made the event extra special by her appearance. After the screening, the audience gave standing applause to Lane, who graciously smiled then shouted with her arms in the air, "Twenty-eight years in the making!"

Directed by Lou Adler, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains" is being released by Rhino Records later this month. The movie is part of a extremely compelling festival at Cinefamily so please check their calendar. This film has never been released on VHS or DVD. So what are you waiting for? Get that DVD, watch it and then go start your own punk rock band!

Special thanks to Diane Lane, Lou Adler, Allison Anders, Tiffany Anders, Cinefamily, Christoph Buerger and Josh Madson.

Photo of Diane Lane by Josh Madson.