“Wonderful film, it goes beyond.”
“Makes you feel like you're in the glory days of yesteryear... A raucous good time.”
“The immense size of the audience attending was a sign of [the film's] certain success.
Since 1979 Clayton Patterson has dedicated his life to documenting and archiving the final era of raw creativity and lawlessness in New York City's Lower East Side.
"Art in America magazine described the neighborhood as a 'blend of poverty, punk rock, drugs, arson, Hell’s Angels, winos, prostitutes and dilapidated housing.' This was the culture that Mr. Patterson seized as his subject, wandering the area on endless expeditions with his camera and gradually acquiring an archive of ephemera that grew to include graffiti stickers, concert posters, images of tattoos, thousands of hours of audiotape and videotape and empty heroin bags he had picked up off the streets." – The New York Times
Patterson first rose to national fame for filming the Aug. 6-7, 1988 Tompkins Square Park police riot, in which the NYPD violently clashed with protesters and park dwellers until dawn. Patterson was arrested and jailed for refusing to surrender his tapes to the police. He commenced a 10-day hunger strike that was ultimately broken by a deal that allowed him to retain the right to his original footage. The footage remains the only concrete account of what happened that night, and was important evidence in the investigations and legal proceedings that followed, in which several officers were disciplined or criminally indicted.
Afterwards, Patterson became actively involved in and focused his work on neighborhood struggles with the homeless crisis, drug trafficking, and especially, the displacement of the poor and the artistic community by the forces of gentrification.
By 2014, Mr. Patterson himself was ready to end the long struggle and admit that gentrification had won, "The energy is gone. My community is gone. I’m getting out. But the sad fact is: I didn’t really leave the Lower East Side. It left me."
"Mr. Patterson’s pending departure [from New York] is further proof, as if more proof were needed, of the difficulties artists face in surviving the seemingly irreversible tide of gentrification. What does it suggest that a man who endured the crack epidemic, the administration of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and at least a dozen arrests can no longer stand what the city has become?"
"It was at this point...that the city surprised him...with a spontaneous creative collaboration of the sort that Mr. Patterson thought no longer existed in New York" – "Last Bohemian Turns Out the Lights". The New York Times.
Film Info -- 2008, 84 minutes, in English.
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