Documentary Feature Offers Intimate Snapshot of Downtown L.A. Circa 1981
Feb. 8-14, 2013/Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St., Los Angeles 90012
From 1977 to 1981, multimedia artist Stephen Seemayer took a Super-8mm movie camera and captured some of the artists and denizens of downtown L.A. in their unnatural habitat. He filmed them at work and at play, discussing art and the experience of living amid the gritty alleys and deserted industrial buildings at the city’s urban core. A rough cut of the resulting documentary, “Young Turks,” was screened in 1981, and then it was put into storage and never seen again.
Newly digitized and fully reedited with additional footage, “Young Turks” has been re-envisioned by Seemayer, along with editor Pamela Wilson, with an eye to sharing it with a new generation. In 1981, rents were cheap and life was edgy in downtown L.A. The artists featured in “Young Turks” discussed their reasons for moving there and how it affected their work. Seemayer also turned his camera on those less fortunate who made the streets their home. In doing so, he captured an intimate snapshot of downtown at a crossroads, before skyscrapers and the Museum of Contemporary Art, when “loft living” was more than just an advertising slogan.
In addition to himself, artists featured in Seemayer’s 95-minute film include:
Performance duo Bob & Bob
Performance artist Richard Newton
Poet and publisher Linda Frye Burnham
Painter and sculptor Jon Peterson
Sculptor James Croak
Photographer Monique Safford
Sculptor Woods Davy
Assemblagist John Schroeder
Provocateur Eric “Randy” Johnsen
Sculptor Coleen Sterritt
Conceptual artist Marc Kreisel
Painter Andy Wilf
The film features narration by Los Angeles Times columnist and radio/TV personality Patt Morrison, as well as original music by Fat & Fucked Up, The Dark Bob, Linda Frye Burnham and Party Boys.
The new “Young Turks” will open a one-week run at the Downtown Independent with a World Premiere screening on Friday, Feb. 8 at 8:00 p.m. (There will be a reception starting at 7:00 p.m.) The theater is located at 251 S. Main St., between 2nd and 3rd streets.
Trailers and other information about “Young Turks” are available at
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For more information, or to schedule an interview with the filmmakers,
please call Pamela Wilson at 323/698-3481 or email Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org