Ladies and Gentlemen the Best Proto-Riot Grrrl Movie Ever | Bleader

Ladies and Gentlemen the Best Proto-Riot Grrrl Movie Ever


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A couple of years ago Jessica Hopper called me up and insisted--actually more like demanded--that I accompany her to a screening of the 1981 cult film Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains at Landmark's Century Centre. I still owe her for that.

Directed by Lou Adler--the man responsible for, among other things, Carole King's Tapestry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Cisco Adler--The Fabulous Stains stars not only a teenage Diane Lane and Laura Dern but two Sex Pistols, one member of the Clash, and Black Randy. It's the story of three untrained girls who form a band, get super famous, and inspire teenage girls to throw off the societal rules that tell them what they can and can't do. It is, needless to say, something of a unique film, and despite its B-movie production values a really good one too.

The Fabulous Stains also inspired some real-life girls to say "fuck the patriarchy" and pick up guitars. The film was a big deal with riot grrrls, and it's hard to listen to the Fabulous Stains and not be reminded of some of Bikini Kill's raw-ass early stuff:

Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains has never had an official video release--I blame the Man--but next month Rhino is coming through for the riot grrrls, punk trainspotters, and Laura-Dern-in-a-skintight-bodysuit aficionados of the world by putting the movie out on DVD.

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