Groundbreaking, subversive, brutally honest, No holds Barred… These are a few words to describe Lydia Lunch. Lydia Lunch is the original No Wave punk pioneer and priestess of New York’s Lower East Side.
LYDIA LUNCH – The War Is Never Over by Beth B is the first career-spanning documentary retrospective of Lydia Lunch’s confrontational, acerbic and always electric artistry. As New York City’s preeminent No Wave icon from the late 70’s, Lunch has forged a lifetime of music and spoken word performance devoted to the utter right of any woman to indulge, seek pleasure, and to say “fuck you!” as loud as any man. In this time of endless attacks on women this is a rallying cry to acknowledge the only thing that is going to bring us together – ART…as the universal salve to all of our traumas.
Beth B’s LYDIA LUNCH – The War Is Never Over will have its world premiere at the prestigious DOC NYC Film Festival on November 9th 2019 at 7:05pm at the IFC Center, Theater 1.
In 2017, Lydia Lunch and filmmaker Beth B joined forces to create LYDIA LUNCH – The War Is Never Over a retrospective of Lunch’s confrontational, acerbic and always electric spoken word performance and music. The film frames Lunch’s work through the lens of the various philosophical themes that have obsessed her for years to enlighten and empower women to voice the unheard and to break the cycle of violence toward women throughout the world. Lydia Lunch is the psycho-sexual transgressive who revoked patriarchal expectations of what a female performer might mean, while forging a vocabulary of rare emotional honesty, philosophy and humor.
Director Beth B has known and worked with No Wave legend Lydia Lunch since the late ’70s when they broke boundaries, confronting audiences with uncensored poetry, music and films. Reflecting on the groundbreaking defiance Lydia Lunch has personified for over 30 years, she is a survivor who creates a dialogue of universal truth through her music and performances. In 1984, she penned the subversive and prescient spoken word piece, “Daddy Dearest”, defying the gag order and spoke out about the sexual abuse she suffered as a young girl at the hands of her father. Lunch continues to expose the patriarchy, sexual abuse, the cycle of violence, and corporate greed with stubborn resistance.
In 1976, at age sixteen, Lydia Lunch arrived in the bankrupted ruins of NYC with the killer instincts of a born survivor, inspired by the ravings of Lester Bangs in Creem Magazine, the Velvet Underground’s sarcastic wit, the glamour of the New York Dolls, and the poetic scat of Patti Smith’s Piss Factory. Having escaped a disrupted and abusive childhood, Lunch’s refusal to submit to anyone’s will led her to forge her own reality on stage with the unprecedented brutality of Teenage Jesus And The Jerks — a central pillar of the No Wave music scene and a legendary name to this day. Everyone from Alan Vega and Martin Rev (Suicide), to the future luminaries of Sonic Youth, would embrace Lunch as the violent heartbeat of their art/music rebellion. When Brian Eno chose to produce the No New York compilation of 1978, Lunch was there as the shrieking voice and guitar fronting one of the most influential bands of the era: Teenage Jesus And The Jerks.
LYDIA LUNCH The War is Never Over includes interviews with Lydia Lunch as well as some of her collaborators and colleagues including: Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth; performance artist Kembra Pfahler; Teenage Jesus bass player, Jim Sclavunos; Donita Sparks from L7; famed DJ and musician Nicolas Jaar; Art Critic Carlo McCormick; Filmmaker Richard Kern and a long list of other groundbreaking artists connected to Lunch’s past and present.
Filming in rehearsal and on tour with her band Retrovirus, the behind-the-scenes footage reveals a side of Lunch’s personality that has been unseen. Her warmth and generosity in private interactions along with hilarious banter in the rehearsal studio with band members contrasts wonderfully with her brash, assaultive style of performance.
Director Beth B is a writer/director/producer of feature-length documentary and narrative films as well as experimental shorts. B’s career has been characterized by work that challenges society’s conventions, and that focuses on recasting and redefining concepts relating to the mind, the body, and women’s issues. Her films have been shown at, and acquired by, the Whitney Museum and MoMA. Her early films, along with those of Jim Jarmusch and Amos Poe, are the focus of the documentary film, Blank City. Her films have been the subjects of several books and other documentaries, including The Cinema of Transgression; Art, Performance, Media; No Wave – Underground 80; Downtown Film and TV Culture 1975-2001.
Throughout her prolific career, B has directed over 30 films working independently and in television (Sundance Channel, PBS, Court TV, TLC) as an Executive Producer, Producer, and Director. Currently, Beth B is premiering her feature length documentary film, LYDIA LUNCH – The War Is Never Over, at DOC NYC, which is about iconic musician and performance artist, Lydia Lunch. In 2016 Zeitgeist Films released her feature documentary film, Call Her Applebroog, which had its world premiere at The Museum of Modern Art. The film reveals renowned artist Ida Applebroog’s groundbreaking artwork that has been a sustained enquiry into the polemics of human relations, but more intimately, it is about her dramatic struggle to overcome adversity. In 2013, she completed EXPOSED, a feature about 8 performance artists who use their bodies in provocative and comedic ways to question the very concept of “normal.” The film premiered in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section where it was nominated for Best Documentary, has been screened in over 40 film festivals, and released theatrically.
From 2000-2008, Beth B began a new phase of her career, producing and directing television and educational documentaries and docudramas, which she continues to do. Breathe In, Breathe Out, a co-production with Open City/Blow Up, Dune and ZDF Television, had its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, its US Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, and was subsequently broadcast in several countries. B has a prolific career producing and directing television documentaries including Positive ID: The Case Files of Anthony Falsetti; Death of a Rising Star; The Black Widow; An Unlikely Terrorist; and several other programs. B worked as Senior Series Producer on a six-part reality television series, Crime Scenes Uncovered, about the “real CSI” shot in Miami for TLC. She produced and directed two of the episodes. For ZDF/Germany, ARTE/France, the Sundance Channel and PBS, she has created various short subject documentaries, including Breasts for PBS’s Egg the Arts Show, segments for Nerve for the HBO series and website; High Heel Nights for ARTE/France, and segments for AfterEffects, the Sundance Channel series.
Her feature narrative film, Two Small Bodies (1994), based on Neal Bell’s play and starring Fred Ward and Suzy Amis, was celebrated worldwide being featured at the Locarno, Toronto and Sundance film festivals. Salvation! (1987), a sharp-edged social satire starring Viggo Mortensen and Exene Cervenka, prefigured pop culture’s fascination with televangelism and premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and played theatrically worldwide. In 1988, her screenplay Life in Luxury was selected for the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab.
Beth B’s films have been shown at museums and cinemas worldwide as well as film festivals including: The New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Nuremberg Int’l Human Rights Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival and others.