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Episode 182

Documenting Underground Culture & A Punk Perspective On Hollywood with Penelope Spheeris

Episode 182
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Her films populate the most notable entries in underground and mainstream 20th century youth culture. Trailblazing filmmaker Penelope Spheeris joins us to share her cheeky Hollywood  outsider perspective which allowed her to break legendary ground, with Suburbia and the Decline of Western Civilization trilogy and make significant dents in mainstream film land with Wayne’s World, Black Sheep and Little Rascals.  Brace for Penelope’s snidely self-effacing perspective on movies, music, and Hollywood’s club and movie cultures.

Penelope traces her fascination with punk and street life back to her turbulently nomadic life as a carnival kid. In the late 70s, she and her film crew stage dove deep into L.A.’s punk infused club scene and emerged with Decline of Western Civilization I… A film which was quickly banned by the LAPD before capturing a devoted midnight screening audience and ascending into cult status. Decline I was followed, seven years later by Decline II which captured The Hollywood metal scene and then by Decline III, Penelope’s homage to Hollywood’s homeless, punk street kids, one of whom became her long-term boyfriend.

Between Declines II and III, Penelope directed Wayne’s World. She fills us in on capturing Mike Myers and Dana Carvey’s big screen vision, how funny they were on the set and whether or not Freddy Mercury saw the famous head banging, Bohemian Rhapsody car scene???

Disappointments cloud anyone’s horizon but Penelope has come to terms with losing Wayne’s World II and she’s still hopeful that her unreleased doc about Ozzfest ’99 will receive the necessary music clearances for wide release. (We’re counting on you, Sharon Osborne!)

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