Mabuhay Gardens : A Tribute to the Mab
ON MARCH 3, BELLAS ARTES PROJECTS PRESENTS MABUHAY GARDENS: A TRIBUTE TO THE MAB - A CONCERT HEADLINING SANDWICH AND HILERA.
Following the screening of Bruce Conner's masterpiece CROSSROADS (1967), the nostalgic, punk-inspired show will take place at Casa Binan at 10pm.
On 443 Broadway in San Francisco, the "Fab Mab" doors are closed. However, the vintage posters that surround the legendary supper club evokes nostalgic memories of its youth. It was here that Dirk Dirksen worked with the owner, Ness Aquino to create the center of the San Francisco punk club milieu in the late 1970s and the early 1980s.
In the early days of Mab, the supper club was struggling financially. In an act of desperation, Ness Aquino decided to lease the property for $75 a night. To their surprise, Aquino agreed to punk bands performing at Mab, despite being a known conservative.
Booking with Mary Monday opened the floodgates to working with other potentially influential punk bands with the help of entrepreneur and soon-to-be Mab promoter and emcee Dirk Dirksen. Before long, Dirksen invited Psyclone editor Jerry Paulsen to the lounge and shortly after the editor became the official ticket collector. This resulted in an explosion of punk music at the Mab as several early punk and new wave bands lined up. Despite gaining popularity for the venue, Psyclone was unable to make profit. As luck would have it, CBS picked up on the punk phenomenon and broadcasted a documentary on English punks just as San Francisco's KPIX Channel 5 aired its own program on the emerging punk scene at Mabuhay Gardens.
Subsequently, V. Vale of City Lights Bookstore nearby to the Mab gathered funds to launch his own punk magazine Search and Destroy to celebrate the counterculture. At Mabuhay Gardens, Vale met Conner and asked him to publish his photos in the magazine. He believed their association would bring the same influential and simultaneously, defiant quality that Conner inherently possessed to the magazine's pages.
Photographing live shows at Mabuhay Gardens deepened Conner's fascination with the punk movement. He approached his subjects with enthusiasm, dressed as a combat photographer prepared to fully immerse himself in the dynamic scene.
By integrating himself within the vivacious crowd, his images allows spectators to experience the energy of the shows. Not only that, but he defies the raucous perception of the punk scene by capturing what cultural critic Greil Marcus calls, "[the] silence of punk's unfulfilled outcry". Despite the commotion, the images possess an uncluttered quality and demonstrate the closely- knitted community hidden behind the furious bodies reveling in loud music. He offered the unparalleled experience of viewing suspended action, that is typically experienced through sound. Conner's photographs capture the spirit of the time and place by exposing Mabuhay Gardens to its raw, visual core.
Conner's ability to convey a strong sense of Mabuhay Garden's atmosphere to the public eye, demonstrates the significance of the venue in the height of San Francisco's creative moment and the depths of the punk movement. Mabuhay Gardens left an imprint on the history of San Francisco, whilst Conner had revolutionized punk culture. Performing at the Mab became the induction for many iconic bands such as Devo, Negative Trend, The Mutants, Crime, UXA, The Avengers, among many others.
Bellas Artes Projects invites the public to attend Mabuhay Gardens : A Tribute to Mab on Saturday, March 3 at Casa Binan. The concert is inspired by the 1970s cultural revolution and angst-driven energy that Conner captured in his photos. To attend, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will connect you with the reservation department of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.