June 12 - 13,  2002

American Cinematheque Presents...

Sold Her Soul For Rock 'N Roll: A Tribute to Penelope Spheeris

Series compiled by Chris D. with the assistance of David Shultz.

Special Thanks to: SPHEERIS FILMS; Sharon Osbourne/DIVINE PICTURES; Cathye Clark/PARAMOUNT; Rob Aft; Steven E. Smith; Sarah Elsberg/CONCORDE NEW HORIZONS CORP.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $8 general admission unless noted otherwise.



SCHEDULE (by series)

SCHEDULE (by date)







Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

From her beginnings as a UCLA film student in the early 1970’s, director Penelope Spheeris had a reputation for unleashing edgy portraits of disenfranchised misfits on the fringe. She is an inspiring example of a filmmaker who has largely gone her own way in Hollywood, first achieving success with her ferocious, pioneering documentary of the Los Angeles punk scene, DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, a film that’s spawned two equally fascinating sequels. Spheeris’ acclaimed punk odyssey SUBURBIA followed, as well as streetwise exploitation pictures like THE BOYS NEXT DOOR. In 1992, she directed Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in WAYNE’S WORLD, their phenomenally successful spin off from "Saturday Night Live."

We’re very excited to welcome Penelope Spheeris in person for a two-night retrospective of her best work, including a screening of her latest rockumentary, WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR ROCK ‘N ROLL!



Friday, July 12 – 7:00 PM

Director Penelope Spheeris In Person! New 35 mm. Print!

THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, 1981, 100 min. Dir. Penelope Spheeris. The quintessential document on the burgeoning Los Angeles punk rock scene circa 1978-1981 featuring performances by X, The Germs, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear, Alice Bag Band and Catholic Discipline. With an interview catalogue of wild and colorful characters any decent fiction writer would’ve been hard pressed to invent! Discussion following with director Penelope Spheeris, musicians Lee Ving (Fear) and Keith Morris (The Circle Jerks) – t.b.c.


Friday, July 12 – 10:00 PM

WAYNE’S WORLD, 1992, Paramount, 95 min. Dir. Penelope Spheeris. The hilariously lo-fi "Saturday Night Live" skits with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as two bone-headed, heavy metal monsters who have their own community-access cable TV show became a huge hit in Spheeris’ terrific big-screen adaptation. The scene of Wayne and Garth rocking out to Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" in their car is priceless. With Rob Lowe and Tia Carrere.


Saturday, July 13 – 5:00 PM

Double-Feature – Penelope Spheeris In Person!!

SUBURBIA, 1984, New World, 94 min. Director Penelope Spheeris’s first feature after the original DECLINE film is a harrowing trip through a blighted suburban wasteland where feral punk kids form their own surrogate communal family. Shot in an actual L.A. housing project that had been vacated and earmarked for demolition.

THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION Part III, 1998, Spheeris Films, 87 min. Dir. Penelope Spheeris. Like her two previous DECLINE films, Part III showcases aggro bands such as Final Conflict and Naked Aggression. But like SUBURBIA, it’s also a teen odyssey, this time through the back alleys of Hollywood, turf inhabited by a new breed of homeless "gutter punks". Astonishingly, what emerges from behind these kids’ boastful tales of drugs & debauchery is an achingly poignant vision of intelligent, talented youth consigned to the scrapheap by abusive parents and an obsessively conformist society. Discussion following with director Penelope Spheeris.


Saturday, July 13 – 9:30 PM

Director Penelope Spheeris In Person!!

WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, 2001, Divine Pictures, 90 min. Dir. Penelope Spheeris. An incredibly entertaining cinematic chronicle of Ozzfest, the traveling heavy metal circus where quite often the behind-the-scenes footage of band and audience members is just as riveting as anything happening onstage. And that’s plenty, with not only Ozzy Osbourne’s hypnotic, weirdly charismatic persona on display but a slew of support bands that include System of A Down, Primus, Godsmack and Rob Zombie. Director Penelope Spheeris to introduce the screening.