Herb Shellenberger

Lou Adler's Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982)
May 10, 2013
International House Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA, US

Part of Ladyfest Philadelphia 2013
Rare 35mm archival print!
Introduction by rock critic Sara Sherr

The original riot grrl film, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Fabulous Stains was tepidly made and not-actually-released by Paramount in the early 1980s. A tumultuous production and disastrous preview showings led the film to be shelved. When it later ended up on late-night TV and in repertory theaters it became a cult hit, inspiring rockers like Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill and Courtney Love to pick up their instruments.

Recently orphaned Corrine “Third Degree” Burns (a 14-year-old Diane Lane) enlists her cousin (Laura Dern) and sister to launch a punk rock band, The Stains. Three rehearsals later, the band scores the opening slot on a cross-country tour with aging metal act The Metal Corpses and British punk rockers The Looters. The Stains’ meteoric rise—and equally lightening-quick fall—owes more to TV exposure than to talent. Featuring real-life punks (Paul Simenon of The Clash, Steve Jones and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols), outrageous fashions, and The Stains’ post-punk hits “Waste of Time” and “Join the Professionals,” Ladies and Gentlemen…The Fabulous Stains is a sarcastic and hilarious look at the early 1980s punk scene.

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Fabulous Stains, Lou Adler, 1982, US, 35mm, 87'

Sara Sherr is a Philadelphia-based rock critic and host of Sugar Town, a 12-year-old monthly music series for female and female-identified musicians, performers, and DJs. She co-ran independent booking agency Plain Parade from 2002-2006 and is an organizer for the Phreak N Queer Arts & Music Festival and Ladyfest Philadelphia.