The goal of this film project is to present the all ages Punk Rock music scene and youth culture of the early 1980’s that emerged in Pittsburgh just as the decline of the steel industry was reaching its dramatic peak. The shifting regional landscape, with its’ mills closings, historic employment loss, and eventual population flight into the suburbs, altered generations of individual families and communities, while creating new opportunities in its wake for its youth to connect.
For many young people in Pittsburgh under the age of 21, the enigmatic culture of bars, nightclubs, and performance venues had always been a curiosity. Pittsburgh had already produced several successful underground Punk bands in the late ‘70’s, and its music/bar culture was estimable. A new generation of young people however were ‘missing’ out on the scene, and looking for ways to connect, be part of the culture, the people, and most importantly, the music.
The film ‘Give Us a Chance: Pittsburgh Punk (working title)’ will detail individual experiences about how a vibrant, active culture rapidly expanded across the greater Pittsburgh area – bringing people from the region’s declining satellite cities and mill towns together to support their need, curiosity, and eventually, commitment to Punk music and the rising Pittsburgh Punk Rock scene. It will illustrate how the Punk community grew from modest beginnings involving a few dozen people at an all-ages show at a small venue on Oakland, to the hundreds that came together to vent their frustrations and confront an uncertain future, while building an enduring community culture of their own.
Nationally there has been an increasing interest and trend towards documenting and preserving the music of this era, however there has not been another project to look at the music as a part of the holistic picture of the history of a city and how it has been an indicator of the broader changes that were taking place.