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Another Blast From the Past

L.A. Weekly

Portion of L.A. Weekly article on “Young Turks” before the Downtown Drive-In event in 1981.

Art critic Hunter Drohojowska, writing about Stephen Seemayer‘s “Young Turks” in the L.A. Weekly in 1981, called the rough-cut verson “a kaleidoscopic melange of Hollywood’s B-movie corn, bizarre underground existence and a few naked truths.”

“Artists are portrayed earnestly explaining their work in one scene,” Drohojowska wrote, “and participating in some hallucinogenic madness in the next.”

While the film about art and life in downtown L.A. circa 1980 has been fully digitized and reedited by Pamela Wilson, the filmmakers have attempted to maintain the energetic quality noted by Drohojowska while giving some structure to the “inherent irony and absurd juxtapositions.”

“It’s a rare art movie that can keep me awake for two hours, but this one manages,” Drohojowska wrote, citing the original rough-cut’s length. (The newly edited version is a fast-paced 95 minutes.) “For one thing, the editing is riotous, crowded with consciously trite, humorous special-effects techniques. … All of this is entertaining and decorative, so if the movie is somewhat self-indulgent, at least it isn’t dull.”

“Everything about ‘Young Turks’ strikes me as something of an L.A. phenomenon,” Drohojowska wrote. “It’s an extremely personal work, more about a lifestyle than art. It remains, nonetheless, a valid document, because it shows how the art created was so intimately involved in the style of life led.”

Artists rendering of Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., L.A. with "Young Turks" banner.

Artists rendering of Downtown Independent Theatre, 251 S. Main St., L.A. with “Young Turks” banner.

The documentary will have a one-week run at the Downtown Independent starting Feb. 8.


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