After buildings were burned to the ground in the South Bronx in the 70s, the national guard was called in to help level ground and remove the debris of the demolished apartments. Community members worked together to repair their homes, rebuild their parks, and regrow their gardens.
A little history lesson, the foundation of why people flocked here, why this was the creative hub, the birthplace of hip hop, the center of it all. On the brink of destruction, you were free to take risks, try something new. Be yourself.
They said it: “Most people thought that New York City’s great days were over. My attitude was fuck ‘em.” - Mayor Ed Koch
“New York City was a great place to be if you wanted to be wild and promiscuous.” - Porn Goddess Annie Sprinkle
“The Bronx wasn’t burning. The Bronx was burnt.” DJ Hollywood
The city had fallen into decay, with too few jobs, money, police, schools, and social services. There was a city wide blackout with major looting, a serial killer on the loose, and the Bronx was burning. And yet out of the chaos emerged one of the most creative times any city has ever encountered.
The documentary weaves together the stories of the emergence of hip hop, punk and disco, graffiti art, and sexual liberation…and social issues of the day – crime, urban decay, financial woes, the infamous blackout, drugs, Son of Sam, the bitter mayoral election and the overall poverty that gripped the city.
Out of chaos came creation. From the South Bronx - hip hop. From the Lower East Side - the thrashing guitars of punk. And all over the city, a disco revolution was underway. Elaborate graffiti decorated the subway cars and break-dancers shimmied in the streets. The sexual revolution was in full swing. In January 1977, most of this existed in its own underground bubble. Yet by the end of the year this artistic expression was on its way to mainstream America.
Interviews with Ed Koch, Geraldo Rivera, Jimmy Breslin, Gloria Gaynor, Afrika Bambaataa, Chris Stein (Blondie), Richard Hell, KRS-One, Grandmaster Caz, DJ Disco Wiz, Legs McNeil, Annie Sprinkle, Al Goldstein, Tommy Ramone, Jellybean Benitez, Lee Quinones, and more.