Cinéaste underground très actif dans les années 80, Nick Zedd est le théoricien du Cinéma de la Transgression. Parmi ses œuvres, on compte They Eat Scum (1979), Geek Maggot Bingo (1983), Police State (1987) ou War Is Menstrual Envy (1990-1992). Voir l'ouvrage Deathtripping, The Extreme Underground de Jack Sargeant pour plus de détails. Zedd est aussi l'auteur d'une autobiographie, Bleed Part One (1992) où il revient sur son enfance, ses débuts de cinéaste, sa rencontre avec Jack Smith, les trois mois passés en compagnie de Lydia Lunch (actrice, musicienne et auteur phare de l'époque), ses nuits de dèche et de débauche et les films tournés avec Richard Kern, ici surnommé "Nazi Dick". Un des passages décrit l'ambiance artistique de New York entre 1979 et 1983. Témoignage historique important que nous reproduisons ici.
1979 was a time of renewed energy in the New York film scene. Simoultaneously, people who didn't even know each other were making low budget super-8 features starring members of local bands. I would go to the New Cinema, a storefront on St. Marks Place equipped with a video projector. They would show super-8 movies by Eric Mitchell, James Nares, Vivian Dick and John Lurie. Max's [Kansas City] would show the films of Scott and Beth B. in between bands. Meanwhile, I was showing They Eat Scum at places like Tier 3 and OP Screen, a room on Broadway that had shown Amos Poe's and John Waters' early films. The owner Rafik was an early supporter of underground movies and the only curator left from the sixties who was still open minded enough to show the movies of the "para punk cinema".
I met David Mc Dermott, the diminutive star of Rome 78. He was a skinny painter who dressed clothes from the turn of the century and drove around town in a souped-up Model T. He became the star of my 1980 film The Bogus Man before submerging into his fantasy o living in the year 1900. Lydia Lunch was appearing in films while playing around in a succession of noise bands. Her band Teenage Jesus and The Jerks would do ten minute sets while the audience screamed, "Less!"
Before the club scene was corrupted by overpriced tickets and the invasion of out of towners, CBGBs and Max's were a vortex of energy with bands like The Cramps, The Ramones, Suicide, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Blondie, Stell Tips, The Blessed, The Contortions, James White & The Blacks, DNA and others playing almost every night of the week. Club 57 was the best club in town, featuring joke bands, drag queens, old TV cartoons Japanese animation, fake rappers, lady wrestling tournaments, underground cartoonists and filmakers and a succession of pre-sell-out weirdos like John Sex, Wendy Wild, Klaus Nomi, Ann Magnuson and an endless list of exotic hipsters and shitfaced low life in the days before gentrification ruined the neighborhood. Club 57 lasted until 1983 when, under the tutelage of a junky with itchy fingers, it succombed to mismanagement.