A two-hour documentary about a fabled and infamous music venue on the outskirts of Lawrence will make its Kansas City debut this weekend.
“The Outhouse: The Film, 1985-1997” chronicles the history of a stark, brute cinderblock building in farmland east of Lawrence that once hosted scores of bands and music artists, many of whom would later become legends in punk, rock and rap. Among them: Fugazi, the Melvins, the Circle Jerks, Body Count (with Ice-T), Social Distortion, Bad Brains, White Zombie, Descendents, Sonic Youth, Green Day, Fishbone, the Meat Puppets, Helmet and Nirvana.
The documentary, which was directed by filmmaker Brad Norman, first screened at Liberty Hall in Lawrence in October. That screening sold out. It will be shown for the first time in Kansas City on Friday at the Uptown Theater. Showtime is 7 p.m.
After the movie, there will be a panel discussion among four people heavily associated with the Outhouse and its music scene, including Jeff Fortier, who attended and promoted shows at the Outhouse and who now runs the live-music/entertainment company Mammoth in Lawrence.
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Fortier said the discussion will bring to light stories and incidents not addressed in the movie, including that White Zombie show, which he said was “the most intense show I ever saw,” plus a story about a naked farmer driving recklessly through a crowd in his truck.
Other panelists: Bob Cutler, who did sound at the venue; Dave Budin, who booked shows; and Tim Jamison of the St. Louis punk band Ultraman. I will moderate.
Norman was an Outhouse patron during his teens and beyond. In October, he told The Star that the place became a haven for music fans who felt like outcasts with little interest in mainstream music.
“People were only there for the music,” he said. “And because they were different. They needed their own place. For me, the Outhouse was a place where I found people who were like me.”
He spent five years working on the film, gathering photos, video footage and show flyers and interviewing fans and musicians who frequented or performed at the place, including Ice-T.
The Ice-T interview happened because, as the rapper/actor’s manager told Norman: “I’ve heard this ***dam Outhouse story 10,000 times. He won’t shut up about this place.”
Tickets to the film showing are $15. There are two after-parties/shows following the panel discussion: punk legends Agnostic Front perform at the Brick, 1727 McGee, which is sold out; and a three-band bill at the RecordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd., featuring Nine Lives, Octocloud and Full Power. Admission to that show is free with a ticket stub from the film, $15 otherwise. It’s an 18-and-older show.
“The Outhouse: The Film, 1985-1997” will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, at the Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway. Admission is $15. The film will be followed by a panel discussion. There are two after-party shows. Agnostic Front performs at the Brick, 1727 McGee; and three bands perform at the RecordBar, 1520 Grand Blvd. The Agnostic Front show is sold out.