A couple of years ago Jessica Hopper called me up and insisted–actually more like demanded–that I accompany her to a screening of the 1981 cult film Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains at Landmark’s Century Centre. I still owe her for that.
Directed by Lou Adler–the man responsible for, among other things, Carole King’s Tapestry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Cisco Adler–The Fabulous Stains stars not only a teenage Diane Lane and Laura Dern but two Sex Pistols, one member of the Clash, and Black Randy. It’s the story of three untrained girls who form a band, get super famous, and inspire teenage girls to throw off the societal rules that tell them what they can and can’t do. It is, needless to say, something of a unique film, and despite its B-movie production values a really good one too.
The Fabulous Stains also inspired some real-life girls to say “fuck the patriarchy” and pick up guitars. The film was a big deal with riot grrrls, and it’s hard to listen to the Fabulous Stains and not be reminded of some of Bikini Kill’s raw-ass early stuff:
Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains has never had an official video release–I blame the Man–but next month Rhino is coming through for the riot grrrls, punk trainspotters, and Laura-Dern-in-a-skintight-bodysuit aficionados of the world by putting the movie out on DVD.