See below for additional related events
Male rock ’n’ roll bravado is flipped on its head with this cult, feminist, punk film that inspired an entire riot grrl movement.
“You are so jealous of me,” Diane Lane’s character Corinne tells a disgruntled Billy (Ray Winstone). “I’m everything you ever wanted to be.” He hurls back an insult – “a c**t?” and she responds, all of seventeen years old, “exactly”. There are films that have a ‘f**k you’ attitude and then there are films like Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains. Featuring some of the very first roles for then teenagers and future Oscar-winners Lane and Laura Dern, it follows three girls from a low socio-economic background who hit the road with a punk band and washed up rock stars. Their drive is less about ‘making it’ per se and more about paying their rent, paying their bills, and keeping food in their mouths, all while pushing their outwardly feminist agenda. “We don’t put out!” screams a made-up and mulleted Corinne to an unruly audience, their aggression and attitude inspiring a wave of other teen girls in what becomes an unlikely phenomenon.
Lost to a wider audience for decades, it’s easy to understand why a cult fandom remained percolating for Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains with the themes and message as punk rock today as they were at the dawn of the eighties. Post The Runaways, the film is as much a satire about female exploitation in a male dominated industry as it is a rollicking musical featuring sex, drugs, and very, very good rock ’n’ roll. With a screenplay from Nancy Dowd enhanced by the lived experience of music producer and director Lou Adler, it’s formidable reputation became a critical text for the feminist riot grrl movement which was birthed not long after.
– Maria Lewis, Assistant Curator
READ: Ladies and Gentleman, the Fabulous Stains: teenage Diane Lane and Laura Dern rock punk
Jenny Valentish, The Guardian, Jan 2021
LISTEN: The Story Of The Fabulous Stains And Riot Grrrl
Allyson McCabe, NPR, Apr 2019
READ: Jake Fogelnest wants everyone to watch Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains
Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve, Aug 2013
Celebrate the launch of 10 books about 10 films, one for every year of the 2000s, with a series of screenings, talks and book launches.
Read our COVID-safe visitor guidelines, information on accessibility, amenities, transport, food and drink, and more.