“...an inspired time capsule of LA’s 1993 alt-punk scene”
— THE LA WEEKLY
“A speedy exploration of underground music and culture that flourished in LA during the 1990’s — east of Hollywood & Vine, and far, far away from the Sunset Strip”
“Jean Railla gives us a look at what’s it’s like to be one of the hip young denizens of the local music scene, packing us along as she attends various house parties, where people like Beck are just plain folk hanging out."
— THE PORTLAND MERCURY
FEATURING MUSIC BY BECK, ETHYL MEATPLOW, POSSUM DIXON, GLUE, ANONYMOUS ROCK, THE ABE LINCOLN STORY, MIME CRIME, AND POETRY FROM PLEASANT GEHMAN.
DIRECTED BY JEAN RAILLA
EDITED BY JONATHON STEARNS
PRODUCED BY JEAN RAILLA AND JONATHON STEARNS
FIVE NIGHTS OUT
A LOVE LETTER TO A MUSIC SCENE. SET IN 1993 LOS ANGELES.
Jonathon Stearns is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, writer, animator and musician. He has run his own production company Channel B4 since 2001, as a platform for producing his own original work, and for developing and creating digital content for a diverse client base. As a musician and composer, he has been involved in the LA music scene for two decades. In the 1990s, Stearns was represented by Original Film as a music video director, and at Propaganda Films as an Art Director. His films have been featured in festivals internationally, most recently as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Jean Railla is a New York-based filmmaker, writer and creative director. The New York Times credits her 2004 website Get Crafty as “inspiring the movement that turned ‘handmade’ into bohemian chic, and propelling a formerly fusty hobby into a $30 billion business.” Railla was the author of Get Crafty: Hip Home Ec (Random House) and has written for several national magazines websites and contributed several on air segments on NPR’s Word of Mouth. As a creative director, she has developed multiple advertising campaigns and digital tools for Nike, Walmart and Estée Lauder and helped launch the online marketplace Etsy. She is currently a part-time professor and advisor in the department of Media, Culture and Communications at NYU Steinhardt and in production on the sequel to Five Nights Out entitled We’re All Happy: Before there was the Internet, there was the underground with Jonathon Stearns.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
I made Five Nights Out in 1993 as a love letter to the LA underground music scene that existed at that time on the eastside of Los Angeles, a world away from Malibu and Laurel Canyon and other places musicians like to write songs about.
Being a part of that scene changed my life. Probably saved it too.
Had I not seen Possum Dixon whip up a daytime crowd into a frenzy with a cover of Madonna's Like a Virgin at a backyard party; or admired the-not-yet famous Beck playing surreal folk songs in between sets at Al’s Bar; or lost myself in the undulating sea of sweat-covered bodies during Lutekisk’s grunge anthem Hug Me; I would have never bought a video camera with a credit card and, armed with a few cinema studies courses from UCLA, started documenting what was happening around me.
If I had never been struck by the absurd brilliance of a Mime Crime, whose four members wore KISS make-up while performing their pantomimed symphony of silence, I never would have been inspired to approach the budding filmmaker Jonathon Stearns to be my editor and co-producer and to help craft a story out of hours and hours of poorly shot and badly lit video. And had I not made Five Nights Out, I don’t think I’d be the same person I am today.
I hope you enjoy Five Nights Out. But even if you think it's crap — to quote my husband "It’s a document of its time, shot in the vernacular of that moment," which takes a certain patience — perhaps rather than fastforwarding to the Beck footage (you fame-whore!), try settling down into it like you would into the backseat of a 1986 Honda hatchback, and come along for the ride.
If nothing else, I hope this adamantly amateur (slash! avant garde!) film inspires you to make a better, cooler adamantly amateur movie — not for fame or profit, but simply because doing so is a reward in itself.
As a postnote: Jonathon and I continue to be close friends and creative partners and are fast at work on a sequel called We're All Happy: Before there was the Internet, there was the underground. Thankfully we are shooting with proper cameras, sounds and lighting, and have even conducted proper interviews. Stay tuned.