Died Young, Stayed Pretty Eileen Yaghoobian

Died Young, Stayed PrettyEileen Yaghoobian
In her effort to gratuitously reaffirm the hazy political consequence of punk's DIY aesthetics, Eileen Yaghoobian moves beyond fashion and reactionary two-chord aggression. Died Young, Stayed Pretty locates the contemporary nexus of punk in the underground gig poster scene. If Yaghoobian's pet project is a bit scattered, content to focus more on the sometimes shrewd but almost always entertaining musings of a motley crew of renegade screen-printers, it is likely because she remains wary of falling into the very sort of grand narrative that punk has consistently worked to refuse. But the rambling works. If there's a revolutionary model to be found in the stories of a bunch of American artists eking out a living printing posters for touring rock bands it's one that invites competition and contestation about not only the art and politics of poster-making but of punk's present-day currency. Sure, we have a lot of artists going off on the Bush administration, media brainwashing, zombie consumerism, etc., but we have just as many lamenting (often rather intelligibly) the unproductive tedium of such now-flaccid political critiques. For every artist that thinks that their Von Zippers gig poster stands in direct opposition to capitalism, Republicanism, or whatever we have one that's merely pleased to be scamming a living making art. And it's precisely through this dynamic of fundamental discord that Died Young, Stayed Pretty succeeds. Yaghoobian admirably presents both sides of punk's identity, ultimately leaving it up to the viewer to decide whether gig posters are just indie advertising or significant pop representations — art of artefact. It's this vitally democratic spirit that gives meaning to the messiness here and, in doing so, evokes something of punk's defining ethos (varied though it may be). The DVD is fairly well stacked, offering extended interviews, recordings of original music used in the film and a gallery of indie rock-inspired posters used to promote the film. (Warner)