SqueezeBox! (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

SqueezeBox! (2008)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Once upon a time (like the mid-'90s), a party promoter named Michael Schmidt had a novel idea: drag queens dumping the lipsynching routine to sing rock and roll live onstage. No one knew what to expect when they first opened the doors to Don Hill's on the fateful night that SqueezeBox! was born in downtown Manhattan. With Mistress Formika presiding as hostess and den mother, the drag queens rocked New York nightlife in a way no one had ever seen before. But what began as a place for queer misfits who'd rather hear a guitar riff than a disco beat turned into a pansexual free-for-all. Straight or gay. Preppy or punk. Man or woman (or somewhere in between). All were welcome at SqueezeBox! as long as they were there to have fun. Though celebrities like John Waters, Drew Barrymore, and Johnny Knoxville were regular fixtures, the movie stars, drag queens, punks, and everyone in between partied elbow to elbow, waiting for a glimpse of what would happen on stage. And what a stage. Not only was it graced by legendary performers like Deborah Harry and Jayne County-it was also where the Toilet Boys were born and John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask started working on Hedwig and the Angry Inch. But when big, bad Giuliani blew through New York nightlife to "clean it up," the party ended-with chins up and middle fingers in the air-after seven rocking years. Directors Zach Shaffer and Steve Saporito capture the raw, debauched energy of SqueezeBox! in their uniquely stylized mix of archival performance footage and interviews, offering those who were there a chance to relive it, and those who weren't a chance to get a taste of the action. Seven years after the seminal party closed its doors, SqueezeBox! is the ultimate tribute to what can never be recreated nor forgotten. --© Tribecca Film Festival
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Regent Releasing


Critic Reviews for SqueezeBox!

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Give up, old timers-the kids are all right.

April 23, 2008
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for SqueezeBox!

Rock music and drag both have a clear element of anarchy about them, pushing boundaries and shocking people. And yet hard rock is often thought of as the soundtrack of bashers, while drag queens have traditionally lip-synched to twee pop and old Broadway standards. Not at SqueezeBox!, the NYC gay night that for seven years had drag queens and other artists singing live (no lip-synching!), rendering edgy and often scandalous versions of rock, punk and New Wave. Backed by an impressive house band, the over-the-top performers perfected their ability to push buttons and appall people. Weirdly enough, the often-scandalous night also brought together straights and gays in a totally unexpected way. Often the best art is about combining things that people have previously thought of as disparate, and this flick does that in spades. Some of the filming itself is unfocused and technically unprofessional, but SqueezeBox! still captures a unique moment in history. Not all of this is pretty, nor is it meant to be. And although interviewees have a tendency to over-praise their subject, it’s hard to argue with something that was the testing ground for the brilliant Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Finally, first-hand testimonials from Blondie’s lead singer Debbie Harry, film auteur John Waters and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) add power to the legend of SqueezeBox! Long live its public sex, disgusting performance art, extreme drag and rough-edged rock and roll!

Stephen Miller
Stephen Miller

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