Love Goes To Buildings On Fire

1977 New York gets the VH1 treatment and, oh my, wasn't it fun back then!

There's less performance footage from major players than you might expect from a VH1 doc, and fewer soundbites, too. Blondie's Chris Stein gives great quote, and Tommy Ramone—the last Ramone standing—represents like an old hippie art prof. But no Debbie Harry, no Talking Heads, no Grandmaster Flash, no Donna Summer. You barely notice their absence, though, because frankly, in the era of YouTube and bonus DVDs, the lesser-known voices feel fresher and less manicured. And the relative lack of self-mythologizing stars allows the music to take its proper place in the larger story of the city.

In this way, NY77 does an honest job of capturing the collective creative oomph that drove parts of New York's artistic community in 1977. And while it ends by blaming real estate toxin for the end of an era, the unspoken postscript is that the '77 gene still thrives here. It's just that nowadays, the thugs come with ballpoint pens instead of machetes.

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