Great piece in the WSJ today: The Bowery Went Down to Georgia
I’ve covered some similar ground in various posts about the filming of CBGB here in Savannah:
- CBGB exterior on one side of Congress, a real rock club on the other
- CBGB set in Savannah: does it look like the Bowery of 40 years ago?
- Can CBGB spirit be recreated — in Savannah or anywhere?
From the Wall Street Journal today:
The Georgia humidity may be akin to the sticky summers that infect downtown Manhattan, but is Savannah really an acceptable substitute for the infamous stretch of New York asphalt that spawned the Ramones?
The irony isn’t lost on anyone.
“Is it crazy to shoot ‘CBGB’ in Savannah?” asked director Randall Miller, who is producing the film with his wife and creative partner, Jody Savin, and Brad Rosenburger, a former music-publishing executive. With Kristal’s daughter, Lisa Kristal Burgman, on board as a co-producer, as well as the cooperation of the current owners of the Kristal estate, the production was loaned a truckload of the bar’s original parts, including the front doors (complete with the orange bungee cord that tethered them), the phone booth and one of the toilets.
“It’s cost-prohibitive to shoot a movie in New York these days,” explained Mr. Miller, who has limited the film’s actual Manhattan scenery to some exterior location shots. “To re-create the Bowery [circa 1973] is very expensive.”
Generous tax credits made Georgia more appealing for the independently financed production, which could fly in crew from New York and Los Angeles on the cheap. It’s all about “how can you get as much as you can on screen when you’re not paying for Teamsters and everything else,” he said. “As much as New York hates to hear that, it’s all about dollars and cents.”
And this: “Back on the actual Bowery, some East Village denizens agreed that the soul of CBGB had long since evaporated anyway. Clay Wright, who books musical acts at the John Varvatos boutique that moved into the space CBGB vacated, didn’t know the film was being made. But he wasn’t especially perturbed.”