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Woodward Cinema presents The Napa State Tapes

Woodward Cinema presents The Napa State Tapes

4/8/24 at The Woodward Theater

Doors at 7:00PM, Show at 7:30PM
$12 advance, $15 day of show

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Parking Info: Click Here


“Somebody told me you people are crazy, but I'm not so sure about that.... you seem to be all right to me." So says lead singer Lux Interior of The Cramps, challenging the mainstream stereotype of the crowd assembled before him at the Napa State Hospital.

On June 13, 1978, the soon-to-be legendary rock band went to play Napa State, a psychiatric hospital in the small town of Napa in Northern California. Opening for them was The Mutants, an eclectic septet of art school punks from nearby San Francisco. Also in the van was seminal Bay Area art collective Target Video, there to capture the show using one of the first video cameras available to the public, democratizing a medium controlled by mainstream media outlets.

What resulted may be the most unique punk show ever, as the two bands played for the residents at the hospital, a rehabilitation facility that was skimming the danger of being shut down by former California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Later, in the early 1980s, Target Video released the footage of the show as “The Cramps at Napa State” worldwide on the brand new VHS home video format. It became one of the most seen rock videos ever, The Cramps in an incredible performance for a crowd of hospital residents and visiting punk rockers, too similar to tell apart.

The grainy black-and-white video footage also provided a vision of humanity to this world of mental health. The punks, also dismissed as outsiders to society, felt a camaraderie to the Napa State residents. The DIY release is still a cult movie in its own right, providing as many questions to who was at the show and how it happened.

This release presents for the first time the entire Cramps performance tape unedited with an additional song, remastered from the original 1⁄2” open reel video tape used in the video recording deck at the show.

Also presented for the first time: the previously lost footage of The Mutants playing at Napa State, unedited and remastered from the original source tape.
Both Napa performances have been remastered by Dino Everett at the Punk Media Research Collection, University of Southern California, HMH Foundation Moving Image Archive.

Screening in between the Napa performances is the short documentary We Were There to Be There (2021, 27 minutes, directed by Mike Plante and Jason Willis) which goes into the background of Target Video and how the Napa State show happened, with interviews from people who were at the show and rare photos. The doc also explores the deep history of Napa State and how Governor Reagan’s tactics with mental health facilities are still affecting us today.
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