Nirvana captivated the world in the 1990’s, and true music fans know the band has strong ties to Tacoma. The Grand Cinema will open Cobain: Montage of Heck, the new Nirvana documentary, for a limited run starting Friday, Aug. 14.
After the Tuesday, Aug. 18 screening at 6:45 p.m., Wade Neal, founding member of the Tacoma band Seaweed – and also one of two new Assistant Executive Directors at the Grand - will lead an open discussion with Jim May, founder of the Community World Theater, a vibrant cultural icon that was the focal point for PNW punk, metal, thrash and alternative music in 1987-88. Bon Von Wheelie and Bill Henderson of legendary Tacoma rock and roll band Girl Trouble will also join the discussion.
The new film traces the path from Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain’s life experiences to the songs that would stun the world. “Montage of Heck” has received rave reviews for its inventive use of the documentary format and unprecedented access to archives of Nirvana-related materials. The film focuses heavily on Cobain’s notebooks and tapes created during the most artistically fruitful period of his life. Interviews with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, wife Courtney Love and girlfriend Tracy Marander shed new light on Cobain’s journey from obscurity to worldwide fame. Morgen’s clever use of gorgeously rendered animation shows the audience what it may have been like to listen in on the artist recording his earliest works, with stunning effect.
Tacoma was an important part of Cobain’s artistic development. Starting in the late 1980’s, Seattle banned all-ages shows, which made punk and alternative concerts in Seattle difficult to book. Tacoma’s Community World Theater and Crescent Ballroom became the primary PNW venues for some of the best national acts of the time. This period of intense musical creativity helped Tacoma become a primary launchpad for Nirvana and scores of other bands of the era. Mr. May and the Grand’s other special guests will provide insight into Tacoma’s place in music history.