Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1989, Benjamin Arthur Ellis and Tres Shannon, a pair of artists living in Portland, Oregon, opened an all-ages nightclub called the X-Ray Café, and over the next several years the venue became a key center for underground culture in the Pacific Northwest. While plenty of noted rock bands played at the X-Ray Café, including Elliott Smith, Neurosis, Nation of Ulysses, Hazel, Team Dresch, Poison Idea and a then-unknown pop-punk outfit called Green Day, the club also opened its stage to nearly any sort of creative expression and community involvement, from belly dancing and performance art to language workshops and children's percussion projects. the X-Ray Café's open embrace of alternative music and art and the eccentric humor of Ellis and Shannon helped the club earn a reputation that extended far outside Portland, though making a grand experiment like the X-Ray work as a business was a formidable challenge, and the venue's landlord often had to go waiting for his money. Ellis directed the documentary X-Ray Visions: A Look Inside Portland's Legendary X-Ray Café, which offers an in-depth look at the club's history, the artists and regular customers who called it home, the local controversy that followed the venue, and how Ellis and Shannon used their creative whiles to help keep the ship afloat.
concert-footage, indie-rock, legend [famous person], music-club, music-scene, retrospective