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Locally Produced 'Sacrificial Youth' Is The Punk Rock Musical You Never Knew You Wanted

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 7, 2014 4:00PM

Still from 'Sacrifical Youth'

It's hard to say what's so great about Joe Losurdo's (You Weren't There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984) latest film Sacrificial Youth without using broad terms. Everything. All of it. What's not to like?

If you ever considered yourself a part of "the scene," used the terms "poseur" or "sell-out" unironically or even get these types of atypical references to punk rock, this is the musical you never knew you wanted.

The movie, a product of local production company Regressive Films, follows TJ, a youth center show-obsessed, straight-edge band leader fighting against the almighty enemy of punk music: corporate sponsorships and profiteering. Evil takes the form of a bewitching energy drink and its Hot Topic shopping, glam punk playing endorsers.

Sacrificial Youth isn't without its faults. Losurdo himself likened the film to a "home movie" made with friends and many lifers who participated in the making of You Weren't There. It likely won't be winning any awards for its acting or innovation in cinematography but the rock opera proves that sharp writing and a creative approach can combat even the lowest of budgets.

Throughout its creation and promotional cycle Sacrificial Youth has drawn plenty of varied comparisons—how else does one relay such a off-the-wall concept—including Rocky Horror Picture Show and High School Musical. Between the campy special effects and oddball plot lines of the b-grade horror and sci-fi genre, exaggerated character types of after-school specials and the musical numbers themselves (many of which veer away from the punk and hardcore sound), it certainly has something for everyone.

Having already enjoyed Regressive Film's sincere and comprehensive docu-style journey into punk's past in Chicago, it's fun to suspend reality for eighty minutes with the filmmakers and spend time with the struggling members of punk rock present. Not too mention, we're even more excited than we were before to see Losurdo and crew's upcoming, much anticipated documentary on Wax Trax! Records after watching this.

Sacrificial Youth's official DVD launch is tomorrow, Nov. 8, at Township (2200 N. California). A screening of the movie in full will proceed a live performance of its soundtrack from members of Life Sentence, Rights of the Accused, Tutu & The Pirates along with Chicagoist favorite Nora O'Connor. Losurdo himself will also be on hand for a late night DJ set. Tickets are $10. Non anarchos and straight edgers totally allowed.