Content advisory: this article contains discuss of mental illness, and violence against people who live with a mental illness.
The official Canadian premiere of a documentary about Teenage Head is happening in Hamilton next week, just two months the tragic death of founding bandmate and guitarist Gord Lewis.
Next Friday (Oct. 21), the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) is hosting a screening of Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head, a film by Douglas Arrowsmith that was commissioned and first broadcast as a TVO Original film in 2020. Arrowsmith, members of Teenage Head, and music promotor and Lou Molinaro are scheduled to be part of a panel discussion that will complement the 86-minute film.
Registration to see Teenage Head’s story among like-minded fans on a larger screen with than your TV or laptop is free and “preferred,” in AGH’s argot. It is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the event begins at 7 p.m. in the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion.
The 86-minute film posed questions about the relationship between artistic expression and depression through a focus on Lewis. The talented guitarist battled with the illness — which is colloquially known as “the silent killer” — following the death of Teenage Head lead vocalist Frankie Venom died in 2008.
In August, Lewis’s decomposing body was found inside his Corktown neighbourhood apartment. His son Jonathan Lewis, 41 at that time, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death.
The group formed in Hamilton in 1975, taking inspiration from punk acts of the era such as The New York Dolls. The original lineup was made up by Venom (né Frank Kerr), Gord Lewis, Steve Mahon and Nick Stipanitz.
In the late 1970s and early ’80s, the energy of their performances stirred crowds to the point that there were riots during shows at The Horseshoe Tavern and at Ontario Place in Toronto. In total, they have made eight studio albums, the last of which came out in ’08 and involved Marky Ramone (of those The Ramones) joining the group.
More information about the screening is available at artgalleryofhamilton.com.
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